I finally got around to finishing off the anime series I’ve been watching off and on for some time now: Silver Spoon. And I enjoyed it a whole lot — the amount of time it took me to watch the damn thing from start to finish was more a matter of time than the fact I wasn’t enjoying it, I should add.
Silver Spoon is an interesting anime because although it technically falls in the “slice of life” category, it eschews the usual “high school harem” situation that genre usually favours, instead presenting an uncompromising, realistic, educational and non-judgemental look at the world of agriculture.
Now, you may not think that sounds like a particularly thrilling premise for an anime, but it really works. At least part of this is due to the fact that the protagonist Hachiken is put in much the same situation as most members of the audience when they start watching Silver Spoon: he’s bewildered, doesn’t know much about agriculture and is frequently surprised, distracted and horrified by some of the things he finds out. Over the course of the show’s two seasons, both the audience and Hachiken go on a journey of discovery and learn a lot about the sometimes harsh truths that members of the agricultural industry have to deal with every day.
The show doesn’t shy away from matter-of-factly explaining about how livestock is reared only to be sent to the slaughterhouse — and how animals that aren’t “good enough” are treated differently — though it doesn’t resort to shock tactics like actually showing the slaughtering process. (There is plenty of poo, though, and the occasional cow giving birth — though again, you don’t see full gory detail; it’s mostly about Hachiken’s reaction rather than shock value.)
It also doesn’t shy away from depicting the grim realities many modern farmers face: rising debt levels, ranches having to close down due to insufficient business, and children of long-standing farming families feeling forced into taking over the family business when they’re barely out of school. There’s a nice degree of drama to the whole series, delivered in an interesting, compelling and occasionally heartbreaking manner through Hachiken’s interactions with his classmates, all of whom have ended up at the agricultural high school in which the show is set for different reasons.
The show’s run is currently for two seasons, and while the second season does wrap up on a satisfying, suitably “final” feeling episode, there are still plenty of unresolved plotlines to explore that I believe have been covered in the manga the show is based on. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to see a third season someday, because it really did turn out to be one of the most surprisingly enjoyable anime series I’ve had the pleasure of watching for quite some time. It’s witty, it’s funny, it’s heartfelt and it has something to say without beating its audience around the head with The Message.
If you’re looking for something a little bit different from your usual fare to watch, I can highly recommend checking it out.
Check it out on Crunchyroll.