When Yuugo Hachiken enrolled at Ezonoo, an agricultural high school, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. While his classmates revel in the barnyard chores and hard labor, eager to gain skills for their careers, Yuugo is challenged and sometimes downright horrified by the things he’s having to learn, whether he’s corralling stray cows, learning the shocking truth of where chicken eggs come from, or even getting comfortable with riding a horse! Alongside peers such as the lovely Aki, Yuugo will learn all he can about agriculture, making close friends in the process.
As I watched the final episode of Silver Spoon, a single word came to mind to describe this anime. "Thoughtful." But also thought-provoking. Brief Summary: A "smart kid" who has trouble fitting in at his traditional middle school is encouraged by a teacher to apply to an agricultural high school. Once there, he learns a lot about how food is produced, as well as learning how to make friends. Themes: Making friends, business realities, the difficulties of being in the agricultural industry, how food is made, the value of hard work, the value of struggling with large moral issues (for example, should humans eat animals?), and struggling with goals/being unmotivated/not knowing if you have a life goal/parental expectations for your life. Story: I like the story a lot. It's simple, yet sincere, and allows for a lot of interesting ideas and issues to come to the surface. Animation & Sound: While I thought the sound, voice-acting, and theme songs were perfect for the show, the animation was nothing to write home about. It wasn't bad, but not stellar either. Characters: Great! A shining part of the show, each character has a unique outlook on life, a goal, and a problem that frustrates her/him. This makes them easy to relate to, and it drives the plot by creating interesting interactions. Conclusion: Good stuff: 8.8/10 Arakawa-sensei (also the mangaka for Fullmetal Alchemist) grew up on a dairy farm and that experience is definitely evident in Silver Spoon. I really enjoyed Silver Spoon. It's a totally different type of story, and it is refreshing, entertaining, thoughtful, sincere, thought-provoking, and well written.
Anime Name - Gin no SajiAired - Jul 12, 2013 to Sep 20, 2013 Episodes - 11Produced By - A-1 Pictures Staff - Tomohiko Itou (Director), Hiromu Arakawa (Original Creator), Jun Nakai (Character Design), Shusei Murai (Music Score) Ah, one of the most hyped anime of the season. Why? Not only is it adapted from a commercially successful, award winning & critically acclaimed manga but also it is written by the famous mangaka Hiromu Arakawa who is responsible for the world famous FMA. So how was the anime? Does it live up to the hype? And how can a manga based on life on agricultural school be this famous? And most of all how come a mangaka who wrote such an action based title as FMA write this? Let me just say that whatever else this anime does it proves (or tries to actually) that you can be a person who doesn't have a clear goal in life or any vague idea what you are gonna do with your life even if are surrounded by ambitious people and it is not always bad; and most of all it proves that book-worm nerds can be cool even when they are acting all moronic & stuff. StoryThe story of this anime centers around Yugo Hachiken whose dream in life is quite simple (although it seemed a bit weird at the first few episodes). It is to be separated from his family, so he enrolls in an agricultural boarding school which would take him quite far from his house till he gets his own job. As he deems himself to be an excellent crammer, he believes he will have no problem in there. But it turns out the life there is not what he expected as he gets in the world where physical labor is more important than his brains & the cruelty of the harsh reality of the life of the livestock. He eventually finds friends among his classmates who are all farmers' heirs & not a total city boy like him. And thus the story of his new life goes on with everyday learning of the lifestyle of farmers as well as their farm animals, which quite often arises very funny situation, and thankfully the comedy almost never felt forced.Although it may seem very unusual for the premise of an anime, even for a slice-of-life but all the plot elements are gelled together quite nicely by the writer & the episodic nature of the story (at the first half mainly) really goes well with the premise of the show. Although at first the reason of Hachiken wanting to leave his home that desperately was a bit hard to understand, in later episodes it is explained quite clearly. As the various animals in the school grows through the passing of the time in his school so does his understanding (as well as ours) of farm-life grows, and he has to face some facts of reality which is harsh but true. The show mainly focuses on how he overcomes them and even helps his friends in their needs.The story certainly gets props for originality and although at times a bit boring with the knowledge bits but definitely was enjoyable for me, so it gets 8.5 out of 10. Characters Although many might disagree with me on this but there is actually only one main character in this anime, rest are just side characters. Hachiken is a character who is like the anime, a bit slow to develop, it takes a viewers a bit of time ( a few episodes at least) to relate with him & to understand his motivations, to appreciate his viewpoints. At first you might find him a bit one-dimensional as someone who takes the easy way out,who runs away from his family but if you carry on with him on his journey you will find out his reasons, will find out how he actually is quite caring for his friends through his actions & tries to help in them in their problems while sometimes even completely ignoring his own ones. And in the end he is a likeable character as well as quite unique too.As for the other characters they are very likeable too. Mikage who is the love interest for our protagonist seems a bit bland at first but Hiromu later develops her quite brilliantly in her unique way. The other important characters include hardworking & ambitious Komaba (somewhat generic for the source of Hachiken's jealousy but has a well written back-story); whimsical & laughably dumb at math Tokiwa; money lover & aggressive eater frightening Tamako; afraid of blood yet vet wanna be Shinnosuke ( whose struggles to face his fears is portrayed quite nicely); Hachiken's irritable yet funny brother (who is following his dream