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Slice of Life
Life, observed and examined. A cast of characters go about their daily lives, making observations and being themselves. School is perhaps the most common setting for these kinds of series, especially in animation. Coming of age is often a major part of their stories. They may have Death by Newbery Medal.

What separates slice of life as a genre from the literal meaning of the phrase (which would encompass nearly all fiction) is the emphasis on the very moment, with the intent of focusing the audience on that moment rather than using that moment as part of a narrative. For example, a story about hilarious roommate hi-jinx may depict the mundane life of roommates, but these mundane events are usually the set-ups and punchlines of jokes or part of the conflict between the characters, which takes away their slice-of-life-ness and cements them firmly in the realm of comedy or drama.

Slice of Life series don't usually have much of a plot or, if taken to extreme, even the omnipresent Conflict, but they don't really need one, and many Slice of Life stories use a lack of conflict to serve peaceful escapism rather than realism. An example of this would be how in many slice of life school stories, parents are nearly non-existent. Most American newspaper comics that aren't simply gag a day strips are stories like this due to the simple fact that most people do not read newspapers every day and archives of comic strips are rare, so they need to be able to jump into the comic's world at any time and be able to appreciate it.

Slice of life also doesn't have to be set in the world as we know it. Several Webcomics are Slice of Life, while the ones labeled "Real Life" are usually not real life at all, but tend to fall into some brand of Speculative Fiction, or at the least Life Embellished. Not to be confused with the Journal Comic, although they may overlap. For a complete index, see Slice-of-Life Webcomics.

Surprisingly popular in Japan, so a lot of Anime fills this category. In longer-running action-based shows it is also becoming fairly common to incorporate Slice of Life episodes to flesh out the characters by placing them in a more mundane setting. This often gets combined with a Mood Whiplash when the pace of the action picks up. See Schoolgirl Series for a specific type of Slice of Life. See also Iyashikei, which often overlaps with this trope. Compare and contrast with Soap Opera. Since the casts of such shows tend to be mostly if not entirely female, English-speaking fans sometimes refer to them as "cute girls doing cute things".

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Strangers in Paradise was largely Slice of Life, but had a rather incongruous thriller subplot involving a conspiracy to take over the government.
  • Love And Rockets by Los Bros Hernandez started off as grab-bag of surrealism, Slice of Life and Magical Realism. With time, the Slice of Life elements predominate.
  • Omaha the Cat Dancer combines the Slice of Life and Furries. Oh yeah, and explicit sex scenes.
    • Shanda the Panda, the Spiritual Successor to Omaha, has a similar tone, but confines the sex scenes to their own title.
  • Most issues of Astro City were actually Slice of Life pieces, with the heroes and villains taking a back seat to the ordinary citizens just trying to keep their lives together in a world where superpowered beings attempt to save-and/or-destroy the world on a regular basis.
  • American Splendor.
  • In Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane superheroics become a background detail to Mary Jane's crush on the popular superhero Spider-Man.
  • Some of Robert Crumb's autobiographical works, like Self Loathing Comics which was an autobiographical collaboration with him and his wife Aline.
  • Roberta Gregory's Naughty Bits, for the most part.
  • Archie Comics follows a group of fifties-esque teenagers about their daily lives.
  • Impulse was intended to be this by Mark Waid, the character's creator (ie. primarily Slice of Life with a dash of superhero). It worked, at first - some very memorable moments include Bart not-so-indirectly starting a massive schoolfight in #3, and this story from #6 - but along the way it somehow mutated into primarily superhero with a dash of life.
  • Swedish indie comic writer Coco Moodysson's autobiographic comic book Coco Platina Titan Total: several slices of teenage and early-20s life.
  • Ghost World
  • It can be argued that Scott Pilgrim both subverts and plays this straight. While the world they live in is clearly a weird video gamed based society where everyone at the least has the potential for super powers, in their world, that is considered the norm. The main plot is essentially the lives and dynamic between all of the characters. When they aren't fighting, everything is actually quite normal, and is almost like a Canadian hipster version of Friends.
  • Zot!:
    • One issue was called "Jenny's Day", and was just that: it showed Jenny get up in the morning, go to school, and showed an ordinary day in her life. It was made interesting by seeing her thoughts and how much she hated her life and would rather be living on Zot's world.
    • Later issues of Zot!, titled "The Earth Stories" did this, focusing on just one minor character and showing a sample of their life.
  • The Justice League International series by Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis had plots that dealt with these situations in a comedic way, such as Guy Gardner and Ice having a date at an ice show or the team going to a French language school.
  • The Alcoholic
  • Sunnyville Stories is basically about the daily adventures of its two protagonists, Rusty and Sam. They have many daily adventures in their Close-Knit Community that usually are quite mundane and related to everyday life.

