An anime movie [that's a cartoon film made in Japan, just in case you're uninitiated] that asks that age old question that must have occurred to all of us from time to time. What would we do if we could go back in time and change the past? More specificially, erase our past mistakes.
Makoto is an ordinary seventeen old schoolgirl, best friends with a pair of boys her age, who discovers by chance that taking a big jump gives her the ability to go back in time. She appears to have gained this following an accident in a chemistry lab.
Taking advice from a wise aunt, she soon comes to terms with her ability and masters it. Using it for trivial things such as getting extra time at karaoke or doing better on a test. However when affairs of the heart rear their head and she uses her power to deal with that, things start to get complicated. Because even the most minor action can have big consequences.
And there's also the question of the strange mark on her arm. And where she got the ability from in the first place.
Not a lot of anime has a present day real world setting in which it's firmly grounded, but this most certainly does. There are no monsters with bug eyes on their tentacles or schoolgirls with big eyes as you might expect. All the characters are down to earth and believable. As is the setting. An ordinary city and home and school plus a busy street by a level crossing are all well depicted. The film is meant to be set in summer, and the tones of the colours for the backgrounds do convey that, along with the very occasional sound of insects.
This is initially a bit slow to get going, but once you get used to Makoto and she gets to grips with her ability, the film becomes very involving. Like many time travel films some scenes are played again and again and yet are different each time, and the viewer comes to anticipate certain moments as much as Makoto does.
All plot developments do arise firmly out of characters and their actions. One in particular likely to make you gasp as much as it makes Makoto.
There are many metaphors about time and how every moment is precious - best highlighted by a stunning scene of characters talking whilst time all around them is frozen - and how we should make the most of it. This, coupled with a subtle score that uses gentle piano music, makes it all haunting and rather beautiful.
A twelve certificate by virtue of a couple of very mild adult references, it's a very memorable movie and one that will live in your mind for a while.
The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:
Languages: Japanese, English.
The only extras are a commentary from the director and some of the voice cast.
Plus trailers for five other movies: Four anime and one live action.