Note: Review copy supplied by Manga Entertainment
Title: I Want To Eat Your Pancreas
Anime Studio: Studio VOLN
Publisher: Manga Entertainment
Genre: Coming Of Age
Released: February 13th, 2020
Language: Japanese / English
Extras: Trailers and commericals, clean OP, OP Anime Film, Theatrical release special, English dub bloopers, Madman trailers
From the original story by Yoru Sumino. With no interest in others, a high schooler spends all of his time reading books – this is “”me.”” One day, he comes across a book, titled “”Living With Dying.”” It turns out to be a secret journal kept by Sakura Yamauchi, who is a popular girl in class with a genuine personality. Diagnosed with a pancreatic illness, the diary notes about her limited time left. Sakura, who lives with a secret illness, and “”me,”” who keeps her secret. — Their relationship doesn’t have a name yet.
At first glance, I Want To Eat Your Pancreas is certainly an odd title for a film (or indeed a book). One thing becomes clear very quickly though: this is an award-winning film that’s worthy of its accolades.
Stylistically, this fits nice alongside modern anime films. The art feels like something you’d find in a Mamoru Hosoda piece to me, at least when it comes to the characters, and that’s absolutely a good thing. The animation is fluid, and the characters are wonderfully emotive. Even without audio, you’d be able to get a sense of the tone of their thoughts – and in turn, the scenes at large – which is wonderful to see. At the same time, there are lots of nice visual touches scattered throughout, like Me’s straw filling up with liquid when he drinks.
The soundtrack is understated but fits perfectly. It hits the emotional beats but doesn’t intrude too heavily into the speech, and only builds in volume when appropriate. Hiroko Sebu does an excellent job in that regard, and her score is complimented by some great sound engineering. Throw in some stellar performances by both the subbed and dubbed cast, and you’re onto a winner.
The story itself was never going to have a completely happy ending. That was made abundantly clear by the opening scenes set at Sakura’s funeral. Even with this telegraphing, the way things play out still allows the tale to maintain a strong emotional connection for viewers. The reason for that is simple: the key characters are wonderful.
Sakura is an absolute delight; over the top positive without overdoing it, yet still capable of showing some softer emotion when needed. She leads the story admirably, showing both humour and strength, and really makes you forget what’s going to inevitably happen until it does. At the same time, Me is a perfect foil for her. His more stoic approach to life is justified, and as he grows through his unexpected friendship with Sakura, you really grow to enjoy his company on screen. The other characters that drop in and out are equally as important. They never outstay their welcome on screen, but rather enhance the story in short bursts.
Balancing humour, likability, and some hard-hitting emotional scenes, I really can’t think of anything negative to say about this. It runs to just the right length, nothing feels wasted, and it’s aesthetically well done. In all, it’s a beautiful, if at times heart breaking film. An easy 5 out of 5.