Warning: Censored anime gore below.
Most coming-of-age anime take place in or near Tokyo, some other large Japanese metropolis or an unspecified Tokyo-like city. In these anime, the problems faced by the characters are usually related to which university they will be studying something science- or society-related at, where they will try to get a desk job or whether they will pursue their dream jobs, which are usually related to their talents and/or hobbies. This is not the case in Gin no Saji, aka Silver Spoon. True, students preparing to take over their family businesses is not uncommon in anime either(off the top of my head, Ping Pong comes to mind), but it’s the way that Silver Spoon presents the phenomenon that is different.
In Silver Spoon, taking over one’s family business is naturally seen as kind of a default option, but it’s not seen as defeatist, lazy or, most commonly, giving up on one’s dreams. Instead, the characters in Silver Spoon forge their own destinies, so to speak, by making their familial duties their passion. Or perhaps passion is neither something that has to be forced nor something that absolutely has to be dealt with. Maybe one can compromise with oneself and find some kind of happiness in resignation from passion.
The actual show is not that esoteric, though, because of the main character, Hachiken. He’s more like your typical anime protagonist in the sense that he doesn’t know what to do with his future. He lacks confidence and self-esteem. He’s relatable. Again, this isn’t uncommon, but I think the fact that the other characters are so different from usual affects Hachiken’s character development a lot. By the end of the 2nd season, he’s changed a lot, but not necessarily in the direction that his family wants him to. He’s becoming his own person, his own character, in a somewhat uncommon way. And I think that’s my favourite thing about Silver Spoon. Well, that and the countryside setting. I love stuff like that.