Top 10 Best Slice of Life Anime of 2021 [Recommendations]

There’s something about the relatability of characters in everyday situations that draws people into the slice-of-life genre, and Honey’s Anime is no different! We love to see characters in situations we could almost imagine ourselves in. With the year over, let’s take a look at the best recommendations of 2021!

Some common through lines in these picks are comedic value, a bit (or a lot!) of romance, and of course, what the people think! Every recommendation is highly rated and already well-loved! What do you think number one will be?

10. Senpai ga Uzai Kouhai no Hanashi (My Senpai is Annoying)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2021 – December 2021

A good romance/comedy series easily captures the hearts of viewers. The story of Futaba Igarashi and Harumi Takeda is no different. If anything, it’s more impactful for telling a story about adults in the workplace! Futaba has been working hard for two years to maintain a job at a trading company, but a great deal of her success has to do with the coaching she receives from her senpai: Harumi! Before long, they’re spending more time together, and it gets harder to draw the line between coworkers and something more.

One of the best parts of this series is the focus on adults—an age group that isn’t often represented in slice-of-life anime. On top of that, it takes place in a setting that most anime don’t talk about (or at least not in a good light)—an office! For the older anime fan, it can be refreshing to see something outside of a high school or a completely fantasy world. It even has some classic tropes, such as a tall man teasing his childishly short co-protagonist. The many user ratings and reviews don’t lie: My Senpai is Annoying is one of the favorites of the year!

9. Beastars 2 (Beastars 2nd Season)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: January 2021 – March 2021

The first season of Beastars opens with the murder of Tem, an alpaca who is also a member of Cherryton Academy’s drama club. This drama club, where carnivores and herbivores gather together, is also home to Legoshi, a gray wolf. Quite a few dramatic happenings bring him into the life of Haru, a white dwarf rabbit, who he can’t help but fall in love with—despite the fact that mixed-species relationships are extremely taboo. Enter the second season, where the previous murder mystery picks up steam. Legoshi is enticed to help solve the puzzle by the school’s security guard, Six Eyes. He’s not the only one searching for the truth, however! It has been declared that whoever solves Tem’s murder will be honored as the Beastar: an animal who dedicates their time to fighting inequality between herbivores and carnivores.

Season two of Beastars is an excellent return to form. It picks up on previous plot points, including the tumultuous relationship between Haru and Legoshi, and explores them in satisfying ways. As a psychological slice-of-life, it maintains a delicate balance between the building drama of forces inside and outside Cherryton, as well as the budding romance Haru and Legoshi are building. As an anime that explores inequality between groups, it has been well-received by the community. On top of that, Beastars has incredible art direction, with fluid animation and unique character designs. The mystery comes to a satisfying conclusion, and we can’t wait to see where Haru and Legoshi’s relationship goes from here!

8. Bungou Stray Dogs Wan!

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: January 2021 – March 2021

Chibis, comedy, and slice-of-life, oh my! Bungou Stray Dogs Wan! is a comedy-centric update to the original Bungou Stray Dogs anime. This series follows Atsushi Nakajima and his time with the Armed Detective Agency: a group that solves supernatural mysteries. This new version covers a number of the Agency’s wacky (mis)adventures in a cute, easy-to-consume slice-of-life format. Each episode lasts about 11 minutes, so if you want a quick, fun introduction to the Bungou Stray Dogs series, this is the anime for you!

It’s easy to see why Atsushi and friends’ antics in this retelling sparked so much love amongst new and old watchers. The smaller, cuter art style is hard not to like, and while the stories within are lighter in tone than the original work, they still provide an excellent glimpse into the characters’ daily lives as combat-heavy mystery solvers. If you’re looking for a binge-worthy slice-of-life, especially if you like supernatural themes, look no further than Bungou Stray Dogs Wan!

