Slices of Life: Skip and Loafer

As an adult, one of the things I often find myself wondering is why it’s so hard to make friends. “There are a lot of reasons,” I tell myself. It’s hard because I don’t have school or organized activities to expose me to new people, or because I consider myself a homebody and don’t like to talk to strangers in public, or because I already have good friends and it’s already hard to keep up with them sometimes (insert smiling face with open mouth and cold sweat emoji). 

But watching “Skip and Loafer” reminded me: friendship is plenty hard at any age. It’s hard to put yourself out there. But it can also be really fun, if you open yourself up to it earnestly. 

That’s what “Skip and Loafer” protagonist Mitsumi Iwakura seems to embody, at least. She moves from a small, coastal town to Tokyo to attend a top high school and pursue her dreams of being a government official. On her first day of school, Mitsumi finds a new friend in Sousuke Shima, an easygoing Tokyo native and fellow classmate, who helps her get to school after getting lost in the complex web that is the Tokyo rail system. 

Mitsumi and Shima feel like complete opposites—where Mitsumi is hardworking, Shima does what he needs to get by. Where she feels a little awkward and dorky, he is cool and easy to talk to. They don’t always agree on everything, but it feels like their friendship comes naturally because they’re so different. Together, they navigate the day-to-day social complexities of high school life and learn more about their own place in the world. 

Based on the 2018 manga series of the same name, “Skip and Loafer” is coming-of-age and young love, and while the manga is still ongoing, this first season of the anime feels most like a study of how friendship and social relationships motivate these characters, in both good and bad ways.  

I love how Mitsumi and Shima inspire each other to be the people they want to be. For Mitsumi, her aspirations can sometimes spawn into simply doing Too Much, but Shima helps keep her grounded and have fun. In contrast, Shima doesn’t seem to have goals or aspirations due to reasons that are slowly revealed in the series, but Mitsumi motivates him with her work ethic and simple desire to help. 

There are other friendships and relationship in the series that are layered and interesting to watch, too—Mitsumi and her hometown friend, Fumi, Mitsumi and her new friends in the city, Mika, Makoto, and Yuzu, Shima and his childhood friends Chris and Ririka, Shima and his older classmate, Narumi. Each relationship has its own ups and downs, but it’s fun to watch. 

And I guess I just really love seeing friends support each other. Especially when they support each other like Mitsumi and Shima do. 

BRB, I gotta catch up with my friends right this minute. In the meantime, you can watch “Skip and Loafer” on Crunchyroll, and you can also join me in checking out the manga series wherever books are sold (here’s a link for the listing on Bookshop). 
And, as always, if there’s any other slice of life media you’d like to see in the column, @ me on Twitter (@frankiemilktea) to let me know. Until next time!  

Frankie Martinez is a writer from California. Her work has appeared in 3 Moon Magazine and Poetically Magazine.

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