Slice of Life Animes and Manga

The cast of the series Lucky Star
The cast of the series Lucky Star | Source

The slice of life Manga - The perfect way to "escape without escaping," as I put it. The slice of life is Japan's anwer to sitcoms. These comics and TV shows are humorous looks at the reality of life. For example - we all know a tomboy, an extremely smart - yet utterly ditzy - girl, a person who is always asking for your notes, a total anime-obsessed freak (I'm the one in my group), and other hilarious charicatures. While, the slice of life puts them all together in a clique and makes hilarity ensue.

Here are the low-downs on my two favourite Manga's and shows of this Genre.

Lucky Star

The cast: A group of High School girls.

Konata: the anime and erotic-game obsessed tomboy, who despite being athletic and smart sometimes confuses reality with fantasy - mainly due to the fact that her world consists of mangas and video games.

Tsukasa: The girl who tries hard to study, but never seems to succeed. Often portrayed as a bit of an airhead, she is easily distracted and has difficulty following complex conversations.

Kagami: Tsukasa's twin sister, she is extremely smart and does very well in school - she studies very hard to achieve this. She is "The responsible one" in the group.

Miyuki: The cute one. She is extremely smart, and lives in a wealthy area of the town. However, despite her high intelligence, she tends to be pretty clumsy. She also is the tallest, most developed of the girls.

In other words, we have the tomboy, the airhead, the responsible one, and the cute one, and following the slice of life genre, these girls play their roles to the extreme, with some cute and funny results. For example, Kagami had been wondering how Tsukasa and Konata first met, to which Konata replies "Tsukasa had been approached by some weird foreigner so I came out to protect her and beat him up" - to which it then shows Konata fighting an american in a Street Fighter parody. Tsukasa then replied "But it turns out he was just lost and looking for directions."

Overall, Lucky Star has the sitcom formula down pat and makes for good humour. Kind of like Jersey Shore, but a lot more warm and fuzzy.

Lucky Star DVD

Lucky Star, Vol. 1
Lucky Star, Vol. 1

Volume 1 of Lucky Star on DVD. Audio available in both English and Japanese.

 

Azumanga Diaoh

Unlike Lucky Star - where I love the TV Series, and can't stand the manga it was based upon - I love the Azumanga Diaoh Manga (Literally "Great King Azumanga) and can't stand the show. Again, this slice of life series follows a group of high school girls from when they first start high school through to graduation. Also involved are their teachers, who sometimes seem like they're coming along for the ride, or as is more often the case, taking the girls along for a ride.

The cast is as follows:

Ms. Yukari: The English Teacher, and homeroom teacher for the girls. She uses unconventional - read:unprofessional - teaching methods at times. Not the most responsible person to place your children in the care of.

Yukari: "Now read this sentence"

Koyomi "I think ill of Tomo."

Yukari: "Now read this one."

Koyomi: "I do not like Tomo. Not at all."

Tomo: "Hey! The textbook says 'Nancy!'"

Ms Kurosawa: The gym teacher who also serves as Ms. Yukari's rival since they were themselves in high school. A much more responsible teacher, she often goes on class trips with Yukari's class just to make sure Yukari doesn't do anything stupid.

Mr. Kimura: The creepy guy who, despite being married, admits to becoming a high school teacher for "the high school girls."

Chiyo-chan: The genius. A ten year old girl who was smart enough to be in high school.

Tomo: The energetic girl. She will compete against anyone in anything, seemingly because she craves the attention.

Koyomi AKA "Yomi": "The straight-man(woman)." While seemingly the normal person, her personality quirks are minimalised. However, she is essential in the setup of the humour or often in moving the plot forward.

Sakaki: The shy, misunderstood girl. Extremely quiet. Because she is athletic, yet keeps to herself, the other members of the cast are afraid of her at first, until she developes a friendship with the young Chiyo-chan. Sakaki and Chiyo-chan become seemingly best friends as the series progresses.

Ayuma AKA "Osaka": The ditzy exchange student. She transferred in early in the first symester. There is a running gag in the series about Osaka's accent, which is played in the english version much like a Chicago "Mob" accent.

Kaorin: The set-up. Kaorin is Abbot to Sakaki's Costello, and the jokes usually involve Kaorin's ehrm... infatuation with Sakaki. Whether Sakaki knows about these feelings or not are left unanswered.

So the brief rundown: we have an irresponsible teacher, a responsible teacher, a creepy teacher, a prodigy, an annoying girl, an average girl, the quiet one, the exchange student, the controversial character.

Again, these are sitcom-style character archetypes that play well in slice of life mangas particularly because we all know people with these little personality quirks - albeit not to the extremes portrayed in this series. Could you imagine if you took one trait of each of your friends and blew them out of proportion? That's what slice of life manga is all about. It's realistic, believable, and entertaining for that purpose - it's believability.

So, I'd go and pick up a book today.

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Comments 10 comments

RachaelLefler profile image

RachaelLefler 5 years ago from Illinois

Hm. If you like Slice of Life you might also enjoy K-On. It's an adorable and funny show that reminded me a lot of Azumanga Daioh. It's about 4 girls that start a band together, forming their high school's Light Music Club, but all of them are very new to it, all the experienced seniors from the club graduated so they're trying to keep the club going without any real guidance from older peers. It's a lot of fun.


RachaelLefler profile image

RachaelLefler 5 years ago from Illinois

My favorite running gag in Azumanga Daioh is Sakaki always trying to pet a cat and it always biting her. Like, every time I think... maybe... this time... nope! Lol.


Bubblegum Senpai profile image

Bubblegum Senpai 5 years ago from Little Tokyo Author

That is great. i like the gag surrounding Chiyo-chans dad myself, but the look on the cat every time s/he bites sakaki is priceless!


RachaelLefler profile image

RachaelLefler 5 years ago from Illinois

I also like all the unusual things (other characters imagine/dream) Chiyo's pigtails do! It's adorable and silly.


Bubblegum Senpai profile image

Bubblegum Senpai 5 years ago from Little Tokyo Author

Start of episode 1: Teacher walks in, and just grabs Chiyo's Pigtails while talking to the class, not even noticing the poor girl.


Bubblegum Senpai profile image

Bubblegum Senpai 5 years ago from Little Tokyo Author

Great running joke.


animedevil21 profile image

animedevil21 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

i like lucky star a lot and awesome hub!


Bubblegum Senpai profile image

Bubblegum Senpai 5 years ago from Little Tokyo Author

Thank You. I appreciate the feedback, and it's been great meeting other fellow anime fans here!


cepheid profile image

cepheid 5 years ago from Estonia

I'm a little more into serious slice of life animes especially the works of Key but I admit I really enjoyed Lucky Star. If you really want some laughs though I suggest you try Nichijou. I really laughed at it like there was no tomorrow anymore. Haha


Bubblegum Senpai profile image

Bubblegum Senpai 5 years ago from Little Tokyo Author

Thanks! Honestly, I haven't heard of Nichijou myself, is there a manga available in english?

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    Nigel, AKA Bubblegum Senpai has been a weird, anime obsessed freak of nature since he first watched "Samurai Pizza Cats" as a young lad.



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