Karandi and I don’t often agree on anime, so when we do, you know it’s special! Heck we even disagree on this week’s episode of Given. Not the big picture but the details vary. Want to see what I’m talking about, you can check out our review on 100 Word Anime.

Given has solid but subdued productyion value. The sort of stuff I would never have noticed if I wasn’t looking over dozens of images of each episode. And the trend continues this week!

It’s warm again. Everything is a soft ochre and there are golden accents everywhere. I know this is a sad scene. Not exactly sad actually, it was a release of tension so the warm tones do fit the mood nicely. The expressions are more stunned than mournful. Quite a way to start off the episode.

I’ve given these two images their own little spot here because I really loved this scene. It was just very….alluring. In that first image and all the Haruki shots, you can see how the light is pink and dim with heavy purple shadows. It creates a boudoir atmosphere. A little dangerous and just a little sexy. A shot like this could be set up in a house of disrepute. The camera pans up playing with perspective, you see the handrails come in at verticals stretching out the image and creating depth. There’s a slight dutch angle with the walls throwing everything just a touch off balance. We’re far from Haruki, at this point we are clearly spectators eavesdropping.

On the other had the Kaji shots have neutral blunt light detailed shadowing. we lean if close, so close in fact that Kaji isn’t even completely in shot. The camera centres on the wall and not his face. It’s voyeuristic but also claustrophobic. Like we’re right in the middle of something but not a part of it. The posters create perfectly straight horizontal and vertical lines. This is a straight shot, not a dream sequence!

The contrast of these two wildly different shots created a visual dissonance which came together beautifully. Not completely unlike the two very different characters talking on screen. Awww was that cheesy? It was wasn’t it? I liked this sequence, a lot!

I’ve mentioned how much I enjoy Haruki as a character. I’m a sucker for a nice guy. His ever changing hairstyle is also a source of constant amusement and something we don’t see too often.

There’s some more of that soft pink light in the outdoor scenes. I quite like it. It’s calming and feels a little refreshing after all those warm palettes we’ve been having all season.

These images just sort of all ended up this way. All red on one side and grey on the other. It’s a bit of a roller coaster when you look at it. I’m pretty sure that’s on purpose.

There’s something symbolic about the fact that you have to snip all your strings to replace a single broken one. You sort of need to clean everything up and start with a fresh set. Make sure everything sounds good together. They spent a long time in such a visceral episode on Ueno quietly replacing those strings.

I’m surprised I ended up with so few shots of the actual performance. It was one of those moments that existed in its own reality bubble. As I was watching it, the moment seem to stretch on forever, like those boys had always been playing that song and will continue to do so forever, when I looked back over my shots, I realized it was a mere few minutes, shorter than your average tune. Sometimes good scenes can freeze time.

I didn’t quite capture it, but there was a wide variety of coloured light going on on that stage. It was nice.

After all that, we’re getting back to normal. Warm orange light indoors and a teal hint outdoors at night. A little ominous but very much the signature Given colour palette.

And of course, Ueno and Mayu have their intimate moment in a staircase. It’s not the same staircase but it’s still a staircase. I can’t explain how happy this makes me or why. I think there should be Given staircase merch! I also like the idea. It’s a great visual setting that allows you to block off your frame because of the natural boundaries of a staircase an play with perspective as your camera is going to be looking either up or down. Plus it has all sort of poetic implications if you’re that sort of person.

I still think Mayu was moving away from the relationship. He talked about being lonely around Yuki and was pretty uninterested in the date. And there’s something about this sunset. It’s very pretty but also the light is white. Not some huge explosion of colour. It’s calm, it looks like the quiet ending of a movie, not the beginning.

Given ep9 (45)

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