Gin no Saji Manga Quarterly Review
Yuugo Hachiken is just your ordinary middle school kid, studying at the New Sapporo Prep School. He gets accepted to the Yezo Agricultural High School, a school for agriculture (no duh).
Being from a Prep School, Hachiken studies very well, influenced by his strict parents. He’s exceptionally good at city-subjects – things such as math, or physics. However, in other subjects like biology or farming, he’s completely outclassed – his classmates freely talk about bioengineering, genetic manipulation, and animal biology like it’s nobody’s business. Everybody at Yezo Agricultural has a dream – all except Hachiken.
Cue a slice-of-life school story – except at Yezo Agricultural, ‘school’ to a city kid isn’t as simple as it may seem…
The slice of life in this series is very nice, as Hachiken gradually learns about life in its purest form. His experiences are comparable to ours (since I believe most of us aren’t farmers) – we look down at farmers as being ‘stupid’ or ‘low-class’ – which may be true, in subjects such as math. However, they’re the people who can see past mere appearances, they’re the people who work harder than anybody else – they’re the people who let us continue to live! Hachiken goes through these experiences, as he learns many simple things each chapter.
If anything, Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon)’s simplicity and lack of over-the-topness makes it one of the most refreshing manga I’m currently reading – a great break between BOOM BASH BANG THE WORLD IS FUCKING ENDING LET’S ENTRUST THE SAFETY OF THE WORLD TO SOME EMO TEENAGER BOOM and OH MAN SCHOOL’S SO EXCITING AND FUN AND GIRLS AND YEAH. Yet, school is still an integral part of Silver Spoon, more so than in many other ‘school’ stories. Look at any other school story, and you’ll see school doesn’t actually matter. The whole thing could be set in a space station and it’d still be the same. However, in Gin no Saji, everything revolves around the school – the lessons, the activities, the facilities. Perhaps Silver Spoon can do this because the school isn’t a typical school, and so focusing on it won’t be as boring as focusing on a typical school.
This really isn’t a bone to pick, but Silver Spoon’s main plot hasn’t come out yet – they’ve introduced the Silver Spoon as a… well… silver spoon that hangs over the entrance to the cafeteria, but nothing more than that. Plot really isn’t a problem for a story like this, though.
Another thing I see with Silver Spoon was introducing all of the characters so quickly – right now, the only characters I remember are the main, the heroine, the fatass girl, the short principal, and the buddha-gambler. It’s something when you completely forget who the other mains are – they’re not developed enough, and I really can’t tell the difference between them.
That’s also not really an issue with Silver Spoon, though, since it’s not focused around characterization. While for other manga (e.g. KamiNomi) characterization is the most important part, making each character stand out, Silver Spoon seems like it’s aiming to be normal – with normal characters who will only stand out when we (and Hachiken) get to know them more.
However, if there’s something Silver Spoon did get right with its characters, it’s Hachiken. He’s not your regular chick-magnet angsty emo teenager – he looks like he’s had a rough past, but can deal with it, and his actions seem very realistic. He’s a very cool person that we can all understand – even if we aren’t falling in horse manure or having to witness a cute pig getting slaughtered right in front of us, we still understand his feelings. We can still relate to him.
That’s something else Silver Spoon gets right, in the same vein as Nichijou – both present everyday situations in a different light (Nichijou presenting them exaggeratedly and absurdly, Silver Spoon presenting them in an agricultural setting). Even though both have us laughing throughout, there are some actual morals and lessons presented at the end. Nichijou doesn’t concentrate on these, but Gin no Saji definitely does, focusing on morals from the very beginning. Although it may seem preachy to some, I like this – managing to strike a balance between that and humour is very hard, but Silver Spoon manages to do just that.
An interesting thing Gin no Saji subtly addresses as that people are actually pretty friendly and approachable inside, no matter their exterior – unlike, say, the impersonal stick figures of Mawaru Penguindrum. You just need to approach them…
The art is very interesting, though. To be honest, it looks very bad. Was the FMA art like this? I better go read that (speaking of FMA, I haven’t finished the first season, let alone Brotherhood)…
Why did I mention FMA, you ask? The mangaka, Arakawa Hiromu,
portrays herself as a bespectacled cow wrote FMA and Silver Spoon. Silver Spoon is actually her first weekly serialization, as FMA was monthly.
Apparently, she worked on a dairy farm in her childhood before becoming a mangaka – you can obviously tell that many of the experiences in Gin no Saji are based off her own childhood, such as the pizza arc. Yet, she makes the main character a person from the city who learns about the country…
Anyways, Gin no Saji is a very refreshing, nice read – not only is it good for a few chuckles, but it’ll also make you feel warm inside at the kindness of humanity.
HA HA HA HA HA KINDNESS OF HUMANITY HA HA HA AHAH HA HAAH HA H AHAHAHAHA