「 南九条、あらわる」 (Minamikujou, awa warou)
“Minamikujou Appears”

I may have been laboring under a false impression of who the main character in this series is…

Gin no Saji is living proof of the old show biz adage, “Never work with kids or animals”. The series has a pretty good track record of having its four-legged cast members upstage the two-legged (though to balance this, none of the humans have been butchered for meat yet), but so far that’s mostly been based on the kawaii factor. But increasingly, the breakout character of this season is a horse of a different color. Quite literally.

I’ve always wondered why a white horse was named Maron, which is the French word for “chestnut” (actually it’s “marron”). I suppose parts of him are the same color as the inside of a chestnut, but since chestnut is the generic English term for any breed of horse with a certain type of brown coat, I thought maybe it was meant ironically. In any event Maron has been commanding a lot of attention this season – though his facial expressions were always memorable – and this week, he was undeniably the star of the episode.

Silver Spoon continues to do what it does, so surprise is one element you’re going to find in short supply here. Most of the time it offers a slice of life at Ezonoo, and via the events that transpire gently but unmistakably colors in the portrait of Hachiken just a little bit more. This time around the theme is the local equestrian competition (if porcine was the dominant aroma of the first season, it’s definitely equine this time), which also marks the debut of Hachi-kun and all the other first-year club members in show jumping.

To be fair, this ep does offer up one surprise – the introduction of Minamikujou Ayame (Sayuri Yahagi). She’s an old middle-school classmate of Mikage’s and, in a nutshell, completely unlike any other character in the cast. In fact she sort of seems as if she dropped out of the sky and landed in the wrong show – as generic an anime ojou-sama as you could every imagine, complete with the trademark laugh. We just don’t get those kind of 2D characters in Gin no Saji – so I’m going to assume she’s here for more of a reason than to vamp for the camera and make Mikage look good, and that there’s more to her than the walking (and riding) collection of tropes we saw this week. Sayuri is an excellent seiyuu and while there’s not much any actor could do with the generic material Minamikujou had to work with in this ep, she does all she can to make her performance amusing if nothing else.

If Minamikujou is the diversion, the main event is Hachiken’s first competitive ride. The tie-in is where you’d expect it, in his extreme competitiveness – this is a boy that hates to lose – and happily, so is his horse. In fact it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Hachi-kun and Maron are very much alike in many ways, which is no doubt why they kept butting heads. Of course this isn’t an exam and Hachiken has no reason to expect to perform well, but he undeniably has an ability to produce when the pressure is on. And he does here, trusting his horse to do the heavy lifting and managing a very strong penalty-free run, though he does nearly disqualify himself by falling off when he spots Shingo in the crowd and loses his focus.

That intense competitive comes out when he roots for the final rider to make a mistake and incur a penalty – which I assume is extremely bad form in equestrian sports – so he won’t lose his place on the podium (which he does when the rider finishes a clean ride and beats Hachiken by a second). As for Mikage, she ends up riding Maron as well and manages a third-place performance, as well as thoroughly stealing Maron’s affections from Hachiken. Seeing Hachiken struggle with his demons is good stuff, though nothing we haven’t seen before – the best part of the ep for me was definitely Maron’s chewing the scenery (and Hachiken’s head). If the whole show jumping thing doesn’t work out, I think he has a future in the performing arts.


  1. Minamikujou Ayame……………

    Every single moment she talked i felt like screaming “Please for the love of god make it stop………..MAKE IT STOP!”. (points gun to head)

    On another note i kind of don’t like the direction the show has started to take. I personally have to say that the first season was much stronger because not only was it very informative but it also displayed some very strong character development with Hachiken and how his personality effected everyone around him in a positive way. This season……….eh it kind of feels like it’s trying to be more comedy oriented and isn’t really taking itself seriously anymore. Heck we don’t even get that many bits of interesting information about farming or animals either. I liked this show because it was very down to earth and felt…..real you know?

    Now it honestly feels like it’s just moving from one gag to the next a few horse riding shenanigans added to the mix. Nothing that will keep me from watching the show of course but i don’t look forward to each new episode like i used too =/.

    1. Hum. If you think this season is too lighthearted and comedy centric, you ain’t see nothing yet. There’s a good reason they put the scene in the first episode between Mikage and Komaba.

  2. this week was about the first real riding competition for our fellows. it was good. but unfortunate as well. why is that?well, simply because they shorten the competition. in the manga Hachiken and the first-years raced in two events: beginners and low hurdles B class (Mikage competed in C class, higher hurdles). so it was much more interesting and compelling with a lot of more intriguing and funny stuff, that took a bit slower. now I am not saying this episode was bad. not at all. they did shorten the competition, but still they preserved the essence and convey the right feeling. I just think they could pull out a little more of this racing event in the manga..

