In the 2006 film "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" by Hosoda Mamoru, the protagonist Makoto accidentally uses up all of the time-leaps her friend Chiaki, who is actually a time traveler from the future. He used his remaining time leap to prevent an accident, and thus was unable to return to the future.

However, this seems to have a key plot hole. If he still had one time leap remaining, he could have gone to the future. It's implied that in the future it's not terribly difficult to get such a time travel device or to recharge one. Once he had a sufficient number of time leaps, he could return to the past and prevent the accident. In fact, there wasn't really anything stopping him from doing so immediately after losing the device.

That may not be feasible, for one reason or another, depending on the time travel paradigm used in the movie. However, with my naive and incomplete understanding of how time travel is supposed to work, it seems like it would solve all the problems. It could also just be that Chiaki never thought of that, but that's a rather boring answer.

Is there any explanation for why Chiaki couldn't just go to the future, get another time travel device, and give himself more time leaps?

  • 4
    That's the kind of question I always have after watching a movie involving time travelling...
    – Djaian
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 15:09
  • Maybe because traveling to the future will solve everything that's why he can't. Just a guess. I watched this way back so I don't clearly remember Chiaki's story. Maybe if I have some time, I'm going to rewatch it.
    – xjshiya
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 9:29

7 Answers 7


I'm literally over a year late, but, why not?

I just watched the movie. As a good engineer (for better or for worse) I needed to know what had happened at the end of the movie. So I went to the internet and looked for answers. At first, as always, I just assumed everything they say is correct, but then the ideas sank in, and I made my own conclusions, which evidently lack complete information, since the film itself doesn't let you see things I'd need to confirm my interpretation. But here it goes:

Here are the theories I'd like to debunk:

  1. Chiaki convinced the aunt to take care of the painting.
  2. Chiaki couldn't have gone to the future anytime he wanted.
  3. Makoto is the aunt, grown up.
  4. Chiaki wouldn't actually see Makoto in the future.

To do this, we need some basis. Here are some ideas that many people don't consider.

  • Chiaki never said he had travelled through time both ways. All he says regarding his leaps is that he knew that the painting had records during the period in which the movie is set. Secondly, he stated clearly that "tomorrow" he would return to the future. Here we have a problem, because this might have two reasons.

    1. The first one is that when the count reaches zero, the leaps end (literally physically end) and the user of the time travel goes back to the first jump, since for all we know he was forced to return until he reached 0.
    2. The second one is that in the future they found out that he revealed the secret of time traveling, and he would be forced to return. It is a wild guess, but completely stopping time and now just jumping, as he saw at the crossroads, doesn't seem something that may be done with the charges. That would have meant that Chiaki had one charge to avoid the crash as well as to stop time, which doesn't sound logical, yet is a possibility.
  • Some people actually mentioned that Makoto didn't see herself in the past. This means that she can't be the aunt given the fact that the logical conclusion from before is that there can't be two of the same person in one reality.

  • We get an interesting scene that most commenters overlook, which is the one of the jump at the lake. Makoto went back in time and returned! Even a child screamed that he saw the girl disappear and reappear. (Although circumstantial, it supports the point.) This leads up to the idea that for every time travel you do, as we might relate with the movie Inception, at the end of the physical jump, the traveling ends.

Now to the point.

"Chiaki convinced the aunt to take care of the painting."

This can't be true given that Chiaki can't bend the story. For this to be possible, he would have had to convince Witch to take care of the painting. This means that he went to a time before Makoto and did this. He would then have had to return a few years later to convince Makoto to do this. This implies that he went back, returned, back again, and returned. Finally, if history can't be modified, the moment he returned to his time would have reset whatever he did with the aunt. Therefore, that couldn't have happened.

"Chiaki couldn't have gone to the future anytime he wanted."

