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In 1967, Yasutaka Tsutsui wrote a novel entitled The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. In 2006, a movie came out with a different story, but the same title and premise. Directed by Mamoru Hosoda and written by Satoko Okudera, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time has won multiple awards and been widely acclaimed by critics. Like some of the best time travel stories, it is not really about time travel but human experiences many of us can relate to, in this case the desire to fix problems with a rewind switch.

Makoto Konno is a student who’s good at baseball and one day stumbles, quite literally, onto the power of time travel. At first she uses this power to correct errors (such as showing up tardy for class) or increase her experiences (making a karaoke session last for hours to her perspective). But everything you do has a consequence, even small things, and she starts realizing the ripples affecting her friends’ lives. So then she flips to the other side of things, doing everything she can to make life better for her friends at school. But humans don’t just act exactly the way you want them too just because you use a Mulligan or ask them to go left instead of right. Sometimes you have to use a half dozen time jumps just to make sure someone asks someone else out on a date. When do you make a line between helping friends and becoming the arbiter of how their life should turn out? What consequences occur by repeatedly making sure your friends’ lives work according to how you think they should go, without asking them what they think about all this?

It’s a fun movie with a sci-fi premise that is just complicated enough to create some good rules on time travel but simplistic enough that we don’t spend more time explaining them than is needed. In the end, it’s about Makoto growing up, realizing how much power she has in her life without time travel, and learning just what she’s willing to do to help others, even if it costs her something. A family friendly film with banter and lovely animation. You should check out The Girl Who Leapt Through Time when you can.