Everyone seeks some sort of connection in some way. Whether weak or strong, friendship or romance, it fuels relationships between individuals everywhere. I want to eat your pancreas, is a special reminder of that aspect in life that is put together by a wonderful animation and a tearfully wholesome story. One of the best anime movies of 2018 which I felt like didn’t get enough recognition, maybe due to it’s clickbait-like title.
Enter the world of our main character, a lonesome and anti-social boy who’s entire life turns around when he picks up a book titled, “Living with Dying”. A diary left behind by a girl in his school, Sakura, revealing to him her terminal condition. As the title would suggest, a pancreatic disease. Which eventually becomes a secret he has to keep for her sake. This lets him enter her life as someone who would accompany her to fulfill everything she’s wanted to do and enjoy. Whether it be a trip to the beach, or a night far away from where they live, or just enjoying their food. Honestly, just watching their interactions and playfully serious back and forths was such a nice method of experiencing progression. From a boring everyday life to one of escape and adventure. At first, it may have been because of the main character’s curiosity and pity, but eventually, he genuinely starts to care about her. The subtle changes in tones and the characters’ behaviors add an element of excitement and reality. Making us feel like, for once, the characters are truly in control showing us how honest it is.
Giving us a story of unexpected developments, growth and sadness, with the truth in the back of not only his mind but us, the audience’s, that she will eventually be gone. Spending each day and some nights with a girl he’d just met only to realize, that he wants her to live on, where the line “I want to eat your pancreas” plays such an iconic role. She tells him, she wants to eat his pancreas in a reference to her secret fear of dying and her willingness to live. Him saying he wants to eat her pancreas as a reference to his desire of Sakura to live on within him.
Allowing her to teach him about the value of relationships and making him want to be more like her. Someone, who can reach out to others, but little did he know along the way, Sakura started aspiring to be someone like him as well, someone who didn’t need to rely on others. This isn’t just something that is a part of this specific story but also in our own stories, our everyday life. Just how much others can influence us and sometimes…we don’t even notice it. Which hits you harder if you can relate to someone like the main character, someone who has a hard time getting along with others.
The story seems like one of romance, where two characters are spending as much time as they can together, where you think it’s predictable and they will just end up confessing to one another, only to have an ill-fated end, like many other love stories about terminal illness, anime or not. But… it isn’t. It’s a much more complex story which unfolds strongly, but only at the very end, teasing you bit by bit throughout the narrative. As much as it seems like a romance, it’s one more leaned towards friendship and both it’s hardships and strength.
It becomes a story about such a strong connection between two characters that they knew it was something more that couldn’t be put into words. It’s a story that plays on the concept of fate, right from the start. We all end up where we are because of the choices we make up to that point. Two characters that are constantly referred to be polar opposites. Sakura being influenced strongly by someone who previously didn’t care anything about friendship or relationships, that same someone wanting to spend more time with her and wanted her to live longer. She was special to someone, who seemingly didn’t accept anyone to be special. Allowing her for once to realize she is not just one out of the billions of people in this world, living life only for it to end. Which is something we all struggle with or atleast think about once, limited lifespan or not.
While it may seem like her unexpected end was forced, I would say that it was actually a catalyst to emotionally throw us off, giving us a shock factor that we can use to place ourselves in the shoes of the main character, feeling that same shock, rather than being prepared for the already inevitable end. The story hides so many painful aspects in the main character’s point of view from us, the observer, and Sakura’s character development. It makes her seem like your energetic and quite frankly basic anime girl, only to blast us at the end with everything, which I have to say was delivered so well. The way it all started, with Sakura’s diary. “Living with Dying”. Showing us, she wasn’t someone we really understood this whole time. Finally, allowing us to witness growth for the both of them and just how much they really needed each other even if it may not have been intentional, making it apparent that she was able to leave something behind for him, a new outlook in life. What it means to truly live, as sakura quoted… To finally learn the name of our main character and to know they have been linked together in such a wholesome way, literally left me with goosebumps and a teary eye.
I kept this as spoiler-minimal as possible and I highly recommend watching I want to eat your pancreas, or in Japanese Kimi no suizou wo tabetai, It is an unique story that really stood out to me and deserves more recognition. The animation is breath-taking and the soundtrack flows so well with the story. The anime’s use of lighting and angles only makes it that much more immersive leaving us with awe and wonder. Don’t let the title misguide you and definitely don’t skip the end credits.
MyAnimeList URL for “Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai (I want to eat your pancreas)”: https://myanimelist.net/anime/36098/Kimi_no_Suizou_wo_Tabetai