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Slice of Life Animes and Manga
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.
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 Review
A review of the anime Lucky Star. by Kexul
- Lucky Star Characters Manga Anime Video and Merchand...
A Guide to Lucky Star Merchandise. A Tad overpromotional, but then again so am I. by PaulaHenry1
Lucky Star DVD
Volume 1 of Lucky Star on DVD. Audio available in both English and Japanese.
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.