Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Silver Spoon (Gin no Saji)

Sometimes a good "down to earth" anime is the order of the day. In that case, there's none more so than Silver Spoon. Farming doesn't seem like a topic that would be ripe for the anime business, but it would seem there is in fact an audience for just such a thing. After having watched the entirety of it, I can see why someone thought Silver Spoon was a story worth telling. 

The series is split into two seasons with each season only being eleven episodes so this is definitely a quick watch. It's also a very inviting watch. The idea of the fish out of water from the big city coming out to the boonies to try his hand at a bit of farming is always a fun one, but this time we really get the full impact of how being a farmer can be a struggle for city folks. 

Hachiken is a guy that likes to study, but he washed out of his regular school after failing to deal with the intense pressure. He comes to Ooezo Agricultural High School as a way to escape much to the chagrin of his father. However, he might have chosen the wrong place. Not only is he required to be awake by 4 AM most mornings and handle animals, but he still has to join sports clubs. 

He is assigned to raise a litter of pigs and becomes attached to one in particular, aptly naming said piglet "Pork Bowl." The idea that many of the animals that he must take care of will become food (even for himself) is one he struggles with and his attachment to Pork Bowl is as heartbreaking as it is sweet. 

But dealing with ill-fated pigs isn't Hachiken's only issue. Hachiken decides to join the Equestrian Club and finds it difficult to become adjusted to his stubborn horse Maron. 

During the second season Hachiken become Vice President of the Equestrian Club and adopts a puppy. He's also in charge of putting together a festival competition. His classmates worry that me might be straining himself too much with all of his other responsibilities and he very well might be, but his classmates have problems that not even Hachiken can compete with. 

Hachiken, still an outsider to this world, just wants to understand and be understood, but it seems he has his work cut out for him. 

The farming lifestyle just isn't as easy as Green Acres made it look. 

I loved this anime. Loved, loved, loved it. Not only did I relate to it from a "fish out of water" standpoint, but also from Hachiken's unintentional willingness to overwork himself. Hachiken is one of my favorite lead anime characters in a while because he wasn't stupid at all, but he also wasn't some superhero. He was very realistic and this anime as a whole seemed very realistic although there were still plenty of anime moments. Of course, I'm not a farmer, but this anime felt very authentic to me. From both a setting and a situational standpoint.

I actually learned some stuff watching this. I still crack up (pardon the pun) when I think about Hachiken having trouble eating eggs once he realizes they come from the "anus." Although that's not technically true as his classmates are quick to explain. Although animated you also get to see a cow birthed, tons of cow shit, a chicken slaughtered, and a deer prepped for eating. I wasn't sure if I was watching anime or Discovery Channel after a while. So if you are one of those obsessive PETA-types who think that animals are the holiest of holies then you'll be in for a long haul. 

I'd highly recommend this anime although there's a bit of violence toward animals that might put some people off. I'm still going to eat bacon, but from now on I'll be a bit more respectful as I do. 

I'll miss you, Pork Bowl.

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