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Branching Out, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love: Slice-of-Life

Stilts Out Loud   007   Tsumiki moe moe kyun crop

Yes, I’m sticking with the absurdly long titles for these posts. To make up for this, here’s a cute picture. Nyaaan~

And we’re back with another edition of Branching Out. In case you don’t remember from last time, Branching Out is a series of posts where I take various genres, tropes, character types and whatnot, and try to convince you that they’re really not so bad after all, and that you should probably give them a shot. Of course, for those of you who have already drank the koolaid–I mean realized the greatness of these topics, no convincing is necessary, but I encourage you to read them anyway, if only to stroke my ego. Not that that’s hard to do.

This week, we’re going to be talking about the genre that is responsible for the creation of this series, Slice-of-Life! You see, when I first started watching anime, I totally shunned the slice-of-life genre. “Nothing happens,” I said to whoever would listen1. “What’s the point of watching a show if nothing happens? If I wanted to see that, I would just go about my everyday life,” I said, at which point I would usually get depressed. This is a point of view I held for a long time, to my unknowing detriment. So, what changed?

I’m not entirely sure what show it was, but I think KyoAni was to blame (those bastards?). I remember watching Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu when it was airing, and while I wasn’t the Haruhi fanboy that many were – I am prone to hype backlash (trope!), though I try to avoid that nowadays – I still enjoyed watching the SOS-dan’s antics. More than that though, Haruhi was impressive enough in animation and storytelling that it made me want to watch KyoAni’s other offerings, a desire which was not disabused by the treat I found in Kanon (2006)2. Bolstered by these successes, I beat back my prejudice and settled down to watch the slice-of-life show Lucky Star, and then later on K-ON! and its sequel a year and a half later. Somewhere in there my views on slice-of-life changed, up to the point where we have the current season, where I’m blogging not just one, but two slice-of-life shows, and my favorite show of the season is yet another one, Acchi Kocchi3. But enough about me. Through shows like all of these, the magic of slice-of-life became clear to me, which I will try to communicate to you today.

Stilts Out Loud   007   Cosplay Kagamin crop

And the magic of Kagami cosplaying. Mouuu Kagamin~, so moe!

First of all, to properly enjoy slice-of-life, you must prepare yourself for the genre’s idiosyncrasies. Just as we prepare ourselves to be freaked out when watching a horror show, we must prepare ourselves for the dearth of plot in slice-of-life, lest we be disappointed by its lack. This is true of all genres, by the way, I just find that more conscious effort is required here. This isn’t always easy, of course, but it’s worth it once you’re there.

But once this is done, what is left to enjoy? The moment. In life (warning: pseudo-philosophical nonsense incoming!), most people never settle down and truly pay attention to what they’re doing. Humans are creatures unfocused in time, living more in the past and the future than in the present. That’s why we like Fridays better than Sundays – because on Friday we get to look forward to the weekend, even if on Sunday we have more time off now – and we enjoy reminiscing about old stories rather than getting out there and making new ones. The same thing is true with fiction. Memory and expectation, regret and dread, nostalgia and longing, and a thousand other thoughts war with one another in our minds, leaving us with scant attention left to focus on what’s happening right now.

Not so with slice-of-life. Of course, you can still think about what has happened and anticipate what is coming next, but there’s less call for it. After all, what’s really going to change? That makes it easier to lean back and concentrate on the moment, and to truly enjoy what’s taking place now.

Stilts Out Loud   007   Im lovin it crop

I am enjoying this. I am enjoying this right now.

Not having to worry about any plot brings up another thing that is wonderful about slice-of-life shows – they’re great low-stress “palate cleansers.” While plot heavy shows can be absolutely enthralling in a way slice-of-life cannot, they are not always so great when you want to relax, since the plot is liable to rile you right back up again. With little chance of anything happening that will incontrovertibly change the world, slice-of-life stories are nice when you just want to to lean back and unravel at the end of the day.

Then there’s the characters. While other story types can succeed with weaker characters if their plot is strong enough, a slice-of-life story doesn’t have that luxury. After all, what does it have, other than its characters? That’s why weaker characters in slice-of-life shows tend to recede into the background quickly, like Miyuki of Lucky Star or Tadakuni of Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou. This leaves only the ones who have something to contribute to the cast’s chemistry, or at least help tell a joke or two once in a while. Sure, they’re not always the most unique characters around, but at least they’re useful and serve a clear purpose in the story. By the way, this is a trait shared with visual novels, for similar reasons.

