Silver Spoon is an ongoing manga series by Hiromu Arakawa of Fullmetal Alchemist fame. It’s a coming-of-age series that focuses on the first-year students of Ooezo Agricultural High School who are enrolled in the Dairy Science Program and follows the lessons they learn as well as the antics that ensue in the process.
Silver Spoon was adapted into an anime series in 2013 and 2014 which has had two seasons so far. The two seasons roughly adapted up to around Chapter 75. For reference, this volume covers Chapters 80 to 88. This volume’s story begins with Hachiken, Silver Spoon’s likeable but error-prone protagonist, staying behind for New Year due due to his strained familial relationship with his father, who disapproves of him studying Agriculture and Farming instead of a more traditional educational path.
It is here that Hachiken reunites with Komaba who had previously left the school and had to give up his dream of becoming a professional baseball player to support his family after their farm went bankrupt. He is sullen and moody about his situation and gets an earful from the energetic Ayame during a shrine visit. It’s a confrontation that forces Komaba to consider how others are reacting to his dismissive attitude.
Hachiken faces a decidedly different dilemma when his desires for a New Year’s text from Mikage results in some comedically violent ire from Third Year Ookawa, one of several funny moments in the volume involving the two.
After this altercation, we see Hachiken and the other students tackling the meat cultivated from the pigs they were raising. Previously, Hachiken had faced the dilemma of becoming too attached to one of the pigs who was dubbed Pork Bowl. He eventually accepted that his beloved pig would have to be slaughtered and took responsibility by buying the meat using his savings. This inspired some of the other students to also chip in and buy meat from the other pigs in a move that was dubbed The Pork Fund.
They split into two teams, one for making sausages and the other bacon, and we get to see how sausages are produced right alongside the students. This leads to them deciding on how to sell the produce to the public and Hachiken finds a calling as they manage to sell everything they have. Seeing this process of everyone working together and learning together is an aspect of Silver Spoon that makes it immersive and is one of the reasons I enjoy the manga so much.
The volume ends with an introduction to Alexandra, the wife of Hachiken’s brother Shingo, an eccentric Russian with a love for horses and a more hopeful moment for Komaba as he reunites with his former classmates and makes a step in the right direction in regards to not giving up on his dream.
A character-driven series like Silver Spoon is reliant upon its cast to remain entertaining and, as with previous volumes, the interactions here are humorous and witty but also poignant and focused where they need to be. Arakawa has created some wonderful personalities and I continue to root for them as they grow, even if some characters get more development and focus than others.
The translation for Silver Spoon Volume 10 was carried out by Amanda Haley and does a great job of conveying the humour as well as the more technical details of sausage production.
Overall, Volume 10 is a lot of fun, as is expected for Silver Spoon, and maintains the quality in story and characters established by mangaka Hiromu Arakawa so far. We get some character development for Hachiken and Komaba, get to witness the production and sale of sausages and meet a colourful new character in Shingo’s Russian wife Alexandra. I can’t wait for Volume 11!
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