The Hidden Lyrics: “Given” Mid-Season Review Pt. II

Hey there!

Whew!! I don’t know about you but after watching episode 8 “Time Is Running Out”, I needed to collect myself.

Oh my God! This series just keeps on opening doors of story line. I have not fan-girled over a series like this since Banana Fish and YOU KNOW how much I love Banana Fish! (I say that sitting beside $300 worth of Banana Fish merchandise I bought in Japan *coughing* It’s fine…My wallet is fine….)

But…let’s do this. (whew so heavy!)

Warning to those who are not caught up…watch Episode 8 because I’d hate to ruin some authentic surprises for you.

The Hidden Lyrics

What I respect a lot about this show is how close to reality it is. There is a lot of drama that is happening that we, as real people, experience. But what’s causing this drama isn’t a school bully or an antagonist… Really it’s just life. Life is happening to our characters bringing them external factors that are forcing them to act. Which is how we get to the beautiful story we have now.

Life is definitely happening for Mafuyu and Uenoyama right now. They are consistently being tested to express themselves and how they truly feel and every episode we get closer and closer to that expression. We get closer to those lyrics Mafuyu has deep inside. To the confession of Uenoyama’s love for Mafuyu. BUT they keep avoiding it! Which why we have these awkward fights and moments of silence like this:

Right off the back in the latest episode, you could feel a heavier presence in the first ten seconds. Longer pauses in conversation, grey skies, rain…all of that. Followed by an awkward run in between Uenoyama and Mafuyu that was just more silence than words.

Well what the hell is going with them?

Well, currently there is a lot of tension with Uenoyama and Mafuyu. As you know, Uenoyama spent many sleepless nights composing a song based off of the melody Mafuyu sung for him in the stairway. This issue here is that Mafuyu didn’t ask for this song to be written. Uenoyama did it because little did he know he was falling for Sato. And I get it! I’ve been there. You have to remember I am a musician, too. Who, in high school, wrote a whole set of songs and covers for my friend and his acapella group ( I am not making this up, he was actually in an acapella group) to perform at their next gig. At the time, I didn’t know why I did that. But looking back I realized I actually had feelings for this guy but never accepted it because I was still closeted. And once I found out this person was in a similar field of interest as me, I used my talent to motivate me to do what I love, impress him, and also genuinely help him. Seeing him happy made me happy even though I knew it might not work out. What can I say? I’m a hopeless romantic. This, my friend, is Uenoyama! This is why I love this character SO MUCH! He is going through the same complex, closeted teenage boy feelings as I did and the results that come from it!

Meanwhile, you have Mafuyu who is flattered that Uenoyama is bending over backwards for him and wants to write lyrics for this song, but is now starting to realize it is going to being a little uncomfortable for him to write down what he wants to sing to the public. Songwriting requires artistic ability, but good songwriting requires vulnerability. And Mafuyu is honestly afraid of that.

I am very interested in seeing what route Mafuyu chooses to go with this song. Will his lyrics stay hidden underneath the surface? Will he shy away and not verbalize what he has been holding back? Or will confront his past and make a damn good song to not only move forward with himself but also allow the wall between him and Uenoyama to come down. Then after he does that, it’s Uenoyama’s turn to confront his fear and accept his love for Sato and stop running from himself.

Boy! I wonder whose this guy from Mafuyu’s past that’s got everyone all bent out of shape?

Oh damn… Didn’t see that one coming. Mad shoutout to Aniplex, Fuji TV, and the gang for actually allowing two boys to kiss on a Japanese broadcat and not cover their lips up with some lame excuse for a hug.

No shots fired or anything but dammit television programming block! We wanted to see the action!

Anyways, we get to finally learn about Yuki, aka Mafuyu’s late lover. This was a huge dive into some exposition for the series, for we learn that it wasn’t necessarily Mafuyu’s fault as to why Yuki was killed however he did play a role in his suicide.

