Near the end of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Chiaki tells Mokoto that he’ll be waiting in the future for her, not confessing his feelings to her surprise. Comforted, she says she will run to meet him, a reference to her aunt saying she will run to meet a friend even if they’re late.
What did this mean?
Was this just a bunch of empty dramatic punchlines? Chiaki is from a whole different era with different irrigation, population density, and culture (no baseball!). How is Mokoto going to survive that long to see Chiaki?
With all this uncertainty, how can Mokoto be sure she will even see him again? How is she even comforted at all from that??
I read some other explanations, and it’s theorized that the aunt basically dated Chiaki briefly and was “conned” into continuing to restore that painting. Chiaki basically comes to visit her again, but gets distracted with Mokoto.
Mokoto now promises to keep the painting alive, implying a similar fate of becoming a painting restorer, which is revealed when she says she thinks she knows what she will do (the Humanities vs Sciences questions that had been plaguing her the whole movie).
But this whole premise is confusing. Why does Chiaki even care about that painting? Is it that he knew the artist from even way back when? It would help if we could get some more emotional background on this! All he says is that he likes it??
Maybe he brought back the painting from the future and is hiding it in the past? That would make sense because the aunt says it dates to time of war and famine, which doesn’t make sense, and the artist is unknown.
Does the aunt know the whole time that Mokoto is getting “conned” by Chiaki? She even encourages her to date either Chiaki or Kousuke.
At one point, Yuri even echoes “Times waits for no one”, ominously implying she knows about time leaps.
The ambiguity perhaps purposely leaves room for a lot of theories and interpretations. Good watch. More whimsical aesthetic and approach than the typically technical, calculated time travel takes.