The anime debuted on July 11, 2019 and ran until September 19, 2019 with 11 episodes.
When I first picked up this anime, I had been out of the BL scene for more than five years. I had no idea what was popular anymore or what the new upcoming titles were. However, at the time, I did just finish Sekaiichi Hatsukoi (世界初恋 ) and was randomly looking through YouTube for some of the songs to listen to when I came across the trailer for Given. As a side note, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi had been sitting in my back log for around 7 years as I couldn’t get into it after finishing Junjou Romantica (純情ロマンチカ).
The story follows four members of a band. Ritsuka Uenoyama (guitarist), Haruki Nakayama (bassist), Akihiko Kaji (drummer) and Mafuyu Sato (newcomer).
It starts with another typical day for high school student, Ritsuka, going to his “secret” place for a nap. Although his interests are playing the guitar and basketball, he had begun to be bored of them. As he wearily makes his way to a stairwell behind the basketball courts in the gym, he is surprised to find someone else there, dozing in his spot.
When Ritsuka approaches, he sees that the person is clutching an expensive Gibson guitar, but the strings are rusted and broken. Surprised that Ritsuka seems to know about guitars, the boy asks him if it could be fixed. At first, Ritsuka is very reluctant but seeing the boy’s dejected expression, he goes into a frenzy declaring “Would you stop looking like the whole world ended over a broken string?”
Once the strings are repaired, Ritsuka starts to tune the guitar and strums the first chord. The chords resonate deeply with the boy, who then insists that Ritsuka teach him how to play the guitar. Thus begins the story of the two boys, a band and what happens from there.
Although this is listed as a BL anime, I would say this is actually more of a human love story with characters who happen to be boys. It is a story about first loves, lost loves and rediscovering what love is – whether it’s for a person, for an interest or for what it means to be alive.
And of course, it’s about music, which by the way is wonderful! It suits the band perfectly and catchy enough that I find myself listening to it often on Spotify (that’s right! You can find the music on Spotify!)
Despite the fact that it is a BL anime, it still might not be for everyone, especially those who may be looking for BL action, as the story builds and progresses slowly (and even then, it’s a love story overall). There’s a lot of character building during the early episodes and I imagine for some, it’s easy to give it up and go watch something else. It was my feeling when I first started watching it too. Perhaps unbeknownst to me, I was slowly developing an attachment to the characters and wanted to see where they were going to take me. In particular, I was very curious how Ritsuka was reacting/not-reacting to the situations before him.
By the time I got to the end of all 11 episodes, I was a fan. Of course, there are other side stories that need to be fleshed out (i.e. what’s going on with Haruki and Akihiko, etc.) and whatever lingering doubts Ritsuka may have (Are there any? Though I felt there were still loose ends definitely intentionally there to further the manga).
As a result, I find myself scouring for the manga to see where the rest of the story will take me. And that led me to another good find! There will be a movie!! Originally set to be released May 16, 2020, but due to the pandemic, it is now set to be released August 22, 2020.
|Cast (not full list):|
|Ritsuka Uenoyama||Yuuma Uchida (other notable roles: Kyou Souma Fruits Basket 2020)|
|Mafuyu Sato||Shougo Yano|
|Haruki Nakayama||Masatomo Nakazawa|
|Akihiko Kaji||Takuya Eguchi (other notable roles: Ryoma Ichijo Love Stage!!)|
|Kizuato by Centimillimental |
(キズアト – センチミリメンタル)
|Marutsuke by given |
(まるつけ – ギヴン)
Natsuki Kizu is the original creator and author of the series.
The manga first debuted on April 30, 2013. It is currently ongoing with up to five volumes released.
TV anime is produced by Lerche Studio.
Movie is produced by Blue Lynx.