The episode begins with Mika thinking about Ririka, the model who appeared at school at the end of the previous episode looking for Sousuke. She talks out loud about how she has a hard time believing Ririka and Sousuke are only friends, and that Sousuke must be a clout chaser. From looking Ririka up online, Mika sees that she was once a child actor, but had a major controversy when she was caught drinking in the sixth grade. Mika also thinks about overhearing Mitsumi and Sousuke in the classroom about their upcoming trip to the zoo.

We then see Mitsumi on the day of the trip, asking Nao for advice on what to wear. When Nao hears that she’s going to the zoo with Sousuke, Nao thinks it’s a date and believes Sousuke doesn’t have good intentions.

When Mitsumi and Sousuke meet up, we see that Mika and Nao have disguised themselves and are hiding in order to watch what happens. However, they hadn’t coordinated with each other, so Mika is surprised to see Nao. But Nao is disguised as a man at this point and introduces herself as Mitsumi’s uncle. We’d seen some previous hints in the series that Nao is trans, but the fact that Nao seems to be able to disguise herself as a man so easily seems to help reinforce this idea. Later, when Nao takes off her disguise in front of Mika, we see the high schooler is surprised but is still willing to be around Nao. From talking with Mika, Nao figures out that Mika likes Sousuke, although Mika tries to brush it off that she’s just trying to get a hot-stuff boyfriend while in high school.

Near the end of the trip, when Mitsumi and Sousuke visit the gift shop, Mitsumi asks Sousuke if he has any siblings. After a hesitation, he says that he has a younger brother who’s three years old. Mitsumi encourages him to get something for his little brother, but he’s not sure what to get. After he decides on something and buys it, he sees a plush toy out of the corner of his eye that he recognizes that his brother already has. He tries to give what he bought to Mitsumi, explaining that he thinks his little brother’s already been here. Mitsumi tells him that she’s sure his little brother will love what he gives him, no matter what. While Sousuke keeps the item to give to his brother, we can tell during this sequence that his family life is complicated. We may not have any specifics yet, but it’s clear from what we see in Sousuke’s thoughts that it’s not a good situation.

In the previous episode, we saw Mitsumi and the other three girls talking about having a pajama party. In the end, Nao gives permission for Mitsumi to host it at their place. When the other three girls arrive, Nao pulls Mitsumi aside and reminds her that in order to avoid any awkwardness, that she needs to tell her friends that Nao is biologically male. Thanks to this line of dialogue, it’s officially been confirmed that Nao is indeed a trans character. Hooray for diversity! Thank you, Skip And Loafer!

At one point during the party, Mika tries to leave, claiming she has dinner plans with her family. Nao is heading out at the same time, and Nao prods Mika about not really having plans with her family. Mika admits that eventually, their conversation will turn to relationships, and she thinks it’ll be awkward. Nao realizes that Mika is trying hard to be fashionable, but is obviously quite smart since she’s going to the same school at Mitsumi. However, Nao picks up on Mika’s lack of confidence. Nao remembers being the same way when she was younger, and she encourages Mika to go back to the party, saying that finding true friends like this doesn’t happen very often. Mika decides to rejoin the others.

This episode sees Mika coming to realize that she’s the one that’s truly a clout chaser, and that she’s projecting her insecurities onto other people. Coming to realizations and changing one’s behavior are two different things, but at least Mika is finally starting to rethink the attitude she’s had up to this point.

Meanwhile, Sousuke is going to summer cram school since he doesn’t have anything better to do. After class, he gets a text from Ririka, telling him that she and some of their friends are getting together at a restaurant. When Sousuke gets there, he only finds Ririka. She says that she hadn’t invited anyone else. Later, as the two walk together, Ririka’s dialogue makes it clear that she’s bitter about how her career has gone, and how her life is under such a microscope because of the drinking scandal. It turns out Sousuke took her to the party where that happened, and she blames him for the controversy. She holds this over his head, says he doesn’t deserve to have a happy high school life, and forces him to hold her hand. I’m almost afraid they’ll be photographed while walking and holding hands, the picture hitting the tabloids, and everyone getting the wrong idea about Ririka and Sousuke. This seems to be the right point in the series for this kind of tension and drama to happen, so it’s likely that’s what the ending of this episode is setting up.

By the end of this episode, though, you truly realize just how rough of a life Sousuke has, and how hard he’s trying to hide it with his smiles and laid-back demeanor. Between his family life and Ririka’s treatment of him, his life is nowhere near easy. I hope he’s able to find a way to address and deal with these issues by the end of the series.

I can’t believe there’s only four episodes left for Skip And Loafer. I’ve really been enjoying this series, and unless it makes a major fumble during its remaining episodes, it’s an anime I’m going to miss watching every week.

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