How Do You Feel About Slice-of-Life Anime?

Ardent anime fans are fully aware of all the genres and categories that anime content is defined by. But every once in a while, something comes up that is hard to put into a neat little genre or category box. Such is the case with slice-of-life (SoL) anime. If you've heard of or seen it, what are your thoughts? How do you feel about SoL?

Anime fans tend to debate what actually constitutes SoL anime. For that reason alone, it is often difficult to peg a piece of content as being exclusively SoL. You could have a Shonen series aimed at teen boys, a series that occasionally includes SoL scenes and stories. Does that make the whole piece SoL?

The best way to describe SoL anime is to say that it presents normal events that happen during the course of everyday life. The events are fairly routine; they are unremarkable. Building an entire series on this premise seems risky for reasons outlined below. On the other hand, including occasional SoL content within the confines of another genre is more acceptable.

Criticisms of SoL Content

You are not alone if you're not a fan of SoL anime. This particular form of the art has a lot of critics. One of the main criticisms is a lack of depth. Comparing SoL to something else, like sci-fi, reveals this particular problem. Sci-fi tends to explore darker issues like technology gone bad and dystopian worlds, issues that can be exploited to the ends of the Earth. You can only go so far with SoL.

Here are some of the other criticisms:

  • Predictability – Because SoL deals with everyday issues, its stories tend to be predictable. SoL relies on the ordinary for its content. Let's face it, our ordinary lives bore us. That is why we latch on to anime. It is just more exciting.
  • Lack of Resolution – For some strange reason, SoL series rarely resolve their story lines. Maybe this is because there are few genuine resolutions in real life.
  • Content Delusion – When SoL is introduced into another genre, even briefly, some people believe it dilutes the original content. It takes the excitement out of an otherwise captivating story.
  • Shallow Characters – SoL anime generally presents shallow characters. Why? Because little character development is necessary when your story revolves around normal daily life. You do not need extraordinary characters to do ordinary things.
  • Series Length – Another flaw with the SoL approach is a lack of stories that can be developed for years on end. As a result, a typical SoL series is very short. It comes and goes without a whole lot of fanfare.

SoL anime is criticized on many other fronts that this post will not address. Here's the point: SoL seems to be an acquired taste. You either watch and love it, or you turn it off and never turn it back on again. The fact that creators produce so much of it is proof that there is an audience for it. But for how long?

As a seller of anime clothing and accessories, we understand the concept of giving customers exactly what they want. Fail to do that and they will go elsewhere. For now, there seem to be enough anime fans interested in SoL to keep it alive. That could even be the story for the long term. Time will tell.

What are your thoughts? Do you appreciate a good SoL story, or would you rather watch something else? There is enough anime out there to satisfy every one’s tastes. If SoL is your thing, have at it. There's nothing wrong with it at all.