The Girl Who Talked Through Time

by eternal on July 2, 2010

I stumbled upon an interesting gem the other day in my quest to actually start reading manga: Kimi ni Shika Kikoenai. Also known as Calling You, the comic is apparently adapted from a short story by the prolific Otsuichi. Since I almost literally stumbled upon the story, I read it blindly, without knowing anything about its origins or the writer. Needless to say, I was surprised that a nameless manga in my backlog turned out to be so good.

Now that I’ve read some of its background info, I can see that my surprise was unfounded – Kimi ni Shika Kikoenai is in fact not nameless or obscure, and for good reason. There’s something compelling about the manga that quickly made me realize that I was in for more of a treat than I expected.

As the post title implies, Kimi ni Shika Kikoenai reminds me of Mamoru Hosoda’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Perhaps this resemblance is only superficial; both stories involve a girl who gains a fantastic power and uses it to change her everyday life. Otsuichi’s heroine is a self-conscious introvert who accidentally finds a “cell phone in her head”, an invisible means of communicating telepathically with specific individuals across time and space. Of course, the actual mechanics of this device are never questioned – it exists for the sake of her own growth, to help her overcome the traditional teenage conflicts that these types of dramas love to explore.

My memory of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a little foggy – it’s definitely due for a rewatch – but I believe the two stories share a similar tone as well. For lack of a better word, they’re spellbinding. It’s hard to not get caught up in the heroine’s excitement as she discovers her new power, and yet the stories are familiar enough that any viewer can relate to them. Ironically, there’s hardly anything in either story that broke my suspension of disbelief. There’s something altogether magical about these kind-of-but-not-really romances that makes it easy to turn a blind eye to anything that might seem implausible.

Perhaps the best aspect of Otsuichi’s story is the fact that it actually contains a good plot. The pleasant atmosphere and interesting premise certainly help, but I wouldn’t be writing this post if the story didn’t pack a punch. Rest assured, there’s a punch or two coming your way, even if the entire story shouldn’t take more than an hour to read. There isn’t much in the area of symbolism, but the cell phone motif is neat, and the story wraps itself up with the perfect awww~ twist that’s sure to make you want to write something like this.

At any rate, Kimi ni Shika Kikoenai is obviously no masterpiece, but it’s an incredibly appealing not-so-buried gem. More importantly, this Otsuichi person also appears to have written some other novels and manga localized by Tokyopop so I’m looking forward to exploring more of those. If there’s anything I can say about his style, it’s that I’ll always fall for these bittersweet dramas with fantasy plot devices and ambiguous titles.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jinx July 16, 2010 at 4:47 am

Thank you for the recommendation. I enjoyed it.


ayame September 25, 2010 at 3:46 am
ETERNAL September 25, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Thanks! I don’t normally watch Asian live-action movies but I wouldn’t mind checking this out. It seems like the kind of story that would make the transition to film easily.


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