Given – Episode 1 [First Impression]
Eva’s First Impression
Had some time tonight, so I decided to give this a whirl! And boy was this a good one!
If my memory is correct, it has been a while since I have last watched a dedicated Shounen-Ai, and Given has already given me the impression that it will be a lot more raw and realistic, something I tend to gravitate towards more, especially with this genre. Given starts off on a heavy note, with Satou Mafuyu being haunted in his dreams of finding someone (perhaps friend or family) who had committed suicide. The guitar he held when he found them is likely to have once belonged to them, and he has been keeping it close ever since. But the gloom of the tragedy doesn’t stay for too long, as the spirits was quickly raised with the charming first encounter between Mafuyu and Uenoyama Ritsuka, and their continuous meetings and interactions.
Although Mafuyu was the one who kicked off the episode, we didn’t actually learn much about him beyond the fact he’s a quiet, soft-spoken individual who gives me the impression he is a bit of a clingy type, especially once he finds something or someone he wants to latch onto. We saw just that when Ritsuka, unable to turn a blind eye to his worn out and broken strings on his guitar fixed it for him, prompting him to ask Ritsuka to teach him how to play the instrument. And that resolve only grew even further when Ritsuka begrudgingly agreed to let him sit in and listen to him jam it out with his fellow musicians, Nakayama Haruki and Kaiji Akihiko. Mafuyu is very much comes across as if he is a lost puppy that needs to be protected from the cruel world, which was the exact reason why Ritsuka had such a hard time dealing with him.
On the flip-side, we learned quite a bit about Ritsuka. He picked up the guitar in sixth grade and has become obsessed with music ever since. However ever since high school, his excitement dwindled as he polished his skills and butt-heads with various other musicians he used to play with, possibly because he didn’t feel like they meshed well with his skill-level or perhaps their vibes or direction they wanted to clashed with each other. Nonetheless, it looks like Mafuyu will be playing an instrumental role of reigniting that fire within him, as his bandmates have noticed he was more energetic than usual when they played a cool piece for him.
And it’s probably because we learned more about Ritsuka’s character today was the reason why he was the highlight of the episode for me. And it certainly didn’t take me long to quickly become enamoured with him. In an instance when he could have been a jerk to Mafuyu by telling him bugger off from the place he usually takes his naps, or stubbornly refused to fix Mafuyu’s guitar, he not only let him stay but caved in and fixed his battered strings. Perhaps the sweetest and most adorable part of the episode was how Ritsuka was being consumed by the guilt of trying to avoid Mafuyu, only to find he was not waiting for him at the usual spot. As it turned out, he really didn’t need to worry about him too much after-all, as Mafuyu had followed his advice, tried out the Light Music Club and attempted to learn how to restring, tune and play the guitar on his own, before coming back to meet with Ritsuka and his bandmates. I also thought it was very cute how he gave him the tentative nickname for Mafuyu was hilarious: “Teach-Me-Guitar-Dude”.
As for the other two, aside from the fact Akihiko and Ritsuka’s sister used to date, he and Haruki are actually older than Sato, and certainly gave me the impression if there’s going to be any goofiness in the group, it’s definitely going to be between those two, haha! They haven’t really caught my attention beyond that, but I look forward to getting to know them in due time.
The animation was also solid all round. I am a fan with the choice of color composition they went with this since I found it blended really well with the CGI that would later be used when they performed. I was also pleased with the decision to make sure the cuts were not longer than they needed to be so it would draw less attention to it. One of the things that drives me nuts about CGI mixing with 2D animation in general is when the difference between the two is so apparent, it makes it jarring to watch. Fortunately, the blend between the two was almost seamlessly done, well enough that I didn’t actually notice it at first, and for me to praise. I was curious about how much of it was CGI, I went back to watch it in slow motion, and between 13:18 minutes and 15:15. It wasn’t as much as I thought there would be, and I was pleased with what I saw despite there being moments when the CGI movements would be a bit stiff, but that’s to be expected. However the one thing that was the most out of place was in fact the special particles effect, or more specifically: the smoke explosion.
And of course we cannot overlook the music! Although the improv jam was short and sweet, yet super satisfying to listen to. I enjoyed every second of it. It was so much fun to listen to, and it makes me very excited for the future pieces they will play together, especially once we get to hear Mafuyu sing. We didn’t get to hear his voice this week, which makes me all the more excited for the next episode. (Hopefully they don’t end it on a cliffhanger, haha!)
Overall Given had a solid premiere. It was well paced, great music and a pleasant cast of characters that aren’t over-the-top, at least for now at least. I look forward to what the story has to offer, so this is definitely a show I will be watching this season. However I am not certain whether or not I can see myself covering on a weekly basis, or I have the time to pick up a third title this summer if nobody else on the team plans to pick it up.
Possibility of Blogging: Low
Possibility of Watching: High
Midnight’s First Impression
I can’t remember the last time I didn’t even make it to the halfway point of an episode before I absolutely fell in love with an anime before. The art is beautiful, the music is gorgeous and even this early on I can tell i’m probably going to love all of the characters. The only one I didn’t immediately attach too is Sato, while he’s absolutely adorable. The whole lost puppy thing has never exactly been my kind of thing, It’s a personal preference really more then a flaw in his character. Though at the very end of the episode I could absolutely see the potential for him to grow into an interesting character.
So far, my two favorite characters are the ones we know the least about. Haruki and Kaji. I actually took one look at Haruki in the opening and went “That one.” and adopted him on the spot and it was only reaffirmed as him and Kaji showed up in the episode.
Uenoyama is also entirely my kind of character, the sort of jaded and worn out person who finds a new lease on what they love through someone else. The way he brightened up and shined during the music practice scene was an absolute joy to watch. He was also just adorable during the part of the episode where he was sulking like a child from not seeing Sato around. Sitting, looking lost with his mouth hanging open.
Lerche is doing a really good job with the art, I was actually kind of stunned by how nice this anime looked. I wouldn’t say it’s top tier, or even the best of the season, still though, it’s nice and rather visually pleasing.
I can’t get over the music practice scene, it was the scene that stood out the most to me. The colors, the music, the pure joy captured on the faces of the characters as they played their instruments. It was really fantastic.
The beginning of the episode clearly alludes to something dark in Sato’s past, something about that guitar. I’m sure we’re going to find out about it later, the genre’s on this were music, romance, boys-love and drama. It’s that drama tag that really has me freaking out, I really don’t want anything bad to happen to any of these characters.
I want to hug them all protectively!
Now, if I know my boy love and I like to think I do. It’s fairly clear that Sato/Uenoyama is going to be the ‘main’ couple of the series where a majority of the drama and attention will be focused. It’s fairly clear to me though that Haruki and Kaji will be the ‘secondary’ couple and will probably get their own fair share of relationship drama. It’s kind of fun to see a music based Boys Love show, the only one that I can think of before this is Gravitation and I can already tell this is a very different kind of story and anime compared to that.
The ending of the episode was really solid as well, Sato picking himself up and teaching himself how to fix strings and tune the guitar on his own. Taking Uenoyama’s advice and going to the light music club for help, but in the end, he’s not interested in them and says straight out that Uenoyama is more fun.
I really can’t wait to see what kind of directions this show will go, I am both excited and dreading getting into the backstory of what we saw at the beginning of the episode.
Possibility of watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of blogging: Legit, halfway through the episode I immediately said to