The best thing since sliced bread...

Vashdaman

Za Warudo
is a slice of life! I'm sure we all agree on that. Now the question I'm asking you is this: what is the greatest slice of life anime ever made??

I'm a relatively recent convert to genre so may have missed out on many classics, and I'd love to hear everyone's opinion!

As for my choice, well I won't give a definite one, as it's late and I can't really think, actually to the extent that I'm struggling to think of any SOL anime I've seen and why I seem to hold such reverence for the genre. I guess a lot of SOL might get classed as romance, but heck, I'd say they count.

The one jumps out at me the most right now is Glasslip. I think it's the closest any anime ever made has come to reflecting the essence of a "normal life" is a startlingly real way, and I guess for that reason alone it makes it a good contender for the throne. It revolutionized the genre in my opinion, but no one seemed to notice. I could and have wrote a lot more on this, and may do so tomorrow when I'm more awake.

:thumb:
 

Greenmeido

Kiznaiver
Not sure if I'd say they're the greatest ever made but Aria and Tamayura are two of my favourites. Basically any iyashikei directed by Satou Junichi.

Non Non Biyori is also worth a mention. It's getting a season 2 in summer, along with a new Aria.
 

Y-San

Shinki
Glasslip, eh? I think you're one of the few people who actually had anything positive to say about the series, I mean most seem to have written it off as being kind of bland, including yourself initially. What brought about the change of heart?

As far as slice of life goes though, easily Non Non Biyori - totes not just because it's one of my favourite anime of all time or anything. As you put it yourself, Non Non Biyori actually feels like it reflects an instance of 'real life'. Like sure it's still slightly alienating to the viewer who isn't well acquainted with the countryside because the setting is incredibly remote but I think that's part of the charm because it provides a certain degree of creative freedom in which the mundane can be reinterpreted, while still remaining relatively tethered to that which we are already familiar with. I think that there's a fine line that a lot of SoL anime run between mundane and quaint and it's all about finding yourself on the right side of that line. A lot of anime in the genre seem to be content with creating an artificial bubble for the sake of drawing together a bunch of stereotypical or single trait characters and playing them off each other to various ends but Non Non Biyori goes much further. Rather than taking the easy route and establish a routine between one dimensional characters in the anywhere clubroom - though which humour can be filtered- the series attempts to address the questions of its own environment. What kind of people live here? Are they different? If so, how? Does their environment impact their lives?

Questions that help to expand the environment and give the setting the necessary depth to actually feel like a 'reflection of life'. I feel there are a surprisingly large amount of SoL titles that don't go far enough in addressing those kinds of issues, often meaning that the setting - and thus the characters who inhabit it- are forgettable at best. By actually exploring the environment, the potential for conflict is allowed and though not necessarily a driving force of Non Non Biyori, at least allows the characters the opportunity to be examined from a different angle.

I guess the real selling point of Non Non Biyori isn't the setting but the characters themselves, in particular Renge, whose atypical outlook provides the character interactions with an unusual dynamic and yet, despite appearing as an oddity of sorts, she still feels at home within the setting because she feels like a product of it - as a younger child who has spent much of her time in older company - rather than a disembodies aspect.

I'm sorry if I'm kind of rambling here and paraphrasing myself to boot but the point is that you should consider watching Non Non Biyori. It probably won't do much to change your perception of the genre but within the boundaries of the genre, it's probably the most successful title in recent years.

For similar reasons, I liked Yama no Susume a lot as well, though arguably it also doubles as a sports anime of sorts, since it also deals with the challenges of mountain climbing and delivers a surprisingly comprehensive insight into, what might otherwise appear to be, a rather mundane hobby. Only downside is that the characters lack the same sort of instant appeal as Renge but for the most part are rather well fleshed out. I was kind of surprised by the decision to throw in a conflict of sorts that actually spanned multiple episodes - rather than just hand waving any adverse scenarios for the sake of humour as tends to happen in comedy/SoL titles. It really helped to keep the series grounded. I wish there were more SoL titles that actually drew on more dramatic elements, especially because it helps to endear the audience to the character/s if they are seen to be challenged in some way. It doesn't have to be high tension but just enough to create doubt.

Gochiusa is pretty decent as well. Definitely further down the list but there are worse places to go when you seek the animated equivalent of a hug box. It's closer inline with the stereotypical image SoL titles circa 2010. In a nutshell 'cute girls doing cute things' but wins points for bothering to develop the characters in a meaningful way.
 

