Title: I Want to Eat Your Pancreas
Developer: Studio VOLN
Release Date: February 7, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
I can’t help but feel emotionally bounded to romantic anime films, even if I can’t totally relate to the events. However, it’s up to the animators to properly convey these emotions for the viewer and, considering how rarely this works out, it’s not something that I see often. So with Studio VOLN’s animated adaptation of Yoru Sumino’s I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, I paid close attention to the way they conveyed these emotions as I wanted to be taken on a journey through heartache, romance, and friendship. For the most part, they did a wonderful job, but this is largely thanks to the indifferent personality of the main male protagonist.
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is showing in theaters on February 7 and February 10, check for showings at the Fathom Events website.
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas’ story relies heavily on coincidences where two people who are total opposites meet and decide to spend time together. I chose my words carefully here because the two are definitely on different wavelengths when it comes to putting a name to their relationship. The main female protagonist, Sakura Yamauchi, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness residing in her pancreas. She begins keeping a diary of her last dies alive, which she happens to forget on a chair in the hospital that is picked up by the male protagonist of the film, who goes unnamed for most of its runtime – we’ll call him protagonist from now on. Although these coincidences seem, “too good to be true” the characters do reflect on how their unique personalities led them to meet and it happens to be fairly believable. I will say that there are some scenes that put a little too much time into explaining things, which leaves nothing to the interpretation of the viewer, which makes some moments of interaction feel redundant.
The protagonist’s personality has him playing the outcast of the school. He has the ability to be social and interact but chooses not to because he doesn’t see the benefit of having friends. This is the complete opposite of Sakura who enjoys social interactions, making friends, and being loud. She doesn’t want her illness to get in the way of her life so she doesn’t tell anyone about it, other than the protagonist. She trusts him because he doesn’t treat her differently or change his day to day plans to spend more time with her or do everything in his power to make her comfortable. This is where the film surprised me because it is one of the only things that they don’t double down on explaining completely. It’s over a handful of moments throughout the film that proves she is right about her reasoning for not telling anyone and its something that I felt made the film more believable overall.
The animation of the film expresses a series of different emotions of characters and I think the studio did a wonderful job, for the most part. However, I understand that the protagonist is supposed to be indifferent about things, but felt that his stale expression to events didn’t always fit the mood of the scene. This is especially true for some of the more far away shots. With that said, the studio did an amazing job with the close-up scenes as well as the beautiful backgrounds. There are also illustrated music montages throughout the film that add a nice break to the serious premise.
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas wants the viewer to desperately forget about Sakura’s illness and, thanks to her personality, that wouldn’t be hard to do. However, that’s when she or the protagonist bring it up again either in a comedic or serious way, which forces the viewer to constantly be thinking about the conclusion. Sadly, I think the film beats up Sakura a little too much and this ends up hurting the film in the end. The protagonist along with everyone in her life is caught off guard during the final act and it makes things a little messy. Although the film does its best to spend some more time with the viewer to walk them through these events, it can’t seem to completely make up for the twists that the story takes.
Aniplex, along with Bang Zoom! Entertainment did a great job with the casting and English dub cast. I felt fully immersed in the scenes thanks to the amazing work done by voice actors Robbie Daymond and Erika Harlacher. There are plenty of tear-jerking moments in this film and the cast really hammer it home with their excellent work bringing these characters to life. This was no easy feat to accomplish. The main characters in this film are complex with a range of emotions and very noticeable character growth throughout its nearly 2-hour runtime. I applaud these actors for their work.
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is going to leave you with tears in your eyes and an understanding of what it’s like to live in the moment. These characters who probably shouldn’t have ever met learn some amazing things about living within each other. The film does tend to hold the viewers hand a little too much at times and it does get messy towards the conclusion, but I loved these characters and their story.
With a focus on opening up and breaking out of your day to day life, we find a story of a new friendship during I Want to Eat Your Pancreas. The film begins with the ending so you know what’s in store for you on this journey, but with its gorgeous animation and emotionally charged audio quality, it’s easy to feel yourself completely immersed in this story, even if tears are streaming down your eyes every 5 minutes.
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