What They Say:
The second trimester begins at Ezono as Hokkaido s fall quickly kicks in. Hachiken is as busy as ever, taking over the position of vice president of the equestrian club, adopting a puppy, competing in his first equestrian event, and being in charge of many activities for Ezono’s school festival. Even though the usual school life is carried out and they dream of their futures like any other teenager, Hachiken and his friends are forced to confront the harsh realities of agricultural businesses such as financial struggles and successor issues. Hachiken tries his best to support his peers which ultimately leads him to face and overcome his own problems with his family. This is a coming-of-age story filled with sweat, tears, and literally a lot of dirt!
The audio is only in one choice – a Japanese track in stereo (no English dub) yet I had no need to adjust the sound quality which actually made me think it was a 5.1 track at first. The audio combines the sounds needed for animals as well of course so there is a range of foley and effects which sync in well with the video and subtitles making it an unproblematic release as far as I checked. Disappointed there is no dual audio track of course but this shouldn’t happen your enjoyment of the show, especially with how over the top the sounds are with the lead character combined with the accuracy done throughout.
The video is set in full-screen format via NTSC transfer to PAL format with the show combining animation and colour in a more traditional sense considering the agriculture theme – very realistic looking ranging from the animals, the food and some…reality ensuing (trust me, we all know what happens when you put the giant glove of on near a cow’s butt…this show however gives you the aftermath ^^ )with no real problems with the subtitles, the sound synching, no pause lag or in general, it is a quality release, with the bright colours and flow really shining through on Blu-Ray with no obvious noticeable CGI effects used.
There was no packing for this test release however the Blu-Ray Special Edition version of this will get collector’s packaging.
On each of the discs, the menu is the same –clips from the show with some catchy music in the background with Hachiken a still image of the menu on Disc 1 and Mikage on disc 2 – like most Blu-Rays it has popup menus during the show (bar extras) – on the main menu, however it is basic yet unique as it is just the episodes on the left hand side but with animals used as the selector marker – with the only other available option being Play Trailers on disc 1, and Commercial, Clean Ending and Opening on Disc 2 (no extras menu, all available from the main menu) Very simple but eye-catching.
The only extras were a commercial for the show and the clean opening and ending though the special edition will come with art cards and a poster.
Silver Spoon was the biggest surprise to me since Snow White & The Red Hair in terms of series I reviewed I hadn’t seen/read/watched before and like Snow White, it is slowly becoming one of my favourite series – following the tradition of shows that have a motif I initially would have taken a second guess, in this case farming/agriculture. Considering some of my favourite shows involve the circus and ballet, you’d think I’d learn by now. But nope, never judge a book by its cover and this book’s cover hits you with the perfect mixture of comedy, intelligent writing, character development, storytelling, romance and the dreaded reality sinks in as this show hits a lot of characters quite badly and the future is up for grabs in what happens, and this show pulls no punches…which is why I love it so much.
We left our lead Hachiken 6 months after figuring out agricultural school, and despite many ups and downs seems to be getting the hang of things, has made friends, and is now on the next step of his journey…where does he go from here? This lesson will hit two of his best friends soon but for now, he is nominated to be vice president of the Equestrian Club, as always the poor guy can’t say no. His initial arc is dominated by two things – him learning to properly ride his horse…and a conversation between Mikage and Komaba which she seemed to be crying. By this point, it is clear Hachiken definitely has a bit of a crush on Mikage and whilst good friends with Komaba, he can’t help but be a bit suspicious/jealous what they are hiding, as both of them tell him to forget about it. At first, you wonder if it is just a misunderstanding, and in that regard it is, but it turns out to be more serious than expected…
But for the moment, he has to look after a new animal…and this time he doesn’t have to worry about it being slaughtered as it is an adorable but un-obedient (to him ^^) puppy, and again, reality ensues as he has to look after it and train it. Here, it’s played for laughs compared to more reality ensuing stuff later, but it is still nice that after the pig incident that hurt him but honoured the pig the one way he could that he gets more animal comfort….which doesn’t help that his other animal companion, the horse Chestnut, is smirking every time he can’t make a jump. So MIkage takes him to a jumping competition, which also introduces us to one of the fun ojou-sama style characters in Ayame, because the contrast between her and Mikage is hilarious. Ayame is over the top, mildly insulting to Mikage…who pleasantly smiles back. Basically Ayame is one of those characters who is over the top to her rival, but obviously cares for her as we soon see (though her mispronouncing of Hachiken’s name is a fun running joke)…
Anyway, he does surprisingly well in his first competition with Mikage coming 2nd in her division so with Hachiken getting more confidence, he begins to help out on the Equestrian Clubs event for the Agricultural Festival coming up. Problem is, Hachiken being Hachiken has basically said ‘yes’ to helping everyone which is slowly exhausting him. However, he does try and ask Mikage out though she clearly is a bit oblivious (much to her friend’s annoyance) but before any attempt of a date can happen, Hachiken passes out…
….he wakes up at the hospital and we finally meet his father, who has been a hidden source of antagonism for him and we see why – he has very high standards and doesn’t like what this school is doing to him and why he is doing it. Earlier in the season for example, his mother texted him saying his dad liked the bacon he sent him but he said he never tasted it or approved of it clearly the text was just to make Hachiken happy. However, this is part of Hachiken’s development as he is slowly beginning to take his own action as his brother did in the past, he doesn’t let this bother him compared to episode 1 Hachiken as he has a planned ‘date’ with Mikage, a festival to deal with…and wondering what the heck Komaba and Mikage was talking about.
