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Boy’s Love Series Given Brings Band Together for Live-Action Adaptation

Live action singing Mafuyu THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

Given the band

Spoilers for Given (anime)

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Back in 2019, a clip circulated around Twitter from an anime I hadn’t heard of. That anime? Given. That clip? Right here:

Based on the still-running manga series released back in 2013 (note: the manga wasn’t released here until 2020), this clip prompted me to look into the series and become queer rockband trash for Given—which is also the name of the band. This clip, depicting a personally relatable image of gay panic, shows Ritsuka having a total meltdown about his feelings for Mafuyu (the singer in their band). Akihiko, to Ritsuka’s surprise, not only has no issue with him liking boys, it turns out Akihiko likes them, too.

Seeing a teenager being reassured about his sexuality so casually sold me on the series. Akihiko made being queer sound so normal, treating it as something you didn’t have to be scared of. I could understand why so many people were championing this series when this clip made the Twitter rounds and I’m happy to say the rest of the series is a delightful watch.

Here’s the premise for the anime series, which you can watch over at Crunchyroll:

Somehow, the guitar that he used to love to play and the basketball games that he found so fun just lost their appeal… that was until Ritsuka Uenoyama randomly met Mafuyu Sato. Ritsuka had started losing his passion for music in his everyday life, but then he hears Mafuyu sing for the first time. The song resonates with his heart and the distance between them starts to change.

The series deals with Ritsuka’s developing feelings for Mafuyu, but that’s not the sole focus, as the series also centers on Mafuyu and the grief he’s still dealing with in regards to his old boyfriend. Music becomes a way to express his feelings:

The manga, as to be expected, covers more content, touching on the relationship between Akihiko and Haruki (the bassist and leader of the band—he’s at least the most organized, lol). The movie touches on these two as well along with Akihiko’s rocky relationship with his boyfriend/not boyfriend/first love/not boyfriend/boyfriend/casual fling/not so casual … just read my review here.

According to Rafael Antonio Pineda for Anime News Network, the official Japanese website for Given announced a live-action, six-episode series that’ll begin airing on July 17 via Fuji TV on Demand. The website also announced a new original anime disc called Given: Uragawa no Sonzai (Given: The One on the Flip-Side) which will ship with limited edition copies of the manga’s seventh volume on December 1. The Flip-Side will show us what Ritsuka and Mafuyu were up to during the Given movie since they got very little screen time.

Personally, I’d just assumed that they were off snuggling somewhere while the older band members, Akihiko and Haruki, were working things out.

The live-action series has already cast its main four characters:

  • Jin Suzuki as Ritsuka Uenoyama
  • Sanari as Mafuyu Satō
  • Kai Inowaki as Akihiko Kaji
  • Shuntarō Yanagi as Haruki Nakayama

I’m beyond excited for getting yet another reason to get front row seats for more Given. I wanna see a live-action version of Mafuyu’s performance, especially since Sanari is a musical artist (warning: you will get sucked into his Spotify). I’m absolutely ready to listen to this music again and watch these boys fall in love.

I’m also curious to see how much of the story makes it into the live-action series. Six episodes is shorter than the anime, but depending on how long the episodes are, Ritsuka and Mafuyu’s story could be covered, easily, leaving time for Akihiko and Haruki. Also, with the manga being further in Japan than it is here in the U.S., I wonder if there will be time for additional manga content that we haven’t seen here yet (especially considering the description of the upcoming sixth volume that’ll release here in September).

Or it’ll just be about Ritsuka and Mafuyu in the way the anime was. Maybe a second season, then?

There’s no word on whether or not the live-action version will be available on Crunchyroll, however, since the anime and movie streamed there, I’m hoping that the live-action series will be available, too. Crunchyroll does have a drama section that has live-action series, so it’s possible that we could see Given there. As for that bonus DVD, well, I have no idea if that’ll ever make it here. I’m still waiting for a physical release of the anime, but maybe there’s a chance we’ll someday get a pretty boxset that has the content of that extra DVD on it?

Either way, I’m excited that Given is being talked about again.

(Image: Natsuki KIZU, SHINSHOKAN/given committee)

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Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)

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