Thursday, 11 July 2013

Silver Spoon - Episode 1

This season's sole brand new entry into Fuji Television's noitaminA programming block is an adaptation of the latest manga to come from Hiromu Arakawa of Fullmetal Alchemist fan.  So, we're all set for another epic, action-packed fantasy show, right?

Wrong.  Instead, this series borrows heavily from Arakawa's own upbringing and education as part of a family of farmers - at the centre of the show is Yugo Hachiken, a young lad who really couldn't seem more out of place at the agricultural college within which the series is set.  Right from the off, he finds himself chasing after a calf and needing rescue, and things really only go downhill from here....

This opening episode of the series largely follows Hachiken's eventful first full day at the college - after that embarrassing calf incident at the orientation session, the tough life of a wannabe farmer soon becomes clear as our protagonist wakes up early for a shift in the barn, only to be sidetracked by some escaped chickens, before helping out with collecting eggs from said chickens complete with the horrific realisation of where they come from (yes, he really is that much of a sheltered city boy) and finding his day elongated by another emergency at the facility's greenhouse.  Still, at least he seems to have a good group of fellow students around him, even if his inability to fit in is accentuated further by their lofty goals, compared to his simple relief that he's getting to stay in a boarding school.

There's something rather masterful about the way this opening episode of Silver Spoon goes about its business - it doesn't do anything brash or showy and plants itself firmly in the midst of the realities of an educational at an agricultural institution, which is exactly what makes it so great.  The author's own knowledge of farming and everything surrounding it shines through, not just in the depiction of the everday but also with the knowing eye of somebody who realises that, for most people, this kind of lifestyle is anything but ordinary.  Taking this "commoners" view and mixing it in with some more traditional humour makes for an incredibly entertaining and laugh out loud hilarious blend that is an utter joy to behold.  Having previously read Hyakushou Kizoku, Arakawa's more directly autobiographical tale of her farm upbringing, this series is shaping up to be everything I hoped it would be and more.

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