Welcome to an Anime Rant about one of my top 3 favorite shows of summer ’19, Given!
Episode 9 Review: A Winter Story
By the time this is published, most of the aniblog community here will probably be done reacting to and discussing the episode, but maybe I’ll catch a few readers. I hope so because I really want to share my thoughts on this episode. If, that is, I can get my head straight. Given’s 9th installment was utterly overwhelming. I can’t think of a way to make this an organized post, so I’ll just write random things here that occurred to me as I watched the episode.
When Ueno says he loves Mafu’s sound, and that his own sound has been messed up since Mafu changed his life, I thought the show was chickening out and inserting talk of “sound” rather than talk of love. It seemed dumb. But then I realized that the scene was about Ueno having trouble confessing his feelings. For his character, the words he chose make sense. I think after the scene cuts away, Ueno really does confess, and that’s what spurs on Mafuyu to sing.
(Now, when they used guitar and strings as metaphors for peoples’ hearts and emotions, that was well-done. It didn’t seem silly to me. It gave that much more depth to Uenoyama’s line, “Mafuyu, will you let me change your guitar strings?”)
Mafuyu’s song was amazing. I don’t know anything about music but it sounded great to me and I was impressed with Mafuyu’s vocal power and the passion he put into it. My one and only complaint was how the four guys turned into awkward-looking 3D people for the performance. It just looks so weird to suddenly switch them to those CG bodies. But it didn’t necessarily look bad — just off-putting at first. Still, Mafuyu’s song was so good it made me ignore the 3D.
I’m so glad the Crunchyroll stream included the English translation of the lyrics. It’s really a surprise that the song didn’t make me cry. The words speak to me on a deep level as someone who can’t move on from a person in the past. These were my favorite parts of the lyrics.
From the Second Verse:
“Just like a spell that still won’t break, or some kind of curse, I’m still holding on to some heavy baggage. Hey, what kind of tomorrow am I supposed to look for in this town?”
And the chorus:
“Even if everything loses shape one day, you’ll always be here within me, as I try to move forward again. Even though I couldn’t say goodbye, you’ll always be here with me.”
And then the kiss. The motherfuckin’ kiss. Ueno got the guts up to give a brief but passionate smooch to Mafuyu. I waited sooo long to see that. It was fulfilling. (Speaking of romance, it looks like something might also be happening between Akihiko and Haruki.) To be honest, I was quite afraid that Mafuyu would reject Ueno or be upset, but I felt so happy when Mafuyu said in his thoughts that he had a person he loves. He even said so aloud to Hiiragi.
I don’t feel like thinking right now because I’m still being flooded by emotions, so I don’t quite get the whole picture of the fight between Yuki and Mafu. I also still don’t know if Yuki really intended to kill himself or just accidentally gave himself alcohol poisoning and died from not being treated. Whatever the case, Mafuyu said something to Yuki like, “Then would you die for me?!” And because the dude really did die, Mafuyu has been carrying heavy guilt all this time.
As for the longish scene after the credits, I think the point of it is to say that time erases memories and eventually emotions and attachments, too. Some of them. But as Mafuyu makes clear, he will always remember that time spent with Yuki. I liked that the scene sort of played the old “time heals all” stuff, for those for whom that’s actually true, but it also speaks to people like me and Mafuyu who will never forget. The scene also highlights the theme of being able to “move on,” but always having an ache in your heart for that special person.
Episode 10 Review: Wonderwall
There were a lot of funny moments in this episode. For example, at first, Uenoyama doesn’t remember that he kissed Mafuyu. He’s totally shocked and not sure what to do when he remembers. This episode made good use of comedic animation style to handle some scenes, and then it went back to the serious style for all the right moments.
The scene where Ueno takes care of sick Mafuyu was adorable. I also loved the scene where they eat grilled meats, decide to perform again, and rename their band. I’m probably really slow for just getting this now, but as Akihito said, the boys all have a season in their names. The Haru in Haruki means spring. The second character in Ritsuka’s name is read Natsu, meaning Summer, when it’s by itself. Ristuka and Rikka can also mean beginning of Summer. The Aki in Akihito means Fall/Autumn. And the Fuyu in Mafuyu means Winter. Maybe it would have been best to stay with the band name Seasons. But Given is cool, too.
The unofficial date Mafuyu and Ueno went on was great. So was the ending. Mafuyu just announces his love like that so boldly. He is seriously too cute. If my throat wasn’t sore I would have done my fangirl squeal. I think, as well, that Mafuyu is a strong person. Accepting that you can’t be with Yuki anymore and won’t ever get to say goodbye is difficult enough. But actually, genuinely falling in love with someone new? I don’t really understand that, but I’m glad Mafuyu did it somehow.
Thank you for reading. I’m sorry if the episode 10 review was too brief and not well-edited. I finally got all my prescriptions back to normal, but now I have a summer cold. This is very aggravating. Anyway I’m not feeling so great. I hope you all stay well.
My Current Opinion on the MBTI Types of Given Characters
Mafuyu: The Dreamer: INFP
Uenoyama: The Independent: ISFP
Akihiko: The Counselor: INFJ
Haruki: The Nurturer: ISFJ
Yuki: The Doer: ESTP
Others unknown at this point
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(Images from: Given. Dir. H Yamaguchi. Lerche. 2019.)