Slice of Life isn’t exactly my favourite genre when it comes to anime. I find a lot of these stories fairly lacking in direction, slow paced, and just a little bit dull and yet every now and then I come across one that for some reason takes my fancy and then it becomes one of my favourite shows to binge on a sleepy afternoon. Now, when I started thinking about my top 5 favourite slice of life stories, I realised that over the years I’ve actually watched quite a few of these (and that isn’t counting the ones currently airing that I’m become quite attached to). To help narrow things down I kind of excluded those that are more romantic than slice of life or have a greater sense of direction with the plot. Unfortunately that took Natsume Yuujinchou out of the list but I’ll leave that as an hounourable mention.
As always, I’d love to know what would be on your list.
Please Note – There may be some spoilers below.
Honourable mentions to Natsume Yuujinchou, ReLIFE and Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun.
Number 5: Poco’s Udon World
No one is more surprised than me by how much I ended up enjoying this story. It is mostly directionless about a guy returning home after the death of his father and finding a kid in a pot when he goes to clean the house. Of course the kid is actually a tanuki but they end up having a father and child relationship while he tries to figure out what to do with his life. It’s all very cute but never too cute and even though we’re really just watching their day to day there’s enough going on as they learn to live together and as they try to keep Poco’s secret that you never really get too bored. Not really sure about the Udon part of the title given while the place used to be an Udon shop that’s really a very minor point in this story.
Number 4: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
I know, a lot of people wouldn’t class this as a slice of life, but really while it crosses into about ten genres essentially we are watching a group of high school kids go about their day to day lives. Their day to day lives are made somewhat more exciting by an array of weirdness summoned usually unintentionally by Haruhi, but that’s really all there is at the end of the day. They film a movie, wander about the town, meet in the club room, get challenged to play a computer game, do part time jobs, and all manner of fairly meaningless activity as life kind of marches on around them. Admittedly, this one definitely has a more fantasy and science fiction feeling which is why it is so low on the list despite this being one of my favourite anime.
Number 3: Acchi Kocchi
Another anime I really love but don’t really know why. At some point I should actually get around to reviewing this one given how many times characters from it end up on one of these lists. Another group of five friends (and occasionally extra classmates) doing not much. This one is definitely more comedy focused though with each episode usually split into two parts where the kids get up to something and then we get a punch line and move on. They make chocolate for Valentine’s Day, have a snowball fight, an extreme game of tag, sell cakes, and pretty much just go about their days while the audience watches on hopefully amused. This is one I enjoy because it is high energy but ultimately pretty pointless so you don’t really need to take anything too seriously. Something that becomes fairly immediately apparent once you listen to the opening theme.
Number 2: My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu
This one almost got ruled out because it does have a potential romance in it, but given the nature of the main character it never really goes anywhere. I really enjoy this story mostly because of the snarky nature of Hachiman and as the main narrator of the story he is pretty fantastic. It keeps what should be relatively dull viewing pretty entertaining. Again we have high school students going to school, meeting in a club room, spending a lot of time reading and drinking tea, occasionally getting involved to plan a festival or something, and yet this story always manages to feel like it is progressing towards something even if it doesn’t quite get there. It ends up being a highly entertaining watch provided you don’t mind a heavy dose of social commentary with your slice of life.
Number 1: March Comes in Like a Lion
For all that March Comes in Like a Lion is taking a fairly serious look at depression and social anxiety, at the end of the day this story really just follows the characters as they go through the motions of living. There’s no villain to overcome or boss waiting with an end game. There’s no real sense that we’re heading toward anything. The only real sense of movement you get in this story is how Rei is progressing as a character as he tries to interact with the world. For all that the pace is at times extremely slow this story manages to find ways to keep you interested. The visuals are fantastic as are some of the metaphors constructed to show us the characters’ emotional states. There’s also some generally good choices with music, symbolism, and timing of dialogue. It all just comes together in a way that makes viewing immensely satisfying. The first season was fantastic and while the second season has only just started it doesn’t seem to have lost any of the feeling of the first. We’ll see whether it holds up by season’s end though.
So that is my list of Top 5 slice of life anime. I’d love to know what is on yours. I’m betting someone is going to say Flying Witch.
Thanks for reading.
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