Hiragi said it himself. Yuki was handsome, flashy, popular, and a tad bit moody. Mafuyu and him were very different but that’s probably why they worked so well together. They kept each other at balance. Also, another dive into their past: they both come from backgrounds of single parents. Apparently, while all of their friends had two parents. Yuki was living with a single mother and Mafuyu with his father. Not much information was given on Mafuyu’s mother however the writes do leave room for suspicion about Mafuyu’s home life when they hint this:

Also, keep in mind you don’t see Mafuyu’s father now. Every time he goes back home. He goes home to only his adorable pup! But no father or mother or guardian. I wonder if his father abandoned him or died. There are so many possibilities! Maybe we will find out. However, I personally think adding in the child abuse card was… unnecessary. It was played well and it proves even more why the two boys were so attached to each other, but the writers are already beating us with the “Teenage Suicide” bat and then we have another gang of writers beating us up with the “Denying Your Sexuality” bat on top of getting a beating by the “Unrequited Love” gang. So when you start adding in child abuse, it feels slightly excessive. I mean Mafuyu’s life is already tragic as is.

After learning the story of what happened before Yuki committed suicide, Mafuyu’s quiet personality made sense. Think about it. You are back in high school and you and your best friend from childhood started dating. You are head over heels madly in love. You are in separable. You do everything together and go everywhere together for years…AND THEN your partner starts developing a second love. A love for their career. They start taking it seriously and join in groups to help them become successful in that career. Inevitably, the time you two had together was cut in half because your partner was so focused on their career and you really never gave any thought in yours. Wouldn’t you be a little jealous? A little frustrated? You don’t have other friends to socialize with. You don’t have a good home life to go back to. No parents to talk to about your feelings. You have no one but that one person you used to spend every moment of your life with. Eventually, you would probably get really upset and feel really isolated and maybe lose it…just like Mafuyu. He felt the one person he had was slipping away from his fingers because he couldn’t compete with Yuki’s love for music. So he acted out of anger and jealousy and fear of losing Yuki and got into a pretty ugly fight with him.

Now imagine this, after you get into this huge fight with your partner, you go to their home and find them a few days later on the floor, dead. After witnessing that, I’m positive Mafuyu felt like Yuki’s death was his fault. Which is why he shut down and didn’t really allow anyone into his life. Which is why he closed himself off even more than he already was.

So this scene could have won the Oscars!

There was something so raw and powerful about this scene. Holy cow! Just watching Mafuyu stand at the window watching Hiragi call him while standing in the rain shows that Mafuyu was really debating which path to take. He obviously wanted to go left and steer clear of Hiragi but I am so glad he is starting to confront his demons and decided “maybe some good can come from this.” This was a crucial step in Mafuyu’s Hidden Lyrics! My mother always told me, “You cannot conquer what you won’t confront.” And seeing Mafuyu make the decision to talk to Hiragi instead of going back to bed to avoid him was a huge leap towards him being able to speak how he truly feels.

If we are being honest here. I absolutely used to hate thought of looking at Hiragi. I knew he was concerned about Mafuyu but I didn’t appreciate the way he went about his concern. Always showing up at Mafuyu’s place of work and saying that he doesn’t know if he’s playing guitar to get over Yuki or to keep holding onto him… I get it! He’s concerned and he hadn’t seen Mafuyu since Yuki’s death (which was almost a full year). I just didn’t like the way he went about the situation. He’s almost like that overprotective mother who wants to help so much but they sometimes just make the situation worse because they keep on pushing. HOWEVER, after seeing the most recent episode, I have to actually give the Nobel Peace Prize to Hiragi.

He is a very needed character. He’s one of those characters that doesn’t have much screen time because they come in when needed. And when he comes in. He comes in with a purpose! He knew Mafuyu was running from him but he was so concerned and maternal about the situation this boy LITERALLY stood out in the rain looking at Mafuyu’s window. Not leaving until he was able to talk to Mafuyu. All that was missing was the boombox to hold over his head.

And honestly, I feel if Mafuyu would have went back to sleep, Hiragi would find another way to talk to him.