7. Blue Period

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2021 – December 2021

Blue Period tells the story of Yatora Yaguchi, a second-year in high school who is less than impressed with his lot in life. The blond protagonist earns great grades and spends free time goofing off with his friends, but nothing feels fulfilling. After seeing another student’s work, Yatora is encouraged to pick up art for the first time and proceeds to paint an image of how he sees Shibuya in the early morning. The praise he receives for the piece changes his entire worldview and encourages him to pursue not only a newfound passion for art but also a career! Yatora wants to attend the Tokyo University of Arts with his paintings, but it’ll be a difficult journey with a number of adversaries. Does he have what it takes to stand amongst the artists of T.U.A.?

Loving anime often means you have a love of art, and it was wonderful to experience the creative world through a newbie artist’s eyes. On top of that, don’t we all wonder what our purpose in life is as teenagers, and seek to find it? Blue Period explores some key challenges in life with endearing characters who break many of the traditional tropes of anime. What Yatora lacks in skill, he makes up for in passion and a drive to succeed. The anime’s primary message is about working hard to achieve your dreams, no matter the difficulty, and that’s a great message for a slice-of-life series.

6. Love Live! Superstar!!

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: June 2021 – October 2021

Keeping with the last choice, Love Live! Superstar!! is another artistically-themed anime. Kanon Shibuya once dreamed of becoming a famous musician, but when she was rejected from Yukigaoka Girls’ High School’s music program for her stage fright, she can’t help but want to give up. Keke Tang, a classmate of orange-haired Kanon, inadvertently helps Kanon renew her passion with her own dream: becoming a school idol! The series follows their efforts as they work together to earn the right to form their school idol club, despite the protests of the daughter of the school’s director, Ren Hazuki. The verdict is thus: if they can win first place at the Yoyogi School Idol Festival, they can have their club!

Superstar!! is the latest installment in the series, and a very well-received one at that. Some major draws of the anime include its relatable comedy and easy-going plotline. In addition, Love Live! Superstar!! has quality animation and art direction, and even better, excellent music inside and outside of the anime’s universe. The songs performed within the show are fun to listen to, and the background soundtrack does a great job setting the mood for each scene. It may not be a breakthrough in storytelling, but Love Live! Superstar!! is just plain fun to watch, and that makes it an easy recommendation for this year’s slice-of-life picks.

5. Horimiya

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: January 2021 – April 2021

Remember how we said a good romance/comedy can capture your attention? This is especially true of Horimiya, which focuses on the cute, popular Kyouko Hori and shy, possibly delinquent Izumi Miyamura. The two meet by chance when Izumi escorts Kyouko’s younger brother home one day, and discover that both live secret home lives that are completely different from their school personalities. Kyouko prefers plain clothes and housework, and Izumi has hidden piercings and tattoos that he only displays when he’s out of classes. The two decide they’ll keep each other’s secrets, which is nice, but even better, they’ll become friends!

As shounen titles go, Horimiya is a strong entry for this top ten list. It’s not like most other titles, especially in the slice-of-life genre. It gets dark, it gets edgy, and it gets funny, but it’s beautiful to watch Hori and Miyamura's relationship play out. The two work together to come out of their respective shells and be more honest about who they are—with themselves and with others. A whole year is encapsulated in this anime, and it all adds up to a lovely representation of what having someone who accepts you can do for your self-esteem.

4. Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. (Komi Can’t Communicate)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2021 – December 2021

Komi Can’t Communicate is a rare gem that explores the struggles of Shouko Komi, a black-haired, beautiful girl with social anxiety so intense she cannot speak to others. Hitohito Tadano ends up sitting next to her in class, and when they find themselves alone in a classroom, he realizes how much she is struggling. Tadano suggests a workaround: write your words down, since verbal communication is too much to handle. With this new system worked out, he learns Komi’s ultimate goal: to make one hundred friends during high school. That sounds tough on its own, but Tadano also realizes that in a school full of strange characters (as established by the narrator), they’re in for a rough ride.

