Hello and how good to have you visit Anime Rants! The last two weeks we had two more great episodes of Given. This is a really interesting and enjoyable show so far, so if you like softcore BL or good depictions of same-sex realtionships, do check it out.
Given Episode 7 Review: Tumbling Dice
Almost right away we have an excellent moment of talking about sexuality as Akihiko talks to Ue about him being in love with Mafuyu. Kudos to this anime for making a point of saying there is nothing wrong with guys liking other guys. In addition to that, the conversation was kind of funny and just really cute.
Speaking of which, there are too many cute moments in this show to keep track of. I’m not complaining, of course. The more the merrier. One extremely cute moment was when Mafuyu was sleeping next to Ue in the studio, and Ue ended up holding his hand.
This anime really does well with face expressions. There are so many good ones of all sorts, from adorable to funny to dramatic to oh-so-relatable.
I know it’s a romance/drama, so it’s only natural, but things sure are dramatic in this anime. Like Akihiko’s description of love. He says, “Falling in love with someone is something much more violent, like having your flesh ripped apart.” Is it really that intense for some people? Well, nevermind. It was that intense and dramatic for me, too, when I was highschool aged and in undergrad. It’s just that I generally try to forget that stuff.
Anyway, Akihiko’s story with that violin dude, Ugetsu, was interesting enough. It seems that Ugetsu got another boyfriend at some point, though. There’s no current relationship between him and Akihiko. (Though, I’m not clear on whether they’re still roommates or not.) I felt so bad for poor Haruki in this episode, dealing with Akihiko being so unintentionally sexy. Part of me wonders if he’s really doing half of it on purpose. Maybe he’s sub-consciously trying to get Haruki to confess his feelings.
As the episode went on, I couldn’t help but think of things for me personally. Ue is confused and frustrated about his love. Mafuyu is reluctant to let himself truly process things with his deceased lover. I think it’s partly because Mafuyu is confused, too, and partly because he wants to run away from the issue. I’m kind of both. I’m frustrated and confused like Ue and hung up on the past like Mafuyu. My feelings about the person in my past are so confusing and frustrating, so of course, like Mafuyu, I’d rather not try to process it.
Mafuyu is still having trouble thinking of lyrics for the song. Ue is having problems being supportive of Mafuyu because he’s jealous that Mafuyu is writing a song about being in love with someone else. Akihiko and Haruki tried to call out the younger boys on these issues, but is that enough to resolve everything by the time they play their concert? At any rate, let’s move on to episode 8.
Given Episode 8 Review: Time is Running Out
I had some trouble focusing as I watched this installment. The gloomy, pensive atmosphere of the episode was so well-done that it made me zone out and get lost in random, aimless thoughts. It all seemed very melancholy. The meat of the episode was Mafuyu finally agreeing to talk to Hiiragi again.
Hiiragi tells the story of how he, Mafuyu, Shizusumi, and Yuki grew up together. Mafuyu and Yuki were especially close, like a couple, even in highschool. The yellow-haired boy also mentions how he was in a band with Yuki and Shizu. Hiiragi keeps saying in his thoughts that he wants to be forgiven. Forgiven for what? Apparently, for knowing a lot about Mafuyu and Yuki and never saying anything.
That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me at this point. What also doesn’t make sense to me is Hiiragi’s story about Yuki’s death. Did Yuki actually kill himself just because of one fight with Mafuyu? Sure there’s more to it than that. Was it even a suicide, or was it accidental death from alcohol overdose? I feel like that’s a key point to clarify.
Initially, Mafuyu snapped at Hiiragi saying there’s no way he could know how he feels. I liked that Mafuyu later said he’s actually the one who doesn’t understand how he himself feels. Again, it’s that confusion over the past. I can really relate to it. Oh, there was also the bombshell that Mafuyu was physically abused from an early age by his father. That bit of information was dropped too casually in my opinion. It explains why Mafuyu doesn’t like to talk a lot or verbalize his thoughts.
Back to the present, things aren’t going so well for Ue’s band (apparently called “The Seaons.”) Even at rehearsal for the performance, Mafuyu still doesn’t sing. He hasn’t finished the lyrics, and he doesn’t know what to express or how. Things look like they’re going terribly even right up to the time for the concert performance. Ue gives up, thinking they’ll just play something instrumental, even while knowing that he’s actually relieved there is no finished song. Then Mafuyu gets mad at him for giving up so easily. He’s so mad he snaps a guitar string! Uh-oh. Shit is hitting the fan. What will happen next?
I’m really excited for the next episodes. I hope you’ll join me again in two weeks for reviews of episodes 9 and 10. Thank you for reading! I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂
(Images from: Given. Dir. H Yamaguchi. Lerche. 2019.)