Silver Spoon, Vol. 7

By Hiromu Arakawa. Released in Japan as “Gin no Saji” by Shogakukan, serialization ongoing in the magazine Weekly Shonen Sunday. Released in North America by Yen Press. Translated by Amanda Haley.

The middle of this volume has some cute, funny, and heartwarming moments, and thank God. I’m not sure how intentional it was, but if you enjoy having misery as the bread for your sandwich, then Silver Spoon 7 is absolutely for you. Now, to be fair, we knew the start was going to happen. Hachiken’s in the hospital, so of course his parents come to see him. Everything we’ve seen about his dad says this is not going to go well, and it doesn’t. Even the bacon, the one thing that Hachiken thought he’d made inroads on, was just his mother trying to be considerate of his feelings. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know what his dad means. He feels that Hachiken is wasting his intellect here, and is especially frustrated given the nature of his other son. But man, he’s such a bitter pill to swallow that I can’t feel any sympathy for him at all. And, unfortunately, the visit causes Hachiken to have a brief hissy fit at his mom as well.

This is important because, probably because he’s still upset about that, he donates his change to charity when he buys new glasses, and as a result has to walk back to the school… meaning he misses everything. Fortunately, he is blessed with classmates who a) really care about him, and b) will not take his shit, because he was all set to be a miserable “I don’t deserve to have any fun” type. Luckily, Mikage is there to remind him that the festival was a huge success because of his planning. And they wrote a book of memories he can read and then sob over. It’s really sweet. As for his date with Mikage… well, they try to have it. But it’s more going to a shrine. And of course it ends up being most everyone else as well. You can tell the cast is rooting for these two dorks (every other woman in Mikage’s class shows up to ensure she doesn’t get blocked at the last minute), but they’re still nowhere near a confession. That said, at least he can make fun of her accent, which he does. Repeatedly.

And then there are the baseball games. To an extent, this was also foreshadowed as well. We’ve seen that Mikage is a LOT more invested in Komaba’s team winning and going to the Nationals than the rest of the school, and Hachiken’s attempts to find out about it have gone badly for him. We’re still not quite sure why, but we can hazard a guess, because after they lose in the finals, he never returns to school. I have a sneaking suspicion this will be another lesson in how farming is hard and not everyone can succeed, but it’s a blow as Komaba, despite being so stoic, has been one of the more prominent characters to date, and you feel horrible for him. I suspect most of the next book will go into the aftermath and explain why he left school.

You probably don’t need me to tell you how good this series is by now, but I will anyway. Really good. I want more immediately.

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