Loving You From Afar – Fragtime Anime Movie Review

This is a review of Fragtime from its premiere at Anime NYC on Saturday, November 16th 2019.

This is a review for the animated film Fragtime. I watched the film during its East Coast premiere during Day 2 of Anime NYC. This film may not have premiered in your region yet. If that’s the case, please come back when it is legally available for viewing.

So I actually checked the manga out for this film once I heard it would be adapted. I stayed up late one night and read about half of it before deciding to go to bed. I always meant to return to it, but as of yet have not.

Fragtime [フラグタイム] is a 2019 animated film. It follows the life of Moritani Misuzu, a second year in high school who has a special ability. Moritani can stop time for 3 minutes of her choosing.

Being a timid and shy girl, she often uses this ability to stop time and quite literally run away from situations she deems unpleasant. One day while snooping through the hidden lives of her classmates, Moritani sees Murakami Haruka sitting alone.

In an act of (innocent) but overt perversion, Moritani lifts up Murakami’s skirt to view her panties. To the young deviant’s surprise, Murakami was not frozen – and caught the pervert in the act.

It’s a humorous moment shared between the two girls, but unfortunately the story goes downhill from here.

When I read what little I did of the manga, I thought it was strange how quickly Murakami embraced Moritani. Murakami Haruka is the quintessential popular girl in any anime series: she’s smart, kind, and good at sports. As you know if you’ve watched any sort of anime for a specific time, these are usually the notable personality traits marked for perceived greatness.

Each day, Haruka is surrounded by a gaggle of girls, making it difficult to approach her. Due to this, Moritani begins to freeze their world to spend time with her. The two get incredibly close in a short amount of time (would it be wrong to make the ‘U-Haul lesbian’ joke here?) and at the behest of Murakami, the two girls begin dating.

Haruka’s only clause is that the other girl, her girlfriend Misuzu, has to do anything she asks.

This is where the problems lie. The pair go on a date, and Haruka implements this sort of self-imposed isolation. She decides to never be alone with another person (male or female) and gets angry (and/or jealous?) when Misuzu finally begins to make friends.

With tension hanging in the air and the distance between them growing, Moritani’s time freezing abilities go haywire. She unconsciously starts stopping time, to the annoyance of Murakami. Haruka yells at Misuzu and the two don’t talk for some time.

Finally it all blows up and Moritani confesses that she wants to be closer to Murakami. Even going so far as to purchase the matching panty and bra set Murakami had on that fateful day. Which I’ll be honest – is completely weird to me.

Maybe she could have been going for the whole “oh, we’re a couple let’s wear matching outfits” sort of thing, but c’mon, really? Instead of talking to Haruka you would rather wear the same panties as her and fantasize about doing lewd things?

So, in that case, Moritani doesn’t actually have sincere feelings for Haruka? Do you just simply idolize her then? And are you now misconstruing those feelings of admiration for a shallow concept of love?

To make matters worse, not long afterward Misuzu admits that she has no interest in getting to know the real Haruka. Misuzu knows this is wrong, but she does not care.

Because Moritani’s powers have gone haywire, the ability to freeze everyone is being messed up. So although no one saw Misuzu flash her panties, some boys from their class witnessed Haruka flash hers back.

Murakami Haruka then begins to fall from grace.

Rumors swirl surrounding her image. Her once friends begin to gossip and call her a whore. There are bad things being written about her on the classroom blackboard. A teacher is very handsy with Murakami and people begin to believe she is screwing him for better grades. Her girl gaggle group start to slander her openly in the bathroom while laughing.

What does Moritani do?

She thinks to herself that she doesn’t want to hear her girlfriend being slandered. Moritani does nothing to help Murakami, or acknowledge that her reputation has taken a hit. Moritani does not care. All she thinks about is how this is why she never got involved with people – despite now having a group of nice friends to eat lunch with.

Haruka is now always alone.

In what I’d personally consider a bout of guilt, Moritani, after witnessing Murakami being harassed daily, decides to reach out. Suddenly, Moritani wants to get to know her supposed girlfriend better. I would say she wants to re-assess her investment, but who am I?

The couple wind up at Haruka’s place. Haruka keeps leaving the room, each time mentioning for Misuzu to not go through her stuff. Finally, Moritani gets the hint and snoops through her stuff. There she finds ringlets full of notes on every single person Haruka comes in contact with. Personal details on their likes, dislikes, birthdays, blood type, and so on and so forth.

Murakami seems relieved that Mortiani finally caught on, and explains why she keeps these: Haruka wants everyone to love her. Her image, perception, and reputation seem to be all she has to her personality. She has no personality traits or desires outside of this.

Remember: Haruka’s image, perception, and reputation are currently being destroyed each day at school. She has fallen from grace. This should upset her greatly. Instead of picking up on this, Moritani thinks Haruka is selfish because she cares so much about others, but not herself.

I would have thought that made you selfless, but then again who am I.

Time passes yet again. The girls are doing something weird when time resumes in their classroom. They both know that they only have three minutes, and that Misuzu’s powers and control over them are waning at this point.

Moritani thinks now it would, for whatever reason, be a great time to tell Haruka about herself in front of the entire class. Rightly so, Murakami bolts out of the room and the two girls argue throughout the building while Moritani gives chase. Surprisingly, no other students leave their classrooms to see what the commotion is all about.

Haruka reveals that she does not know herself, and that is why she will do anything to make another person happy. The two end up on the ground atop one another in the school courtyard. Misuzu then has this vision of her and Haruka flying away together hand in hand through time, space, and the sands of time. They vow to always be there for one another. Clearly, the only explanation for this is that Moritani hit her head during the chase and is now experiencing a fever dream from her concussion.

Then the movie ends.

I enjoyed it for what it was, but honestly…would it not have been better if Moritani and Murakami had never met? Who has benefited from this the most and whom the least? What does Haruka now have in the end? What has she lost? What does Misuzu now have in the end? What, if anything, has she lost? And was that really a relationship?

In the end, did any of this really matter?

And what about Murakami Haruka’s reputation? I wouldn’t be surprised if she transferred out and changed schools after this absolute humiliation at the hands of her so-called lover.

I’m not saying Haruka is innocent in all of this, but in my own personal opinion, Misuzu brought a whole lot more confusion and trouble into Haruka’s life under the guise of good intentions.

But tell me your thoughts. Have you seen the Fragtime movie yet? Do you plan on watching it? What is your favorite yuri series? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more anime film reviews!

☆ In Asian Spaces

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Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

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