Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Released in 2010
Director: Masaaki Taniguchi
Genre: Science Fiction
Summary: A scientist produces an elixir used as a means to time travel. Soon after being reconnected with pieces from her past, she is struck by a vehicle. In her hospital bed, she pleads to her daughter, Akari, to travel back in time to tell her first love that she remembers his promise. The directions are clear enough, but Akari can’t remember the right date and mistakenly travels to the wrong year.
Overview: The Netflix algorithms bring up suggestions of films you might like. My recent flux of science fiction referencing time travel in some shape or form generated this gem. In my head, I wanted to prove Netflix wrong, prove that it did not know my preferences and what I may like. I watched it to prove my point, but I was wrong. I liked it.
Akari is a little scatterbrained at times, and during one of the most critical times in her life, she goofs up. She freaks out a little bit, reevaluates the current conditions, and plans to fulfill her mother’s wish. Her light-hearted and bubbly nature contrasts the calm and grace of her mother, reflective of their relationship and symbolic of how their differences balance one another. I cannot think of a recent movie that highlights the relationship between a mother and daughter as well this movie does, despite how limited their interactions were. Time Traveller draws parallels between these characters and those in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland: the elusive white rabbit is Akari’s mother, the cheshire cat is the delivery man with his toothy grin, and just as Alice fell through the rabbit hole, so does Akari.
Although (as the name suggests) time travel acts as the central gear pushing the movie forward, I see it as a mere underlying mechanism to capture filmmaking at an earlier time. After falling from the future and onto an unsuspecting amateur director named Ryota, Akari seeks help from him. Just as he assists in her objectives, Akari lends him a hand as he completes his science fiction production. This project acts as a tribute to movie-making by cinematizing the movie-making process, from small-scale models for special effects to the ingenuity in coming up with various solutions to achieve a certain aesthetic.
In many, if not all of the movies dealing with time travel, one concept remains constant: you cannot change the past to alter the future, as the actions are recursive. This movie does not have the visual effects capabilities that were common in 2010, so the time travel sequence is odd and senseless. But maybe that’s the idea, that our fascination with time is enough to drive us insane.