Thursday, December 1, 2011
Review: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, After
Toki o Kakeru Shojo is a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui that originally came out in 1967, and has been adapted several times as live action movies and manga. Recently, a manga version (Young Ace, 2009-2010) of the third movie came out, and I ended up getting a copy from someone I've recently met in Kagoshima, who was unloading some of his books prior to returning to school in the U.S. This isn't a manga that I'd normally buy for myself, but since it was offered to me for free, I decided to check it out.
(All the props collected together - spare change, "go" and "come back" time medicine and the photo of mom with the mysterious unknown boy.)
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, After, based on the story by Yasutaka Tsutsui, art by Minoru Hashiguchi, Grade C
Akari Yoshiyama is a school girl who has just graduated from high school and is preparing to proceed on to university. She gets together with her mother, Kazuko, for a quiet "date" at a park, and they run into a friend of Kazuko's. The friend shows Kazuko a photo of her as a school girl along with a boy named Kazuo, but neither of them can remember anyone named "Kazuo". Thinking about this, Kazuko returns back to her research lab and is hit by a car. The next day is Akari's birthday, but she spends it in the hospital waiting for her mother to regain consciousness. When Kazuko wakes up, she remembers that "Kazuo", whoever he was, is the person that spurred her into her current line of research - developing a medicine that will let her go back in time to see him again in April, 1972. Akari decides to take on this task herself and goes to the research lab and drinks the medicine. Unfortunately, she gets the date mixed up and ends up deciding on Feb., 1974.
The medicine does its job, and she does a "time slip". When she realizes her mistake, she has to cope with being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She's befriended by a college student named Ryouta Mizorogi, who wants to be a science fiction film director, and who easily believes that she's from the future after seeing her cell phone. The two of them meet the young Kazuko, who still doesn't remember Kazuo. Ryouta introduces Akari to his friend - a cameraman that will later marry Kazuko and father Akari before disappearing to follow his dreams in the U.S. Ryouta becomes attracted to Akari, and writes her into the ending of his film. After shooting the last scene, Ryouta and Akari hand out fliers to search for Kazuo, and then place an ad in the newspaper. Someone does respond to the ad, asking to meet in the high school the next day. Unfortunately, Ryouta gets news that an elderly relative has fallen ill and he needs to take the bus back to his hometown the next day, too.
Akari goes to the meeting point, falls asleep in the room, and wakes up with a start during what seems to be an earthquake. A bookshelf falls over, then freezes in mid-move. Kazuo appears, and announces himself to be a fellow time traveler, from the year 2698. He remembers meeting Kazuko, but had erased her memories as part of the rule that people from the future aren't allowed to affect the past (she'd remembered just enough to know to create her own time travel medicine). He's about to do the same to Akari, but she asks him to wait until she can say goodbye to Ryouta. She runs to the bus terminal just in time, and he gives her a rough-cut copy of the film as a reminder of him. After he gets on the bus and it drives off, her future father runs up, saying he'd misplaced his own ticket, and hence has just missed the bus. Akari suddenly realizes that this is the one her mother had mentioned that's going to be in a big accident that kills everyone on board. She tries to get Ryouta off the bus, but Kazuo shows up and stops her, saying that she's not allowed to change the past. He tries to erase her memories, but she refuses to forget Ryouta. Kazuo sees the film canister and attempts to wrestle it from her, so Akari drinks the medicine that her mother had developed for returning to 2010. Later, Kazuo also goes to 2010 to erase Kazuko's memories again, but Akari still has the film, and she calls her father so they can watch it together to remember "a good friend".
(The "dramatic final scene" in the amateur movie with Akari walking away.)
Ignoring the idea that a liquid medicine can warp time to the point where you can bring money, clothing and electronics to whenever you're thinking about, the rest of the story is also very silly. It's just another "let's go back and meet your parents when they were young" romp with a little romance and tragedy tossed in. Additionally, the artwork is very poor. Character designs change from page to page, and often there's no backgrounds behind the characters. The Kazuo character has no real purpose in the story beyond meddling with Akari's and Kazuko's lives a little bit. Definitely not recommended.