6 Anime Movies Like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [Recommendations]

The last year of high school can be a wonderful and scary time for many of us. We are full of all the promise and fear that a unknown future can bring. The endless options and variables that lie ahead of us can leave us feeling overwhelmed, in high school or not, making it really difficult to decide what to do next. It’s hard to cope with the idea that if you screw up the next few decisions it could affect the rest of your life (since you don’t have the option to reset your life and try again, no matter what popular manga says). You add the pressures of parents, teachers and friends and you find yourself just wanting to gain some control over the smallest bit of your life.

Makoto Konno is in her last year of high school and is feeling all of those pressures that come in the twilight of childhood. She suddenly and unexplainably discovers she has the power to literally leap through time. Makoto must not be a Spider-man fan because she doesn’t really get the “with great power, comes great responsibility” thing, at least at first. She eventually, like Peter Parker, learns the hard way that her actions have consequences. Makoto’s journey involves, fun, self-discovery, a little romance and a lot of growing up. So, if you finish this film and decide you need another good one we now count down the top 6 Anime Like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

Similar Anime to Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo / Similar Anime to The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

6. Byousoku 5 Centimeter (5 Centimeters Per Second)

  • Episodes: 3
  • Aired: Mar. 2007

A story of young love sums up the relationship between Takaki Toono and Akari Shinohara. You remember that friend that you were close to more than any other in elementary school, don’t you? You remember their name, their face, the times you had together. Do you still keep in touch? We know that for many of us, especially those born before the age of social media, that was very hard to do. Akari and Takaki were inseparable and understood each other better than anyone else. Yet the couple was separated when Akari’s family is transferred to another region of japan due to her parent’s jobs being transferred. The two best friends try to stay in touch writing letter after letter. Takai and Akari even meet up in middle school before they are torn apart when Akari's family is transferred to another region of Japan due to her family's job. When Takaki finds out that his family is also moving, he decides to meet with Akari one last time before they live even farther apart. The two have as innocent and sweet a night together as you can in a train station during a blizzard. You can’t help but root for the two to find a way. The two however continually drift further and further apart and you’re left wondering if they’ll every find their way back to their other half.

The two films have a few themes in common, though they’re told in very different ways with very different paces. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time has a very fast pace with each scene keeping your attention and carrying the energy through to the next. 5 Centimeters Per Second on the other hand takes a much slower pace letting the story unfold in a far more dramatic way. The theme of young teenage love is one of the strings that connect these love stories in very different ways. 5 Centimeters Per Second takes a harsh, realistic look at young love and all its obstacles while The Girl Who Leapt Through Time takes more optimistic look. The two stories also connected on the idea of longing. For Akari and Takaki it’s making full-throated pledges of love for one another that would bind them together, for Makoto it’s about using her newfound power with more modesty, allowing her to stay with the love of her life even longer. We won’t get into it in great detail but both films look at the bittersweet side of romance and may have you questioning if you let “the one” get away.

Byousoku 5 Centimeter Trailer

5.Summer Wars

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: Aug. 2009

The world of the future is totally wired. A virtual world called OZ has become the interface for commerce, government, and socializing. You can do everything through the OZ platform from your daily shopping to your trip to the DMV. A user navigates the wonderful land of OZ with a custom avatar controlled by their computer keyboard or a game controller. The system also possesses an almost impenetrable amount of security to protect all the user data and backdoor access to government computers, like the one controlling the unmanned asteroid explorer Arawashi. The protagonist of the story is Kenji Koiso, a 17-year-old math genius and part-time OZ moderator. He was planning on having a quiet summer working on his computer, that is until his crush Natsuki Shinohara invites him on a summer trip and pose as her fiancé. He is quickly swallowed up by her large extended family as they all converge on the family homestead to celebrate the matriarch’s 90th birthday. The real calamity begins when an AI program begins to take over OZ and the world’s interconnectivity goes haywire. We won’t disclose how, or why, but Kenji and the Shinohara family are integral to saving the world from potentially the internet’s end.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars have some similar themes. First, Makoto Konno and Natsuki Shinohara are both caught between their own desires and the pressures of their burgeoning adulthood. Konno deals with the pressure by trying to ignore her encroaching adulthood and Natsuki feels a need to show her grandmother that she is ready to move onto adulthood even if it means lying. The films each have a similar look and pace mainly due to a common director, Mamoru Hosoda. You get a nice blend of science fiction into each of the stories, the time travel aspect in one and the cyberworld of the other. We also get a nice little romance for the lead characters even though it’s not the focus of the story as much as growing up and figuring out where you fit into the world.

Summer Wars Trailer

4. Uchiage Hanabi, Shita kara Miru ka? Yoko kara Miru Ka? (Fireworks, Should We See it From the Side or the Bottom)

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: Aug. 2017

The summer break holds all sorts of promise for students, especially the ones in high school who are finally taking the steps of freedom young adulthood offers. Norimichi Shimada and his friends, as many friends do, pose some of the most ridiculous questions and think they’re profound. The question Norimichi and his friends Yusuke, Miura and Junichi ask is “do fireworks look flat from the side?” They devise a plan to find the answer to the question at the summer fireworks festival. The plan hits a snag when Norimichi runs into Nazuna Oikawa who is attempting to run away from home. She is quickly caught by her mother and dragged back home. She drops a small silvery ball that Norimichi picks up and discovers that it gives him the ability to reverse time. The characters are then able to take a look at the what might have been if different choices had been made.

