The Given Movie takes place where the anime series previously left off. This film sequel follows the band's progress as they work towards a music festival audition. Unlike the anime series, the movie shifted its focus towards a messy love triangle, fuelled by lots of arguments, tears, and sexual tension.
For those of you excited about this movie, you may want to keep your expectations down. Sadly, the Given movie doesn’t capture the same magic as the anime series. The story might be heavy on melodrama, but it lacks nuance, passion, and sophistication.
Given Movie Summary
Around an hour + a prequel anime series.
Dramatic and intense
Yes, written by Natsuki Kizu
Yes, the Given movie has gay romances.
Akihiko's indie rock band is preparing for a big audition, possibly securing a performance spot in a prestigious music festival. Mafuyu, one of Akihiko's bandmates, is eager to write a new song for the upcoming festival. He finds his creative inspiration after being introduced to Ugetsu, a talented violinist with a moody and aloof personality.
Ugetsu used to have a romantic past with Akihiko back in their high school days. The two of them have broken up, but they still live together in an oddly codependent relationship. It was Ugetsu who ended their relationship at first, believing that Akihiko was holding him back in his musical career. However, Akihiko still has lingering feelings for his ex-boyfriend, and Ugetsu can't seem to put their relationship to rest either.
Meanwhile, fellow band member Haruki feels distressed over his secret unrequited crush on Akihiko. The self-doubt and the feelings of inadequacy have made Haruki start questioning his own role in the band. One night, Akihiko shows up at Haruki's apartment after having a messy fight with Ugetsu. In his drunken stupor, Akihiko makes a forceful sexual advance on Haruki, which changes the nature of their relationship forever.
Given Movie Trailer
Given Movie Cast
Takuya Eguchi (江口拓也)
Akihiko may look intimidating with his numerous piercings and muscular stature, but he's pretty mellow once you get to know him. This ruggedly handsome musician is popular with both sexes, and he's quite confident in his sexuality. A man of few words, Akihiko often keeps his inner thoughts and true feelings to himself.
Masatomo Nakazawa (中澤まさとも)
Haruki is a sweet and sensitive musician with an easygoing personality. He harbours secret feelings for his friend Akihiko, which are seemingly not reciprocated. Occasionally, Haruki feels insecure about his musical talent, especially compared to the other members in his band.
Shintarō Asanuma (浅沼晋太郎)
Ugetsu is Akihiko's ex-boyfriend and current roommate. The two of them were each other's first loves. They have a strange codependent relationship despite breaking up years ago. Ugetsu is also a talented violinist who performs music for a living.
Shōgo Yano (矢野奨吾)
Yuuma Uchida (内田雄馬)
Takeuchi Ryouta (竹内良太)
Given Movie Review
Anime Review Score: 5.9
Sigh. I was really excited to watch the Given Movie, so maybe my expectations were set too high for this sequel. Unfortunately, this movie just left me feeling disappointed and unsatisfied. Many of the things that I enjoyed in the original anime series just didn't translate well in the movie sequel.
While the Given Movie is packed with constant drama, most of it feels disjointed and undeveloped. Some plots are suddenly introduced and then abruptly dropped. Other plots go around in tedious circles without much action happening in between. Most of these storylines could have been interesting if executed well, but the movie fumbled and didn't know what to focus on.
The story was all over the place. I feel the quality might have suffered from condensing an entire season of storylines into a single movie. As a result, none of the plots got the focus or development it deserved.
This movie is fuelled by drama instead of romance. A lot of bickering, fighting, and crying, but not enough kissing, flirting, and romancing. I didn't feel engaged in the relationship between Akihiko and Ugetsu or the relationship between Akihiko and Haruki.
Music? What music? Although the movie's plot was about the band working towards a music festival audition, this felt more like an afterthought. The characters still got together to rehearse, write songs, or whatever, but it didn't matter in the grand scheme of things.
In the anime, Mafuyu's live performance was the emotional climax of the entire series. In the movie, Mafuyu sang another song on stage again, but his performance paled a lot in comparison. This time, his song didn't have the same poignancy or emotional resonance as before. It felt very ordinary, pretty much like the rest of this movie.
Akihiko & Ugetsu
The love triangle was a bust. It was obvious from the start how this would end, with Akihiko choosing Haruki once he got over his feelings for Ugetsu. Nonetheless, the Given movie dragged out the drama for as long as possible. Nobody came out of it looking great: Akihiko was a total player, Haruki gave off too much pitiful “love me, choose me” vibes, and Ugetsu annoyed the hell out of me.
Ugetsu can't seem to make up his mind on whether he wants to get back together with Akihiko. I don't understand his character at all, and his constant moodiness got on my nerves. Dude, weren't you the one who dumped him in the first place? Why are you throwing these hissy fits and tearful tantrums over your ex-boyfriend? To me, it's quite apparent that Ugetsu has zero reason to hang around Akihiko after breaking up with him. Whatever excuse he gives is bullshit. Just pack your bags, leave him alone, and move on already!
