I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is interesting in regards to its adaptations. The original novel has no illustrations of its main characters, aside from the zoomed-out shot of the leads on a riverside balcony, so the manga and the film took liberties with their character designs.
How everybody looks is just scratching the surface, however. Between the novel and the film, there’re enough differences that each is built with their own unique DNA strand, though many of those base pairs are a match. The lot of the dialogues from the book are chopped up and shuffled around in the film, which will do that movie thing where characters have the first half of a conversation at the pub, walk to the park a block away, and continue with the second half of their conversation there.
The manga is almost a 1:1 adaptation of the novel, with most of the changes being cosmetic or trimmed out fat. So anytime I refer to “the book,” assume I’m referring to both the novel and the manga, unless otherwise specified.
One final note is that the protagonist’s name isn’t revealed until the end, and even though this post will spoil all three adaptations up to their final pages or running time minutes, I’ve elected to refer to him as Mr. Doom and Gloom for comedic edge, and also because if there’s one thing I might as well save for the audience to find out, it’s the connection between his name and Sakura’s.
· The manga’s second scene, which formally introduces Mr. Doom and Gloom, shows him getting up from his seat only for Takahiro to bump into him but not apologize as he walks over to say hi to Sakura.
· Mr. Doom and Gloom states in the film how a hobby of his is guessing what people think of him whenever they say his name, but only the book exhibits this by redacting his name whenever somebody says it and replacing it with some description in brackets ([Boy I’m Getting Along With], [Cruel Classmate], etc.).
· The two leads in the book enter a department store so that Sakura can buy rope as a prank for hanging herself, but the novel expands this scene to where she asks a clerk point-blank for rope recommendations for hanging oneself.
· There’s a scene early in the film where Sakura’s friends are criticizing her decision to hang out with Mr. Doom and Gloom and suggest that if she really wanted a boyfriend that she should date the class representative, Takahiro.
->Takahiro is the student council representative in the manga.
· When they’re at the Paradise dessert shop, Mr. Doom and Gloom gets up to refill his plate, and when he returns, Kyoko has occupied his seat, so he seats between her and Sakura in the book. In the film, she walks over to their table as she’s leaving with her friends but doesn’t sit. Another detail about the shop from the novel is how both girls and couples are the only patrons.
· Kyoko summons Mr. Doom and Gloom to presumably her apartment to warn him about hurting Sakura in the film, but in the book, they just happen to encounter one another at a bookstore. After she leaves, the gum-offering classmate also happens to swing by and offer him gum in the novel.
· Kyoko in the film prompts the gum-offering classmate to resume his cleaning duties, but she’s absent from this scene in the book. Instead, Mr. Doom and Gloom asks him to hold the dustpan, which he’s cooperative for, which prompts a thought from Mr. Doom and Gloom about how he usually just stands around for cleaning duties but has it in him to join in if given directions.
· Early in the film, Sakura stands up for an elderly lady and a shopkeeper being harassed by a thug riding his bicycle in a no-bicycles-allowed zone. Just as the police show up, she gives him a swift kick to the babymaker. The basis for this scene occurs during their overnight trip in the book, when they visit a restaurant. A middle-aged lady, excited in conversation, sticks her foot out and accidentally trips the server. In the manga, it’s her hand.
· Sakura falls asleep on the train in the novel, and Mr. Doom and Gloom earns her ire when he wakes her by smacking her with a rubber band. She scolds him, telling him that he could’ve just called her name.
· They draw fortune lots at a shrine during their trip in the book. Sakura’s says her illness will be cured, while Mr. Doom and Gloom’s says he’ll find a suitable marriage partner. The novel adds that her lot is a great blessing, while his is a blessing.
· Mr. Doom and Gloom in the novel tells Sakura that the only potato chip flavor he likes is lightly salted.
· When Sakura starts bathing, Mr. Doom and Gloom passes the time by watching t.v. in the manga. In the film, he reads. The novel makes no mention of what he does.
· How he hands her face cream in each adaptation is different. In the novel, she waves her arm out the bathroom door. In the manga, he sticks his arm in, and in the film, he places the cream just inside the threshold.
· The film saves revealing Sakura’s medications for their final round of Truth or Dare. The book reveals the contents the moment Mr. Doom and Gloom discovers them.
· Only in the novel after discovering Sakura’s medications, Mr. Doom and Gloom falls asleep on the bed while she bathes. When she comes out, she teases him that he did want to sleep in the bed after all.
· The film doesn’t specify why Mr. Doom and Gloom chose the dare in round 9, to carry her to bed, which is because he would have to carry her to the bed regardless due to her inebriation, so he wanted to get it over and done with.
->Similarly, he asks about her childhood because he’s curious to know if there was a catalyst which drove them to become opposites.
· In the book, Sakura reveals that a guy confessed to her, but she turned him down.
· When the pair enter Sakura’s house in the book, she greets it despite nobody being home due its importance as the place where she grew up.
· The number of games they play in Sakura’s bedroom varies depending on the adaptation. In the film, they only play a racing game. In the manga, they start with a game of Shogi, which Sakura flips right as she’s about to lose. In the novel, they play a fighting game after Shogi, and just as she’s about to lose, she switches the console off.
· When Sakura pranks Mr. Doom and Gloom in her bedroom when he goes to borrow The Little Prince, in the book he shoves her away, while in the film he stands motionless before she stops on her own.
