Given , the new Lerche animation studio, is not impressive when it comes to the visual element, but it is completely worth it in what it should: the music.
It’s a shounen-ai , or BL , story that doesn’t start with the most toxic stereotypes associated with the genre. No one wants to physically take advantage of anyone, no one steals a kiss from anyone… finally, the genre is relatively vindicated with a story that develops in a consensual way and little by little.
Given tells us the story of Mafuyu, a young man with few expressions and little to say, and Uenoyama, a young man with much to say and plenty to express. The dynamic of “dog and caretaker” is repetitive, perhaps, but both have enough chemistry to show that there is a future and cloth to be cut.
Ritsuka Uenoyama is the guitarist in a band featuring him and two college students, bassist Haruki Nakayama and drummer Akihiko Kaji. One day, he meets Mafuyu Sato by chance, and is surprised that such a shy and quiet boy has a Gibson ES-330 on him. After scolding him for not knowing how to take care of her, since her ropes were broken, Mafuyu begs for help to repair it, and Uenoyama agrees only to remove that expression of tragedy from his face.
From the beginning, we see that Mafuyu has a past that haunts him and is directly related to that guitar, a fact that Uenoyama is unaware of. However, Mafuyu insists on making Uenoyama his tutor after an invitation to the studio where he practices with his band, and being amazed at his talent on the instrument. Uenoyama reluctantly agrees, realizing that the other boy has a natural talent for music in no time.
Given is a manga illustrated and written by Natsuki Kizu, which has been running since its debut in April 2013. This would mean that the anime will not have a satisfactory ending, since the manga has not ended yet, but despite this, perhaps the first story arcs keep their quality and intrigue and allow us to discover a little more about Mafuyu’s past and his relationship with Uenoyama, and how they develop it.
We cannot close these first impressions without commenting on the music, which comes from the band Centilimental, and combines perfectly with the atmosphere and feelings that the story evokes. That first scene of Uenoyama demonstrating his skills to Mafuyu is admirable, and it exudes animation quality and musical talent. The soundtrack also has its moments, elevating the story and accentuating Mafuyu’s gentle innocence and Uenoyama’s reluctant curiosity. As such, the animation could be better, but it’s effective, the direction of the shots is very well done.
We still can’t be sure how the romance between these two characters will play out, but their soul and music will certainly leave a mark on the summer 2022 releases.