While checking out the Summer 2019 anime offerings I discovered there were two musical series heading our way. Since only one of the two new series is currently streaming in North America, I dove straight into the one I could get my hands on first: given. given centres around 16 year old Ritsuka Uenoyama, a guitarist who hasn’t felt his musical spark in some time. Then he encounters Mafuyu Sato clinging to a Gibson in need of repairs and begging for guitar lessons.
Ritsuka doesn’t agree to teach Mafuyu right away; he urges Mafuyu to try the school’s light music club out and begin his learning there. Instead, the aspiring guitarist spends his spare time learning how to re-string the instrument himself, hoping his willingness will change Ritsuka’s mind. It doesn’t, at least not at first. Ritsuka’s unsure that he could even teach his schoolmate how to play the guitar. After some gentle nudging and chiding from his bandmates, Ritsuka decides to give this mentoring thing a shot. And then he hears Mafuyu sing, which changes everything.
The other members of Ritsuka’s unnamed group are Ahikiko Kaji, drummer extraordinaire and resident heartbreaker, and bassist Haruki Nakayama. Both are in their early 20s, juggling several part time jobs to help feed their musical endeavours.
Music isn’t the only genre on the agenda here. There have been hints of romance in the air by way of furtive glances and muttered comments. Since we are so early into the story I’m not sure if these plot lines will serve to further the music or overshadow them. Fingers are crossed their life experiences fuel some fantastic songs performed by the in-anime group, who do supply the ending theme from episode two on. All of the great music anime series feature wonderful songs and have fans buying up companion albums.
I am a huge fan of music-based series, like Beck, Detroit Metal City, and Sensual Phrase. Whether they are struggling for that big break or just forming a new group, there’s something wonderful about these musicians’ tales. Only three episodes into the anime adaptation of Natsuki Kizu’s yaoi manga and I am already hooked on seeing this foursome’s journey toward greatness.