[Description]: The slice of life genre is typically about exploring the mundane eccentricities of the daily lives of its characters and offering a relaxing, pleasant atmosphere. These kinds of stories often forsake conventional plot-lines and storytelling in exchange for a more episodic, explorative format where they can jump in and out of their character’s lives without much disruption. In observing the normal and the trivial aspects of life, many of these shows present a light philosophical perspective on what it means to go through life or to grow up. These shows represent a serene sense of escapism where the viewer can feel calm and unwind. Links to spoiler-free reviews of all of the shows that have them are included.
6. So Ra No Wo To
Alternative Title: Sound of the Sky
Episode Count: 12 Episodes (24-minutes each)
Studio and Year: A-1 Pictures; 2010
Details: So Ra No Wo To is a rather unusual slice of life show in that its story heavily features both military and war subjects. A young girl by the name of Kanata Sorami joins the 1121st Platoon of the Helvetian Army as an aspiring bugler. Stationed in the small, quaint town of Seize, she passes her days with her fellow officers and friends. While the show’s subject matter is interesting enough, what’s more engaging is the fascinating, post-apocalyptic world the characters live in. The various historical aspects and world-building elements the show explores are genuinely interesting. While the show is lighthearted and often humorous, it never really lets the viewer forget that the characters are soldiers living in a world at war. Before the end, So Ra No Wo To reveals itself to be about the state of its world, war, and the complications therein as well as the charming lives of its characters.
Alternative Title: School-Live!
Episode Count: 12 Episodes (24-minutes each)
Studio and Year: Lerche; 2015
Details: In a similar way to So Ra No Wo To, Gakkougurashi! is certainly not your typical, relaxing, slice of life anime. It centers around a group of students who form the School-Living club and live on campus along with their teacher while attending classes and borrowing the school’s facilities. Though the protagonist Yuki has yet to realize it, there is a reason for the club’s existence beyond what she can comprehend. While she goes about her daily life as normal, in reality the students live in a zombie-apocalypse, barricaded inside the school. The intrigue of Gakkougurashi! is founded in the show’s ability to portray a stereo-typically, sugar-sweet, slice of life environment alongside the gruesome and terrifying subject of a zombie-apocalypse. It has a very artistic presentation of these two extremes and is certainly worth a watch. You can read a spoiler-free review: here.
4. Aria the Animation
Episode Count: 56 Episodes; 3 Seasons (24-minutes each)
Studio and Year: Hal Film Maker; 2006 – 2008
Details: Often the iconic face of slice of life anime, Aria is an honored classic and major staple of the genre. In the city of Neo-Venezia on the planet Aqua, once known as Mars before its terraformation, Mizunashi Akari works as an Undine under the Aria Company – a professional gondolier who ferries the citizens of Neo-Venezia as well as tourists through the city’s many waterways. Though only a fledgling Undine, Akari and her friends have high aspirations of one day becoming as accomplished as their respective teachers, known as the Three Water Fairies of Neo-Venezia. Aria follows Akari and her friend’s progress as Undines and their heartfelt interactions with the people of Aqua. It’s very sweet and observant and really hits upon all the reasons why slice of life is appealing. You can read spoiler-free reviews of all 3 seasons: here.
Episode Count: 22 Episodes (25-minutes each)
Studio and Year: Kyoto Animation; 2012
Details: Hyouka details the daily life of Houtarou Oreki, a high school student set on living his life efficiently and with as little energy output as possible. His lifestyle is upended when he joins the school’s literature club and encounters Chitanda Eru, an endlessly curious girl who becomes obsessed with various puzzles and mysteries. Spurred on by Chitanda’s incessant inquisitiveness, Oreki along with the rest of the Classics Club find themselves investigating the various mysteries of the school. Hyouka is an absolutely gorgeous show about exploring the small mysteries in every day life as well as those that crop up around the characters. Oreki’s deductive reasoning and the show’s beautiful presentation make the show a real pleasure to watch.
Episode Count: 26 Episodes; 2 Seasons (25-minutes each)
Studio and Year: Kyoto Animation; 2009 – 2010
Details: Upon entering high school , Hirasawa Yui opts to join the Light Music Club though upon learning that she needs to know how to play an instrument, it is revealed that she cannot. Convincing her to stay in order to keep the club together, the other members help her pick up the guitar and learn how to read music. K-On! focuses on how the club spend theirs days together, practicing for concerts, hanging out in and outside of school, and performing. At face-value the show is very sweet and cute but underneath its adorable aesthetic is a show with a lot of imagination, passion, and affection. The chemistry between the band members and the rest of the cast is incredibly heartwarming and well-written and whether music is your thing or not, the atmosphere, the presentation, and the characters are good enough reasons to warrant a watch.
Episode Count: 24 Episodes (24-minutes each)
Studio and Year: P.A. Works; 2014 – 2015
Details: Miyamori Aoi, a young production assistant at the animation studio Musashino Animation, entered into the anime industry to pursue her aspirations of making an animated feature with her high-school friends. Aoi and her friends take various career paths within the animation industry in order to reach their goal however their respective professions are far more challenging than they once imagined. Shirobako follows the day to day struggles of Aoi and Musashino Animation as well as the members of her high-school animation club as they all try to progress within the industry, meet deadlines, and create a compelling animated feature. Shirobako is a wonderfully written, insightful, journey through the industry of anime full of incredible characters and astounding cast-chemistry. Any fan of anime owes it to themselves to watch this show. You can read a spoiler-free review: here.