OP: 「キヅアト」 (Kizuato) by (centimillimental)
「Boys in the Band」
It’s awkward, it’s slow, it’s mellow, and I can’t help but feel a little prickle of warmth because of it. I’m not hooked on the series by any means but the colour schemes and the softness found in the character design made the first episode of Given endearing.
Let me give a quick overview of the premise. Two boys meet in a staircase and fall in love. I’m kidding. It’s a bit more complex than that. One boy, seemingly alone and somber, carries a broken Gibson guitar around as a memento of a lost loved one and when, by chance, the other boy helps fix it, the two connect over music. As the series will progress, together with Kaji Akihiko (Eguchi Takuya) and Nakayama Haruki (Nakazawa Masamoto), they make up the band ‘Given’.
Off the bat it’s made clear this shounen ai series won’t rely too heavily on the genre’s regular tropes (sexual assault, adult/pre-teen relations, etc.). First off, both main characters Satou Mafuyu (Yano Shougo) and Uenoyama Ritsuka (Uchida Yuuma) are of similar age and to some extent, relatable. Mafuyu’s puppy-like allure makes him vulnerable but not without spunk. He’s determined and driven to learn even when pushed away. Plus, his cute demeanour and persistence help soften Ritsuka’s strong outer shell. So far my favourite thing is Ritsuka’s facial expression when Mafuyu makes him blush. The other reason I think we’ll be rid of the genre’s wider clichés is because the anime series is mainly a music series which is nailing the OST if you ask me. As mentioned before, music is the ground on which both main characters and supporting characters stand on. Their ultimate goal will be to succeed by sharing their passion so moving forward I imagine there’ll be some live events, jam sessions, and band drama.
Now, I won’t go too much into the details of the show just yet because it isn’t really my strong suit to review romance but I can say I will spend the next week or two watching the series before I decide whether or not I watch it through. Right now, the band’s music is essentially just a jam session between bandmates but with Mafuyu joining as their next vocalist, I’m hoping for some good tunes. I’m most definitely returning for music over romance, but only for now.
I’ve watched quite a few premieres this season, and although it wasn’t the best of the bunch, this first episode was good enough to make me want to watch the next episode, which says a lot. Remember, at this stage in my life, I’m much more into comedy, action, fantasy, sci-fi and gore than light romance. I’m hoping this series might rope be back into the genre I once loved so much as a teenage girl.
ED: 「まるつけ」 (Mirutsuke) by (Given)