Anime Review: Silver Spoon Season 2

By Drew Hurley 06.11.2019

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Silver Spoon Season 2 (UK Rating: 12)

Silver Spoon Season 1 concluded with the story thread everyone knew was coming, but all were dreading, as Hachiken's beloved Pork Bowl was sent to slaughter. Hachiken dealt with it by buying up the meat from the piglet he'd hand raised. It was a strange development, but was used to show how Hachiken was growing into the farming mind-set; beginning to understand the cost of eating meat, and making that conscious decision. Now that he has developed into the mind-set needed to become a farmer, it's time to show he can keep up with his peers. This second season comes courtesy of Anime Limited and is available from October 14th.
 
For Hachiken and his fellow first-years, things are about to get even harder. On top of the regular back-breaking work of 4am starts, collecting eggs, cleaning out the hens, and looking after the horses at the Equestrian Club, it's almost time for finals. Those who fail their exams won't be able to take part in the multitude of events on the horizon. Because of the time of year, the third-year students are retiring from each of their respective clubs to begin looking for jobs. This opens up positions in the clubs for new leaders and Hachiken gets to add "Vice President" of the Equestrian Club to his responsibilities.
 
The promotion is just the first part of the Equestrian club being a much bigger part of the story with this season. For most of the series, too much of the story. First, it's learning how to show jump, then taking part in show jumping competitions, then planning an event for the school festival around the group… it becomes an equestrian slice of life series. The only real saving grace of it is the introduction of the new comic relief character, Ayame Minamikujo. A hoity upper-class idiot, with the classic "Oh ho ho ho!" laugh. Ayame sees Aki as a rival, and plays up to the crowd, despite constantly failing and being an utter beginner. She's the equivalent of "Wimp Lo" for all the cinema connoisseurs who have seen Kung Pow.

 
These tales are not too dissimilar from the episodes of the first season. Simple and light-hearted. However, the problem is they're completely lacking the depth and darker tones of the first season. Instead, it's just horses, horses, and more horses. Oh, and Hachiken adopts a puppy… the dreaded undertone of that? He has to pay for vaccinations. It's not bad, it's just rather toothless compared to the first season. With the only dramatic element in the first half focusing on Hachi working too hard by being a bit of a doormat and getting hospitalised from exhaustion.
 
Worse yet, this leads into the revelation of a key aspect from the first season, and one of the biggest disappointments thus far: the big truth to Hachiken's family is finally revealed, and it's so disappointing. Hachiken's Father is pretty strict, severe, and hard to please. There were hints of much worse, but no. He's disappointed in his son, and sees him as a bit of a failure… for most of the season, it feels like a completely different show or even filler.
 
...That is, right up until the last few episodes, where a very different reality of farming life in modern-day rears its ugly head. Foreclosure. Class "best boy" Komaba has at this point already had a few episodes in the first and second season based at his slowly eroding ranch, with plenty of hints at the money trouble his family has been struggling through. As the series hits its climax it's time to accept reality as the farm's debts become impossible to pay, and Komaba needs to drop out of school to get a job and support his mother and twin younger sisters, abandoning his dreams of Baseball and running his farm. To make matters worse, the Komaba family isn't the only one straddled with debt. Aki's folks countersigned on the loan, and even with selling off much of the Komaba remaining belonging, Aki's family needs to find fifteen million yen. That works out around £111,000...
 
6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

For the majority of the second season, the series manages to lose almost everything that made it special, turning into quite a generic slice of life series without any of the hard-hitting harsh realities of farming and agriculture - until the final few episodes. It's infuriating. These final episodes return to the same quality of the first season, and at points, exceed it, full of heart and depth. It goes to show how wasted the rest of the season was. Sure, it built up the story and the characters, but too much time was spent on it. Thankfully, it's somewhat redeemed in its final act, which closes just as more big changes are coming as the students prepare to enter their second year. However, with this second series landing in 2014, it's unlikely to receive a third, but for those who have enjoyed it, there's a still running manga series, and even a live-action film out there to check out.

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