Nichijō, Komi Can't Communicate, and WotaKoi are all popular series, but another thing they have in common is that they're slice-of-life titles. This anime genre is laidback, sometimes comedic, and primarily wholesome. They are meant to be more relatable to viewers as the characters maneuver through their awkward teenage years or even adulthood.
There are few external dangers, with no evil villains, heart-pounding action, suspense, or plot twists at every corner. Struggles are internal or interpersonal, which won't be everyone's cup of tea. One could argue that slice-of-life anime are an acquired taste, but that is just one of the flaws in slice-of-life anime. Even with their easygoing plots, some tropes in slice-of-life anime are somewhat repetitive.
10 Not Enough Slice-Of-Life Anime Take Place Outside Of Japan
So many enjoyable slice-of-life series take place in Japan, but none really take place in other countries. Slice-of-life, and usually iyashikei anime, also serve as promotional material for multiple locations around Japan, highlighting the historical sights and beautiful towns the characters live in. Unfortunately, it can be pretty limiting if story writers stick to a single country.
Non-slice-of-life titles such as Black Butler, Monster, and Vinland Saga are examples of stories outside of Japan that managed to capture fans' attention. Some titles have fantasy elements, but they still immerse viewers in their respective worlds. Anime studios can still create entertaining slice-of-life storylines while taking a moment to showcase what other countries have to offer.
9 There Aren't Any Episodes That Discuss Other Japanese Traditions Or Events
The most famous episode tropes in slice-of-life anime are the cultural festivals and New Year's traditions. While these episodes can be unique and entertaining, they do get bland after a while, and they fall short in explaining the meaning behind these traditions.
Japan is a country rich in history and yearly traditions, yet, few anime focus on other aspects of Japanese life and culture. If slice-of-life anime are meant to be promotional to its story's location, it would be best to weave more historical or cultural aspects within the plotline.
8 Holiday Episodes Are Repetitive
Holiday episodes are staples in slice-of-life anime, two of the most common being Christmas and Valentine's Day. While many of these holiday episodes can provide some fun, heartwarming content, they get old after a while.
There are plenty of other holidays that slice-of-life anime could use, such as Coming of Age Day — dedicated to individuals who have turned 20, Japan's age of adulthood — or Children's Day. These anime could focus on the traditions that happen throughout the Japanese calendar year, such as Obon, Setsubun, or even the Gion festival.
7 There Aren't Enough Job-Related Slice-Of-Life Anime
Even in slice-of-anime with teenage characters, it's rare to see plots that center around students working. This could be cultural, as most Japanese schools don't allow students to hold a part-time job, but there are exceptions to the rule.
Working!!!, The Devil is a Part-Timer!, and Blend-S are great examples of slice-of-life-esque series with high school students and young adults at work. Character development and interpersonal relationship can be relatable in a job setting as well as in school. These titles prove that studios can make a fun workplace-related story with a unique group of characters just trying to earn a paycheck.
6 Slice-Of-Life Anime Often Have A Majority-Female Cast
Many mainstream slice-of-life titles have a majority-female cast, primarily schoolgirls. It's become so prevalent, birthing an entirely new subgenre: "cute girls doing cute things." Some of these anime take place in all-girls schools, but it's even more confusing when there are few men — even parental figures or relatives — present.
There are a few entertaining slice-of-life anime with mixed genders, such as March Comes In Like A Lion and Your Lie in April. Some even have an all or mostly-male cast like The Daily Lives of High School Boys, Tsuritama, and Mushishi. Mix-gender anime usually delve into the romance category, but focusing on platonic friendships and enjoying life can make a series just as memorable. The slice-of-life genre could use more anime with a diverse cast list or even a "cute boys doing cute things" subgenre.
5 There Are Few Adult-Oriented Slice-Of-Life Anime
Most mainstream slice-of-life anime have school settings, with high school students making up most of the cast. Young viewers can relate to these characters due to additional themes of "growing up" and "enjoying youth." While a high-school setting might be fine for a younger audience, adult fans have grown exhausted with these slice-of-life titles. The dissatisfaction with school-based slice-of-life anime has only grown in recent years.
There have only been a handful of popular titles such as WotaKoi, Shirobako, and Aggretsuko that have a cult following. Many of these adult-oriented series take place in various workspaces, highlighting the ups and downs of working in an office, studio, or café. Adult fans can only hope that writers continue to create anime that can appeal to older audiences and their personal lives.
4 Too Many School Clubs Looking For Members
There have been one too many subplots surrounding high school clubs looking for members. They usually serve as an introductory period so viewers can learn about the protagonists and their reasons for joining. In most 12 or 13-episode anime, however, these "member-hunting" episodes take up a good chunk of the series, leaving less time to focus on club activities.
School clubs can be one of the most enjoyable parts of a slice-of-life anime. The "member-hunting" episodes create a sense of attachment for the audience once they learn more about the club and its members. Still, more attention should focus on an already-established club participating in activities around and outside their school. The more adventures, the better!
3 There Are Very Few Anime About Otaku Life
Anime about otaku or general nerd culture are always fun to watch. There has been a sprinkling of this subgenre throughout the years, the most recent title being My Dress-up Darling. Considering that anime fans enjoy, well, anime, watching a series about other otaku could provide some relatability. Unfortunately, there are very few titles that delve into anime fan culture.
Japan has a unique spin on nerd culture compared to the Western world. Native fans have more access to merch stores, events, and famous cosplayers in the community. Slice-of-life anime about anime could be a great way to connect with fans and learn more about Japan's nerd culture.
2 There Aren't Enough Supernatural Slice-Of-Life Anime
Supernatural slice-of-anime are often overlooked, unfortunately. Many anime with these elements usually fall into the isekai category, tied with action or adventure-based plotlines. A handful of supernatural slice-of-life titles managed to reach the mainstream anime community. Some examples include Little Witch Academia, Natsume's Book of Friends, and Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. However, others struggle to find an audience outside the genre, especially with younger fans who aren't interested in watching older titles.
The three anime mentioned above do an excellent job of capturing non-slice-of-life fans while weaving fantastical elements and mythical characters into the world-building. They show that slice-of-life anime can be more than just going to school or work. Fans can still relate to the characters as they interact with the paranormal world around them.
1 The Overdone Beach or "Summer Vacation" Episode
There must be something else anime characters can do during the summer season! The beach or "summer vacation" episodes are overdone and follow the same plotlines, especially in slice-of-life anime. It's typical for slice-of-life anime to mix holidays, such as Tanabata and summer festivals, into their plots, but it does get repetitive.
Other summer-related episode ideas could include hiking or camping — not counting Laidback Camp — having a barbecue, fishing by the lake, traveling to a different country, or even visiting a theme park. There are plenty of great ideas to use without resorting to the same-old beach episode.
NEXT: 10 Worst Things About Slice Of Life Anime