And speaking of Komaba, he has been a relief pitcher of their baseball team who have been doing better than expected, and have a chance to even qualify for the regional Baseball champion-ship with Komaba being used as a relief pitcher for the final innings as despite being a first-year, he has great talent, to the point that this could make him go pro. With Hachiken and his friends watching the matches in between chores (with Hachiken comically always getting grabbed for whatever chore – usually to do with the cows) we cut to a pitch…
…and reality hits Komaba with a double whammy.
Not to spoil it too much, but two things hit the young man big time, which also alludes to what he and Mikage were talking about. This really hurts Hachiken and despite as they said have nothing to do with it, he tries to help him and leads to the key trio being friends helping each other…
…which adds EVEN MORE reality but this time for Mikage. Here, it is a decision for her, to try and help her family…or follow her dreams. This time, Hachiken CAN help her in a small way, which makes him and her make a big choice, and whilst it doesn’t (yet) involve anything romantic, the two together are definitely starting to get incredibly close which leads to the final episode where Hachiken, for Mikage’s sake, goes back home to get something from his brother – but again runs into his father. Here, he stands up to his father and when he returns to Ezo, his mother actually goes to visit to better understand the school he goes to and what has made him change, and definitely for the better. The future is there for Hachiken and his friends…
…just hope more episodes can come so we can see it.
As of now, there are no new seasons (and it finished in 2014) with the manga finished but still material to work with, this is one of those series I really hope there is more but probably would admit defeat in hoping there would. With the core three in Hachiken, Mikage and Komaba having big character development and stories here, a lot of the side characters are pretty much left to the wayside, just there for a few jokes and comic developments, but that is fine when a series is as smartly written and in-depth as this.
Hachiken is a much stronger character but still has his can’t agree to say no face on so we have the comic lovable side yet always tries to help how he can – which nearly bites him in the butt with the Komaba saga but fortunately is resolved well and whilst Komaba has a smile on his face, I will miss the character a lot if the show does make a comeback, though hopefully he will return – whilst Mikage being book dumb gives Hachiken an opening to be close to her but not for his benefit, for hers. The comedy moments are still there and strong, but seeing how much he grows, how the environment has changed him, it all leads up to his minor standoff with his father, and you get the feeling he is only going to get better from there.
Like Season 1, the show throws no punches – it is in-depth with the ins and outs of agriculture and how tough it is, but whilst up until now it has mostly been played for laughs (the cow scenes in particular), the harsh reality of farm life hits Komaba and Mikage in particular and it is true to reality that these events can happen, so again, the show really hits you that this is a true setting, no fairytale endings here, the work is going to be hard. Hachiken in a way has it a bit easier because he has no set future and is just listening to see what everyone else wants to do – what he decides to do is one of the big things of the story you want to know and yet we are no closer to knowing…making you want to watch more.
Of course, this style of series isn’t going to appeal to everyone, as it is basically an in-depth look at agricultural society with the odd bit of humour so it doesn’t get too bleak. Slice-of-life shows tend to be my favourites so those of the Naruto or My Hero style of show won’t see the interest in something like this. Those that want something a bit different though that isn’t holding back in its tales, check it out, this is one of those series that is hard to describe to friends, and it’s just ‘go watch it’.
They’ll thank you later.
Silver Spoon has been a huge surprise and for a series out for five years and me to not know about it shows how behind I am with shows, yet the pleasant surprises continue to come and this one really deserves more. Likable leads, character development, true to life scenarios and the reality ensuing of the situation they are in, the show might be hard to get into for some people for that reason…but also be absolutely adored for exactly the same reason. Hachiken and Mikage are slowly becoming some of my favourite male and female leads of all time, and I am now searching to order the manga to continue to story. Highly recommended.
Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C-
Released By: Anime Ltd
Release Date: October 14th, 2019
Running Time: 275 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.