For so many people, Komi Can’t Communicate was a heartwarming story about overcoming personal adversities. We all want to make friends, especially in high school, but it’s not always an easy road. In recent years, with the move to complete work and school from home, it can be even harder to build meaningful relationships. Komi and Tadano work together to overcome all barriers, making friends with characters who run the gamut of anime ideas. There are some classic comedy tropes and some cute romance, but this series is mainly recommended for representing characters and ideas we don’t see very often. We hope this inspirational story inspires more in the future!

3. Non Non Biyori Nonstop

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: January 2021 – March 2021

Few anime are quite as sweet and wholesome as the seinen adventure that is Non-Non Biyori Nonstop. This romp through childhood follows Hotaru Ichijou, two of the Koshigaya sisters, Natsumi and Komari, as well as young Renge Miyauchi. They live in a rural village named Asahigaoka, and despite lacking urban entertainment, the girls find there’s no shortage of things to do. In Nonstop, new characters join the idyllic village, opening up whole new stories. The series doesn’t just explore the creativity of children and their games, but also establishes that we were all just kids once.

We can all agree that the world has been pretty stressful lately. As such, it’s not really a shock that viewers want to view life through the hopeful eyes of a child. That doesn’t mean there’s no drama and no pain in the girls’ world, but it is presented in a format that is easy to process and turn into important messages for our own lives. Childhood contains more lessons than we can remember, but so much of it comes back when watching Non Non Biyori Nonstop. In addition to a meaningful plot and well-developed characters, the music and visuals are top-tier work, and the voice acting is nothing to scoff at.

2. Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon S (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2021 – September 2021

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is both fantasy and slice-of-life. A dragon by the name of Tohru has come to live with Kobayashi after a drunken promise was made. Tohru has decided she’ll be a maid and wants to be the best one yet. More mythical creatures follow Tohru to Earth, seeking her and her human companion: some want to join in on their new lifestyle, while others want to wreak havoc. This remains true in season two, with the addition of the Chaos Dragon, Ilulu. Ilulu hates what Tohru has become in the human world, so she determines she’ll put an end to it—with a fight to the death!

Fantasy is one of the most well-loved genres of fiction out there. It inspires each generation. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid tells a fantastical story of magic creatures trying to adjust to a (mostly) non-magic world. Its comedic pacing is brilliant, and it allows us to see Earth through a view other than our own: a dragon’s view, that is! When coupled with excellent animation and artistic style, it would be hard to give this jewel anything less than second place.

1. Fruits Basket: The Final (Fruits Basket The Final Season)

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: April 2021 – June 2021

Fruits Basket is a story about the Souma family, which contains a group of 13 people cursed to be a part of the ancient Chinese zodiac. A single hug from the opposite sex can make them transform into an animal! After Yuki and Shigure Souma invite Tooru Honda to live with them, the brown haired teen becomes more entrenched in life with the Souma family, and becomes determined to finally break their curse. This version is a reboot of the original, which is one of the best supernatural slice-of-life anime out there to this day!

Upon first watch of the source material, you might say “Hey! There are a lot of things missing from this story!”—and you’d be right! The rebooted series solves a number of plot holes and adds in things that were just plain not there before. On top of the much-improved storyline, the animation is incredibly well done and a delight to watch from start to finish. The comedy is great, and interspersed with dashes of drama in a shoujo romance that will capture your heart and imagination. Each character is well thought out and appropriately explored, and best of all, the series ends on a high note!

Final Thoughts

2021 was a long year with a lot of highly anticipated anime adaptations and sequels. Creating this list was difficult, as of course, things had to be cut. That said, what we have here is a strong group of slice-of-life gold. Each of these anime are funny, nice to look at, and often include important takeaways for our own lives.

There are some things that could’ve been done better this year. Every anime has its own problems and downfalls, and these are no exceptions. Still, we (and other viewers) think they’re worth the watch! What slice-of-life anime have you watched this year? What do you think should’ve been left out, and what should’ve made the cut instead? We’ll be waiting!

by Link