Review: Given (anime)


Somehow, the guitar that he used to love to play and the basketball games that he found so fun just lost their appeal… That was until Ritsuka Uenoyama randomly met Mafuyu Sato. Ritsuka had started losing his passion for music in his everyday life, but then he hears Mafuyu sing for the first time. The song resonates with his heart and the distance between them starts to change.



I had no idea what to expect going into this show, except for the fact that it would be gay and about a band, but it was so much more than that.

First off, if you’re looking for classic yaoi with its tropes, over-the-top dramatics, and awkward power dynamics, this will not hit the mark for you. While this show is undeniably gay (there are several m/m kisses and relationships), and it is following the relationship of several men, the relationship itself isn’t the driving impetus for the story.

In fact, while the band plays an integral part to the story and the characters, it’s not the driving impetus either. Both Ritsuka and Mafuyu’s relationship and the band are more like vehicles to explore Mafuyu’s…journey. And that journey has a lot of twists, and a heavy dose of reality. It’s fantastic.

Reasons to watch:
1. Realistic portrayal of queer men.
2. Positive portrayal of being queer, with supportive friends.
3. Realistic depiction of mental health issues and topics like depression, suicide, and abuse.
4. Complicated relationships in both the main pairing and several side characters, whether those relationships are romantic or friendship.
5. It’s dark and at times very heavy, but ultimately uplifting. You go on an emotional journey with the characters.
6. Unlike most band anime, you are not forced to listen to the full length of the “main” song repeatedly in every episode as the band comes together.
7. The art is pretty while staying realistic with a dash of humor thrown in.

Downsides:
1. Currently sub-only (although I have my fingers crossed!)
2. It’s a slower-paced show, especially in the beginning.
3. Trigger warnings for (highlight to view):

suicide, overdose, family abuse.

As I told my friend, this felt like a combination of Kids on the Slope with Sweet Blue Flowers (and a dash of Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad thrown in).

A+ Would recommend to anyone with taste.

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