The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
by Yasutaka Tsutsui
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-fi
Published: September 1, 2012 by Alma Books (first published January 31st 1967)
The novel adaptation of the acclaimed anime film! The Girl Who Leapt Through Time tells the story of Kazuko Yoshiyama, a third-year middle school student who accidentally acquires the ability to time travel after an unfortunate accident in a school science lab.
I am an anime fan and although I've never seen the film, I was excited to read The Girl Who Leapt Through Time mainly because it was made into an anime movie. And of course, this was my first time reading Japanese literature so that added up to the excitement as well.
For starters, it was a short and quick read. I could've finished it in one day if I didn't have other things to do. The book also consists of two stories, although I didn't know it at first.
The first story, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, is just your typical time travel story. It's about Kazuko, a third-year middle school student who accidentally acquired the ability to leap through time and space. Although other people would be delighted to discover they have such powers, Kazuko wasn't at all happy with it. She looked for the cause and wanted to get rid of these abilities because she did not want to be different. The plot is very simple and I think the only twist in the story is when Kazuko discovered where and from whom her ability to time travel came from, albeit indirectly. The pace is fast, not boring and I must say it's an okay read. I only wished the author did not make Kazuko and Kazuo's names sound so similar. It's a bit confusing sometimes.
The ending is a bit sad for me. I was looking for more. It was sad that Kazuko did not see that 'person from the future' again and that her memories of him were also erased. I would have wanted them to meet again, maybe when Kazuko's a bit older, you know, so they could be together. Although that's impossible, right? Because they live in different times. *sigh*
In the second story, The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of, is where my frustration started. I was like, "why did the story suddenly change?" I even thought that it's a continuation of Kazuko's story. But no, it was a totally different story. One I didn't really get. It's about Masako, a teenager who's afraid of heights and Prajna masks. She also has a younger brother who's a scaredy-cat, but Masako helped Yoshio conquer his fears so she thought she might as well conquer hers. There's not much conflict in this story. For a while I even thought it's horror. Until now I'm still not sure what it is, though. But I think what this story is trying to tell us is we all must at least try to face our fears. And that we should always be careful of the words we speak in front of children. We never know how they affect them.
I have some reservations about this book but I liked it still. If you're looking for a quick read that's still enjoyable, try this book. But if you want something a bit more complicated, this book is not for you.