Regarded by anime fans and critics as one of the best manga-to-anime adaptations, Given – ギヴン is an 11-episode anime that premiers in the summer of 2019.

Given (ギヴン) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Natsuki Kizu. It has been serialized in the bimonthly manga magazine Chéri+ since 2013 and has been collected into seven tankōbon volumes by Shinshokan.

The series follows a group of four students in an amateur rock band, and the dual romantic relationships that form among them: between electric guitarist Ritsuka Uenoyama and vocalist Mafuyu Satō, and between bassist Haruki Nakayama and drummer Akihiko Kaji.

Given anime centers on the romantic relationship between electric guitarist Ritsuka Uenoyama and vocalist Mafuyu Satō | Credit: Lerche
  • Given is roughly divided into two major story arcs. The first arc, which focuses primarily on the relationship between Ritsuka and Mafuyu, follows the formation of the band and the lead-up to their first live performance. This arc is what the 11-episode anime is all about. This arc is the focus of this review.
  • The second arc, which focuses primarily on the relationship between Akihiko and Haruki, follows the band as they prepare for their first music festival. This arc is adapted into an anime movie. After these two arcs, the manga is now going on with a third story arc, based on Hiiragi and Shizusumi’s relationship.


While taking a nap in a quiet spot on the gymnasium staircase, Mafuyu Satō has a chance encounter with fellow student Ritsuka Uenoyama, who berates him for letting his guitar strings rust and break. Noticing Uenoyama’s knowledge of the instrument, Sato pleads for him to fix it and teach him how to play. Uenoyama eventually agrees and invites him to sit in on a jam session with his two bandmates.


Similar to other great anime of the genre such as Nana, Kids on the Slope, most recently Carole & Tuesday, music is used as a platform to unite people of different backgrounds who probably wouldn’t associate with one another otherwise. This gives the narrative a feeling of “destiny”; that it was meant for these characters to be together in this exact moment and create something special that will change their lives forever. Given does well to hammer this theme and make the viewer feel as if they are watching legends in the making.

MAL Review by 84DaysWithout

While it centers on Arc 1 of the ‘given’ manga storyline, it is a complete anime in itself. From the moment Mafuyu and Ritsuka met on the stairs towards the band rehearsals and the final episode – where Mafuyu is finally allowed to sing (or the audience is given the first option to hear his voice) – Given offers the complete package. It’s a very engaging series that presents both subtle and obvious hints about relationships, growing up and tragic and endearing consequences.

The side story of Mafuyu adds a painful and angsty dimension to the boy band dynamics. It gives reason to the impact of the song. It validates Ritsuka’s insistence for Mafuyu to sing and be part of the band. That’s what made this anime so powerful and so poignant.

Overall rating: 9.25 out of 10