After the explosiveness of last week’s episode, calling this episode “Wonderwall” almost seems like a meta joke. “Hey, sorry for making you choke on your emotions; anyway, here’s ‘Wonderwall’.” The tonal shift is ridiculous but so well done and indicative of this show as a whole.
“Wonderwall” is pretty much twenty minutes of gay panic. After Ritsuka’s confidence last week – kissing Mafuyu as though it wasn’t some life-altering event – it was pretty hilarious to watch him freak out for basically the entire episode. I’m not sure which was funnier – his facial expressions, his spiral into space, the explosion in his pants, or the ship whistle. Given is funny in general, but something about this episode had me laughing a lot more than usual. Was it Ritsuka’s bold declaration that if he were going to die, he might as well die young, or Mafuyu’s disappointment that naming the band wasn’t a more involved process? It doesn’t matter; it’s all amazing.
I’ve talked before about how well-developed Ritsuka and Mafuyu’s relationship is. There’s a believable buildup for a very genuine dynamic. Ritsuka resolving to visit a sick Mafuyu only to almost chicken out when he realizes the entire apartment smells like him was followed up by him tenderly stroking Mafuyu’s cheek and Mafuyu nudging into it. They’re well suited for each other, too; Mafuyu’s calm confession contrasts Ritsuka’s inner freak out, but their relationship is collaborative and supportive. Ritsuka has obviously given Mafuyu the courage he needs to speak his mind. It’s hard to believe that quiet Mafuyu, who always had so much trouble expressing himself, just came out and said “I love you” to the boy he likes. I really love the two of them together, and I’m so happy that there is a BL out there that shows such a loving, innocent relationship.
The relationship dynamics in Given are just stellar in general. The way everyone interacts is so realistic, and the chemistry between the band members in particular is fantastic. I know that whenever I see the four of them sitting in a diner that we’re going to get a scene with good dialogue and humorous facial expressions; in “Wonderwall” we get a hilarious moment where they decide that they need a new band name and come up with it in about ten seconds (much to Mafuyu’s disappointment). Everyone laying all the background work on Haruki was also pretty funny. (Side note: Did Haruki really put his laptop on an open flame? Dude, seriously?)
One thing that didn’t quite fit about this episode is the scene with Yayoi. It’s in the manga, so it isn’t like it was added for no reason, but it’s such a different tone from the rest of the episode that it felt out of place. The fact that it’s almost immediately dismissed doesn’t help.
This leads me to something that would probably be better saved for next week’s review (last episode, say it ain’t so!), but the amount of loose ends that will be left when season 1 ends has me hoping beyond hope that they’re intending to come back for season 2. They won’t be able to resolve everything in the one remaining episode without seriously rushing the story or rearranging the timeline, but there is a lot of subtext (*cough*not really subtext*cough*) for Akihiko and Haruki; not to mention, it seems odd to include so much Ugetsu if we’re not going to see more from him. For example, him hinting about Mafuyu needing a catalyst to really break out – why mention that if we’re not going to see it? They could very easily leave these moments out, but they’re choosing to include them. I hope that means we’ll get more of this anime.
I can’t believe there’s only one episode left! I don’t know what I’ll do with all of my feelings when it ends.
Given episode 10 “Wonderwall” reaction video:
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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