Episode 11

It’s officially time for the festival! The first day seems to go incredibly smoothly from Mitsumi’s perspective, but things start to go south on the second day as we take things from Shima and his family’s perspective. But at the end of it all, Skip and Loafer still delivers delightfully wonderful content as it continues to explore the relationships between all the characters. 

The first part of the episode follows Mitsumi as she keeps herself busy with both her student council activities and visiting with friends. She watches as the current president chats the day away with a middle school student, with plenty of worries about her entrance exams, while also watching as Takamine fumes in frustration over the lackadaisical nature of the president. And even though she’s frustrated, I appreciate that Mitsumi doesn’t immediately take Takamine’s side. She acknowledges that he’s a capable president – there isn’t anything wrong with how he does things for the school. But she also recognizes the perspective of her senior when strictly speaking about experience and organizing prowess. Which is why I like the conversation they have briefly together at the booth. While he wasn’t in a rush to go do his job, he was still able to provide calmness to someone who was having a lot of anxiety over getting into the school. It really goes to show that he does bring good things to the group even if he may be frustrated at times. 

In addition to all of this, The Family Singers seems to be having a stellar run! Shoutout to classroom 1-3 for putting their all into this. Everyone seems to be having a good time and really wanting the performances to succeed. Once again, I am over the moon to hear Kinomoto and Shima sing again because the song is so cute! And honestly, from a viewer’s perspective, it has me invested in a play that I will never get to see (but maybe I can be delusional and hope for an OVA). Mitsumi comes to congratulate everyone on a job well done, but shortly after a conversation with Mika, Mitsumi is hit with the sudden realization that she doesn’t have any family or old friends attending the festival. It’s almost painful to hear her say “Tokyo is home for all of them”. There’s a bit of jealousy over what others can experience. Her friends are pulled away and she’s left to wander alone. Now that being said, I really love how this episode brought Yuzuki, Makoto, Mitsumi, and Mika all together in the end. The scene where they all met up by the railing to enjoy churros together was short, but incredibly sweet. Mitsumi’s lack of family in the area is not the focus of the episode. It’s a moment of sadness, but we are quickly reminded of all the wonderful people she’s met. 

Mitsumi goes to join Yuzuki at the Art Club display where they talk enthusiastically over Yuzuki’s drawing of Chiffon. It appears that Yuzuki also doesn’t have any old friends joining her due to how she was treated at her past school. Mitsumi is also able to see a bit into her friend’s troubles. It’s not a question that Yuzuki is popular, but at the end of the day she doesn’t want to be seen as popular. She wants genuine connections, not flings. She cares very much about how other people see and treat her (but not necessarily in the same way that Mika does). Shortly after Mitsumi recognizes that her friend is going through these emotions, Makoto arrives with churros for all of her friends. She quickly introduces her friends to Yuzuki and Mitsumi which leads Yuzuki to excitedly talk about Makoto with them. Unfortunately, the two of them are very similar to how Makoto was when the two first met. A bit nervous and afraid of someone so peppy and popular. It calls back when Yuzuki says that she doesn’t have to like someone like her. But! I really love how upon recognizing this, Makoto immediately starts talking so positively about Yuzuki. That she reads all her books and shares her thoughts, and that she loves her dog Chiffon very much. I know I’m an emotional person, but the smile on Yuzuki’s face when Makoto asked about the breed? Hnnnggg I just love them so much!! 

Then comes day two of the festival. This part focuses a lot more on Shima and some of his relationships. First and foremost, his mother and younger brother, Keiri, seem to be visiting for the festival and without being invited. This is where stress starts to spike. We know that Shima has a very complicated relationship with his family. He in particular has not made a lot of effort to get close to his younger brother out of consideration for his father’s feelings. But as Mukai pointed out, it’s possible that Keiri can tell that Shima is avoiding him and what three year old doesn’t care about his younger brother? Mitsumi had said something similar when they went to the zoo and it really hammers the point home that Keiri looks up to him. But we would have never seen most of this if Keiri didn’t get lost. I found it absolutely precious that all of Shima’s classmates came together to entertain the boy while they tried to find Shima and his mom. And seeing the tears start flowing the moment he sees Shima, ugh my heart. Shima! Your younger brother loves you very much!! Please stop trying to be the distant brother !!

