Genre: Romance, drama, music, boys love
Uenoyama Ritsuka loves both playing the guitar and playing basketball but lately the two have become rather boring to him. One day Uenoyama encounters a boy named Sato Mafuyu at school carrying a guitar with broken strings. Uenoyama helps Mafuyu by changing his strings for him and from that moment the two are intertwined within each others lives. Mafuyu ends up singing in front of Uenoyama which then sparks his musical passion within him once again whilst also developing feelings elsewhere for Mafuyu. From that point on both beautiful music and romance begins to blossom.
Given is everything I wanted and more. When I originally saw the promotion video for the series I knew it would be filled with lots of teen angst, cute band members and drama to boot and that is exactly what Given provided to me as a viewer. It was raw and powerful and truly struck a chord with me (heh, get it?).
The characters and the romantic development within Given is what really make it worth watching. It is fairly obvious from the beginning that there is going to be some romantic interest and involvement between certain characters throughout the anime alongside the musical aspects.
I thoroughly enjoyed the musical aspects to Given as I found certain things to be funny and relatable considering I play the guitar and have worked within a band dynamic when I was in college. Small things such as Mafuyu realising his guitar can be fixed with new strings was just really cute and funny to see as a player myself and watching Uenoyama fall so deeply in love with music is what happened with me a few years ago. I just really understood how the characters felt about certain things and I really loved that I could connect with them in such a way.
Given had a great balance of both romance and drama throughout the series and it knew when and went not to be funny and/or serious. The anime deals with heavier topics such as loosing a partner, suicide and overdosing and it did so in a respectful way which got the point across without being too graphic or distressing. The more somber moments also gave room for backstory and character development whilst somehow making the romance between certain characters that much more sweeter and/or heartbreaking.
One of my main criticisms I have with Given is I wish the musical aspects could have been more fleshed out. Whilst romance takes priority in this kind of story, it would have been really rewarding to see the group Given progress more as a band. Seeing Mafuyu progress as a guitar player and overall musician seems like a bit of a missed opportunity within the anime along with seeing more of the band’s dynamics. I feel more could have been fleshed out in this respect but I still enjoy the musical elements nonetheless and I found their first big performance as a band to be truly moving and hard hitting as a scene.
Another issue with Given was some of the side characters. There is nothing wrong with having a whole range of characters who help add to the today but certain characters just seemed to be there for the sake of filling space. I felt that especially with characters such as Murata who just seemed to lull around in Akihiko’s apartment. I guess I was expecting to see more of his character and was curious to see what his role in the story progression would be but there just didn’t seem to be much. I’m guessing that the original manga series has him much more fleshed out but I feel he didn’t bring a whole lot to the anime.
Overall Given is a beautifully done and pretty healthy romance anime that doesn’t focus too heavily on the typical BL tropes in order to move the story along. It is a pleasure to watch and is sure to quench your thirst if you’re looking for some good drama and romance to sink your teeth into.
Overall rating: 8/10
Until next time thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!
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