Yugo Hachiken is tired of people asking him about his dreams for the future. He may not know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he has the perfect plan to get ahead in school. Some kids break their backs trying to rise to the top of a tough institution, but Hachiken decides to enroll at a rural vocational and agricultural high school instead.At Hachiken's new school, the textbooks on real subjects like math and English are all magazine-thin, and his classmates are countrified rubes, most of them the kids of farmers themselves. Sure, the textbooks on animal husbandry and produce are doorstops, but that's just memorization, right? If everything goes according to plan, Hachiken will rocket effortlessly to the top of his class...There's just one teensy little problem; it hasn't dawned on Hachiken yet that, at an agricultural school, the main focus will be on agriculture...and he was raised in Sapporo and knows little to nothing about farming.Gin no Saji: Silver Spoon (銀の匙) is the newest manga from Hiromu Arakawa of Fullmetal Alchemist fame, and began its run in Shounen Sunday in the spring of 2011. It draws heavily on the author's childhood on a dairy farm in Hokkaido, and puts a new spin on the high school drama formula. (Just try to name another school-days manga in which the hero gets roped into helping chop off a chicken's head within the first chapter.)An anime adaptation by A-1 Pictureshas aired in Summer 2013, and a second season is currently airing on Winter 2014. A live-action film will also be released in 2014.Crunchyroll is streaming both seasons, and can be viewed here, for people living in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Central and South America.For a another manga based on agricultural schooling, try Moyashimon. Or if light novels are more to your liking, there's No-Rin.Is not to be confused with Silver Spoons. Or a certain character from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. (Even if this series deals with horses too.) Also not to be confused with the villain named Ginnosaji in the Web series The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon.
Always Someone Better: Hachiken managed be the undisputed top student by getting incredibly high scores on every one of his midterms. Unfortunately for him, in every subject someone always beats him with a perfect 100... even Tokiwa!
Anal Probing: The technical term when it comes to animals is "Insemination" or "Rectal Exam", and it's an important aspect of good livestock care. Hachiken was unfortunate enough to be picked to administer one, so to speak.
Anguished Declaration of Love: Played with when a blushing girl wants to talk to Hachiken outside of class. She wants to buy some bacon from him. Gets a callback with the formation of the Pork Fund, though this time, a more Genre Savvy Hachiken knows the score from the start.
Anti-Climax: Done deliberately in the "Memory of a Summer" side story (episode 5). Yugo's roommates engage in an epic, life-risking quest to sneak out of their dormitory at night and catch a glimpse of a mysterious entity spoken of only as "him". The story follows a dramatic "The Rest Shall Pass" pattern, leaving only Yugo and Nishikawa to witness the midnight arrival of...a combine harvester. Of course, anyone who had read even one chapter of this manga knew how all this would end. To rub it in, though, Tamako then reveals that her farm has several of these harvesters, meaning that the guys went through all that trouble for nothing.
Armor-Piercing Question: Hachiken is asked one by Mikage's father in episode 3 of season 2, when he bluntly asks if the two are dating.
Nakajima-sensei: I can't let you ride when you're too caught up in your own thoughts to properly focus. It's dangerous. And it's rude to the horse, as well.
Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: It's a common saying in Japan to tell someone providing the sole source of aid in a time of need that, if there really is a Buddha, He would look just like that person. The advisor to the equestrian club, who's introduced saving Hachiken from the Holstein club, literally looks like the Buddha. He even prays for the injured while a halo appears behind him.
Later subverted. Though he is kind-hearted and often gives out sage advice, he's also a degenerate gambler who has a penchant for abusing the school's cheese-making resources for his own personal stash.
Nakajima-sensei: If cheese is at stake, I will become an Asura if I must!!
Bait and Switch: Hachiken sees three students in a dark corner, huddled over a magazine and discussing "curves"... the students were part of a club that breeds cows and were looking at the champion cows for last year. (One even yells out "Who needs women when you've got cows!?" as a closing remark while Hachiken declines to join them and leaves)
A troupe of scary-looking seniors shows up in Yugo's class, demanding some of his fresh-cured bacon. One of them even sneers, "We don't have any money, so you know what that means, right?" It means they resort to the barter system, exchanging other high quality farm products for the bacon.
