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Hachiken Yugo is tired of people asking him about his dreams for the future. He may not know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he has the perfect plan to get ahead in school. Some kids break their backs trying to rise to the top of a tough institution, but Hachiken decides to enroll at a rural vocational and agricultural high school instead.
At Hachiken's new school, the textbooks on real subjects like math and English are all magazine-thin, and his classmates are countrified rubes, most of them the kids of farmers themselves. Sure, the textbooks on animal husbandry and produce are doorstops, but that's just memorization, right? If everything goes according to plan, Hachiken will rocket effortlessly to the top of his class...
There's just one teensy little problem; it hasn't dawned on Hachiken yet that, at an agricultural school, the main focus will be on agriculture...and he was raised in Sapporo and knows little to nothing about farming.
Silver Spoon is the newest manga from Hiromu Arakawa, and began its run in Shounen Sunday in the spring of 2011. It draws heavily on the author's childhood on a dairy farm in Hokkaido, and puts a new spin on the high school drama formula. (Just try to name another school-days manga in which the hero gets roped into helping chop off a chicken's head within the first chapter.)
An anime adaptation has been announced.
For a similar manga try Moyashimon.
Is not to be confused with Silver Spoons.
- All Girls Like Ponies: Aki, who's in the equestrian club.
- Always Someone Better: Hachiken managed to get incredibly high scores on every one of his midterms, but in each of his classes somebody beat him with a perfect 100. However, because he was consistently high in every subject, he managed to be top of the class.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Played with when a blushing girl wants to talk to Hachiken. She wants to buy his bacon.
- Anticlimax: Done deliberately in the "Memory of a summer" side story. Yugo's roommates engage in an epic, life-risking quest to evade the school at night and to meet "him". Follows a dramatic "The Rest Shall Pass" pattern, leaving only Yugo and Nishikawa to witness the arrival of… a combine harvester. Of course, anyone who had read one chapter of this manga knew how all this would end. To rub it in though Tamako then reveals that her farm has several of these harvesters, meaning that the guys did all that for nothing.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: It's a common saying in Japan to tell someone providing the sole source of aid in a time of need that, if there really is a Buddha, He would look just like that person. The adviser to the equestrian club, who's introduced saving Hachiken from the Holstein club, literally looks like Buddha.
- Later subverted. It turns out he's a degenerate gambler who also has a penchant for embezzling the school's cheese-making resources for personal use.
- Bait and Switch: Hachiken sees three students in a dark corner, huddled over a magazine and discussing "curves"... the students were part of a club that breeds cows and were looking at the champion cows for last year. (One even yells out "Who needs women when you've got cows!?" as a closing remark while Hachiken declines to join them and leaves)
- Beautiful All Along Tamako loses a mountain of weight over the summer in chapter 22. Possibly Chekhov's Gun since it was commented before what a knockout she would be if you removed the fat from her face and frame.
- She gains it all back in two chapters though
- Big Eater: Everyone at Yezo High apparently!
- Bland-Name Product: Geegle.
- Zapporo Beer.
- Boarding School: A rare Japanese example.
- Book Dumb: Keiji, and he seems to be proud of it.
- Genius Ditz: Except when it comes to Animal husbandry and Produce.
- Butt Monkey: Keiji. He tends to get extra mandatory labor sentences, a school sentence worse than suspension. He mistakenly spread a rumor that Hachiken had sex when he was really talking about "taking responsibility" for a pig.
- Call Back: A racy pillow Nishikawa bought in Tokyo over the summer break returns in A Memory of Summer, used to prop up a shirt for some reason.
- City Mouse: Hachiken (he's from Sapporo)
- Cool Horse
- Cuteness Proximity: Everybody upon encountering the piglets.
- And Hachiken's stray dog.
- Death Glare: Do NOT try to eat Aki's great-grandmothers food.
- Description Cut: As the boys decided to run back to school from the stadium instead of taking the bus...
Aki: Hachiken-kun! We still have to take care of the horses tonight, so make sure to save some energy!
[Two panels later...at the Equestrian Club]
Tokiwa: Good afternoon. We've got a delivery for you.
Nishikawa: He died on the way back. [As Tokiwa and Nishikawa carry Yugo hanging from a spit.]
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose In Life
- Down on the Farm: Hokkaido is the Japanese equivalent of this region. It shows.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: The man in charge of the rotation Hachiken is on gives Hachiken this image (the man isn't that terrible, but Hachiken has a few dramatic Imagine Spots...). His jacket having a camo-pattern probably doesn't help Hachiken's opinion of him.
- Everything's Worse with Bears: Played for laughs in the first chapter, when a Beware Of Bears sign in the woods makes our hero so nervous that he mistakes an approaching horse for a bear.
- Comes back in a later chapter when it's mentioned that bears are in the area, featuring Aki's Great Grandma talking about how one bear killed several people in their area.
- Everything's Better/Worse With Chickens
- Everything's Better/Worse With Cows
- Expospeak Gag: Inada to Hachiken about additives when Hachiken notices the smoked chicken Inada gave him tastes different.
