Given is a music anime that aired its first season in 2019 and has since had a follow-up movie adapting more of the manga it is based on.
The series has gained a massive following and has fans begging for a second season to continue the story that started in the first.
We do not want to spoil any of the masterfully told through this series 11 episode run, but it is about finding light from within the darkness.
The series has a great focus on self-discovery and doing this through self-expression with music.
Before going in-depth on this series let’s see the background of this short anime that is very worth your time to watch.
Background On Given
The manga series Given started serializing in Japan in 2013 is written by Natsuki Kizu and has since been translated and published by SuBLime manga making it accessible to a much wider audience.
If you prefer reading your series, or just want to catch up to as much of the narrative as you can, reading the manga is also a great experience.
You can buy the first volume of this emotional series here and new volumes are still getting published. New chapters are still being released regularly as well.
The series was picked up for an anime adaption that originally ran for 11 episodes in 2019 by the studio Lerche who has worked on a few popular series like; Astra Lost In Space, Assassination Classroom, Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun, and the hilarious Asobe Asobase.
And following the success of the series the Given movie was released in Japan in 2020 and is now available with subtitles since 2021.
The Given movie continues directly after the anime series and follows some side characters who got less time to shine in the series.
So, if you end up obsessed with the first season and wish the side characters got more attention, this is the answer to your prayers.
Being a movie this animation gets more attention and detail than a standard series and is a beautiful form of art even if you are not following the series!
What Is The Given Anime About?
Given follows the story of student Mafuyu Satou, who we do not initially know much about with his history shrouded in mystery.
The series begins with the meeting between Mafuyu and classmate Ritsuko Uenoyama as they connect over the Gibson guitar Mayfuyu was napping with on a staircase.
Their conversation starts as Uenoyama berates Mafuyu for how damaged his guitar strings are.
From this point, we start to learn more about these characters as their connection deepens.
Mafuyu surprisingly does not know much about the guitar and ends up asking Uenoyama to teach him how to play which he reluctantly accepts after much repeated begging from Mafuyu.
After this Uenoyama invites Mafuyu to meet his bandmates to help him learn. This is where we meet Haruki Nakayama the bassist and Akihiko Kaji the drummer.
While it takes Mafuyu a while to pick up playing the guitar, Uenoyama manages to overhear Mafuyu’s astounding singing which leads him to ask the newbie to be the vocalist for their band, but shockingly Mafuyu does not accept the offer.
It takes much reverse begging to get Mafuyu to accept which does not happen until he runs into an old friend who motivates him to take the risk.
We do not know why Mafuyu is so hesitant, and how someone with no knowledge of how to play guitar has such a nice one, but these are the mysteries that compel watchers to keep going through the series.
Should You Watch The Given Anime?
The genres which Given officially falls into are BL (Boy’s love or Male/Male romance), romance, drama, and music.
While these genres make it quite appealing to a lot of fans, it is worth it for everyone to try to watch just because of the quality of storytelling and how compelling the narrative is.
The series is presented in an amazing way with music getting a great highlight and being a great motif to connect the narrative strands.
Using music as a theme means that musicians have a lot of interesting details to pick up on, while casual viewers get a great musical experience.
The music in the series is the original creation of Centimillimental who have obviously dedicated a lot of effort to make this series as spectacular as possible.
But it is not just the music that makes this a great recommendation but also the storyline and how it presents the relationship between the lead characters.
Knowing this is a BL romance some viewers could be put off as many of these romances tend to be relatively formulaic in anime but Given avoids this with the slow burn between Mafuyu and Uenoyama being anything but conventional.
Nothing too much will be spoiled here, but if you have been burned by BL before for poor representation, Given is definitely worth an attempt to redeem the genre.
As previously mentioned, Given has a heavy focus on finding the light within the darkness and this theme seeps into every element of the series.
The element of self-discovery also defines the portion of Given’s narrative that is told in these 11 episodes having some of the best character development in anime with Mafuyu’s personal development as well as the audience discovering the context and background for his personality.
A stand-out scene from the series is the first show the band put on together as a group of 4, and it works as an amazing climax for the season showing how far every character has come and how they have come together.
This is further emphasized by how Given contextualizes being a beginner musician with how detailed Mafuyu’s introduction is to the world of music is by Uenoyama and how this defines the foundation of their relationship with each other.
The sentimentality of music and how it becomes connected to memories is also well explored with Mafuyu’s guitar being a great symbol for his history and as a device for furthering the story.
This is also used to discuss matters that cover mental health in a much more sensitive way than a lot of anime are willing to do.
If any of these elements sound interesting to you, definitely give Given the chance it deserves!
Takeaway – Where To Watch Given?
So this is why Given is so worth your time! If you want to watch the series you can stream both the first season and the movie on Crunchyroll right now!