Given (manga)

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Given
Given Vol 1.png
Cover to the first volume of the manga series. Clockwise from far left: Haruki Nakayama, Akihiko Kaji, Ritsuka Uenoyama, and Mafuyu Satō.
ギヴン
(Givun)
GenreDrama, romance, yaoi[1]
Manga
Written byNatsuki Kizu
Published byShinshokan
English publisher
ImprintDear+ Comics
MagazineCheri+
DemographicJosei
Original runApril 30, 2013 (2013-04-30) – present
Volumes6 (List of volumes)
Audio drama
Produced byCrown Works
StudioDice Entertainment
Original runFebruary 25, 2016 (2016-02-25) – present
Episodes5 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Directed byHikaru Yamaguchi
Written byYuniko Ayana
Music by
  • Michiru (Score)
  • Centimillimental (Songs)
StudioLerche
Licensed byCrunchyroll
Original networkFuji TV (Noitamina)
Original run July 11, 2019 (2019-07-11) September 19, 2019 (2019-09-19)
Episodes11 (List of episodes)
Anime film
Directed byHikaru Yamaguchi
Produced byBlue Lynx
Written byYuniko Ayana
Music by
  • Michiru (Score)
  • Centimillimental (Songs)
StudioLerche
ReleasedAugust 22, 2020 (2020-08-22)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Given (Japanese: ギヴン Hepburn: Givun; stylized as given) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Natsuki Kizu. It has been serialized in the bimonthly manga magazine Cheri+ since 2013, and has been collected into six tankōbon volumes by Shinshokan. The series follows a group of four students in an amateur rock band, and the dual romantic relationships that form among them: between electric guitarist Ritsuka Uenoyama and vocalist Mafuyu Satō, and between bassist Haruki Nakayama and drummer Akihiko Kaji.

The series was adapted into an audio drama in 2016 and an 11-episode anime television series by Lerche in 2019; a film sequel to the anime series produced by Blue Lynx was released in 2020. The anime television series aired on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block, and was the first yaoi series to air on Noitamina. An English-language translation of the manga is licensed in North America by the Viz Media-Animate joint publishing initiative SuBLime, while the anime is syndicated outside of Asia by Crunchyroll, which simulcast the series during its original broadcast run.

Plot[edit]

Given is roughly divided into two major story arcs. The first arc, which focuses primarily on the relationship between Ritsuka and Mafuyu, follows the formation of the band and the lead-up to their first live performance. The second arc, which focuses primarily on the relationship between Akihiko and Haruki, follows the band as they prepare for their first music festival.

Ritsuka and Mafuyu[edit]

High schooler Ritsuka Uenoyama is the guitarist for a band composed of himself, bassist Haruki Nakayama, and drummer Akihiko Kaji. He becomes a reluctant guitar teacher to Mafuyu Satō, a shy classmate, after repairing the broken strings on Mafuyu's Gibson ES-330. Ritsuka quickly realizes that Mafuyu is an exceptionally talented singer, and invites him to join the band.

Ritsuka learns that Mafuyu's guitar was previously owned by Yūki Yoshida, Mafuyu's childhood best friend and boyfriend who died from suicide. The band begins composing music in advance of a live performance, but Mafuyu is unable to write lyrics for the song. The day of the performance, Mafuyu has a breakthrough and sings a powerful song about his feelings of loss over Yūki. The song prompts Ritsuka and Mafuyu to act on their growing romantic feelings for each other; they kiss backstage and begin dating. The band names itself "Given", in tribute to the guitar given to Mafuyu by Yūki's mother after his passing.

Akihiko and Haruki[edit]

Given begins to develop a following after posting a video of their live performance online. The band decides to enter into a major amateur music festival, and begin preparing new material. Their efforts are complicated by Haruki's secret romantic feelings for Akihiko, and Akihiko's continued involvement with his ex-boyfriend Ugetsu Murata. Tensions mount until Akihiko is kicked out of the apartment he shares with Ugetsu and later assaults Haruki, though Haruki forces Akihiko to end the encounter before they have sex.

