HomeAnimeANIME REVIEW | "Skip and Loafer" Takes On Life One Step At a Time

ANIME REVIEW | "Skip and Loafer" Takes On Life One Step At a Time

ANIME REVIEW | "Skip and Loafer" Takes On Life One Step At a Time

There’s the old joke: “How do you make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.” Poor Mitsumi Iwakura (Tomoyo Kurosawa) doesn’t realize this, as she has her entire life planned from start-to-finish. She wants to go to a great college, get into politics, retire and be the mayor of her hometown, and then have her ashes spilled into her favorite sea. But first, the country bumpkin needs to experience high school in the city, and Skip and Loafer doesn’t make it easy on the girl!

Based on the manga by Misaki Takamatsu, Skip and Loafer is Mitsumi’s journey towards her biggest goals and aspirations. But on her first day, she gets lost and feels the weight of the world on her shoulders. Thankfully, she’s not alone, as she quickly makes a friend in Sousuke Shima (Akinori Egoshi), who finds her on the verge of breaking down. With his help, the two get to school on time, with Mitsumi reciting her opening speech by memory to the amazement of every student watching.

Well, they were amazed, until the anxiety-filled newcomer loses her lunch all over a teacher. And now, Mitsumi is quickly realizing that her plans for a perfect high school life are all but gone. However, with the support of Sousuke, her aunt Nao-chan (Mitsuki Saiga), and even her childhood friend Fumino (Sumire Morohoshi), Mitsumi will take life by the horns and hopefully make something of herself in Tokyo. With every new person who enters her life, Mitsumi regains a bit more confidence in herself.

That’s not to say it’s now smooth sailing in Skip and Loafer. Mitsumi mucks up her class introduction due to a lack of sleep, and her goal to get into the student council her first year is rejected on a technicality. It’s a good thing that Sousuke is such a straight shooter with his words, as he finds a way to comfort Mitsumi in ways that are both blunt and helpful. But as the show goes on, it’s revealed that Sousuke has some baggage of his own, and it’s all tied to his child-acting past.

All Sousuke wants is a normal high school life, which is easier said than done. Drama Club leader Narumi (Ryouhei Kimura) wants him in his next play production, and his former child actor colleague Rinka (Minako Kotobuki) hounds on him for his (and her) past mistakes. It’s why he finds himself latched onto someone like Mitsumi, as they act as each others’ emotional support. But as anime rom-coms go, it’s all just ticking down towards the moment Mitsumi and Sousuke become more than friends.

No one sees that better than Nao-chan, who knows when to be a cool aunt or when to act on her instincts. Since Mitsumi is new to the big city, Nao-chan will do everything she can to protect her niece. The lengths she goes to make sure Mitsumi is okay is staggering, even secretly tailing Mitsumi and Sousuke’s “not date” to the zoo as her previous gender! Not only does this act show how much she cares for her niece, but also demonstrates how comfortable in her skin she is when push comes to shove. (Note to Hollywood writers: this is how you write a strong, well-grounded transgender character!)

Fortunately, Mitsumi is far from dumb. She knows when to aim for the top, and even when the time calls to maybe put an aspiration on the back burner. This is high school life we’re talking about, and Mitsumi slowly realizes that conquering her dreams won’t happen in her teens. The girl needs to grow up more, and even when she’s levelheaded, there’s only so much she can do in the time & place she’s currently at. Thankfully, once the fog is cleared up, she’s okay that her dreams won’t come true with a snap of one’s fingers.

This is what makes Skip and Loafer such an endearing show. Many series create this myth that high school is the time to achieve your life’s goals. But that’s not how things work in real life, and this anime demonstrates this by showing the real beats and rhythms that are created in a teen’s daily life. In almost every way, this show acts like a precursor to Chica Umino’s Honey and Clover, which showcased a realistic take on college life and what one needs to do after they get their diploma.

I am impressed with the way P.A. Works has brought Takamatsu’s manga to life. Known for their more gorgeous works like Buddy Daddies and Shirobako, the animation goes for a more dorky style than a beautiful one. But it fits with the story it’s telling, as everyone — even Nao-chan — is a dork on some level, from the nerdiest high schooler to even the cool kids. And it’s all showcased with buttery personalities, funny facial expressions, and some imaginative visuals.

Its voice cast keeps it real in the way they portray their characters, fitting well with the tone and message of Skip and Loafer. One can’t help but feel Kurosawa’s performance as Mitsumi, who delivers her lines with both confidence and a yokel tone. Egoshi keeps it cool as Sousuke, but knows when to be bouncy and serious when the time calls for it. Saiga constantly steals the spotlight as Nao-chan, with an attitude brimming with positivity and hilarious bluntness.

Composer Takatsugu Wakabayashi brings beautiful and melancholic melodies to the show’s soundtrack, be it to pair with the laughs or the show’s more emotional parts. Opening theme “Mellow” by Keina Suida is easily the best anisong of Spring 2023, as it brims with joy and love in every note sung. (Extra credit goes to P.A. Works for Mitsumi and Sousuke’s dance in the OP, which is both beautiful and delightfully silly.) Rikako Aida’s end theme “Hanauta to Mawarimichi” is a nice calm song to end each episode with, with the starry visuals matching well with Mitsumi’s starry-eyed personality.

Skip and Loafer isn’t going to have all the answers to how to have a good high school life. But that’s the point. We all have plans and goals we’d like to accomplish, but once we take our first steps inside the campus, we quickly realize, “Oh. This is gonna be harder than I thought!” It’s a good thing we have characters like Mitsumi and Sousuke to show us that when push comes to shove, it’s okay to fall on our faces when things don’t work out the way we thought they would. After all, falling face-first is still moving forward!

Voice Acting:
Final Grade (not an average):

Skip and Loafer can be viewed on Crunchyroll, and has been licensed by Crunchyroll. Episodes 1-12 were observed for the review. Promotional consideration provided by Crunchyroll.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)