Just before his turn in the riding competition, Hachiken is nervously telling himself to stay cool. Then, suddenly, he seems to snap, and raises his riding crop to whip his horse.... Only to smack it down on his own leg, admitting that he can't be cool at all, and entrust the outcome to Chestnut, his horse. Chestnut obliges.
Played for laughs in the first chapter, when a Beware Of Bears sign in the woods makes our hero so nervous that he mistakes an approaching horse for a bear.
Comes back in a later chapter when it's mentioned that bears are in the area, inspiring Aki's great-grandmother to tell a scary story about how a single bear killed several people in their area, back in the pioneer days.
Beautiful All AlongTamako loses a mountain of weight over the summer in chapter 22. Possibly a case of Chekhov's Gun, since there was earlier commentary on what a knockout she would be if you removed the fat from her face and frame.
She gains it all back in two chapters, though.
The special provides a rather interesting example: Toku is a woman with a Face of a Thug. Turns out, she is very near-sighted and has to squint. She is revealed to be very beautiful, once she putson glasses.
Bestiality Is Depraved: The Holstein Club are slightly too enthusiastic about their cows, much to everyone else's discomfort.
Big Game: Can the Ooezo High baseball team make it to the Koshien finals with talented freshman pitcher Komaba on the mound? Unfortunately, no. Not this year, anyway.
Big Eater: Justified. Everyone at Ooezo High puts away food at a rate which would make a short-order cook sweat, but since all the characters are growing teenagers with extremely physical lifestyles (farm work and mandatory sports being the tip of the iceberg), it isn't that strange. The owners of the food stalls at the local festival apparently consider feeding the Ooezo High students their greatest challenge, and treat it with due amounts of ham.
Some of the ingredients the boys put into their Mystery Stew while cleaning out their rooms to move out of the dorms. Tokiwa's Men's Bath Yogurt isn't even the worst of it!
Breather Episode: After the school festival and the regional baseball tournament (followed by Komaba's disappearance after the team loses), Nakajima-sensei recruits Hachiken, Mikage, and others to help make cheese. It's almost meditative with Nakajima-sensei's slow, deliberate explanations. Subverted by the end of the same manga chapter when it returns to the question of Komaba's disappearance.
Brick Joke: After successfully asking Aki for a 'date' right before the school festival, Yugo talked to Nishikawa about places to take Aki for a date and mentioned that they would end up in the racetrack if they were to go where Aki wants to go. Fast-forward to the end of the school-year...guess where Aki and Yugo went when Yugo offered to treat her to anything she wanted...
About 90 chapters after Yugo had come to terms with the fact that eggs come out of a hen's anus, Okawa-senpai called him an 'Anus Hater' out of the blue.
Butt Monkey: Keiji. He tends to get extra mandatory labor sentences, a school punishment worse (in the short term) than suspension. Most infamously, he mistakenly spread a rumor that Hachiken had gotten Mayumi pregnant after overhearing them discussing responsibilities (they were really talking about "taking responsibility" for a pig).
Call Back: A racy pillow Nishikawa bought in Tokyo over the summer break returns in A Memory of Summer, being used to prop up a shirt for some reason.
There's a competition in the festival called the "Escape From the Dorms Race".
Call to Agriculture: Despite his obvious genius and potential to choose any of several life paths, Hachiken seems to be hearing the call more and more as the series goes on. It's good news for Aki's female relatives, anyway!
Can't Catch Up: Hachiken feels this way during episode 3 of season 2, when he fails to jump the small fence on horseback, but the other club members do it effortlessly. When they talk about it amongst themselves, he suffers from some FlashBacks of seemingly falling behind other students in school.
Keiji was later the rightful recipient of another combo, attacked by almost all the girls in their class to allow Yugo and Aki to go on their "date" unmolested.
The Comically Serious: As can be seen in this article's picture, with Yugo pressing a calf's head down who is trying to eat his shirt while maintaining a stern look toward the viewer and only Cross-Popping Veins on his hand to imply his actual emotion about the situation.
