Vol: 9; Ch: 51
2013 - 2023
4.385 out of 5 from 2,904 votes
Rank #89

Ritsuka Uenoyama is bored with it all—with school, with his basketball club, and even with his one true passion: playing guitar. Until the day he finds his favorite hidden napping spot occupied by a strange boy cradling a broken-stringed guitar. At first, Uenoyama is nonplussed by Mafuyu Sato and his slightly odd behavior, but when, on a whim, he asks the other boy to sing, the power of Mafuyu’s voice pierces him to the core.

Source: SuBLime

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Personally, I think Given deserves all the love and hype surrounding it. It's fascinating how good the narration of this story is and it evokes a lot of emotions. Story: 9.5 The story begins with Uenoyama who just wants to sleep when he finds a boy hugging a guitar with broken strings at his napping spot. Bothered by the boy's strange personality, he hurriedly fixes the boy's guitar and tells him to scram. But the boy, Mafuyu is taken by Uenoyama's playing and begins trailing after the other for lessons. While initially annoyed by Mafuyu's adamancy, Uenoyama grows somewhat comfortable with the other before becoming helplessly entranced by Mafuyu's voice.  I think this story's exploration of grief and love, the two main themes, is top-notch. It had me experiencing and questioning a lot of emotions. My biggest praise would be the dialogue and words in this manga. They're all incredibly heartfelt and meaningful, and do an excellent job of reinforcing the storyline. The complexity of emotions, threaded with light humor and drama, makes Given's narration so enjoyable to read. I wouldn't really come here expecting a fast-paced romance, more a slice-of-life exploration of young adults.  Art: 10 The art, without a doubt, is absolutely incredible. Through all her works, from her doujinshis to published manga, Natsuki Kizu has never failed to amaze me with how she can capture emotion into a single frame. After reading her works, I've never found a single artist that can come close to her facial expressions and I doubt anyone can rival her in that department. While her dialogue itself is beautiful, she lets the art fill in the gaps that the words never could. I think that sort of skill, the ability to make people feel, immediately gives this manga a full score in art.  Characters: 9 The characterization and depth of the individuals in this story are something that you don't see in most stories. The author throws at them relatable problems of all different scales, but because they're constructed so uniquely and individually, they each face them in such starkly different ways. For the author to have such a great understanding of perspective, emotion, and the disaster that follows was very commendable.  I know Given follows the story of Uenoyama and Mafuyu, but I think the author expanded her focus to the others as well. I personally appreciated that, but I know other readers aren't fond of that. Some people also find the characters bland or stagnant, which is understandable, but I think it's a bit realistic given their backgrounds. How every character experiences things is so thoughtfully construed and along with the art, it's nothing short of impressive. Overall: 9.5 This is for people who want something tender, who want to see the thought that's gone into the cultivation of story, art, and characters. There is so much going on in terms of feelings, it's worth a couple of reads to appreciate properly. Don't come into this expecting a BL like all the others we've seen before, because it's nothing like that. It requires some patience and appreciation for poignant things, and as such, I'd say it's not everyone's cup of tea.  Natsuki Kizu creates like she's gone through several lifetimes and wants to share all her experiences and emotions. While the characters may not be everyone's favorites, I think the messages that are conveyed are superb. It's a carefully constructed story about people in grief and love, and how both emotions collide against each other differently in different people.  

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