So I’m a little surprised at the sort of play that NovaJinx’s post on slice-of-life has started to get, since I had thought that the general idea . And it’s cool, especially the fact that there’s a discussion on a concept that has started to get over-used a bit too much in qualifying anime works recently. It’s kind of at the point where I kind of refrain from using “slice of life” in discussion anymore, since I worry about if I’m using it correctly or not (and it seems like wikipedia itself is a little unsure about application of the term at least), of if I should even use it to describe shows or whatnot. But it’s not like the overuse of term bugs me, but rather how it’s overused, especially since there’s been an established meaning.
As I said on omo’s post:
I guess my problem with the usage of “slice of life” nowadays is that most of the time the “Don’t think. Feel.” qualities that you can say are associated with the concept are used in a more “Just don’t think.” sort of capacity when people use it. Apparently feeling is hard, yo.
In my case though, I feel happy when people at least stop using the term in the context of “a work where nothing happens” or “cute girls doing cute things”, since doing so sort of sells the concept short. Keep in mind that that’s not how all people refer to “slice of life” works as such, or that these criticisms solely fit that metaphor, but it’s where I often see them as some justifications for applying the term as they do for certain works (ie. why they disregard/don’t like such works). When I see that I feel like not only are people not necessarily feeling the works that they label as such, they are not thinking much about them at all, which why they’re labeled as such. That’s nothing that I can stop though, but to use it as a throw-away term like that is one of those things that “just bugs me”.
I feel like works that tend to be called having “slice of life” elements are supposed to be ones that are meant to evoke feelings from you experience. In my view, the transience of life and moments in life, “life goes on/we keep living”, “this is how life is” and so on is some of the draw of the thing. It’s not the only point about “slice of life”, or even probably the most important point, but I think in general, part of the point of those works is to get you to feel something from that observation of someone’s life, which in turn makes you think after the fact. “Don’t think. Feel. Then think,” would be the way I see it.
Yet that feeling doesn’t define the metaphor; it’s not “I feel this from these works, so that’s why I’ll label them as “slice of life”. But that’s my thoughts; I mean, we know what “slice of life” is, but the response that it evokes is up to you. Which is why you can describe such works that use the metaphor as iyashikei, kuuki-kei, and whatnot because of the feelings they cause, but you can’t directly equal them to “slice of life” in that way. The metaphor is the tool, with the feelings as the end result. Uhhh… right?
I’m definitely making this more complicated than it needs to be, and I’m not sure it makes sense to me as this moment. I’m definitely thinking too much here, and I’m getting to the point where I don’t even feel like I know what I’m talking about anymore.