There’s a lot of terminology thrown around in anime like “otaku” or “seinen,” but there may be one type of term that gets used a lot but is confused more often than not. Ladies and gentlemen, that term would be “slice of life.” Well, it is not so much a term as it is a phrase used to describe a specific genre of anime, but did you know that the phrase “slice of life” did not originate in Japanese culture?
The phrase “slice of life” was actually first used in place of a French phrase “tranche de vie.” It is used to describe naturalism, as in the representation of mundane real life events naturally and lacking in a real plot or story. However, in anime, slice of life has evolved. In the mainstream, the phrase “slice of life” is used to refer to anime with mundane, real life scenarios in situations that we can only describe as being a slice of life. However, did you know that dramas can also include slice of life? Hang in there as we describe all the types of anime that really embody the genre that is slice of life!
One side of slice of life that many don’t consider to be slice of life has to be the melodrama side. As anime has advanced, people who look in from the outside would consider melodramas, dramas that are so ridiculous that they cannot be real life scenarios, to be considered slice of life anime. These are that type of situations that are outside the realm of normal, although they could be plausible in real life. However, not everyone is going to be coping with such dramatic situations. All the same, these are slice of life because they technically embody a piece of life that many of us may not deal with. These may not bet he humorous or fun loving type of slice of life anime many of us are used to, but you know they can be enjoyable in their own way.
Clannad: After Story
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2008 - March 209
Clannad: After Story poses as the sequel to Clannad. Clannad: After Story follows the love story of Okazaki Tomoya and Furukawa Nagisa who are about to start their love together following a tumultuous high school career. Their future looks quite bright, but that is not going to last. Tomoya was a slacker in high school, but he’s going to learn the value of hard work as Nagisa learns to be the wife that Tomoya needs.
Similar to Little Busters!, Clannad was a slice of life anime in which everything was hopeful. Sure, there were bad times, but most of the time, things were good. It built up your love for the characters. That’s when the sequel came in. In the same fashion as Little Busters!: Refrain, Clannad: After Story took your favorite couple and destroyed all of their happiness. Nagisa, who has struggled yet conquered her sickness for 18 years, suddenly found herself being beaten rather mercilessly by her illness. Tomoya, who finally found something to live for, loses all hope and becomes the person he hated the most. The events in Clannad: After Story follow this melodramatic version of slice of life really well by completely tearing out every possible hope you have in its first 22-23 episodes, and no other anime represents a melodramatic slice of life better.
Iyashi-kei Slice of Life
Perhaps you’ve heard of this term or perhaps you have not, but “iyashi-kei slice of life” is probably a type of slice of life anime that you are all too familiar with. The term “iyashi-kei” means healing and refers to slice of life anime that have a healing effect. This refers to slice of life anime that take you out of the dramas and stresses of every day life without imparting any more stress. Simply, this is a form of escapism without adding more stress, such as in the case of exhilirating video games or anime.
Iyashi-kei slice of life tend to involve cute moe girls as their main cast. Now are you getting a clearer picture? No, we do not mean moe girls for you to oogle. They tend to be rather cute girls who just do cute things without all of the unnatural fan service elements. Iyashi-kei slice of life are supposed to have a calming effect on their audience so they really appeal to both sides of the spectrum regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Overall, what most people consider to be a slice of life anime tends to fall under the subgenre of iyashi-kei slice of life.
Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka? (Is the Order a Rabbit?)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2014 - June 2014
Hoto Kokoa has just recently moved into a new town to live with the Kafuu family in an attempt to attend school away from her hometown. It is in this new town that Kokoa finds a friend with Kafuu Chino, a girl who walks around with a rabbit with the ability to talk sitting atop her head. Along with Chino, Kokoa starts working at the Rabbit House as a waitress. Also working at the Rabbit House is a gun obsessed girl named Tedeza Rize. Kokoa is also going to make friends with Ujimatsu Chiya, a waitress from a traditional cafe, and Kirima Sharo who acts like a noble although she actually has no money. This is the story of a cute group of girls and their friendship together as they work as waitresses in a rabbit loving town.
One great example of an iyashi-kei slice of life comes in the form of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka? (Is the Order a Rabbit?). We have a cast of cute girls, a rabbit or two, and all they really do is marvel at things like coffee, friendship, and random new things in town. Nothing really happens in Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?, but it is still an enjoyable watch for that same reason. It takes the viewer out of their own reality and puts them in a different scenario which is rather realistic without all of the drama. Similar examples would be anime like Kiniro Mosaic, Konohana Kitan, and New Game!
Is the Order a Rabbit? PV
Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko (Girls’ Last Tour)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2017 - December 2017
Yuuri and Chito are two young girls who are wandering around on their Kettenkrad motorbike. Each episode follows Chito and Yuuri as they seek out fuel for their motorbike and food to get through to the next day. While the world around them appears to be bleek and without fortune, it is their relationship together that gives them hope and something to live for. Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko is the story of two sisters, Chito and Yuuri, who are just trying to survive in a world where everything has not.
One of the most unusual slice of life anime came in the form of Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko, otherwise known as Girls’ Last Tour. It is essentially an iyashi-kei slice of life anime, however the odd part is that the girls are put in an apocalyptic scenario. Now, what’s iyashi-kei about that? The very first episode features Yuuri aiming her gun quite seriously at Chito in order to take the last of the food for herself. And while the cute animation makes you want to think it’s a joke, Yuuri proves she’s definitely not joking. Um, go sisterhood?
While they are basically the last confirmed humans on the earth, the girls do not create any drama nor do they become upset even considering they do meet humans along the way. The audience merely watches as Chito and Yuuri wander the earth in search of food and fuel to keep them going for another day. We watch as they discuss things like the wonder of chocolate or how to read, and we cannot help but wonder what exactly happened in their past that led to their present. Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko is a strange mix of dark and iyashi-kei slice of life that shouldn’t really work together but somehow does. The initial impression given by Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko is much like Made in Abyss’, dark and foreboding, but unlike Made in Abyss, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko is rather relaxing and gives us that feeling of comfort that you would not expect in an apocalyptic anime.
Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko (Girls’ Last Tour) PV
Well, with that, folks, we hope that you understand what slice of life entails and all the little facets of what makes up slice of life. For most, slice of life is iyashi-kei slice of life. For others, it may be more dramatic like Clannad: After Story. Either way, I’m sure many of us have watched and loved a slice of life anime before.
For all the readers out there, do you have a favorite slice of life anime? Do you like the slice of life genre the best? Or maybe it’s your least favorite genre? Either way, please share all of your thoughts down below!