->Her wording is also different. In the book, she’s more coy, saying she wants to “do something she isn’t supposed to be doing with a boy who isn’t her boyfriend,” to which Mr. Doom and Gloom has an internal monologue about how everything they’ve been doing is stuff they shouldn’t be doing. In the film, she’s more explicit, directly saying she wants to do “naughty stuff.”
· Sakura starts crying when Mr. Doom and Gloom pins her to her bed in all adaptations, but in the book she admits her reason for crying was that the physical strength of a boy frightened her.
· Takahiro checks out a book at the library before following Mr. Doom and Gloom to Sakura’s neighborhood in the book.
· When Sakura follows him into the rain and confronts Takahiro, she chases him off in the film, but in the book, she lifts Mr. Doom and Gloom up and leads him back to her house, leaving the representative standing in the rain.
->In the book, he’s her ex.
· Sakura’s older brother makes a cameo only in a flashback of her growing up late in the film’s run, but the book mentions him during Mr. Doom and Gloom’s return to her house, after their fight.
· The film has them doing a number of activities together before her hospitalization (bowling, karaoke, and taking pictures in a photo booth), with written commentary by Sakura after she crosses them off her bucket list.
· Sakura’s hospitalization is condensed to one visit, two if you count her and Mr. Doom and Gloom sneaking out, in the film.
· In the book on the second day of their overnight trip, they see a street performer, which gets Sakura interested in taking up magic after a dry suggestion from Mr. Doom and Gloom, and whenever he visits her at the hospital, she performs a trick she’s been practicing.
· The first time Kyoko and Mr. Doom and Gloom cross paths at the hospital, as he’s leaving to escape her wrath, Sakura shouts at him that he forgot to bring her older brother’s borrowed clothes, which she loaned him after Takahiro assaulted him in the rain.
· Kyoko doesn’t overhear Sakura’s monologue on what it means to be alive in the book.
· The fireworks scene is unique to the film, as in the book sneaking her out of the hospital is a joke she makes.
· Mr. Doom and Gloom in the novel likens Kyoko to a wild predator stalking her prey, which would be him.
· In a scene unique to the film, on his way to the cafe for his “date” with Sakura after her release from the hospital, Mr. Doom and Gloom runs in to his gum-offering classmate whose two little brothers harass him that he bought himself an ice-pop, but not them. Mr. Doom and Gloom initially turns down his offer for gum but changes his mind.
· Details of Sakura’s death differ depending on the adaptation. In the film, she’s stabbed in the chest. The manga adds that her body wasn’t discovered until midnight. The novel simply states that she was stabbed with a common kitchen knife.
· When Mr. Doom and Gloom visits Sakura’s house after her death, her mother tells him that she had instructed her to give Living With Dying to him upon her death, and the film has a brief scene where she’s about to do this during her hospital stay.
· Mr. Doom and Gloom views himself as a boat of reeds that doesn’t fight against the current (his excuse for running along with Sakura’s antics), but this metaphor is only mentioned once toward the end of the manga. It’s gone entirely from the film.
· Going hand-in-hand with Mr. Doom and Gloom never using Sakura’s name, in the novel he never not once refers to her by either her first or her last name, even in the prose. It’s only ever “the girl.”
· Mr. Doom and Gloom reads Living with Dying at the dining room table in the film, but in the book, he doesn’t get up from his place in front of Sakura’s memorial.
· The novel shows all of the rough drafts of the goodbye letters Sakura wrote while in the hospital, complete with notes and the like. The film shows that they exist, but Mr. Doom and Gloom only reads the one addressed to him. The manga acknowledges only those written to him and Kyoko, with hers being read when he discloses the diary to her.
->Also in the novel, writing the goodbye letters was a suggestion Sakura ran by Mr. Doom and Gloom while in the hospital.
· Sakura’s mother refuses the condolence money from Mr. Doom and Gloom in the novel, but it’s only shown once when his mother gives it to him in the film. The money’s omitted in the manga.
· When Kyoko blows up at Mr. Doom and Gloom for not telling her that Sakura was dying, she apologizes for losing her temper. In the book, he’s the one who apologizes, for not telling her.
· When he shows Kyoko Living with Dying, he asks her to be his friend, but she refuses by leaving the cafe in the book. In the film, she leaves, and he chases her down to ask her, after which the credits begin.
· In the epilogue, the novel takes advantage of its picturelessness to not immediately reveal that it’s Kyoko he’s visiting the shrine with. He struggles to ascend the stairs, and she gives him heat over it. She also sasses him by giving him a piece of candy as a reward.
· Kyoko says that she and the gum-offering classmate are romantically interested in one another in the film but won’t start dating until after exams are through, whereas in the book she doesn’t learn of the gum-offering classmate’s interest in her until a slip of the tongue on Mr. Doom and Gloom’s part.
· Mr. Doom and Gloom grows his hair differently in the film’s epilogue.
· In the book as they’re leaving, they hear Sakura’s laughter, but in the film, just Mr. Doom and Gloom notices a stray cherry blossom pedal float by.
· Early on in the novel, Sakura asks him about his first crush, whom he reveals was a polite girl who added “-san” to everything and everyone as a show of respect. When he’s praying at her grave, he admits this was a lie he was planning on telling her but didn’t due to her seeming so touched by his story. He also promises to tell her about his next crush if she’s anything like his real first crush, and maybe then he’ll eat her pancreas.