Title: Silver Spoon Vol. 1
Author: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Slice of Life
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Yuugo Hachiken has no idea what he wants to be when he grows up. All he knows is that he wants to get as far away from his parents as he can. After talking to his teacher at school, he is entered into Ooezo Agricultural High School. At first, he thinks that his high intelligence will make his stay there a breeze, but he soon finds out that the school is way more physically demanding than he thought.
Hachiken experiences what it’s like to live in the agriculture industry. Waking up at 5 a.m. every morning for hands-on chores, classes, physical education and after-hours club activities take a massive physical toll on him. Despite his opposition to this kind of lifestyle, Hachiken slowly begins to understand the hardships that others are going through in order to succeed in the agricultural world. He also begins to find this life interesting!
The first volume focuses on Hachiken trying to find his place. He’s not athletic so he doesn’t want to join any sports clubs. After doing some searching, he decides to join the equestrian club. Of course, that’s all thanks (in no small part) to Aki Mikage, a girl that found Hachiken on opening day when he chased a calf into the woods and got lost. As Hachiken gets accustomed to doing all of the dirty work, such as cleaning stalls, he begins to get a bit closer to Aki. During Golden Week when most of the students head back to their families to help out on their farms, Aki takes Hachiken to the race track where one of her family’s horses is taking part in one of the races.
The volume ends when Hachiken discovers an old brick oven.
I’ll admit, that’s not much of a cliffhanger to leave a reader on, but this manga isn’t really the kind that’s going to do that. This is a simple slice of life story that’s meant to just sit back and enjoy. I can’t really describe the story in-depth because there really isn’t any depth to the story. It’s simply about Yuugo Hachiken wanting to get away from his parents so he joins an agricultural school, finds a love interest and begins to learn about and appreciate agriculture. That’s about as deep as the story gets.
However, what Silver Spoon does is prove that you don’t need a lot of depth to tell a great story. Volume one was packed full of comedic moments and learning experiences that made you feel attached to Hachiken.
Since we’re on the subject of Hachiken, he’s a pretty balanced main character. He’s pretty book smart and outgoing in the fact that he quickly offers to tutor Tokiwa, who openly admits that he’s an idiot. Thanks to Hachiken’s help, Tokiwa gets his first double digit score on a math test… a whopping 10! Despite that, Hachiken doesn’t give up on his efforts. He even volunteers to help take care of the horses while everyone leaves the school for the holidays. He even offered to help round up chickens when they got loose from the coop. That’s just the kind of person Hachiken is, but at the same time, you can sense that he is troubled by issues back at home and doesn’t really want to talk to anyone about them. He is clearly using this school as an escape and the volume makes it a point to bring that up multiple times throughout. It makes him an interesting character that you want to know more about, but at the same time, you want to see just how this new school life is going to abuse him next!
Aki Mikage is in the equestrian club and comes from a family that raises work horses. Beyond this, there isn’t much we know about Mikage, but she seems she has a kind soul. She’s always cheerful and seemed genuinely excited when Hachiken decided on joining the equestrian club. It’s not known at this time if she actually likes Hachiken, but given her personality, I would place money on the fact that she’s just a nice person. This could make for some interesting scenarios because that can result in a lot of misread signals!
The rest of the characters are peppered in where needed. Beppu and Tokiwa are Hachiken’s roommates while Aikawa wants to be a vet and becomes one of Hachiken’s friends almost right off the bat. There’s an eclectic array of faculty members ranging from a Major Armstrong ripoff for a gym teacher to a man who could be Buddha himself teaching the equestrian club. The cast is pretty vast and every character stands out which is something expected of Hiromu Arakawa!
I’m absolutely loving the first volume of Silver Spoon (also known as Gin no Saji in Japan). If the author’s name sounded familiar (and in case you couldn’t tell from the Major Armstrong reference), it’s because Hiromu Arakawa is the manga author behind the popular series Fullmetal Alchemist! She’s also the character designer for Arslan Senki as well. It is a pretty drastic change going from shonen battle to slice of life, but Arakawa-san is knocking it out of the park!
Every character is interesting and no matter how small their role is, you get an instant grasp of their personalities. The story is simple, yet engaging and some of the situations are downright hilarious. For example, when Hachiken discovered how eggs were laid, he couldn’t get the fact that they came from the anus out of his head, despite Tokiwa constantly correcting him by saying they come from the cloaca. It’s just simple humor that comes across in a big way and keeps you engaged!
It definitely is a different series to try and sink your teeth into, but it’s one that may fly under people’s radars because of the nature of the story. I wouldn’t let that deter you because volume one was an excellent read and has the makings of a tremendous series! Don’t skip this one, guys!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press