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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33 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Top 5: Slice of Life Anime”
I would have to go with Barakamon and Tamako Market! I also love love love Waiting in the Summer but that is more romantic comedy than slice of life. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (My Little Monster), Princess Jellyfish, and Dagashi Kashi are also great choices. Too many good ones to choose from! XD
Barakamon and Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun are both pretty great choices. Tamako Market and I didn’t see eye to eye and I’ve never tried the others. Thanks for sharing.
Oh I forgot to mention Inari KonKon Koi Iroha and Kuma Miko! Two other fun anime to watch 😀
Hmm…I think of ReLIFE as an SoL first and a romance second, plus I don’t have too many SoLs in my completed list that I liked, so off the top of my head I only have Aria and ReLIFE…
…I need to complete some more SoLs then, I guess.
I’m surprised by how many I actually have watched considering it is a genre I’m hesitant to start shows in when they are described as Slice of Life.
Love this list! Oregairu is my very favorite anime, and TMoHS isn’t far behind. And you already know how I feel about 3-gatsu! I’m also happy to see Re:LIFE make honorable mention—I was so hyped to recently hear that it’s getting a second season (or at least an OVA?).
Anymore of ReLIFE would be appreciated because it kind of feels like they should let us see the whole year if they are going to set that time frame in the first place. I’d love to know what happens next.
I actually haven’t seen most of these (surprisingly) but I definitely want to check out some such as My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU and Poco’s Udon World has me somewhat curious.
I’m still surprised I liked Poco’s Udon World. It just worked for me and that is really odd for that sort of show. I also liked that it had an ending to the story which is something you don’t really see a lot of in these sorts of anime.
Not really sure about a couple on the list, but I’m surprised shows like Non Non Biyori and such aren’t on there as those some really good slice of life shows.
That’s why this is a list of my favourites and not a declaration of which shows are the best. I don’t really like Slice of Life but my list are the ones that I’ve enjoyed. You are welcome to share your favourites if you’d like to nominate some more titles.
Whenever someone says slice of life, I always think of Honey and Clover. It’s sort of overtly mushy at times but it’s the show that made me realize anime has more to offer than shounen. I don’t even remember it that well, I was practically a kid then, but I love it. And Barakamon. Always! Since you made the list very day to day, Hyouka is definitely special.
I have to watch My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU at some point, but I keep seeing such varied reviews with it, I don’t know what to do.
Watch the first episode of SNAFU, or even just the opening monologue. If that makes you laugh or if you appreciate it, just keep watching. If not, move on because the tone of the show probably won’t work for you.
Honey & Clover is amazing ^_^ That’s partially a reason why I’m enjoying “March comes in like a lion” so much — it’s great by itself but also conjures up memories about Takemoto, Mayama, Yamada and others.
Both of the shows are actually really different in terms of character and plot. That doesn’t stop me from getting all nostalgic though. 😀 It’s just that bittersweet tone that always hits hard.
Seeing that number 1 spot is March Comes in Like a Lion, it seems I made a good decision to finally watch the season 1
Hope you enjoy it. I loved it though I know some people don’t really click with the main character and that puts them off a bit.
I’ve but actually seen that many in the genre … I’d say that Amanchu!, Flying Witch, and Haruhi were enjoyable. If we’re including films then 5cm per second kinda fits too. I need to watch others though, as I’ve grown to appreciate the genre more in recent years.
I’m definitely finding more slice of life that I enjoy now then when I fist started watching aime. Whether my tastes are changing or whether the shows are just more engaging I’m not really sure. Probably my tastes changing.
I wondered if it was a combination of the two for me. There certainly seems to be plenty out there regardless though.
March Comes in Like a Lion wins this category for me as well. There isn’t really a better slice of life then that at the moment.
It is fantastic.
Interesting list. I didn’t expect seeing Haruhi in the list, but oh well. Hhhmmmm…
My list would be Shirobako, K-On, Hyouka, Oregairu & lastly, Hibike Euphonium.
That’s probably because I’m not really a slice of life fan so some of the shows I consider slice of life probably aren’t really shows people who like slice of life would choose.
Thanks for sharing your favourites.
Hmmm I would probably go with Tanaka-kun is Always Listless, Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru and Nobody’s Boy Remi
I expected Tanaka-Kun would be on a few people’s lists this time round. What is Nobody’s Boy Remi?
Nobody’s Boy Remi is an old anime from 80′ . The Japanese Title is Ie Naki Ko.
“Remi is a boy living happily with his mother in the French countryside. But everything changes when his estranged father comes home and, in desperate need of money, reveals that Remi is adopted, and sells him. Heartbroken, Remi ends up with Vitalis, a traveling musician, and his troupe of animal entertainers. Together, they travel the country in search for Remi’s real parents, along the way learning the harsh lessons of life. A deeply moving story about friendship, loss and the pursuit of happiness”
That sounds kind of interesting. Any clue if it is available online?
Legally I doubt, I have the dvd box set, so I never have to look for it.
I’m one that has come to appreciate slice of life animes more and more. It isn’t that this genre is now my favorite (it’s not) but I do enjoy more series like that these days. The two that spring to mind the most are Orange (which I know you don’t really like) and Kids on the Slope ( which I don’t know your thoughts about honestly, unless I missed them). And then of course there is Your Lie in April…which I don’t think I have to explain 😊 March Comes in Like a Lion still isn’t available for me which is a real shame as this is a series I really want to see 😀
Kids on the Slope I didn’t finish but I kind of appreciated what it was doing. It just wasn’t working for me even though I really wanted to like it because it was really well done. Because I didn’t finish it I’ll probably never review unless I eventually get back to a rewatch of it. It is one of those shows on my endless list to get back to but it seems unlikely.
Yeah, I can understand a bit why you dropped it. The series was at times pretty slow, and certain character developments felt out of place. At the end I was glad to have stuck with it though, because it really had such an incredibly beautiful ending. Haha…and well…I have way too many of those lists too lol 😂😂