The Little Girl Who Conquered Time (1983) Poster

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A high school girl discover's that she suddenly has the ability to travel in time
ebiros218 March 2005
Tomoyo Harada is an average student in high school. She has an old friend Toshinori Omi who goes to the same school, and Ryoichi Takayanagi who is also her classmate, but is not quite the old friend she thinks he is. One day after a routine cleaning of the school's chem lab, she starts to experience a time warp in her life where she experiences the same event multiple times. Quite by accident, she is getting drawn into the plan that came from the future. She soon discovers why she is experiencing the time warp. The story is set in the beautiful town of Onomichi which is also the birth place of the film's director Nobuhiko Obayashi. Obayashi made several movies in this town where the town becomes an integral part of the movie. The beautiful classic Japanese town scape of Onomichi makes this movie worth seeing along with the interesting twist in the story's plot.
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Slow Moving, But Kind Of Sweet
crossbow010623 February 2010
This movie moves often at a languid pace, but I recommend it because it does tell a decent story about Kazuko (Tomoyo Harada), a 16 year old schoolgirl who finds herself in a strange time warp after fainting in a chemical lab at school. She has two friends, but it seems to be Fukamachi (Ryoichi Takayanagi) whom she likes. Pay attention from the beginning and you'll get the gist of the film, which has a sweetness that is genuine. I'm sure if you're a teen you'll like this more, as it is about the awakening of love. Tomoyo Harada, who has gone on to a fairly interesting career as an actress, is very good in this role. In a small role is legend Takako Irie, in what had to be her last appearance in film. The reason it is not rated higher is the slow pace, but I like its sentiment and its simple message of first love. I'm sure there were tears shed by many watching the film due to its sentimentality, but its not a sad film. Very good cinematography. If you like drama, you'll like this.
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A Cute Film But Not Quite Timeless...
jmaruyama4 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"Toki O Kakeru Shojo" (or Tokikake) is probably the most adapted modern short story in Japanese Literature. As of date, there have been seven different versions of the Tsutsui Yasutaka story in both TV and movies -- the NHK drama "Time Traveler ('72) with Shimada Junko; the '83 movie with Harada Tomoyo; the Fuji TV Drama special ('84) with Minamino Yoko; the Fuji TV Drama special ('94) with Uchida Yuki; the '97 movie with Nakamoto Nana; the TBS TV special ('02) with Abe Natsumi and most recently the Madhouse anime project ('06) with the voice talent of Hara Sachie. The Harada Tomoyo movie was the first big screen adaptation of the story and was a smash hit for the Kadokawa Publishing Company in 1983. This most likely had more to do with the popularity of teen idol star Harada Tomoyo than the story itself, which revolved around a chemical accident which gives a high school girl the ability to "conquer time" and time travel back and forth within her past and future. Tomoyo's heroine, Yoshiyama Kazuko, typifies the "Kadokawa Heroine" - cute as a button, courageous, genteel, yet strong and smart. Director Obayashi Nobuhiko (House, Nerawareta Gakuen) brings his unique visual flair to the film but the story's loopy premise is a bit hard to swallow as is the snail's pacing of the film. The film's theme song (sung by Tomoyo) while a hit for her at the time has often been lambasted by critics who thought Tomoyo's off-key singing was torture. Thankfully her acting abilities were far superior and made the film bearable. A cute film for idol fanatics but definitely not for everyone.
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A special place in my heart
nagan202015 July 2021
This movie is a gem for many Japanese, especially those over 50. It was an enormous hit on its release in 1983, and the leading actress Tomoyo Harada, who was only 15 at the time, became a national heroine. This film is so much more than a cheesy sci-fi flick with outdated special effects. It captures a glittering and often bitter time of youth with such delicacy and subtleness. It is also a cruel tale of a girl who falls for the wrong guy. They share a love so supreme that after losing it, a void opens up in her life.

The whole movie is reminiscent of the Showa era with nostalgic sceneries of Onomichi (Tokyo Story by the great Yasujiro Ozu was also filmed in this historic town of Hiroshima). I still listen to the beautiful soundtrack which for me is a true classic.

For admirers of House, Obayashi's debut, which remains popular amongst western audiences, this film is worth watching. It might not work for everyone, but it is so redolent of my teenage memories that, like the rest of its avid Japanese fans, it will always have a special place in my heart.
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Low production values, can't understand why anyone likes this
cherold9 September 2013
I'm used to high quality Japanese movies - this is the country of Kurasawa, after all - but it shouldn't have surprised me to discover that there are Japanese movies from the 1980s that look as cheaply and artlessly made as a teen-themed 1980s TV series. What surprises me is seeing other reviews that like the way this was filmed, and to discover through wikipedia that this was done by an experienced director who has been successful in his field. Because this is as pedestrian-looking as you can find, and lacks any sort of tension or interest or, in the subtitled version I saw, interesting dialog.

