「フワフワ バチバチ」 (Fuwafuwa Bachibachi)
“Dreamy and Sparky”
To quote Anne Shirley “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”. That sums up a lot of what I’ve noticed about Skip to Loafer and the buds of friendship that’ve been planted in each episode thus far. This week, we’re introduced to the serious, bookish Kurume who has a proclaimed aversion to the pretty and popular crowds because she feels rejected by them and can’t relate to them. In search of fellow serious-minded people, she lands at the student council room door-only to run into the very embodiments of those kinds of people- Sou and Yuzuki, and the literal space cadet, Mitsumi.
I can totally relate to how Mitsumi really lives in her own imagination, earnestly believing everything to be a big adventure and building up her expectations to an unrealistic level that then promptly collapses. (Of course, age and experience have mellowed, though not erased that for me). That habit of hers draws a strong parallel for me to Anne Shirley (from Anne of Green Gables), who does the exact same thing. “I can’t help flying up on the wings of anticipation…almost pays for the thud [of disappointment]” Anne says at one point in the series- a perfect descriptor of Mitsumi, I think. This time, Mitsumi takes one giant step forwards…into the Student Council office where, it turns out, they are not taking applicants due to tenure. While Mitsumi can’t become the Student Council President right off the bat like she initially hoped, she can assist in other ways to build up to a position.
Watching Mitsumi is like re-living myself in my student days. As an adult, I can chuckle at the ridiculously over the top fear that joining the Tsubame Club would make her fail out of college exams. It’s obvious that’s not going to happen-it’s just one club and she can learn to balance that with studies. But, having been in her shoes, I remember how super-focused I was on my studies and how any sort of commitment not study-related provoked a fear of failing, if I lost even an hour of studying. I had this compulsiveness to study, to be the best, to accomplish all my shining ambitions, which Mitsumi channels to a T.
That Mitsumi lives in her own world gives her a unique perspective that opens the world for those around her, challenging her friends to try new things. -Just don’t ask her to take a selfie LOL. I had a similar experience too, where I had to have friends teach me to take a selfie and to this day, am still not good at them, preferring to avoid them. Mitsumi’s sunshine magic reaches even to Kurume’s darkness, inspiring her to try a funky looking Star Max drink and unintentionally making her interact with a pretty person (the maturely elegant Yuzuki), forcing Kurume reconsidering her preconceptions of the people she can and can’t talk to.
Socializing and making friends can be hard, especially if you’re a bit of a misfit and/or haven’t had much experience. I felt so proud of Mitsumi realizing she can initiate social exchanges and ask for someone’s LINE without waiting for them to do so first. Kurume psyching herself up to ask Mitsumi to the movies-I’ve totally been in her shoes before, nervous that the other person might not want to go or might think it weird. Mitsumi is the perfect first friend for someone like Kurume, someone who accepts her as she is and, as Sou says “puts her at ease”.
Kurume gets more than she bargained on when she invites Mitsumi to see Gone With the Wind (Rhett Butter instead of Rhett Butler was hilarious, though unfortunately the kids are getting a horribly offensive depiction of American history with their popcorn). Mitsumi’s whole gang tags along, much to Kurume’s initial horror-and who can blame her, she’s getting thrown in the deep end, which Mitsumi realizes much later on and tries to make amends for. The ending to that was really sweet, Kurume admitting that she’s biased by her preconceptions, willing to give Yuzuri a chance.
Clothes say a lot about a person and we get a peek into Mitsumi’s gang. Yuzuri with her muted colors oozes maturity (no surprise there). Mitsumi, bright and cheerful (almost a little too much on the eyes there with those cherry red checkered pants-thankfully, Nao-chan saves the day). Then, there’s Mika, which I think was the most interesting part. From her internal monologue and fashionably coordinated outfit, it’s clear that while she may act like a bitch (after using Mitsumi like she did last week), she might not be one at heart, rather dealing with a set of insecurities that she tries to compensate for with her appearance. In contrast to Mitsumi who can be kind of dense when it comes to reading people, Sou can read people well, picking up on Mika’s discomfort and quickly putting her at ease with a complement.
There were a few cute glimpses into Mitsumi and Sou’s growing partnership-Sou reminding Mitsumi to get Kurume’s LINE info and Mitsumi trusting Sou enough to send him an SOS call at the theaters. And yes, I agree that Camp Salty and Camp Sweet is the best way to go.
I like how they’re expanding on Mitsumi’s growing social base, exploring beneath the surface of characters like Kurume and Mika-it allows them to exist in their own right, rather than as mere backdrops for Mitsumi and also presents interesting possibilities for Mitsumi to grow as a person, mingling with such a diverse group.