Yuugo Hachiken is studious, hard-working, and tired of trying to live up to expectations he just cannot meet. With the ushering in of a brand new school year, he decides to enrol in Ooezo Agricultural High School, a boarding school located in the Hokkaido countryside, as a means to escape from the stress brought upon by his parents.
Initially convinced that he would do well at this institution, Hachiken is quickly proven wrong by his talented classmates, individuals who have been living on farms their entire lives and know just about everything when it comes to food, vegetables, and even the physiology of livestock! Whether it be waking up at five in the morning for strenuous labor or to take care of farm animals, Hachiken is a complete amateur when it comes to the harsh agricultural life.
Gin no Saji follows the comedic story of a young student at as he tries to fit into a completely new environment, meeting many unique people along the way. As he struggles to appreciate his surroundings, Hachiken hopes to discover his dreams, so that he may lead a fulfilling life on his own terms.
Gin no Saji is an anime adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa's ongoing manga of the same name that has sold over 12 million copies in Japan alone and was honored with a nomination for the 19th annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize. The series aired in 2013 on the famous Fuji Television noitaminA block, which has aired several prominent anime including Anohana, Nodame Cantabile and Psycho-Pass. Gin no Saji has been licensed by Aniplex of America for streaming and home video distribution in North America. The anime adaptation was followed by a live-action film adaptation, of the same source material, that premiered in 2014.
Life is what you make it, if anything, it’s far from perfect.
In order to experience the true beauty of the world, we must accept the unimaginable situations we’ve been placed in, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.
Dive into the world of agriculture ‘Gin no Saji’ otherwise known as ‘Silver Spoon’ in English. Our main character, Yugo Hachiken, who in desperation separates himself from his family and their ever growing expectations, enrolls into the boarding school Yezo High School. Carrying a quirky and half assed attitude, Hachiken quickly realizes that escaping the expectations of not only his family, but others as well without having any aspirations of your own isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. This realization is even further amplified when he is surrounded by peers who seemingly already have their life planned out. If you can relate to this even in the most miniscule way, you should do yourself a favor and give this 11 episode season the time of day.
As we journey deeper, it is Gin no Saji’s extremely strong cast that truly allows this anime to shine. With an episodic-like structure and an array of unique supporting characters, the awkwardness that is the situations Hachiken is thrown into, know no bounds. Through the eyes of the beholder, we are initially shown the ugly side of the agricultural world, filled with the squirms of Hachiken as he collects fresh chicken periods, becomes overly attached to baby livestock and witnesses the butchery of countless animals. But ever so slowly, Hachiken begins to settle in his new found home, and the beautiful side of this world begins to shine through. As previously stated, the supporting cast Gin no Saji is exceptionally strong. The unique personalities of each character are truly showcased, whether it’s Tokiwa’s eternal struggle with studying, the tit loving Holstein Club, or the iron will of Komaba. Each have their own aspirations which become evident throughout their daily interactions which creates a heartwarming tone.
A-1 pictures generally have a high standard when it comes to artwork, and Gin no Saji is no exception. The vast majority is animated cleanly without any majorly distracting blemishes, characters are easily distinguishable, the scenery is drawn beautifully and the food is at a tantalizing level of animation. Heck, even the eggs fresh out a chicken’s bum looks delectable.
If there was anything worthy of complaint in Gin no Saji it would be its background music, which more often than not doesn’t benefit the atmosphere the scene attempts to create. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a poor soundtrack by any means… it just doesn’t add much to the premises most of the time. It simply exists at an acceptable standard. Both the opening and ending themes give off a light hearted, rural feeling which compliments the themes of the anime quite well. When taking the above elements into consideration, the soundtrack as a whole is presented to an above par standard.
In conclusion, chances are you’ll most likely enjoy this series even if you have absolutely no interest in the world of agriculture. Put plainly, Gin no Saji is a warm hearted slice of life filled with plenty of comedic and relatable moments, with an exceptionally strong cast of characters and beautiful visuals. Gin no Saji portrays its story in a simple, yet enjoyable fashion. So what are you waiting for? Take the plunge into the world known as Gin no Saji, and who knows? Maybe you’ll fall in love with the world of agriculture just like Hachiken did. read more
At the start of watching Gin no Saji, I was unsure of what to think about it. I thought it would be just a fun little slice of life anime, but what I got far exceeded my expectations.