This was the sort of movie you can tell isn't going to be any good from the first instant, but I was interested in the story because I'd recently watched the terrific animated version of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, which is a sequel, and I wanted to see a version of the original story. So I thoughtI'd just wait until the story kicks in. But the story doesn't so much kick in as slowly, slowly, slowly creep in.

At one point about a half hour in I gave up, but then I watched the sequel to this - Time Traveller, which is much better - and that made me even more curious, so I started half-watching while reading something (which is hard to do with subtitled movies, because you have to keep looking up). Even though I was entertaining myself in other ways, the movie still moved about as slowly as any movie could. It felt like they were trying to expand a 20 minute short into a full featured film entirely through long pauses, slow talking, and filler dialog.

Still, the movie does become slightly more entertaining as it gets into what there is of a story. Unfortunately, it also gets increasingly far- fetched, and a final big time jump is a senseless and bewildering hodgepodge that severely tried my patience.

The leads are so bland that their pseudo-romance fails to resonate; in fact, the only affecting scene in the movie is one near the end involving two minor characters. It's altogether irrelevant to the story, yet it was the only worthwhile moment in the entire film.

This is one of the worst Japanese films I've ever seen, poorly made in almost every way. It boggles my mind that other people here enjoyed it.
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Dated but Entertaining Coming-of-age Sci-Fi Film
Kuma_no_geppu19 May 2015
Starring at the stars one night while on a school ski trip, 16-year old Kazuko Yoshiyawa (played by former teen idol Tomoyo Harada) bumps into a mysterious stranger also starring up at the evening sky. It's only Fukamachi of course, one of the boys she's known her whole life - or has she? As romantic feelings blossom, strange things are happening to Kazuko - she's living moments she's already experienced, and waking up from dreams inside of dreams. Is her mind playing on tricks on her, or is she moving backwards through time? Is there something more sinister at play?

Obayashi Nobuhiko's adaptation of Tsutsui Yasutaka's "The Girl Who Leapt through Time" is dated, but for fans of Obayashi's campy but fun "House", this film is a great Sunday afternoon flick that displays a lot of Obayashi's strengths with movement. Obayashi keeps things interesting with a lot of neat strobe and colorization tricks, as well as some incredibly outdated and laughably-bad 80's computer effects. Where Obayashi really shines though is in the shots that immerse you in Kazuko's world - wonderfully subtle pans inside school hallways, classrooms, climbing the steps in Kazuko's beautifully serene town.

Most of the acting is a bit stiff and juvenile, with the exception of a young Ittoku Kishibe as Kazuko's language teacher, but the film and story are enjoyable nonetheless. "The Girl Who Leapt through Time" was a widely successful pop blend of teenage melodrama with the supernatural in Japan, and Japanese movies and anime have never looked back.
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Not Bad Teen Idol Flick
rowerivers12 August 2015
Kazuko Yoshiyama (Tomoyo Harada) is just an average, though cute and perky, high school student in the picturesque old town of Onomichi. But one day while cleaning the science room she hears a noise. She investigates and becomes overcome by fumes that smell like lavender. After waking up in the nurse's room, she feels well enough to go home, walking with neighbor (Toshinori Omi) and passing by his grandparents (Ken Uehara and Takako Irie). The next day is Saturday, but being 1983 she still has to go to school. The day after that is Saturday, too, and she goes through the same routine. Then after that is Saturday, and she tries to find some way to break out of that. Unlike Bill Murray, she succeeds, but goes off into several other periods at a rapid pace. Somehow things get resolved between her and her neighbor and also the tall guy she likes (Takayanagi). This is a Junya Kadogawa production, showcasing new idol Harada (who grew up nicely to play the wife in Shiawase no Pan). He chose the popular fantasy novel written by Yasutaka Tsutsui, which had been filmed before and since. And he assembled some good talent, including old-time film stars Uehara and Irie, along with director Nobuhiko Obayashi (House). It's a quality production, but still the acting is a little off, as would be expected from a first-timer like Harada. She does have good screen presence, though. And with an intriguing story and director Obayashi's favorite backdrop of Onomichi, it's a better example of the Japanese idol teen flick.
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Pretty good until the last act
chaychlochay28 July 2020
Having already seen the 2006 anime adaptation, I had the expectation going in that this could not possibly be nearly as good as that movie. I was right. However, this ended up being a movie I enjoyed. It has a slow pace, and the time shenanigans are much more restrained than the anime remake (at least for the most part). I really liked the lead actress, who reminded me of that of "Sailor Uniform and Machinegun". Turns out, she starred in a TV version of that movie prior to starring in this.

In short, if you are looking to experience the best possible version of "Girl Who Leapt Through Time", please turn your attention to the 2006 anime. If you enjoy this period of japanese culture as well as live action over animation, this is worth a look. The credit sequence alone is enough to make it worth a watch.
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