- Expy: Komaba's personality is different but he looks nearly identical to the first Greed. The fitness teacher is blatantly Armstrong with hair.
- Fullmetal Alchemist character lookalikes are everywhere, from Rose Thomas to a genderflipped Maria Ross. Not to mention the main character, who looks like a male Sciezka, and a student from his class who looks like Roy Mustang.
- Extreme Omni Cow: That calf refuses to leave Hachiken's clothes alone.
- Eyes Always Shut: Shinnosuke
- Fish Out of Water
- Food Porn: When the pizza is completed...dear GOD!
- Funny Background Event: Tamako. In chapter 2, Tamako pulls a surprising jump in her ping-pong match. Later in that chapter, despite being so overweight her body-shape is compared to an egg, she is shown being being blown away into the wind while holding onto a canvas everyone is trying to tie down lampshaded by Tokiwa). Three chapters later she's seen entering a bet at the horse races. She's also seen eating in every stall during the summer festival, and chomped on a whole slab of bacon belonging to Hachiken without him noticing.
- Genre Savvy: In chapter 11, Yugo proves to be quite savvy when he feels like it!
Aki: Well, if you don't have anywhere to go, why don't you come stay at my place? My parents are both going to be gone.
Yugo: "Stay at my place? Parents both gone?" [strikes poses of joy...then pauses] And later I'm supposed to discover the twist that your grand-parents will be there or something, right?!
Aki: Yeah, they'll be there.
Yugo: [thinks] Alright! Unnecessary shock evaded! I'm getting the hang of this!
- Goal in Life: Hachiken feels like the only student who doesn't have one.
- Gonk: Tamako, though subverted with a tasteful touch of She Cleans Up Nicely -- the boys are shocked to realize that if you ignore her weight, Tamako is gorgeous.
- Put simply, Tamako has an egg-shaped body but the face of a super-model. And now, after returning to school and losing her weight... HOT DAMN.
- And she promptly regains it again. Was good while it lasted.
- Heroic BSOD: Aki had one when she heard rumours of Yugo×Mayumi.
- Done by Yugo as he saw chickens get beheaded. At least he didn't faint like Aikawa.
- Also happened to Yugo when Aki told him her problems were none of his business.
- High School
- Hoist by His Own Petard
- Hot Mom: Tamako's mom got mistaken for her sister when Hachiken and Aki met her.
- Hot Teacher: In a way, Fuji-sensei, the teacher in charge of pigs has a general Hot Amazon appeal, and the face of a supermodel. Seriously.
- I Ate What?: Hachiken is less than enthused about eating eggs after Keiji explains the concept of a cloaca.
"Stop saying anus!"
- It Got Worse: Hachiken really found walking up at five in the morning every day for his rotation's week that month to be uncomfortable. Then he found out he had to join a club, so he joined the equestrian club because he's not a sports person, and then learned the club would have to walk up at four in the morning daily to care for the horses.
- Innocent Innuendo: When Yugo innocently speaks of "the young cow's udders that will keep getting bigger" while looking in the direction of Aki. The latter's father misunderstands a bit…
- And Tokiwa misinterpreting Hachiken's declaration to take responsibility for Yoshino (for not being able to eat pork) got way out of hand.
- Insistent Terminology: The running gag of Hachiken referring to the cloaca as an anus.
- Insult to Rocks: It is pointed out to Mikage and Yugo that, as a percentages of total body mass, pigs are less fat (15%) than humans (10-20% for men, 20-30% for women), which makes Yugo comment that when he called someone a pig he was insulting pigs.
- Lethal Chef: Yugo's older brother Shingo. The only one who can eat his food is Aki's great-grandmother because she's had worse.
- Lonely At the Top: Hachiken early on becomes top of the class at midterms (his stated reason for being in a rural High School is so that he could do this easily), but says he feels no satisfaction in it.
- Manly Tears: Hachiken, at every opportunity a City Mouse can get, and lampshaded at least once.
- Master of None: Hachiken is rather upset to find out that although he has the best grades overall (apparently by a pretty significant margin) he's not the best in any single subject.
- Meaningful Name: The title can be seen as a reference to the English expression of "being born with a silver spoon in one's mouth" which means being born into wealth and prosperity.
- Pretty much confirmed by Aki's grandfather's assumption that Yugo and Shingo only ate high quality food when with their parents.
- Megane: Hachiken
- Miniature Senior Citizens: Aki's great-grandmother, who is 107. That means she was born in the Meiji Period.
- Mood Whiplash: So. Freaking. Much. Typically, almost every funny or heartwarming moment involving animals is followed by a discussion about killing or butchering them.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Aki's great-grandmother when she starts talking about the good ol' days.
- Nice Guy: Yugo.
- No Animals Were Harmed: Averted, in-universe, within the first chapter. This is not your momma's Arcadia, boy -- those chickens are for eatin'.