Of course, some people will argue that it’s unfair to say that all slice-of-life shows have no plot. They are not wrong about this. The thing is, the plot of a slice-of-life story, when it exists at all, moves very slowly. This fact led to a realization on my part which is perhaps the thing I love most about slice-of-life shows. Once again, KyoAni is to blame. It came to me at the end of the first season of K-ON!, when Yui was running to through the streets to get back to the concert with her beloved Gitah. Sure, the plot was minimal and it moved damn slowly, but somewhere in there I realized that Yui had grown up a little bit. That’s when I realized the greatness of slice-of-life – it’s the genre most like real life. Perhaps that’s a stupid thing to say, given the genre’s name, but think about it. Most of our days are spent doing small, inconsequential things. Rarely are their great challenges, any epic battles to fight, or lover’s hands to be dramatically won. Mostly, we just go about our lives, living them as we see fit at the time…and somewhere during that, the plot of our lives is written. To me, this way of approaching plot and character development is treat to see when done right, and is perhaps the number one reason for why I learned to stop worrying and love this wonderful genre, slice-of-life.

How about you guys? Why do you love (or not love) slice-of-life? Chime in at the comments below! And as always, if you have any topic ideas – or questions you’d like me to see me answer about anime, blogging, or whatever else you’re curious about – email them to me at StiltsOutLoud@gmail.com, or send them to me via twitter at @StiltsOutLoud. Have a good weekend, everybody!

Stilts Out Loud   007   Chuuu crop

Of course, slice-of-life anime have better jokes, snappier dialogue, and cuter girls. So that’s probably an upgrade.

Disclaimer: Branching Out posts are not meant to be strictly objective, but rather to argue a point of view and encourage readers to try new things. If you feel the need point out that I wasn’t being fair in my analysis, you’re probably wasting your time – I wasn’t trying to be. That said, please feel free to point out your own personal opinions on the topic. Domo!

_________________________

1 That is to say, no one, because none of my friends or family watch anime. So ronery T__T [Back]

2 No, it was Endless Eight which did that. [Back]

3 Which is totally awesome, despite the bloodbath it received in the season preview. I think Cherrie was just being tsundere for Io-san. N-not that I am too, or anything! *tsun tsun* [Back]

May 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm
64 comments »
  • May 25, 2012 at 1:12 pmKurisu Vi Britannia

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • May 25, 2012 at 4:31 pmxRichard

      Then watch Boku No Pico and enjoy the Shotacon Yaoi genre in all its glory.

      • May 25, 2012 at 4:58 pmKurisu Vi Britannia

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  • May 25, 2012 at 1:32 pmEliseo

    You forgot to add Aria =)

    • May 25, 2012 at 3:15 pmStilts

      Mainly because I haven’t seen it. I can’t go delving into my backlog too much, or I’ll never get anything done. Hell, I can’t even keep up with my current shows as of late >_<

      • May 26, 2012 at 7:42 pmLGrey

        No Aria? Heresy! ^^

    • May 25, 2012 at 3:54 pmScruffy

      Aria definitely has to be one of the greatest SOL’s ever done!! I love it and the DVD’s sit proudly in my collection. BTW .. the extras on the DVD’s are awesome, especially when the director actually visits Venice for a scouting trip.

    • May 25, 2012 at 4:18 pmDjisas

      I would recomend reading aqua first, just a couple volumes, and then read the Aria manga as you journey trough the anime…
      An unforgeable experience is ensured…

    • May 26, 2012 at 10:02 pmName… want one?

      What “aria”? Please tell me….

      • May 28, 2012 at 11:35 pmKJacket

        Aria the Animation. Might be a bit TOO slow for some, there are sequels too. It’s almost a sports anime lol, except with umm, rowing boats whatever they were called and being a guide.

