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9 Reasons to watch Slice of Life anime

Slice of life is a genre that is more akin to melodrama than drama, bordering on absurd due to the large numbers of dramatic and comedic events in very short spans (Brenner, 2007). Japanese anime and manga, a slice of life genre, usually focuses on school and interpersonal relationships. Generally, a slice of life has a realistic component making it relatable.

According to Wikipedia (2020), the first-ever recorded slice of life anime that was featured as a TV series is High School! Kimengumi [High School! Funny-Face Club] in 1985. It was not until 17 years later, in 2002, that a slice of life anime broke into the English viewers market.

Azumanga Daioh [Great King Azumanga] is the “Seinfield in high school (TV Tropes, 2020)” and chronicles the everyday life of six high school girls and their two teachers. The story covers three years of tests, taking between classes, culture festivals, and athletic events at school (Wikipedia, 2020). It ends each episode with a preview of the next one while the characters comment on it—breaking the fourth wall. Since then, a slice of life anime has been part of the mainstream releases.

Here are nine fresh reasons why you should watch a slice of life anime:

[1] JOY 

Slice of life anime brings joy in abundance. As a viewer, the heartwarming moments remind you of the little things that matter. The scenes unfolding before your eyes reveal the forgotten yet treasured memories one holds dear. A good example is the [teasing] moments between Takagi-san and Nishikata-kun in Karakai Jouzo no Takagi-san [Teasing Master Takagi-san]. Their relationship [feelings] deepens as they try to best each other, which is endearing to watch. As John Boehner says, “listen, you only tease the ones you love.”

[2] ENTERTAINMENT

Slice of life anime exists for a straightforward fact—to entertain. The combination of real-life circumstances and sub-genres [fantasy, action, romance, and so on] make following an anime series worth it. Imagine being a normal high school boy becoming a bride of a very mysterious creation. The said happened to Tomari Hinowa in Jingai-san no Yome [Non-Human Creature’s Wife]. As J. R. R. Tolkien says, “still round the corner, there may wait, a new road or a secret gate.”

[3] EVERYDAY LIFE

There may not be much that happens to us each day. That makes it unique because if we get something special every day, the novelty will soon run out. Our day-to-day may seem ordinary, but there is something extra in the everyday. It is touching to witness a father trying to care for his daughter after his wife passes away. Kouhei Inuzuka struggled to learn how to cook correctly for his daughter Kotori in Amaama to Inazuma [Sweetness & Lightning]. Cooking may be routine to others, yet to some, it is a work in progress. As Hayao Miyazaki says, “I get inspiration from my everyday life.”

[4] RELAX

Watching TV is a form of relaxation. We get entranced by the revelations of the world, characters, and lives in front of us. Slice of life anime tends to show the struggles and successes of a character—a character like Handa Seishu, who got exiled into a small island in Barakamon. We can take it easy and savor the moments as a character take on life itself with a spin. Handa-kun is a city guy facing the ultimate islander lifestyle challenge. As a viewer, we get to accompany him in his trial and bear witness to however it goes. As Elizabeth Gilbert says, “you must learn in life to take things more lightly, my dear. The world is always changing. Learn how to allow for it.”

[5] ART

Artistry is grand when it comes to anime. However, there is something subtly beautiful in capturing the ordinary scenes in full colors. The stunning sights the girls from the Outdoor Activities Club in Yuru Camp [Laid-Back Camp] sees—the sunset, the moonrise, the sunrise, and majestic mountain views. Slice of life anime will take you to actual places you may want to visit next time. As Anni Albers says, “art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness.”

[6] MUSIC

There are a lot of fantastic anime soundtracks. Slice of life anime soundtracks usually features relaxing and uplifting music. Some of them will introduce viewers to EXILE, JUJU, and Unlimited Tone, to name a few. While watching, a viewer, travels—finding themselves sleeping under a tree listening to the sounds of nature on a beautiful calm summer day. Tanaka-kun did that, however, within the school grounds. It is normal and acceptable since Tanaka-kun [wa Itsumo Kedaruge / Tanaka-kun is Always Listless] is in character. As Plato says, “music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.”

[7] LAUGHTER

Slice of life anime bring bouts of laughter here and there. They might be caused by the silliest of circumstances or helplessness towards reality itself. Slice of life anime characters are ordinary people, who mostly find themselves, in extraordinary [often extremely awkward] situations. What else is there to do when one is in total surprise, well, of course, laugh. Viewers seeing such unfold are convinced that it can [or already has] happened to them. Try placing yourself in Tenma-chan’s shoes and imagine how tough it is to get your crush’s attention in School Rumble. And how much more difficult, when it comes to capturing his heart?! As they say, “life is better when you’re laughing.”

[8] LOVE

No other anime genre spreads love successfully than a slice of life anime. It shows the connection between people, places, circumstances, and life events. We draw inspiration upon the success, sorrow, happiness, and tears of a character. Seeing how the characters feel—genuine and raw emotions, we begin to connect with them. We can relate to Araki-san’s struggles and triumph in conquering them to publish Fune o Amu [The Great Passage]. As S. E. Hall says, “maybe it’s not about the length of time you’ve known someone; maybe it’s about instant recognition on an unconscious level. Our souls know each other.”

[9] JAPANESE CULTURE

Slice of life anime effectively promotes Japanese culture. From them, a viewer from other parts of the world gets to see the life of a Japanese student, office worker, parent, grandparent, etc. Viewers also get a glimpse of a Japanese summer festival, Japanese tea ceremony, Japanese traditional arts, clothes, craft, literature, and so on. One can have a meal at a traditional Japanese Tea House [or Café] by watching Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori [Yosuiro Biyori]. You will get to enjoy a meal designed with the seasons in mind, carefully crafted and prepared with warmth. We also get to know Japanese beliefs, ethics, and values when watching a slice of life anime. As Mahatma Gandhi says, “a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and the soul of its people.”

Next time you are planning to discover a new TV series, try expanding your repertoire and add a slice of life anime into your watchlist. You will not be disappointed!!!

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