Computer Equals Monitor: A variant of this with a cellphone is subverted when Yugo breaks Shingo's cellphone in half at the hinge. Yugo wanted to keep him from sending an embarrassing photo to their mother, but Shingo isn't too worried because the part the memory was stored in wasn't damaged. Then Ayame's horse shatters the thing to bits.
Continuity Nod: The crack on the left lens of Yugo's glasses, acquired during his fall in the competition.
Subverted to an extent, since the school pretty much only owns reject horses due to them being a lot cheaper than ones fit for their original use.
Crazy-Prepared: Hachiken took such detailed and thorough notes during the school festival preparations that the rest of the students are able to follow his advice in it to pull off the festival without him there.
Credits Running Sequence: Hachiken does one in the first opening, along with some farm animals that slowly overtake his slow pace.
Cruel to Be Kind: Hachiken is initially disgusted at some of the things farmers do, such as separating a newborn calf from its mother the moment it's born. However, they tell him that they do that because if the animals grow a bond, separating them later on becomes even more difficult, so it's best to do it before one can be established. Tamako also headlocks a baby calf to force feed it, because it's unfamiliar with a bottle, and will starve if it's not trained to suckle one. They also warn him not to bond with animals too closely, as they are often butchered after a short while, such as the piglets.
Down to the Last Play: It's the Big Game, and Ooezo High is up against the local champions for the chance to go on to the finals! Bottom of the ninth! Bases loaded! The toughest batter on the team is at the plate! And freshman wunderkind Komaba is pitching! The batter gets a hit on the first pitch and wins the game, shattering Ooezo's chances and Komaba's self-esteem.
Drama Bomb: The later Autumn/early Winter chapters or the 8th and 9th episode of the second season serves as this, when Komaba's Ranch went under and Hachiken and Aki had to witness the depressing consequences, Aki reaches a turning point in her life when she finally found the courage to stand up to her parents and convice the to allow her to pursue her dreams of working with horses.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: The man in charge of the rotation Hachiken is on gives Hachiken this impression (the man isn't that terrible, but Hachiken has a few dramatic Imagine Spots...). His jacket having a camo-pattern probably doesn't help Hachiken's opinion of him.
Deconstructed for laughs in chapter 46. The junior students of the equestrian club ask an upperclassman for advice for their upcoming match. He ends up giving them a sadistic lecture which amounts to how they'll be useless without their horses. Naturally, they end up having a collective Heroic BSOD. Their club adviser manages to salvage the situation with a few kind words. Later reconstructed when the lecture's contents are what Hachiken needs to be able to compete.
Elaborate University High: Less egregious than most examples, considering the curriculum, and a few lampshades are hung, but still, a high school with a fully equipped genetics lab?
It's been mentioned early in the manga that the school is attached to or affiliated with a nearby agricultural university.
Everyone Can See It: Yugo and Aki's mutual feelings aren't exactly a secret around school, or anywhere else for that matter. They do seem to realize it themselves (Yugo at least), but there is the issue of Aki's dad.
Expo Speak Gag: Shinichiro goes off on one of these to Hachiken about additives when Hachiken notices the smoked chicken Shinichiro gave him tastes different.
Face Fault: Hachiken does one in episode 10 when Keiji asks a monumentally stupid question.
Fish out of Water: Hachiken is a City Mouse, and is completely bewildered by how physically demanding farm work can be. Contrast that to his classmates, who all grew up on farms, and don't think of getting up before the sun rises as unusual at all.
Food As Bribe: Tamako tells the crew pulling her sled in episode 6 of season 2 that she would give them a lot of meal tickets in the lunchroom if they win. Later, they use Nakajima-sensei's secret cheese stash as the prize, causing many others to volunteer and race as well.
Food Porn: When the pizza is completed...dear GOD!
In the author's extra manga about the drawing process, she mentions that the assistant who is in charge of drawing the food in the manga pretty much deprives herself of food during drawing sessions, so as to make the food look more delicious on paper. It's kind of like drawing pretty girls when you're single (according to the author).
In chapter 23, Komaba scolds Tokiwa telling him he may not be able to graduate, and then Hachiken reassures him, saying he'll help Tokiwa so they can all graduate together. Heartbreaking when you realize that it's actually Komaba that won't be able to graduate, not Tokiwa.