I also don’t think Hiragi was so persistent just because he was concerned for Mafuyu but also because he wanted Mafuyu’s forgiveness. He confessed that he knew Yuki was a ticking time bomb and he knew how alone Mafuyu felt at the time, but he didn’t say anything or do anything. Hiragi, ultimately feels this is all his fault and I love, love, love that about him! This is such a real characteristic. There are a lot of things we notice in life that are unsettling to us, however some of those things we don’t act on. We don’t know why we don’t step in! But whenever something tragic happens as a result of what we saw, we feel we are the ones to blame. Not the people directly involved but us because we for some reason think that maybe if we stepped in then everything would have been different. But the fact of the matter is (especially when it comes to suicide), what if it didn’t make a difference? Yeah Hiragi could have said something that may have altered the course a little bit, however, if someone is already on that path of destruction, it’s going to take a lot more than a few pretty words to stop the results. It’s one of the hardest facts of life I learned when I was in college and lost a very close friend of mine to suicide. I thought the same thing as Hiragi, however, I realized there are many factors that should have been prevented in order to stop my friend from taking his life. That is where Hiragi becomes such a relatable and real character. He is thinking exactly what anyone who lost a close friend to suicide would think. “I could have stopped this .”

Yuki’s death caused a lot of grief, and everyone grieves differently. But I love how Hiragi’s grief is actually a healing spotlight for Mafuyu. It’s allowing him to understand more of how he feels.

Well he doesn’t know how he feels but he’s getting closer.

So here we are. It’s the day of the show. We are at soundcheck…at Mafuyu still sings nothing for the lyrics…oh boy their in trouble. It’s like he took one step forward with talking to Hiragi but two steps back. He has got to confront what he feels about Yuki’s death. I know it is challenging for him because he has spent a whole year repressing it. And on top of that he’s spent a whole life time of repressing all of his thoughts thanks to an abusive father and lonely home life. HOWEVER, if Mafuyu wants to move on, he has to really dig in and rip himself apart to get that vulnerability. He has to feel the emotions instead of dodging them.

I noticed when Uenoyama said, “There’s always a next time”, Mafuyu showed a glimmer of relief and was like, “there’s a next time? You mean I don’t have to confront it now.” However, Uenoyama really pushed some buttons stating, “Wake the hell up. You couldn’t do it!”

And then the same string that broken before snapped. Which is very ironic considering right before Yuki died this was the string that broke. Symbolizing the end of a beautiful, song-filled relationship. What does that mean for Uenoyama and Mafuyu? Is this the end of their relationship? Or the symbol of tension rising in between Mafuyu and Uenoyama because of Sato? This break can mean a lot of things. Hell, Uenoyama may just repair it again symbolizing a repairable relationship. Anything can happen and I am excited to see where the rest of this story takes us. I really enjoyed seeing the shock in Mafuyu’s when Uenoyama said we are going to have to go without lyrics. It was the authentic look of someone who was given an opportunity but they didn’t perform to the expectations so now that opportunity is being taken from them. And it’s sad but true. Sato has to wake the hell up and stop thinking that everyone is going to go at his pace. He is now involved in a world of professionals that want results.

Will he step up to the plate? I sure hope so, because my nerves can take it anymore!!

Thank you so much for reading. What are your thoughts on these new developments? How do you think the story is going so far? Are you team Harugi? Do you blame Mafuyu for what happened? Do you think all the characters represented accurately based on their pasts? Will Uenoyama actually come to his senses and express what he feels about Sato? So many questions!! Anything you want to talk about? Let me know in the comments or DM me so we can talk!

Also, If you are little confused about why you didn’t see anything on Akihiko and his… person that he lives with…or Haruki, that is because that is a whole other layer of drama that deserves its own post! Stay tuned for Part III of my Given Mid-Season Review Series!

Hope you stay awesome! Itekimasu!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Karandi says:

    This anime just keeps getting better and reading this I’m just anticipating the next episode so much. I’m really glad I ended up watching this and I’m glad I’m reviewing it with Irina. I absolutely loved the emotional build up in that last episode, though I think you are right in that we probably didn’t need to throw in the abusive parent. It just felt like a little too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally love reading what you and Irina come up with! It’s so in depth and profound! I love seeing two different perspectives on one page! Maybe…just maybe the abusive parent story will be more justified and make sense why it was thrown in there later on. But right now, it just feels like they were just trying to pull tears and make us even more sad.

      Liked by 1 person

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