I want to eat your pancreas is a wonderous, reflective slice-of-life anime feature film, based on the award-winning novel of the same name. Mostly a character-driven affair with a clear, overarching plot thread: a girl living with a terminal illness – pancreatic cancer. Despite these unfortunate circumstances the main character Sakura lives with, this film is surprisingly brimming with bright, inspiring positivity.
The opposing extrovert/introvert dynamics of the two main characters kept things entertaining. The way their personalities, different as night & day, somehow jibe off each other so perfectly is great to watch. Pitting such an optimistic character like Sakura (who has an unwavering desire to live life, regardless of having months to live) against her more socially withdrawn classmate, certainly makes for some oddly interesting scenarios that constantly challenges both their comfort zones.
Sakura’s positive outlook can be hard to identify with. Meanwhile, Sakura’s friend’s desire to be detached and socially withdrawn was easier to relate to in some ways. Especially if you find the idea of social integration daunting, but deep down have a latent curiosity to experience connecting with people.
Robbie Raymond (Sailor Moon), the English dub voice actor who voices Sakura’s friend/classmate, nailed the characters disconnected introvert vibe with such excellence, which helped some of the film’s beats really resonate. Similarly, Erica Harlacher (Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale), Sakura’s English dub voice actress did a fab job in evoking Sakura’s shiny energetic personality.
Another great thing about this film was how it utilised retroactive storytelling, introducing us to the tragic moment it builds up to first, then dialling back to let the events naturally unfold, leading you right back to that point. This method of storytelling is an enticing way to reel you in.
The end montage was also very beautifully done, especially how it incorporated the name reveal of Sakura’s male friend into the mix, giving the emotional beats even more symbolic weight. A name reveal may not seem like a big reveal, but in context of the film it’s important and something too special to spoil.
With the way it flirts with romance, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas could be mistaken for an anime rom-com. Yet, it’s not quite your typical boy/girl love story, as it decides to explore what powerful a platonic connection between two kindred spirits can be like, and to show the true value of simple friendship.
– Ryan Marshall