Early in the manga and episode 6 of the anime, Hachiken finds himself in the unenviable position of being forced to swing at Komaba's pitching. Through sheer luck, he manages to hit a ball. It's just a pop fly to the pitcher, but it shows that for all his skill, Komaba is hardly invincible. Later, during a vital game, someone gets a much bigger hit, to devastating effect.
From Bad to Worse: Hachiken really found walking up at five in the morning every day for his rotation's week that month to be uncomfortable. Then he found out he had to join a club, so he joined the equestrian club because he's not a sports person, and then learned the club would have to wake up at four in the morning daily to care for the horses.
One favour owed by Hachiken eventually turned into many down the road, which were all called in at the same time before the Cultural Festival.
Funny Background Event: Tamako. In chapter 2, Tamako pulls a surprising jump in her ping-pong match. Later in that chapter, despite being so overweight her body-shape is compared to an egg, she is shown being being blown away into the wind while holding onto a canvas everyone is trying to tie down lampshaded by Tokiwa). Three chapters later she's seen entering a bet at the horse races. She's also seen eating in every stall during the summer festival, and chomped on a whole slab of bacon belonging to Hachiken without him noticing.
In chapter 52, while Nishikawa talks with Hachiken about where he should go for his date, the 2D girls in the Dating Sim he's playing actually say lines that match the conversation.
Genre Savvy: In chapter 11, Yugo proves that he can be quite savvy when he feels like it!
Aki: Well, if you don't have anywhere to go, why don't you come stay at my place? My parents are both going to be gone.
Yugo: "Stay at my place? Parents both gone?" [strikes poses of joy...then pauses] And later I'm supposed to discover the twist that your grand-parents will be there or something, right?!
Aki: [puzzled] Yeah, they'll be there.
Yugo: [thinks] Alright! Unnecessary shock evaded! I'm getting the hang of this!
Yugo also manages to correctly guess that Komaba might try to pack his things and leave the school while everyone is in class, to avoid a fuss, and fakes an illness to get out of class and confront him.
Goal in Life: Hachiken feels like the only student who doesn't have one.
Gonk: Tamako, though subverted with a tasteful touch of She Cleans Up Nicely — the boys are shocked to realize that if you ignore her weight, Tamako is gorgeous.
Put simply, Tamako has an egg-shaped body but the face of a super-model. And now, after returning to school and losing her weight... HOT DAMN.
Gory Discretion Shot: Used rather tastefully when Hachiken was asked by Aki's grandfather to butcher a deer.
Inada-senpai cutting a fluttering chicken's head off in Chapter 1.
Bacon-san's graduation in Yezo Animal Husbandry University left no details spared!
Groin Attack: Early in the anime's first episode, Hachiken gets one from the calf.
Ham-to-Ham Combat: Tamako engages in a brief one with her parents during episode 7 when she reveals her plans to takeover her parent's farming business in a hostile manner upon graduation from college, rather than succeeding them after they retire.
Held Back In School: Subverted when Okawa-senpai unsuccessfully tried to invoke this and refuse graduation to avoid becoming a NEET. The principal's and Todoroki-sensei's actions implied that this had happened before.
Heroic BSOD: Aki had one when she heard rumours of Yugo×Mayumi. Also when she mistakes a classmate's interest in buying some bacon from Hachiken for a love confession.
A different sort of BSOD hit Aki when she was introduced to Nishikawa's artistic handiwork.
Yugo had one when he saw chickens getting beheaded. At least he didn't faint like Aikawa.
Also happened to Yugo when Aki told him her problems were none of his business.
A more serious one happened when Yugo failed at jumping the obstacles in riding practice, while the other students were able to do it easily. It hit Yugo especially hard because it reminded him of his failures in middle school, and he got so desperate that Aki had to snap him out of it.
Nakajima-sensei after his cheese stash were given away as prizes for the draft race by Toyonishi-senpai during autumn festival.
Hachiken suffers another one after his father sees him in the hospital during episode 6 of season 2. More specifically, he still doesn't approve of his son being at that school, although his Wham Line of telling the poor kid that he never mentioned liking the bacon Hachiken sent home hit him pretty hard.
