- In last week’s Silver Spoon, we watched Hachiken stay over at Mikage’s place for the summer break where he helps running their farm.
- Summary of Silver Spoon episode seven: Hachiken is still staying at the Mikage family. When asked whether he wants to take a day off, he proposes visiting the farm ran by Tamako’s family. It is quite an impressive farm, where pretty much everything is automated. After they head back to Mikage’s place, the two of them take a stroll in the nearby mountainside where they have a heated argument.
- My impressions: This episode was quite serious, as in being both educational and providing insight into how the characters think. The first half showcased some of the tools and methods used in a large-scale agricultural enterprise. I don’t know how many of you have seen a large-scale farm like Tamako’s, but things like these are rarely portrayed in anime.
- First off, we get to see how industrialized Tamako’s farm is, which is in stark contrast with the traditional approach used by Mikage’s or Komaba’s family. As expected of Tamako, who aims to be a top-ranked agricultural manager, she thinks about pretty much everything in terms of profit and losses. Seeing how Hachiken reacted to animals in the previous episode (and agriculture in general), it is not too surprising for us to see how shocked he is. I think, however, that the show is raising an interesting question here: Which is the better approach to farming and keeping livestock? Is it the traditional one, where each animal is highly valued, loved, where they patch up injured animals, where no animal is sent off if they are no longer useful, or is it the industrialized one, where everything is large-scale, where animals are considered akin to tools, disposed of when they are no longer profitable?
Fortunately the anime presents the other side of the argument as well: a large-scale operation is much more useful in providing food to the country and creates more job openings. If managed correctly, it can pay adequate wages and ensure that the workers don’t exert themselves too much. And we also see that deep down Tamako’s family actually does care about their livestock, as portrayed in the scene where the cow gives birth to an apparently dead calf and Tamako’s dad revives it by giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Also who is to say that the cow they get rid of won’t be transported to a facility that specializes in treating wounded livestock? What I really liked about this part of the episode was not just raising the aforementioned question, but not presenting an answer and getting the viewer to pause for a moment and letting them decide for themselves.
- Hachiken finally realizes that something is amiss with Mikage, and asks her whether she wants to succeed the family business. As it turns out, she doesn’t really want to, but she doesn’t want her parents to be disappointed either. Hachiken finds this point of view rather strange. He, who doesn’t have a dream, can’t stand people who have one but throw theirs away just to accommodate their circumstances. Thus he gets angry and tells off Mikage to sit down and talk with her parents. Wow, look at the pot calling the kettle black. She, on the other hand, compares the personality of our protagonist to that of a horse and explains that like horses, Hachiken is a shy creature, but observant of his surroundings and caring for others. Hachiken finally gets why Mikage was comparing him to a horse, and almost blurts out what I would’ve expected to be a confession of his fondness for her…just when he senses the killing intent of her father and stops mid-sentence.
- I don’t know how many of you are watching Uchouten Kazoku – if you are not, then by all means do go and take a look at it. There was a motive in one of the recent episodes that “people eat stuff because they love it. Eating stuff is a form of showing love for it even if said stuff is a sentient being”. And guess what, there was an eerie resemblance to this train of thought in this episode of Silver Spoon. Check out the face of Mikage’s grandfather.
- All in all a nice episode with still no clues why Hachiken decided to run away from home. On the other hand, the budding romance between our boy and girl doesn’t feel forced. With only five episodes left (if it turns out to be a twelve-episode series which seem to be popular nowadays), I wonder how things will be resolved.