What’s this? An anime about farming? Huh? I’ve seen anime about action and adventure, fantasies and science fiction, still-life sitcoms, romantic comedies, dystopian futures, alternate histories, sports, giant robots, zombies, and pretty much everything else under the sun… but farming? That’s a new one, an idea I haven’t seen before. Because, come on, what is there about farming that can possibly entertain us, eh?
Let this anime be a lesson: it’s possible to tell a compelling story without anything exotic whatsoever. It’s not what you have but how you use it. 😉
Silver Spoon is a farming-based comedic drama that tells the stories of regular people within a setting that most people today know very little about, making it unique despite its normality. The story it weaves is tender, poignant, heartfelt, and hilarious. It’s also very informative and educational, it really feels like the creators actually know what they’re talking about when it comes to the production of our food, yet it never bores us. Personally, I loved it.
The story primarily follows a young man named Yuugo Hachiken. He is a city boy who’s left home and enrolled in an agricultural high school. He represents the audience as we learn about farming alongside him, including animal care, food production, and the rural lifestyle, as well as the risks, rewards, and realities of such. Within this world we are learning about, we experience the lives of Hachiken and his friends, many of whom have great dreams they are working towards. Some of them can hope for success, but others must taste the bitterness of broken dreams. Life, simple life, can be a precarious thing indeed for people as well as livestock.
Not to make a farming pun, but Silver Spoon is a very down-to-earth anime. The setting may be novel for today’s audience, but there’s a realistic weight to it. This makes the characters’ various ordeals hit home, and it makes their happiness all the sweeter.
Which, I don’t mean to make it sound as if “weight” is all there is to the story. There really are plenty of good times. There are hilarious misunderstandings, developments of relationships, and intriguing problems that everyone works together to solve. There are questions asked and pondered seriously, most especially by Hachiken as he learns an unfamiliar way of life, but soon, by extension, his classmates must start asking similar questions about the things they take for granted. There’s laughter and learning and the triumph of overcoming obstacles to change your point of view. Most of all, no matter how “bad” it gets, students and adults alike rise to the occasion in dignified, mature ways.
And every bit of the show is so very human. Things might be embellished slightly as only an animated story can afford, but the characters are all fantastic, believable, and easy to relate to. They’re intelligent, kind, decent, and generally responsible. It’s hard not to fall in love with nearly the entire cast. Ultimately, it is through their quirks, their goals, and their approaches to their industry, that Hachiken is able to confront his own issues, his failures, and even identify the root of a dispute which lies between him and his father. But that goes into spoilers, so I’m not going to elaborate here. 😉
Silver Spoon is, at its heart and throughout its entire being, is a hilarious, heart-warming, heart-breaking story about realistic people in realistic situations. It offers a glimpse into a world that is largely unknown and taken for granted today. It’s a simple, beautiful story. The only thing it lacks is a clear resolution, which I dearly wish they would produce.
Rating: 9 stars out of 10.
Grade: solid A.
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Some anibloggers have recommended this series to me. I will say that farming is a very original topic for an anime. If it’s one thing I like about Japanese animation is that any topic or activity can be made into a story. Like the game of go was for Hikaru no Go, breadmaking for Yakitate!! Japan, or otaku-dom was for Otaku no Video, you can find something very unique.
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