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Old 2011-10-15, 23:17   Link #1
risingstar3110
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Is the term 'slice of life' overused now?

I am quite a fan of slice-of-life, and it's one of way to decide which anime i should check out... (...first, before i devour the rest later). However lately i have been really annoyed by those being labelled "slice-of-life" anime, but does not provide the calm, slow, heartwarming feelings of SoL. My own definition with slice of life are those from tvtropes: A cast of characters go about their daily lives, making observations and being themselves. Normally without a plot and often are lack in conflicts

Now let's see some that labelled "slice of life" this last few season.
  • Denpa Onna: Good anime. However, guys helps out girls with social problem, who then got himself into a harem as he develop more on his own characters. Clannad probably will also be qualified to be slice of life if so
  • Hana Saku Iroha: Love angst: checked. Drama plot: checked. Settings with multiples conflicts: checked. The mentioned three happens every episode: checked.
  • So-Ra-No-Wo-To: it's comedy, it's mecha, it's drama with a mix of adventure and some romance. Is it a slice of life?

So yes, any comment on this? Because at this rate, i will like to nominate Haruhi to be the most successful slice of life anime out there. Unless Bakemonogatari (or just Monogatari series) also can be qualified to be slice-of-life.... While we are at it, I just want to mention that Madoka is definitely not slice-of-life. Yes, i know it has:
- girls being themselves and enjoy their daily life (only enjoy for first 3 episodes, then being themselves in the last 9),
- a repeating of their ordinary life, literally
- full female cast with some indicates of yuri
- most of the main characters looks like Yuno without the (X |_|)
.... however... hmm actually it could be qualified at this rate.
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Old 2011-10-15, 23:19   Link #2
Masuzu
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Haven't seen the others you mentioned,
but I do agree calling Denpa Onna a slice
of life is a tad shaky in the least.
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Old 2011-10-16, 03:38   Link #3
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A big fan here... but yeah, its been *misused* if not over-used. A lot of shows that are actually simply "daily life comedies" are mistakenly titled as slice-of-life. I like those too.. but they really aren't 'SoL' in the literary sense.
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Old 2011-10-16, 04:35   Link #4
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Haruhi is a slice of life? I think of slice of life as say....the anime version of 4-Koma series. No point, no plot progression, just some people doing some things that may entertain viewers. Hanasaku iroha, Madoka magica definitely NOT slice of life. I'd say Denpa onna is somewhere close.
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Old 2011-10-16, 05:25   Link #5
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I think that daily life and slice of life should just merge. It is becoming about as vague of a term as coming of age. Comedies themselves can stay as comedies or 4-koma comedies if needed.
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Old 2011-10-16, 05:28   Link #6
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Slice of life in a broad sense in those three is being able to see everyday life, or at least some relevance to it which is why I think Sora no Woto, Denpa Onna and Hanairo definitely pass as being called slice of life.

Sora no Woto might be from some era not known to man but I think the elements of what a slice of life should be is there. Hanairo may be drama, but the depiction of that anime in a sense is an everyday life of a girl who has moved into an inn, Denpa Onna somehow tackles society issues and goes in detail with the characters which also passes as one.

But yeah. . . its definitely overused. No way in hell Madoka Magica is a slice of life; I mean the show stopped pretending it revolved on everyday life a few minutes into the first episode.
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Old 2011-10-16, 09:22   Link #7
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Originally Posted by ahelo View Post
Slice of life in a broad sense in those three is being able to see everyday life, or at least some relevance to it which is why I think Sora no Woto, Denpa Onna and Hanairo definitely pass as being called slice of life.
But would that means all of those belongs to "school life" genre are also slice-of-life?
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Old 2011-10-16, 10:25   Link #8
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My view on calling an anime show a "Slice of Life" show is this - If there's not a more accurate catch-all genre classification for it, then call it Slice of Life. Otherwise, it's probably best to use that other, more accurate term.

So, to use Denpa Onna as an example here (since it was listed by the OP), I'd simply call that "Harem" anime. Harem defines Denpa Onna much better than Slice of Life does, imo.

However, Hanasaku Iroha is also useful as an example here - An example of when there's no better genre classification for an anime than "Slice of Life". Is there romance and drama in Hansaku Iroha? Yes, but only about half the time, if that. A huge chunk of Hanasaku Iroha's episodes is simple daily living, it just happens to be revolving around a Hot Springs Inn. And even the drama/romance elements of Hanasaku Iroha are not beyond what you could reasonably expect to see in the life of an average person.
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Old 2011-10-16, 14:58   Link #9
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Originally Posted by risingstar3110 View Post
However lately i have been really annoyed by those being labelled "slice-of-life" anime, but does not provide the calm, slow, heartwarming feelings of SoL.
I think what you think of as "slice of life" is also known as "Iyashikei" or "healing anime" (this is maybe a "sub-genre" to Slice of Life). These are the shows most known for their "calm, slow, heartwarming feelings" -- common themes are nostalgia, the beauty of life, and enjoying the here-and-now.

