It’s “Slice of Life”, TheBigN! Is it?

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.

houkago tea time vuvuzela

Here. Have some random noise come at you now.

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.

12 Responses to “It’s “Slice of Life”, TheBigN! Is it?”


  1. 2 RyanA August 17, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    The metaphor is the tool, with the feelings as the end result. Uhhh… right?

    It’s love! You know when you know!

    I agree that “slice of life” is highly based around feelings/experience, but I tend to overlook when the term is used poorly ;;

    There’s undoubtedly going to be those who think they know what it implies, but really don’t understand the feelings that come with it; they don’t have the full effect. Sadly, I think using any other term that is more complex than a genre like action or comedy is going to have people who still don’t get it…. I can admit I have little clue what the hell “fantasy” as a genre implies.😄

  2. 3 lelangir August 17, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    I don’t get it.

    and I don’t really see why it’s important….

  3. 5 ghostlightning August 18, 2010 at 3:37 am

    I’m still ambivalent with regards to categorizing a genre as slice of life, given how it seems to be an element within a narrative as opposed to something that wholly describes the narrative work.

    I suppose there are works that are purely slice of life, say, Yotsuba!& where there is really no overarching narrative but rather day-to-day revelations of character of the characters, in their small and very short stories.

  4. 6 ojisan August 18, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    We’re talking about this BECAUSE some people use SOL as a pejorative, am I right? Otherwise I’d be reading YKK instead of typing this –

    Part of my SOL definition is that any part can stand for the whole. Pick 3 random episodes of Aria and you’ll have had the Aria experience, while 3 random episodes of True Tears, Martian Successor Nadesico or Monster will feel like you’ve only seen fragments.

  5. 7 Yi August 23, 2010 at 2:53 am

    This whole discussion just feels like arguing semantics to me. It is certainly hard to define genre, but I think it’s fine for someone to categorize certain works, such as K-On!, as slice-of-life as they are very much appropriate for that. I guess for me, this genre is a bit like child pornography: I can’t define it, but “I know it when I see it.”

    • 8 TheBigN August 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm

      It is a matter of sematics; I mean several people don’t even seen “slice of life” as a genre.

      In your case, I do want to know what to you makes K-On! slice of life (not that I disagree with you in terms of the metaphor), since I don’t know what slice of life means to you.

      And that last sentence usually uses just “pornography”. Adding “child” in front of it is a little. :v

      • 9 Yi August 25, 2010 at 6:13 am

        For me, if the story revolves around just another day of the characters, then it is a slice of life. For K-On! we are literally following slices of their lives during this series. The characters do not go on some adventure, nor are they involved in some evil plot. Things do happen, but it is nothing too out of the ordinary for the girls.

        Anyways, about the quote, I must have been watching too much Law and Order: SVU…


  1. 1 The Great “Slice of Life” Argument « Midnight Equinox Trackback on August 17, 2010 at 4:53 pm
  2. 2 Amusing Slice – aloe, dream Trackback on August 17, 2010 at 5:19 pm
  3. 3 A “Quick” Question « Drastic My Anime Blog Trackback on September 5, 2011 at 11:54 am

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