Slice-of-life Shows Are Like Onions

There’s layers involved in these series which capture and depict daily happenings.

I just kind of wanted to write this after realizing I’ve been a little disappointed with this season’s offerings of slice-of-life shows in general. Yes, it’s a bit late to notice this when the season is almost over. Self-reflection isn’t my strong point.

Admittedly, this post might have been inspired by a certain green ogre.

I personally believe that there’s three kinds (of onions) that can roughly summarize all slice-of-life anime. These arbitrary categories only manifest when there’s some serious reductionism going on, however. So I apologize if I try too hard to squeeze a show into a particular category. In fact, you should consider these categories more as guidelines.

Furthermore, some shows waffle and seem to be caught between multiple categories depending on the strength of a particular week’s episode. At the end of the day, it’s all personal opinion.

Dead and Rotten

There’s nothing to be salvaged here even if you peel and inspect every conceivable layer. Meaningful messages are nearly nonexistent at best. For the most part, all viewers get are instances of fanservice or silly gags. Expect most of these gags to either consist of cheeky (or clever) wordplay or allusions/homages/parodies of other anime or manga. These are the kind of shows you watch without thinking. The strength of the gags determine whether or not you like the show, basically.

Simulcast Example(s): Gabriel DropOut

Other Example(s): Anne Happy♪Bakuon!!

Still Edible

There’s some good stuff to be found here after several layers have been peeled off. But thoughtful themes and sentimental concepts can be left unrefined and unexplored. Or a show can start strongly yet regress as the season goes on. Or the fanservice levels are simply out of hand (at times). Thankfully, this sort of show isn’t as eager to overuse gags, but you’re usually left wondering, “The show had so much promise. Where did it come short?”

Simulcast Example(s)Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid DragonDemi-chan wa Kataritai

Other Examples: New Game!

Freshly Harvested

These are the kind of shows that make you spoiled when it comes to slice-of-life shows (and ruins whatever sort of metaphor you had going on). They set the precedent of weaving lessons and morals amidst the chaos of the characters’ daily antics and causes you to expect more from your slice-of-life anime. Character headspaces are explored (monologues ahoy!) and relatable concepts are presented. While nothing really happens on the grand scale of things, which is to be expected considering the genre, these sort of shows are simply a cut above and leave you pensive about life more often than not.

Simulcast Example(s): Sangatsu no Lion

Other Examples: Amanchu!

What’s the meaning of all this?

…apparently I’m drawn to main characters who lean toward the pessismistic side of things considering the shows I listed in the final category?

What does this all really mean, though?

Nothing, really, if I’m being honest.

Some of my favorite shows probably fall squarely into the “Dead and Rotten” category (such as Yuru Yuri or Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?). It doesn’t mean that I feel ashamed for enjoying these shows or that these shows aren’t to be liked. They have their time and place. Like, maybe you want to detox after watching a heavy episode of Kuzu no Honkai, for instance. There you go! Those shows would be decent remedies for the resultant painful feelings.

That being said, I realize I’m soft on YY and GochiUsa because I find them to be shows with excellent comedic timing. Gags are the selling point for shows that are in the “Dead and Rotten” category, after all. If this type of show can’t make you consistently laugh, then it’s not living up to expectations.

I don’t think there’s much to explain about the shows listed under the “Freshly Harvested” category. I consider them to be shows which excel and push past the limits inherent to slice-of-life anime.

The ones to look out for are the ones in the “Still Edible” category. Opinions will be split. Shows will inevitably be compared to one another, which probably isn’t the right way to go about things. Some may find these shows to fall short of expectations or may find them to be perfectly adequate.

Just remember that you’re free to enjoy whatever shows you want. It doesn’t mean that you should just accept everything without question, however. Think about what could have been done better. Be an active viewer. Question everything. This blog included.

20 thoughts on “Slice-of-life Shows Are Like Onions

  1. Intriguing post. Well, if you haven’t watched Space Brothers, I recommend it. It’s still categorized as slice of life even though it’s sci-fi. What’s interesting is that it’s possible sci-fi that we might and will achieve in the very near future. Great anime and awesome manga.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have come to enjoy slice of life dramas more these past few weeks. Ever since starting my blog, I have been watching more Anime than before, and discovered the genre. One of the first series was Orange, a series that everyone seems to have a love/hate relationship with. I quite enjoyed it, but there are a lot of people that hated it. Since then I have tried to find out more about the genre, and discover similar Animeseries. A post like this really helps, and I like what you did by describing the different categories 😀 Enjoyable and entertaining post 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you’ve hit the nail on the end about why some slice of life shows work for me and others don’t. March Comes in Like a Lion has been a thoroughly enjoyable watch but Gabriel Drop Out I dropped pretty much straight away because I just saw no point in watching it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. *questions all existence*

    This is certainly a unique way to look at slice of life shows. As you know, I don’t handle that genre too well and I think the only anime I loved that’s labelled slice of life is Natsume Yuujinchou which seems to fit into the last category.

    That’s not conclusive proof of where my tastes lie though. But the mindless, gag-based ones would probably bore me quickly. The reason is mostly that visual media doesn’t keep my attention as easily or thoroughly as the written word so the kind of shows that one is meant to take easy just doesn’t click for me. At all.

    I guess I prefer to peel some layers while I’m at it? Or did I completely fuck up your metaphor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the spirit!

      Mmm it’s something I’ve been thinking about recently and I’m not sure I properly conveyed my thoughts but I’ll leave it at that. I think Natsume Yuujinchoi would fit in the last category, as well, but I have yet to watch it.

      Mmm fair enough. Sometimes they don’t click with me, either.

      Your guess is as good as mine. I write this at like 4 am after watching a few Shrek clips. I think you’ve got it, though.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Also I’ll be catching on KoS today! Once I’m done with work and I get my oil changed.

      Because I’m actually a cyborg.

      But, no, really, it’s for my car.

      My car which I drive by inserting my cybernetic limbs into the cup holder.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Buckle in, buddy, KoS is a rough ride. And not in a good way.

        Well that explains why you’re aware enough make onions out of slice of life at 4am. As far as superhuman feats go, that’s pretty up there.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Unique concept. It seems that I enjoy the “dead and rotten” category more than the other two, which I’m a bit ashamed about, haha. My taste is bad and I should feel bad. But I can’t help but love my funny moe anime~.

    Actually in regards to the last category, I haven’t seen any of the titles you listed yet so I’m not sure if I’m a fan of that category or not. Could you think of more examples?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s nothing wrong with that! Some shows within that category are a blast to watch!

      Hmm. I would vouch for Usagi Drop. Yahari Ore no Seishun Comedy wa Machigatteiru has SoL elements but I’m not sure it totally qualified.

      Some other potential examples could include Sweetness and Lightning, Flying Witch, and Aria, but I’ve yet yo finish those series so I’m not completely sure.

      Sorry about the late response. Decided to go back to bed after posting that so I could get some sleep before work.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s totally fine! I’m going back to sleep after this comment! XD

        I guess I am also a fan of the latter category, but not to the same degree as the first. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

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