Skip and Loafer

Reviewed on: March 9, 2024
1st time watch

Genre: Slice of Life, Romance, Seinen
Based on manga by: Misaki Takamatsu
Studio: P.A. | dir. by: Kotomi Deai
Aired: April 2023 - June 2023

this anime somehow made me nostalgic for school

This is the story of a small town girl from the underpopulated Japanese countryside attending a prestigious high school in the heart of Tokyo. Though initially, she's solely focused on prepping herself for her future ambitions, Iwakura Mitsumi finds exciting new companionships and experiences as she adjusts to her new big city life.

The premise on its own is typical for a fish-out-of-water story, but this show really turned out to be something special. It's a show that is driven by its grounded, yet sweet characters and an idealistic vibe that is hard not to get swept up in. With almost every episode leaving me with a goofy smile by the end, it's a show that I can really recommend anyone to check out!

the characters

The main cast initially seems to be made up of regular high school tropes: the fish-out-of-water, the happy-go-lucky love interest, the mean girl, etc. But, the show actually ends up showing some great character development for almost everyone, even the side characters. And, this isn't some superficial development either. Characters act fundamentally different by the end of the show. Even characters that get less than 10 minutes of screen time throughout the whole season, get a little moments that show further depth. It's a show that really cares about its characters, and therefore makes you care for them.

And the lead character, Iwakura Mitsumi, steals the show, becoming one of the most charming protagonists I've seen in anime. She's got plenty of book smarts but can be totally oblivious to social situations and norms, taking things at face value and expecting the best out of everyone. She always puts 110% into everything she does, even at her detriment, and has admirable ambition. It's great seeing her find a good work-life balance through her unlikely friends throughout the show. Scenes with her tend to have a great, infectious whimsy to them that make the show a delight to watch!

Her love interest (although fair warning: don't expect too much romance, it is way more focused on slice-of-life this season) is Sousuke Shima. He starts out like the total opposite of Mitsumi, being a totally laid back, but helpful guy who doesn't care too much about anything. You'd probably expect the show to mostly just be him teaching Mitsumi to loosen up, but he actually goes through a great character journey that I don't want to spoil.

Their bond in the show feels so refreshing and realistic because they both grow together, each one helping make up for the others' weakness. It isn't just a one-sided love story; you can see why they're great for eachother. And also, their chemistry is great. A lot of romance anime tend to have the characters too busy blushing and stumbling over eachother that you don't actually see how they would work as a couple. That's not the case here, as their bond grows through a friendship with great back-and-forth that's fun to watch.

And there is a colorful cast of side characters that, as I said, get lots of time to shine. I honestly don't want to spoil too much because a lot of the fun is seeing how much they change from beginning to end. True to life, characters have contradictory personality traits revealed and are much more than meets the eye. A great example of this is Egashira Mika. In these kinds of shows, I am usually not a fan of the manipulative popular girl trope, and initially didn't like Mika all too much. Even when they get tragic backstories, it doesn't really do much for me. But, somehow they developed the character in a way where, in the end, I even liked her too! That's a feat!

The whole cast is great, though I will say I have some stand-out favorites. Look out for the cynical introvert, Kurume Makoto, and the passionate but dense artist, Kanechika Narumi. They were my favorite of the side characters and had sweet and comedic moments. I don't usually gel with anime-style humor, but this show got me at times.

smooth pacing and good vibes

I spoke a lot about the characters because the show is very character-driven. Like most slice-of-life shows, the plot really takes a backseat to watching fun characters interact with eachother. Episodes are divided into two 11-minute short stories that have a simple beginning and end. It makes the show a very easy watch. And it somehow manages to not be too slow! Thanks to the short segment lengths, expressive characters, and fun stories, I can honestly recommend this show even to people who might usually find slice of life anime too slow or boring. It always manages to keep a chill, but entertaining pace. But its not all short stories, there are a few times where a more involved plot happens.