    Fan Works 

    Film 

    Literature 
  • The Book Thief is surprisingly slice of life, considering where it takes place.
  • Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Not so much the Sequel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  • Ulysses: A slice of life cooked so rare the blood is still pumping.
  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series of books and also the Scotland Street series, both by Alexander McCall Smith, use this.
  • A lot of children's books are like this. They may have titles like The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks or Ten Ways To Make Your Sister Disappear, but in the end, they're mostly stories about everyday life happenings, with whatever the title is about in the background as a recurring element, but not necessarily the dominant one.
    • For example, Ten Ways To Make Your Sister Disappear is really about the everyday life of a girl who happens to have a bratty older sister. Some chapters don't mention the older sister at all, though she's still the main conflict in the story, just not the only one.
    • Operation: Dump the Chump is about a boy who wants to get rid of his younger brother by pulling schemes like trying to convince a neighbor to adopt him, and things like that. Most of the story is really just about his life and plays out like a series of anecdotes that happen to involve him and his brother.
    • Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade has the underlying plot of a morbidly obese girl who wants to be accepted, and the main character, who gradually comes to accept her, and tries to get others to do the same. But the book is just as much about everyday fifth-grade life portrayed realistically and in a fun way, with the totally random hitchhiking scene out of nowhere.
  • Paula Danziger's fiction.
  • Adrian Mole: slice of British early-teen-to-forties life.
  • Nilda by Nicholasa Mohr is about a Puerto Rican preteen, the eponymous Nilda, living in Manhattan during World War II.
  • Bridge to Terabithia stars two children and their made-of-imagination kingdom and the trials and tribulations of daily schoolkid life.
  • The Anne of Green Gables series is a classical example: a slice of the life of a woman with writing ambitions (and, in later books, also those of her children and acquaintances) in the late 19th and early 20th century.
  • Ramona Quimby is slice of elementary school life. The books take place in different years in grade school, from kindergarten to fourth, but all capture that year of life excellently while being very light-hearted.
  • Despite the horrific murder that kicks of the plot, Boy's Life is mainly about Cory's life in his hometown of Zephyr.
  • Naive Super is a pretty purebred example.
  • Subverted in P. G. Wodehouse short story A Slice of Life. The narrator tells a story about his brother's experiences (an adventure including a Damsel in Distress, a Dastardly Whiplash, and a dash of Mad Science) to show that such tropes occur a lot more commonly in daily life than people think.
  • Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet. Despite the fact that it's about a girl becoming a knight in a fantasy medieval world, there's essentially no overarching plot except for in the final book of the series.
  • Stuck juxtaposes this together with the oddities rampant within Tre's life in Greyson City, which provides a lot of the humor in the first and second episodes.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
  • This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan.
  • The Babysitters Club: Slice of babysitters' life.
  • Enid Blyton's The Children Of Cherry Tree Farm.
  • R.H. Barlow's The Night Ocean is a slice-of-life story set in H.P. Lovecraft's uncaring cosmos.
  • The Milly Molly Mandy stories.
  • Browns Pine Ridge Stories: In this particular case, a slice of life of a boy/young man growing up in rural southern Georgia during The Fifties and The Sixties.

    Live Action TV 
  • Most sitcoms tend to be this.
  • Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer dealt with the Scoobies day-to-day foray into grown up life.
  • Season one of Community had alot of this.
  • The Wonder Years (A slice of 1960's life)
  • Friends, a Slice of Life in New York, as lived by a group of friends who became as tight as a family.
  • Kamen Rider Hibiki is a tokusatsu superhero show with elements of Slice of Life. The heroes fight monsters, but they and their allies also go about their daily lives. Any drama (to the extent that it is present at all) is very ordinary and everyday-like, in contrast to the more fantastic and more contrived drama seen in many tokusatsu shows.
  • The British version of The Office fits this model, being the mockumentary of an unexceptional office in a dreary little suburb. The American version continues with the basic premise but increasingly inserts more outlandish sitcom situations.
  • Freaks and Geeks. Only Lindsay has a really pronounced character arc by the time the series ends.
  • Seinfeld, which might as well be the Trope Maker for SitComs.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show is the trope maker for the Dom Com. All previous ones were of the I Love Lucy variety where the comedy revolves around an out of the ordinary circumstance, event, or scheme.
  • How I Met Your Mother. Frequently an episode will be centered entirely around a conversation sprinkled with flashbacks to random events in the character's lives.
  • Bear in the Big Blue House
  • Outnumbered.
  • My Place is this for children's Historical Fiction. The series as a whole stretches from 2008 to past 1788. Some episodes are about big, life changing events, but many are basically about kids getting up to all sorts of fairly harmless shenanigans, and all focus on the kids' daily lives.
  • Sesame Street.
  • The Big Bang Theory is really about the minor adventures of how socially awkward geniuses go about in activities they are unfamiliar with. Especially in earlier seasons, you see them playing games or hobbies with no other plot than just to see them having fun (the World of Warcraft episode opener being a standout).
  • That '70s Show.
  • Happy Days.
  • My So-Called Life.