  • May 25, 2012 at 1:34 pmDjisas

    I cant enjoy yaoi or shounen ai, keep mecha anime to the bare minimum and watch a shoujo anime at least once a season…
    Other than that, almost anything is fine as long it doesnt bore me…

    Speaking of slice of life, there have been some genuinely entertaining ones like Lucky start, more recently A-Chanel replaced by Yuri Yuri, last season Kill me baby took the position and for this season Acchi Kocchi is about perfect…

    Also i have a soft spot for Hidamari sketch, havent missed a single episode…

  • May 25, 2012 at 1:36 pmcreaothceann

    Here’s a question to ponder: Would you group Hikaru no Go into slice of life – or is it a mixture?

    • May 25, 2012 at 5:00 pmMrMartini

      Wouldn’t Hikaru no Go be under drama or sports?

  • May 25, 2012 at 1:53 pmMasterDragonKnight

    I believe that the main focus for series about slice-of-life is not the plot, but the characters.

    The anime shows how they respond when exposed to different situations, and we watch them grow throughout the series. We see their individual quirks and personalities, without feeling the pressure of needing to advance the story. In this sense, we get to know them better than if they were following a strict plot line.

  • May 25, 2012 at 2:08 pmcaptaincrunch

    I fell in love with slice of life after watching Hidamari Sketch. I’ve never looked back.

    Best genre in anime imo.

  • May 25, 2012 at 2:12 pmDanny-kins

    I’m a big slice-of-life fan myself, though I can see why others don’t like it. From Aria to Natsume Yuujincho to Yotsuba&!, there’s definitely the mixture of relaxing-ness and character-driven-ness. At the same time there’s this feeling of more “realistic” fantasy, which makes the series more accessible somehow, at least to me. Of all the genres, I think slice-of-life makes me laugh or tugs my heartstrings most of all, and for the series that are allowed to fully play out, the ending (such as Natsume’s ending) can be so incredibly cathartic!

  • May 25, 2012 at 2:18 pmKalliente

    Myself, I have to love the characters to enjoy a slice of life series. Acchi Kocchi is great example of a current series. Very soothing but also quite funny. Shows like Hidamari Sketch and Lucky Star are like a drug to me and I need a fix every season. Stilts, I am really enjoying your editorials. Keep up the good work!

  • May 25, 2012 at 3:22 pmStranger

    Like most people on this site (I’m assuming)- I’m well into my 20′s, whereas the majority of Slice-of-Life (and any anime, really) features teens. As such- a good slice-of-life show has the same effect as looking through an old picture book; nostalgia.

    But- as you’ve said- when viewing these groups of ordinary people doing ordinary things- it does make us take notice and really appreciate all the little things that we usually never give a second thought about.

    Over all, Slice-of-Life is therapeutic, almost. Along with comedies, which lots of these shows are anyways, I find them the best when relaxing after yet another day in the grind.

    For the exception of being not-so-ordinary; Natsuiro Kiseki- I think you hit the nail squarely on the head for its appeal: wonder.

  • May 25, 2012 at 3:27 pmEadwacer

    Let me be contrarian today:

    If you can ignore the terrible artwork, Kanon 2002 offers a much-compressed take on the story over K2006, and actually does some things better. But the terrible artwork is terrible. Use your imagination to map the 2006 characters into the picture.

    I think the studio should be applauded for ‘Endless Eight’. It was an experiment, and how many studios are willing to risk those? (Answer: fewer, since). I’ts not like they shirked the work — the art was new in every episode. Was it a successful experiment? Well, no experiment is a failure if it leaves a big enough crater.

    • May 25, 2012 at 3:47 pmStilts

      I applaud experiments. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Madoka, etc., are all great experiments. I applaud Natsuiro Kiseki as well, because while it’s not put together as well as my previous two examples (that’s not an insult, of course – matching TTGL or Madoka is hard to do!), it’s at least an attempt at something original.

      That said, if Endless Eight was an experiment, it’s not one that should have been done. I think KyoAni got swept up in their own reputation, and started to believe the infallible myth they had going at the time. Yes, the repeats ground in how lonely Yuki’s situation was…and then Madoka showed up and did the same thing inside of one episode. KyoAni got arrogant and thought they could bore us with eight episodes of the same thing to get across their point. IMO, they deserve every bit of bad press they get off that clusterfuck.

      …but that’s another topic entirely! :D

      • May 25, 2012 at 10:07 pmFencedude

        In KyoAni’s defense, they were stuck with 14 episodes worth of airtime and not even remotely 14 episodes worth of content, since Shoushitsu was set to be a movie, and thus nothing post-Shoushitsu could be included.

