Here’s an anime worth making an effort to watch.
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas aired at the Scotland Loves Anime festival in 2018 in Edinburgh on the same day as Calamity of a Zombie Girl. Don’t let the coincidence of names fool you; I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is not a zombie anime. I suspect a few people in the audience had and were in for a shock.
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is a moving tale of a dying girl. She has a pancreatic disease that will kill her, and the anime follows her life from the day she meets an oddball classmate and latches on to him. The story, for the most part, is seen from the point of view of her nearly nameless friend. It is hard to imagine anyone can watch it without a tear in his or her eye.
No one else knows Sakura Yamauachi’s secret. Her parents know, of course, but are coping with the inevitable loss of their daughter through the tried and tested mechanism of denial. It’s not entirely clear why she adopts the almost autistic classmate in the way she does, but a chance encounter in the hospital and the discovery of her diary no doubt plays a large part.
The concept of a ‘chance encounter’ is an important one in I Want to Eat Your Pancreas. The dying Sakura isn’t a big believer in fate or destiny. She believes in the choices we make the consequences of them. This is an incredibly brave point of view for anyone with a terminal disease to stick too and you can watch the entire anime, wrestling with whether she’s right or not, and not come to a conclusion by the time the credits are rolling, and people are wiping tears off their cheeks.
I imagine there would have been a time when I would have doubted an anime that didn’t make good use of animation’s ability to tell stories movies could not would be a waste of time. I mean; what’s an anime without the supernatural, aliens or giant robots? I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is an example of why I’m wrong. This is a compelling story, brought to life, through believable characters and a situation that feels very close to home.
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is blessed with amazing animation. There are scenes with rain and others with fireworks that’ll blow your socks off or make you forget you’re watching anything other than a movie. Director Shinichirou Ushijima and A-1 Pictures will likely have a hit on their hands that follows in the steps of Your Name.