It’s not often that I am able to find a show that combines my love of history, which was also my major in college, as well as my sheer enjoyment of all things anime related. So when I was scrolling through my Funimation feed and stumbled across a show called Time Travel Girl I figured, hey! Why not? I like time travel shows, history and anime– so this felt a lot like a tri-fecta to me. But seriously, I didn’t go into this show expected something stellar, I figured, at best, I would see something decent and at the very least educational. And that is exactly what I got out of the show. It wont exactly knock your socks off but it might be the shoujo anime that will give you a nice break in between some of the heavier shows like Beserk.
Synopsis and Details
Time Travel Shoujo is based on a 1983 book titled Jishaku to Denki no Hatsumei Hakken Monogatari by Japanese educator Kiyonobu Itakura. It is part of the Hatsumei Hakken Monogatari Zenshuu series which describes the story of various scientific discoveries and inventions throughout history. The 1983 book focuses on discoveries related to magnetism and electricity
Mari Hayase is on a mission to go back in time and meet eight of the most prominent scientists and inventors in history. With the help of her two friends Waka Mizuki and Jun Mizuki she’ll find herself up close and personal with famous figures like Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and so many more! What’s her purpose and mission? Hopefully not getting stuck in the past!
The positives of this show are a bit on the low side. There isn’t much that is poor about the show but also nothing that really stands out. The overarching theme of traveling back in time to meet famous figures is all well and good, but there is also a subplot of the main character, Mari, also trying to find her long lost father who might be trapped in the past. This is actually a plot I can get behind but in each episode it seems to take a backseat to whatever problems are facing Mari and her famous companion at the given time. Granted there aren’t that many episodes out– so that dynamic might change with time but thus far it feels like the show will take little time developing Mari’s own motivation.
Which brings me to a problem I have with the protagonist. Mari Hayase, I think, will be used as nothing but a blank slate or sounding board for the audience. Rather that make her a compelling character that is actually interesting, shes the dumb school girl that will need to have everything explained to her so that we, the audience, can have a casual reason to have everything explained to us. It’s a format that is used often in anime and can even be effective if said sounding board is a side character. Like Steph from No Game No Life, for instance… we get the enjoy the main characters being awesome and accept that Steph is dumb because she is well…. a Steph. That’s not the case in this show, Mari is the main character and is a rather boring one at that.
And while the pacing is a bit slow, I am able to sit down and enjoy the historical parts of the show at times. Granted, it often feels like this show is geared towards small children rather than adults in the way they explain events and the science of it all, but I enjoy it nonetheless. In fact, thus far, the educational bits seem to be what draws me in most about the show and yet each episode seems to want to derail those parts by throwing in a lot of unnecesary side plots and scenerios.
So while the show isn’t groundbreaking, it’s educational and entertaining at times even if the pacing is a bit poor. It might be good if you want something lighthearted and breezy to break up the heavier shows out there, but other than that you might be better off skipping this show. It’s passable and even has some funny moments but the only thing separating this from ‘generic anime A’ is the educational and historical aspects of the show.