Have you ever thought about what it would be like if your life was a show or a movie? Some of you might think that it would be pretty boring or uneventful—completely lacking in anything remotely interesting and all that jazz. Yet with a genre called slice of life, that surely might not be the case.
Slice of life in anime and manga refers to stories that exhibit the everyday life of the ordinary. It's not very plot-heavy and is rather focused on the characters—making the story quite character-driven. In terms of setting, a common one would be being in high school, as the characters navigate through the various everyday situations that they're put in. We see them live out their lives as students—studying, going on a school trip, going to the beach, indulging in hobbies.
While this doesn't sound very exciting, it's how the characters are exhibited that make up for it. Considering how there is generally no heavy conflict in the story, a slice of life focuses on taking us on a journey through the ups and downs of human interactions and relationships. Each of the characters has its own distinct personality and behavior, which watchers can easily catch mixed feels for.
Take the classic anime K-On, for example. This is a title that comes up a lot when mentioning the slice of life genre. The story revolves around the high school lives of five girls, the development of their friendship, and their adventures in the Light Music Club. Compared to shōnen, there are no intense fight scenes where people beat each other up. The world does not revolve around the characters having superpowers either. It simply brings you to a state of tranquil and cheerful bliss.
Personally, I would recommend watching slice-of-life animes in between binge-watching dark or action-packed ones, as a breather.
Slice of life lets us appreciate the mundane things in life. It's relaxing and comforting, similar to the warmth of the sun on a cool and breezy summer day. Not to mention that these emanate feel-good energy that can easily cheer you up. The overall lightheartedness and comedy that slice of life has offered a sense of escapism to its watchers—allowing them to build bonds with the characters of the story. Sometimes you may not feel much for the plot, but you'll definitely feel a lot of things for the characters and their interactions.
Other main themes that usually go hand in hand with a slice of life are romance, comedy, and friendship. We see these in titles such as Toradora, Nichijou, and Fruits Basket.
What's your favorite slice of life anime or manga? Let us know in the comments!
Related: 10 Best Shoujo Anime for Beginners