Gin no Saji is the perfect example that we each have the ability to set our own path and believe what we want to believe. And even if we face adversity we still stand by our beliefs.
Personally I have never seen an anime in which a city boy was placed in a farming school, so kudos to the maker of the manga for doing it well. The anime misses no opportunities to put the main character, Hachiken, into situations far outside of his comfort zone, thus leading to hilarious developments. But don't let the comedy fool you, because there are moments in this anime where they ask the tough questions, and you may see things in a different light by the end. Another plus is that there's never too much focus on one side character at a time, and instead they all develop together through their interactions with Hachiken. The story progresses at a steady pace, which allows viewers to get to know the characters, but also prevents boredom by giving you a nice change of scenery every episode or two. If the beginning was a little less slow it would be perfect.
Now the art is very well done, and for some of the farm equipment and the more movement oriented scenes it is incredibly detailed and flows almost seamlessly. But, I have to take off some points for the lack of movement during a good portion of the dialogue oriented scenes.
The soundtrack wasn't much to write home about, but I did enjoy the opening and none of the tracks felt out of place. On another note, the Japanese voice acting was well done, and I felt that most of them fit there characters perfectly. Even better than that though, is that I found none of their voices to be annoying and normally there is at least one.
What really sets this anime apart for me is the characters. Not because they are necessarily original character concepts, but because they each add something to the story, whether it's laughs, insight, or even their worries about the future.
Overall, I very much enjoyed this anime and would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about watching it.read more
“Because of the life they were born into, they are immediately stuck as an existence that can’t even choose their own life and death.”
Such is the life of livestock. Chickens are killed to be eaten if they don’t lay enough eggs; horses are immediately retired or put to rest if they don’t win any competitions or get injured; and pigs and cows are sold at a really cheap price if they do not eat enough. Behind the scenes of our farms and their livestock, the idea of the “survival of the fittest” is more clear-cut and harsh than it is in human society. However, humans are judged equally as harsh by the results they produce. In a generation that values the credentials of people more than the people themselves, people who fall behind even a little bit are often shunned or overlooked, just as if they are worthless livestock. Therefore, people of all ages, especially those that are younger, are put under a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed and sometimes forced to take on undesired paths for life. And sadly enough, running away never seems to be an option…
Or does it?
Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon) tells the story of Hachiken Yugo, a boy that decides to go to an agricultural boarding school far away from home after getting rejected from the high school he was aiming for. Hachiken’s tunnel vision to get into the high school causes him to lose sight of what he really wants to do, and so he chooses the agricultural school to get away from being considered a failure. All of us, especially in our teenage and early adult years, can relate to this experience one way or another: the fact that you work diligently towards a goal and realize soon after that the goal can never be reached is a daunting and depressing thing. To make matters worse, you are forced to see your peers achieve that same goal and become afraid of them lest they judge you for failing. You want to escape, but sometimes the pressure from society, from your family and your friends, all chain you down to sometimes lead the life that you don’t necessarily want.
So for all those that are troubled like Hachiken, I recommend this slice-of-life anime series. One of the core things that Gin no Saji teaches the viewers is to take a break from all that unhealthy pressure for once and reflect upon what is most important FOR YOU in life. Luckily for Hachiken, he is surrounded by classmates that are all passionate about what they want to do in life. For someone without a goal, seeing determined people who constantly pursue their goal may be discouraging but motivating at the same time. This indirect pressure encourages Hachiken to think earnestly about what he wants to do in life. The new experiences and fun memories made at this new school start to bring out a new side of Hachiken that surprises those that have known him in the past.
The magic of the character of Hachiken is that he came in knowing absolutely nothing about the agricultural high school. At least for me, I could personally relate to Hachiken, only because I had to face the same amount of pressure to do well in school. But not only that, just as Hachiken felt bad for the farm animals being killed off out of obligation, I did too; just as Hachiken had to wake up every morning around five to do work, I could relate to how painful that would be; and just as Hachiken felt indirectly pressured by his passion-driven friends, I did too. That’s why this character is really dear to me, and his development as a person is all the more exciting as this series goes on.
