Anime Series Like Given

On one particular day, Ritsuka Uenoyama decided that two things he loved – playing guitar and playing baseball – had become boring to him. However, when he encountered Mafuyu Sato holding a broken guitar, he fixes it. Upon fixing it and hearing him sing, it leaves a huge impression.

While there are tons of boy love anime series, it is refreshing to see one like Given where its is not forced love or a weird predatory sort of love. If realistic, emotional shounen ai is your jam or if you just like the music, we got those anime recommendations for you.

For Fans of Opposites Attract

Banana Fish

During the Vietnam War, a soldier named Griff goes insane and starts killing his own platoon. After being subdued, all he kept speaking was the words “banana fish”. Years later, Griff is taken care of by his brother Ash, a boy who ran away from home and was taken in by mob boss Papa Dino. Ash was groomed as both heir to the Mafia family and sex slave to Papa Dino. Now he seeks to unravel the mystery between this banana fish, a phrase that keeps mysteriously popping up in his life.

Despite a very large difference in tone between these two, both are shounen ai and feature a love between a cold, unapproachable man and a more innocent man. Furthermore, the romance is fleshed out and natural, allowing it to feel realistic and not just your overly dramatic BL series.

Hitorijime My Hero

Masahiro is a target for bullies, but his life drastically improves when a man called Kousuke comes in and takes down the neighborhood gangs. Years later when Masahiro enters high school, he finds that Kousuke is now his math teacher. Masahiro views him as his hero and Kousuke develops an urge to protect him.

While this has a dynamic more typical of your usual shounen ai series, like Given, you watch a relationship develop between a colder man and a bright-eyed youth. Unfortunately, unlike Given, this falls into more standard romance series tropes.


Shuichi has big dreams of becoming a pop star, but despite getting signed by a recording label, he has writers block. One night while walking through the part, his the lyrics he wrote trying to force his way through it land at the feet of a mysterious strange who happens to be a famous novelist. This Eiri Yuki tells him he has zero talent. This inspires Shuichi to finish his song and prove him wrong, but is it from anger or love?

While the obvious similarity is these are both about music, Gravitation shows more of your typical boys love tropes in it. Furthermore, while featuring a romance between a cold man and a more innocent and hopeful one, pop music isn’t quite the same as the rock music in Given.

For Fans of Emotional Music Series

Kids on the Slope

After moving around his entire life, classical pianist Kaoru Nishimi has abandoned all hope of fitting in as he arrives in Kyushu for his final year of high school. However, that all changes when he meets the thuggish drummer, Sentaro Kawabuchi, a man with an immeasurable love for jazz. Over the music they bond together and Kaoru learns that music should be something to bring joy to others, not something dictated by hundreds of years of technique.

While both musical series, Kids on the Slope has a distinct focus on jazz. However, it also has a really nice emotional story to tell with it about people following their passions. There are some possible hints in there, but Kids on the Slope isn’t a boy love series.


This is the story of two girls, both of which are named Nana. Nana Komatsu is a naive girl addicted to love who is moving to Tokyo to chase after her boyfriend going to school there. Nana Osaki is a proud punk rocker that is moving to Tokyo to become a rock star. By chance they meet on the train. By even bigger chance they end up wanting to rent the same apartment only to decide to rent it together.

Both series have a heavy focus on both music and relationships. The young people in each series are trying to figure out their place in the world, and they find themselves drawn to others. However, while Nana has some strong hints of shoujo ai, it isn’t that sort of show. Like Given, it has a big emphasis on romantic relationships. Both shows also have a a really rocking soundtrack.

Carole & Tuesday

This is the story about two very different girls with the same goal. Tuesday, a girl raised in wealth, and Carole, a girl just scraping by, both want to make music. A chance meeting brings them together, and together they may just make their dream come true.

Both are newer series, but they have quite a lot in common. They explore music and how it inspires and draws people together. However, Carole & Tuesday is more about friendship and overcoming differences through shared passion rather than the romantic story of Given.

For Fans of Realistic Emotions

Scum’s Wish

To the outside world, Mugi and Hanabi look like the perfect couple, but the truth is that they are only dating each other because they can’t be with the people they actually want to be with. For Hanabi, it is her childhood friend-turned-homeroom-teacher and for Mugi it is his older tutor that has been teaching him since middle school. In order to stave off the loneliness, the pair find solace in each other’s arms.

The best part of Given is that it explores a lot of emotions rather realistically and not played any one way for the sake of entertainment. Scum’s Wish is the same. Some emotions are real, but that doesn’t mean they are good and will lead to a nice fluffy ending.

Yuri on Ice

After a crushing defeat at the Grand Prix finale, Yuuri Katsuki returns home no longer as Japan’s most promising figure skater. With his window for skating success closing, he assesses his options. After a video of Yuuri doing a performing a routine by five-time world champion Victor Nikiforov goes viral, he suddenly finds the champion on his doorstep, offering to be Yuuri’s mentor.

Both Given and Yuri on Ice have a really nice progression to their romance. At first, you aren’t even sure if they will be shounen ai series, and that is a great thing. The relationships built are natural and the progression of affection is slow, but steady.

If you have more anime recommendations for Given, let fans know in the comments section below.

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