At the crossroads we get that he would be forced to return to the future. He would be forced. In practical terms, that gives him an "extra" one-way leap. Why else would he worry so much about his forced return? He actually contradicts himself by stating at the crossroads that we would be gone by tomorrow and, during the same stop, saying that he could no longer go back to his time. Here we have to decide which statement is true since they are mutually exclusive if Chiaki never lied. The way I see it, he could jump to the future. (He would be forced back to the future due to the end of the leaps/count 0.)

"Chiaki could have gone to the future anytime he wanted."

Same argument as above, except for the final point.

"Makoto is the aunt, grown up."

Simple and without using a reference to the picture: no double person per reality.

"Chiaki wouldn't actually see Makoto in the future."

I bet this is the one every-fucking-one is waiting to read. Feeling romantic? Well, you're lucky. I can't believe so many persons overlooked this tiny little detail: Makoto has all her jumps restored. Well, that sound great, and this is why this is probably true! First of all, jumps all the way before the books fell on her. Let's say we get a 50/50 of having the device giving her the full count again. Second point: Chiaki gives Makoto time-travelling advice. Sounds promising to me.

Now, this is going to get complicated, but try to follow me, even though I might be wrong. The way Chiaki would go to the future would be by going even further into the past. As confusing as it may sound, going back in time would take him back to the future. Follow this thread, backwards now: the end of the movie, the beginning of the movie, the moment Chiaki leapt into the movie's time, Chiaki's original time. Therefore if he jumps back enough to go to the moment before he went back in time, he'd be back in the future! Time traveling actually goes one way here.

Now, if we want to extrapolate, we find that Chiaki used a hell of a ton of jumps to get to the movie's time. He would have needed to jump from the stratosphere to get to that time, as I see it. He jumped bit by bit until he hit the right time. That explains his single leap left at the end. The way we followed the reasoning here, taking the idea that he could time travel and was stuck when his count hit 0, he would have been able to go back enough to get another time-travelling device.

Being still in the same reality, his jump would eventually end and would find Makoto there. If this doesn't sound good enough for you and believe that Chiaki is not evil, he would go back to the future, get leaps, and go back to Makoto on his timeline, while Makoto on her timeline would eventually see his jump's end and find him again.

In the end, the movie might actually be talking about creating parallel realities, which diverge with every jump, as well as there being separate realities for each person who leaps. The way you take these arguments, which I believe are most of the relevant ones, may lead to take different conclusions.

Either way, I believe that Chiaki got scared or something and dropped the device. The whole thing happened and the guy got stuck in time. Having different leap counts for each person, Makoto returned when he still had count 1. She jumped far enough to get her full count, too. Finally, Chiaki is an asshole for jumping back in time knowing he could have seen the painting, movie-time. Apparently he did disappear, but will eventually end his leap and reappear in Makoto's reality. And she will hate him for being a jerk who instead of waiting for the restoration to be finished, preferred to go to his no-river-no-nature-not-many-people-without-blue-sky time.



Chiaki does go back to the future. Chiaki goes back in time to save Kousuke so Makoto did not have to use her last leap saving Kousuke.

Then Makoto goes back even further and prevents most of the movie from happening, meaning Kousuke and the short girl are never in danger, so Chiaki never uses his last leap.

Chiaki trades his last leap to get Makoto one more, then Makoto trades her last leap to get Chiaki one more.

Chiaki then leaves at then end of the movie, going back to his own time (he said earlier he was supposed to do right away but got distracted having fun). When he goes home he probably will get more leaps, but will not come back to the time in the movie because he does not want to, that why he said goodbye to Makoto.

If he wasn't going back to the future at the end, he would have no reason to leave.


Here's my two cents, and it has to do with one of the above theories. Makoto wouldn't have restored her jumps by jumping back in time (it didn't happen throughout the movie). When she regained one, it was simply that Chiaki jumped so far back that he happened to "undo" her last leap by trying to prevent the accident.

My next theory is that Chiaki is from the same era (but that would mean the time leaps would have to have been discovered in that present era...). Reasoning: Everytime Makoto jumped, she returned to the place and state she was at that time (remember all the rolling and falling?). Going off of that idea, (that a person can only return to a point in their past life) Chiaki would have only been able to return to a previous point in his life.