Before I end my thoughts on this episode, I want to jump back a bit to Kanechika and Shima again. If you’ve been following along you probably know that I really like Kanechika as a character and really appreciate all that he does for the cast despite being seen as an eccentric upperclassman. I’m glad that he convinced Shima to come watch the play that he wrote but man I really wish we could have heard Shima’s perspective on everything. What did he think about it? All we really got to see was a bright, happy, blushing smile from Kanechika (which was very good!!) but I wished they could have talked more!! Especially after the conversation talking about his senpai’s end goal. I love the consideration. Shima is overly considerate even to the fact where he believes that everything he does is calculated and for a purpose. But talking to Kanechika, sure he wants to make it to the top, but those are nice bonuses. At the end of the day he just wants to keep doing what he loves because it can bring him joy. Shima please, I am begging. You can find happiness too, you just have to stop avoiding it. 

Funny that I say that though… especially now that we have Ririka and Shima’s mom running into each other in the hallway. Hoo…. I don’t know what their relationship is, but I kind of expect a lot of drama in our final episode. I’m stressed! But I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Episode 12

I am on my hands and knees. This can’t be the last episode. I refuse to believe this. This anime has been an absolute joy to watch from start to finish, and I really believe that we are just getting started. It’s just the end of the festival. There is still so much to come. But man, this was a delightful end to the season.

First and foremost, I wanted to say that this was the only episode title without an “and” involved. It was just strictly, “Shining” and let me tell you – Shima and Mitsumi were absolutely shining at the end of this episode. I can’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling because this whole series has just been phenomenal. To me, this is just the end of an arc and boy was it a darn good arc.

The drama from episode 11 spills into this week, Ririka and Shima’s mom end up meeting in the hallway. Shima’s mother plays it safe by commenting very neutrally on Ririka’s presence whereas the model is very quick to snap. Poor Mitsumi and Chris are stuck in between a battle that they have no place being in (well arguably Chris at least knows what the drama is), and are quickly afraid of Ririka’s anger. However, neither of them are able to stop her from accusing Shima’s mother of forcing Shima to act again. I desperately wanted Mitsumi to say something here… or every his mother! She just found the flyer in his bedroom and wanted to come see him. She wasn’t forcing him to do anything !! And ultimately, it makes me really sad that she and Keiri didn’t end up staying to watch Shima’s performance. I don’t want to hate on Ririka too much because it’s clear that she has a lot of stuff to process and work through, but man if anyone is a mean girl in this series it’s definitely her. She’s quick to drop Shima’s acting past even though he had been keeping it secret for so long. She just wants to get under his skin. She wants to punish him. In a sick and twisted way, it helps her to feel better.

But with that said, Shima’s reflection during the final performance really hit home. Number 1, I am so glad that he thought back to Kanechika and how he thought the performance was good. He saw that smile of his senpai and felt something. But in the end he chose not to say anything. It’s words that will never make it to the drama club president, but I’m glad that we got the self-reflection. I loved watching as he peered out from the curtain, watching his classmates perform, and reflecting back on himself about why he feels such a way when he sees other people pursuing what they are passionate about. He’s been locking it away for so long. He doesn’t know what he’s passionate about. All he knows is what will make other people happy. He does whatever he can so that the others around him feel comfortable. And at the end of the day, is there something wrong with that? Perhaps. He doesn’t know himself. He doesn’t know what makes him smile and enjoy the world. But at the same time, I think there is a happiness in doing something for the people you care about. You can be both selfish and selfless, you don’t always have to pick. So in his final scene, that revelations of “Envy”. Oh,,,, I can’t even put into words how much that just hit me. Just the look on his face when it hit him, the way the gun dropped to his side instead of tossed at the other’s feet. I feel like in that moment, we saw a very real Shima Sousuke. Someone who finally acknowledged his own feelings. I’m,,, I’m just happy for him.

