There’s layers involved in these series which capture and depict daily happenings.
I just kind of wanted to write this after realizing I’ve been a little disappointed with this season’s offerings of slice-of-life shows in general. Yes, it’s a bit late to notice this when the season is almost over. Self-reflection isn’t my strong point.
Admittedly, this post might have been inspired by a certain green ogre.
I personally believe that there’s three kinds (of onions) that can roughly summarize all slice-of-life anime. These arbitrary categories only manifest when there’s some serious reductionism going on, however. So I apologize if I try too hard to squeeze a show into a particular category. In fact, you should consider these categories more as guidelines.
Furthermore, some shows waffle and seem to be caught between multiple categories depending on the strength of a particular week’s episode. At the end of the day, it’s all personal opinion.
Dead and Rotten
There’s nothing to be salvaged here even if you peel and inspect every conceivable layer. Meaningful messages are nearly nonexistent at best. For the most part, all viewers get are instances of fanservice or silly gags. Expect most of these gags to either consist of cheeky (or clever) wordplay or allusions/homages/parodies of other anime or manga. These are the kind of shows you watch without thinking. The strength of the gags determine whether or not you like the show, basically.
Simulcast Example(s): Gabriel DropOut
Other Example(s): Anne Happy♪, Bakuon!!
There’s some good stuff to be found here after several layers have been peeled off. But thoughtful themes and sentimental concepts can be left unrefined and unexplored. Or a show can start strongly yet regress as the season goes on. Or the fanservice levels are simply out of hand (at times). Thankfully, this sort of show isn’t as eager to overuse gags, but you’re usually left wondering, “The show had so much promise. Where did it come short?”
Simulcast Example(s): Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon, Demi-chan wa Kataritai
Other Examples: New Game!
These are the kind of shows that make you spoiled when it comes to slice-of-life shows (and ruins whatever sort of metaphor you had going on). They set the precedent of weaving lessons and morals amidst the chaos of the characters’ daily antics and causes you to expect more from your slice-of-life anime. Character headspaces are explored (monologues ahoy!) and relatable concepts are presented. While nothing really happens on the grand scale of things, which is to be expected considering the genre, these sort of shows are simply a cut above and leave you pensive about life more often than not.
Simulcast Example(s): Sangatsu no Lion
Other Examples: Amanchu!
What’s the meaning of all this?
…apparently I’m drawn to main characters who lean toward the pessismistic side of things considering the shows I listed in the final category?
What does this all really mean, though?
Nothing, really, if I’m being honest.
Some of my favorite shows probably fall squarely into the “Dead and Rotten” category (such as Yuru Yuri or Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?). It doesn’t mean that I feel ashamed for enjoying these shows or that these shows aren’t to be liked. They have their time and place. Like, maybe you want to detox after watching a heavy episode of Kuzu no Honkai, for instance. There you go! Those shows would be decent remedies for the resultant painful feelings.
That being said, I realize I’m soft on YY and GochiUsa because I find them to be shows with excellent comedic timing. Gags are the selling point for shows that are in the “Dead and Rotten” category, after all. If this type of show can’t make you consistently laugh, then it’s not living up to expectations.
I don’t think there’s much to explain about the shows listed under the “Freshly Harvested” category. I consider them to be shows which excel and push past the limits inherent to slice-of-life anime.
The ones to look out for are the ones in the “Still Edible” category. Opinions will be split. Shows will inevitably be compared to one another, which probably isn’t the right way to go about things. Some may find these shows to fall short of expectations or may find them to be perfectly adequate.
Just remember that you’re free to enjoy whatever shows you want. It doesn’t mean that you should just accept everything without question, however. Think about what could have been done better. Be an active viewer. Question everything. This blog included.