There comes a point in every story where the characters gotta get into some kind of misunderstanding and falling out that could've been resolved if they just talked to eachother. Every romantic comedy has it; the third act breakup is a well-known trope. Something like it happens here, but it was actually an interesting and relatable conflict. The same can be said for another conflict that happens towards the end. The show does a great job at keeping you invested in the few times there is conflict by presenting reasonable motivations and thought processes for both sides. The episodes focusing on conflict ended up being the highlights of the season, which is rare in my experience.

But these conflicts are far and few between. The majority of the show is low-stakes school plots that are just executed well. It's a show that actually might make you nostalgic for your teenage years, although I will say this. A lot of the show has plots involving studying and exams. It is not one of the those shows where the school stuff is just a backdrop. It feels like there's a new exam or project the characters have to prepare for almost every episode. So, in a way, the show also makes me grateful not to be in school anymore. I actually appreciate seeing a high school anime where the characters actually do high school things, but I can understand someone not being interested in school-heavy plots.

miscellaneous points

  • TRANS REP! Skip and Loafer has explicit, positive trans representation which is a rare sight to see. Nao is Mitsumi's stylist aunt who takes care of her while she's in Tokyo. She's a great semi-parental figure in the show that has her own fair share of funny moments. The main cast acknowledge her trans identity, but it's never used as the butt of a joke. More of this please!
  • It's so nice to have a male love interest who isn't a bland self-insert for the audience. He's got real personality and carries his weight in the show.
  • Great vocal perfomances all around but I especially love Megumi Han as Kurume Makoto. Her deep, often pained voice really elevates the comedy of her scenes.
  • Every anime has to have those two best friends of the male lead who get almost nothing to do and have to share a slot in the OP. They have some decent moments but, I don't even remember their names to be honest.
  • Best episode was Ep. 6, Drizzling and Flickering. Spoilers ahead: As I said earlier in the review, a conflict arises through a reasonable misunderstanding. Mitsumi cares a lot about succeeding while Shima just wants to pass, not caring too much. However, these surface-level disagreements make way to reveal what is really going on. Shima's character arc has to do with his avoidant behavior and fear of commitment. His lackadaisical personality is really shown to be his way of avoiding sincerity. I didn't want to reveal this spoiler in the review but I just love how this completely changes how we look at Shima's previous behavior. The episode ends off with a heart-warming ending that definitely makes it the highlight of the season.
  • Shima's arc: Spoilers for finale: I honestly could really relate to Shima's character arc. It can be hard sometimes to allow quote-on-quote cheesy, sentimental moments to just happen without feeling embarassed. Shima strikes me as a character that is actually overly self-aware of his reputation and role. We find out it comes from the guilt of thinking he doesn't deserve a meaningful high school life after the events from his childhood. Overall, a major theme of the show is not to let shame dictate your life; that it's not cringe to be sincere, and this theme is exemplifed by Mitsumi's character. It's a great message and I love that Shima learns as much from Mitsumi as the other way around.
  • autistic rep...? ok hear me out. I know it's a bit of a meme to say anime characters are autistic-coded because most anime characters act so expressively you can make that argument about anyone. But, I genuinely got autistic-coded vibes from Iwakura Mitsumi. She often hyperfocuses on tasks to the point of ignoring her bodily needs. She sometimes fails to communicate with the correct tone. She is often oblivious to being taken advantage of. She has a spiky profile, being great at academics but not much in street smarts. And, a major conflict comes from her assuming another person must think the same way she does. She's even shown to have been hard to approach in childhood due to "always pouting" and "looking scary." I can't say this was intended by the author, but I mention this to say that if you are neurodivergent, you will probably relate a lot to Mitsumi, and I recommend the show even more to you!

final recommendation


If you enjoy:

  • grounded slice of life
  • budding romance
  • coming of age stories
  • quirky protagonists
  • nostalgia for high school years
  • Tokyo tourism advertisements

Can't recommend enough!

If you dislike:

  • low stakes
  • school-centered plots

I'd still give Episode 1 a shot






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