From Hiromu Arakawa, the mangaka of Full Metal Alchemist, comes a story of a boy who runs away from his family by attending Oezo Agricultural High School. Everyone, except for the protagonist, Yugo Hachiken, has grown up on a farm and has plans for the future. As Hachiken adapts to his new environment he must learn about what it means to live on a farm, sort out his despondent relationship with his family, and decide on what he wants to do with his life. That’s quite a lot of work for a character who can’t say, “No.” Of course, that will might change once he gets a voice actor. (Get it? Because anime has sound but manga doesn’t.)
Don’t click the break until you get my joke.
Silver Spoon shares little with Full Metal Alchemist. Only two things are held in common with both works: the mangaka’s style, both in writing and in drawing, and the fully explored relationships between characters. The latter is what, arguably, attracted the female population to Full Metal Alchemist. Comparing Silver Spoon to Full Metal Alchemist is like comparing a fig tree to an apple tree. They are both trees and they have the same roots but are two completely different plants. You can love both figs and apples, or you could hate one or the other, but just because you like one doesn’t mean you will like or dislike the other. Coming into Silver Spoon from Full Metal Alchemist, many fellow fans were expecting something like Full Metal Alchemist. What they got was something completely different and the disappointment prevented them from enjoying Silver Spoon.
Silver Spoon is an educational manga in addition to its slice of life genre. As you should know by now, I have a weakness for educational manga*. After doing some
Wikipedia intensive research I learned that Arakawa-sensei grew up on a dairy farm. Is Silver Spoon about her life growing up? No, but if the work draws upon what she learned growing up then I would put more value on Silver Spoon than if she got the information second-hand.
Manga in the slice of life genre rely on two elements: characters and relationships. Since slice of life works are about the daily life of characters, complicated plots are not necessary; instead, what grabs and keeps the audience coming back are both well-thought out characters and their fully fleshed out relationships with each other. Arakawa-sensei successfully uses both elements in Silver Spoon. The characters are all life-like in that they all have flaws, pet peeves, quirks, make mistakes, and think irrationally at times (like actual humans). The driving element of slice of life manga are the relationships. These don’t necessarily mean romantic relationships, but they refer to how characters act with each other. Characters in Silver Spoon provide quality entertainment in their interactions with both other characters and the setting.
Which brings me to my next point, undertones. Silver Spoon has two notable sub-genres in the form of humor and romance. Sometimes the jokes and gags were only mildly amusing, but occasionally I found them genuinely hilarious. The expressive and unique expressions and reactions from Full Metal Alchemist make a return here, making humor constantly prevalent. Romance, on the other hand, is not as prevalent as humor but is a driving force in Hachiken’s, the protagonist, actions, especially when concerned with his love interest, Mikage. At this point in the manga (chapter 51), relatively little has changed from their original relationship in the early chapters. This is a slice of life manga not a romance manga.
Overall, I enjoy reading Silver Spoon and I will continue doing so until something changes and it no longer appeals to me. I do not, however, have the excitement that I felt when a new chapter of Full Metal Alchemist was released with Silver Spoon. Sure, I enjoyed Full metal Alchemist more than I am currently enjoying Silver Spoon, but Silver Spoon is still a great manga and I recommend it to both male and female manga readers.
*Manga used Education. It’s Super Effective!
GO Rating: 3.5/5