Title: Silver Spoon Vol. 4
Author: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Slice of Life
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
In the latest volume of Silver Spoon, Hachiken receives the meat from Pork Bowl and pays for 50 kilograms of it. This makes him a pretty popular person on campus as everyone is seeking him out for some meat. Hachiken enlists the help of Inada in order to learn how to make bacon. Once it’s in the smoking process, the other students decide to add cheese and eggs to the smoker in order to have a complimentary meal. In a way, eating the bacon served as a symbol for Pork Bowl’s funeral and you would think that Hachiken would have learned his lesson from all this but he was back in the pens naming the other piglets to repeat the process all over again!
The next story arc involved catching a glimpse of a mysterious object in a place they dubbed to be Area 51. Tokiwa received a tip from a source that this mysterious craft would be showing up right around 9 pm; however, this was during study time and the entire campus is on lockdown during that time. They formulate a plan to escape but one by one they end up getting caught in distracted in some form or another. Once Hachiken and Tokiwa make it to the spot, it ends up being a giant combine used for harvesting wheat. This was a nice little detour from the main story that had some nice misdirection to it. Of course, we all knew it wouldn’t be a UFO but it was nice to have a chapter play up to a classic tale about extraterrestrials and farming.
The final arc of this volume focused on Komaba and Mikage. Apparently, Komaba discussed something with Mikage that had her in tears. Throughout the volume, Hachiken tried to investigate but got shot down each and every time he tried. Even though it’s not likely the case, it was passed off as Mikage and Komaba forming a relationship and this has Hachiken questioning whether or not he likes Mikage. It also causes him to reflect on why he even came to Ezo AG in the first place which is aided by some advice from the principal. The mystery itself doesn’t get solved as of yet but Hachiken does get a bit of a lecture from Mikage about horseshoes and how they bring good luck and it reaffirms Hachiken’s sense of duty for trying to cheer MIkage up!
The Pork Bowl arc has finally come to an end and it was nice to see a bit of a filler comedy arc thrown in to break up the main story a little. The third arc has another huge misunderstanding written all over it but the mystique of what Komaba said to Mikage to cause her to cry was built up rather nicely. Hachiken has been referred to as pretty stupid for someone who is pretty smart several times in this volume and the final story arc really exploited that part of his character. Once the truth comes out about what Komaba said, I’m sure it’s not going to change that conception about Hachiken one bit!
Speaking of Hachiken, he received the most development in this volume. Through the Pork Bowl experience, he learned the differences between becoming attached to farm animals and learning about how the farming business works as a whole. He came to terms with how animals are raised and become food & profit for farmers and even though he decided to start naming piglets again, he is more accepting of their fate. That is a pretty good step in his maturity.
However, he still has a lot to learn and the third arc proved that. He did take another step when he forcefully became the Vice President of the equestrian club after the third years moved on. Hachiken was against it at first but slowly he accepted the role but even though he did, he didn’t really quite grasp what it meant to be there for others. He just thought of it as a sense of duty in the shallowest ways and it wasn’t until the very end after getting lectured by Mikage that he needs to do what he can to make people happy. In other words, they made him Vice President because he can’t say no to people who need help but he, at first, thinks it’s just about him being there and believing that if people know he’s there then they can come to help for support rather than him taking the proactive approach to do what he needs to in order to support others.
Just like with Pork Bowl, he had to accept what he had become and then apply that acceptance into a proactive demeanor. It’s one thing to be a support post, but it’s something completely different to be someone that supports others and that’s what Hachiken started to realize at the end of the volume.
Komaba and Mikage teased something for their development in this volume but until its fully revealed, it’s only that… a teaser. It does make you want to know more, though.
This was a more laid-back edition of Silver Spoon but that’s because this is a transitional volume. It brought one arc fully to a close, tossed in a little fun and began the next arc which looks to be the Ezo AG Festival along with whatever secret Komaba and Mikage are hiding from Hachiken. Hachiken looks to have his hands full next volume between trying to be a pillar of support all while making sure his equestrian club has a successful outing during the festival.
I liked Hachiken’s growth in this volume and up until now, it just seemed like Hachiken was putting the pieces of a puzzle together but this time around, it seemed like when you think he was on a straight path to figuring things out, that path took a detour and he suddenly didn’t seem like someone who was going to have a beeline for progression. It’s a great representation of life and the many problems that people face. Just when you think you have life figured out, life throws you a curveball and you’re stuck with a whole new set of problems you need to find an answer to. That’s what Hachiken feels like after this volume and it’s really cool to see just how realistic the metaphors are in this series!
I said it in my last review and I’ll say it again here… Darn… I STILL want some bacon.
RIP Pork Bowl.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheAnimePulse
You can also check out other The Outerhaven reviews on your favorite social media networks:
This item was provided for review by Yen Press