WARNING: This post may contain spoilers for Given The Movie.
The movie picks up after the events that occurred in the first season, and while we didn’t see much of Mafuyu and Uenoyama aside from a few brief moments, I’m happy the movie shines the spotlight on the band’s other members, drummer Akihiko and bassist Haruki. The events in this movie are focused mainly on Akihiko and his story, which is largely about losing yourself in a relationship, but Haruki and his unrequited love for Akihiko also takes center stage.
For the most part, Given The Movie is very much about rediscovering the passions you lost in the midst of heartbreak and struggle. Because of all that’s explored, for a good part of the movie, I felt like I was in the stark cold of Winter, but by its end I found myself welcoming the warmth of Spring and all the renewal it brings.
Having to overlook your love for someone because you know you aren’t good or healthy for one another is never an easy task, and in Given The Movie, this is beautifully, but also heartbreakingly, conveyed as you see Akihiko battle with whether or not he wants to leave Ugetsu for good. There’s a lot of emotional weight to Given’s movie, and as a result, I cried more times than I’d like to admit, but it’s also important to note that it also made me smile, because as Mafuyu sings, “A new day will dawn” and it definitely does by its end.
But before we get there, there are a lot of sad, tear-jerking moments to experience, but these moments have always been one of Given’s biggest strengths. Not only do they pull you into the character’s emotions, they also make you feel them yourself, and the movie is yet another strong example of this.
The music featured in the movie is also strong. While Mafuyu’s first song gave him closure, the song at the end of the film was made to reach others, like Akihiko. When paired with the inner dialogue that Akihiko and Ugetsu are having as he sings this song, and how it connects with them, makes this scene even more unforgettable.
Given has some of the best music I’ve ever heard in an anime thanks to the castings for the vocals and instrumentals of the band. I also have to mention the fact that in this new song, you can really hear the presence of the drums and I love this, because it mirrors the emotions that Akihiko is feeling in that moment.
I hold this series near and dear to my heart, because I used to be a music photographer who was going to concerts every week; I was living and breathing music for quite some time and I loved it. What started out as a passion though became more and more like a job, and for certain reasons, I found myself losing love for something that I once enjoyed.
For a while, I couldn’t listen to music and I’m not completely sure as to why, but Given’s movie got me listening to it again for the first time in months. In this way, I really related with Akihiko losing his passion for music, but regaining it again over the course of the movie.
It connected with me emotionally and it's the series ability to connect with others that makes it a truly special watch. There’s a realness to the characters in Given that allows it to relate with us on a deeper level, and we see this even more with the movie as we learn more about Akihiko and Haruki.
Given The Movie is one of my favorites of the year so far, and like a good song, it’s one I haven’t been able to get out of my head since its release. Not only does it give us more character development, but it has an emotional story that’s excellently told and builds in a way that makes it impactful. Because of these reasons and more, it hits all the right notes. It’s one of the most powerful and heartfelt anime films that I’ve ever watched and I’m anxious to see more in the seasons to come!