Given Review - "A Boy and His Guitar"

given-Wallpaper-1-700x467 Given Review - "A Boy and His Guitar"

A Boy and His Guitar

  • Episodes : 11
  • Genre : Music, Slice of Life, Drama, Romance, Shounen Ai
  • Airing Date : July 12, 2019 – September 20, 2010
  • Producers : Lerche

Contains Spoilers

Given Introduction

Mafuyu Sato was just the quiet kid in class. He keeps to himself and whenever it was lunch time, he’d isolate himself and take a nap at a stairway nobody tends to use. All he had was a guitar and what makes it even stranger was he didn’t know how to play. All of that changes when he becomes acquainted with another boy at his school, Ritsuka Uenoyama, who plays guitar in a band on his free time. Wanting to know how to play the guitar, Mafuyu asks Ritsuka to teach him. At first, Ritsuka is reluctant and encourages Mafuyu to join the light band club, but it doesn’t work out for him. Instead, Ritsuka invites Mafuyu to come see his band practice at a studio. Touched by their performance, Mafuyu works hard to be part of the band but his true potential is not in his guitar playing, but in his voice. As Ritsuka and Mafuyu spend more time together, something more than friendship starts to bloom.

Why You Should Watch Given

1. Excellent Art and Animation

First, we have to give credit to the art and animation. There’s nothing really too over the top or too generic with its character and environmental designs. Everything feels balanced by giving the audience a world and characters they can believe. The expressions the characters give, especially with Ritsuka and Mafuyu, do an excellent job of showing the audience who these characters are both externally and internally. Even without the use of words, we can see that Mafuyu is someone who is an introvert and doesn’t know how to express himself. With Ritsuka, you can tell that he has his own personal frustrations but he doesn’t know what they are.

2. Powerful Soundtrack

While we’ll get into this quality a little later, but the soundtrack with what it has to offer is certainly a quality over quantity aspect. While the soundtrack is a little more instrumental oriented, when we get to the band’s true performance, the lyrics to the song they play is very relatable and the emotion Mafuyu puts into it makes you truly feel the pain that he was hiding throughout most of the series. The song performed in the lounge is relatable to people of all backgrounds, especially if you’ve lost someone in your life.

3. Character Exploration and Development

What this series does best is explore and develops its core characters. In addition to Ritsuka and Mafuyu, the series also does a great job of exploring their respective bandmates, Haruki and Akihiko. While other supporting characters do exist, their function is mostly to just be supporting characters and serve as a gateway into lets say knowing more about Mafuyu or Haruki’s background. Other than that, a lot of the focus is more on Ritsuka and Mafuyu and you get to know them and why they are the way they are.

Why You Should Skip Given

1. Don’t Expect a Song in Every Episode

If you’re expecting a new song in every episode akin to Carole & Tuesday, Given isn’t exactly that kind of anime. Granted music is part of Given, it isn’t as emphasized to the same extent as that respective series and Given does a good job of showing why. We understand why people want more music but you have to remember that this is a romance anime first and once you have that in your consciousness, it’s rather easy to get past this aspect. As we said before, think of it more as a quality over quantity (not to say that Carole & Tuesday is that).

2. It’s Too Short

If you’re someone who prefers series that are more than 12 episodes, this series is just way too short. Granted it offers its own distinguishing conclusion and the relationships are starting to develop, but when you finish this series, you just want more. While the relationship between Mafuyu and Ritsuka for it portrays does develop in its own way, we feel like it’s just barely beginning.

Final Thoughts

While a second season hasn’t been announced, what has been confirmed is that a movie is going to premiere in 2020. To our best assumption, it’ll probably adapt give or take three or five chapters of the manga to show us where the journey of the band goes next. If you’re someone who isn’t familiar with Shounen Ai, or Boys Love, this could possibly be a good gateway to see that such franchises aren’t merely fan service, but can also tell excellent quality stories that are universal to all audiences no matter your orientation. The relationship between Ritsuka and Mafuyu develops organically and it doesn’t exactly throw it in your face that they’re gay for the sake of shock value, but for you to see that love can happen to anyone at anytime.

given-Wallpaper-1-700x467 Given Review - "A Boy and His Guitar"


Author: Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty

Hello, I am originally from the states and have lived in Japan since 2009. Though I watched Robotech and Voltron as a child, I officially became an anime fan in 1994 through Dragon Ball Z during a trip to the Philippines. In addition to anime, I also love tokusatsu, video games, music, and martial arts. よろしくお願いします

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