How to do an emotional payoff RIGHT: Given Episode 9

GivenEp9

Hello and welcome to Otaku Thursday. I’m going to start off by saying that I have NEVER revisited an anime after doing a first impression of it while it’s STILL airing. But that’s all about to change thanks to Given and the way they presented the revelation they’ve been working up to since episode one. But for all of you who aren’t caught up on this anime, you might want to skip this post because there will be spoilers abound. So let’s get into it.

At the beginning of Given’s story, we learn that the main character, Mafuyu, is clearly haunted by something. There’s a dark edge to him, and one that I certainly mentioned in my first impressions post. Mafuyu also kind of comes off as super bland when we first meet him, and overall seems to be the least charismatic. Which is funny because he’s actually the pivotal character that carries the story, and throughout the anime, we learn bits of what exactly haunts him. But never the whole story, and never all at once. We first get glimpses that he’d seen something awful but not what. Then it is later on revealed through a classmate of Uenoyama’s that Mafuyu was rumored to have been dating a guy, and that guy was apparently dead. So the show gave us an idea of what happened but didn’t give any details on whether or not this was true. But then we get confirmation that this rumor was true and that Mafuyu’s boyfriend had died. And more importantly, Mafuyu can’t put his feelings about it into words because he’s honestly bad with his own feelings and words. Makes sense why he comes off bland.

And then Mafuyu’s childhood friend shows up. And Hiiragi unloads a lot more about what happened. Through his flashback, not Mafuyu’s, we see that Mafuyu used to be in a relationship with his childhood friend Yuki. The two of them were super close and kind of like opposites—or rather more like they have qualities that the other is missing, and kind of complete each other. We see that the two of them were secretly dating for quite a while and that apparently when Mafuyu and Yuki started going to different schools, Mafuyu started to feel lonely. This eventually led to a fight between them. We don’t get the content of the fight, and all we know is that they didn’t speak for a few days, and that Yuki died and Mafuyu found him. It’s heavily implied at this point that Yuki had committed suicide, but it’s still fairly unclear why.

Then finally, FINALLY. In episode nine, we finally get a flawless payoff for Mafuyu. After spending an episode seeing him wander around and not really setting his feelings straight, or even really speaking about it, it feels SO good to see Given’s first live performance. Not only does Mafuyu finally sing lyrics (lyrics that practically scream his feelings about Yuki) AND during it, we get the final bit of information about what his fight with Yuki was about. Right at the climax of the song, after seeing flashbacks of Mafuyu and Yuki’s relationship, it’s found out that the last thing Mafuyu said to Yuki was: “would you die for me?” BOOM goes the dynamite. Like fuck. Then Mafuyu finds Yuki after he’s hung himself. And what Mafuyu could really not get out was that he couldn’t forgive Yuki nor could he ever forgive himself about what happened. And more than anything…he just missed him. The whole time—even the fight with Yuki that spurred this— it was all because Mafuyu missed him. He was lonely. And that was just so heartbreaking. And this reveal was not only matched perfectly with the lyrics of the song but even the way the song was composed. Together, everything that was building in this anime came to a climax. And it honestly was emotional to behold. Truly a great piece.

But…this is only episode 9. The anime is supposed to have 11 episodes…so where the FUCK is this anime going to end? I’m honestly curious. This episode was a pivotal moment for the band, Mafuyu, and Uenoyama & Mafuyu’s love story. It seemed like this was where the anime should end naturally. But we still got some time, so can’t wait to see how much higher they can raise this anime before the end.

P.S. I highly recommend you guys go check out this blog post between Irina and Karandi as they also talk about Given episode 9 on 100 word anime.

Til next time!

xoxo

Luna

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