We recently ran a blog post talking about slice-of-life (SoL) anime. The post wasn't intended to be highly critical of this particular art form. Perhaps it came off sounding like it. So with that possibility, we wanted to offer a few more thoughts. Let us talk about some of the positives.
As a recap, SoL anime is a type of anime that takes a look at the more routine aspects of real life. It is the anime version of the old 1990s sitcom Seinfeld. If you don't remember that show, it was billed as a "show about nothing".
Seinfeld didn’t feature a single theme or storyline. Short storylines were sometimes developed and carried through two or three episodes, but most of the episodes were unique. They dealt with four New York friends and the joys and sorrows they encountered in daily life.
SoL Is Predictable
One of the criticisms of SoL anime is that it is predictable. But for a lot of viewers, predictability is comfortable. It's enjoyable. Rather than sitting anxiously on the edge of their seats wondering what's going to happen to their favorite characters, they can sit back and relax in the comfort of knowing what's probably going to happen before the final credits roll.
Predictability isn't necessarily a bad thing. It can be a very good thing from an entertainment standpoint. To a certain extent, we rely on predictability to produce our anime T-shirts and sweatshirts. We know what you guys expect from us, and we strive to deliver it. We are offering a bit of predictability that you have shown appreciation for.
SoL Is More Real
There is an irony in SoL anime that is lost on some of its critics. That irony is SoL's more realistic approach to telling stories. Remember that historical Japanese anime was born out of a desire to create a style of animation more realistic than what Western artists were producing at the time. Realism has been a hallmark of anime ever since.
For some fans of SoL, there hasn't been enough reality in anime for quite some time. Characters and stories have pushed the boundaries of reality as much as their Western counterparts. But with SoL, reality is still a priority. There are some viewers who truly appreciate that.
SoL's Relatable Characters
It has been said that, in order to tell a good story, you need to start with relatable characters. Even the most fantastic superheroes with unrealistic powers need to seem like the average Joe or Jane on the street. If fans cannot relate to the characters, they will not watch.
SoL anime thrives on relatable characters. Some say that the genre dilutes characters, that it actually robs them of any depth because they don't do anything out of the ordinary. But that is almost insulting if you think about it.
Do you consider yourself shallow? Do you lack depth as a person because you're not out fighting vampires or saving the world from evil corporations? Average people have plenty of depth. They have plenty to offer. SoL anime honors that with very relatable characters.
An Acquired Taste
We cannot deny that SoL isn't the most popular genre in the anime universe. We cannot deny it enjoys a limited audience. But that is only because it is an acquired taste. There are enough people who appreciate SoL to invite creators to keep making it. That's good.
In the meantime, we will keep making our anime apparel and phone cases. We invite you to shop our online store in search of something for yourself or someone else. We have plenty for the anime fan in your life.