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. 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. 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". 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.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Works
- Live-Action TV
- Video Games
- Web Comics
- Western Animation
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- The web animation brewstew is a series of videos detailing Tyler's childhood life, but in comedic form.
- 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.
- Share My Story
- 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.
- 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.