WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Diary of our Days at the Breakwater, Season 1, Episode 12, "From Now On...," now streaming on Funimation.
Hina's journey from city girl to seasoned fisherman has taken a winding path through the blood and guts of many a species of sea-dwelling creatures. Ultimately, in the series finale, she and her new friends in Umino High's Breakwater Club may have learned that the greatest catch of them all can be found in the strong bonds formed between the members that exist far beyond the shoreline.
Having tried and failed to catch a whiting on the club's first outing to the beach, Hina is primed to return armed with new skills and techniques pilfered from a YouTube video. This is the first time Hina's excitement to hit the water outmatched the other club members, and rightfully, the group is giddy to see her determined to outclass the elusive fish. The Club gears up and heads off to the beach where President Yūki, Natsumi and Ohno all wait on the sand as Hina puts into practice her new knowledge.
Unfortunately for her, though her casting and determination are top-notch, the whiting just isn't biting. Her new technique involving jiggling the lure a bit to make it seem that the bait is alive worked well and good in the YouTube video, but in practice, it appeared to be falling short. As Natsumi is distracted by an old man and his friendly dog, Hina ponders what she could possibly be doing wrong.
Yūki watches on in anticipation of witnessing the development of a much-needed skill that all fisherwomen should have: problem-solving. Natsumi interrupts Hina as she struggles and drops a hint that changes everything -- perhaps the YouTube fisherman had different circumstances that allowed him to catch the whiting with ease. This sets Hina thinking, eventually reaching the conclusion that the whiting the Club had been catching is much smaller than those in the video. Realizing her mistake, she snaps her bait in half and puts her theory to the test.
Since the beginning, when Hina's fear of fish required the assistance of Ohno or Natsumi to overcome, Hina's problem solving hadn't been a necessity. This time, 12 episodes in, her experiences with everything from scorpionfish to lil' horsies have culminated in successfully solving her own dilemma (with little outside assistance). Hina has come a long way and as the Club enjoys a whiting dinner for the second night in a row, Hina can proudly up on the bounty that she herself captured, overcoming her greatest challenge in the process.
The following day is a hot one and Natsumi and Hina brew a large supply of barley tea to keep the Club hydrated. While doing so, Ohno notices the lil' horsie plush toys hanging from the girls' bags, which leads directly into a flashback of when Hina and Natsumi visited each other's homes in Episode 7, “Light Rock Fishing.” This time, Natsumi visits Hina's home and meets her parents who remember her well from when the two played together as children. One takeaway from this exchange is that Hina's parents had worried that she wouldn't have made friends in their new home, but meeting Natsumi has put their minds at ease, a welcome closure for the rarely seen mom and dad.
In Hina's room, the pair craft small horse mackerel charms for their bags. Natsumi is impressed by Hina's handicrafts collection and is surprised that there is no television in her room. Following the date, the two exchange their charms and the story of their creation is over. Back at the Club, Ohno and Yūki wonder where their charms are and Hina happily makes individual plushy toys for them, a rockfish and octopus respectively. These charms are then used to differentiate which barley tea is which, practical use for the accessory. When Sayaka arrives, she, too, wants in on the plush game and requests a boar, but in the end, settles on a salmon.
As the credits roll and the series comes to an end, the final hurdle is achieved: Hina cleans a fish all on her own without passing out or turning a macabre shade of gray, though she does still seem to lose the spirit in her eyes as the guts go flying. More importantly, the loneliness and discomfort of moving to a new, far away land is nowhere to be seen as Natsumi, Yūki and Ohno have clearly become her closest friends.
Though Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater suffered from an industry-wide hiatus early on, when it returned, it brought with it an easy-going story about a girl and her relationship with both the sea and her new village, becoming real fish-out-of-water therapy. For Hina, her confidence and comfort in her own skin shine through in the series finale, a proud conclusion saturated in much-needed happiness. With her final words, Hina encapsulates the series' joyful promise of a new day ahead: “President, what should we catch today?”