First year student Hina Tsurugi prefers to do indoor activities such as crafting. Having recently moved to a seaside town, she runs into an older schoolmate, Kuroiwa, who invites her to join the "Teibou" club and start fishing! Surrounded by eccentric club members, how will Hina's high school life turn out? (Source: MU, edited)
This is one of those occasions where it is impossible for me to separate my biases from a review, though in the case of Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater, it’s because I find protagonist Hina Tsurugi to be too relatable. You see, I harbor a rather paradoxical phobia that is very similar to the aversion Hina faces when Kuroiwa and the other Breakwater Club girls are trying to pitch the idea of joining their ranks: My family hails from a tropical island, all manner of seafood (especially sushi) ranks amongst my favorite meals, but I absolutely hate fish. I hate looking at them; I hate the thought of one flying up at me with a hook in its gills and vengeance in its cold, dead eyes; most of all, I abhor even imagining one of those slimy little sea demons brushing up against my skin as I wade out into the sea. My ichthyophobia has produced legitimate panic attacks that are the source of some of the most embarrassing stories of my entire life. To say that I, too, would not be enthusiastic to join up in a fishing club is the understatement of the century.
That being said, I cannot deny that Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater is loaded with a cozy slice-of-life charm that at least explains why Hina might be so inclined to move past her fears of the world’s creepiest of crawlies. The show’s art and direction is soft and inviting, the characters all strike a very friendly first impression, and the story takes time to show that there are indeed practical joys that come practicing the closest thing there is to actual black magic, what with the summoning of eldritch monstrosities from the ocean depths and all.
There’s the quiet and peaceful atmosphere of waiting for that first bite of the day, for one, and the more tangible delights that come from making a delicious snack out of food you caught with your own bare hands. Hina is a sweet girl, and I like how the show is contrasting her hesitant steps towards friendship with the likes of Kuroiwa and Ohno to the playful relationship she used to have with the scruffy Hanako. Hina might be looking at these fish loving country folk with a wary side eye at first, but she has roots in Ashiwa too, and there’s something sweet about the notion of coming back to a place you thought had left no trace of itself in you, only to discover that it has all new memories to give, should you have the fortitude to venture outside of your comfort zone and try new things.
So, as far as slice of life shows go, Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater holds a lot of promise, though you can count me right out. I literally had to pause and emotionally catch my breath when Hina got that octopus stuck to her leg, and the sight of the girls eating the salted fish head first gave me terror-chills. It will, however, provide much edutainment for folks who either have fond fishing memories of their own, and also for anyone who is interested in learning more about the craft with the help of a bunch of nice anime girls.