Given

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Given follows a band called The Seasons, looking for their shot at fame. Guitarist Ritsuka one day stumbles into his shy classmate Mafuyu who is often seen clutching a guitar. After being convinced to teach him to actually play that guitar, Ritsuka finds a lot of hidden talent within Mafuyu, along with a certain bubbly feeling that he himself can’t seem to explain.

After bassist Haruki and drummer Akihiko give their OK to let the shy kid join their band, Mafuyu slowly begins to open up about his feelings and emotions, even when his past catches up to him.

Unlike most boys love series, Given doesn’t put the focus on the queer aspects of the characters. If anything, the framing of the characters’ romance interests is presented as completely normal which is a refreshing approach.

Instead, the real focus of the series is entirely on the friends and the music they attempt to create. This helps to convey a better and more coherent story, to the point where it pretty much grounds itself in reality rather than something that people might consider fan service.

You can watch Given for free on Crunchyroll (regional restrictions may apply).

 

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Shoma wins the Japanese Nationals

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After an extremely rough season so far Shoma finally found a coach he seems to feel comfortable around and managed to snag the victory at the Japanese Nationals right away. While his performance wasn’t spotless, it was a difference like night and day compared to his time without a coach earlier in the season.

Yuzuru was visibly exhausted and goes into a well deserved break with the silver medal. While he was understandably not really satisfied with his own skate, there was also no one happier for Shoma than Yuzuru. After all, Yuzu did call Shoma his little puppy ;)

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Shoma: “I don’t want to discuss the placement too much. Neither of us skated our best. Still, to win over him was one of the biggest goals of my skating life. I and everyone else in Japan knows that Yuzu-kun is the best skater in Japan. He is a great and extraordinary presence. So I have always wanted to beat Yuzu-kun just once, even more than I wanted to go to the Olympics—because I have always looked up to him.”

Yuzuru: “Shoma has finally returned to his old self, and I’m glad to have lost to him properly for the first time. I’m very happy for him. I could see that he was going through a difficult and painful time, so I am glad to see him skate like himself again. Now, Shoma can say wholeheartedly that he is a real Japanese champion, because he won in a year in which I was able to compete here. I congratulated him from the bottom of my heart.”