Apparently, You Should Too
Not too long ago I had the opportunity to see both A Silent Voice and I Want to Eat your Pancreas (referring to this as Pancreas moving forward) at the theater. While I loved A Silent Voice, something I’ll spend more time on in a separate article (hopefully), Pancreas was more of a mixed bag.
There was a lot of online hype surrounding this film, especially with the unusual title that drew me to the film in the first place, and the book this is based on is pretty well liked. So I was pretty hopeful going in, but I figured it’d be worth the experience regardless of the quality in terms of shear uniqueness. I loved telling people I was going to see this film!
For those who somehow missed out on what this film is, it should be fairly obvious after one glance at the art. This is your typical sort-of-kinda romance story about a girl with a terminal illness, in this case cancer. For some that’s already going to be enough to have emotional resonance, but personally these kinds of stories need more than just some base appeal to do well long-term.
Additionally, it is worth noting that in some cultures telling somebody you want to eat their diseased body parts is a way of indicating how you wish you could cure them/take the illness onto yourself. The movie flips this a bit by having the female lead, Sakura, hear about how in some cultures the diseased person eats a healthy persons body part in order to cure their own. It’s kind of the thing this film relies on to get its big moment across, but ultimately it was pretty unimportant to the actual plot.
I want to take a moment to circle back to the theater here and mention something that actively hurt the movie. Before it began Aniplex decided the film should be front-loaded with interviews from both the Japanese and English casts. Awesome, right? Eh, not really. The Japanese portion was excellent as it was more a, “thanks for watching” with some genuine emotion from the cast. You could tell they loved this film! The English portion on the other hand….
It was filled with spoilers. They should not have put this at the start of the film. The one thing that this did improve was, “Gum Boy” who I would have literally given no mind to otherwise, but that’s it. So rather than discover the film for myself, I was actively told what to look out for and that signaled a lot of the plot to me way too early. Apparently this is a trend with Aniplex titles as reports of the same thing happened with NGNL 0 as well.
Putting that aside, let’s talk about the actual narrative. It’s very similar to an anime, Your Lie in April except it is very upfront about the whole death thing (by the way, this is not a spoiler for either Pancreas or Your Lie in April). The series has emotional appeal and time on its side, so that’s what I’d ultimately recommend watching over this but giving the film credit, I would say this has a better narrative in so that it doesn’t beat around the bush and takes a slightly more interesting route for its ending.
To level some more criticism at this Pancreas, it was a bit annoying that Sakura would shove her dying in the male leads face in order to force him to do stuff. At times she borders on abusive and that even tips him to a breaking point at one point in the film. It was a tense scene but I couldn’t help but feel it was kind of unnecessary, it didn’t feel organic at all.
Then you have Sakura’s friend, Kyouko, who hates the main lead for literally no reason. You’d think Kyouko would respect her friend Sakura, who constantly tells her not to worry about the guy and that they are friends. It’s not like I couldn’t find her believable, but Kyouko just came off as an awful person. Pancreas wants you to like her though but doesn’t really do anything to get you to that point. They try and give her some redemption at the end, which was appreciated, but it felt forced.
Speaking of lead boy, his name is this big secret for the film. Thematically, the idea is that you shouldn’t make assumptions about people based on appearance, their name, etc… but it resulted in a sort of anti-climax. Both my friend and I weren’t very impressed with this big reveal.
Now I did speak to the ending, which I won’t spoil, but I want to note that it was by far the most interesting part. They took what felt like an obvious cliche ending and gave it a bit of a twist. There’s foreshadowing for it and it did improve the film. However, it doesn’t make up for the rest of the film. Pancreas is kind of dull and fails at tell even a pretty basic story convincingly.
The dub was good though, music was good, and the animation was pretty
Again, was Pancreas worth watching? Yeah, I did enjoy it despite some pretty deep flaws, but I wouldn’t watch it again. For some this film is absolutely something to avoid, and hopefully I’ve given enough hints at things for you to decide if that’s the case for you, but otherwise this is a fairly average experience.
Did you see Pancreas while it was in theaters? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you’d like to support my writing, please use my donation button below to send a few bucks my way. I’d appreciate it! Of course, thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.