Spoiler for Given (animated)
In 2019, a clip circulated on Twitter from an anime I hadn’t heard of. This anime? Given. This music video? Right here:
Based on the still-ongoing manga series released in 2013 (note: the manga wasn’t released here until 2020), this clip inspired me to lean into the series and become a queer trash rock band for Given-which is also the name of the band. This clip, representing a personal image of panic among homosexualsshows Ritsuka breaking down about his feelings for Mafuyu (the singer of their band). Akihiko, to Ritsuka’s surprise, not only has no problem with him liking boys, but it turns out that Akihiko likes them too.
Seeing a teenager being reassured about his sexuality so casually sold me on the show. Akihiko made being queer so normal, treating it like something you didn’t have to be afraid of. I could understand why so many people were defending this series when this clip made the rounds on Twitter and I’m happy to say the rest of the series is a delightful watch.
Here is the premise of the anime series, which you can watch at Crunchyroll:
Somehow, the guitar he loved to play and the basketball games he found so fun lost their appeal…until Ritsuka Uenoyama accidentally bumped into Mafuyu Sato. Ritsuka had started to lose his passion for music in his day-to-day life, but it was then that he heard Mafuyu sing for the first time. The song resonates with his heart and the distance between them begins to shift.
The series deals with the development of Ritsuka’s feelings for Mafuyu, but that is not the only focus, as the series also focuses on Mafuyu and the heartbreak he is still going through over her former boyfriend. Music becomes a means of expressing one’s feelings:
The manga, as you might expect, covers more contentevoking the relationship between Akihiko and Haruki (the bassist and leader of the group – he is at least the most organized, lol). The movie also touches on these two as well as Akihiko’s rocky relationship with her boyfriend/not boyfriend/first love/not boyfriend/boyfriend/casual fling/not so casual…just read my review here.
According to Rafael Antonio Pineda for Anime News Networkthe official Japanese website of Given announced a six-episode live series that will begin streaming on July 17 via Fuji TV on Demand. The website also announced a new original anime disc called Given: Uragawa no Sonzai (Given: the one on the reverse) which will ship with limited-edition copies of the manga’s seventh volume on December 1. Opposite side will show us what Ritsuka and Mafuyu were doing during the Given movie because they had very little screen time.
Personally, I had just assumed they were huddled somewhere while the older band members Akihiko and Haruki were working on things.
The live-action series has already chosen its four main characters:
- Jin Suzuki as Ritsuka Uenoyama
- Sanari as Mafuyu Sato
- Kai Inowaki as Akihiko Kaji
- Shuntaro Yanagi as Haruki Nakayama
I’m beyond excited to have another reason to get front row seats for more Given. I want to see a live-action version of Mafuyu’s performance, especially since Sanari is a musical artist (warning: you’ll be sucked into his Spotify). I’m absolutely ready to listen to this music again and watch these boys fall in love.
I’m also curious to see how much of the story goes into the live action series. Six episodes is shorter than the anime, but depending on how long the episodes are, Ritsuka and Mafuyu’s story could be covered, easily, leaving time for Akihiko and Haruki. Also, with the manga being further afield in Japan than here in the US, I wonder if there will be time for additional manga content that we haven’t seen here yet (especially given the description of the upcoming sixth volume which will be released here in September).
Or it will just be about Ritsuka and Mafuyu like the anime was. Maybe a second season, then?
It is unknown whether or not the live-action version will be available on Crunchyroll, however, since the anime and the movie are streaming there, I hope the live-action series will be available as well. Crunchyroll Is it that have a drama section that has live action series so it’s possible we might see Given the. As for that bonus DVD, well, I have no idea if it will ever make it here. I’m still waiting for a physical release of the anime, but maybe there will ever be a chance to get a nice box set with the contents of this extra DVD?
Anyway, I’m glad that Given we talk about it again.
(Image: Natsuki KIZU, SHINSHOKAN/given committee)
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