Skip and Loafer Episode 5 doubles down on the fact that the strongest aspect of the series is the protagonist herself. Mitsumi (Tomoyo Kurosawa) and her personality that straddles level-headed perseverance and everyday awe at the world around her are about as enigmatic as students assume Shima (Akinori Egoshi) to be. It’s why they get along so well. In “Prickling and Giddy,” the show digs further into her character as she dives headfirst into learning to play volleyball to not let her class down in a schoolwide event. But while there are plenty of instances for humor in her training, it finds the heart through what goes around surrounding it, namely, her burgeoning friendship (or something close to it) with the closed-off Egashira (Yuka Terasaki.)
Thus far in the series, Egashira has been depicted as harboring unearned animosity towards Mitsumi partly due to her friendship with Shima. In Skip and Loafer Episode 5, we gain greater detail into her background and the experiences and social pressures that have led her to her current need for popularity. In brief flashbacks, we see how she lost weight to fit current beauty standards. She was overweight and, because of it, felt unseen by her peers, invisible to all in a time of life where loneliness binds you to your insecurities.
In these brief sequences, we grow to understand Egashira and further empathize with her. Skip and Loafer don’t hold the character back by basing her frustration with Mitsumi on just a crush. Instead, her resentment is based mainly on her insecurity and frustration at having felt the need to endure years of challenging herself to be “better” and more socially acceptable. At the same time, Mitsumi appears entirely unbothered for being her whole self.
Mitsumi is eager to a fault and worries about misunderstanding situations and social cues, but she works her problems out in real time. There are no convoluted tricks to draw out any potential tension, and it’s simply addressed because her naivete means she’s curious and would rather know what someone is feeling rather than remain to guess. So even though Egashira begins teaching Mitsumi how to play volleyball to ensure some time with Shima, she ends up enjoying teaching someone willing to learn, the camaraderie of being on a team, and admiring Mitsumi’s ability to stand up for herself.
She isn’t the only one who is growing from the dynamic too. Because not only does Mitsumi grow marginally better at volleyball, but she is also given the advice that even if frustrated, she can’t always lash out if she or a friend has been wronged. Mitsumi, despite her intellect, is often ruled by emotion, and Egashira understands the need for an interception. The real killer of a line comes when Egashira realizes that while she notes names for holding grudges, Mitsumi remembers them based on the kindness she witnessed said person display.
While it may not reach the absolute hilarity of the Kaguya-sama: Love Is War episode that also focused on a character teaching a protagonist how to play volleyball, it doesn’t lack in comedy. Mitsumi’s character animation is rendered with cute details, especially when upset or out of her comfort zone. From the way her eyes are drawn as drooping puddles when she’s upset or the flyaway hairs that sprout from her head when she’s discombobulated, Skip and Loafer loves to visualize her disarray. The character on the offset has a deliberate plainness to her, elevating her personality and making the moments of exaggerated facial expressions land with greater energy.
Written by Katsurō Hidaka, “Prickly and Giddy” flies by with a snappy pace establishing the core group. There’s trust in the viewers of this series, most notable in scenes of grace between two characters or small moments of development that don’t need to be verbalized. Due to her past struggle with maintaining her weight, Egashira denies a baked good Mitsumi brought her to thank her for her help. Later, Egashira picks at the pickled veggies Mitsumi got for the class, deeming it a snack she can have. It’s a meeting of compassionate storytelling and character growth, allowing Egashira to cement her presence as a part of Mitsumi’s growing friend group.
If anything, Shima is missed this week, even as the entire school continues to fawn over him. Shima’s character animation continues to channel the embodiment of sunshine. At the same time, we simultaneously learn of a loneliness that eats at him, even if it’s often from others’ observations rather than anything he confesses.
Charming as ever and continuing to be an escapist anime, the series is constantly anchored by well-rounded characters despite the realistic and low-stakes challenges the characters face. Skip and Loafer Episode 5 delivers the missing piece with Egashira’s involvement in the group. It makes for a more colorful and lively group of characters whose personalities manage to bring out the best in one another.
Skip and Loafer Episode 5 is available to stream on Crunchyroll.
Skip and Loafer Episode 5
Skip and Loafer Episode 5 delivers the missing piece with Egashira’s involvement in the group. It makes for a more colorful and lively group of characters whose personalities manage to bring out the best in one another.