Title: Silver Spoon Vol. 2
Author: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Slice of Life
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Volume two of Silver Spoon breaks down into two different story arcs. Up first, Hachiken discovers an old brick over buried underneath some trash and begins to talk about making pizza with it. Nobody has ever had real pizza since they are mostly outside of a delivery zone. The students charge Hachiken with gathering the ingredients to make a pizza or two; however, the more people he talks to, the more his plans leak out and soon enough the entire school is wanting a slice for themselves! Even though this was just something to do on the side, it ended up teaching him about self-sustainability when it comes to food.
The second story is about summer vacation and how the dorms will be closed. Hachiken has no desire to return home for break so he takes an offer from Mikage to work on her farm. Hachiken meant to text his parents about his plans, but there’s no cell service out there whatsoever. Thinking that Komaba’s place has a signal, he takes a walk and ends up getting lost. Mikage’s grandparents find him and that’s when Haichiken learns a lesson about butchering animals after Mikage’s grandfather hits a deer on the way to pick him up. After getting lectured for slacking off on the first day, Hachiken picks up his work ethic and is rewarded by being afforded a breather.
He elects to take a tour of Tamako’s farm, the Gigafarm. Hachiken is overwhelmed by its sheer size and efficiency but it’s here where he learns another lesson about corporate farm life. The Gigafarm is run more like a traditional business with little tolerance for failure versus a mom and pop farm that he had been exposed to so far. It begins to put a lot of things into perspective for Hachiken.
This volume was all centered on telling the story of how Hachiken is beginning to “grow up.” The individual stories; however, are also inspiring as we get a nice, deep looking into a lot of the characters to gain insight into the agricultural industry from each of their perspectives. Each character has their own reasons for doing what they do and each reason impacts Hachiken in some sort of way. In short, the story could be summed up as an eye-opening experience for Hachiken because while we, as readers, see all of the individual stories, we’re all witnessing them from Hachiken’s perspective.
Obviously, the most development went to Hachiken this volume. Every story served as a life lesson, but it’s all of these life lessons that finally get Hachiken to realize that not everything in life is going to have an answer straight out of a textbook. There are things you need to figure out for yourself and that there may be more than one answer to a problem. Through Hachiken, Hiromu Arakawa gives real-world advice to the readers making her characters completely relatable to just about anyone. The more Hachiken grows and learns about the agricultural industry, the more he’s beginning to appreciate a life of hard work and sacrifice. This is a stark contrast to his life before coming to Ezo AG where all he knew was studying. He relied on textbooks to tell him the answer to everything and felt that everything was in black and white.
That’s not the case with real life and it’s great that he’s beginning to realize that. Also, we got a little more of a glimpse at his relationship with his parents. During a flashback, his parents didn’t seem out of the ordinary but for whatever reason, Hachiken seems to have a disposition towards them. He chose not to respond to his mother’s text about coming home from summer break, but guilt finally settled in and when he tried to send it, there was no cell signal available. This caused a bit of worry and unrest within him which makes you wonder how much of his disposition is fabricated? One moment he does care and the next, he’s worried. I’d like to know more about that.
Komaba received some development this volume as well. We got to see just how hard of a worker he is but, despite the back-breaking labor he endures on a day-to-day basis, he still finds time to practice pitching. He does this because he wants to win the nationals and earn enough money to retire his parents. He feels that they’ve worked hard and long enough, but they can’t retire with a farm that is barely producing any profit whatsoever. It’s a tough balance to maintain but Komaba is trying to keep the farm running AND save it through baseball at the same time! It’s pretty noble to see just how hard he’s working and some of that passion leaks out when Hachiken ends up helping him practice. The two get a bit heated over a conversation about Komaba having two dreams while Hachiken has no idea what he wants to do with his life. For some reason, this angers Hachiken and, of course, Komaba gets a bit heated as well. This kind of ties into Hachiken’s issues with his parents which makes me even more curious about that.
While Tamako didn’t really receive much development, we did get to see her business acumen. It definitely proved that she wasn’t all talk during the semester and that she really does know what she’s doing when it comes to running and operating a business. It’s actually kind of insane to think about how much she knows at her age. Some people are just brought up into a business culture like that and Tamako is one of them. I thought it was hilarious that she wanted to recruit Hachiken for his math skills and practically decided his future for him without his consent!
This was an incredible volume of Silver Spoon as it spoke to the reader on so many different levels. Whether it was indirectly offering life lessons, getting attached to the characters, to relating and/or appreciating the individual stories, there was a little something for everyone in this volume. Hiromu Arakawa has a knack for doing an exceptional job of developing the characters she creates and Silver Spoon is no exception to that.
Often times, its difficult for a mangaka to abandon a genre which brought them success and succeed in a whole new genre, but I think Arakawa has done exactly that with Silver Spoon. While a story about a kid attending an agricultural school doesn’t sound all that exciting on the outside, once you flip through the pages you end up discovering an engaging story that goes beyond your expectations. After two volumes, I can safely say that this series is a must-read. Sure, it doesn’t have alchemy circles, suits of armor, or an army of homunculi trying to burn down the world but it’s still just as entertaining!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press