Slice of Life anime provides viewers with a realistic representation of daily experiences, whether it comes to love, friendships, obstacles, or trauma. In an OVA form, many are typically shortened in length, compared to your average series, summarizing the storyline in a condensed, quick-paced design. The choices on this list are special, in that many of them are stand-alone, original pieces, while a few have been broadcasted in the foundations of manga, films, and series. As Honey attempts to let you in on the best Slice of Life OVAs, we know there are plenty of great ones out there. But as for now, here’s what we’ve gathered, just for you!
10. Saint☆Oniisan (Saint☆Young Men)
- Episodes: 2
- Aired: December 2012 – August 2013
Saint Oniisan is an OVA that truly takes the serious and complex nature out of religion, in addition to questioning how the foundations of life came to be, by twisting it into a relatable, modern and light-hearted story. The main characters are the founders of Christianity and Buddhism, Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha, respectively. Jesus and Buddha take a vacation on Earth together to observe humanity. They are roomies in a Tokyo apartment where they both must discover the various ways that mankind lives their lives, abiding to one’s morals and ethics, in conjunction to rules and guidelines provided by society. While inhabiting their apartment in Tokyo, being celestial individuals themselves, they have a force more threatening to worry about: the landlady, Mrs. Matsuda. Upon their arrival, Mrs. Matsuda notices something is “off” with the “Saints” and investigates what that “something” is. In this two episode OVA, we watch Jesus and Buddha unveil the mysteries of life on Earth, as they attempt to hide their identities and miraculous powers to the public, and combat the ever scary Mrs. Matsuda. What is fantastic about Saint Oniisan is that it’s a very entertaining concept to watch, easing the tension that is often connected to comparative religion.
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: August 2010
Robotica Robotics is about two robots, Natsu and Haru, who were abandoned by their previous owner, and now live with their new owner, professor/scientist Masa-san. Natsu and Haru narrate their thoughts about the meaning of love. Is it possible for robots to feel love, or any emotion for that matter? This OVA will definitely tackle “the feels” as it highlights Natsu’s conflicted emotions of deep depression, the meaning of his life, and suicide. Moreover, Haru’s curiosities are underlined as he provides proof to the question of whether or not robots hold any emotive consciousness. Lastly, differing from Natsu and Haru’s previous owner, Masa-san shows a strong and passionate paternal bond for the boys, something they have not experienced before. Robotica Robotics is an excellent slice of life OVA because it addresses many dark issues that aren’t normally presented in anime, with the final product being that there is some good that exists underneath the negative.
8. Marriage: Kekkon (Marriage)
- Episodes: 2
- Aired: March 1996 – June 1996
Marriage: Kekkon is a two part episode OVA that focuses on the subject of finding someone special, falling in love, and making the ultimate commitment with marriage. The first part chronicles the lives of five mid-aged women, who have just made their mark in the workforce after being out of university for several years. They have just established themselves, but are seeking a little more to their lives, particularly finding someone to share things with. Four of the five girls are actively dating, while one, Shizuka, has not taken the subject of dating enthusiastically because she is very shy. As such, Shizuka’s friends sign her up onto a dating service to increase her odds of finding the right person. Here, we observe that when it comes to finding Mr. Right, love takes patience and is something that can’t be rushed.
The second part documents the story of five ladies as well, with one who is not married due to personal barriers. The single Kiyomi, unlike her sisters, seems to have no interest in being attached to someone and getting married. Eager to push Kiyomi into being in a committed relationship, her sisters convince a young man from her work, who is completely infatuated with her, to propose to her on their first date. With Kiyomi being a strong and intimidating individual, her suitor finds his forthcoming task incredibly challenging, even more so because she is his superior at work. Whether or not he gets the answer he wants to hear is the intense pinnacle of this episode. Additionally, this proposal must be perfect, as this moment in a girl’s life is one of her most memorable.
7. Azusa, Otetsudai Shimasu! (Azusa Will Help!)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: August 2004
The Karugamo High School baseball team has been doing their best when it comes to playing the game, but unfortunately, they lack what it takes to make it to the top of the leagues. Their ferocious competitors, the Eagles, with their talented players and advanced sports robots, have made many members lose confidence and quit the sport altogether. Now, the Karugamo team is short one player. Desperate to keep the team together, Shunpei Harumaki decides to buy a robot, but sadly is short the funds for a decent one. Shunpei ends up buying a maid robot named Azusa, immediately seeing something in her when she was on display, but can’t quite put his finger on it. Outdated and coming short in athletic abilities, Azusa is determined and willing to help the baseball team come to a win.
While practicing, when Shunpei was in immediate danger, Azusa’s instincts kicked in, demonstrating her unseen agility and strength. Over time, Azusa has built strong bonds with the members of the baseball team and regardless of her lifespan; she wants to fulfill her role and duty. As the day finally comes for the rematch against the Eagles, the Karugamo team is reminded by Azusa that the players and their efforts are what make the sport of baseball and overall drive the team’s spirit.
6. Tabisuru Nuigurumi: Traveling Daru
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: July 2012
Tabisuru Nuigurumi: Traveling Daru illustrates a child’s imagination and her greatest efforts into creating her stuffed toy, Daru. Rushing onto their flight one day, the young girl drops Daru. As Daru has become her first true friend, she is very upset and has no chance in retrieving him. With a mind and spirit of his own, Daru stows away on another child’s carry-on, trying to find his way back to his owner. Exceedingly determined, Daru travels to many different countries asking around various characters if they have seen his owner. Time passes on and as we are drawn into this story, many ponder as to whether or not this girl will ever reunite with her long lost friend.