IncendiaryLemon

Captain Karen
K-On! of course. I'd say K-On is quite easily the series where I have gotten the most attached to the main characters. It helps they had about 40 episodes and a movie where most shows get around 12 or 24 if you're lucky but by the end of the movie I was almost in tears due to the fact I was probably never going to see these characters again. As weird and kind of corny as it sounds, it felt like saying goodbye to friends, and it really got me. You see the characters and their friendship grow throughout the show and you just really become attached. Of course it helps that the show is incredibly funny at times, the characters have great chemistry and the animation is typical KyoAni, absolutely amazing. The music featured on the show that's played by the band is also legitimately great and has found itself on constant rotation among my music. K-On is one of my favourite shows of all time and is easily my favourite SOL anime. I'm not sure anything could beat it. I had hopes for Sound! Euphonium but the characters are really kind of disappointing and it seems more focused on the music than K-On was, which you could take either way really.
 

Smeelia

Thousand Master
I've been lurking for a while and decided to sign up to respond to this topic, then I couldn't get my account to work for a while and the thread went silent since. My account is fixed now though (thanks Rui) so I can spend ages yammering on about my favourite type of anime (and maybe other people can get a word in).

I think Slice of Life is a pretty open category, most people include "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" and it seems to be the most common (or commonly known) but I guess there are plenty of other things that count. I'm not sure what the restrictions are, some people say it should be set in the "real world" while some say that supernatural stuff is okay as long as it's mostly about the characters. I guess I lean towards a wide definition (which might be cheating), I usually prefer character driven/focussed shows so that's probably why Slice of Life tends to appeal to me.

One of my personal favourites is Aoihana/Sweet Blue Flowers. It's one of the few Yuri anime I've seen and I'm very interested in seeing more like it (which seems to be difficult, unfortunately). Maybe it's cheating to pick a Yuri show but one of the main reasons I liked it was because the characters and issues felt very real. From the way the OP described Glasslip I think there's a decent chance that they'd like this show too (and if so, it could open up a whole other genre at the same time).

Living For The Day After Tomorrow (I think the Japanese title is "Asatte No Houkou") is another one I'm quite fond of. It does have a supernatural element but I think it's quite a good look at the subject of "maturity" (or something along those lines) and I guess I just liked the characters.

I don't know if Shirobako counts as Slice of Life but I love the show anyway so I'm going to recommend it anywhere I can get away with it. It's the sort of show that can be something different to everyone, personally my favourite part was the characters and the "working life" elements but other people might like the look into how anime is made, the references to anime and those that work in it or maybe something else. The downside being that you might hate one element enough to let it spoil the show for you, which would be a shame. I think everyone should at least try Shirobako but it'd be best to go in without expectations because the elements that stand out for you might be different to what others experienced.

Probably moving closer to "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" but another show I think is worth mentioning is Gingitsune. It's kind of a gentle daily life show but it does deal with some interesting topics along the way and it seems to often be missed (although Sentai released the Blu-ray recently, which is nice). Maybe it's often missed because it's tough to describe what makes it good, which often seems to be a problem with Slice of Life shows in general.

I guess Love Lab counts as "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" but I think it's notable that it does have something of an ongoing story rather than the more episodic style that is common (though it has some of that too). I'm glad that more "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" shows are getting sequels but it's a shame that Love Lab doesn't seem to be one of them.

I do like "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" shows a lot so I'm glad that they seem to be getting more common. I suppose having more of them means it's more likely I'll find one I don't like but I've been pretty lucky so far. I'm really enjoying the second season of Kinmoza (Kiniro Mosaic) at the moment, I already liked the first season but I think the second might be even better (possibly because of the new characters and increased Yuri). Hidamari Sketch is one of my favourites, it and Azumanga Daioh got me addicted to this sort of thing. I do think Non Non Biyori is worth mentioning again too even if it has already been mentioned a few times, I'm really looking forward to the next season. I don't think anyone has mentioned A-Channel, it seems to be more divisive but I enjoyed it quite a lot (enough to buy the Blu-ray when I already had the DVD, although to be fair the Blu-ray was cheap anyway). I don't know if there could ever be enough of these shows for me.

Okay, I've gone on a fair bit. Last point for now, I'm not sure if the more philosophical shows like Mushi-shi and Kino's Journey count but I think I enjoy them for similar reasons at least. We get a slice of the main character's life and through their journeys we encounter slices of other people's lives too. I guess Natsume's Book of Friends/Natsume Yujin Cho is similar. It's a shame there aren't more shows in this style (although I guess they can be a hard sell).
 

Vashdaman

Za Warudo
whoa, I abandoned my thread! Great responses all, by the way! I'm going to reply tomorrow, after I read all these posts.

Thanks peeps :)
 

Lavigne

Great Teacher
This is more than likely obvious from other posts I've made here, but I'm a huge Macross fan.

Along with the bastardised version of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (Battle of the Planets), and the Japanese-French co-productions during the 80s (The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Ulysses 31), it was Robotech that introduced me to anime. At the time I got the first three episodes on a VHS tape. I rewatched them time after time, wondering how the story continued. A few years later volume 2 turned up at the video rental store, but it was a good few years before it turned up on the Sci-Fi Channel and I was able to watch the show all the way through, including the Southern Cross and Mospeada parts of the story.

