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Ever thinking farming was an easy job? If so, Gin no Saji is here to disprove you and shed some light on what agriculture is like in Hokkaido, Japan.
It's not ever day you get an anime adaptation as niche as this one. Anime about agriculture are rare and exclusive to the noitaminA time slot - Moyashimon being the only other one that comes to mind - and they tend to go unnoticed by most viewers. Granted Moyashimon wasn't the most accessible of anime, and that's why Gin no Saji could be deemed a better choice.
What we have here is a simple fish-out-of-water scenario. The main character Hachiken moves to the countryside to attend an agricultural school, where many of his expectations are about to be shattered. Much like many of us city folk, he assumed going to a school like this would be easy and he'd be top of his class without breaking a sweat. A common and unwarranted underestimation of the "country bumpkins." And what's great about this initial ignorant situation, is how it allows for the story to correct the perceptions straight away. Case in point: the high level cloning conversation.
In these types of settings, the main character has to drive the plot and that seems to be the case here. Hachiken isn't the most charismatic of male leads, but that is what makes him a fitting character for the part. His appeal as a character is that he doesn't have a set goal in life, thus avoiding the more obvious of shonen clichés and giving him even more of an outsider status. Say what you will about him, you can at least bet that Gin no Saji won't turn out to be a simple story of a boy pursuing his dreams but instead face a more believable scenario of a boy with no idea of what to do in the future.
As we see in this episode, the beginning of the series will focus on acclamation. Hachiken's first hurdle was quite the humorous on, in getting to accept where eggs come from. A seemingly obvious and unimportant detail to most, it posed a big problem to him which he only overcame at the end of the episode. Not a bad opening salvo for Gin no Saji since it's the equivalent of dipping your toes in the water, and it doubtful the next hurdles will be as low as this one.
Before wrapping up this first review, I thought I'd give my take on how the adaptation differs from the manga. In short: it's different. Not in a bad way, it's just a slightly different take on the manga and in particular the comedy. The manga's comedy is more extroverted and exaggerated in nature and in this first episode it was toned down considerably, but not overly so. Perhaps it was this change that made it difficult for me to accept Ryouhei Kimura as Hachiken's voice actor. I had always thought a whinier voice was appropriate, and I'll admit the more serious voice will take some getting used to.
At the end of the day, this was a solid first episode. Minor details aside, I remain optimistic about Gin no Saji's adaptation.
Gin no Saji OP
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Gin no Saji ED
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