But if the story of Hachiken Yugo and his friends don’t appeal to you, Gin no Saji has high educational value. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of the agricultural businesses and farms, then this anime gives you a glimpse of what it’s like. And in addition to the fun facts about farm animals, equipment, and techniques, the anime takes on philosophical views on what the animals teach humans, and how the animals should be treated. For one thing, everyone in this anime has deep rooted respect for livestock. There are owners that hold extravagant funerals for horses to honor them; there are people who appreciate the animals for providing them a new insight or viewpoint in life; and there are people who make the necessary killing of farm animals as quick and painless as possible. Finally, this anime touches upon not only the future of the agricultural and farming businesses, but also sensitive topics such as animal cruelty and cloning. I value this anime highly because of what it teaches me, each and every episode.
Since Gin no Saji was in an entirely different setting, background, and pacing from Fullmetal Alchemist, I laid off the manga after two chapters or so. But the anime brought me back to the manga, and what a delight it’s been. As a fan of the slice-of-life genre, Gin no Saji is without a doubt a fresh addition to my list. I look forward to more heartfelt and warm moments awaiting Hachiken and his friends at Oezo Agricultural High School!
Review by MAL criteria
Story: The synopsis is available in the MAL page as well as in the second big paragraph of this review. What gives the story an overall 10 is the number of characters that have very relatable and realistic problems and backgrounds. In addition, as mentioned before, the anime has educational value, as it teaches the viewers about farm animals, equipment, techniques, and the logistics of agricultural and farming businesses. Rarely do we consider a slice-of-life anime with educational value anything from interesting, but Hiromu Arakawa manages to pull it off.
Music: The opening song “Kiss you” by Miwa is a sweet and carefree song, but nothing too memorable. The ending song “Hello Especially” is sung by Sukima Switch, who also sang “Golden Time Lovers” from the third opening of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I mention this because Sukima Switch chose to sing a country song for this anime (rather than rock), and no doubt, the song is catchy and fits perfectly to the anime. Besides that, the soundtracks introduced thus far are nothing too special, but they often give you a very warm countryside feeling when you hear them playing at certain parts. (8/10)
Art: As the anime is in an agricultural setting, the scenery is pastoral and soothing. Not to mention the use of warm and bright colors to emphasize the warmth and homeliness of the environment.
As it is a Hiromu Arakawa work, you will see similarities between Gin no Saji characters and Fullmetal Alchemist characters. The depiction of the characters stays true to the manga, and you’ll notice the similar reactions that Hiromu Arakawa likes to use. There is great detail and personification of animals so it is entertaining to see various expressions from these animals.
Animation of this anime seems to be the most lacking of all the categories because it can get choppy and awkward at times. The animation is especially important because it is tied into delivering punchlines or depicting hilarious scenes, so the humor is not always delivered appropriately or properly conveyed due to the occasionally choppy animations. (8/10)
Character: Season 1 of Gin no Saji is focused mostly on Hachiken's development from being a gloomy and uptight guy to a more confident and relaxed one. Viewers are introduced to other characters and their backgrounds, but the anime has yet to develop any of them. I rate this section highly, however, because of how well Hachiken's development is done. Viewers see Hachiken learning something different about himself, his friends, and his environment every episode, and in turn his friends learn something different about Hachiken each episode. I can’t wait to see him develop more and more, until the moment he figures out what he wants to do in life. (8/10)
Enjoyment: On behalf of those who love this anime already, let me say to those reading this review that you’re missing out!! I can’t guarantee everyone will enjoy it, but I hope you do!
Everyone has dreams. In fact, dreams can come in all shapes or sizes. It be as simple as getting an A+ on a math exam or to something as difficult as winning a gold medal in the Olympics. The problem with dreams is though is that not everyone seems to be able to follow all the way through. It’s from dreams though that people learn about the world and about themselves. In Silver Spoon, we follow a main male protagonist named Yugo Hachiken as he embarks on a road for his future but one that he never expected to turn out to be.
Gin no Saji (also known by its English name Silver Spoon) is anime series based off of the manga of the same name written by Hiromu Arakawa. She is known already for her previous work, Full Metal Alchemist that has achieved universal praise for both its anime and manga creations. As a brand new series, we get to see an insight on her new work from a different perspective. This time, we get to witness the life of a farm boy in the field of agriculture as opposed to the military bases and struggles.