Almost everyone gets one whenever Tokiwa casually suggest very practical and useful solution to a problem.
Hope Spot: In episode 6, Hachiken's father visits him in the hospital, and doesn't hold back his criticism of the school and his homeroom teacher of allowing him to collapse from exhaustion in the first place. As he's leaving, Hachiken attempts to find at least one good thing regarding him being there, and mentions the bacon he sent home. His father does remember eating it, bringing a smile to his face, only to then say he never claimed to like it, causing his son to fall into a Heroic BSOD.
Hot Teacher: Fuji-sensei, the teacher in charge of pigs, has a general Amazon appeal and the face of a supermodel. Seriously.
And Tokiwa misinterpreting Hachiken's declaration to take responsibility for what he did to Yoshino (during a discussion of how the drama over his pet pig had ruined her taste for pork) got way out of hand.
Insult to Rocks: It is pointed out to Mikage and Yugo that, as a percentage of their total body mass, pigs have less fat (15%) than humans (10-20% for men, 20-30% for women), which makes Yugo sadly realize that when he called one of his teammates a pig he was insulting pigs.
It Can't Be Helped: Yugo does not like this excuse. At all. Especially regarding Komaba dropping out to start working and giving up on his dreams.
Last Episode New Character: Hachiken's parents are seen briefly at the end of episode 11 receiving Yugo's bacon, after being only referred to most of the first season of the anime.
Loophole Abuse: Near the end of summer, Aki's grandfather gave 'hints' to Yugo on how good raw milk is...despite a law mandating that all milk slated to be sold are to be pasteurized.
Love Epiphany: Mikage finally starts to think about Hachiken in that way during episode 5 of season 2, after several of the girls around her paint the obvious for her, such as the way he asked her out, and wanted to spend time with just her alone. It understandably makes her uneasy as she wonders how she'll act around him.
Made Myself Sad: When rumors pop up of Hachiken and Yoshino being in a sexual relationship (which against school regulations) that the school counselor calls them up to his office to address, Hachiken fervently declares it untrue because his schedule couldn't possibly give him time for it after which he quickly and quietly realizes "Although, saying it like that makes me a bit sad".
Moment Killer: Almost averted when the girls prevented Keiji from becoming a third leg on Aki and Yugo's "date" at the shrine. Unfortunately, the rest of the Equestrian Club didn't seem to have gotten the message.
Played utterly straight when Aki's accidental Love Confession is cut off short by an upperclassman barging into the barn.
Played for laughs on Hachiken. When he attempts to tell Aki how he feels, both Kino and Maruyama stop him by suplexing him into the snow. Or an animal interrupts him if no people are around.
Mood Whiplash: So. Freaking. Much. Typically, almost every funny or heartwarming moment involving animals is followed by a discussion about killing or butchering them.
In "Autumn 21", just when Hachiken finally catches a break by making a date with Mikage, he passes out from overworked exhaustion.
Chapter 63 (Autumn 32). A lighthearted reflection of the past 6 months is broken by the revelation of Komaba's family going bankrupt.
Played for laughs with the fact that anytime everything winds down and some of the student body feels good about an oncoming break, Yamada is always around to drop a bombshell like the prospect of getting a girlfriend.
Episode 7 of season 2 has one near the end. Ooezo lost their semi-finals baseball match. While the other students are talking about trying again next year, they notice Komamba's desk has been vacant for a while. The cheerful ending song starts to play right afterwards.
The first half of episode 8 is almost like a Breather Episode, with several students learning how to make cheese. Then the second half covers Komaba dropping out to start working to repay the debt his family owes on their farm.
At a summer festival, the concession-booth proprietors and the students taunt each other over who will triumph this year, followed by a page that shows both sides jumping at each other in poses that would be fit for an action comic.
My God, What Have I Done?: Hachiken forgetting to connect the milk pipes to the holding tank, literally causing milk to spill at the end of his summer job. After calculating how much the milk would have sold for and how much was invested in producing the milk, Hachiken unsuccessfully tried to refuse his paycheck.
