FILM REVIEW: I Want To Eat Your Pancreas3 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
A teenage boy happens to find a diary in a hospital one day. The diary belongs to his classmate, a girl named Sakura Yamauchi, who is revealed to be secretly suffering from a terminal illness in her pancreas, and only has a few months left to live. Despite their completely opposite personalities, he decides to be together with Sakura during her last few months.
Director: Shinichiro Ushijima
Review by Jean Wong
After the success of the web novel I Want To Eat Your Pancreas in 2014, it has since seen a print novel, a manga adaptation, a live-action film adaptation, and now an animated film adaptation. After the live-action movie came out last year — alternatively titled Let Me Eat Your Pancreas in English — the hype for Yoru Sumino’s novel continues with this new release. Do not be daunted (or fooled) by the title though — this is not a horror or thriller film, but rather a sweet story between two teenagers who are still figuring out the intricacy of handling human relationships.
I Want To Eat Your Pancreas (2018) deals heavily with the topic of interpersonal relationships through the interactions between Sakura and the unnamed protagonist (who will be referred to as ‘he/him’ from here on out). As the friendly and popular girl in class, Sakura is the complete opposite of him, who has no interest in making friends. An interesting tactic used to develop their contrasting relationship is through the game Truth or Dare, suggested by Sakura as a way to understand his psyche. It starts off light, but delves into profound topics that leaves the viewers with emotional goosebumps and the film goes on to explore themes like free will versus destiny.
Screenwriter and director Shinichiro Ushijima makes a few interesting choices with regards to the film. For one, the intention to keep the protagonist’s name under wraps until the end is quite an unconventional move. This choice mirrors his personality quite accurately as someone who keeps to himself so much that not many know his name. In a natural progression of his character development, the decision to tell people his name is a representation of him taking the first step in opening up to them. The nature of his and Sakura’s relationship is also never defined, which serves as a nice but important reminder that not all relationships, friendships or bonds have to be labelled. Sometimes, just knowing that you are important to someone is good enough.
Another remarkable aspect of I Want To Eat Your Pancreas is the exquisiteness of its art style. One can’t help but notice that many scenes with Sakura in it also include her namesake, the cherry blossoms. The ethereal pastel background that constantly surrounds her paints her in a very beautiful manner. It suits her cheerful disposition very well as Sakura is frequently smiling. On the other hand, shots with him in it are often gloomy and rainy, almost as though the weather adopts each character’s personality for itself. When they are together, the weather is more often than not calm and peaceful, just as his and Sakura’s personalities balance each other out. A particular scene when he and Sakura enjoy the fireworks together is one of the film’s most captivating moments. The art team did an extremely good job with the design and colour of the film, which added to the enthralling experience of watching the whole movie.
All in all, I Want To Eat Your Pancreas is a commendable directorial debut effort from Ushijima. If you’re an avid fan of Japanese films, this is definitely something to look forward to for the new year. If you’re interested in the movie, keep a lookout for the following dates:
Fan screening at Bugis+ Filmgarde — 22 Dec 2018, 4:30PM
Sneak previews — 28 Dec 2018 to 1 Jan 2019
General release — 3 Jan 2019