For starters, this anime is influenced by the author’s real life childhood because she used to grow up on a dairy farm in Hokkaido. Therefore, we also get to see the author’s reflection of her past life in a sort of way. However, this time we step into the shoes of Hachiken as a student and see how his life is like.
Hachiken is one of those character that seems to be unmotivated from the beginning. This is evidenced even from the very beginning in which he tries to get take an easy route by enrolling in an agricultural school. This might sound easy but it’s a lot harder once he opens his eyes to reality. The backstab comes to Hachiken’s part as he quickly finds out that all the students there are motivated by their desire to actually make a professional career out of their time spend there. For Hachiken though, this is more like a time of struggle.
The various characters of this show makes it quite appealing since almost all of them seems to have a mind set on the future; that is almost everyone except for Hachiken. These goals ranges from inheriting a farm business, to become a veterinarian, or owning a chicken farm. At the same time, these characters all have their own style when they make their appearances. Take Shinnosuke for example. He seems to play a struggling role (although not on the same level from my perspective) in the series. Shinnosuke wants to become a vet but often fears at the sight of blood or animals. Then, there’s also Aki, a girl that is sometimes stereotyped as the pretty girl next door. In fact, she even fits this role literally with her love of horses. (a possible reference to girls’ love for ponies)
The plot of the series follows a more slice-of-life format where it visualizes and presents how a person’s life is like as a student in the agricultural field. Surprisingly enough, it does make its sense of realism strong through the portrayal of its actions. These include cutting chickens’ heads off, milking cattle, cooking corns, and just an every day style of what is like to be a student at this agricultural school. For viewers however, it can be frustrating in the beginning to witness Hachiken’s life style because he shows little interest in the activities. This is especially true when he realizes how hard life can be on the farm. At the same time though, Hachiken progresses with his effort and learns more about his new life through experience. These experiences puts him in the driver’s seat for the first time on his road for a future. It is also in someway inspirational to see how he progresses throughout the show that might make people realize that dreams can come true.
Among other interesting factors of the series includes the character interactions. For Hachiken, it’s important for him to make new friends in order to adjust. Thanks to his intellect though, he is able to earn the respect of his peers and possibly even the affection of his classmate, Aki. In fact, there are hints of romance in the series occasionally between Hachiken and Aki. This can be viewed as a more innocent factor of the show and often times or not, we get to witness the silly moments (sometimes misunderstandings as well) between the duo. The sparks are there though but usually Hachiken plays the role of the dummy. On the other hand, Aki’s cheerfulness makes it all more the worthwhile to watch. What might be more scary to watch is maybe her overprotective father as he plays the role of a dad who seems to care about her daughter more than he probably should.
The series also brings a delightful doses of comedy to the show. In fact, it sometimes barely tries and succeeds in this field. This usually involves Hachiken and how he deals with the various farm animals with various results. In the beginning, most of this is almost absurd but later on spells out more hilarious moments as he gets first hands-on experience with the farm life. Trust me though, it’s a lot harder than what you see with your naked eye. It doesn’t end there as other characters such as Tamako even has her humorous moments and little gags that makes the show of a spoonful of comedy.
Visual wise, Silver Spoon takes on a realistic approach but with rich artistic visuals. The backgrounds is portrayed almost lifelike with a sense of naturalism in terms of its farm animals, buildings, and simplicity. Speaking of simple, most of the characters are designed as such without any fancy outfits, makeups, or battle gear. There is some similarity with its character designs in comparison to Full Metal Alchemist although this should be taken as for granted.
The soundtrack of the series is decent with a simple and straight forward way of presenting its rhythms. The OP song "kiss you" by miwa has a silly way of presenting its song with humorous sequences and character montages. On the other hand, the ED song “Hello Especially” by Sukima Switch has this sense of calmness as we witness characters walking down a road that can be interpreted as walking down a road towards the future.
Overall, this show might not be for everyone but it certainly should be worth giving a shot. You don’t have to enjoy agriculture to watch this. If you don’t believe me, just ask Hachiken. He started out as the new kid at school but now has earned the respect of not just his classmates but me as well. The realism this series focuses more than just the farm animals but also on Hachiken’s progressive development as his new life begins. It might not be the dream he originally wanted to follow but it sure is something enjoyable to watch. Living a life on the farm might be tough but for me, enjoying this show was simple. read more
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