Memento Mori – “Remember you are mortal.”

Over my lifetime, I’ve watched over three hundred different series. Yet after going through hundreds of millions of lines and tons of epic moments, the fact remains that for me, there has been no single quote more powerful than the aforementioned one from Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo ( “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” ).

Naturally, one in turn wonders: “Why?” “In your view, what makes this such a powerful quote?”

And to that, I answer: “Because.”

Because life is a complicated thing and we as humans are complex beings for which words are not adequate enough to describe. Yet, despite the abstract nature of identifying what it means to “be human” and in describing one’s self, there remains one factor that plays an unmistakably important part in everyone’s lives. It’s a factor that plays a role no matter what we do, how we choose to do it, who we do it with, where we go, and why we bother doing something. One might even argue it is gives meaning to the notion of life.

That notion is time—and time waits for no one.

Yeah, we wouldn’t have survived this.

The fact of the matter is that being human means that we are mortal. As such, one could say that this should logically lead to one striving to do the most they can in the time given to them, to savor great moments while they can, and make it so that they regret nothing throughout their lifetimes. Yet, rarely does this happen… and it’s exactly why the quote is so powerful.

Because despite the fact that we all eventually realize that time continues on with or without us, we aren’t machines that can just turn a switch and accept things or change who we are. Part of being human is in the contradiction that we strive for things that are impossible and do things that are illogical. And as such, the quote to me resembles the human spirit—the biggest example of the term “contradiction,” but also the greatest example of potential achievement.

But no, that’s not the only reason I loved Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo. No, the movie has much, much more hidden underneath its exterior. Beneath it all, It’s a commentary on how one tends to not appreciate or realize what they have until it’s too late. It’s a discussion about how despite your best intentions or if you’re given the chance to do something over again, it doesn’t mean things will work out the way you want or expect it to. And most importantly, it’s proof that budget, complexity, and grandiose ideas don’t necessarily result in a great animated work.

Don’t mind me, just leaping through time!

Sometimes, all you need is something straightforward and simple to succeed, and that’s what Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo brings to the table. Revolving around Konno Makoto, a normal girl who has manages to acquire the power to travel through time… the story is notable in that it doesn’t try to explain the concept of how she leaps through time. Rather, it says: “here, she can time travel by doing this, and can only do it a finite number of times.” In turn, this allows the movie to avoid any of the bland, uninteresting explanations that come with time travel, and instead puts an increased emphasis on the characters, as well as the events that happen, why they happen, and what the alternative effects on doing something differently would be. Needless to say, the result is a spectacular movie that really pulls at one’s emotional heart strings, because there’s nothing to detract from the dynamic interactions between our protagonists or from the events that occur throughout the movie.

We see our heroine realizing that her meddling in the past results in drastic consequences. We see the initial joy she has in being able to go back in time and change any recent event… the gradual realization that even with her best intent, things don’t seem to work out… and ultimately, we see the results of meddling: a great loss that highlights how she never realized how much she valued the friends she had and the situation she was in until it all changed for the worse.

Savor every moment.

In the end, it just comes together to formulate an emotional experience that leaves you both smiling and in tears. There’s just so much to love about the series in the straight forward manner it presents things, the great characters, and in its deeper commentary about life in general—and it’s why Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo is one of my favorites. Sure, some of the quotes and notions are clichés you’ve probably heard before at some point in time, but just because they’re clichés don’t mean they aren’t true or that you shouldn’t bother with them and just because you know something is true doesn’t mean anything unless you do something about it.

As such—given one cliché to believe in, I’m fairly certain which one I’d follow.

“Time waits for no one.” That goes for me, and for you.

Just remember that unlike Makoto, you can’t leap through time… and unlike Moomba, you can’t leap through space either. I guess you could leap from your chair or something… but yeah, somehow I doubt it’d have the same result. Oh right, did I mention the clock’s tickin’?

Tick tock. Tick tock.


  1. This movie is one of the best anime films ever made.

    Everything is so well done regarding characters, romance, plot, music etc. It definitely tugs your emotion and brings you into tears by the last scene. Such a heart warming film. And the good thing about it is, despite the romance and the emotions it’s not cheesy at all. Everything is just so naturally done it’s wonderful!

    Thank you for posting about this movie.

  2. Good choice, Zephyr…I like this movie a lot as well. I like how the story is told, and most importantly, the deeper meaning that the story delivers — it reminds and helps me cherish and focus on the present while keep forging the path of my desired future because “time waits for no one.”

  3. Great post Zephyr. I love this movie, just like what you said Zephyr the movie focused more on the different choices and how those choices affected everyone around Makoto, instead of focusing on the science of time travel. This movie showed how time travel is both a gift and a curse at the same time. You may turn back time and change your past, but you can’t guarantee that the outcome will make you happy Making your life better doesn’t mean everyone will be the same, you may save yourself from bad fortune or accidents but others around you might be the ones to suffer because of it. This was all shown in the movie, and it was all done brilliantly!

    Again, great post Zephyr and I hope someone will also blog about Summer Wars in the coming days.

