Time Traveler’s Guide – Machine vs. Magic

Warning Spoilers Abound!

Have you ever wished to travel across time and space? Now you can learn about this elusive art from anime.

The Time Machine

There are certainly many different approaches to time travel and one of the most popular is the time machine. If you want to travel through time, a machine built just for that purpose will certainly help you along the way. Such a machine will be hard to come by and will require technological innovation, but don’t worry anime has got you covered.

Be wary however, since the chances are high that your time machine will have some kind of malfunction or likely fall into the wrong hands.

Dragon Ball Z

When the Capsule Corporation’s own Bulma Briefs created her time machine with the purpose of preventing a horrible future, she had no idea what would follow. In Dragon Ball Z, when a strange visitor dramatically appears on the scene, we learn that our heroes’ future looks bleak indeed. Trunks arrives from the future with a tale of terrible androids who wreak havoc on the Earth.

In his future, Trunks is the only person remaining who stands any chance against the androids. He reveals his identity to Goku in the present and warns him of future events to prevent Goku from dying from a heart virus and also warn everyone of their need to train in preparation for the androids who will appear in three years. Trunks mostly succeeds in his mission, but unexpectedly during their fight a new threat appears.

In yet another time line, Dr. Gero’s final creation Cell uses the Capsule Corporation’s time machine to go back in time so that he can fulfill the purpose of his creation, which is to absorb the androids and become a so called perfect being.


A common use of time travel is as a method of preventing an apocalyptic future. Thankfully someone is able to create these machines capable of time travel as a last chance at a brighter future. Unfortunately if you’re depending on said machinery to work when you need it most, the chances are it will malfunction or cease to work at all. Steins;Gate is has such an example. In the future, the character Daru has invented a time machine capable of sending a person back in time: Future Gadget 204 2nd Edition Version 2.31 (Don’t ask about the name). This machine is used by Suzuha to travel back to our present day. During her stay Suzuha at one point is convinced by Okabe to stay longer than she originally intended. As a consequence, lightning from a storm does damage to the machine which further causes more chaos to the situation.

Katekyo Hitman Reborn!

It’s all fun and games when Lambo runs away from his problem by bringing out his ten year bazooka to temporarily switch places with his future self, that is until the bazooka no longer works as expected. In Hitman Reborn! Tsuna unintentionally uses the bazooka on himself, but instead of returning after five minutes, finds himself stranded in the future. Other characters soon follow after him realizing what has happened and everyone soon find themselves fighting in a war in place of their future counterparts.

Time Travel By Magic

If you don’t have the technology capable of creating a time machine don’t worry, magic can help! Another means of time travel involves magical portals, magical abilities, or other such phenomena.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Towards the end of the series we find out that one of the magical girls, Akemi Homura, is actually obtained the power of time travel from Kyubey. The wish that granted her this power was simply to save her friend Madoka from her terrible fate after the battle on Walpurgis night. After obtaining this power Homura lives out the events until Walpurgis night doing everything in her power to change Madoka’s fate, but fails. The current timeline is just one of the possibly thousands or more attempts by Homura to change the future. By repeatedly going back in time to save Madoka, Homura shifts the importance of Madoka’s existence into the focal point of the universe.


Kagome is suddenly dragged into a well on her family’s shrine grounds and goes back in time around 500 years. This magical portal between the past and present seems to only work when someone carries the sacred jewel. In the beginning of this series, the jewel resides in Kagome herself, who is a reincarnation of a priestess who had the jewel burned with her body.