I Want to Eat Your Pancreas simply sounds nothing like a romantic movie but boy are we wrong. Adapted from Yoru Sumiho’s novel of the same name. They have also adapted the light novel into a manga and a live-action film. Sumiho seems to have come up with the title first and meant to use the line as a cry-inducing headline. He succeeds.
If tears, heartbreak, romance, and beautiful artwork intrigue you, then this film should top your list. Those who wish to experience something that truly takes them away from their daily lives and makes them feel them-feels to the point of tears will find this movie to be as powerful as they desire.
The plot of I Want to Eat Your Pancreas unfolds as the life of an emotionally distant boy transformed completely by a terminally ill girl. I might deem the film a bittersweet romantic story, but it’s not. It is more of an exploration of friendship, mortality, and the meaning of life in general.
We meet Yamauchi Sakura who has been silently suffering from a pancreatic disease in school. On one unsuspecting day, her journal suddenly vanished. A boy from her class finds it and somehow she decides to share her life story with him. It’s refreshing to see a character who views their illness not as a captive, but as a way of letting go. Sakura isn’t the typical dying character; she’s full of life and full of hope.
As these opposites attract and slowly learn from one another, they blossom into friendship.
In the beginning, it seems like another tale about grief and death… but it is much more than that. We see them gradually build this budding friendship. There is some romance nudging at them, even though neither one accept that step.
However, at its heart are two people who are almost completely opposite of one another. Throughout most of the film, the film’s protagonist, whose name the author purposefully kept a mystery, appears so withdrawn into himself that he does not show much reaction to the news that she will die soon. His unfazed reaction to the news of her short life attracts sakura, and she began hanging around with him. The fact that friends would overreact to the news as did her family does already made her feel more isolated.
Therefore, she keeps the secret from them, since it may just make things even harder for her. The protagonist’s detached personality offers her solace, as it allows her to find herself without being constantly reminded of death. Using characters suffering from terminal illnesses has been quite prevalent in fiction. While those movies tend to feature characters physically struggling with diseases, this one doesn’t. In their genuine attempts to keep up with each other, we get to hear lots of candid exchanges between these two interesting characters.
Despite the simplicity of the characters, animation, and colours, all three have an appealing charm to them. This film lays bare its characters and illustrates how their relationships affect the plot and characters.
The art style is just like in “A Silent Voice”, with scenes that are so beautiful, with cherry blossoms, fireworks, and even regular city streets that are beautiful. One of those shows that makes you wonder why the real world isn’t like that.
In the pictures, the facial expressions tell you instantly what kind of person these characters are. And how, as time goes by, they changed. As with any Slice of Life anime, Hiroko Sebu’s sound design fits the scene so beautifully. It’s to be expected, giving it a perfect atmosphere on what they are trying to do. This story is like that of the live-action Hollywood feature film The Fault In Our Stars. The only difference being it shows teenagers and their emotions better.
As a whole, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is a magnificent film, but it’s not for everyone. Some people may have expected a sad romance in the movie, but it is generally a cheerful story.
The movie has a portion that deals with romance, but it is far from its primary focus. But the movie’s greatest strength was its moral lesson. Which is the importance of living life as fully as you can. No matter what your situation is, whether dealing with a disease or simply being perfectly healthy.
It starts with Sakura’s words at the start and ends with how things unfold. Basically, she foretells what will happen in advance. Throughout this movie, they also showed us how much someone can affect your life; we witness our main character’s complete transformation from the beginning to the end.
The movie depicted something that could not be achieved with a light-hearted conclusion. As the film nears its conclusion, Sakura passes away- a fact that shouldn’t really come as a surprise considering her terminal illness and that the film opens with her funeral.
As I Want To Eat Your Pancreas ends, it reveals that Sakura was murdered by a serial killer responsible for several local deaths. The shocking off screen death of Sakura is subtly hinted at throughout the anime but nevertheless delivers quite a punch.
Although many would find the ending unsatisfying, personally, I find it superb.
I think it perfectly encapsulates what Sakura is trying to teach the boy throughout the whole film. Simply that death can come at any moment. And usually in an unpredictable, shocking ways. Which is exactly why you should live every day as if it were your last.
Does it deserve your attention? I enjoyed every second of Haruki’s and Sakura’s journey immensely. Aside from the incredible visuals and sound effects, the subtle change in Haruki’s demeanour, Haruki’s numbness and Sakura’s happy-go-lucky behaviour are among the show’s many attractive qualities.
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Featured image: Visuals from the anime (c) Yoru Sumino/IWTEYP Production committee