That begs the question: Was Chiaki actually from the same era as Makoto? Maybe they had met in the future. That would explain Chiaki's "I'll be waiting." That is unless Makoto finds a way to travel to the future (which there was absolutely no mention of.)


Maybe one can only use on device once in his/her lifetime. or Even if its the future and there is a time travelling device, it is highly logical that it has restricted access. What reason would he give? that he wants to just live in those times? I am retty sure nobody would agree to that. Its been a while since I watched it so it is possible I am forgetting something.

And for all you know, that aunt of hers was actually the girl who comes back in that time and the person she is saving that painting for is Chiaki. The aunt was a bit mysterious saying even she did the time travelling thing you know.


In the end Makoto already has her leaps restored and Chiaka says 'I will be waiting'. To this, Makoto replies 'I will come running'. This refers to one of them time leaping to the baseball scene/part probably to spend more time with each other.


I think Makato restored her time leaping and goes back to the time in the future. And she in the future takes up historic painting restoration profession so that Chiaki of the past (when they were in high school) could come and see the painting he had wanted to see.

In fact Chiaki said that the painting record's were found in that particular era.After that the painting was not found.That means makato was actually aunty witch who time leaped to do the restoration so that chiaki in the future could see it.also she had mentioned that she has done time leaping in past.Also in the movie aunty witch's identity was very little known and she was a mysterious person......she have a very few friends.

She also had shown no anxiety when she heard makato telling about her accident.{because she knows that makato("herself" as i have explained)would not die.(unless she actually is not a witch lol).And that painting is important because it will make chiaki from the future to time leap and he would meet makato}.Makato even in the ending had said that she had found out what she wanted to do in the future but it was a secret...and the profession she would take is restoration of paintings and she would end up being aunty witch in future and chiaki would have came again to meet her and would have give her the time leaps {or somehow she manages to get them to return to the time of her high school life when the painting was there to restore so that makato of the past could meet chiaki and it will be an endless ripple{it may sounds odd but in my opinion if makata of future leaps back to the past then the past makata when she would reach in that time of future makata had made the time leap she would time leap again and it would create an endless ripple}.

I am not sure if Makato would ever meet chiaki in the future but as aunty witch she waits for him and she restores the painting in hope that even if he doesn't meet her in the future she would restore the painting so that the future Chiaki when he would make the time leap would able to meet Makato 'herself'again in the past.

sorry it is long and boring and my English is terrible.....


I just happened to be looking for “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” on DVD, since mine was badly damaged, when I came across this site. After reading everyone’s comments, I came to realize that everyone seems to be missing the same information. I’d like to help everyone out.

First off, “Auntie Witch” is NOT a future version of Makoto Konno; her name is Kazuko Yoshiyama. What no one seems to know is that this movie (aka: “Toki o Kakeru Shōjo”), which was written by Satoko Okudera in 2006, is a sequel to a book by the same name written by Yasutaka Tsutsui in 1965. This movie also has a manga form by Ranmaru Kotone also in 2006, which has an extended ending; with what came after Makoto and Chiaki say their goodbyes.

In the book, after an incident in the science lab, 15 year old Kazuko discovers that she has the ability to time leap. She tells her two classmates and best friends, Goro Asakura, Kazuo Fukamachi and her science teacher, Mr. Fukushima about it in the hopes that they can help her figure things out.

Later, like Makoto, Kazuko discovers that one of her friends is a time traveler; of course, I’m not going to tell you which one it is. ^-^

This time traveler tells Kazuko that he was born in 2649 and that he came from the year 2660; which would make him 11 years old, though he doesn’t look it, and that he is a university student studying pharmaceutical science. He explains that chemicals were being developed that could bring out latent abilities in humans; physical, telekinetic and psychological powers. He explains that he was experimenting with a compound that would allow him to time travel and he got stuck in the past but that he had managed to replicate his work and could now return to his time. He also explains that the incident in the science lab that exposed her to the compound was his fault and that he never intended for Kazuko to experience all these strange things.