        I most certainly would not watch all eight episodes of Endless Eight again, but I’ve got to say, their airing was one of the most entertaining times to be an anime fan. Its been 3 years now, can’t we just look back and have a good laugh over it all?

    • May 25, 2012 at 4:24 pmDjisas

      I like your point with Kanon, while Kanon 2006 was great, i couldnt enjoy it as i enjoyed the original, i somehow felt the 2006′s ending rushed compared with the original despite being longer…

      Watching Clanad makes the viewer reflect upon his own life, it had such effect on me, specially the second season…

      Quoting Richard, Mushishi is a masterpiece, but not exactly slice of life, its a fantasy title…

      Nodame will appeal to a wide audience with good character and great comedy, but its major strenght lies in the fantastic music, specially for those who enjoy classical music…

      Im already overextending myself…

  • May 25, 2012 at 3:46 pmxRichard

    • May 25, 2012 at 3:48 pmStilts

      Another victim of the I-haven’t-watched-it syndrome. As I mentioned in the post, I had to branch out into slice-of-life, and that didn’t happen all at once. Only now will I watch almost any slice-of-life show…but I don’t have time to delve into my backlog too much. Sowwy :(

      • May 25, 2012 at 4:08 pmxRichard

        - Aria
        - Welcome to the NHK
        - Honey and Clover
        - Nodame Cantabile
        - Usagi Drop
        - Beck
        - Clannad

        All these are also SoL anime. They all have plot development, great characters, romance and drama. Slice of Life isn’t a genre devoid of plot, you don’t need to make an effort to watch it.

        Try one episode of Mushishi. That a 100% Pure Slice of Life anime in which every episode contains a movie’s worth of story telling. It is an anime that thought me that Slice of Life can be very different to the likes of Lucky Star, K-On, Acchi Kocchi, Natsuiro Kiseki or Nichijou/bros.

      • May 25, 2012 at 4:13 pmxRichard

        More examples here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SliceOfLife

        Among others you can find:

        - GTO
        - Haibane Renmei
        - Patlabor
        - The Tatami Galaxy

      • May 25, 2012 at 6:38 pmStilts

        I don’t know, maybe it’s my own personal definition, but some of those aren’t really slice-of-life (to me). GTO feels far more like an adventure to me, and Clannad is definitely a romance and a drama. Sure, they have slice-of-life elements – one could say that any show where the characters go about their daily lives for some amount of the time has slice-of-life elements – but they don’t strike me as slice-of-life shows themselves.

        Of course, you’re free to disagree on that, but your point stands and is quite valid. Usagi Drops definitely has strong slice-of-life portions, and it’s definitely not a frivolousness comedy. It’s one damn fine show, that’s for sure.

      • May 26, 2012 at 7:51 pmLGrey

        Speaking of Patlabor, I remember this one episode telling “Division 2′s most embarrassing day” in which the characters are trying to order lunch for delivery.

        A must watch. Perhaps someone can point Stilts to the exact episode?

    • May 25, 2012 at 3:50 pmxRichard

  • May 25, 2012 at 3:48 pmSpace Dreamer

    Sometimes I just want to kick back, drink some kool aid and watch my slice of life collection. Its a great way to get into the mood for giant robots and needless killing and fan service.

    (v);,,;(v)

  • May 25, 2012 at 4:51 pmIsabel

    I never liked Slice-Of-Life anime, as I was under the pretense that it would be just “boring”, but then I watched Honey and Clover. I was (and probably still) more of a girl who prefers action with character development of course. But, Honey and Clover struck me, because I was in college at the same time as it aired. I found myself relating all too well with Takemoto, and I also fell in love with the other characters. I liked how absorbed I got into their everyday activities, and I loved seeing how they progressed throughout the anime. Slice-of-life anime does really offer some of the best character-driven stories out there, and now I actively try to seek out slice of life anime with the occasional action/fantasy anime for balance. I really need to sit down and watch Aria, but unfortunately real life just gets in the way.

  • May 25, 2012 at 5:15 pmshamaticgrl

    This is the only genre that has me shrinking away in fear and I know I should give it the benefit of the doubt of the slow pace and not so great plot tend to put me to sleep after a long day of work. But after reading this I’ll give it another try.