And to continue on this, what comes next really hits this home. He goes to approach Ririka and Chris as they leave, and essentially asks if it’s okay to be happy. If it’s okay for him to enjoy school life. There isn’t anything he can do that can make what happened to Ririka any better, and he still offers to let her vent and let her come to him when he needs. But he grows and declares that he wants to have fun in school. In a frustrated manner, Ririka snaps at him, declaring that she never wants to see him again and in some ways, it’s like she’s releasing Shima from chains that kept him held down. At the end of it all, he thanks her.

And while it’s so easy to paint Ririka as irredeemable, I really appreciate the conversation she had with Chris on the car ride. This interaction clearly had an impact on her. She’s sobbing. She knows that it isn’t all his fault, but everything that happened to her is still tied to him (whether or not he was directly responsible). Her feelings are complex. She sees him having fun and enjoying things, while she is wallowing in self-pity. Why does he get to go to a top school when she barely passed middle school? Why does he get to have fun when she’s stuck under a microscope? Why does it seem like he is moving forward while she is stuck in the past? I don’t think her feelings are necessarily wrong. She has her own form of jealousy. But, Chris makes a good point in the fact that she didn’t need to guilt-trip him. At the end of the day, childhood bonds go along way. Shima isn’t a bad guy. If there is a second season, I hope Shima and Ririka can talk open and honestly with each other. But, I am happy with this season conclusion for these two.

Speaking of conclusions, I loved the end of this arc. I loved that we got to see all the characters once again and see them all have their own conclusions. Congratulations to Kanechika and the drama club for winning an award. I think you really deserve it. I know you weren’t a main character, but we’ve gotten to see a lot of your character throughout little moments. Then there’s Takamine and the current president. What I loved about their interaction is that it doesn’t magically fix all the negative feelings surrounding the election and the results. Takamine is still bitter about everything. But they have a little heart to heart. He talks to her about how he grew up, that he’s always been expected to go to Tokyo U. The expectation on his family is huge, but when you have that expectation, you don’t always get to do what you want to do. I like that he basically tells her that becoming the student council president is like his final form of rebellion. He wasn’t able to continue playing soccer, but he still wanted to do something with his high school life — and unfortunately, that something, was the position she had been aiming for. It’s a bitter ending, but we still get to know him a little better. There’s no romance between them, nor would I expect there to be, but I’m happy that at the end, she got his flowers.

Overall, this was a very happy ending. Shima is freed and Mitsumi has had her first school festival. Her time here in Tokyo has been quite the ride, but it’s been a good ride thanks to all the people that she’s met. She’s found people who care about her and make her smile. No matter the ups and downs of her high school life it’s been a real treat. And the way everything ended definitely told us that there is more of this story to tell. There is no major confession at the end of it. Just genuine smiles as everything wraps up. Mitsumi is thriving and Shima has a new found freedom. There are no apologies – they are just allowed to exist and enjoy their high school life under that beautiful autumn sky.

Final Impressions

In all honesty, I have been dreading writing these final impressions. Not for any negative reason, but I just feel like I cannot do my thoughts or this series any justice. If you don’t read any further than this paragraph, let me just say: Please watch this anime. 

Skip and Loafer was a true delight to watch. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so refreshed when watching these episodes. I’d describe it as a show that just fills me with joy, even if in the more dramatic parts of the show. At first glance this series looks like a cute little show that doesn’t have much to offer – it almost looks like your typical school show with attempts at romance between the one who is “Skip” and the one who is “Loafer”. And when I think about it, at its core, that’s exactly what this series is (but with minimal romance), but that’s not a bad thing. This series actually portrays school life and worries very well and in such a way that allows you to connect with the cast. 

