Although ostensibly a school romantic comedy, it is the setting that makes it a bit different from your regular school animes.
“Silver Spoon” tells the story of Yugo Hachiken (the guy in glasses). He comes from Sapporo, but had no real idea what he wants to become. He also wanted to get away from a demanding father and a slacker brother, so he enrolls in Ezo Agricultural High School. He is the only one there without a goal, a purpose or a reason to be at this school, as everyone else is involved in some aspect of agriculture (dairy, livestock, horse racing, cheese making and the like).
He becomes tops in the class overall, as he excels in the regular stuff (math, history, writing), but he bites mightily when it comes to the other aspects of the school, like the agricultural part. I hope he didn’t miss that ‘agricultural’ is part of the school’s name. His other classmates are:
Aki Mikage, the happy one to his right. A member of the Equestrian Club, her family raises specialized racing horses and it is assumed she’ll take over one day.
Ichiro Komaba, the grim one just above Yugo. He has dreams of being a professional ball player so he can help the family dairy.
Shinnosuke Aikawa, red-head petting the cow. He wants to be a vet, but he gets queasy at the sight of blood.
Tamako Inada, the large one. When she drops the weight, she’s gorgeous, but it makes her feel weak. She wants to have her family farm dominate and be a big money-maker.
Keiji Tokiwa, the guy amid the chickens. His family runs a chicken farm.
There are lots of other people as well, but these will do for now.
We see Yugo’s attempts to fit in, but he brings his big city ideas to country folks, but he also has to learn what these country folks already know. This caliber of culture clash permits the people on both sides to learn and grow, especially when you have a ‘Stone Soup’ episode where they decide to make their own pizza (they are too far out for any of the companies to want to even make a run). We draw from all the disciplines at the school to make a festive time for all and everyone pitches in happily (except for the cheese maker).
If there is one drawback to the show, it’s character design. The folks you see up there are rendered pretty well for anime, but there are others that are rather odd and bizarre, almost a throwback to the early days of anime. So we have a roommate that is a real cartoon or the principal of the school, who looks odd. The mentor for the Equestrian Club looks like a Chinese religious icon, right down to the extended ear lobes and facial persona. It just adds something to the show that may not be all that necessary.
The main arc of the first show is Yugo raising pigs. He takes a shine to the runt, whom he calls Pork Bowl. But he has to understand that this animal is going to be raised to be slaughtered and eaten. Don’t fall in love with your animals; don’t give them names, as it makes the ultimate decision the hardest of all.
Certainly a caliber of ‘educational’ anime, it does give a good overview as to what goes on at farms, with a variety of philosophies and reasons for doing what they do. This show also has a kind of warning at the end, which bothered me:
“This story is a work of fiction. The people and groups are fictitious, but the themes relating to food and life are based in reality. Visiting the places and facilities used as models can be dangerous and may result in contracting diseases from the animals. Please enjoy this story as a work of fiction.”
Things like this get to me, as it gives the impression that most people are sheep and cannot view shows on TV as fiction, but instead try to convert it into a reality. Is this stuff absolutely necessary? I feel it takes away from the show that we have to protect weak-minded people by issuing warnings and concerns. The show itself tells the tales well enough, as to how difficult modern farming and agriculture has become. This ain’t no stroll in the park; we need to make enough money to keep going and upgrade when me must.
That minor pothole aside, the show itself really shows personal growth of all the people involved, even when Yugo’s worthless brother shows up to cause problems. There is another 11-run series in the offing, which should be coming soon, as the real tale has not even begun to be fully told. I can’t wait for the next course.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Mostly good, but some oddballs)
Plot 8 (Good story arcs)
Pacing 8 (Keeps it on an even keel)
Effectiveness 8 (Wonderful sense of direction)
Conclusion 7 (It gets to its coupler point)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would “Ouran High School”)
Overall 8 (I would have liked to see a bit more)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Look at those udders!.