Makoto Kanno is an everyday teenage girl living everyday life with her two friends Kousuke and Chiaki and a run of everyday bad luck, including a faulty bike, bad test scores, a clumsy spill involving a mysterious device, and death by train.
But wait, it turns out that device gave her the power to jump backwards through time, luckily enough to avoid getting train-slapped. Now she has the chance to change her bad luck, relive great moments and, unbeknownst to her, learn some harsh and scary lessons about how time is better left alone.
For the first couple Acts, we get a feel for Makato, who accomplishes her role of being a engaging main character, her antics and flaws being entertaining yet relatable. An ideal person would use time travel to stop Hitler, but a teenager like Makoto would use it to relive great days over and over. And she does so innocently enough, until her reckless jumps start to take their toll, culminating in a powerful climax in which one of her friends pays with his life.
It is here, during a noble leap, that the movie tries to change direction middair, only to come crashing down.
The final act, feeling it's already interesting characters and simple-yet-engaging story wasn't enough, tries for a last-minute plot twist involving an underdeveloped secondary character. Unfortuantely, said twist comes with a whole new set of rules, which are not in fact used to explain previous points, but to add unnecessary drama to make its new direction work.
And what is the new direction? Why, a tragic romance of course. The movie struggles to make this work, turning a once mutual friendship into a last minute guilt-trip of unreciprocated unrequited feelings. None of which are resolved by movie's end. Because we all know only lame Disney-esque movies end with a sense of closure and resolution.
This is an awful thing, because the rest of the movie is pretty darn beautiful. Its art style is soft and inviting, opting for many warm colors and tones, though the animation itself isn't too spectacular. The music set the scenes well, and the voice-acting refrains from hamming it up.
I'm proud of the title I chose, because it really summarizes my feelings for this movie. It has a strong take-off, a majestic leap, and a heartbreaking crash n burn. You feel sorry it happened, but you're still asking why it happened at all.