Given: The Movie – Music Can Be Life

So, this week is going to focused on reviewing works I talked about with other bloggers. I mean, it’s only going to be a couple posts but that is the theme I am going with. Yeah, I waited a while to write these two posts because I didn’t want to over step any boundaries and give each post some time to gain views. If you remember a few months back, I did a Given: The Movie collab with Irina, Karandi, and Shoujo. Very good bloggers that you should follow for their own unique content. This was a fun one because we all really like Given. It’s a very soft and emotional series centered on some music felt real. If you watched the series, then you know all about these facts. The movie was a follow up to this show. Yay!

The tv series of Given focused on the emotional beats, dramatic backstories, and a solid love story with excellent music. A good story being a high-strung guitar player and massive tsundere Ritsuka Uenoyama and depressed soft boy Mafuyu Sato who wants to learn how to play guitar. You can read my review for that here, but basically that’s the story. Through a powerful musical song, the two joined together. That introduction doesn’t cover the other side of the equation. All of this drama was thought out and resolved through Rituksa and Mafuyu joining a band with two older members. Those two being the bass player Haruki Nakayama and the drummer Akihiko Kaji. While they had a story in the show, this movie is their story after they got the title of “given”.

Given: The Movie is a much more adult film compared to the very high school and pure love story compared to the tv series. Even if the feelings from Mafuyu were messy, how it went about wasn’t because of how pure Ritsuka is. What I am saying is that this one a messy adult conflict and love story involving messy people. Ok, Haruki is still a pure boy that works hard and has had a crush on Akihito for a long time, but Akihito himself is a messy one. He loves with a former lover Ugetsu Murata who is an excellent violin player but shuts himself off from the rest of the world because his apartment doesn’t let sound escape. Very characterizing. Plus, Akihito sleeps around with women through a lot of one-night stands while he’s running away because he’s attractive. Yet, Haruki still has a crush on him.

The real drama of the story happens when Akihito starts staying over at Haruki’s apartment. They form a much purer relationship despite Ugetsu’s pushing and anger. But that’s the story. It’s a story of messiness moving towards pureness through music and love. Akihito actually confronts a lot of the things he is running away from, his passion, his parents, and Ugetsu who weighs down all of that tension on top of him and soaks himself in it. It did happen a little too fast and quickly though. For all that tension he built himself, what happened seemed a little too easy as a result for me. I know that life can change fast and music is powerful and emotional, but life styles don’t resolve themselves so quickly. Maybe that is a start of all of this when we won’t see it all happen until more is adapted if there is more to adapt.

There are some other issues at play here too. For instance, Ritsuka doesn’t even have a screen presence either. He’s just there during meeting with the given band or when they played with Mafuyu around him. Mafuyu wasn’t much either besides the vehicle for the emotions to be transmitted for Haruki, Akihito, and Ugetsu to get their emotions resolved. I also wish there was more time in either this film or taking the film and making it a six-episode mini-series instead or something instead of what we got. That would at least allow us to know how the relationship between Ritsuka and Mafuyu was going and would space out all the events that happened in Given: The movie to make it feel a bit more impact. That is just me though because the film did hit all the right beats. Just wasn’t as soul crushing as I wanted.

The writing and direction behind the given tv series was what made that series work because the art was ok and animation was kind of bleh. This movie is about the same with a little bit less writing work behind it and some visual things that are just slightly better than the movie if anything. For instance, there was still a lot of cg revolving around Mafuyu when he song his second song with no focus on his arms on the guitar at all when he’s in motion. It’s a very still a thoughtful movie that sits on scenes and conversations between the characters in it in very good motions. These were conversations that didn’t linger for too long or too forcefully at all. That could be because the writers know what they are doing or it could be the shorter runtime. Either way, it was a thing that happened.

That’s why I am going to give it a good. It’s good for what we get, but I wish it could have been a bit more. Then again, that’s a good sign for something like this because there are hungry people that want to be fed with more of it in the future if it’s possible. Especially since this wasn’t a dip in major quality, just a dip in time for it all here. Once again, a good sign because if this movie failed in its execution, we wouldn’t want more of it. OH man, I need to watch that BL movie that appeared on Crunchyroll a month ago. I’m so slow when it comes to watching newer things sometimes.


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