    • May 25, 2012 at 6:40 pmStilts

      Woo! I love to hear that. Now hopefully you won’t come back in a day or two and go “Nope, still hate it” :D

  • May 25, 2012 at 6:28 pmstarss

    I love this so much. I would date this post, take it to dinner, and then spend time with it at home! I don’t understand why slice-of-life shows aren’t more popular than they are (or aren’t) in the USA! Maybe because you really need an understanding of Japanese lifestyles in order to really appreciate them.

    • May 25, 2012 at 6:43 pmStilts

      Just make sure you ask it nicely, and take it out for a nice dinner. My posts have good taste! ; )

      Honestly, I think it’s because American society is very extrovert-focused, and bent towards action and getting things done. In contrast, a proper slice-of-life show requires that you sit down, relax, and maybe contemplate your own life a bit. Even for those of us who are introverted, it takes some time to get past the cultural barriers we’ve grown up with.

  • May 25, 2012 at 6:37 pmRakkyo

    Honestly, I never believed in slice-of-life as a genre by itself. Slice-of-life is defined as “of, pertaining to, or being a naturalistic, unembellished representation of real life:”, which basically means, a purely slice-of-life story will have NOTHING happening at all. Yet, why do people enjoy it? Because there is rarely an anime that is purely slice-of-life. Taking examples from Stilts’ post(I haven’t watched some of them):
    -Haruhi is about a god who wants to meet aliens, time travelers and espers.
    -Lucky Star…. well I’ll get to that later.
    -Acchi Kocchi is about Tsumiki trying to get Io’s attention(albeit this plot only goes progresses in 15 minutes segments).
    -Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou has a plot, only thing is that it changes every few minutes.
    -The first season of K-On is about Yui trying to improve her guitar skills, while the second season is about how the girls try to make their last year in high school an enjoyable one.

    Now you’ll notice that these plots I’ve written down are extremely weak, and also that most all of these examples have a thing in common, comedy. Which brings me to my next point, a “slice-of-life” anime usually have an underlying plot(however weak it is) and/or another genre attached to it, such as comedy, romance, love comedy, drama.
    This is the reason I don’t like slice-of-life, I like the “extra stuff” that comes with a slice-of-life anime.

    • May 25, 2012 at 6:48 pmStilts

      For the record, I wasn’t saying that Haruhi was a slice-of-life show. I was merely explaining that it got me to trust KyoAni, and then they started spitting out slice-of-life shows by the season-full.

      But yes, slice-of-life shows aren’t generally only slice-of-life. Of course, that’s true for most stories. You always see fantasy adventures with a bit of romance, or horror thrillers with a bit of ecchi, or romantic comedies with a bit of action. But if you keep watching predominately slice-of-life shows, then I would contend that you do like the slice-of-life genre, along with whatever other genres it’s bringing along with it this year.

      • May 25, 2012 at 9:07 pmZen

        I think Rakkyo does have a point though. As someone who watches pretty much anything and everything (as much as time will allow me to anyways…XP) drawing from my past experiences, I’d say that it’s possible to divide slice of life shows into two categories that sit at opposite ends of a spectrum for the sake of analysis.

        The first category encompasses shows like Lucky Star, K-ON! and Acchi Kocchi. These kinds of shows deal with the everyday lives of their characters but also throw in elements of comedy, fantasy and/or fiction to spice things up. (Comedy- i.e. slapstick coincidences; fantasy- i.e. fantastical or sci-fi elements a-la Nichijou; Fiction- i.e. heavily relying on the exaggerated, unrealistic fictional character tropes that are endemic to anime a-la Lucky Star and K-ON!.) In shows like these enhancing appeal through the use of comedic, fantastical or fictional elements is a co-priority to highlighting the daily lives of the characters (The slice-of-life part of things). This category of slice-of-life sits at one end of the spectrum where slice-of-life elements and other elements that enhance the show’s appeal/entertainment value (elements of comedy/fiction/fantasy) are co-dominant.

        The other category of slice-of-life sits at the other end of the spectrum where enhancing appeal/entertainment value through elements of comedy/fiction/fantasy is less of a concern, and slice-of-life elements alone tend to take priority. Examples of shows that lie on or close to this end of the spectrum would include things like Tamayura ~hitotose~ and Showa Monogatari. These kinds of shows make highlighting the unadulterated daily lives of their characters the priority and for the most part try not to dabble in elements of comedy/fiction/fantasy (Moreso for Showa Monogatari than for Tamayura.)

