I love the Slice-of-Life genre. Often comedic, usually introspective, and almost always nostalgic even if it just reminds you of yesterday. Wait, let me clarify that last statement. Life happens all around you and it’s often never appreciated. Tripping down the stairs, being late to class, stopping to read a sign or a poster, these are all moments in life that on their own hold very little value to us. Yet the Slice-of-Life stories isolate these moments and sometimes only when we’re separated from the moment do we realize that it’s these little moments of the day that we need to treasure. Whether your favorite song plays on the radio or another day hanging out with your friends, taking the time to look back on those small, seemingly disconnected moments may reveal something about it. In the end real life and fiction aren’t all that different. We relate to stories because there is something in the characters or settings we’re attracted to because they remind us of something inside ourselves. It’s only in this particular genre that the small details are brought fourth and maybe reveals a little something about this thing called life that makes living in it manageable. Hit the jump for some of my favorite Slice-of-Life stories I’ve read previously over the years.
Calligraphy protege Handa Seishu is sent to a small island out in the boonies. City boy+Small rural area. The classic fish out of water setup done to perfection. It’s here that the uptight Handa Seishu learns to relax in an area where the demanding wound up city clock doesn’t seem to tick as fast and how the best cure for high expectations is simply a breather to appreciate what’s around him. In the same vein as Yotsuba&! in that there is a precocious little girl whose naivete is played for laughs but also exists to highlight just how uptight Handa is not only in comparison to a young child, but to everyone around him. Especially poignant to those who’ve lived in cities (Seoul in my case) where there is a genuine fear of so many things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
Read if you like Yotsuba or Azumanga Daioh
Found on mangafox
Living with friends and drinking the night away, isn’t that the life? Small comfortable living space surrounded by the people you love joking around and having meaningless conversations about how weird everything is. Now add that with a room filled with various trinkets, collectables, memorabilia from the strangest cultures, subcultures, hobbies around and add in a sweet little romance and you have a recipe for a wonderful little genre tale about such a place. Enter Ozawa Michiyo born in May, blood type AB, smoker, office drone, and very recently dumped by her long time boyfriend. In a drunken haze she finds nature calling and enters the apartment of Oyamada Zenji whose brother is currently on a journey to experience all of life before living his life as a monk hence all the weird things around the apartment. Included in this package is a wacky best friend, unresolved sexual tension, mahjong, and lots of alcohol. Nothing like a little relief after work to mumble your way through the meaning of life and love…or do something you regret in the morning.
Read if you and some friends enjoy drinking the night away after a hard day’s work.
Natsu no Zenjitsu
Much more adult than the previous two entries. I’m quite serious about that but there’s nothing overtly graphic or degenerate. No instead it’s a story about a man trying to forge his own place in the world and the woman who devotes herself to see that happen. Tetsuo Aoki is an artist/art student and all he has that he can call his own is his art but that’s not enough in this modern era. Fear, self-loathing, and dependency is the name of the game. What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be an individual? How about an artist? The story is about people who follow their passions and work hard to achieve their dreams damning the consequence. It’s a modern fear of surviving in this world with only your passion but passion in and of itself is something to look at as a valuable asset. When the expectations of this world are crushing down on you and your knees begin to buckle, maybe only perseverance and dedication and if you’re lucky someone there beside you can help push back.
Read if you’re struggling for your place in the world and don’t know what to do.
Found on mangafox
Sora no Shita Yane no Naka
A personal favorite of mine only because it was the one I most related to during my “dark summer”. Sasakawa Kanae just graduated high school. She’s not going to college, she’s not employed, she’s not in training. This is what they call a NEET no? She’s unproductive. She knows she’s unproductive and to be an unproductive member of society means death. Well she tries to find a job but people need degrees, they need experience, they need skills. Competition is tough and it’s just easier to sit at home and read manga isn’t it? I thought so too. The world moves too fast and too competitively for people like us who want to be a part of this so-called “society” but aren’t given the chance to even learn. Still the important thing to remember is that what I just described is called life and everyone else is living through the same experience. Whether you’re in college or working, growing up or resigning, the prospect of living is scary especially when you’re expected to survive on your own but the learning curve remains high. None of it should be taken as an aggressive action by life, society, or fate against you but rather as an opportunity to learn and I plan on learning till I die.