The concept of time travel is the main connection between the Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Fireworks. We also have a nice romance and a couple that is just starting to understand their own feelings. The animation in both films is smooth and dynamic. The plot in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a little less convoluted than Fireworks but both have some admirable qualities.

Fireworks Trailer

Any Anime Like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time / Any Anime Like Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo?

3. Hotarubi no Mori e

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: Sep. 2011

Hotaru Takegawa gets lost one day in the forest while visiting her uncle. She is exhausted and close to panicking as a six-year-old might when lost in the woods. The young girl then meets Gin, a masked forest spirit who is in the form of a young man wearing a white baboon mask. Gin tells her he can show her the way home as long as they never touch. She find out if they make contact that Gin will disappear. The young girl, grateful to her savior for leading her to safety, promises to return with a gift. She not only brings a gift but returns again and again over the years to spend time with the masked spirt. The couple eventually begin to realize feelings for each other which makes sense because this is supernatural romance. The problem is that conflicts with the cardinal rule of their relationship, they can never touch. We watch a bittersweet romance unfold filled with longing as two people that never should have met become deeply involved in each other’s lives.

The art styles of this film are filled with bright colors and beautiful scenery, leaving you to get caught up in the background at times and needing to rewind to catch the dialogue. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Into the Forest of Fireflies both are coming-of-age stories, while Makoto grows up quickly at least in our eyes, we get to watch Hotaru grow up more slowly as her friendship with Gin evolves over the course of years. We also have two films that share stories of unlikely lovers featuring two people that wouldn’t have met without the intervention of a science fiction or supernatural element. A final theme the two films share is a bittersweet ending; it’s something a lot of teen romances share, especially ones in this genre. You have two people separated by time and space and desperately longing to be with each other.

Hotarubi no Mori e Trailer

2. Kimi Na no Na wa (Your Name)

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: Aug. 2016

The red string of fate meets string theory physics is one way of summing up the story of Mitsuha and Taki. Mitsuha is a high school girl growing up in a small lakeside town north of Tokyo who dreams of living a life in the big city. Taki, on the other hand, lives in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, busy with work and high school. He seems content yet he finds himself drawing a place he’s never seen. Mitsuha one day wakes up and finds she is a boy living in Tokyo and goes about trying to lead a life that’s not her own. The same day, kind of, finds Taki waking up in Mitsuha’s body and living her life. Mitsuha and Taki eventually realize they are switching bodies and begin one of the strangest and most romantic relationships in history.

Your Name and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time both begin with a plot akin to a supernatural comedy and in Your Name’s case a supernatural rom-com. Both stories take full advantage of supernatural plot twists as we watch three characters cope with an unexpected power and the effect that can have on the people in their lives. We also get a shift in mood in the latter part of the story where the once happy-go-lucky, silly plot becomes far more serious and has you on the edge of your seat. The animation in both stories is top notch and both have good pacing that seems to only ramp up the closer you get to the conclusion. Your Name and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time also deal with an attempt to close the distance between two people in love that you know will find a way.

Your Name Trailer

1. Nerawareta Gakuen (Psychic School Wars)

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: Oct. 2012

We all have our routines. We all have things we do every day in the same way and take comfort in the predictability. Kenji Seki was just like us. He woke every morning, got ready for school, took his dog for a walk and tried to get the nerve to ask out his crush, Kahori, who would be surfing at that same beach every morning. He would inevitably chicken out, go home and then walk with his childhood friend Natsuki to school. His life was quiet and predictable and he didn’t seem to mind until one day he meet Ryouichi. The handsome transfer student was standing on a bluff and musing about being psychic and being on Earth. Psychic School Wars starts off with a simple love triangle between Kahori, Kenji and - you guessed it - Natsuki the childhood friend. The real story then begins with a conspiracy by people from the future to change their reality by bestowing psychic powers on today’s youth.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Psychic School Wars have one major thing in common: time travel. Makoto and Kenji both have their lives turned upside down by an encounter with a time traveler. We also have two main characters that find themselves in life-and-death situations at their stories’ climaxes. The stories both have a potentially bittersweet endings for the romances as well. The two productions do have their differences like in plot, pacing and art styles but both are most definitely worth a watch.

Psychic School Wars Trailer

Final Thoughts

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a unique film in many ways. We are granted a strong-willed heroine that isn’t some righteous hero or shy wallflower or one with a true destiny to uncover. Makoto is just a girl who has something amazing happen to her in the twilight of her childhood that changes her perspective of the world. We see her use her newfound power as any young person might and then see her grow as she realizes how her actions affect others. We can sympathize with her breaking heart at the end and yet still feel hopeful for her future. The list of similar anime may not contain a lot of exact matches but as you watch them you will feel the themes of growing up and facing your responsibilities, and love. We hope you enjoy all these beautiful anime features.

Toki-wo-Kakeru-Shojo-dvd-300x414 6 Anime Movies Like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [Recommendations]


Author: Zeke Changuris

I’m a journalist, writer, photographer, video producer, social media manager and above all a storyteller. I’m located on the east coast of the United States but travel the world with the love of my life. I’ve been a nerd since birth with a love of history and science. I fell in love with anime, watching ROBOTECH and Venus Wars in the 80s when our only source was secondhand VHS dubs. A crazy new thing called the internet changed that, giving me access to new and amazing anime every day. I love to write for work and pleasure. I’m living the dream of every kid, getting paid to watch anime and loving every subtitled line.

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