That said, genre classification is about "affinity", so like Triple_R said, it should be the one term that describes the show more than any other. The problem is that a lot of shows contain elements from so many different genres now that it's hard to place them in any one "box" and assume that will still properly the style of the show. All the shows you mentioned to have "elements" of slice of life, but they also have elements from many other genres.

For the examples you listed, I don't think I personally would have called them slice of life, but I see why people did. They're all stories that simply center around the daily lives of the cast, so very literally "slice of life". That's not what was traditionally implied by the term (in the literary sense), but it passes (or at least people make it pass) when there doesn't seem to be any better term. For example, if I were writing ad copy for Hanasaku Iroha, I would probably call it a "coming-of-age story". As mecharobot said though, that doesn't say much about anything other than it's a show that revolves around a girl learning to adapt to life, and the various trials that follow. (In that show's case, though, that's probably as good a description as any.) Sora no Woto is a "coming-of-age story" too, but here you need to mention the backdrop of war to convey the balance of the elements. If I were writing about Denpa Onna, the key point is not "everyday lives", but the fact that the cast is full of very, very eccentric people, so it's the "very weird everyday lives" (I'd also agree with Triple_R that probably calling it a romantic comedy or even an 'eccentric harem comedy' might work as well). So in all cases people might have chosen "Slice of Life" as the genre, but that probably doesn't really pass as a good description without an asterisk and further explanation. But then again, what other single term describes the show better?
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Old 2011-10-16, 19:07   Link #10
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I think an important trait of the "Slice of Life genre" is the absense of paranormal aspects. It's just that, a slice of ordinary life, whether in the form of a 4koma adaption or a traditional light drama focused around every day life.

The thing that needs to be analyzed and laid out is the point at which a slice of life becomes a drama. Say for example, comparing a true slice of life, Genshiken, to a true drama, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien - what point does it go from being a slice of life into a drama, do you think? The obvious answer is the introduction of romance, but if you think about it, both Genshiken had romance too. So, what do you think the difference is?

Looking in the other direction, when does a slice of life become a comedy? Comparing Genshiken again to 4koma series like Setokai no Ichizen - would you say there is a difference? They are both comedies, but would you say they are both slice of life series, and why?

The more you think about it, you realize Slice of Life is just as much a victim to "grey" areas as all other genres are. It will always be possible to solidly define and enforce what genre is what, as it will always be open to each person's interpretation. As one example, I always thought Clannad was a slice of life, but I can see plenty of arguements even in my own arguement saying that it isn't.
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Old 2011-10-16, 19:39   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post

That said, genre classification is about "affinity", so like Triple_R said, it should be the one term that describes the show more than any other.
Thanks. Yeah, I think it's about affinity.


Quote:
The problem is that a lot of shows contain elements from so many different genres now that it's hard to place them in any one "box" and assume that will still properly the style of the show. All the shows you mentioned to have "elements" of slice of life, but they also have elements from many other genres.
True. If I was to write up a paragraph briefly summing up what an anime is about, I'd probably list all of those elements (in order from most dominant to least dominant based on my overall assessment of the show). However, I think it's helpful to have a "primary genre" distinction on most shows as that can be helpful for fans of that genre when searching for anime to watch.

For example, if I'm in the mood for serious yuri, I'll search for shows that have yuri listed as the primary genre, because if it's just listed as a "secondary element", it might have only tiny bits and pieces of what I'm really looking for.


Quote:
For example, if I were writing ad copy for Hanasaku Iroha, I would probably call it a "coming-of-age story".
In fairness, Hanasaku Iroha probably has more episodes devoted to "coming of age" than to slice of life, drama, or romance.

However, I've never been entirely comfortable with the idea of "coming of age" being a primary genre classification for these two reasons...

1) It would result in shows being lumped together that are massively different from one another. Gurren Lagann could very defensibly be called "coming of age" as its primary genre if "coming of age" can count as a primary genre. So could Hanasaku Iroha. But aside from this common "coming of age" element, Gurren Lagann and Hanasaku Iroha could hardly be more different. There's going be loads of people who like one that don't care at all about the other.

2) I don't recall ever meeting someone who stated that "coming of age" was his/her favorite genre. This makes me think that a lot of people just don't view "coming of age" as a genre at all. I myself don't, really.


Quote:
So in all cases people might have chosen "Slice of Life" as the genre, but that probably doesn't really pass as a good description without an asterisk and further explanation. But then again, what other single term describes the show better?
In Hanasaku Iroha's case, none, imo. That's why I would call it "Slice of Life" if forced to choose a primary genre for it.

