I nearly bust a gut through the entire first bit of this episode. We pick up directly with where last episode ended, with Mafuyu telling Ritsu that he loves him.
“Wait, like a friend.”
“No, romantically.” and the giant, rainbow colored ‘it’s mutual’ text. Then the meeting of all the multiple Ritsuka’s in his head, Cool Ritsuka and Virgin Ritsuka got me really hard. Angel and Devil too, honestly, everything about this internal set up. Right up to the movie of Ritsuka trashing band couples and wishing they would go rot in hell, six months prior to this. He also remembers a talk between Akihiko and Haruki about how much of a problem dating between band members can be. So, they do the only logical thing to go. Go talk to band mom, Haruki.
Who basically says “Yeah, sure. You can date, but like, be careful. Image is everything to a band and we need to be careful.” in other words, date, but don’t make it like super obvious or be really public about it. Mafuyu and Ritsuka give him a hug, they go to tell Akihiko that they’re together as well.
It really is like them going to tell their parents and it’s all kinds of cute. Well, with that out of the way. They have to focus on the next important thing, taking promotional pictures for the band.
Take-chan really does so much for them.
Even when it’s frustrating and none of the band members will keep a straight face while taking the pictures. They all go on about how embarrassing it is, but honestly, the pictures turn out really good. So now they have something to put on their flyers.
They call for a party later at Haruki’s house, and after doing some of his hair modeling work. Haruki heads home and is greeted by the sight of his apartment covered in a tarp. Which, was to prevent a mess as they shove a pie in his face to wish him a happy birthday. Omg, these absolute nerds. They’re so cute.
They celebrate his birthday and it’s really cute.
Honestly, a lot of this episode is just focused around just how much like a family this band really is. There is another montage near the end as they go through their lives, and Ritsuka and Mafuyu sit together and talk. Talk about the future, what kind of song that Mafuyu would want to sing next time.
It cuts before he can say, but i think I know the answer. If the first song was called Winter Story, the next one, should be named for Summer. After Ritsuka, who’s name is based in summer and who’s birthday is in summer. A song of new love.
This is where the episode wraps, and oh boy. It was, while not the ideal ending. Still really good. We at least got to see Mafuyu and Ritsuka get together. We didn’t get any emotional closure for Haruki and Akihiko, but that’s alright. Why is it alright? Because we’ve got a movie coming people! So there is still time!
That’s right, as the final episode dropped. A movie announcement dropped as well.
AAAHHHHH, okay. So, first off. The backgrounds in this show were amazing. The character art varied, but was still pretty good overall. The CG during the performance sections was, decent enough I guess.
The real driving force for Given though, is its characters and it’s music.
Which it really nailed. There was no main character that I disliked, there were a few side characters i was a little weary of but nobody I outright disliked. Their character arcs were compelling and i think there is honestly a character for you depending on your preferences.
Personally, for me, it was Haruki and Ritsuka.
The thing I want to talk about most in the final impressions though, is the song. “Winter Story.” was built up from the beginning, first with Mafuyu’s humming and then slowly it’s built into a full song as the rest of the band starts writing the music for it. I have to admit, I was a little weary. The humming was always a little off key and it made me nervous for when we would get to the actual song, I did some research mid-show into Shōgo Yano (Mafuyu’s seiyuu) and couldn’t find any notable singing work.
Then episode nine aired, and my jaw dropped. I was floored, he was amazing. The emotion packed into the song is so amazing that you don’t even need the visuals to feel Mafuyu’s pain in it. I had fairly high expectations for the song from the way it was built up and somehow, it managed to go above and beyond. It delivered in a way that I could of never imagined and i can’t even fathom what it must of been like for a manga reader to hear that and see it animated. There is no proper way you could express a scene like that in the manga, with no actual music.
I was worried for a lot of this season that Given would be a show that got passed over by a lot of people simply because it was a shonen-ai series. I’m not scared about that anymore, because the song changed everything. I’ve seen it more and more, buzz about this show from people after episode nine aired.
It was only two episodes before the end of the show, but somehow I feel like everything changed when Winter Story aired. There was Given before the song and then Given after the song.
It’s hard to find anything negative to say or to nit-pick about Given. If I had any grievances, it’s that it was too short and that I want more. That’s why the movie announcement made me so happy. I’m hoping after the movie, perhaps we’ll see a season two announcement. That would be ideal, but only the future will tell.
Given is a solid 9/10 from me, the 9 is because i’m lacking in Haruki/Akihiko content. If you haven’t watched Given, or just listened to Winter Story. Do it, right now. If you don’t think the show is for you, at least go listen to the song. It’s stunning and will floor you.