Title: Gin no Saji
Genre: Slice of Life
Summary: Yugo Hachiken dreams of life separated from his family, so he takes the initiative by enrolling in an agriculture school. He thinks, with his talent in studying, no problems will arise no matter what kind of school he attends. He is proven wrong very quickly. Raised as a city boy, he is forced to uncover the inconvenient truth about agricultural life. Enjoy the story of Hachiken, as he tries to keep up with his new friends, farmers’ heirs, who are already accustomed to the harsh world of farming. With no clear goals or understanding of farming life, how will Hachiken survive this new, cruel reality? The story of a sweat, tear, and mud-stained youth begins!
Review: Gin no Saji is probably the first popular slice of life in a long time. A very unexpected one too. When I first started watching it I thought it was going to be one of those boring educational anime that just wanted to raise awareness about farming. While it is educational, it is also really entertaining. The characters are all likeable and the daily lives of a farmer are kind of cool. It is one of those anime that does take a bit of time to get rolling though. I would urge everyone to give it a good three or four episodes before making their final decisions.
The art work for Gin no Saji wasn’t the best. It was average if not below average which was a bit of a let down. I know that there could have been a lot of improvements in the art style. However, they did manage to keep things interesting by having a lot of dynamic scenes and taking the characters outside the typical classrooms and dorm rooms. Each episode brought you on a different part of the farm from the horse stables to the green houses keeping the anime fresh and enjoyable. They even moved Hachiken outside the farm to festivals and his love interest’s home. It wont be getting any awards for style and it definitely wasn’t the reason I continued watching. If the anime industry wants to keep thinking of new ideas and new stories then heading the same direction Gin no Saji took would be a good idea.
It might be a bit aggressive to say that Gin no Saji did everything right in a story because it wasn’t something that really stuck to me. It wasn’t an anime that I would continually chat about or introduce to new anime incomers. It was, however, an anime that always kept me entertained and I didn’t keep on the back burner to hold me over till another series’ episode was released. I can’t stress enough that this this is a very big deal for someone who watches and reviews 10+ anime per season. If you realize an anime is constantly sitting in the backlog it is generally not worth reviewing or even worth watching between your general life activities and hobbies. Gin no Saji’s message about life and becoming the person you wish to be kept me watching. It gave me that feeling like life is something I should take in strides, even if I don’t have all the pieces together yet. This was a powerful message I think that every high school and even college student should take away from this anime. Even those of you who are out of school and begun their career path I would give this anime a shot. It can really bring you back to your roots before you get lost in the hustle and bustle of adult life. They didn’t lay it on thick or make the anime completely about finding yourself, but its obviously focused on growing up. Even if you are someone who knows what you want to do in life there are plenty of other characters in the anime that you can relate to. Gin no Saji did a great job bringing in a variety of people and backgrounds to ensure that every audience member can see a little bit of themselves in at least one character. A slice of life anime like this needs to have these inner conflicts and character development to stay entertaining because in the end it’s about communicating with your audience. Reaching out to your demographics allows you to make the every day struggles and worries captivating. I was worried that the series would cut itself short and not fully expand on a the great thing it had going until I discovered Gin no Saji’s season two is being released Winter 2013-2014. I’m very excited to see what more Hachiken will go through toward adulthood, specifically relationships. I hope that it teaches kids that life is more about doing what you love than meeting expectations; even the ones who have been bound to a future they never wished to have.
I wont say much about the soundtrack because honestly it wasn’t something that stood out to me. It had a pretty decent ending and opening, but nothing I would listen to every day or even once in a while. It was nice while I watched Gin no Saji, but nothing more than that. I’m sure there are some people out there who will really enjoy listening “Kiss You”, but to me it wasn’t very fitting for the anime. It does have a little bit of romance if I you want to make that argument.
Final statements: I’m a big fan of slice of life so I think it’s pretty obvious I would give one of the better ones a high priority watch. However, I do think that this is one of those slice of life anime that even non-fans of the genre can get behind. Don’t look into for the art work or soundtrack though because you wont be that impressed.