Read if you identify with a NEET lifestyle.
Found on mangafox
I love D-Frag! I love it so much it hurts. It’s not introspective, it’s not philosophical (arguable because I think everything is philosophical), it’s just funny as hell. I was planning on writing specifically about this series later on so I’ll summarize: Kazama Kenji is a man roped into the shenanigans of the Game-Creator Club. Following his capture, he is forced to follow the antics of the girls who run said club. Hijinks follows to the insane degree in that Sean Connery makes a few appearances, the ultimate fight for a burlap sack, and the race for the most delicious water in all of Japan. One of the funniest and endearing series in a long time with its smart and vibrant humor, amazing characters, and fourth wall breaking as if it were just another character.
Read if you have a soul or enjoy laughing or like kittens.
Found on mangafox
A Bias Girl
Fun story. I was in Korea over the winter and shopping for physical copies of some of my favorite series not released in the states (It’s how I own all of Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer in physical copies) and I’m always on the lookout for domestic (Korean) stories. So I bought A Bias Girl which was a new release at the time and I went home and read it. It was good. I don’t know about you but I was stupid in my High School years. Me and my friends did stupid things like get lost in the desert, gamble away our savings in Native American casinos, eat at German retirement homes for lunch, and attend hipster festivals because we were lost on our way to eat rattlesnake hotdogs. Best years of my life. So many people these days forget that teenage years can still be like the ones described in Billy Joel songs. Instead it’s SAT this and College that. Take a break, break a leg, either or doesn’t really matter. I know I loved my time in high school doing stupid shit and hopefully you have or will or are.
Read if you and your friends were/are idiots and enjoyed every moment. (Also watch Daily Lives of High School Boys and Azumanga Daioh)
Found on mangafox
Soredomo Machi wa Mawatteiru
When this show aired a few years back I fell in love but I knew it wouldn’t last. A jazzy Broadway influenced opening, an old lady in a maid uniform, folk rock, and ping-pong. It was a love that wasn’t meant to be. The manga is hilarious the anime gorgeous. It’s about unrequited love and aliens. It’s about rock bands and the popularity of maid cafes. It’s about short stories woven together because that’s what slice-of-life series do best. It’s the daily life of junior detective/maid/student/UFO witness Arashiyama Hotori and her daily misfortunes. Whether you’re embarrassed by your parents or embarrassed with yourself you take it in strides and live a life filled with so much adventure even if it’s just sitting around doing math. Do yourself a favor and watch the anime or read the manga.
Read if you like…uh…well…hmmm….Will you take my word for it and just read it?
Found on mangafox
Also Kon Futaba is the perfect character period.
I want to go on and on because there are so many more stories I want to talk about. Sadly I think I’ve already overstayed my welcome so I’ll finish with this one. From the creator of Hyakko (which you should all see) comes a story about family love. If you’ve read Hyakko or seen it then you’ll get a feel for the characters as a little familiar but still very refreshingly different. It’s the usual family antics approached in a completely different way. It involves a half-sister and all that but mostly it’s the story of a girl who loves her brother and the stupid grin she gets when she’s with him. It’s about how the lives of girls are seemingly infinitely more interesting than those of guys and most importantly it’s about young stupid love. Between the main characters or the parents, the series exists to be read and enjoyed and I will guarantee it or so help me I will erase that last sentence if you ever call me out on it.
Read if you like Hyakko or if you’re in love with your brother.
Found on mangafox
Slice of Life is appreciating your own life. It takes moments that we have had or are similar to those that we’ve had and isolates them. Sometimes exaggerates them but the general feeling is there. It makes us nostalgic of yesterday and appreciative of tomorrow. It’s understanding that whether you live on a farm or in the city, whether you are by yourself or with friends, that it’s the little things in life that bring us the most joy. We’re just too busy living through it to notice.
I’d love to hear your opinions on these if you’ve read them. Do you agree with me? Disagree? Comment down below and I’ll bring the tea.