First things first, the title itself isn’t a zombie movie of any kind. But I have to admit I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is an unusually interesting title, which actually turns out to be a high-school romance drama.
Based on Yoru Sumino’s 2015 novel of the same name, it was subsequently adapted into a two-part manga series and even had its own live-action feature starring Minami Hamabe and Takumi Kitamura titled Let Me Eat Your Pancreas back in 2017. In this anime version, the story follows a nameless male protagonist (voiced by Mahiro Takasugi) who stumbled upon a diary in a hospital. It turns out that the diary belongs to his fellow classmate Sakura Yamauchi (Lynn), the otherwise cheerful girl who actually suffers from terminal pancreatic cancer. None of her friends knows about her condition other than her family and now, the protagonist. She later made him her best friend and even wanted to spend the remainder of her life with him. The protagonist initially hesitated but in the end, he agrees to go along with her plan.
One thing for sure, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is beautifully animated and it looks ravishing. The main characters, voiced by Mahiro Takasugi and Lynn, are both spot-on where they share wonderful chemistry together as two unlikely quasi-couple.
While I enjoy the stunning animation as well as the principal characters, first-time director Shinichiro Ushijima tends to get overwhelmed with his melodramatic approach towards the source material. I get that he tries so hard to tell us about things like cherishing your life or make the most time out of it while you still can. Such a message is supposed to be thoughtful but Ushijima’s execution is disappointingly heavy-handed. It also doesn’t help much when the story feels patchy in places, making the 108-minute running time stretches longer than it should.
Maybe it’s just me for being too jaded. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is meant to be both heartbreaking and wonderfully profound. But to me, such emotions have to be rightfully earned and not manufactured or superficial as in the case of this otherwise promising animated feature.