        And what’s one thing that shows at this end of the spectrum tend to have in common? You guessed it, they tend to be hugely unpopular. The best gauge of how popular a show is tends to be how quickly fansubs of it become available (if they ever do become available at all) because the motivation of fansub groups is directly related to the popularity of any given show. Tamayura’s subs were always a week or two behind and I still can’t find subbed versions of Showa Monogatari past episode 7 to this very day- even the raws were hard to come by!…contrasted against the non-purist slice-of-life shows at the former end of the spectrum that tend to be more massively appealing.

        “Slice-of-life is defined as “of, pertaining to, or being a naturalistic, unembellished representation of real life.”

        A more coherent reconciliation of Rakkyo’s statement would probably go something like this: He likes impure slice-of-life which has other elements that he finds appealing, but he finds pure slice of life to be boring because it deals with nothing more than the someone’s mundane daily life.

        And that’s how things tend to be for most people, I’ve observed. It’s the synergy between slice-of-life and comedy/fiction/fantasy elements present in the first category of impure slice of life that makes it so massively appealing. People love these kinds of shows because they’re fantasies that aren’t really all that far removed from reality; kind of like what our own lives would be if they were just a little more interesting, easy to relate to.

        Whereas pure slice-of-life (Or progressively as we climb the spectrum of purity) doesn’t have this kind of appeal because it tries to illustrate daily life as-is. Which people find to be boring because it’s basically what they themselves do everyday. Most folks watch anime to be entertained after all, and not to be treated to something that’s as mundane as their own daily lives…

  • May 25, 2012 at 7:06 pmc2710

    Certainly the slice of life genre is definitely an acquired taste. It took me a while to get used to Lucky Star and K-On!. Simply because like what you said earlier, it has minimal plot or a slow moving plot. But at the end of it, its really enjoyable.

    Using K-On! for example. It starts off with the girls being in their first year and the first few episodes was some what like an orientation week. We get to see their various quirks and nuances as well as their temprements. The subsequent episodes till the end of the first season was as though you’re going to school with them and we see more of their quirks and nuances. And eventually we all know tgat Azu-nyan joined the club and the senior’s swonning over her is something that I figure that most of us can relate to. I know I did. As the sempai, there’s this urge to look cool and impress the kouhai. Moving on to the second season, you pretty much see the trials and challenges of a final year student that and it seems so real. The icing on the cake was certainly the sempais’ graduation leaving Azu-nyan alone. Lets not forget their enotions and interactions with one another. It kinda reflects how we do them though.

    The bottom line is, and agreeing with stilts, the slice of life genre, albeit slow moving is one that’s worth checking out. I got to agree with stilts though… Bout us being too focused on the past and the future. Slice of life shows do help me to be more aware of my present (half the time) and also how he interact with other people and our quirks and nuances

    P.S. regardless of all this, i still cant get used to nichijou. The level of “idiocy” and absurdity of it is way off the charts

    P.S. Stilts, would you be doing a column for magic girl genre? Would like to see your take on it and how Madoka Magica experiment may affect how future magir girl shows as well as shows from other genres

    • May 29, 2012 at 7:31 amStilts

      Oooo, good idea (on the magical girl / madoka thing). Adding that to my list…

  • May 25, 2012 at 7:13 pmfragb85

    I believe the strength of an SoL has to do with its premise and how it handles the expectations it gives me. If it indicates that it will have some story to progress I expect it to have some progression. If its about continuous shenanigans that’s fine as long as that premise is set up from the start.

    Haruhi for example puts a lot of genres into a blender to create this strange wacky world that Kyon has to deal with. It works because its all about the contrast of a cynical protagonist and how he deals with the strangeness around him.

    On the flip-side I consider Ika-musume to work as well because its about an incompetent alien’s “attempts” at invading earth. The entire premise works because it simply allows our protagonist to keep screwing up in many funny different ways without seeming repetitive.

