In a media landscape where representation and diversity are often overlooked, Skip and Loafer stands out as a shining example of inclusivity and wholesome storytelling, featuring diverse characters and delving deeply into their lives.
At the tender age of 15, Mitsumi Iwakura packs her bags and bids farewell to her tiny hometown nestled on the border of Ishikawa Prefecture. She sets out for the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, ready to begin a new chapter of her life as a high school student. But before leaving, she couldn’t help but recall her middle school years in the quaint town where there were only eight students in her grade.
As sakura petals gently float by, we catch glimpses of the students Mitsumi meets and befriends. Her adventure is just beginning, and we’re along for the ride.
The story kicks off in earnest when we meet Nao-chan, Mitsumi’s trans auntie. Through her role as a responsible tutor to her teenage niece, this bold and confident woman sets an example for audiences everywhere to embrace their true selves and live with authenticity.
Nao-chan is not just a character — she’s a huge step for trans representation in anime. Her inclusion in the series empowers transgender individuals and challenges social norms in an impactfully positive way. Her willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure her niece’s happiness, coupled with her attentiveness towards her female companions during the impromptu pajama party, is truly remarkable. She sees even the human needs in Mika through the cracks in her demeanor. In short, Nao-chan’s sensitivity and dedication elevate her awesomeness to a whole new level.
Skip and Loafer really excels in giving us deep, complex narratives for its strong female characters. The women in the show are all unique individuals with their own quirks and personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Despite their differences, they all connect on a deep level, sharing experiences such as belting out karaoke or bonding over sports, enjoying a peaceful day at the movies, or chilling in the cafeteria.
The acclaimed director originally envisioned his critically acclaimed film ‘Suzume’ with a queer relationship at the center.
It’s not just the women who get complex treatment, either. In Skip and Loafer, not even the popular boy trope escapes subversion. Sousuke Shima, the more-than-popular boy at Tsubame West High School in Tokyo, is well-liked by the girls, including Mitsumi. Shima helps her when she gets lost on her first day and becomes her first friend at the renowned school. Despite Mitsumi’s nerves causing her to vomit after her speech at the entrance ceremony, Shima’s compliments and willingness to be her friend make things easier for her in the big city. Mitsumi is pleased when Egashira Mika also becomes her friend after exchanging IDs, describing both new friends as “a cute, stylish girl and a really nice guy.”
As a country girl with a close-knit group of friends in her hometown, Mitsumi learns that making meaningful connections and gaining valuable lessons are possible even through stumbling and making mistakes, even if meeting people outside her familiar group may seem daunting. Embarking on an adventure filled with limitless possibilities, Mitsumi unlocks the beauty of stepping out of her comfort zone. With the help of unlikely companions, she discovers the power of unexpected friendships and embraces the thrill of the unknown.
In this series, we don’t get the archetypal entitled and arrogant characters often featured in prominent J- and K-dramas, as well as some anime series. Instead, every student possesses a distinct set of idiosyncrasies and unique traits that highlight the importance of embracing and celebrating diversity. Through Skip and Loafer, audiences are treated to an uplifting narrative that brings joy and happiness in weekly anime episodes. The school setting also contributes to the show’s depth of storytelling. Rather than just focusing on the main characters, the show takes the time to explore the struggles and growing pains of all the invested students. This gives the show richness and breadth, making it feel like a real slice-of-life experience.
Skip and Loafer is a triumph of inclusivity and uplifting storytelling. Through its empowering celebration of diversity, this masterclass production shatters barriers and brings people together in a wholesome way. If you’re on the hunt for an anime that not only showcases representation with a heartwarming touch but also offers a delightful ride, then Skip and Loafer deserves a spot on your watchlist.♦
Read More in Culture
The Latest on INTO
Subscribe to get a twice-weekly dose of queer news, updates, and insights from the INTO team.
in Your Inbox