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Skip and Loafer – Episode 3

Hello folks, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today I’m delighted to be returning to the charming and quietly thoughtful drama of Skip and Loafer, as Mitsumi continues to integrate into life in the big city. After receiving some contrasting advice from her new classmates regarding Sousuke and Mika, Mitsumi soon realized that second-guessing the motives of everyone simply isn’t for her; she is happy to be herself, and the classmates who can appreciate her earnest, exuberant personality will naturally congregate around her. Her first group karaoke outing was thus a roaring success, as she fostered new bonds and solidified old ones through her selection of a classic childhood anthem.

It’s frankly refreshing to watch a character drama that takes so much care in articulating the nuances of someone like Mitsumi, who is fundamentally a pretty normal, well-adjusted person. Anxious and neurotic people tend to spend a whole lot of time actively stressing over their emotions, which leads to a whole lot of fiction about anxious and neurotic people – but the fact of it is, anxiety and self-doubt don’t inherently make for any richer of an internal emotional life, they just tend to make their bearers more likely to scream that emotional life from the literary rooftops. I always appreciate when shows like Oregairu celebrate characters like Hayato, and I’m thrilled to be following Mitsumi as well. Let’s see where her journey leads next!

Episode 3

Today Mitsumi is steeling herself up to enter the student council office, and embark on her grand journey through politics and back to mayorship of her hometown. Mitsumi is likely due for a reckoning regarding her life path at some point; she’s following a strict blueprint of expected goal posts, and life has a way of complicating our attempts to wrangle it into a strict path. Navigating the realization that your life’s not going precisely how you planned can be easier or harder depending on how much you invested in that plan; it’s a realization that hits almost everybody at some point, so it’s best to be ready for it

Sousuke, of course, serves as a fine example of the opposite philosophy: he takes each day as it comes, holding no expectations regarding his own path or those of the people around him. This made him a natural foil for Mitsumi from the start, and we’ll presumably learn soon how his own moment of “this isn’t the life I expected” came unusually early for him, owing to his unhappy child stardom

Oh my god Mitsumi. Her idle fantasies are of being interviewed for local color segments as a middle-aged woman, reflecting fondly on her time as student council president. You know what, considering her dreams are “bureaucracy followed by becoming a remote town’s mayor,” perhaps she won’t have any trouble following that life map

Charming background art for this fantasy of moon-walking her way to the office. Skip and Loafer’s production matches Mitsumi herself: not flashy, but entirely assured of itself, with gestures of vibrant personality scattered all throughout

And this OP dance remains delightful. Again, nice to watch a show about characters who like each other and aren’t afraid to say it. I love the angular messy dramas, but this is also excellent

The student council office already has a lurker, a girl in braids named Kurume

As she swiftly reveals, she’s desperate to find some kind of community within the school, and assumes the diligent workers of the student council will best match her own speed

Nice flourishes with smears and slightly simplified character designs as Mitsumi sneaks up on Kurume. It feels like this production is intentionally working to retain the loose, individualized energy of manga brush strokes, and successfully translating that sketchiness into tools appropriate for animation

“The flashy girl and the himbo! Why are they with her!?” Kurume has constructed personalities for her classmates based entirely on their images, and thus can’t parse this friendship with Mitsumi. Of course, the reason Sousuke and Yuzuki both like Mitsumi is that she doesn’t judge people based on their appearances, and acts like her frank self in conversation with just about anyone

Not much for it, though. To the socially anxious, the idea of presenting your earnest self at all times feels pretty close to a superpower

Kurume immediately assumes the worst, seeing Mitsumi as some mob boss defending her turf

As it turns out, the student council doesn’t even recruit members. Mitsumi almost keels over at this challenge to her life plan

The president’s name is Yamamoto. He explains that while Mitsumi can’t exactly usurp the existing student council, she can still join their support team

Mitsumi is profoundly inspired by the council’s ability to balance official duties with their studies. She’s so damn earnest!

The treasurer recommends breaking tasks down into micro-tasks, which is indeed a very handy cheat for fostering a persistent sense of accomplishment. Your brain doesn’t care about the size of a task, it’ll give you that “job well done” feeling for any checkmark, so you might as well exploit that instinct to make your life easier

“If I leave everything to luck, I’ll never be on Atsuatsu Tairiku.” Gather your courage, Mitsumi!