Mysterious Teachers Lounge: Ironically, the student dorms becomes this during the New Year's vacation, since all of the students are usually away with their families, except Hachiken.
No One Else Is That Dumb: After Keiji gets a bizarre makeover during summer vacation, Yugo identifies him by asking what 1+1 equals. (His answer is, of course, 3.)
Not What It Looks Like: When Hachiken first sees Mikage in episode 6 of season 2 after returning from the hospital, the first thing she does is to turn away from him. He immediately starts imagining bad things, but in reality she's happy that he's okay, but couldn't find the words to tell him at that moment.
Also Tokiwa, after he "got a good score" on his math test in chapter 3 - except the score was still terrible, just better than he'd ever done in his life.
Oh Crap: Hachiken has this look in episode 6 of season 2 when his father shows up at the hospital he's at. Even his hospital roommate feels extremely uncomfortable while he's in the room with Hachiken.
Older than They Look: Tamako's mother. To the point that Yūgo and Aki mistake her for Tamako's sister.
And apparently, Alexandra (Yugo's sister-in-law) given the fact that she remembers the fall of the Soviet Union...
Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Tokiwa overhears Hachiken and Yoshino talking about "taking responsibility" and starts a rumor about them having a sexual relationship. They were talking about raising a pig.
Overprotective Dad: Aki's father does not approve of Hachiken, and does not want him taking his little girl away.
In chapter 63, Hachiken starts to understand what Aki's father meant after being asked to name a female calf he helped deliver.
Punny Name: Tamako, whose name sounds like "tamago" (egg).
Raging Stiffie: Implied when Hachiken and his roommates are in the bath and contemplate the girls' bath being directly above them. The next group of bathers yells at them to leave, but Hachiken's group refuses to stand up out of the water.
Reality Ensues: This hits home rather hard in episode 8 of season 2, after Hachiken finds out why Komaba has been missing classes for a week. Due to his team losing in the semi-finals, his chances of becoming a professional baseball player went down the drain. To make matters worse, his father died shortly after expanding their farm, the Mikage family co-signed the loan for them, and the debt is so big that he feels he has no choice but to drop out of school and start working to avoid burdening Aki's family. Hachiken being Hachiken, he refuses to believe that there's nothing that can be done, but practically everyone around him tell him not to worry about it, and farms go out of business all the time. He also hates that they probably are boiling up inside, but seem unable or unwilling to help each other out here and instead seem to accept their lot in life.
Reality Subtext: One of the chapters had a cow giving birth around the time when Hiromu Arawaka had a child. Her author avatar is a cow with glasses.
Real Place Background: Ooezo High is based on a real school, and there are enough clues all over the manga (starting from Chapter 1) to figure out where all this is happening.
Relax-o-Vision: In chapter 87, after Nishikawa tricked Okawa to try a potentially lethal pot of borscht which the other students in the dormitory were hesitant to do so because they were unsure whether it was cooked by Hachiken's brother or his wife Alexandra, the next panel was blacked out with an icon of a pig head adorning the middle. And then it is revealed the borscht was indeed lethal, with Okawa passed out over a bench!
Running Gag: Whenever someone uses a large unit of measurement (such as hectares), Hachiken will ask how many Sapporo Domes that is. They won't know, but will hazard an answer that doesn't really help Hachiken.
Various characters wondering if someone is "Speaking in Tongues" when overhearing conversations that take place outside their expertise such as Hachiken not understanding farmers talking about college level biotechnology.
Apparently, Crab Fishing is a great way to make money.
After he starts tutoring Aki, Hachiken gets abused by jealous boys whenever he offhandedly brings it up.
Hachiken and his roommates are going to stay in that bathtub until the cows come home. See Raging Stiffie above.
Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Ayame goes about this when she buys luck charms at a local mountain shrine. When she means she'll take one, she literally means she'll take one entire box.
Self-Deprecation: Yugo's advice on knowing your limits involves going to hospital.
Settling the Frontier: Discussed — Mikage's great-grandmother tells stories of the time when the Japanese settled Hokkaido. Wild animals (bears) and natives (Ainu) appear.
