Title: Silver Spoon Vol. 3
Author: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Slice of Life
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
In the latest volume of Silver Spoon, Hachiken finishes up his tour of Tamako’s Gigafarm and heads back to work on Mikage’s. Mikage’s father returns home from the hospital and decides to run Hachiken into the ground by making him do every gritty task he could think of… all because he doesn’t want Hachiken to become smitten with Mikage.
After summer break is over, Hachiken and the rest of the students return to EZO AG; however, school activities aren’t really depicted here in abundance as the focus is placed on an annual festival. Everything from Tokiwa’s flashy return to food stalls being absolutely ravaged by the EZO AG students at the festival injected some amazing comedy into this volume. Overall, the volume was more light-hearted than the previous two but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t have its fair share of drama.
The main story after Hachiken returns from Mikage’s farm is the fate of Pork Bowl… the piglet that he named a while back. Pork Bowl got nice and big and is scheduled to be shipped out to slaughter so Hachiken spends a lot of time trying to come to accept this reality and process it. In fact, the third volume ends with the announcement that Pork Bowl has returned to the school… in meat form.
This was a well-balanced volume from a story perspective. It did a nice job wrapping up a lot of the stories that were started in the first two volumes. It feels like one entire arc has closed and a new one will begin in the next volume. While the story was pretty straightforward as it moved from sub-plot to sub-plot and wrapping each one up nicely, there was a lot of character development this time around.
Hachiken, once again, received the most development in this volume. While the first three volumes focused on him learning the meaning of hard work, this volume also added in the “growing up” aspect. Of course, this all has to do with the situation surrounding Pork Bowl. At first, Hachiken couldn’t stomach the fact that something so small and cute would be sent off to slaughter. Even at Tamako and Mikage’s farms, he tried to understand how farmers could just raise livestock and send it off to be killed without so much as blinking an eye.
The pivotal moment came the day before Pork Bowl was to be sent out. He asked how much a pig fetched on the market because he was interested in buying Pork Bowl but not to keep him as a pet, but rather he wanted to buy his meat once he was butchered. This decision alone showed that Hachiken came to accept the way things are done on a farm and that while you can love and care for an animal, in the end, they are still a commodity that needs to be sold in order for a farm to survive and keep operating. Buying Pork Bowl’s meat not only meant that the farm got to keep its profit from selling the pig but Hachiken can now consume the meat, thus completing his acceptance of the circle of life on a farm.
Even though it’s such a simple gesture, it carried with it a lot of weight and gravity. Hachiken continues to mature more and more as he learns about farm life and how these lessons can apply to, not only real life but also serve as a method of self-reflection. Considering he still doesn’t have any idea of what he wants to do in life, Hachiken is in imprinting mode where he is just absorbing everything around him in hopes that he can come to a decision.
Mikage received a little bit of development as well. Hachiken called her out on the fact that she lectured him about his parents and how it is important to communicate with them when she, in fact, cannot tell her parents that her dream is to have a job working with horses and not take over the family farm. It was a bit of a hypocritical moment for Mikage and even after being called out on it, she still hasn’t found a way to express her true desires to her parents yet.
Even though this subject was touched on briefly, it shows that Mikage has her own inner turmoil that she needs to deal with and comes to terms with. Mikage doesn’t seem as reserved as Hachiken in most things so it’ll be interesting to see how she chooses to understand what she needs to do. Also, I loved the little teases between her and Hachiken when it comes to their “relationship.” Mikage even got called out for being completely dense and legitimately had no idea why. This slow burn between the two of them is going pretty well!
This was a great edition of Silver Spoon! We closed the doors on so many sub-plots and it feels like volume four will be a fresh, clean slate that will build upon everything that we’ve read so far while pushing the main direction forward. With Hachiken becoming more and more mature, it’ll be interesting to see how he applies what he has learned going forward and what new things he will learn in the future. I feel that Hachiken is coming close to making a decision on what he wants to do in life but I wouldn’t expect to see that decision right away. After all, Hachiken trying to figure out his place in life is this story’s big hook and I can’t see it being unveiled this soon into the series.
When he does make that decision, there’s still how he’s going to build towards that future to explore as well. Volume three lays that foundation nicely and give the story a solid base to build off of. Despite all of that, I’m sure we will be opening volume four with Hachiken’s final (and delicious) moments with Pork Bowl. Be prepared to cry salty tears. Delicious salty, cured, and savory “bacony” tears.
Darn… now I want some bacon.
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press