- Averted again when Aki's grandpa roadkills a deer. Too bad, Bambi, the Mikage and Komaba families are going to have venison for dinner!
- No One Else Is That Dumb: After Keiji made a weird relooking during the summer vacation, Yugo identifies him by asking what's 1+1. The answer is of course, 3.
- Ocular Gushers: Hachiken after eating a chicken's egg in chapter 2 (It Makes Sense in Context, see What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome? below). Tokiwa after he "got a good score" on his math test in chapter 3 - except the score is still terrible, just better than he's ever done in his life.
- Older Than They Look: Tamako's mother. So much than Yūgo and Aki mistake her for Tamako's sister.
- Overprotective Dad: Aki's father does not approve of Hachiken, and does not want him taking his little girl away.
- Perpetual Frowner: Hachiken rarely smiles.
- Perpetual Smiler: In contrast to Aki who is always smiling.
- Punny Name: Tamako, whose name sounds like "tamago" (egg).
- Reality Subtext: Hiromu Arawaka recently had a child. One of the recent chapters had a cow giving birth. Her author avatar is a cow with glasses.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Applies to most of the teachers.
- The Rival: Yezo Industrial School to the Agricultural School. At the end of the day they are friendly though.
- Running Gag: Whenever someone uses a large unit of measurement (such as hectares), Hachiken will ask how many Sapporo Domes that is. They won't know, but will give an answer that doesn't really help Hachiken.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Hachiken, often, though not scary at all.
- Serious Business: Pizza. Most of the students, being from farm families, have always been out of pizza delivery range, and only ever had pizza maybe once or twice, if at all (deliveries to the school are also forbidden). So when Hachiken finds a brick oven, he spends days researching everything needed to make pizza, and goes across the entire school looking for ingredients. He eventually gets the entire school involved in his pizza party schemes.
- Share the Male Pain: Invoked whenever castration is mentioned.
- Shout-Out: When Mikage is first introduced, she's introduced as a shady figure riding a angry-looking horse. Then Hachiken thinks, "The conqueror of the century's end!!?"
- Shipper on Deck: Aki's mother seem to have found a potential son-in-law in Yugo. father, on the other hand, loudly declared he does not approve.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Tamako and Inada
- Hachiken and his brother, Shingo.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Tamako has her mother's face and father's rotund shape.
- Southern-Fried Genius: Despite the Yezo High students' country bumpkin background and typically poor performance in traditional academics, many of them are prone to going into lengthy, university-level discussions on such subjects as the mechanical specs of farm equipment, food processing chemistry and biotechnology.
- Team Pet: Yugo finds a stray dog that is soon adopted by everyone. He personally takes responsibility for it of course.
- Tears of Blood: Played for laughs, when Hachiken cries these over Shingo's cavalier attitude towards education.
- The Rest Shall Pass: Parodied in chapters 30-31.
- Title Drop: In chapter 2. However, we aren't told what the silver spoon in the cafeteria stands for yet.
- This Is Reality: A horse-handler rather loudly laughs at Komaba and Hachiken thinking he or anyone else could perfectly understand a member of another species outside of a work of fantasy.
- Amusingly, the horse is also laughing at Komaba and Hachiken with the handler.
- Through Their Stomachs: A non-romantic example by the school, which hosts a barbecue anytime after the entire class has been subjected to hard task. Hachiken even commented early on that food was the only thing he was looking forward to in Yezo Agricultural High.
- Twinkle Smile: Used in the first chapter... next to the smile of Inada who is holding the body of a chicken whose head he just cut off, telling Aikawa and Hachiken he'll give them some smoked chicken when it's ready in thanks of them helping him catch chickens that got loose. The moment gets a Call Back as Inada smiles again with the same twinkle when he gives them the promised smoked chicken saying "It's good!!", with Hachiken remembering seeing that before in a different context.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Tamako's parents.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Hachiken and Nishikawa get a little too worked up over the power of the tractor the latter drives, even comparing it to a Humongous Mecha.
"It can turn in a radius of only 4.5cm and it's got a top speed of 33 kph!"
- And all that effort to escape the dorms just to see a gigantic combine harvester in action
- Hot-blooded pizza preparations.
- Tamako vs Komaba in Ping pong.
- Hachiken does Ocular Gushers after eating an egg and exclaiming it delicious, while stating it's amazing how chickens can shit out something so tasty. He was having misgivings about eating eggs ever again prior to tha] since he recently had the concept of a chicken's cloaca explained to him.
- A summer festival has the booths selling foods and the students taunt each other over who will win this year, followed by a page that shows both sides jumping at each other in poses that would be fit for action comics.
- Walking the Earth: Parodied with Yugo's older brother Shingo, who believed that the ramen chef he was apprenticed to sent him on a journey to do this until he found the perfect ramen ingredients, when in actuality he fired him.
- The World Is Just Awesome: Bonus points for only elevating the view by about 6 feet.
- Write What You Know: The mangaka, Hiromu Arakawa, was raised on a dairy farm in Hokkaido.