Anime Review: I Want to Eat Your Pancreas

By Drew Hurley 29.02.2020

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I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (UK Rating: PG)


In recent years there have been some phenomenal films reaching the UK that never would have had the chance before. Films like A Silent Voice, Your Name, and the upcoming Weathering with you. Continuing those tales of teenage love comes I Want to Eat Your Pancreas. This story of polar opposites opens with quite the spoiler, introducing one of the two leads at her funeral - the other, sitting at home in his room, lamenting his inability to attend, in pieces at losing his friend. Thinking of the last text he sent her, wondering if she saw that message. The message that read "I want to Eat Your Pancreas." Coming courtesy of Manga Entertainment, this feature-length film is available from January 27th.

Haruki Shiga is an enigma to his classmates. The kid who doesn't speak to anyone, not part of any clubs, just works in the library then heads straight home, his adoration of the literary world allowing him to retract into a book, instead of actually interacting with people. While working that job, he's pestered by a hyperactive and cheery girl, nattering on the beliefs of certain cultures around eating body parts: that some cultures believe that having illnesses related to a certain part of the body can be addressed by eating that part of the body. Also, the belief in eating the body part of someone can imbue that person's characteristics and traits into the eater.

This bright young lady is Kyoko, and she's shared her secret with Shiga, though not intentionally at first. She's dying. She has a terminal pancreatic disease, and her clock is ticking. Shiga stumbles on her diary at the hospital, and she decides to use this moment to tell someone other than her parents. His deadpan response is unbelievable. He mutters how that's sad to hear. As if she'd said she'd just lost her goldfish. Not that she's terminal! This cracks Kyoko up and convinces her to befriend this little weirdo.

From here, the story follows the developing friendship of this odd couple. It's such a natural and wonderful story it deserves no spoiling here. The two setting out on simple days out together at first, heading to a cafe, or an all you can eat dessert place (visitors to Tokyo will appreciate the product placement of Sweets Paradise) - but then blossoming and developing into something more. Eventually, they begin to take on items from Kyoko's bucket list while she still has time to do so.


 

One of the best moments sees the two embark on a trip together, some more product placement as they stay at the Hilton. Stuck in a room together with only a bed. Kyoko has some other things on her bucket list, and this may be the perfect opportunity. Leading to two underage kids getting drunk and playing truth or dare all alone in a hotel. Instead of becoming a tale of hormones and ecchi moments, it becomes so very touching. Especially seeing this boy who apparently doesn't care about anyone, and ensures he doesn't grow close to anyone using truth or dare to find out everything about his friend. Her loves, her saddest moments, her childhood.

It seems strange for her to open up in this way to a relative stranger, especially considering how popular she is. She has plenty of friends, including a very overprotective best friend named Sakura. Shiga actually asks why Kyoko hasn't just told Sarah, and Kyoko says while Sakura seems strong, she's soft inside. Deeply sentimental and would cry all the time. She didn't want Sakura's last moments with her to be so sad. Instead, Kyoko hid her painful reality behind her bright smile.

…But the choice to hang out with this withdrawn weirdo from the library has the class talking. Rumours he's stalking her or worse. Not that it bothers Shiga. He knows how he's perceived, even engaging in a "hobby" of imagining how others perceive him. Though in doing so he constantly worsens his self-concept. Kyoko meanwhile wants to get him to come out of his shell, to show others what she sees in him.

They're such a drastically different pair, watching them develop into friends and change each other along the way. Bringing him out of his shell. Getting her to break the strong facade she's putting on for everyone else. Then, watching them struggle and develop into something else. This is further improved by the absolutely razor-sharp writing. The characters are hugely witty and full of charm. The way the characters bounce off each other is utterly enthralling. This film could be 10 times longer, just consisting of these two talking, and it would be just as entertaining. This release contains both an English and Japanese dub, along with a handful of bonus features. These consist of some trailers and promotional videos alongside an English blooper reel.

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10
Beautiful in every sense of the word. Heartfelt, moving, and will stay with you for a long, long time. Death is the constant that unites everyone. It's waiting for all. The finality, and the dread of what lead people to question everything. That keeps you up at night. The introspection on one's morality. This beautiful and moving tale of life and death is sure to cause some sadness and anxiety, but at its core is a message of embracing the time you have, and in embracing what makes you special. The end waits for us all. Life doesn't. This is another little reminder to get out there and live. Oh, do stay after the credits roll.

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