    I love the dynamic between Hachiken and chestnut (Maron). and I think it was lovely for this episode to steal some of the spot light around Hachiken. this horse is quite something. a tough nut. chesnut 😛
    in a way this horse is a reflection of Hachiken. how “maron hates losing” is an analogy to Hachiken’s nature where he wants to be a top. and indeed Hachiken felt frustration of losing the podium. but he sure has a lot to learn as Mikage and the sensi stated.

    Minamikujou VA doing great job. sure, quite annoying character. but it’s a relief to all more serious characters. she is carefree, doesn’t think too much and too deeply..even if she is annoying, that’s what brought Mikage toward relaxing a bit before her riding. and it was very pleasant way, without her noticing.
    it’s not the last time for her to show up. and we’ll learn to like her..even the annoying sides (:

    silver spoon anime keep being so lovely and convey the right feeling.
    pace is OK, though I hope they’ll stick to fall arc only this season, but I am not so sure. I hope they won’t start next arc withing the last 1-2 eps as they did winter season.
    it’s still a mystery to me why the manga didn’t get license (yet!I hope..)…this is some great stuff, a gem, invaluable one. and although it may look carefree and all, there is a lot of depth and meaning in silver spoon both manga and anime.

  3. Aki doesn’t need help to look good.

    The scene where Yugo tells Ayame he’ll give her a carrot is weird out of context. It would have been nice if they also showed Shingo’s phone getting atomized by Super Royal so it makes sense.

  4. Color me impressed that the seiyuu voicing Suzu from Seitokai Yakuindomo is voicing the loud ojou-sama in this anime. Personally though I can’t completely hate Minamikujou Ayame. For one thing I’m fond of the ojou-sama accent in anime (Himawari from Yuru Yuri comes to mind, for example). And second despite having a personality that’s simply annoying, I pity her more on account of the misfortunes she experienced because of her pride, like falling in a pit and getting disqualified.

  5. Despite finishing 4th and exceeding all expectations, Hachiken still felt bad. I can totally relate with that. That so-near-yet-so-far feeling. But I like how he picks himself up after that. This show continues to give my weekly dose of good vibes.

  6. Maron! Words fail me! The mere mention of that horse makes me smile. If he were a soldier in a war story, he’d be the crusty old veteran that was there to show the recruits how it’s really done. He needs to be on staff to the school. He’s the best teacher they’ve got.

    It’s confirmed. Nakajima is an avatar of the Buddha (Gouda, the cheese).

    I give Hachiken a break on his wanting to win so badly. He’s been so beaten down by his father’s expectations and lack of approval that he’s conditioned to think that only winning counts. Being better than you were before, or better than you thought you could be, is something that his father would distain. His real prize? Getting to ride Maron all the way back to the school!

  7. This was a standard, good episode of Gin no Saji!

    Of course, parts of the competition being cut was too bad, but the whole competition wouldn’t have fit into one episode. It wouldn’t have been enough to fill two episodes either, so this was the best choice in my opinion.

    I’m kind of sad that Minamikujou lost some (minor) characterization because of that though…
    Nothing major really, just her talking to her (background character) parents without that ojou-sama style. (also Mikage wondering what hair salon she goes to =D)
    The manga made it more clear that she’s more a parody than true ojou-sama.

  8. Ayame is hilarious; the minute she walks on there, everyone on the show is tearing apart all the ojou tropes like how she’s not actually the best in anything and her family’s money wasn’t inherited or prestigious or anything like that. And then everyone just acts like she’s comedy relief in a party, and Mikage likes her for her energy but is in not way thinking they’re in competition. Talk about a subversion.

    I can feel for Hachiken. You can rationalize and count your blessings for what you got by being in fourth, but when you feel pressured in the past to be in the top tier of anything, achieving things less than that makes you feel like trash. I think it speaks to Hachiken’s growth as a person by realizing that this is a problem and that his anxiety is really getting in the way of enjoying what he’s done and can do.

    The Truth is in the Axe
  9. I didn’t like the episode has much as some of the previous ones, but i still enjoyed it.
    Blonde girl was interesting. She seemed to go through life re-inventing the bad things that happened to her. Delusional yes, but at least she seemed happy.
    Wasn’t Hachiken feeding 3 piglets?
    I want to see more interactions with the guys he shares the dorm with and school stuff.

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