Studio Lerche has slowly been creeping into the spotlight over the last few years. 2015 Scum’s Wish was the first that popped up on my radar and then they gave us Assassination Classroom and Radiant. This summer season they are treating us to two shows: space adventure Astra Lost In Space, and Boys Love music drama Given, which does not fall into the usual BL trope. I think we have something special here and actually feel honored to be reviewing this series.
So how did this Boys Love series deliver on the first episode? Let’s find out!
Japanese Original Title: バンドの男の子
Shy individual Mafuyu Sato carries around a guitar but he has no idea how to play it or fix it. At school he encounters Ritsuka Uenoyama who taking a nap at his favourite napping spot. Ritsuka fixes Mafuyu guitar out of impulse, as Ritsuka plays guitar himself – being a part of a band along with two other guys, Haruki Nakayama and Akihiko Kaji. Mafuyu is amazed by how quickly Ritsuka fixes his guitar and begs for Ritsuka to teach him how to play the instrument. Mafuyu is persistent and that begins to affect Ritsuka and a new fire is lit within him. Is it more than a mutual passion for music?
Alarming Flashback: Given was not going to be your run-of-the-mill Boys Love. This first episode just settled this fact for me, especially a triggering scene viewers might not have seen coming, during a past flashback regarding Mafuyu. It’s apparent this series will be heavy on the theme of suicide. Better prepare for some heavy drama to come.
Humor: I love already that there was a good sense of humor in Episode 1. The chemistry between the boys is hilarious, especially between Akihiko and Haruki. Mafuyu wanted to see the guys play and Akihiko and Haruki didn’t want put on a half ass performance; they wanted to look cool. My favourite part during this episode was Ritsuka getting upset that his napping spot had been taken over. It was such a cute way for Ritsuka and Mafuyu to be introduced. Ritsuka’s random bursts of upset, of what he was thinking throughout, had me quickly grasped toward his character. These boys already have me, isn’t it a surprise?
Jamming Away: Was anybody else dancing in their chair when Ritsuka and the others were jamming away for Mafuyu? It was a damn good beat and just couldn’t help but jam away. Seeing how happy the boys looked playing just makes you feel warm.
Bottle Throw: Ritsuka’s sister hitting him with a bottle was hilarious, due to his sister previously dating band drummer Akihiko and him dumping her. Yeh… it’s obvious that there is some drama to see about this later on.
Themes and Trivia
Yujiro Ishihara: Akihiko mentions a quote before he starts drumming, ‘I Want To Summon A Storm Like Yujiro Ishihara’ and this relates to Yujiro, a famous actor and singer from the 1957 film Man Who Causes A Storm. He plays a man who is released from prison, wishing to become a drummer. He plays at various gigs to work their way up the ladder, and then takes part in a drumming contest.
Gibson: Gibson is a famous guitar brand that has been around since 1894.
It makes my heart so happy for the Boys Love genre to receive a special series like Given. From reading the premise, I instantly knew it was going to be special and give us a genuine title with no forced troupes that happen within many Boys Love relationships. We are going to be treated to a blossoming romance between these four boys and the first episode gave strong indications of this. The atmosphere during this episode felt innocent and tame which was so nice, unlike titles like Junjou Romantica, where in the first episode one of the main characters already forces themselves upon the other guy. Despite what is said about Junjou Romantica, it was my first Boys Love series and therefore has a special place in my heart. But I know why many people don’t like this series, so I understand.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out that Ritsuka and Mafuyu have a genuine connection towards one another. I cannot wait to see how this will be built up. Their love for music will help grow their relationship and it is a great concept to use in building a satisfying bond between the pair. Ritsuka sees a reflection of himself in Mafuyu from his days of learning guitar and reminds him how he himself was once passionate about music. While I feel the romance in this series will be good, it will also be steering into the direction of heavy themes like suicide. The fantastic thing I feel about Given is its premise and how it presented itself in this first episode. People who don’t like this genre will be able to enjoy this as well. The level of innocence and tameness throughout… if it can keep that up while dropping alongside the heavy drama, it’s got this in the bag, so all I feel there is left to say is this: this is a Boys Love series to be taken seriously.
That’s My Napping Spot !!
Where has this special anime been hiding? Because it’s already good!! I have a great feeling here, guys. We’re in for a great anime in the Boys Love genre, so I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed and cannot wait to hear Mafuyu sing. The next episode already gave us a sneak peek!!
Let us know what you thought of Episode 1 and don’t forget to check out our other Summer 2019 reviews!! Bookmark our previews tag to be the first to see the screenshots and read a summary of the next episode!
Next Time: Like Someone In Love (愛している人のように)
Summer 2019 | Anime Info | Simulcast