Meanwhile, Kurume was so overwhelmed by that encounter that she attempts to scurry away to the literary club, presumably assuming they’re a more sedate crowd than the student council. Unfortunately, Mitsumi is determined to befriend her, by force if she has to

“Kurume-san, do you like sweet things?” Mitsumi has a tendency to speak to everyone the same way she spoke to her neighbors back home, assuming a level of instant familiarity that’s often a tad disorienting to the city crowd. It can make her come off as intimidating at first, but spend a little time with her and you realize she’s not trying to strong-arm or scare you, she’s just accustomed to sharing a base level of friendship with everyone

“Why did I order the same thing? I gave in to peer pressure!” Also can be tough to avoid getting carried along by her enthusiasm

And Kurume comes to appreciate what Sousuke’s already realized, that it is absolutely delightful to watch Mitsumi try new things

Kurume wonders aloud how they can get along in spite of being so different. Honestly, while being herself certainly helps, it’s also helpful that Mitsumi has such a naturally affable, empathetic personality. “Just be yourself” is less actionable advice to someone with a naturally gloomy or uncharitable disposition

Love Sousuke realizing this is a perfect “exchange numbers” moment, and frantically motioning with his phone. We caught another one, Mitsumii!

Ah, and an endearing exchange back, as Mitsumi mouths “thank you” and Sousuke waves that it was nothing. Love how this show is emphasizing their increasing unity of nonverbal communication

Yuzuki is sad to have missed their extremely blurry afterparty at Starmax

It’s clear Yuzuki is more comfortable expressing her silly side via texts. Even these idle conversations are articulating so many convincing nuances of these characters – as I said, you don’t need tragedy or anxiety for engaging, thoughtfully considered human drama

And Kurume begins to realize making friends is easier than she expected, if only she leans in

“I wonder if Kurume had a good time.” “I’m sure she did. You put the people around you at ease.”

Aw, lovely moment of Kurume silently exulting on her tiptoes at having made friends

Mitsumi’s aunt graciously saves her from walking out in an ensemble composed of every cutesy red accessory at once

Kurume successfully asks Mitsumi to join her at a movie. A great victory for Kurume!

Unfortunately, the entire rest of the class is listening in, and decides to invite themselves to the screening as well. A staggering setback for Kurume!

Mitsumi and Kurume’s fashion senses match their personalities: Mitsumi dresses younger than her age, delighting in big splashes of bold colors and cute designs, while Kurume dresses older than her age, wearing conservative fashion that helps her fade into the background

Mika is briefly thrilled that her trendy fashion sense is outshining the other two, but then Yuzuki arrives in a dazzling mature ensemble

“Hot girls can make even simple outfits look great.” Mitsumi is a straightforward, kindhearted person, but Skip and Loafer itself doesn’t share her outlook on life; it’s capable of articulating people with more mistrust and deception in their philosophy just as well

And Sousuke, perceptive as ever, seems to notice her self-doubt, and thus compliments her on her fashion sense

Also a nice moment between Kurume and Yuzuki here, as Yuzuki attempts to talk with Kurume about an app they both use, and Kurume responds with a distant “yeah,” thus making Yuzuki feel self-conscious about her apparently intimidating effect. A tidy demonstration of how our presumed image can make it harder to connect with others

Yuzu makes one more attempt, then finally tells Kurume that it’s okay if she just wants to be quiet. It’s not easy for all of us to be like Mitsumi, and just joyfully move towards friendship with everyone, assuming everyone else has similarly honest intentions

Mitsumi at last recognizes this tension, and scolds herself for not thinking of friendship compatibility while organizing this outing. It’s an important leadership skill!

Having bonded just a touch over popcorn, Kurume connects with Yuzu in her own way, sending a formal text apologizing for her distant manner

“I think memories of places are memories of the people you went there with.” An astute observation by Mitsumi

And Done

So ends another charming episode of Skip and Loafer, as Mitsumi gathers another satellite into her increasingly crowded orbit. The girl’s just so straightforward and full of love for life that it’s hard not to be caught up in her enthusiasm, whether you’re a guarded beauty like Yuzu or a nervous wreck like Kurume. Through their mutual friendship with Mitsumi, nearly everyone she encounters comes to realize that what separates them from their classmates is far less than what brings them together – that they all want to be respected and understood, and that the labels they assign to each other are simply arbitrary barriers restricting honest friendship. It’s clear that Yuzuki’s intimidating aura has only made it harder for her to make friends, and it’s a pleasure to see her pushing through that barrier, and finding common ground with this collection of oddballs. You’re already a great leader in my book, Mitsumi!

This article was made possible by reader support. Thank you all for all that you do.

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