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Time is one of the many perplexing variables that I used to be so obsessed with. Once again, I was able to rekindle my passion to discuss about it after watching The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. In this story, I truly enjoyed how it precisely illustrated that the flow of “lived” time isn’t being experienced equably—time can fly and time can crawl. As the major theme suggested, “Time waits for no one.” I also liked how it consistently obeyed the parallel universe and supporting theories of time-traveling—as far as my limited knowledge is concerned.

For those who haven’t seen the movie yet, The Girl Who Leapt through Time is the story of a girl named Makoto. She accidentally fell upon a strange walnut-shaped object after hearing something strange while doing her class duty. On her way home, her bicycle’s brakes got broken. Due to the highly steep-down road, she lost control of her speed, thrown into a railroad crossing, and killed by the train. However, because of the mysterious object that she came into contact, she’s able to transport back in time prior to her accident. From there, she realized she has the power to “time-leap.” However, the “catch” is traveling through time is limited—as shown by the numerical tattoo on her arm.

Long before Einstein made a distinction between proper time and coordinates time, a variety of ideologies where circulating and questioning the existence and actual motion of time—whether time flows circularly or linearly.

A diverse way to look backward in time is found in an inquisitive thought of looking forward in time, an idea that assumes time is a “closed loop.” In this concept, the future turns out to be the past and whatever might be observed today would happen again in the future. Or simply, as Plato visualized, time is curving back on itself.  Also, other Greeks and Romans believed that time was in motion and cosmic activity was cyclical, however it’s important to emphasize that this idea wasn’t envisioned as detailed endless repetition such as multiple rebirths.

As for the non-circular time believers, linear time is highly acknowledged. This suggests that time is a notion that is seen sequentially, as a series of events that are leading toward something—beginning and end. As Newton articulated, time is something absolute in reality, regardless of human perception.  Likewise, all past events are laid out on a single and fixed timeline—once an event has occurred, it is set in stone.

It’s hard to reject either of these two notions when talking about time travelling. As the film showed, the traveller’s future becomes his/her past, but not the other way around because they’re reappearing on a fixed timeline. Furthermore, Makoto’s jumps implied that she’s using time dilation by moving at high speed and taking advantage of the presence of an intense gravitational field. I find it really funny how she surprises everyone whenever she reappears. If you’re wondering how it happened—using the similar concept—her gravitational motion and acceleration are being dilated. However, it’s vital to keep in mind that time dilation is neither an illusion of the observation nor is a matter of the second having diverse definitions in different reference frames. Temporally we experience this—time feels so fast, but technically it’s not. In this film, it’s beautifully illustrated by cleverly down-speeding and up-speed the right camera shots and angles.

Another interesting theory of time leaping is asserted by Kurt Gödel. He’s Einstein’s office-mate and was first to derive a time travel equation which obeys Einstein Field Equations (ECE) and Theory of General Relativity. Gödel conceptualized that anyone who travels to the past, that traveler’s personal future becomes part of the universe’s past as judged by cosmological time or coordinate time, and that several worldlines in closed spacetime could curve so rigorously that they arched back onto themselves by forming a loop or closed timelike curves (CTCs) in spacetime. Hence this neatly explains how Makoto could rampantly travel back in time. In addition, the possibilistic view of time—wherein the past and the present are fixed and definite, and only the future is arbitrary—supports the idea how Makoto and Chiaki could alter the past.

Overall, I truly enjoyed how this anime depicted “time-leap” consistently—it’s the most brilliant that I’d seen by far. Aside from that, the animation and plot is so well-executed and flowed so smoothly. The character’s art and design may not be the best—based from my own perception—however the characterization is superb, that minor flaws can be so easily forgiven. In fact, this anime was the first to receive a ten on my MAL account, that’s why I highly recommend this to everyone especially to those who enjoy slice-of-life, sci-fi, and drama. And for those who aren’t enjoying these kinds of genres, I’d still suggest to give it a shot, I’m optimistic that you’d like it.

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Side Remarks:

  • Thanks to jigabachi/@avvitus for introducing me to this lovely anime film.
  • I tried to avoid the mathematical proofs and equations; I hope my wordings make sense.
  • You don’t need to be knowledgeable about the physics and philosophy of time in order to enjoy The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, but basic knowledge adds to the satisfaction factor.
  • Time travel is still openly debatable. Nobody can fully prove nor disprove it.
  • Next post is going to be “non-sciencey”—because physics is dreary for some
  • It has no fanservice. I particularly appreciated the scene where Kōsuke got hit by his classmate, and fell upon a freshman girl, because normally in anime, on this occurrence, a guy will most likely grope accidentally the girl’s chest. But on this one the Kōsuke’s hand was on the girl’s face.
  • [Click Here] for simpler and much better explanation of time-travel
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