It always felt a little odd but it wasn't until the internet surfaced that I discovered the true origins of the series - Macross, Southern Cross and Mospeada. Macross had always been, by far, my favourite part of the series. Finally, in the DVD era I managed to import the Animeigo DVDs and for the first time watched the un-butchered original series. It was far less family-friendly, much more adult in tone, with better-rounded and realistic characters, and the music, thanks to Mari Ijima, was just far, FAR superior. I still have a soft spot for Robotech, and cut it more slack than most Macross fans, but there's no doubt whatsoever that it's a pale imitation of Macross.

The cherry on top is the Macross movie, Do You Remember Love, which essentially tells a dramatised version of the latter part of the series, covering the ship's return to Earth and the final confrontation between the Macross and the Zentraedi forces. Again, the music is incredible, ending with a few scenes/songs from the Flashback 2012 retrospective movie, and the animation being the best that Macross had ever looked.

Since then we've also had subsequent shows Macross Plus and Macross II - I enjoyed both, but again neither are quite up to the standard of the original series, with Plus also being much better than II. Macross Zero is a worthy addition as well, as is Macross Frontier.

It's a truly great franchise, particularly if you're really into the mecha/romance genre, which makes the ongoing rights/licensing issues incredibly frustrating!
 

Lutga

Mad Scientist
I re-watched Macross Plus the other day, and I still reckon you could count it as a genuine masterpiece - not just of the 90s, but of anime in general. I suppose you could dismiss elements of it as typical mecha action sci-fi stuff, but I think the magic is in the execution (largely helped along by Yoko Kanno's incredible music, which I reckon is the single greatest thing about Macross Plus)

Parts of it, like the concert sequence with Sharon Apple are absolutely mind-blowing, and so ahead of their time in terms of the themes they engage with. I do think the four-part version works slightly better as although Information High is an absolute tune, I think there's a more ominous tone when the episode ends with the concert scene and After In The Dark playing out over the end credits.

And obviously at its heart, is the love story, and music's power to triumph over all.
 

Lavigne

Great Teacher
I couldn't agree more. I enjoyed Macross Plus as much last night as I ever have. Possibly even more.

It's a tight story, with interesting characters, and both the visuals and the music are absolutely incredible. I watched the international version last night, with the English dub. Need to watch the original Japanese OVA tonight.

Personally I've always preferred he OVA version over the movie. I just hate the thought of losing scenes. Plus, as mentioned, it actually works better anyway.
 

Smeelia

Thousand Master
Is Macross a Slice of Life show? I always thought it was mostly about the action/drama. I mean, I did say that Slice of Life is pretty open but I'm wondering if Macross is closer to something like Patlabor than I thought. Maybe I should just give it a go anyway, it's just that I've struggled to get into Mecha shows (although I haven't seen many and I've enjoyed what I've seen of Patlabor an awful lot). Still, given how tough it apparently is to be a Macross fan maybe it's not worth it unless the miracle Macross fans have been waiting for occurs (or I acquire loads of money and learn Japanese).
 

Lavigne

Great Teacher
Smeelia said:
Is Macross a Slice of Life show? I always thought it was mostly about the action/drama. I mean, I did say that Slice of Life is pretty open but I'm wondering if Macross is closer to something like Patlabor than I thought. Maybe I should just give it a go anyway, it's just that I've struggled to get into Mecha shows (although I haven't seen many and I've enjoyed what I've seen of Patlabor an awful lot). Still, given how tough it apparently is to be a Macross fan maybe it's not worth it unless the miracle Macross fans have been waiting for occurs (or I acquire loads of money and learn Japanese).

True, it's mecha, and there's action and there's drama, but that's just the backdrop. At the heart of it, it's about three people, and their relationships.

I'd also say that the mecha element isn't anywhere near as pronounced as in Gundam, or Eva.

Well worth a look, but yes, difficult to access at this point. Unfortunately. :(
 

ayase

State Alchemist
I'm not sure I would really count mecha shows with focus on the characters as slice of life. Slice of life to me says no real overarching plot or story - It's just like you're dropping in on and observing the characters' lives for a time without any real need for resolution or story progression in the traditional sense.

Should probably take this opportunity to plug Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou again since I'm re-reading it and it is one of my favourite things of all things that exist. There have been a couple of OVAs produced (the first of which was more faithful in appearance to the manga and had a better soundtrack) and though they can't really begin to plumb the depths of the 14 volume manga, they would probably serve as an indication of whether you'd enjoy it.

Other than that, Azumanga Daioh still towers above the others as one of the few slice-of-life shows I really find watchable and re-watchable, with an honourable mention for Strawberry Marshmallow / Ichigo Mashimaro. I thought Hidamari Sketch was okay, but I dropped it and never picked it back up again which shows it can't really have captured my interest.
 
Top