The story of Skip and Loafer, follows Iwakura Mitsumi, a 15-year old girl, from a far off town as she starts her high school life in Tokyo. She has grand plans to become a politician in order to return back and help her hometown. She’s bright-eyed and cheery, and every experience she has is new. We get to see a perspective of someone who isn’t used to this world yet. We watch as she makes friends and slowly changes her perspective on everything. Each event, no matter how big or small, is presented as exciting in her eyes and as watchers, even the most mundane things come across as fresh. She sees the world in such a simple, and positive light, that having her as the protagonist makes this show such an easy watch. On the flip slide we have Shima Sousuke, another first year student at Tsubame West, and Mitsumi’s first and probably closest friend. On the surface, he seems like a light hearted guy who doesn’t take life too seriously. But where Mitsumi sees a lot of the positive, Shima tends to be a lot more reserved and less open with his feelings and opinions. It opens up an interesting dynamic between the two where you have someone so open and honest contrasting with someone who is struggling as a people pleaser. They both have struggles and challenges throughout this series, but what really makes them shine is how they ultimately address them. Do they approach them head on, marching forward regardless of the outcome? Or do they internalize it and simply retreat enough so that no one else can see? 

And those are only two of the characters within this wonderful cast. Skip and Loafer shines because of its characters and the treatment of them. Sometimes, with shorter shows, we run into the issue of not spending enough time with different characters. We’ll get an introduction, but as time goes on they’ll maybe get a half episode, or if they’re lucky a full episode about them before they are shoved into the background again. Due to the time constraints, it makes sense: build up the background characters so that they have a little more depth, but focus more on the main cast. But this anime takes it another step further – in addition to giving characters dedicated time, it also spends the time allowing these emotions and feelings to come up again in different capacities. They aren’t the main characters, but we still get to see what they are going through. Specifically, I think Yuzuki, Mika, and Kanechika are the best examples of this, but even when I think further, Takamine, Makoto, Fumi, and Nao also have really good moments. Heck! Even Ririka is much more complex than we are initially led to believe. And regardless of how you feel, I personally believe that there’s a character in this series that everyone can find something relatable with. Yuzuki is the resident ‘pretty girl’ character, people are constantly eyeing her and wanting to date her. I mean, who wouldn’t? She’s pretty. But her struggles come in the form of wanting to be seen as more than that. She has her own identity and doesn’t appreciate being approached solely because people find her hot. She wants depth in her interactions and for people to like her for her and not the idealized version of herself that people have painted. But she’s also painfully aware of the effect she can have on people. She wants them to like her, but also knows that she can’t force anyone to do so. The episode where she meets Makoto is a very clear example of that. As much as she wants to be friends, she can’t change the perception people have of her and cannot force them to be friends. I love that at the end of the day she becomes friends with everyone and is able to be open and honest with them. 

Mika. Mika, Mika, Mika. I love her character so much. Personally, aside from our two stars, I think she had the most development in the whole series. Mika is messy, bitter, jealous, and quite frankly, just a high school girl. I remember reading forum posts early on in the series talking about how much they dislike her. And it makes sense, she’s blunt and makes snide comments towards Mitsumi. She’s constantly trying to get closer to Shima, and she’s always commenting on other characters. But when we dig a little deeper, we learn more about why she does those things. High school for her was meant to be a fresh start. This is her chance to rise in ranks, because she’s always been at the bottom. A character like Mitsumi who is so authentically herself brings out jealousy. Mika watches as Mitsumi is loved and adored for who she is whereas Mika was often ostracized, ignored, and bullied. Shima, is a means for her to move up in rank. Claim the spot of a popular girl with a hot boyfriend. She has a crush on him. He’s nice. But she is constantly telling herself it only for her benefit. Mika is afraid of being her authentic self and it’s really nice to see her grow from it. Sure, by the time we reach the end of this season she’s not magically the best person, but she’s already grown significantly. She’s friends with Makoto, Yuzuki, and Mitsumi. And she’s (even if she doesn’t express it) happy with that. “Who would ever choose me?” I’m sure it is a phrase that struck a chord with a lot of people and even just thinking about it and looking at her new friends. I want to give her a hug and let her know that people will choose her. But on that note, I think this is also where Nao is able to shine. If you’ve been following these entries, you know that Mika and Nao’s relationship means the world to me. Two people in entirely different stages of their lives, but Nao is able to recognize the inner turmoil with Mika and Mika now has someone, who is not her peer to help her navigate it. Nao, as a trans character, knows what it’s like to hide part of who she really is, she knows what the world expects – how it expects her to act and present. And seeing that in Mika, she can help her navigate complex feelings as an older character. Ahhhh!! I really can’t put into words about how much I love their dynamic. Just know that the Nao and Mika dynamic gives me a lot of feelings. 