Kazuko asks him to stay but he explains that he couldn’t because time travel confuses history and that there is a law in his time that forbids them from telling people in the past about time travel. As a result, he explains that he will have to erase Kazuko’s and everyone else’s memories of him. Kazuko asks him if he would ever return to her time, would she ever see him again and he promised that he would come back and that he would come see her; “when I finished my research, when I succeed in making the potion.”

In the end, even though the time traveler erased Kazuko’s memories, she was able to regain her memories of not only him but everything about time travel and what he told her about the future.

In the movie, it’s not known whether Kazuko really is Makoto’s biological aunt or just a close family friend. Either way, Kazuko decided to get a job at the Tokyo National Museum and restores old works of art. It’s clear that she made the same promise to the future that Makoto will make; to preserve history for the sake of the future.


Although Makoto used a device to obtain the ability to time leap, Kazuko had the ability inside her the whole time; a latent ability brought out by the compound. Since every time Makoto went back her leap counter would decrease, it’s clear that no matter how far back she went she would never get her leaps back. It is my theory that Kazuko recharged Makoto, giving her one more time leap.

Now, like in the movie, there is a “stopped time” scene in the book; the traveler uses a device to accomplish this feat. Kazuko makes the comment that time had “stopped” and the traveler corrected her, explaining that they were traveling back in time at the same speed that time is moving forward; this is a sound theory in quantum studies. Since Chiaki only had one time leap left, it’s logical to assume that he had a similar device with him to use if he needed to. Or something similar to the “stopped time” device was formulated and the technology was integrated into the time-leaping ability; Makoto would not have this ability, as she only came in contact with the recharge device. (Quantum Theory: breaking the sound barrier creates a sonic boom, breaking the light barrier slows and/or stops time, breaking the time barrier distorts time; allowing for one to move backward or forward in time.)

I’ve noticed that a lot of people couldn’t understand how Chiaki saved Kousuke and Kaho from being hit by the train when he only had one time leap left. The answer is simple: The day after the accident, Makoto was so grief stricken that Chiaki couldn’t bear it and went back in time, using his last leap. The question is: what time did he go to? Answer: Kaho hurt her ankle and Kousuke borrowed the bike to take her to his family’s medical clinic and that after leaving the clinic the accident occurred at 4pm. Chiaki went back in time with the destroyed bike; since in the story, time self-corrects, there was no paradox. Chiaki went to 4pm and instead of landing at that time he drew in Makoto and took her with him through time to 3:30pm; he made a double leap backward to the moment before he had called Makoto and asked her about time-leaping. The bike disappears while Kousuke and Kaho were in the clinic, thusly, no bike, no accident and the bike with Chiaki was restored. Immediately upon landing in the past at 3:30pm, Chiaki used the “stopped time” technology and enveloped himself and Makoto in its time field; like with the bike, time self-corrected and Makoto’s injuries were erased. In addition, with time held in place, paused, and Makoto in this “stopped time” it allowed her to retain her memory of the accident instead of rewriting it.

Chiaki’s last words: “I’ll be waiting for you” and Makoto’s reply: “I won’t be long. I’ll come running”. I found that some people were taking these words too literally. When Chiaki said that he’ll be waiting, he meant that he will look through records to find the things that Makoto had promised to preserve for the future; like the painting. When Makoto said that she won’t be long and that she’ll come running, she meant that she’ll work hard and do what she can for the sake of the people in the future. What they said was like someone saying “see you later” instead of “goodbye”, because the finality of it is just too much to bear.

I hope this post makes things clearer for everyone. See you later. ^-^

  • Please revise your post to make it readable, like highlighting important points, citing specific scenes in the movie by indicating approximate time it happened, etc. Try to divide it into parts, with the last paragraph summarizing your answer as this is quite long.
    – W. Are
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 16:07

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