Silver Spoon (銀の匙) is a 2013-2014, 22-episode series directed by Tomohiko Itō at A-1 Pictures, based on a manga by Hiromu Arakawa.
After failing the entrance exam for his first-choice high school, city boy Hachiken Yūgo enrolls at Ōezo Agricultural High School, an institution aimed at farming students, in the idea that lax academic requirements will allow him to cram for next year. What he gets is a crash course in the nature of farming and animal husbandry, with the realization that farm school is far more hands-on than he planned for.
At its core, Silver Spoon is a solid slice-of-life genre entry written by the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist (which is why the character designs might look familiar) and based on her childhood growing up on a farm. Hachiken’s city background makes him a pretty standard audience proxy for learning about the realities of farming, from long hours and animal poop, to the sentimental pragmatism inherent to raising a life in every stage of its growth, and the pride of knowing you’ve done something well when your crops make good ingredients.
More importantly, though, Silver Spoon (despite the name) is a show about failure – it’s baked into the premise with Hachiken resigning himself to go to a farm school because his academic efforts simply weren’t strong enough, and one of his classmates’ plotlines serves as an exploration of what happens when a family farm simply isn’t able to hack it as a business. With that in mind, though, it brings up these points to emphasize that failure is not bad – as long as you’re able to learn from it and continue on with your best efforts.
As a slice-of-life, the show is hit-or-miss and has a couple dud episode plots, and a couple of the secondary cast are occasionally used for tropey fat jokes.
Weeb level: 2/10 – a few anime trope-based side characters, but there’s no real knowledge entry bar to the show
Fanservice: 2/10 – quite mild. Arakawa slowly develops a chaste love interest, but the only chicks on the show are more this kind:
Quality: 8.5/10 – again, a couple dud episodes but otherwise a well-crafted show.
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll is currently streaming both seasons – it’s an Aniplex show, though, so don’t expect an affordable disc release.