Lacking a place to live, Akihiko moves in with Haruki; their cohabitation grows to become pleasant, but rife with lingering romantic and interpersonal tension. The day of their qualifying concert, Akihiko ends his relationship with Ugetsu. Mafuyu leads the band in performing a new song he has written, but Given is not selected for the festival. Time passes, and Akihiko moves out of Haruki's apartment and commits seriously to music study. He pledges to Haruki that he will be a better man; they confess their love for each other, and begin dating.

Characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

Ritsuka Uenoyama (上ノ山 立夏, Uenoyama Ritsuka)
Voiced by: Makoto Furukawa (audio drama),[2] Yuma Uchida (anime)[3]
A 16-year-old high school student, and the band's lead guitarist. Having played guitar since he was a child, he is highly practiced and talented with the instrument. He has a kind personality, though is somewhat stoic and bullish in his interactions with others, and is inexperienced in matters of love and romance. As the series commences he has lost his enthusiasm for guitar, though his passion for music returns as he grows closer to Mafuyu.
Mafuyu Satō (佐藤 真冬, Satō Mafuyu)
Voiced by: Sōma Saitō (audio drama),[2] Shōgo Yano (anime)[3]
A 16-year-old high school student, and the band's lead vocalist and guitarist. Though he lacks experience and professional training, Mafuyu is a naturally gifted musician and singer, and quickly becomes a skilled guitar player, singer, and songwriter. He suppresses his emotions following the suicide of his boyfriend Yūki, resulting in an outwardly shy and aloof personality, but he becomes ferociously expressive when he performs. He owns a nine-month-old Pomeranian named Kedama.
Haruki Nakayama (中山 春樹, Nakayama Haruki)
Voiced by: Yasuaki Takumi (audio drama),[2] Masatomo Nakazawa (anime)[3]
A 22-year-old graduate student, and the band's bassist and bandleader. He has a jovial personality and, as the oldest member of the band, often functions as the group's mediator. He has a longstanding crush on Akihiko and eventually begins dating him.
Akihiko Kaji (梶 秋彦, Kaji Akihiko)
Voiced by: Satoshi Hino (audio drama)[2] Takuya Eguchi (anime)[3]
A 20-year-old college music student, and the band's drummer. He is majoring in violin performance, and is skilled in many other instruments. He has had relationships with women and men and is experienced in matters of love and romance, and frequently offers advice to others on these matters. He lives with his ex-boyfriend Ugetsu, with whom he maintains an on and off relationship. Akihiko eventually realizes he has grown to love Haruki and ends things with Ugetsu for good, becoming Haruki's boyfriend and vowing to become a better man for him.

Supporting characters[edit]

