Through none other than the endearing psychic main character, recent seasons of popular anime have highlighted a relatively new and distinct subset of the slice-of-life genre. This novel approach to the all-too-familiar idea is demonstrated in the current seasons of Spy x Family, Mob Psycho 100, The Daily Life of the Immortal King, and The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.

The slice-of-life genre is characterized by a slower tempo, more relaxed themes and tones, and recognizable surroundings that place an emphasis on characters' interpersonal and emotional connections. Viewers will typically find these stories and characters more sympathetic as a result of their very real problems, whether via their everyday experiences or realistic ambitions and dreams. The monotonous routine of going to school as well as the fundamental urge to create memories, build friendships, or even connect with a crush may be related to by many viewers. Popular protagonists like Anya Forger, Shigeo Kageyama, Ling Wang, and Kusuo Saiki, among others, all express these feelings.


The Realistic Aspect

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Anya, from Spy x Family, is an excitable young girl attracted to the allure of her current family’s double life; however, her history as a human test subject and lonely orphan established her initial need for a family and loving environment. In Mob Psycho 100, the titular Mob is a middle schooler whose supernatural powers rarely affect his natural tendencies to be awkward in social settings; despite everyone expecting him to follow a path of great power and massive ego, Mob’s greatest desire is to be popular and gain the attention of the girl he likes.

Ling Wang is reborn into the world after generations of being a powerful existence; but as a high school teenager, he constantly hides his psychic abilities amongst the amateur ranks and shows most of his interest in crunchy noodle snacks than in anything else. Likewise, Kusuo Saiki from The Disasterous Life of Saiki K is a high schooler with immense psychic power; his one-off stories follow his every attempt to avoid the eccentric and persistent characters that disturb his desire for a quiet moment and the occasional coffee jelly.

Although these summaries undermine the emotional depth and complexity of each character, their basic motivations are rooted in desires shared by many, if not, all their viewers: a need for family, companionship, a stress-free life, and a snack. These simple but relatable aspects, along with a peek into their daily lives, ground each person and their stories in the slice-of-life genre.


Living as a Psychic in the Real World

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Unlike the usual slice-of-life story, these series begin to set themselves apart once the stakes rise. They are not just bothered by a detrimental school exam or the classic popularity contest, but rather a nationwide or even universal threat that could more or less destroy humanity or bring it to its knees.

Anya’s telepathic ability makes her hyper-aware of the most present secrets and threats of war; Mob’s esper identity constantly aligns him with fake icons and other abusive psychics who wish to manipulate the masses; Ling’s ages of cultivator experience force him to recognize and act on spiritual threats in their entirety that are often oblivious to everyone else besides him; and similarly, Kusuo’s powers make him unable to experience anything without a hyper-sensitivity to the psychically foreseeable and widescale consequences of every action, including his own.

They are constantly threatened by external forces because of their ability to sense them and their innate responsibility to act on them. Although their psychic powers make all of them -- including a six-year-old -- quite capable of dealing with these situations, these threats are essentially just inconveniences to their very plain desires.


What Makes the Ordinary and the Supernatural Go So Well Together?

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Perhaps the most relatable aspect of this specific narrative is the desire for a life that is separate from our own. These shows share a generous slice of each character’s personal and normal life, which allows each series to fit the category; however, they also offer a powerful main character with supernatural abilities that appeals to fans of fiction where relatability lacks

At the heart of each character, they long for a life that more closely resembles that of their real-life counterparts: the viewers. Whereas, viewers watch it because psychic ability is not a norm in their life, again, assumably. They fantasize about our lives, and we fantasize about theirs. It’s a synergy that is unique to slice-of-life shows with adorable, socially-stunted psychics.