Finding One’s Self
Silver Spoon is about a boy named Hachiken who doesn’t really know what he wants to do with himself. In middle school he was pushed to perform at the top of his class by his parents, and as a result, lost himself in the process. Now in high school, he has chosen to enroll in a school as far away as possible. The problem? A city kid now living the farming lifestyle isn’t easy!
First off, I have to mention that it is painfully obvious that this is Hiromu Arakawa’s story. You probably know her best for Fullmetal Alchemist but you may not know that she actually has an agricultural background. You’ll see her signature style all over Silver Spoon as well as a lot of authenticity in the real struggles of farm families.
Even if you didn’t grow up with a farming background, you will probably be familiar with a lot of the concepts presented in the anime here. However, understanding a something conceptually and being faced with it up close and personal is a different story. To that end, Silver Spoon is really successful. It gets you thinking about things you probably wouldn’t have otherwise.
While this alone is fairly interesting and could be a worthwhile discussion in and of itself, I’d prefer we focus this review on Hachiken as a character because I relate more to him than anything else in the show. Still, mentioning this facet of the show is important and will still be brought up a little bit in this discussion.
Hachiken is what most folks would probably consider a boring person. He doesn’t really have anything going on for him aside from being a nice guy. His one real passion is studying, but beyond that, he doesn’t have any of those either. However, I can totally buy into his character because I’ve been there.
I’ve talked about this before, so I’m not going to go into a lot of detail, but growing up my home life was not fantastic. As a result, I have more than a few hangups. I don’t really get out much beyond maybe 2x a week at most. Otherwise it is just me here on this computer writing for you guys, making things, trying to stay busy. It’s not like I don’t want to go out and do things, but I also have the factor of a disability which makes going anywhere more difficult since I can’t drive. Anyway, that’s depressing so let’s refocus on Hachiken.
It wasn’t like he started off this way. Hachiken buckled under the immense pressure his father placed on him to perform academically. This is made worse by his older brother who was able to meet these standards. In short, I can sympathize here.
When he enters this agricultural school, academics are probably the least important thing. Sure, farmers need to have a basic education just like anybody, but adept knowledge in more obscure areas really isn’t practical or important. It lifts a weight off of him so to speak.
Once I entered university myself, it was much the same way. I didn’t feel the pressure to perform at the same level I had previously. I still put in the effort and did my best, but I wasn’t worried about an occasional C grade or whatever. This was also a time for me to get out there and try more things.
In the show, Hachiken is required to join a club. He’s at first motivate primarily by his crush on a female student, Aki, but it ends up being a really positive move for him. In much the same way, though this was not required of me, I joined my school’s ballroom dance club. Though, in my case it also wasn’t motivated by a crush, but it was a way to meet people so in a way, that was part of the goal I suppose.
For me, Silver Spoon hits on a lot of the same notes that Sakura Quest did. A lot of the show is about figuring out who you are as a person and making that work for you as you move onward with life. I’ll admit, Sakura Quest is a bit more relevant as it centers on adult living, but Silver Spoon really captures the teenage angst that comes with planning for one’s future.
No matter where you are in life, these ideas are something we can all identify with. Even if you had a clear direction for your life at a young age, there is a core theme in Silver Spoon that gets hit on over-and-over again; just because you have a dream, doesn’t mean everything goes as plan, or that the road will be any less difficult.
One such example of this is more lighthearted and the other is a bit more impactful. We’ll cover both, but we’ll start with the lighthearted one. Hachiken has a friend who wants to be a vet but he is really ill-suited for it. Still, he won’t give up on his dream. The road ahead for him is going to be difficult.
Hachiken is envious of this because he doesn’t have this clear direction and conviction in his life, as I’ve mentioned. When you see somebody who knows where they are going when you don’t, it can be difficult because you really beat yourself up about it. That’s a big part of the show, but at the same time, the anime tells you that we all figure this out at our own pace.
As for the other example, we’ll find that in the character Komaba. He’s aspiring to become a professional baseball player so he can help out his single mother and two kid sisters. On top of that, he will be taking over his family’s farm. It’s a lofty goal, but as the show runs on, you really root for him.
That makes it all the more gut-wrenching when his dreams are shattered. There were several episodes in Silver Spoon where I got caught up in the show’s emotions, and this was one of them. It was almost devastating to see Komaba drop out of school, sell the family farm, and ultimately have to abandon his dream.
In real life, it is much the same. I’ve seen a lot of people try and fail hard at things that they were passionate about. Hell, I’m probably even one of those people. I constantly try and create things and get myself out there, but more often than not, I’m not met with a lot of success. I barely manage to eek out any kind of existence as it is, and that can be kind of tough to deal with.
There’s more I want to mention, but I’m finding it hard to talk about this show. More so since I don’t want to spoil everything either. For two, eleven episode seasons, there was quite a bit packed in. The most I can do now is just tell you to watch it, and hope you do.
It’s not like the anime was perfect the whole time, there were some pretty weak episodes and I would have liked to see the show go on for just a bit longer than it did, but overall, it was a meaningful experience that offered more than you may expect at a surface glance. Even if Silver Spoon doesn’t resonate with you on a personal level for the reasons I’ve listed here, and I don’t expect it to for everybody, I still encourage you to give this one a watch.
I feel like I have more to say on Silver Spoon, but I just don’t know how to put it all into words, so we are going to stop here. What are your thoughts on the series and did you get as much out of it as I did? If you would like to support my work, you can by hitting the Ko-fi button below and donating a few dollars. Thank you for reading and I hope you’ll join me on the next article!