Monday, April 28, 2014

Anime Review: Silver Spoon

There seem to be two reactions to this show, complete love for it (coupled with loudly wondering why the manga isn't licensed yet) and simply not being aware it exists. I fall into the former category (well, I understand why the manga isn't licensed) and I'm a bit sad that the buzz for this series seems to have died off by the time this second half started. I've seen people explain it as "if you know something is going to be good you're less surprised when it turns out well" but still, I think when anything is do consistently good that it should be talked about even more, even if it's not good in a flashy sort of way. 


Silver Spoon



Life continues for Hachiken and his classmates and they continue to balance both their school world and their lives outside of school. For some that's simple, go to school, go to clubs, and try to figure out what to do in the future. For other people though these issues are more pressing, how to deal with family matters and the realization that very soon they have to choose what to do for the rest of their lives.

Silver Spoon flows smoothly into its second season and it feels as if no time has passed at all, even though the seasons are visibly changing by now. We also finally get a look into the characters backgrounds, although finally might be a bit strong. We did see Aki and Komba's families in the last season (as well as Hachiken's brother Shingo) and we get more insight into Aki herself this time. But what stood out the most was finally getting to see Hachiken's family, especially considering how much they had been built up in the first half and that series of confrontations does not disappoint. Hachiken's parents aren't even "bad parents", they have realistic expectations and plans for their son which was exactly what I expected after Shingo's comment last season that "he played by their rules until college and then he was out of there". Too bad that Hachiken never picked up on that or never was able to go through with it, although that says a lot about Hachiken's character and how long it's taken him to defy people's expectations in a negative way on purpose. 

As with every conflict in the show, it's not fully resolved by the end but, as with many of the conflicts this season, there is a sense that it's now a different conflict than when the show started. It's a bit odd to say that this season ended satisfactorily when again, no problem was fully resolved and indeed a few new problems popped up, but this truly is a story about the journey not the destination. Hachiken has learned more about the world and himself, although he doesn't realize that second part yet, and multiple times the adults have mentioned how useful his presence has been to spark debate between the other students about things they had almost stopped thinking about. Arakawa's characterization is amazing, it's to the point where I think I can see what Hachiken will end up doing (based on what his emerging strengths are) without the story ever suggesting it, this really is superb character writing. In fact, given that unlike FullMetal Alchemist the main draw here is the characters (not that they weren't strong in FMA but that really was an action series) I wonder if there's any point in reading the manga or if it'll just feel like a re-tread. Of course, if the manga was to be licensed in the US I would be delighted to read even farther into the story and see what happens next but until then,  hey noitaminA, do you think there's a chance we would get even more of this? (also, psst, Aniplex, I'd love a chance to buy that second ending song on itunes, it's a really wonderful song!)



Silver Spoon the anime is licensed in the US by Aniplex USA and can be found streaming on crunchyroll.

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