Yūki Yoshida (吉田 由紀, Yoshida Yūki)
Voiced by: Yoshiki Nakajima (audio drama), Yuuki Shin (anime)
Mafuyu's childhood friend and boyfriend, who died from suicide prior to the events of the series and appears only through flashbacks. Though Yūki's outgoing and impulsive personality was in stark contrast to Mafuyu's shyness, they bonded over their common background as latchkey kids from single-parent homes, and eventually became lovers. A falling out between the two led Yūki to drink heavily and hang himself. Prior to his death, Yūki played guitar in a band with Hiiragi and Yagi.
Ugetsu Murata (村田 雨月, Murata Ugetsu)
Voiced by: Atsushi Tamaru (audio drama), Shintarō Asanuma (anime)[4]
A world-renowned violinist, and Akihiko's roommate and ex-boyfriend.
Yayoi Uenoyama (上ノ山 弥生, Uenoyama Yayoi)
Voiced by: Sayuri Yahagi (audio drama), Yū Shimamura (anime)
Ritsuka's older sister. She has an unrequited crush on Akihiko but after being rejected develops feelings and a relationship with Koji Yatake. She has interest in art and is good at painting, being part of the art club. She later knows of Ritsuka's and Mafuyu's relationship, along with Akihiko's and Haruka's relationship.
Shōgo Itaya (板谷 翔吾, Itaya Shōgo)
Voiced by: Junya Enoki (audio drama), Kengo Takanashi (anime)
Ritsuka's friend and classmate. A soccer striker who is regarded as a rising athlete in the Kanto region. He has excellent motor skills and is skilled at other ball games, including basketball.
Ryū Ueki (植木 涼, Ueki Ryū)
Voiced by: Taku Yashiro (audio drama), Hiroto Amano (anime)
Ritsuka's friend and classmate. Plays center for the school's basketball team.
Hiiragi Kashima (鹿島 柊, Kashima Hiiragi)
Voiced by: Toshiki Masuda (audio drama), Fumiyo Imai (anime)[4]
Mafuyu's former classmate and childhood friend. Formerly played bass in a band with Yuuki and Yagi. He cares deeply for Mafuyu, having been aware of his relationship with Yūki.
Yagi Shizusumi (八木 玄純, Shizusumi Yagi)
Voiced by: Daiki Hamano (audio drama), Taito Ban (anime)
Mafuyu's former classmate and childhood friend. Formerly played drums in a band with Yuuki and Hiiragi.
Kōji Yatake (矢岳 光司, Yatake Kōji)
Voiced by: Daiki Hamano (audio drama), Ryota Takeuchi (anime)
Haruki's college classmate. A bassist and vocalist, he is also a video editor who helps promote bands. He later dates Yayoi.
Tsubaki (つばき)
Voiced by: Mitsuhiro Nakae (anime)
A staff member at the music venue where Mafuyu works. Appears only in the anime adaptation.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Given has been serialized in the bimonthly magazine Cheri+ since April 2013.[5] In Japan, the series has been collected into five bound volumes published by Shinshokan.[6] An English-language translation is published by Viz Media under their SuBLime imprint, with the first volume released in February 2020.[7][8]

Given is the first multi-volume work produced by manga artist Natsuki Kizu, following her two previous single-volume series Yukimura-sensei to Kei-kun (Yukimura and Kei, 2013)[9] and Links (2014).[10]

No.Japanese release dateJapanese ISBNEnglish release dateEnglish ISBN
1 November 29, 2014[6]978-4403664496February 11, 2020[11]978-1974711826
2 January 30, 2016[12]978-4403665035May 12, 2020[13]978-1974711833
3 March 1, 2017[14]978-4403665615August 11, 2020[15]978-1974711840
4 December 29, 2017[16]978-4403666148November 10, 2020[17]978-1974711857
5 April 1, 2019[18]978-4403666742February 9, 2021[19]978-1974711864
6 August 3, 2020[20]978-4403667367

Audio drama[edit]

An audio drama CD adapting scenes from the first volume of Given was included with the February 2016 issue of Cheri+.[2] That same month, Crown Works began to release a series of audiobook drama CDs that adapt each volume of the manga.[21]

Title Release date
Given February 25, 2016 (original)[22]
May 17, 2019 (reissue)[23]
Given 2 January 25, 2017[24]
Given 2 Live Edition January 25, 2017[25]
Given 3 January 26, 2018[26]
Given 4 November 22, 2018[27]
Given 5 February 25, 2020[28]

Anime[edit]

An anime television series adaptation produced by Lerche was announced during a Fuji TV press conference on March 14, 2019.[3] The series aired from July 11 to September 19, 2019 on Noitamina, the network's late-night anime programming block, making Given the first yaoi series to air on Noitamina.[3][29] The series is syndicated by Crunchyroll, which simulcast the series worldwide outside of Asia.[30]

The series' primary production staff includes Hikaru Yamaguchi as director, Yuniko Ayana [ja] as scriptwriter, Mina Osawa as character designer, and Michiru as score composer.[3][31] The series' four original songs — opening theme "Kizuato", closing theme "Marutsuke", and original songs "Session" and "Fuyu no hanashi" (lit. "A Winter Story") — are composed and performed by Centimillimental, with additional vocals from Mafuyu voice actor Shōgo Yano on "Marutsuke" and "Fuyu no hanashi".[4][32] The anime features a new voice cast, re-casting the roles from the Crown Works audio drama.[3]