    That’s probably my biggest problem with K-On. At first it seemed to be about an amateur band with dreams to perform in Budokan. Then it…wasn’t. It wasn’t really bad, but it seems the intentions of the Light Music Club got even more vague as the episodes pass. It had its great moments(The receipt chewing scene was hilarious) but I had to ask was this going anywhere?

    • May 25, 2012 at 11:02 pmFencedude

      but I had to ask was this going anywhere?

      Sure. Graduation.

      That may sound flippant, but its true.

  • May 25, 2012 at 10:52 pmClick

    I’d like to think that most Slice-of-Life’s have an overarching plot or goal, but they take a backseat to character interaction, humor, or both. I really don’t see that as much of a problem though. So I guess what matters most for me is if they’re simply enjoyable or not. Relaxation and rewinding, for me at least, lie at a lower priority than the entertainment value of show in question.

    There usually is a plot in most SoL’s, but I personally believe that most takes place through character growth and the progression of the bonds of the main cast, instead of being conveyed through conflict and friction. And even when there isn’t a single point of focus, that’s fine too. If its entertaining I’ll watch it.

  • May 26, 2012 at 1:12 amBanana Furikake

    Though I enjoy all genres of anime- I credit Clannad for getting me back into it.

  • May 26, 2012 at 2:10 amBlacksun88

    slice of life with epic comedy is the best!

  • May 26, 2012 at 4:38 amKiveh

    I loveloveLOVE slice-of-life! Always have, always will! xD I’m typically into shounen and I tend to prefer fast-paced, action-filled shows so most people are quite surprised whenever I say I enjoy slice-of-life immensely! :] It’s the best genre for relaxing~

  • May 26, 2012 at 6:52 amdranon

    LOL When did Etopen and Nodoka’s bosom become slice of life?

    • May 28, 2012 at 11:53 pmKJacket

      You mean you aren’t looking at those in your daily life? :P Lucky Etopen.

  • May 26, 2012 at 8:59 amAndrew

    I’m big fan kawaii/moe/comedy anime. Acchi Kocchi – it’s a great series to relax and watch the story of first love.

  • May 26, 2012 at 11:04 amRoguespirit

    I know what you mean. This was the genre that got me into anime. Specifically Toradora, which remains one of my favorites to this day.

  • May 26, 2012 at 12:05 pmzeroyuki92

    Stilts, I know I’m being arrogant and selfish, but…

    I command you to watch ARIA, NOW! XD

    Lol, jk. But, seriously… While Haruhi, Acchi Kochi, Kanon and Lucky Star are all good slice of life, ARIA represents a bit different side of slice of life. Beautiful/Healing slice of life, it’s a rare yet very powerful sub-genre (Maybe together with Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee).

    Watch it, and this article will be complete :p

    • May 29, 2012 at 9:54 amStilts

      You’ll have to remain satisfied with Ikoku Meiro no Croisee for now, which I did watch. Though I have to admit, that was a bit slow at times for me =X

  • May 26, 2012 at 6:39 pmpetitorenji

    The best slice-of-life to me so far was Honey & Clover. That series was just wonderfully done.

    I dislike how this genre gives a free pass to plots with with bad writing/no direction and deux-ex-machinas. I’m perfectly fine with a “life goes on” ending, but even that needs to be subtly presented. In the end of Honey & Clover, the charming characters grow up, separate, and move on, and that’s enough of a resolution for me. The plot was beautifully developed, the dialogue beautifully written, and the characters beautifully woven into the story, each serving his or her little part in life’s big soup of everythingness. There needs to be purpose, a point, a driving force, in any story, whether there’s a solution to the conflict or not, because otherwise it just becomes a self-indulgent piece, with the breathing of characters to life becoming a doing for one’s own amusement. This is also why badly written slice-of-lives require extremely moe-esque, aka sexually-competent female characters to save themselves.

    Haruhi was a life/scifi/mystery/fantasy combo. So I can’t say anything about that one. K-On had a direction, though it would have achieved what it wanted to at half the number of episodes. Nichijou+Lucky Star were entertaining, but like I stated above, they were just moe-fests. I sometimes wish KyoAni would go back to doing projects Haruhi and Full Metal Panic.

    • May 26, 2012 at 6:45 pmpetitorenji

      Sorry, RC, corrections:
      DEUS-ex-machinas.
      aka sexually-competent female characters to save THE SERIES.
      I sometimes wish KyoAni would go back to doing projects LIKE Haruhi and Full Metal Panic.

