What’s it about? After transferring to a new school, Hina finds herself blackmailed into joining the fishing-centric Breakwater club. Unfortunately, the many creepy-crawly critters of the ocean leave her more than a little faint.
Content Consideration: Screenshot of a squid being gutted for food; depictions of animal death.
A confession: I spent the entirety of Breakwater’s 22-minute premiere fighting very hard not to compare it to Tsuritama, the king of hobby fishing anime.
This is extremely unfair of me, because Tsuritama is a Yuasa-esque charm bomb with a ’50s sci-fi aesthetic and a great portrayal of social anxiety; meanwhile, I would have a hard time picking Breakwater’s main cast out of an “after-school club characters” lineup three days from now. It’s not even a bad show, just one that has the misfortune of tackling the same subject as another much more memorable entry.
Right, scrubbing that from my memory. Let’s give it a fresh go.
Breakwater is perfectly fine. Its colors are bright and cheerful, its cast is archetypal but solid, and it knows where to save its moments of flashy animation to make the most impact.
Its decision to make Hina squeamish is easily its most interesting: not only does it create the opportunity for a lot of interesting visual gags, but it’s also refreshing to have that layer of honesty about a club that is, at the end of the day, about killing and eating small animals.
Whatever one’s personal philosophies, this is a really unique opportunity to appreciate exactly what goes on in catching and preparing seafood. That cooking element could be what gives this show a leg up on other middling hobby anime.
On the other hand, fishing is rather famous for not being the most visually fascinating pastime. While there’s a lot to be drawn from the peaceful contemplation that can happen when nothing’s biting, Breakwater also wants to be a gag comedy. The strain between those concepts results in stretches where the show is either dead in the water or reels back to the same gag of Hina fainting at the sight of a bug.
It makes it difficult to get into a chill mindset, which is what a show like this requires above everything. There’s also a tentacle-related joke that kind of brings the whole mood down, though it passes fairly quickly.
I’m not quite ready to call this one a total miss. After all, BOFURI had a similarly competent but underwhelming first episode and went on to become one of my favorite shows of the winter season. However, I would say that if you’re not extremely into either fishing or hobby shows, you’d probably be better off checking out what the rest of the season has to offer and waiting to hear on this one.
The ending theme is pretty dang adorable, though.