- Mangaka : Takamatsu, Misaki
- Publisher : Seven Seas Entertainment
- Genre : Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life
- Published : August 2021 -- present
Starting out at a new high school is hard enough, especially when you’ve just moved from a rural town! Enter Iwakura Mitsumi, a smart and motivated country mouse with big ambitions, determined to make a name for herself in Tokyo. There’s just one problem: she's way over her head in the city!
Navigating the harsh changes between her secluded country life and the fast-paced nature of the city, Mitsumi finds herself thrown head-first into the trials and tribulations of friendship, romance, and school rivalry!
Here’s our review of Skip and Loafer, Volume 1!
Mitsumi is smart and likeable, but doesn’t stand out from the crowd. That won’t dampen her dream, though -- to become successful in academics, excel at university, enter politics, and eventually return to her town for retirement. Mitsumi has her entire life planned out...but life is anything except a smooth ride.
After getting lost and nearly missing the first years’ opening ceremony, Mitsumi quickly realises that social life in Tsubame High is a far cry from her junior high school of just twenty-six people! She struggles to understand people, doesn’t pick up on social cues, and has difficulty reconciling her dreams with reality. Then there’s also the gorgeous guy she’s become friends with -- and the target their friendship has placed on her back!
1. Accessible and Relatable
Skip and Loafer is easy to read, with a simple premise and uncomplicated storyline. At its heart, the story is almost commonplace, but presented in a relatable fashion regardless of whether you’ve lived in the country or the big city. For anyone who felt like a fish out of water in their high school days, Mitsumi’s story is all too familiar, but seeing her rise to the challenge is inspiring nonetheless.
That relatable pattern can be found elsewhere too, with most of Mitsumi’s classmates coming across as relatively grounded. Skip and Loafer steers away from tired character tropes (with one exception), and instead offers well-rounded characters, each of whom have their own struggles to deal with.
2. Gorgeous Guy to the Rescue!
We mentioned earlier that Skip and Loafer manages to avoid too many character tropes, but Shima Sousuke is a rather glaring exception. He takes the form of Mitsumi’s knight-in-shining-armor, rescuing her in the volume’s first chapter when she becomes lost at the train station. Shima also serves as an early crutch for Mitsumi, giving her a friendly face in a sea of strangers.
Shima clearly has his own past to deal with, alluding to an acting childhood he’d rather forget, and it’s a little too early to know whether the rom-com gods will give Mitsumi and Shima an easy path to walk, or if there’ll be more ups-and-downs along the way.
Plus, the hilarity of Shima looking and acting like Mitsumi’s dog caught us by surprise and offers some snort-worthy gags along the way. He’s earnest, easygoing, and has gorgeous hair -- oh, and Shima does, too!
1. Rough Artstyle and Plain Characters
Skip and Loafer isn’t the prettiest slice of life we’ve read, lacking the type of visual punch you’d expect out of a shoujo like Shortcake Cake or Mint Chocolate. That plainness could be favorably interpreted as a manner of grounding the story in reality, or it could simply be a stylistic choice that might not appeal to everyone.
If you’re used to the clean lines and perfect expressions of other series, you might be disappointed. As a debut manga, there’s always a chance the artstyle will improve as time goes on, but as it stands, this certainly isn’t the prettiest manga we’ve seen.
2. Too Many Characters, Too Quickly
Skip and Loafer doesn’t just follow Mitsumi on her journey to understand people and high school -- she very quickly forms a friend circle, each of whom have their own struggles to overcome. However, the manga throws these characters at you quite quickly without much in the way of pretense, which made us feel a little lost. Slower pacing and more time dedicated to actually meeting the characters might have had a better pay-off in the long run.
Skip and Loafer joins a long line of high school slice of life manga, but tries to differentiate itself from the crowd with a grounded approach to its characters and a contentious art style. Country mouse Mitsumi is relatable in many ways, and the cast of characters that surrounds her proves that everyone has their own struggles, especially in the summer of youth that is high school.
Have you already read Skip and Loafer? Are you planning to give the first volume a try after this review? Share your thoughts down in the comments below!