    • May 26, 2012 at 8:49 pmblarg

      Just reading your post, I already know that you dont know what defines SoL. Honey & Clover isn’t a purely a Slice of Life.

      If the driving force of the series is the plot/story, then it would more fit under drama.

  • May 26, 2012 at 9:51 pmKamille

    You didn’t learn to love it, you were forced to love it because there isn’t anything else, the genre is over-saturated. What got me into anime was stuff like: Berserk, Ghost in the Shell, Samurai X, Hellsing, Cowboy Bebop, Zeta Gundam, etc. And what is making me to still be an anime fan is stuff like: Madoka, Toradora, Rumbling Hearts, School Days, Code Geass, Darker than Black, Fate/Stay, Steins;Gate, etc. I will not bend and I will keep complaining until I get bored and quit anime forever.

    K-on, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Oreimo, Boku wa Tomodachi, Baka to Test, Lucky Star and all that pointless garbage can go and burn in hell.

    • May 27, 2012 at 7:36 amronri

      If this isn’t sarcasm then I don’t know what else there is for me to say…

    • May 27, 2012 at 2:43 pmAndrew

      hmm …
      It is strange for some reason at any forum (in any language) are people who call what they do not like waste.
      Why not just watch what you like and do not watch what you do not like.
      You have freedom or not :)
      Anime is not a genre. Genre is comedy, romance, drama, action, … and the like.

      If you do not like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Romantic_comedy_anime_and_manga, it does not mean that it is bad or it watch stupid people.

      I’m like Ghost in the Shell and Steins;Gate.
      I’m never watch School Days (for example) … It’s not for me.

    • May 27, 2012 at 10:45 pmc2710

      Seriously kamille, you’re making a spectacle of urself by declaring shows that you dont watch as utter garbage.

  • May 28, 2012 at 8:50 pmZein

    kimi to boku has been very interesting this season..

  • May 28, 2012 at 9:09 pmDorian

    For me, slice of life add those “small details” that normally you wouldn’t see in other shows. You see them going about their lives doing things that you or I could imagine doing. Sure, there are “awesome things” that can occur, but you get to see the normal life that a person will live. Life does indeed have those moments, but they occur after all these “small details” do.

    It also allows for better build up as well on the important parts. When the “awesome things” come along, you are more invested into the character as they are portrayed and even if these “awesome things” are only incremental in moving the underlying plot & overall story along, you enjoy it more so because of.

    Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not saying that slice of life does things better. Far from that in fact. Though, when done right that’s how it is for me.

    For people who don’t like this genre, that’s their right. I respect that.

    To continually push that these are negative words and thoughts onto others who have different tastes and likes or even just to someone who wishes to generally try something different are just being petty and childish. As the saying goes, “don’t like it, don’t watch it”.

    Though, if they actually followed through with that, then I wouldn’t have the fun of laughing at their immaturity when they say something ignorant.

  • May 29, 2012 at 9:23 pmginger

    clamp shows have lots of slice of life moments excapt tsubasa. mr.Stilts, how do you feel about magical girl animes? do you think a show of that genre has to be like Madoka or Nanoha inorder to recieve popularity? Or Can a magical girl show with a traditional formula still be good?

  • May 30, 2012 at 2:02 amHastella

    Stilts-oniichan, what about Anohana?
    You didn’t mention Anohana!

    Could it be that you’ve never watched it? Gasp! No! I cannot fathom anyone NOT watching that glorious slice-of-life show! 11 episodes of heartfelt, tear-jerking truth.

  • June 1, 2012 at 8:48 pmbertman4

    Despite being an “ojisan” now, I still enjoy slice of life anime. Many of them have some sort of gimmick. Yuru Yuri had the yuri angle. Oreimo had the otaku angle. Haganai had the harem angle. But there have been others that do not rely so much on ridiculous antics during the show. At least there used to be more shows like that. I think the most satisfying slice-of-life shows are the ones where there is character growth. Of the recent ones, I think Denpa Onna fits this quite well. Sure, the set up is a little strange. But throughout the series, Makoto tries to help his cousin Erio. And gradually she does change because of his efforts.

    Question: Does Nichijou count as slice-of-life? It’s so goddamn ridiculous and random and hilarious.