    Music 
  • A large number of Country Music songs can fit under this trope. A good example is "Just Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Vassar.
  • "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" is simply a collage of a roadie having breakfast and reminiscing.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • For Better or for Worse, although the slice got more and more overcooked as time went on.
  • The Far Side loved this. Of course, the lives we see slices of are weird beyond belief. This is Gary Larson.
  • One Big Happy is about the life of 6 year old Ruthie. Unlike in other comics, the kids in this comic mostly act and speak their age.
  • Charles Schultz's Peanuts, in both comic and cartoon versions, was the story of a small group of friends walking around and dealing with each other's problems. Except with canine fighter pilots.
  • Dykes To Watch Out For.
  • Requested by Garfield in this strip:
    Jon: I'll have the spaghetti, Irma
    Irma: Do you want that on a plate?
    Jon: Of course I do!
    Irma: Well excuse me, mister picky!
    Jon: Is it too much to be accorded the same amenities others get?! I'm a person too, you know!!
    Garfield: I'll just have a small slice of life, thank you

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine is based around playing characters like sun goddesses, mad scientists, ghost-witches and the like in a slice-of-life setting.
  • In Golden Sky Stories the player characters are magical animals in a quiet town, helping the residents solve their everyday problems.

    Theatre 

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is set up like this... until the horror elements begin showing up and it more or less drops the pretense by Kai.
  • The first part of Kira-Kira with the second part dealing with the casts struggle as a band and the third part being a bit darker.
  • Shizune's route of Katawa Shoujo has elements of this, which the route's detractors frequently cite as shortcomings. It makes sense, though, as Shizune is said to compartmentalize events of her life and live in the moment, thus not realizing the implications her rejecting Misha's Love Confession has on their relationship, or how her developing relationship with Hisao might exacerbate the problem.
  • Many Moege's can feel like this during the common route when it usually is just the protagonist, potential love interests and other friends messing around with the plot only picking up during the character routes. Examples include My Girl Friend Is The President, the Da Capo series and Muv-Luv (Extra, obviously).

    Web Original 
  • With The Angels is mostly about the protagonist making observations about the people she meets during her stay in California.
  • Tales of MU is a very detailed and NSFW first-person story about college life in a DnD-like setting.
  • The original Ratboy's Kingdom centered around the title character's fairly peaceful life.

    Western Animation 
This trope is commonly invoked when it's an educational book/TV series targeting little kids and is well loved among children book writers and children show producers alike. For example, take Jumbo Pictures'/Cartoon Pizza's show lineup:

All of them follow the Slice of Life format almost to a T (and may make use of gratuitous amounts of Imagination Sequence scenes).

Other educational book/TV series that uses this format:

And hundreds of other examples. Anime isn't the only medium to have this many examples.

Non-little-children-targeting examples include:
  • Early Funny Animal cartoons like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Flip The Frog and Mickey Mouse often featured the characters in everyday situations.
  • Beavis And Butthead, most of the time. An entire episode revolved around them waiting for a tv show to come on.
  • The Weekenders
  • As Told by Ginger
  • Home Movies, especially the early episodes which contained lots of improvisation.
  • Hey Arnold!
  • Doug
  • Rugrats
  • Daria, save The Musical and its Bizarro Episode.
  • King of the Hill
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy
  • 6teen
  • Regular Show zig-zags the hell out of this trope, as it alternates between the ordinary and surreal at the drop of a hat.
  • Teen Titans Go!
  • Out There is like A slightly more risque and vulgar Regular Show without the fantasy elements.
  • Birdz is a pretty straight example of a five-member bird family, focusing mainly on the middle child (a 10-year-old bird named Eddie) and his adventures both in school and out.
  • Angry Birds Toons usually has this plot, even if it involves the Bad Piggies trying to steal the birds' eggs as usual.
  • The Proud Family for the most part, especially prominent in the earlier episodes.
  • Family Guy in the David Zuckerman era (1999-2002).
  • American Dad! qualifies as this, despite a few surreal elements.
  • Phineas and Ferb was this mostly in its first season. By the second season, it became this mixed with surreal concepts, and by the third season, became even less of this and more comedy focused.
  • Clarence may very well be the most down-to-earth cartoon running right now, with most plots dealing with trivial things like going to the supermarket, school or hanging out with friends.
  • Uncle Grandpa has a recurring segment called "Slice of Life with Pizza Steve", which involves the titular Pizza Steve in his everyday...which consists of annoyin Mr. Gus and making himself look good, such as saying he has "thick, luxurious hair", which is really his pet rabbit.

    Real Life 
  • Most days in most people's lives follow this pattern of storytelling.

Short StoryLiterary TropesSpell My Name With A Blank
Slasher MovieFictionSports Stories
Ominous MundanityMundanity Tropes    
Remix ComicWebcomic TropesSlice-of-Life Webcomics
Slasher MovieFilm GenresSpaghetti Western
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