Serious Business: Pizza. Most of the students, being from farm families, have always been out of pizza delivery range, and only ever had pizza maybe once or twice, if at all (deliveries to the school are also forbidden). So when Hachiken finds a brick oven, he spends days researching everything needed to make pizza, and goes all over the school looking for ingredients. He eventually gets the entire school involved in his pizza party schemes.
And sometime after that, establishing who gets final authority over the oven (and future pizza-making) turns quickly into a heated argument between members of the different courses in school.
Aki's mother seems to have found a potential son-in-law in Yugo. Her father, on the other hand, loudly declares his disapproval at every opportunity.
Mika Toyonishi of the Equestrian Club boards the Yugo × Aki ship right after summer vacation. Eventually joined by most of the girls in their social circle. They even taken to shipping Yuko x Aki to a more direct and physical level evident in the way they tackled (or more precisely, brutally assaulted) Keiji when he was about to ruin their first date.
Most of Aki's and Yugo's friends have practically boarded the Yugo x Aki ship, actively trying to get them together, though both of them are rather clueless of their friends' efforts and motives. Witness the girls' "mission" to deliver Aki's Valentine's Day chocolate to Yugo.
Aki and Yugo's friends have seemingly become more aggressive shipping the couple in their second year. Sakae has even roped in the newest member of the Equestrian Club, a small female Freshman, to help. They're no longer even trying to hide the fact that all of them think Aki and Yugo are should end up together.
Sick Episode: Hachiken collapses right before the school festival in episode 6. While he's not technically sick, he is bedridden for the whole day at the hospital.
The Simple Life Is Simple: What drove Hachiken to sign up. Eh...no. The manga, in fact, gives an insight into the enormous breadth of knowledge and physical endurance necessary, even in a modern, mechanised farm setting.
Spoiler Opening: The opening of Cour 2 shows Vice Prez, Ayame, and if you're observant or have seen the manga before, the fact that Ichiro is not in school uniform and is standing with the school staff instead of the students.
Stepping Out for a Quick Cup of Coffee: After having tasted everything else grown on the Mikage farm fresh, Yugo asks to try fresh milk. Grandpa Mikage pointedly tells Yugo that it is forbidden to sell unpasteurized dairy products, after which he happens to mention that if someone were to sneak a sip from the bulk cooler while he... steps outside... he can hardly be held responsible.
In the backstory special, "Hachi" is a near carbon copy of Hachiken.
Southern-Fried Genius: Despite the Ooezo High students' country bumpkin background and typically poor performance in traditional academics, many of them are prone to going into lengthy, university-level discussions on such subjects as the mechanical specs of farm equipment, food processing chemistry, and biotechnology.
Happens again in episode 3 of season 2, this time with Mikage. This time however, Hachiken is right behind him to immediately clear up any misunderstandings Tokiwa may have with the two.
Take a Third Option: When Hachiken is asked an Armor-Piercing Question by Mikage's father if they're dating, he runs two scenarios in his head. Both options cause him to get a Mega Ton Punch, so he skirts it by claiming he admires her as a person due to all the things she's done for him, such as finding him when he got lost at the beginning, and inviting him to the equestrian club.
Through Their Stomachs: A non-romantic example by the school, which hosts a wrap-party barbecue whenever the entire class has completed a hard task. Hachiken even commented early on that food was the only thing he was looking forward to in Ooezo Agricultural High.
Tragic Dropout: Ichiro Komaba. By the time the other students learn that his continued education is/was riding on their school's continued baseball victories, they've already lost.
Underdogs Never Lose: Heartbreakingly subverted when the Ooezo High baseball team blazes their way through the qualifying matches for the Koshien, only to lose their match against the local champions by one run and fall just short of going to Sapporo for the Big Game.
Proceeds to become heart-shattering when it's revealed that their loss also indirectly cost Komaba's family their farm, by damaging his odds of becoming a professional player at exactly the wrong moment.
Lately, the Shippers on Deck spare no effort to resolve it... with often awkward results. Her father, on the other hand, wants to make damn sure it stays unresolved.
Up to Eleven: Some of Yugo's whimsical remarks turn into big school-wide events, such as the pizza party, turning Butadon into bacon, and pooling money to buy another pig for bacon and sausages into a real-life exercise in corporate and business management of the Pork Eaters' Party Ltd.
