[Media Meandry] Breakers [2020 Anime, Episodes 1-3]

What are sports but competitions against an increasingly better version of yourself? For a show like Breakers, which explores para-athletes trying sports starting with wheelchair basketball, there are themes of overcoming adversity, rising to challenges, and self-betterment. Most anime, and most entertainment in general, follow these same themes. The fun is watching these characters face these challenges and learn to overcome them naturally, not so much any narrative drama over whether or not they’ll win.

Growing up, I had no interest in sports.

It wasn’t until I started rowing that I started to think about sports as more than just something that annoying people annoyed me with frequently. I’m still disinterested over American football and don’t really consider it worthwhile to watch any sports at length, but there is something about having a sport summarized with its narrative stakes in a drama or comedy that should be more appealing.

Each episode of Breakers is about 8 minutes long.

Within each runtime packs enough narrative content to where it feels substantial without outstaying its welcome. The art style is unpolished but there’s a charm to it. I’ve been appreciating this trend of showing thematic series like New Game! and Dumbbells that almost feel like behind-the-scenes into certain disciplines and it’s a shame how under distributed this show is because it has a fun sort of energy like any action anime.

I do have a bias here, which is, my interest in para-athletics.

I have plans to write fiction, specifically “The Story,” where the two main characters John and Trishna have physical impairments. Trishna is an ambulatory wheelchair user and frequently goes to physical therapy to practice walking on her bad foot so she can increase her mobility. John would start practicing motor-dexterity with his bad hand after they meet. Before going to college together, they were introverted and communicated primarily online.

They will learn about para-athletics in college.

Trishna may try or get into wheelchair basketball and John may try a variety of sports. As part of my research, I’ve been learning more about para-athletics. If it weren’t for this research, I might have skipped over the show. I’ve found myself wanting to watch a fair amount of anime and engage in multitudinous hobbies. Although this isn’t the best anime I’ve ever seen, that honor goes to Cowboy Bebop, I’ve still enjoyed these first three episodes well enough that I’ll still check out the rest of the show.

At least until it becomes inaccessible.

Let’s meander into thoughts over how to watch this show. I’m pirating it. I don’t have any ethical concerns over pirating media because if I like something, I’ll buy it, otherwise, if I’m just watching something to check it out, what’s the point of buying it? I’ve bought many things over the years that I thought were cool only to check them out and realize I didn’t like them at all. What irks me about needing to pirate this, though, is that although this is a niche topic, it really shouldn’t be that obscure.

There are many other sports anime.

Why is it that there aren’t bigger shows like this about para-athletics? I don’t support pedestaling people by default, which is to say, I don’t think it’s admirable just because someone in a wheelchair decides to pick up basketball. What is admirable is them not dropping basketball at the first, slightest difficulty. Those sorts of challenges are universal. I don’t need to be in a wheelchair to appreciate overcoming obstacles.

Yet I think we aren’t there yet.

Japanese and American cultures, generally, are still learning to accept people that are outside of the “norm,” and I think it will still be another generation before we see people that are different than us and appreciate rather than feel apprehensive around them. This creates a culture of forced-diversity, where we overcorrect on everything, but I think this is good.  It’s all part of the notion that culture should shift in positive ways. We should see a show like Breakers on the upcoming anime list and not think about how this is the only para-athletic show we’ve heard about.

It should be all about normalizing rather than advertising.

A wheelchair is a tool, like glasses, or anything else. I wear glasses with no intention of ever getting eye surgery to correct my vision because I have now four perfectly adequate tools to do the job. If I were in a wheelchair, as an able-bodied person, I would lament the doors that would be closed off to me for only so long before I’d return back to what I could do, as I did do when I experienced mindbender headaches that have debilitated me for weeks and months at a time.

Everyone is different; that’s just what I think I would do.

I wonder if future episodes, which will focus on different athletes in different fields, will follow the same general format where we meet a character, they learn about a sport, then they master it? If so, will the same emotional stakes kick in over the narrative stakes? Will it become tedious if it’s just a 3-episode, 3-act structure? That sort of speculation is tricky to consider because then we’re dissecting future information rather than current information. It’s good to do some predicting in general as to how things turn out, but if we focus on that too much in life, we experience analysis-paralysis, and if we focus on that too much in media, then we decide it’s better not to experience something than to give it a try.

We should always try to critically analyze what we’ve experienced.

Well, we’ve gone far enough off-track from Breakers, as is the case with some of these Meandry essays, that we should return for one final thought. I’m interested in checking out more shows from other sports now, after dipping my toes in with Breakers.

I’d say if you can find a way to break the ice with anything in life, do it.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and viewing experiences.
Inspirations: Well, this was going to be a more straightforward review but right when I was about to write, my neighbor’s dog started barking profusely which caught me off guard. I’ve reported this dog barking excessively repeatedly and this particular time, I was thrown so off-guard that it took me about one hour to reclaim my thoughts, and this was the result.
Related: Other Media Meandry essays, Series Reviews, and check out other essays worldbuilding “The Story.”
Screenshot: A clip from the show.
Written On: 2020 January 31 [54 scattered minutes, from 10pm to 10:54pm.]
Last Edited: 2020 January 31 [If this were a more formal review, yeah, I’d probably scrap this, but this is a first draft; final draft experience.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.