    Just Passing By
    1. I’m depending on you guys to come up with something if I can’t continue the song. =D

      On a more solemn note, and though this has nothing to do with anime, I’d like to express my regret and anguish over the loss of the lives of innocent people, especially the children, in the shootings in Connecticut. If there were ever a reason to need to leap through time, it’d be to stop such tragic events from ever taking place.

  4. I agree with you that “Time waits for no one” is the most powerful quote in this movie, but there a few others like “While you’re having fun, doesn’t that mean that as consequence, someone else is suffering?” that should be worth mentioning.

  5. “Savor every moment.” Exactly what I’m doing now. Living in a crappy life? Deal with it. Have to agree that time waits for no one. I’d like to equate that to “Anime waits for no one.” SO yeah, I need some popcorn and cola for this movie @__@

  6. I didn’t notice this because of today’s post, but the title of the post yesterday is —

    “Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo”

    and today it’s —

    “Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo”

    will this pattern continue for the rest of the 12 Days?

    Sorry, I just noticed. XD

    Just Passing By
  7. Everyone always sings praises about Mamoru Hosoda (there are some who even believe he can grow to rival Miyazaki, if you can believe that), and he’s really been taking off with his latest films. I haven’t watched any of his films yet, but I guess this is where I’ll make my start.

    As a side note, it’s really awesome to see you guys doing such a big ani-blogger tradition. 12 Days is a such a great way for the community to get together and share (up there with Secret Santa project and the Ani-blog carnival).

  8. Makoto, Chiaki, and Kousuke are all such real and likeable characters and I never would have guessed that I’d get so attached to them (considering the length of the movie).

    The movie captures the essence of being young and naive really well. I watched it in my first year of uni and boy did it bring back memories of those days as a senior in high school.

  9. I have not heard of this movie, truth be told, but I do like the time travel genre, I might check it out.(But can someone tell me why they don’t explain the time travel? I’m just curious since I like exploring all those time travel theories)

    1. As far as the sci-fi goes, it’s very, very soft-core. The use of time travel is symbolic and metaphoric, in a way. It probably would have detracted from the emotional theme of the story to go into the nitty-gritty details. Think of it as more a slice-of-life/coming-of-age story with a dash of sci-fi than the other way around.

  10. I love this movie a lot. Actually, it’s my favorite movie ever (including live action movies) and I’ve watched it at least 10 times (I mean, I had to show this movie to everyone!) and it still makes me cry everytime. Because of this movie I started to love Mamoru Hosoda and ever since I’ve watched every single thing from him he did (including his short Superflat Monogram or the Episode from Doremi Dokkan, Ashita no Nadja etc.) I think he is a genius, everthing he touches is amazing.

  11. One thing has amazed me – how the efforts to avoid trouble by timeleaping have ended for Makoto often in even bigger trouble… like that pesky fire extenguisher that when dodged always seemed to hit another person…
    And no 2 lesson (after the Time waits for no one!): Don’t borrow friend’s vehicle without asking first. You never know about it technical state…

  12. I thought it was pretty overrated. Contrary to popular belief…it was hard for me to get attached to the characters…especially after the twist Show Spoiler ▼

    , which i thought was one of the most disgruntling twists i’ve ever discerned (it really took away the value of the specialness of the character, and it was also such a blatant asspull…)

    I liked the “Time waits for no one’ quote and until now it still enamors me how deeply it affected me despite its simplicity, and i liked some of the tense moments of the movie (every moment involving the “train” was technically and atmospherically well-done), but i felt that it failed to do what i intended it to do…to tug at my heartstrings. Another thing i am so chagrined about was how the ending tried to be hopeful but failed since i thought Chiaki was just trying to be cool or that the producers were too hard-pressed to do an ambiguous ending to a disappointing result…

    All in all, it was a great one-time watch, there were moments of wonder and the producers put forth an appreciable endeavor to put a dramatic spin on the time-travel theme it carried…but ultimately, it was a hit-and-miss….


    Great feature btw….something like this is what i always like Randomc for….

  13. I got super excited when I saw yesterday’s post title and then was let down when I realized it said Sora instead of Toki.
    I’m very glad this has been remedied for today.

    This is my number one favorite animated movie and I’m so glad RC did it some justice. Thanks so much for this post!<3

  14. @Zephyr: I happened to be a fan of this movie as well as Summer Wars. Without spoiling anyone since there may be people who haven’t seen it, have you by any chance watched Ookami Kodomo Ame to Yuki already? I saw it in theatre this summer and I’ve been loving it and would want to buy the bluray of it when it comes out, was wondering if you’re going to cover that since you did a great job with posting about The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

    1. Been hearing good things about the movie…seriously can’t wait for it to come out in february on blu-ray….

      how does it stack up against ur other favorite anime movies btw?

  15. after reading this post, I watched this movie for my first and last time in youtube.
    It was a good movie however I disliked the ending very very much and I will not watch it again. Maybe the book is better and has a different ending.
    The movie went downhill after the revelation that
    Show Spoiler ▼

  16. I remember crying a river when I first finished watching it. But that was many years ago. When I have time I would like to get back to it and see how differently I would now react. That said though, I still feel like a part of me was left in this movie somehow. It was such an emotional impact.


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