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Slice of Life

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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 Web Comics 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".


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Circles is a Slice of life Dramedy Furry Comic that focuses on the lives of six gay men living in the same residence and how their lives are individually and collectively affected throughout the seasons with each chapter being a season of the year. e.g. Spring 2001 ==> Summer 2001, etc.

    Fan Works 

  • Anything directed by Yasujiro Ozu can fit into this category quite well, like Good Morning, a gentle satire of life in a sububan neighborhood where things like getting a television and collecting dues for the women's club are Serious Business. Tokyo Story, considered by most critics to be his masterpiece, is a slow, low-key consideration of the distance that grows between elderly parents and their children, as shown when an old couple take the train to Tokyo to visit their grown-up kids. Equinox Flower is about a father's discomfort when his daughter gets engaged without asking him first.
  • Lonesome is a charming little romance about two lonely working-class people who, over the course of a single day, meet, fall in love, are briefly separated, and are finally reunited. That's the whole story.
  • Friday
  • Linda Linda Linda
  • Many of the very earliest Early Films are this: just moments of real life (or staged real life) presented for the camera. "Actuality films" was the genre designation used back then. Examples of actuality films include:
  • Napoleon Dynamite
  • A Christmas Story
  • Clerks.
  • The Cameron Crowe film Singles
  • Yi Yi
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  • My Blue Heaven
  • Amarcord
  • One Foot in Heaven is about the life and struggles of a rural Protestant minister raising a family and tending to his flock in early 20th-century Iowa. There is no central plot or story arc, just an episodic portrait of the preacher, his family, and the townspeople as the years pass.
  • Happy-Go-Lucky: slice of always cheerful bubbly Cloudcuckoolander Cool Teacher taking Driving Lessons life.
  • Otoko wa Tsurai yo film series (literally, It's Tough Being a Man). From 1969 to 1995, it had 48 different installments and held the title of "Longest Running Film Series". All of them are slice of life romantic comedies with nearly identical plots.
  • Splendor in the Grass is a character story about two teenage lovers in Kansas in The Twenties, how they desperately want to consummate their relationship, how the rules of society won't let them (Sex Is Evil!), and the damage that their inability to have sex causes.
  • Annie Hall
  • The Schoolgirl's Diary is about the life of a teenage girl who wishes her father would pay more attention to her and her family instead of spending his whole life at work. That's the whole story.
  • Boyhood chronicles an entire 12 years of this.
  • The Sundance Film Festival movie, Life In A Day. The day? July 24th. The life? Hundreds of people across the world, recording their day.
  • Another Year looks at the year of a Happily Married older couple living and working in North London and the people around them.
  • Dogtooth could be considered this. It's slice of isolated-from-the-world-and-living-in-a-walled-in-estate life, really.
  • Frances Ha is largely Slice of Life. While there is definitely a story arc (primarily a character arc for the titular protagonist), much of the film consists of individual snippets of her life.
  • The Long Voyage Home, about a merchant ship in World War II, has some plot elements, like the ship's dangerous voyage through the U-boat infested Atlantic and Smitty the sailor's dark past, but there's no overarching story, just a portrait of a bunch of sailors trying to survive.
  • Five Easy Pieces is about a restless Anti-Hero trying to live up to his responsibilities to his family and his pregnant girlfriend, and failing. It simply follows along with the protagonist for a while, before the film ends.
  • The plot of My Dinner with Andre revolves around a conversation between two guys who haven't talked in a while. They go to a fancy restaurant, order their meals and talk. That's it. For 2 hours. Not even flashbacks to the things they're talking about. Just talking.
  • Twelve O'Clock High is about the men of the 918th Bomber Group of the Eighth Air Force in World War II, how they deal with the stress of combat that involves very high casualty rates, and how their new commander has to raise their morale and motivate them to fight on. Unlike most war movies there isn't a specific battle to be fought or objective to be gained. At a certain point, after the commander has won the loyalty of his men but suffered a breakdown in the process, the film ends.
  • Many scenes in Code Unknown focus on day-to-day activities like going shopping, ironing clothes, giving drumming lessons or doing farm work.
  • Mon Oncle Antoine lacks a traditional three-act structure with conflict and climax. It is instead a portrayal of the everyday life of the people of a rural Quebec mining town, shortly before the social upheavals that would change their life forever.
  • Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets is a crime film with no obvious narrative. Instead, it simply portrays the lives of a few low-ranking mobsters in 1970s New York over a few days, although the lead character's attempts to stop his best friend from screwing up can be said to form a loose theme.

  • 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 '60s.
  • The Amber Brown books are the day-to-day adventures of a young girl who goes to school and has to deal with family, friend and general life problems, which include her parents' divorce, her best friend moving away, and having trouble with school standardized testing. (See the "Paula Danziger's fiction" example mentioned above - Amber Brown is probably what she was most well known for, but she also wrote a number of standalone titles.)
  • Enid Blyton's Noddy books follows the life of a wooden boy who lives in Toy Town.
  • Any of the Busy Town books by Richard Scarry
  • Alien In A Small Town is a rare science fiction example, concerned more than anything else with everyday life in its setting, a Pennsylvania Dutch community some centuries in The Future.
  • The Clémentine series is the day-to-day adventures of a third-grade girl named Clementine who deals with issues such as a spat with her best friend, getting sent to the principal's office, losing her kitten and worrying about bossy fourth graders during a school field trip.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Andy Griffith Show
  • 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.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide deals with common problems faced by teens in middle school. Jealousy, tests, parties, etc.
  • 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.
  • The Norwegian julekalender Jul I Skomakergata, which is about an old shoemaker who is visited by friends and townspeople that need their shoes repaired before Christmas.
  • Samson En Gert
  • Kabouter Plop

  • 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 Schulz'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.

  • The Time Of Your Life: Slice of life gathering at a San Francisco dive.
  • Company: Slice of New York City life, with a bachelor, his three girlfriends and a number of married acquaintances.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi: When They Cry 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.
  • As a series of mini-novels that tell an overarching story, Harvest December plays this straight for the most part. The primary exception is August's story when the major cast ends up dealing with a veritable Zombie Apocalypse on the island they're vacationing on.

    Web Original 
  • The web animation brewstew is a series of videos detailing Tyler's childhood life, but in comedic form.
  • Dream High School focuses on connecting with other students and learning about the school. Though because it's a variation on the Choose Your Own Adventure, it's possible that someday it won't be a Slice of Life anymore.
  • 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
  • We Bare Bears
  • 6teen
  • Clone High, though rather on and off in its depiction of teen life. It could show an earnest depictions of teenage struggles one minute, and be the zany, surrealistic parody it's known as the next.
  • 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, although surreal episodes in the style of other Cartoon Network series are also common.
  • 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.
  • Julius Jr., fantastic elements notwithstanding, is a slice of life show whose main conflict stems from disputes between the group of friends.