List of episodes[edit]

The majority of the episode titles in Given are references to British alternative rock songs, Ritsuka's favorite genre of music; episode nine is titled after the original song performed in the episode.[33]

No. Episode Title Storyboards Producer Original airdate
1"Boys in the Band"Hikaru YamaguchiYu Kinome, Hikaru YamaguchiJuly 11, 2019 (2019-07-11)[34]
High school student and guitar player Ritsuka Uenoyama repairs the broken strings on a guitar belonging to schoolmate Mafuyu Satō, who asks Ritsuka to teach him to play the instrument. Ritsuka refuses, though he allows Mafuyu to observe a practice session for a band composed of himself, bassist Haruki Nakayama, and drummer Akihiko Kaji.
2"Like Someone in Love"Yoichi Fujita, Hikaru YamaguchiYusuke KamadaJuly 18, 2019 (2019-07-18)[35]
Ritsuka agrees to teach Mafuyu to play guitar, and invites him to continue to observe his band's practice sessions. During one of their lessons, Mafuyu sings an original melody to Ritsuka. Stunned, Ritsuka invites Mafuyu to join the band.
3"Somebody Else"Shinichiro Kimura, Hikaru YamaguchiShinichiro KimuraJuly 25, 2019 (2019-07-25)[36]
Mafuyu declines Ritsuka's invitation. Ritsuka and Mafuyu later encounter Hiiragi Kashima, a friend from Mafuyu's past, causing a distressed reaction from Mafuyu. Mafuyu explains that he declined the invitation because he cannot express himself, to which Ritsuka responds that Mafuyu's song shook him to his core. Mafuyu decides to join the band.
4"Fluorescent Adolescent"Yu KinomeYu KinomeAugust 1, 2019 (2019-08-01)[37]
Mafuyu officially joins the band. Ritsuka and Mafuyu travel to Shibuya to purchase a guitar pedal.
5"The Reason"Yoko KanamoriHiromichi MatanoAugust 8, 2019 (2019-08-08)[38]
The band prepares for a concert, and Ritsuka begins to write music for Mafuyu's melody. A flashback reveals origin of the band: Haruki recruited Ritsuka after their respective bands broke up, and recruited Akihiko (who Haruki has long harbored a love at first sight secret attraction to) after sharing a class together. In the present, Ritsuka hears a rumor that Mafuyu dated a boy in middle school who later died from suicide.
6"Creep"Hitomi JiangYusuke KamadaAugust 15, 2019 (2019-08-15)[39]
The band finishes composing music for Mafuyu's melody, and instruct Mafuyu to write the song's lyrics. Mafuyu tells Ritsuka that he wishes to write the song about a person he once loved, inspiring feelings of jealousy in Ritsuka.
7"Tumbling Dice"Iku SuzukiYuki NishihataAugust 22, 2019 (2019-08-22)[40]
Mafuyu struggles to write lyrics for the song. Ritsuka realizes that he has romantic feelings for Mafuyu. A flashback details Akihiko's relationship with Ugetsu Murata, a violin prodigy who is Akihiko's former lover and current roommate.
8"Time Is Running Out"Shinichiro KimuraShinichiro KimuraAugust 29, 2019 (2019-08-29)[41]
A flashback details Mafuyu's childhood friendship with Hiiragi, Yagi Shizusumi, and Yūki Yoshida, the lattermost of whom eventually became Mafuyu's boyfriend. After a falling out between Yūki and Mafuyu, Yūki drank heavily and died from suicide. In the present, the day of the live show arrives, and Mafuyu has still not written lyrics for the song.
9"A Winter Story"Yu Kinome, Hitomi Jiang, Hikaru YamaguchiYu Kinome, Hikaru YamaguchiSeptember 5, 2019 (2019-09-05)[42]
Mafuyu has a breakthrough moments before the band's performance, and sings a song about his feelings of loss over Yūki. The song prompts Mafuyu to realize his romantic feelings for Ritsuka, and they kiss backstage. A post-credits scene depicts a flashback to a date between Yūki and Mafuyu.
10"Wonderwall"Noriko HashimotoNoriko Hashimoto, Yu KinomeSeptember 12, 2019 (2019-09-12)[43]
The band names itself "Given", in tribute to the guitar given by Yūki to Mafuyu. Mafuyu tells Ritsuka that he loves him.
11"Song2"Yoshinori Hirai, Yu KinomeYusuke KamadaSeptember 19, 2019 (2019-09-19)[44]
Despite reservations that it may cause strife in the band, Ritsuka and Mafuyu tell Haruki and Akihiko that they are dating. The band shoots their first promotional pictures, and celebrate Haruki's birthday. Haruki realizes that he desires more than a one-sided crush on Akihiko. Mafuyu tells Ritsuka that he wants to write a new song.

