It’s the arrival of a Given live action adaptation.
For those who followed my coverage of the Given anime series with Irina, you will know we both kind of loved it. So the opportunity to see a live-action version of Given is surely tempting with a vague sense of trepidation in wondering how could it possibly top the amazingly emotive experience the anime already gave us?
Seriously, I have Mafuyu singing his song as a poster on my wall in my study and there he will stay as the amazing and inspirational character that he is.
And the opening moments of this Given Live-Action adaptation weren’t awesome.
The opening of the anime drew you right in with how quiet it was with the actions speaking for themselves. And then the sound began to build.
But this isn’t going to just be comparing Given Live-Action version to Given Anime version. Honestly, they deserve to be judged on their own merits and once I got over the fact that this wasn’t going to be the anime with real people, I kind of got drawn right in because I’m going to say, I loved this episode.
Given Live-Action, Worth It.
The story begins with Uenoyama explaining how he found and then lost his passion for his guitar and music. It is this disenchanted and kind of defeated character we meet at the beginning who then has a chance encounter with another boy sleeping in the stairwell with a guitar.
Now, I know I said I wouldn’t compare to the anime, but I will remind you that Irina and I declared the stairwell our favourite character at one point in our episode reviews of the anime. And I’m going to say that seeing stairwell-kun in live action was probably the best thing ever. How does one set of stairs have that much personality?
Probably because of the attention to details such as light and shadows as well as colour and textures. Something that has carried over into the Given Live Action version. Even if the first ten minutes there’s so much attention on lighting and this continues all through the episode. That and hands. So much focus on character’s hands.
It definitely makes it a little more interesting to watch.
Uenoyama actually ends up initiating their interactions by critiquing Mafuyu’s lack of guitar maintenance and before he knows it Mafuyu is following him to band practice.
Mafuyu does an excellent job here of looking hopeful and nervous simultaneously and once the band starts playing his expression says it all.
This was something I was worried about as we moved dove into the Given Live-Action and that was that the characters wouldn’t have enough nuance in their expressions to really convey the emotions of each scene. I can assure you, they can.
Of course, Given whether as an anime or as a live action is an anime about a band and music, and also a relationship and the characters and their journeys, but if the music sucks it would be hard to stick around. Fortunately, the band kind of rocked and not just because the whole band sequence was filtered through Mafuyu’s fan-boying.
While the anime is still going to be my go-to for this particular story (it really did take a special place in my heart), I’m really impressed at this first episode of the Given live action adaptation and I am keen to watch the next 5 episodes to see how much of the story they tell and how it plays out with real people rather than in anime.
It certainly seems like a lot of attention to detail was put into the making of this episode and the two boys playing Mafuyu and Uneoyama seem to work really well together. There’s already been a number of scenes that have set my heart fluttering and we’re not even that far into the story yet.
Anyway, if you checked out this first episode, let me know what you thought and if you haven’t given it a look, it is on Crunchyroll.
Images from: Given. Dir. K Miki. 2021
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