Story & Art by Hiromu Arakawa
Translated by Amanda Haley
Lettering by Abigail Blackman
Winter continues at Ezo Ag and with it comes massive ramifications. The new school year approaches and Hachiken and his friends have began to ponder their life paths. Silver Spoon Volume 11 dives into this journey of youth, as Hachiken takes the first steps to seize his future.
Hachiken has had a habit of ignoring his own well-being to help those around him, and this has applied to his career path as well. While he has been rigorously supporting Mikage in achieving her goal, Hachiken has forgotten that he lacks an ambition of his own. Hachiken has no desire to walk the path paved by traditional education. Rather, he seeks a future where his efforts are rewarded, not merely bound by the results of his actions. Through the course of this volume, Hachiken finds a new option that fits his ideology: starting a business.
Arakawa has chosen to take Hachiken in a direction that is unexpected, but still feels true to his character. The modern education system tends to overlook alternatives to post-secondary education, but for students such as Hachiken, those options are amicable to their situations. Now, the obstacle Hachiken faces is how to reach his goal. Hachiken starts researching entrepreneurial options, developing a business plan, and networking with potential partners and investors. Moreover, Hachiken’s father being a potential investor increases the pressure placed on him. Hachiken must convince his greatest opposer of his life choices and prove he’s capable of following through on his ambition. While Hachiken’s business will not come to fruition overnight, he’s laying the groundwork to make it a reality in the long-term.
As usual, Arakawa does a great job of complementing the serious elements of her story with fantastic humor. The cast of Silver Spoon all have their share of quirks, and they bounce off each other incredibly well. Seeing the fearful reactions of the Ezo students at the presence of Hachiken’s father is a constant source of laughter, and the antics of Ookawa are a joy whenever he’s on screen. Silver Spoon conveys a powerful message about life’s pursuits, but it also knows that life is nothing without embracing its lighthearted moments as well.
Arakawa’s artwork is distinct in all the right ways. Every character in Silver Spoon exudes personality from the character designs alone, and it helps bring the entire world to life. The series’ facial reactions are particularly amazing, perfectly establishing the comedic moments in the story whenever necessary. There’s a great sense of polish to every page of the manga, and it conveys Arakawa’s mastery of her craft.
Silver Spoon Volume 11 moves Hachiken’s life into a new and exciting stage, forcing him to face his future head on. While the series is headed towards unexplored territory, it has found a solid direction for Hachiken’s character. Fans of the series will continue to have a blast reading this volume, and it will be interesting to see how the story develops moving forward.