Title: Silver Spoon Vol. 9
Author: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Slice of Life
Publication Date: June 18, 2019
Volume nine of Silver Spoon continues Hachiken’s adventure in tutoring Mikage. Hachiken puts a ton of pressure on himself due to the “death threats” her father made should she not get into the college of her choice. During this, he reluctantly calls his brother for his college entrance notes which leads to a trip back home to pick them up. The coast seems to be clear but he’s caught by his father and then, later, his mother. Hachiken ends up staying for lunch but the discussion ends up with his father berating him like usual. This time; however, Hachiken actually stands up for himself but despite his outburst, it didn’t really seem to have an effect on his father at all.
Because of this, Hachiken’s mother wondered what he actually did at the school since he never tells her anything about his school life. She decides to pay a surprise visit to the school where she learns just what Hachiken has become and what he means to all of the other students around him. After she leaves, we enter another “make bacon” arc where everyone on campus starts chipping in to buy a pig to turn into bacon, sausage, etc. Here, it’s Tamako that quickly accepts the position as an accountant for the money-raising fund and ends up telling Hachiken how he’s using Mikage to vicariously vent his regret of backing out of going to college (more on this in the character section!)
The final arc of the volume sees a computer virus spreading due to someone going to an adult website. Nobody comes forward so certain Christmas events are canceled. We do find out who the culprit is but it’s nothing more than a small side story with some more relationship development for Mikage and Hachiken.
Lots of story progression happened in this volume but nothing was truly resolved and it didn’t need to be. The Mikage Tutoring arc feels like it is reaching the half-way point so I think we may see that come to a conclusion in the next volume or two. This volume did a great job of tying several smaller stories into the main story, thus weaving parallel main story and character development arcs together while making them seamless, yet, distinctive. I felt this volume had a really good flow to it!
I’ll get to our mains in a second here but I have to say… how much Nishikawa did we get in this volume? He got so much attention, that he almost felt like a main character! Even though he didn’t really get much development, it just reasserted the fact that he is an otaku at heart and loves his eroge games. Nice to see a background character like him get woven into the mix and given so much “screen time.” Also… that suggestion about the yogurt. Belle Delphine vibes anyone!? (Read the volume and you’ll understand exactly what I mean!)
As for the main focuses, Hachiken and Mikage. Their relationship is budding rather well. Mikage even got called out on not asking Hachiken out yet. In fact, many already assumed that the two were dating with how much time they were spending together studying. Still, this volume was filled with teases and more of that good frustration. You want to see these two get together so badly but it just never happens. That’s the sign of a good hook. It makes you want more and keeps you coming back, hoping to get what you want but it’s never there. Just more breadcrumbs to follow.
As for Hachiken himself. I had to facepalm because he did seem like a different person. The fact that he stood up to his father and even ran into his middle school friends while he was back home who even said he felt different, made it seem like he was changing and had developed as a character. Then all of that got erased when Tamako lectured him about the reasons why he was helping Mikage study. For as much progress as the volume claimed Hachiken made, he took another two steps back by being the same old Hachiken that we’ve known since day one: a kid too dumb to realize his own inner turmoil is being projected upon others so he can get a sense of satisfaction and justification in his life. I would have believed it 100% when Hachiken acknowledged that he was a different person had they not ran that angle with MIkage. I just felt like it invalidated the claim that Hachiken grew as a person. I guess in some ways he did but in others, he still remains the same. I won’t call it true growth until he gets over his biggest issue.
Last volume was a really solid volume that centered around Komaba. This time, we didn’t really get to see him at all but he was talked about. I guess they are saving up his story progression for another time. This volume, though, I felt fell a little bit short of being on equal quality with Volume 8. The reason I say that is because Hachiken was still Hachiken and the biggest problem with his character wasn’t resolved even though they flat out stated he had become a different person. That was the biggest glaring issue. Other than that, I felt this volume hit everything on all cylinders and made for an excellent read!
I’m expecting some more big things in Volume 10 when it comes to Mikage and Hachiken. They heavily eluded to Spring being the penultimate decision when comes to their relationship. It was a subtle clue but still, it was a significant one at that. I hope they build off of that because I’m one of those people who just want to lock Hachiken and Mikage in a closet and tell them to just get it over with already!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press