Manga Review: Silver Spoon V 1 by Hiromu Arakawa

May Contain Spoilers

This is a humorous slice of life manga about a guy obsessed with being Number 1 in everything, and his new life at an agricultural high school. Hachiken, a city boy, applied to Ezo Ag because it was far from his home, and there are dormitories. Now that he’s in rural hell, and he knows nothing about farming or animal husbandry, he’s beginning to rethink the wisdom of this particular life choice.

This is really cute. Hachiken is a guy with no real goals. He’s surrounded by peers who all have goals, and that puts him a bit on edge. He has no real interest in farming or the agriculture curriculum he’s enrolled in. He know nothing about taking care of animals, and he would rather spend his spare time studying. But no! At Ezo Ag, everyone must be in a club, in addition to hours of hands on courses. Ugh!

Hachiken’s education in all things having to do with animals is hilarious. It’s up at the butt crack of dawn for a hands on lesson in the chicken barn. And did you know where the eggs come from?! Poor Hachiken is traumatized. He will never look at an egg the same way again. And don’t discuss the hard reality of an animal’s value when it’s no longer a productive member of the farm. Yeah, that bummed me out, too, even though I know that it’s counter productive to keep a cow, or a chicken, or a horse that adds no value to the output of a farm.

Through slice of life chapters, Hachiken gets to know his classmates. He has a superior attitude, which is quickly shot down, as everyone else understands the lingo of farming. Hachiken has never ridden a horse or mucked out a stall or fed a pig, so he is lost. When talk turns to farming techniques or animal husbandry – well, his peers might as well be speaking Greek, because he understands nothing! For a guy who is used to being at the top of the intellectual heap, this is a humbling experience.

Hachiken joins the equestrian team, and I found it so funny when he is finally allowed, after endless hours of mucking stalls, to ride a horse. And oh the pain of those first few hours afterwards, when your body protests and you learn you have muscles you weren’t even aware of. Yeah, ouch!

I don’t think the assignment with the piglet is going to go the way Hachiken expects, and I know that I could never work on a farm.

Grade: 4.25 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

Silver Spoon (??? Gin no Saji) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa, set in the fictional Oezo Agricultural High School in Hokkaido. It depicts the daily life of Yugo Hachiken, a student from Sapporo who, unlike his new classmates, has no intention of following an agricultural career after graduating. Instead, he decided to study there under the misguided notion that he could easily be the top student in the class.
Influenced by Arakawa’s own life experience as she was raised in a dairy farm in Hokkaido, the manga was launched on the 19th issue of Shogakukan’s Weekly Shonen Sunday magazine on April 6, featured on the cover. It became one of the magazine’s main features not long after.