For me, Given is well and truly on a roll. I have been living in fear of it getting painful or overly dramatic and it manages to be undeniably painful but in a pleasant way. That doesn’t make much sense, does it. I might explain it a little better in my episode review with Karandi. You can read about it over on 100 word anime.
As for the visuals. Understandingly brilliant comes to mind. I sort of wish I had done this visual episode by episode analysis of Natsume’s Book of Friends. I would probably not have noticed how well thought out the visuals in Given are if not for it and I wonder if the same is true for my beloved Natsume.
I managed to retrain myself this week and I don’t even have images of the precredits tag or the OP itself. However this first scene was just amazing in so many ways.
Visually it has a few things going for it.
I love the fact that Mafuyu’s friend is dealing with some pretty serious roots there. Maybe it’s because I also know the hardships of trying to keep up with dark roots so there’s an instant kinship, but I have always found that’s it’s a great little visual element that brings a lot of realism to a character. And it’s striking.
Second, the scene is slightly green tinged. You can see it mostly in the background blue that more teal and the yellow of the hair that has a greenish hue to it. I spoke about this exact thing in last week’s Fire Force gallery but it applies here as well. In cinematic language, atmospheric green or green tinted light like this, is suppose to tell the audience something is off. It’s an natural state and it makes the viewers just a little uneasy, even if it’s not conscious.
This was a scene that packed a devastating emotional punch but was delivered very casually. I think the choice of green was one element to ramp up the tension without changing anything in the way the characters were acting. If so, it’s really smart!
I’ve lumped Ueno and Kaji’s scene together with the rehearsal scene to show you how consistent the colour palette is in this show. You can barely tell the action is taking place in two completely different places. This is why changes in palette and tint really jump out and to me, it shows that they are very intentional.
Haruki’s small change in facial expression while talking with Mayu is a nice way to show us how attentive he is.
Those blue skies and that beautiful sea are something new for Given. Pretty. Also refreshing and open. Mayu is often drawn in smaller spaces, (his hallway, the train, the staircase) or in crowded areas. We see this motif of him being smothered or suffocated by his surroundings.
This week showed us a lot of growth in Mayu and it was reflected in these beautiful open spaces. He may not have found what his looking for, but at least he can breath now. It’s a real step forward.
We only got a tiny stairwell scene this week. I know that Ueno is changing and in an odd place but this scene made me think everything was going to be ok. The light in the stairwell is the same. Warm but more subdued than anywhere else. It casts these lazy shadows. Visually, this was a comfortable scene.
I may be putting too much into these gallery posts. Do you guys care about my thoughts on visuals?