by the way) Shingo among others.The characters are actually the strongest aspect of this anime & pulls through all the rest of the stuff to a very enjoyable height indeed.So I give it 9 out of 10.Art/AnimationTo be honest the character designs & the art is not at the same level of the rest of the stuff for this anime. The faces of the characters quite often seem too similar & there is a lack of general detail in them. All the food-stuff at least looked good. The animation also seems bland in this day of top-notch technology and somewhat awkward in occasions. But at least on the positive side there is a sense of consistency in animation of the show as a whole, unlike few other animes these days & the piglets were cute.However, it is not as per with other things of the anime & gets 7 out of 10. Sound The opening theme is "Kiss You" by Miwa which is a nice song and appropriate for the show but actually not that special. The ending theme is "Hello Especially" by Sukima Switch which is the perfect ending song for the show for me, it has kind of a country vibe going for it which is suitable for the atmosphere of the show. Other pieces used during the show are all alright but nothing really stands out as anything special.As a whole sound gets from me 8 out 10. There is a lot of argument going on the internet whether this is the best show of this season or not, and with a second season now confirmed it is even more fueled. All I can say on these regard is while this anime may not be for everyone (Slice-of-life rarely is), still it is definitely one of the shows to watch for this season; this is kind of a casual & thinking mans show. The funny bits & the thought-provoking realistic situations the characters are put into often are really the highlights and was enough enjoyable for me so that I for one will pick up the second season, I might even try out the fan translated manga too.Overall Score - 8.5 out of 10.
Story 4/10 Story? What story? Joking aside, Silver Spoon is an episodic slice of life show that focuses on a city-dweller Hachiken's adaption to life in an agricultural boarding school in rural Japan. Each episode contains a light brushing of plot as Hachiken slowly adapts and learns, but you are never going to find anything that is going to make you come close to approaching the edge of the seat. The setting gets mixed scores from me; a major plus for taking things in to the farm setting and a major minus for continuing the same school formula we have seen over and over again in anime. Much to my surprise, Silver Spoon really embraced the farming side of its setting, and in some instances pushing the school part to the background. This anime offers an interesting insight to agricultural that is so often easy to forget in our own lives. Hachiken provides a fresh perspective for all of his farming classmates as he struggles over raising animals just to be killed an eaten. He questions his own future as compared to his classmates who all seem to have their futures laid out in front of them with taking on their family's farms. This is where the show can try and overplay its themes a bit much. A better show would be more subtle and let the viewer question on their own, but Silver Spoon seems to be screaming these ideas at the top of its lungs. It isn't that they aren't interesting questions in their own right, but when presented in this manner they seem to lose a lot of their impact and effect. Animation 5/10 There really isn't much to say about SP's animation. It's decent but ultimately forgettable. When you start to look at critically it starts to fall apart, lots of scenes with little to no animation other than panning the camera, characters are well drawn but generic, and the color palette is all over the place. But I don't think any of these things really matter with what Silver Spoon is trying to do. Could the show maybe have been bumped up a point if it was way more visually interesting? Probably, but at the same time I think it is fine the way it is. Sound 6/10 I feel that I have a harder time commenting on Japanese voice acting since I watch the show subtitled in English and I am obviously going to miss a lot of the little details. That said, the voice work certainly felt on point. Voices match character designs and personalities and not once was there a point that stuck out as odd. Same can be said about the sound effects, which aided on creating a nice ambience and made the setting feel more alive. The music work on the other hand felt uninspired and bland. It does gets some props for not being synthetic though. Too often in modern anime we have to settle for fake instruments and SP goes the extra mile here by recording some real musicians. Sometimes the tracks can feel a bit cheesy, but for the most part the music will just live in the background and you will forget about it the second you stop watching the show. Characters 5/10 When watching Silver Spoon it became blatantly obvious that there is only one character that really matters. As he is the only character I have mentioned so far in this review, it should be pretty easy to pick him out. Hachiken is the only person that receives any amount of character development over the course of the show and everyone else is there solely for the purpose of achieving that development. While Hachiken is by no means any overly interesting character, he is very relatable for what I would assume is a large amount of the audience. I empathized with his struggles and questioned along with him. I wish that the interest lived in the rest of the cast, but unfortunately it is filled overwhelming with dull one-note characters. If you don't find yourself enjoy the main character at all, then you should probably pass on SP altogether. Overall 5/10 Watching Silver Spoon is like eating a comfort food. You know the flavo, there isn't anything surpsing or new about it. It's not exotic and it certainly isn't going to be served in any upscale restaurants. But that doesn't stop from tasting good. I came in to Silver Spoon with pretty low expectations but left pleasantly surprise. The atmosphere and setting seem to hit all the right spots for me and managed to counteract so much of the blandness that is holding the show back. As someone who grew up in a more rural environment, it made me yearn for the warm days of summer spent outside in nature. SP is just a great feel good show, and while it didn't challenge me in any way, I will certainly be coming back to watch the second season.
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