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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 setups 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. When it is, the TV industry in particular calls it "low concept" (in contrast to High Concept). 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. This frequently overlaps with the Cute Girls Doing Cute Things genre. Also compare Breather Episode.

In some ways, Slice of Life overlaps with stories generally considered Lit Fic in the west, since both genres cover ordinary human lives, motivations, and emotions, though Slice of Life doesn't always imply the stereotype of intellectual snobbery or elitism that surrounds works of Lit Fic, as well as the impression that Lit Fic somehow has to be "depressing" or have Downer Endings.

Kitchen Sink Drama uses the "slice of life" approach to show a typical day in a working-class character's life: getting up early in a grungy little apartment, working all day at a factory, and coming home to make an inexpensive dinner, all while dealing with the trials and tribulations of being in a lower income category (unemployment, living paycheck-to-paycheck, depression, etc).

Art films and indie/experimental films also often use the "slice of life" approach, as these films tend to have a looser, more open-ended structure and they are not goal-directed like Hollywood blockbusters (where the hero is always chasing a MacGuffin or trying to achieve a Plot Coupon). The art/experimental films would rather show the slow-moving textures and interactions of everyday life in a meditative fashion. note 

For the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic blog and webcomic, as well as the episode, click here and here.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • Akis is about the experiences of a ordinary (if hyperactive) girl.
  • Banzi's Secret Diary - Banzi regularly writes in her diary about the experiences she has in her life.
  • Happy Family showcases the daily life of the Chen family in China.
  • The second season of Noonbory and the Super 7, titled Tooba Tooba Noonbory, shifts away from the superhero stories they were telling in the first season and completely gets rid of the Borys' superhero abilities in favor of simpler slice of life stories.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Adventures of Prudence Prim, published and set during the 1920's, follows the adventures of a country girl trying to find romance and adventure in the big city while living with her up-tight spinster aunts.
  • Dykes to Watch Out For
  • 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.
  • The Fortunes of Flossie, published and set during the 1920's, revolving around a rambunctious flapper who simply lives to have her fortune told — much to the dismay of her boyfriend, himself skeptical of all soothsayers and so-called psychics.
  • Gasoline Alley
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • With the premise of Scary Gary being that he is a retired vampire trying to live peacefully in the suburbs with his oft-violent henchman Leopold, the series is something of a supernatural slice of life that mostly runs on large doses of dark humor.
  • Zits

  • A large number of Country Music songs can fit under this trope. A good example is "Just Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Vassar.
    • Some are Exactly What It Says on the Tin, like "Sounds Like Life to Me" by Darryl Worley, about a guy who is Drowning My Sorrows, and when he tells his buddy why, his buddy tells him the things he's complaining about—bills, teething baby, broken appliances—are just normal life things and he needs to get over himself.
  • "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" is simply a collage of a roadie having breakfast and reminiscing.

  • Fabulous is a radio sitcom about Faye, a young woman working in an ordinary office and while her daydreams and fantasies can get pretty surreal and she has eccentric family and co-workers the actual plots and events are down to earth and mundane like dealing with not being invited to her bosses' wedding or pulling a sick day to get out of work.

    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.
  • Wanderhome keeps its focus away from the high-concept heroes of other fantasy stories, focusing instead on the day-to-day life of villagers. All of the playbooks revolve around more-grounded vocations; the only significant difference between the player characters and the NPCs is that the PCs are wanderers.

  • 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.
  • Puccini’s opera La Bohème appeals to many people because of how down-to-earth and relatable it is. College students living in dorms may relate to Rodolfo and his friends as they goof off together, anyone who’s ever fallen in love may relate to Rodolfo and Mimì or Marcello and Musetta, depending on how their relationship is going. By Act III, anyone who’s had a recent break-up may, again, relate to either Rodolfo and Mimì or Marcello and Musetta, resonating with the quartet either way. And the final scene, wherein Mimì dies of consumption, may become a literal Tear Jerker for a recent widower.

    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, Muv-Luv Extra, and Song of Memories.
  • 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.
  • Purino Party has this style. It's set in present-day Japan and the main character is trying to find a cute girlfriend.
  • Extracurricular Activities has the protagonist going through university classes and dating one of his tennis teammates (or coach).
  • VA 11 Hall A is set in a cyberpunk world, and the protagonist definitely goes through an arc, but the majority of the game is about her serving customers and having casual conversation with them and her coworkers.

    Web Animation 
  • The web animation brewstew is a series of videos detailing Tyler's childhood life, but in comedic form.
  • Earlier episodes of Chikn Nuggit are like this, and involve the Ensemble Cast getting themselves into silly and relatable situations. Even after the introduction of Bezel, a good portion of episodes retain this format.
  • The original Ratboy's Kingdom centered around the title character's fairly peaceful life.
  • TheOdd1sOut recaps different events from his life with drawings he made himself.
  • Jaiden Animations same deal.

    Web Original 
  • Dream High School focuses on connecting with other students and learning about the school. Though because it's a variation on the Gamebook, it's possible that someday it won't be a Slice of Life anymore.
  • Tales of MU is a very detailed and NSFW first-person story about college life in a D&D-like setting.
  • Thunder and Friends Surreal elements aside, the show mostly focuses on the daily lives of the six main characters.

    Web Videos 
  • With The Angels is mostly about the protagonist making observations about the people she meets during her stay in California.
  • The Tourettes Guy focuses on the daily antics of Danny.
  • The Gumdrops is centered around college students and what they get up to in the house. The first episode is literally the protagonists preparing for a night out.
  • Wolfgang is about a group of werewolves, specifically what they do to pass the time during the three days of each month that they spend locked in a bunker so that they don't hurt anyone while they're transformed. We only see the human side of their exchanges, with Amusing Injuries to show the results of their wolf escapades.
  • SMPLive primarily focuses on the everyday occurrences of the SMP and whatever weird conflicts and problems the characters get themselves into.