Sora no Woto is a really tough call though.
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Old 2011-10-16, 19:40   Link #12
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Originally Posted by Rethice View Post
Looking in the other direction, when does a slice of life become a comedy? Comparing Genshiken again to 4koma series like Setokai no Ichizen - would you say there is a difference?
Minor point, but wasn't Setokai no Ichizon based on a light novel?

To build on what Triple_R and relentlessflame said, I tend to use "Slice-of-Life" to describe the content of a series and "Iyashikei" to describe the mood of a series.

Though I must say I dislike when people use "Slice-of-Life" as a catchall term for "Moe Slice-of-Life," as if K-On! + similar were the only kind of SoL shows in existence.

EDIT: Oh, and I'd call Sora no Woto "slice-of-life for the first half, with gradually increasing drama and war themes in the second half." Even so, I don't think the SoL elements really disappear at any point in the show. Despite consistent buildup and changing dynamics in the second half, it was still largely episodic. Only the last two episodes had continuous plot. I suppose one way of defining SoL is to ask, "Is the episode's plot directly a part of the 'main plot'?" In SnW's case, that only applies to episodes 11, 12, and possibly 7. All other episodes told their own self-contained stories, that only incidentally advanced the "main plot."
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Old 2011-10-16, 19:46   Link #13
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Minor point, but wasn't Setokai no Ichizon based on a light novel?.
My bad, I had a different example in there previously and forgot to get rid of "4koma" when I changed it.
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Old 2011-10-16, 20:42   Link #14
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I think relentlessflame brought up a pretty good point there. And here a sub question for this thread, what should a show put under its genre? In my case,i only looks at genre when need to check out a new anime. And it was because i found out a common element from past labelled Slice-of-life shows that i really like. Hence for Denpa, Hanasaku Iroha, Soranowoto, i found the term "Slice-of-life" overused....

But then it's possible that anime nowadays are putting as many genres into one anime as possible to appeal various fan bases. But wouldn't that more or less defeat the idea of anime genre in the first place, as a tool to categorise anime? Is it true that it's overused, because anime studios purposely try to make it overused? Even so, only dominate themes should be stated under genre, isn't it?
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Old 2011-10-16, 20:51   Link #15
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Slice of life shouldn't be even a genre, because every single plot in anime (well, mostly) is essentially a slice of life.
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Old 2011-10-16, 21:04   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus H. View Post
Slice of life shouldn't be even a genre, because every single plot in anime (well, mostly) is essentially a slice of life.
Here is what I think will happen if "Slice of Life" goes away entirely as a genre classifier...

Most of what used to be called "Slice of Life" will get re-classified as "Drama".

Then, later on, people might say "Drama shouldn't even be a genre, because every single plot in anime (well, mostly) has drama in it." (I don't want to pick on you by using this wording - it's good wording, to your credit - I'm just showing how your wording could ultimately be used against whatever is used in place of "Slice of Life").

Then "Drama" is gone, to be replaced with who knows what.


The fact is that shows that fall somewhere on what I'm going to call "The sliding scale of Slice of Life vs. Drama" are very, very common in anime. We all know these shows: Shows like Chihayafuru, Hanasaku Iroha, Sora no Woto, Tamayura Hitotose, Usagi Drop, etc...

You probably have three or more of these shows each and every season.

These shows should be classified under something, as that can aid people in finding these shows when searching by genre (a lot of these shows have a tendency to fly under the radar a bit).

Where exactly the line is between Drama and Slice of Life is pretty fuzzy, and maybe that is what needs to be better determined. But I am very leery of the idea of losing the "Slice of Life" genre classification entirely, because I can see how that will just create more genre classification problems down the line. As a Drama fan, I don't like how it would probably cause that genre to go straight into genre hell itself.
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Old 2011-10-16, 21:10   Link #17
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Yes it is.

In fact you could insert any common anime term and replace slice in life in the title and the answer would still be the same.
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Old 2011-10-16, 21:21   Link #18
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Anyone who calls the Haruhi series "slice-of-life" should get a punch in the face.

Technically, Haruhi is paranormal - for all the weird crap that happens in that one.
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Old 2011-10-16, 21:30   Link #19
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But well, I can actually classify Casshern SINS as slice-of-life since it details Casshern's life in some way.
Just kidding.

But I do agree that Slice-of-Life can be overused, being tagged on series which "depict a certain part of a certain character's life" and being confused for drama. The definition I just stated is too general in my opinion.
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Old 2011-10-16, 21:34   Link #20
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At this rate, the term of "slice of life" is going to degrade into "Oh, it has humans as characters, it must be slice of life!"
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