In this captivating slice of life OVA, the innocence of a child and the wonders of the world display the strength of the human heart and the value of meaningful relationships. As the years have gone by for our female lead, Daru found his way back into his loving friend’s arms, in due course, by the most creative and unlikely way.
5. Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko (She and Her Cat: Their Standing Points)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: April 2002
Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko is told from the perspective of the loving, loyal, and passionate cat, Chobi. Chobi first encounters his human on a gloomy and rainy day. His new owner, in his eyes, is the most beautiful person he ever saw. From that day forth, he was rescued from the cold, darkness, and loneliness into warmth and bliss. Many days have passed and over time, Chobi falls hard for his owner. He even, for a time, has a girlfriend, Mimi, whom he becomes close with, but unfortunately does not feel the same passion as he does for his human. As Chobi endlessly observes and watches over his master day after day, he knows her behaviors and emotions, glorifying all that she does and knows that nothing she does is ever at fault.
With the recent release of Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko: Everything Flows earlier this year, this OVA captures the nature and relationship between people and their pets. As it is narrated by a life form that cannot express itself linguistically, us humans can only speculate that our pets really love us as much as Chobi does.
4. Tokyo Marble Chocolate
- Episodes: 2
- Aired: December 2007
Chizuru, whenever on the verge of love, seems to always screw things up. Chizuru is a bubbly and charismatic girl, but unfortunately doesn’t have the best luck with guys. Currently, she is dating Yuudai-kun, who demonstrates to be the complete opposite of her. Kind, yet very serious most of the time, Yuudai has never responded back to the countless times Chizuru has told him she loves him. Frustrated with feeling that things are one-sided, Chizuru plans to have an all-out date and then end things with Yuudai. However, just when Chizuru was about to give up hope, Yuudai surprises her with a pet, unlike anything one would imagine receiving! This new pet creates an enormous amount of chaos, hindering the opportunity for Chizuru to break up with Yuudai. She later finds out that under Yuudai’s hard, concealing exterior, he feels just the same as she does for him.
As we enter the second episode in Tokyo Marble Chocolate, we see Yuudai’s perspective to the relationship. Yuudai also believes he is a screw up when it comes to love, presuming that when things end, it is always his fault. Yuudai has a difficult time sharing his feelings that overall makes him depressed. Upon Chizuru’s discovery of her gift, her new pet, again, chaos ensues. As we wonder whether or not the couple will remain together or break things off for good, we learn collectively the effects to both sides of a relationship and the criticalness of communication throughout.
3. Zou no Senaka: Tabidatsu Hi (The Day I Depart)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: October 2007
This amazing slice of life OVA, Zou no Senaka: Tabidatsu Hi touches on the heartbreaking moments of one’s life ending. With such an unsettling prognosis, how does one come to terms with such difficult news? Is it easy or difficult to accept one’s impending death? Moreover, how does one tell their closest family members? One wonders what they will do and how will they react. One also wonders if their family was truly happy with them and how each member will carry on without them. The lasting message from the main character states that crying is okay, if only for a short time. Essentially, it is important to remember all of life’s greatest memories; to cherish life; smile; to count one’s blessings; and to tell those that mean everything to them that they are cared for and loved because life is too short.
2. Sakura Capsule
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: August 2014
Sakura Capsule captures the story of six close girls, all BFFs, who would always play together at the park in their quiet neighborhood close to Tokyo. The six friends all knew each other from a very young age. In the fourth grade, regrettably, the girls had to change schools. As the girls sensed they might drift away from each other, each one of them promised to bury a time capsule, retaining their current memories and to one day look back at how their lives were.
Much time has passed and the girls have not remained as close to one another as they would have liked. Each living their separate lives, something amazing happens surrounding all six girls. Sakura Capsule represents the innocence of incredibly sweet youngsters longing for that “happily ever after” and lasting memories. Although in reality, there is much sorrow to life, we can only hope to stay in life’s “perfect and happy bubble” for as long as it can withstand.
1. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou
- Episodes: 2
- Aired: December 2002 – March 2003
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou takes place in the future where global warming has caused much of Yokohama city to be submerged, causing many higher peak surfaces to jut out of the water. Despite this adversity, the inhabitants of this city are content and satisfied to be living, enjoying the beauty that still remains in this environmentally threatened planet. Among the residents is a young woman named Alpha, who owns a lovely café called Café Alpha. Appreciating her surroundings and living life as humanly as possible, she cannot, as Alpha is an artificially created being. Nonetheless, this has no effect on how she differs from any human. One day, Alpha overhears on a radio broadcast that Yokohama is once again on the verge of being hit. As the typhoon destroys Alpha’s café, she then decides to embark on a journey, figuring out her next approach in building the café she lost.
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou makes our list for top 10 because it is the quintessential slice of life; where the main character is thrust into a circumstance out of her control and has to figure out how to deal with the situation. With many traits of this genre, viewers tag along on her journey as well, experiencing the same struggles and joys as many of these characters do. Therefore, we can abide to the saying that, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”
So there you have it. We hope you’ve enjoyed Honey’s recommendations for Top 10 Slice of Life OVAs. Many on this list are truly special pieces, expressing an array of emotions and attitudes towards various situations and life events. The wonderful thing about anime is that when you’re unable to convey a thought or feelings at the moment, they have the ability to articulate your entire state of mind without judgment or undesired assessments. With that being said, we hope you check out this list and let us know what you think. Comment below and suggest others if there are any great ones that we’ve missed!