Media release[edit]

Aniplex released Given across four volumes, in DVD and Blu-ray media formats.

Volume Episodes Release date Ref.
Volume 1 1–2 September 25, 2019 [45]
Volume 2 3-5 October 30, 2019 [45]
Volume 3 6-8 November 27, 2019 [45]
Volume 4 9-11 December 25, 2019 [45]

Film[edit]

A film sequel to the Given anime series was announced on September 19, 2019. The film is a direct continuation of the anime series and adapts the second arc of the manga, which focuses on the relationship between Haruki and Akihiko.[46] Development of the film was transferred from Noitamina to Blue Lynx, Fuji TV's yaoi anime label launched in 2019.[47] The production staff and voice cast of the anime adaptation returned for the film, including Hikaru Yamaguchi as director and Yuniko Ayana as screenwriter. The film was originally scheduled for release on May 16, 2020,[48][49] but was delayed to August 22, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[50][51] Select screenings of the film's from August 22 to 28 include an interview with the film's main cast, and footage of Mafuyu voice actor Shōgo Yano performing "Marutsuke".[52]

Other media[edit]

An eight-track mini album titled Gift (stylized in all lowercase) was released by Sony Music Japan on August 26, 2020. The album, credited to "Given" and marketed as an album by the band, collects the original songs from the television anime series and film. The album's cover artwork features an original illustration by Given series creator Natsuki Kizu.[53][54]

A stage play adaptation of Given was announced on April 3, 2020. The play was slated to be staged at theaters in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka from August 15 to September 6 of that year, but was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.[55] The play was to have been directed by Fumiya Matsuzaki, with Given anime screenplay writer Yuniko Ayana returning as scriptwriter.[56]

Reception[edit]

Manga[edit]

The second volume of Given reached #39 on Oricon, selling 17,484 copies in its second week for a total of 30,308 copies as of February 2016.[57] The third volume reached #37 on Oricon, and sold 24,345 copies in its first week.[58] The series ranked #7 in the boys' love category on the digital book service BookLive! in the first half of 2019.[59]

Anime[edit]

The anime adaptation of Given was positively received by critics. In a review of episodes one and two for Anime News Network, Steve Jones called the series "one of the season's most emotionally resonant offerings," praising its soundtrack and Yamaguchi's direction.[60] The series' writing, which Jones noted was "undercooked, but not egregiously so" in his initial review, was noted by Jones as improving in subsequent episodes.[61][62] Specific praise was given to the relationship between Mafuyu and Ritsuka, with Jones calling it "one of the most compelling anime romances of the year."[63]

In a review for Crunchyroll, Adam Wescott called Given "the best show you aren't watching right now," giving specific praise to its sound and lighting design.[64]

Film[edit]

In its opening weekend, the film adaptation of Given placed first in Kogyotsushinsha's ranking of mini-theater ticket sales.[65] The film placed 9th in the overall box office, despite opening in only 30 theaters – roughly one-tenth the number of theaters of its closest competitors.[66] By September 14, 2020, the film had sold 100,000 tickets.[67]

References[edit]

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