It feels like I talk about this sort of thing way too frequently, but there’s always something that keeps pulling me back to thinking about the adoption of the term “slice of life anime” (to the point of where I’m getting sick of seeing that to the point where he’s probably already at). In this case an article from a CNN blog focused on geek culture about anime that’s decently written, but glosses over some things and pokes my nerves again with using the term and defining it in a way that bothers me:
“slice of life anime”, in which characters didn’t really do anything, but spent a lot of time talking about nonsensical subjects and looking pretty. “Moe” characters – young, adorable girls on the cusp between puberty and adulthood – were a pervasive signature of these anime shows.
“Slice of life anime” marked a stark shift between darker themes and comedic themes, affecting the climate of anime on a major level.
In an article that uses various “turning points” to explain how anime has changed over time, this is one of those examples, and with my bias showing, I don’t feel like it’s used in a positive light.
I’m still at a loss as to why this definition (variations on “stuff not happening” tied into “moe” characters and whatnot) has become acceptable and mainstream enough that it gets thrown around frequently. And that’s because this usage often evokes a negative connotation in my head (as in “this is what’s wrong with anime today” doomsday-type of connotation) to the point where it feels like it’s becoming the new scapegoat in anime, incorporating the old scapegoat (moe) into something that’s more definable. A genre that shifts anime into places “we” don’t like.
As with issues of this nature, there’s few clear-cut examples where people actually say this sort of thing and mean it, so that what I’ve said with many grains of salt. That being said, what I want to know is how this definition has developed over the years to become a catch-all, as well as why people (in the west) are using it as an explanation of what anime has currently become. Does anyone have any suggestions or clues?