Animated ‘Girl’ nabs prize at Sitges

Hosoda's pic was surprise B.O. winner in Japan

“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” a toon that has become one of Japan’s surprise B.O. winners this year, has scooped the best animated film prize at the recently concluded Sitges film fest in Barcelona, Spain.

Released on one screen in Tokyo on July 15 by Kadokawa Herald, the pic soon become a sensation on Internet message boards and fan sites. SRO crowds led to an expanded release — by the end of September the toon had recorded 200 million yen ($1.67 million) on 160,00 admissions. Meanwhile, publisher Kadokawa Shoten has scored sales of 70,000 copies on the manga based on the pic and 25,000 on the guidebook.

The novel of the same title by Yasutaka Tsutsui was filmed twice in live-action versions, with the first 1983 version by Nobuhiko Obayashi becoming a B.O. smash. The toon version, however, moves the story up 20 years, while following the outlines of original: A high school girl discovers time travel and uses her gift to change her life for better and worse.

Helmer Mamoru Hosoda was also tapped to direct Studio Ghilbi’s hit 2004 toon “Howl’s Moving Castle,” but was replaced by Hayao Miyazaki in a creative dispute. With “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” being touted for major critical prizes in Japan, Hosoda has gotten good payback.

At Pusan, the pic is being repped by UniJapan, but international sales are being handled by Kadokawa Herald.

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