Hamabe Minami brought many to tears in "Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day", this time she's about to make us cry again. In "I Want to Eat Your Pancreas", Hamabe suffers from a pancreatic disease and is remembered by her classmate played by Kitamura Takumi, later to be portrayed by Oguri Shun.
One day, I – a high schooler – found a paperback in the hospital. The “Disease Coexistence Journal” was its title. It was a diary that my classmate, Sakura Yamauchi, had written in secret. Inside, it was written that due to her pancreatic disease, her days were numbered. And thus, I coincidentally went from Just-a-Classmate to a Secret-Knowing-Classmate. It was as if I were being drawn to her, who was my polar opposite. However, the world presented the girl that was already suffering from an illness with an equally cruel reality… [ source ]
We first reported the casting news last September 2016, and it was only now that a trailer was released.
As we noted earlier, the two lead characters have opposite personalities - the boy is timid and reserved, while Sakura is bright and jolly (despite her disease). Perhaps her personality is a defense mechanism. Fast forward, Kitamura is now portrayed by Oguri Shun and is teaching at the same high school where he met and befriend Sakura. Kyoko (Kitagawa Keiko) is also part of the friendship and is about to get married. Both young adults remember Sakura and how she affected their lives.
I like this casting a lot, especially of the two young leads. In particular, I'm quite impressed with Kitamura Takumi. The thing with Japanese talents is that some of them ought to be in the movies, while some are better left entertaining the fans in variety shows. While there are many aspiring talents who started in boy bands, it is more often that when they began acting, they suck big time. In the case of Kitamura Takumi, he is like a diamond in the rough - he has enough dramatic talent to make it big as a movie actor. But then again, he is part of DISH// and he needs to be with the group. Thus the dilemma, how can someone with so much potential in acting be confined by the rigors of playing with a band? He can do both, of course, as he is doing now - but what if he concentrated in acting alone?
At the age of seventeen, Hamabe Minami, is already on the verge of stardom - well, in Japan anyways and to some of the more 'discriminating' Japanese movie/drama fans as well. Aside from 'Pancreas' Hamabe is also part of the "Saki" franchise - those cute young school girls playing mahjong. Another high-profile role awaits us in Ajin, with Hamabi playing a role supporting the lead, Satoh Takeru.
Melodramatic films can either be memorable or forgettable because there are so many similar productions that tug at the heart. Some are doing more than 'tugging' in the sense that they tend to overdo the part. My biggest problem with the melodrama genre is that the filmmaker tends to insult the audience's intelligence by pointing out the obvious. I don't mind the sentimental music, but to make something tragic even more tragic is simply beyond me. I mean, when the main character is already suffering from cancer, why would the other lead (usually the girl) have to be raped and then gets a miscarriage. Add a couple of supporting characters - the other guy and his unrequited love, and we have Koizora: Sky of Love!
I don't know why I have to relate 'Pancreas' with 'Koizora', but the latter just happens to be one of the earliest Japanese melodramatic movies I've watched and I don't want to gain the same 'cinematic experience'. I hope this movie proves me wrong.
Filmmaker Tsukikawa Sho is at the helm and he's the same guy who handles Sakaguchi Kentaro and Miwa in The 100th Love with You (君と100回目の恋). Both movies have some romantic tones, but 'Pancreas' appears to be more dramatic and less cutesy.