What I love about Kanechika is that he is also unapologetically himself. He’s eccentric and always in Shima’s business, but he’s genuine. He loves what he does and that’s all there is to him. Unlike Yuzuki and Mika, we don’t really get a whole lot of internal conflict from Kanechika and that’s okay. Sometimes there are characters whose struggles may be there, but they aren’t necessary to who they are. At the end of the day he loves theater, he loves being a playwright, and if he’s able to continue to do it, he’s thriving. The development of him comes in his reoccurrence. First, the recruitment of Shima and Mitsumi, the continued pestering, his embarrassing Charley Horse, his final production, to his winning award.  He’s a fun and interesting character that we get to enjoy without too much drama. In fact, if anything, he adds to Shima’s personal problems. Shima sees both him and Mitsumi as people living lives that he wishes he could. Perhaps he’s jealous of Kanechika. But, it’s ultimately him that tells Shima that there doesn’t need to be a larger goal. Sometimes, just doing what you love can be fulfilling enough. I’ll take this chance to also talk about Takamine as she fills a similar senpai type role to Mitsumi. Takamine is straight-laced, strict, and a perfect member of the student council. In short, everything Mitsumi wants to be. But we also get to see so many of her worries. She’s constantly having nightmares about missing buses and deadlines. She over packs her schedule. And she doesn’t get the president role. Through her we get to see a glimpse of someone who loses out a bit on high school life because she doesn’t necessarily make space for socializing. But she is incredibly passionate about it. And we see her having to deal with the new president. We still get to see her feelings. And just like the others, I truly think there is something to connect with her. 

I mentioned Fumi above because she serves the role as Mitsumi’s best friend, but we actually get to see very little about her. But I think all of us can relate to having a childhood friend who is or was incredibly important. Fumi serves as a way for Mitsumi to both boast and vent about her school life in Tokyo. She’s able to read our main character like an open book. She knows what to say and when to call Mitsumi out and she does all of this without ever stepping foot in Tokyo. Fumi has seen the absolute best and worst of Mitsumi, but at the end of the day she will always be her best friend. Truly, if there is ever a second season, I would love to have Fumi meet everyone. 

I’ve already talked a bit about the story, so I won’t dive too much in depth. 12 episodes is short. It’s hard to fit a story in just those 12 episodes without some things falling by the wayside or other’s feeling rushed. But, Skip and Loafer never felt rushed and I truly believe that due to the focus and care on the characters. Rather than abandoning them after they’ve had their episode, we still get to see different perspectives. The cast makes this anime feel so alive. At the end of the day the events are simple. They are worried about exams, they go to the zoo, we have a visit home, and it ends with a school festival. But thanks to everything that has been laid out, I feel that I know the characters well and I’m happy to watch them go through all of these things. Humans are incredibly complex beings and I can’t thank this anime enough for exploring it. There is always more to a person than what we see on the surface.

If you can’t tell, I am so glad that I decided to give it a watch. I love so many things about it, but at the end of the day I just experienced so much joy from these episodes. To be honest, I watched each episode at least two times and sometimes three. Once to do my blog entry and a second time later in the week to watch with my friend. I’m already aiming for a third watching with my roommate because I truly believe this anime has so much good to offer. Ratings are hard. Honestly, 9/10 and by far my favorite anime that I am watching this season. I don’t think Skip and Loafer makes any major waves into what anime can be, but that’s okay. Sometimes simple can be done incredibly well and can be more enjoyable than items that simply try to be flashy. This anime will have my praise for such a long time. I sincerely hope that we will get a second season, even if it’s years out. I want to see these characters again, I want to see them grow and thrive. I will absolutely be picking up the anime after this. 

So all in all, this is a wonderful, delightful series. I would love if everyone could give this show a chance – even if you think it might not be your cup of tea. Around every corner I was pleasantly surprised. And from the bottom of my heart: Thank you Skip and Loafer for everything!


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