Throughout the movie, I couldn't feel engaged with the on-and-off relationship between Akihiko and Ugetsu. Partly it's because their romance barely got any development. I wished they elaborated more on the flashbacks of Ugetsu and Akihiko in their high school days, which seemed interesting. It could've given us more context as to why these two have such deep lingering feelings for each other.
Akihiko & Haruki
Although it was obvious that Haruki and Akihiko would get together in the end, their relationship also felt lacklustre. We got an abundance of scenes with Haruki pining after Akihiko, but there wasn't a lot of actual romance between them. Even when they were living together, their scenes felt more like two bros hanging out, five feet apart because they ain't gay. Sure, they were getting along, but I never got the sense that these two were falling in love with each other.
Haruki and Akihiko only shared one intimate scene together in the movie, which was rather controversial due to the non-consensual nature of their encounter. With heightened emotions and complicated boundaries, this provocative scene was probably the highlight of the Given movie, although some would argue the opposite. It was one of the few times in the movie when I felt emotionally riveted. I could feel my heart beating faster, not knowing what would happen between them in the heat of the moment.
After that scene, I wouldn't blame Haruki if he severed all ties with Akihiko forever. If anything, I thought Haruki forgave him almost too easily, and they were back to being friends again like nothing happened. Of course, I would've loved to see a healthy, consensual encounter take place, but sadly we got nothing. Overall, the movie didn't do a great job at depicting this romance. It just wasn't a pleasant experience to watch their love story unfold.
Mafuyu and Uenoyama
I actually liked that the movie focused on Akihiko and Haruki, who were secondary characters in the original anime series. I don't mind so much that Mafuyu and Uenoyama took a backseat, although they were really sidelined for most of the movie. At least Mafuyu got a half-assed plot about growing as a musician or whatever, whereas Uenoyama barely existed at all. Oh, he’s busy doing “remedial classes” off-screen! 😓
Since they've officially gotten together in the anime, I was expecting the Mafuyu and Uenoyama to behave more like a couple in the movie. However, their relationship appeared to be strangely platonic, and the two of them didn't share any affection with each other outside of one brief moment. If you were hoping to see some cute Mafuyu and Uenoyama scenes, just know you get nothing but meagre scraps.
I've always liked the art style in the Given anime, and this carries over in the movie as well. The scenes looked vibrant, colourful, and pleasing to the eye.
Akihiko was probably the best character, even though I don't agree with everything he said or did. He's a complex character with some notable flaws. It was interesting to watch him go on a journey of growth and self-discovery during the movie.
Yes. Nothing too explicit, but some minor fanservice was evident. There's a notable segment where Haruki finds himself in a sexually compromising position. That entire scene basically reminded me of a saucy 18+ BL game.
Yes, there was an intense non-consensual encounter between Akihiko and Haruki that might feel triggering. You will like Akihiko much less after watching that scene.
Akihiko & Haruki bonding
In the middle of the movie, there was a short blissful honeymoon period where Akihiko and Haruki enjoyed each other's company. It felt like such a reprieve from the nonstop drama, and I appreciated the scenes where Akihiko and Haruki actually bonded.
Make this a series
Scrap the movie and make this a normal-length season instead. In an episodic structure, we would have more time to explore these multiple storylines, which would've flowed much better.
The Given movie was just too short and felt like it ended too quickly. Akihiko goes through some significant character growth near the end, but we only get a quick montage of it happening off-screen. Akihiko also confesses his love to Haruki, but again we don't get any scenes of them as a couple afterwards. If the movie was at least an hour longer, all these important plots could've been elaborated and given the attention that they needed. Instead, the ending was rushed and unsatisfying to watch.
Despite my numerous misgivings, the Given movie isn't entirely bad. It moves along quickly and there's enough drama to keep you entertained for the whole hour. The art also looks great with bright and vibrant visuals that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
While the overall movie was still watchable, I just wished it was better. From the anime series, I know Given could show a lot of emotional depth in its storytelling. Unfortunately, this movie just didn't live up to the potential. Based on my love for the anime series, I still have a lot of goodwill towards the Given franchise. I have hope that a new season or their next movie will significantly improve in its quality.
Given Anime Series
Given 2019 anime series Series review
Before starting the Given Movie, you will want to watch the Given anime series first. The anime series has 11 episodes that will introduce the characters in more depth.
The anime series focuses on Mafuyu and Uenoyama, while the anime movie focuses on Haruki and Akihiko. I highly recommend the anime series, which is an excellent story. Unlike the movie, the Given anime actually has the time to develop the characters and explore the storylines in depth.
Given Movie Information
- Anime News Network Given Movie Anime News Network
- Crunchyroll Watch Given on Crunchyroll
- MyAnimeList Given Movie MyAnimeList