In a literal example, Okawa's raclette oven has this feature.
Visual Pun: The anime's opening is called "Kiss You" (in English), and animals are seen "kissing" Hachiken when the words are sung.
Chapter 63/episode 8, season 2. We learn why Komaba hasn't come back — his family has gone bankrupt. Worse, Mikage's family co-signed the loan for them, so they're on the hook for it as well, which is more reason why Komaba wants to work, so that he doesn't burden them as well. Hachiken doesn't like it, despite Mikage and others tell him not to worry about it.
Wham Line: Hachiken's father delivers one in episode 6 of season 2, when he mentions that he never said he enjoyed the bacon Hachiken sent home from season 1. This hits him pretty hard and puts him in a Heroic BSOD.
What the Hell, Hero?: In episode 3, Komaba asks Hachiken why he went to their school, considering how out of the way it was, and that he had no set goals for the future. Hachiken tries to counter, wondering how Komaba can take it so easy considering how hard farm work is. He thinks Komaba has it easy, since he has a job as soon as he graduates from high school. The former wonders why the latter seemed to be throwing his future away in the meantime. A short while later, Hachiken learns that Komaba would like to go to college, but his family can't afford to send him, and both apologize to the other for not knowing their respective situations.
Walking the Earth: Parodied with Yugo's older brother Shingo, who believes that the ramen chef he was apprenticed to sent him on a journey to do this until he found the perfect ramen ingredients, when in actuality he fired him.
Mikage yells at Hachiken during episode 3 of season 2 after the latter contemplates practicing more horse jumping after school. Mikage tells him not to do it, because the horses need rest too, and basically gets mad at him for thinking only about himself, and caring about the horses at all.
Hachiken does this towards Komaba, and the other students indirectly in episode 8 of season 2. When Komaba drops out of school so he can start working and repaying the debt his family owes, Hachiken asks about his dreams. Komaba seems content with giving it all up, and the other students largely worry about reality as their own families have debts as well. Hachiken however, hates that they seem okay with their lot in life, and seem unwilling or unable to help each other out at all with situations like this, and despite Mikage telling him not to worry about it, he tells her he wants to.
Webcomic Time: It took about three years in real time (2011-2014) for the manga to advance one year in-story (2011-2012). The following arc, however, progresses through time much faster than real time, advancing about than 15 months within about four months real time.
We Need a Distraction: Mikage seriously needs one in episode 3 when Komaba and Hachiken get into an intense argument about each other's lives and how "easy" one thinks the other has it. Fortunately for her, her uncle sends her a text which gives her a pretext to interrupt them and cool down the situation.
Hachiken's Brutal Honesty statements and ArmorPiercingQuestions to the other students often sum up to this. He's a bit jealous that they all have goals they're striving for, regardless of how out of reach they may be, either because of a lack of grades, or in many cases, lack of finances. Compared to them, he's Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life, and has no idea what he wants to do, largely due to his overbearing parents expecting him to achieve high grades and go to a prestigious college.
Mikage gives one to Hachiken when he arrives back at school and felt extremely upset at himself for missing the school festival. She also gives him the notebook he was using for notes during the festival, and had people write their comments in it. While some weren't too thrilled about it, others seemed to enjoy it a lot, which helped snap him out of his Heroic BSOD. She also tells him the reason they didn't visit him was because they felt he'd want them to make sure the festival went well, and the hospital doesn't allow night visitations. When several characters show up at the end, they are genuinely happy to see him safe and sound.
The special backstory chapter provides examples of:
The Glasses Gotta Go: Inverted for Toku, whose frightening expression turns out to be nothing more than a severely nearsighted squint. When "Hachi" lends her his glasses, her face relaxes and she turns out to have beautiful eyes.
Great Escape: "Hachi" apparently effected one before the events of the chapter.
Samurai Cowboy: The story centers on the lives of the actualSamurai Cowboys (and cowgirls) of historical Hokkaido. After the conflicts that began the Meiji period, many samurai families were driven north to the province of Hokkaido, where they began new lives as farmer pioneers (with alltheattendanttropes...including an unfortunate fate for the native Ainu tribes).