My Year of Animes

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas 

Despite the name, “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas” does not involve the consumption of human organs. 

The main protagonist of the story, a loner high school student, learns that his cheerful classmate, Sakura, is suffering from a terminal illness. Despite her limited time left to live, Sakura insists on spending the rest of her life with the main character. Your classic “introvert meets extrovert” story, viewers are treated to Sakura’s funeral in the opening scenes of the movie. With the fate of one of the story’s characters revealed in the first 5 minutes of the film, what exactly is the point of watching “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas?” 

“I Want to Eat Your Pancreas” is more than your typical romance anime. The two main characters never say “I love you” nor do they even date. However, their relationship cannot be summarized simply as being best friends. In the months leading up to Sakura’s death, the two grow to depend on each other and are inspired by one another. The main protagonist learns the importance of developing relationships with others while Sakura sees value in not having to rely on others. Their relationship was not formed from mutual attraction, but each grew to better themselves. Yet, no matter how much viewers enjoyed their relationship, it was inevitable that Sakura was going to die. 

“I Want to Eat Your Pancreas” had its ups, its downs and its really questionable moments. Even if it isn’t the greatest of films, viewers can be caught with tears in their eyes. While it may not be obvious, life itself is fragile, it can end at any moment. The constant reminder of Sakura’s illness shows how life can end at any given moment. No matter how morbid that may seem, it is just reality. It is important that each day, good or bad, is enjoyed to the fullest. 

Movie Trailer: https://youtu.be/MONVPR1dnRQ 

Horimiya  

“Hori-san to Miyamura-kun,” or “Horimiya,” is your typical story of high school love between two students who seem to have nothing in common. There’s nothing else to the plot. So how does a generic and relatively bland story make itself stand out from the rest of the anime crowd? 

Hori, a popular student at her high school, meets Miyamura, a gloomy classmate, outside of school although she doesn’t recognize him at first. Over time, the two get to learn more about each other and agree to hide each other’s personas outside of school. There’s nothing special about the story at first glance, but Horimiya does the typical high school story differently than others. Most anime tend to exaggerate certain aspects of their characters, having everyday occurrences appear larger than life at times. With “Horimiya,” on the other hand, everything done within the show is subtle. The characters act and resolve their issues like normal high school students. Misunderstandings are resolved quickly instead of boiling over for episodes. Everything about their interactions seem natural and organic as if the characters were human. For once in an anime, high school students actually act like high school students.  

“Horimiya” serves as the normal in all of the strange and weirdness anime usually has to offer. It’s not going to change how people view life or change the anime world. It’s a simple story that doesn’t need any unnecessary drama to make it interesting.  

Clip from the show: https://youtu.be/rAhMwVeQxoQ 

Kono Oto Tomare! 

Every anime watcher has at least heard of “Your Lie in April.” The story of a young prodigy rediscovering the joy of playing the piano is often regarded as one of the best in anime history. While “Your Lie in April” undoubtedly receives heaps of applause, there are still other music-centric anime waiting to be seen. 

“Kono Oto Tomare!” offers a different experience than “Your Lie in April.” The sole member of his school’s koto club, Takezo Kurata recruits unlikely help to help keep his promise to his seniors. Despite joining for their own purposes, the group eventually share a common goal, to perform at nationals. 

While “Your Lie in April” dealt with overcoming one’s mental blocks, “Kono Oto Tomare!” showed how to deal with unfortunate circumstances. Each member of the Koto club seemed destined to fail from outside forces. Whether by being labeled as a delinquent or exiled from their family, no one expected the Koto club to do anything. Through their own determination, the Koto club were able to string together performances that left viewers in awe.  

Just like “Your Lie in April,” the music of “Kono Oto Tomare!” will move viewers to tears through raw emotions. Each performance is further enhanced by spectacular visuals highlighting each musician. Even the characters show incredible development over two seasons which can be seen through their interactions with one another and in how they view the Koto. Despite how dramatic the show may portray playing an instrument is, “Kono Oto Tomare!” properly portrays the hardships one must go through to reach their goals.  

Clip from the show: https://youtu.be/u5LDoMHlqHw 

Weathering with You 

Makoto Shinkai has earned himself the reputation as one of the greatest anime directors of all time. His work on “5 Centimeters Per Second,” “Garden of Words,” and “Your Name” are masterpieces combining stellar visuals with an intriguing plot. However, his latest film “Weathering with You,” released in 2019, pales in comparison to his earlier work.  

“Weathering with You” is again a masterclass in terms of animation and soundtrack. The movie’s plot is also original where Hodaka runs away from home to Tokyo where he meets Hina, a girl who can control the weather. With the makings of a great film, what “Weathering with You” lacks is sympathy. Hodaka is difficult to root for during the story as no one knows what his motivations are… All viewers knew about Hodaka was that he ran away from his rural home because it was too “constricting.” Throughout the film, Hodaka is adamant against the idea of returning home but viewers are given no reason for his behavior.  

Most people have felt the urge to escape from their small hometown yet most of the time, it isn’t worth throwing your life away. This makes his actions throughout the film seem unjustifiable and self-centered when compared to the greater plot. One of the important elements of storytelling is having sympathetic characters, but this flaw keeps “Weathering with You” from being a great film. 

Movie trailer: https://youtu.be/Q6iK6DjV_iE 

Komi-san Can’t Communicate 

“Komi-san Can’t Communicate” was one of the most anticipated anime of 2021. It has been well received so far by fans, being faithful to its source material. However, this faithfulness to the source material is what deters new fans from watching it.  

Starting a new school year, the beautiful and popular Shouko Komi cannot communicate with anyone. She relies on fellow first-year student, Hitohito Tadano, to assist her with making friends. Their overall relationship is genuinely wholesome as Tadano seems to actually want to help Komi get over her inability to interact with anyone. Episode 1 captures their relationship perfectly, setting up a heartfelt story. As the season progresses, its fatal flaw starts to show.  

Just like the manga, the show takes a long amount of time to make any progress. “Komi-san Can’t Communicate” introduces a giant cast of characters even though most of those characters are unremarkable. While most casual viewers would want to see more of Komi’s and Tadano’s relationship develop, they are instead stuck meeting characters they’re uninterested in. Some anime have “filler” episodes to help move the plot from start to finish. Not every episode in a series has to advance the plot substantially. With “Komi-san Can’t Communicate,” there does not seem to be a final destination anytime soon.  

About The Author

Isaac Scafe

Scafe (Civil Engineering '21) is part of the Vector writing team. "I like Asian culture but most importantly K-Pop! I am Chinese and Jamaican."

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