Gin no Saji and Accepting Grace

A while ago, I decided to finish watching Silver Spoon, which I had watched during the summer, but hadn’t finished because I’d already been following the manga for several months. I already knew what was going to happen, and while the anime adaptation of Silver Spoon is good, it isn’t really any better than the manga. But there is something to be said for going over a story twice, and because circumstances change, I found that there were quite a few things that I saw differently the second time around.

Yūgo Hachiken
Art by 茶漉し (Pixiv ID 41064116)

In episode 8, something struck me in particular. Jachiken spent his summer working on the Mikages’ farm. All through the one month he had free from his intense work at Yezo Agricultural High School, he works equally as hard, and the Mikages appreciate his efforts. But when the summer starts to come to a close, and everything seems to be going so well, Hachiken forgets to connect a crucial tube that funnels fresh milk into a bulk cooler. Without anyone being around to notice it, the milk spills everywhere, spraying out by the litre and tumbling down the drain. When Hachiken realises just how much money he wasted, he’s understandably filled with guilt.

The Mikages would have every right to be angry with him, but instead they treat him graciously, telling him that what was done was done, and there was nothing he could do. One would think Hachiken would be a little relieved at this, but instead he only seems troubled further, and when they present him with his paycheck, he tries to refuse it.

I think sometimes rejection is our gut reaction when we’re offered something we don’t deserve, whether it’s forgiveness for a single mistake from another human or forgiveness for a multitude of mistakes from God. It’s like we think that by holding on to our guilt, we’re showing responsibility for our actions, or making amends in some way. But as natural as this is, it’s not a very reasonable response. None of us is really gain anything by holding on to our guilt, and trying to punish ourselves does nothing towards healing a wrong. The Mikages see this, and gently convince Hachiken to accept the money. He goes on to use it carefully, not taking their kindness for granted, which shows how we should respond to any kind of grace: by treasuring it. Because grace and forgiveness are worth far too much to be forsaken by our misguided guilt.

Murasaki Lynna

6 thoughts on “Gin no Saji and Accepting Grace

  1. That episode gives new meaning to the saying “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” But, that is an excellent article on forgiveness. It is right to desire to do good for the people we have wronged. But, there are some cases where we can only avoid making the same mistake in the future as a method of atonement. Absolution without restitution, you might say.

    1. It does! And yes, I agree that if there’s anything we can do to make up for a mistake, we should do it, obviously.

  2. Last summer my church handed out free bottles of water at our city’s farmer’s market. I was amazed at how much resistance some (not all) people showed in accepting what was offered, until I finally figured out that I had to tell each person that the water really was free. Maybe it’s just something cynical or skeptical in our nature that keeps us from seeing and accepting what is freely offered.

    1. Ah, yes. I guess that sort of reaction is quite warranted nowadays, what with things being advertised as being free, when really it’s only conditionally free. it’s a pity that stuff like that has to make us cautious when things really are free.

  3. Yeah, that was definitely a great moment in the anime. Just one more reason why this show was one of my favorites of 2013 (and my favorite of the current season).

    Really hoping that the manga gets licensed here in the US. I know I can read it online in “places” but I like being able to support these things properly, and besides, manga is something I actually prefer to have in a physical book format. (I actually did buy a Chinese-translation of the first volume or two; I guess I can make do with that for now.)

    1. I hope it gets licenced soon, too. I can’t imagine that it’ll stay unlicensed, since FMA was so popular, and a lot of people will read it just because Arakawa wrote it.

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