Slice of Life
Life, observed and examined. A cast of characters go about their daily lives, making observations and being themselves. School is perhaps the most common setting for these kinds of series, especially in animation. Coming of age is often a major part of their stories. They may have Death by Newbery Medal.
Slice of Life series don't usually have much of a plot or, if taken to extreme, even the omnipresent Conflict, but they don't really need one, and many Slice of Life stories use a lack of conflict to serve peaceful Escapism rather than realism. An example of this would be how in many slice of life school stories, parents are nearly non-existent.
Slice of life also doesn't have to be set in the world as we know it. Several Web Comics are Slice of Life, while the ones labeled "Real Life" are usually not real life at all, but tend to fall into some brand of Speculative Fiction, or at the least Life Embellished. Not to be confused with the Journal Comic, although they may overlap. For a complete index, see Slice of Life Webcomics.
Surprisingly popular in Japan, so a lot of Anime fills this category. In longer-running action-based shows it is also becoming fairly common to incorporate Slice of Life episodes to flesh out the characters by placing them in a more mundane setting. This often gets combined with a Mood Whiplash when the pace of the action picks up. See Schoolgirl Series for a specific type of Slice of Life. See also Iyashikei, which often overlaps with this trope. Compare and contrast with Soap Opera.
Slice of Life Webcomics have their own page.
Anime and Manga
- A Channel: Slice of high school girl life. Best summed up by the end credits.
- Ai-Ren: Slice of life After the End.
- Amanchu: Slice of scuba diving life.
- Aoi Hana: Slice of Girls Love life with a Love Dodecahedron.
- Aria: Slice of Neo-Venetian terraformed Mars life. With Scenery Porn. Lots and lots of Scenery Porn.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: Slice of political Anthropomorphic Personification life.
- Azumanga Daioh: Slice of eccentric schoolgirl life.
- Baby and Me: Slice of big brother life.
- Bamboo Blade: Slice of shinai-wielding life.
- Binbou Shimai Monogatari: Slice of life with lots of Cherry Blossoms.
- The Borrower Arrietty: Slice of life about a tiny daughter as she befriends a human and fight for her family's safety.
- Bunny Drop: Slice of parental life
- Candy Boy: Slice of life with hints of lesbian Twincest. Better Than It Sounds.
- Chibi Maruko-chan: The everyday life of a 9-year old girl, her family and her classmates in pre-Internet era Japan.
- Chibisan Date: A slice of peaceful life on an island.
- Crayon Shin-chan: Arguably, a slice of a 5-year old boy's life, as he makes everyone's lives impossible. Hilarity Ensues!
- Daily Lives of High School Boys: Slice of all-boys' high schooler life.
- Dennou Coil: Slice of tech-savvy, junior high-schooler life.
- Diamond Daydreams: Slice of Hokkaido life. Likely Piano's closest contender in terms of purity.
- Digimon Tamers: This is a reason why this was a unusual series; Consider that this is a Mon series, meant for kids, without "slapstick comedy" due to being as realistic as possible. Digimon Adventure also had bits of this, but mainly when it was directly affected.
- Doki Doki School Hours, excluding the out-of-place genre spoof episodes.
- Fruits Basket is the rare example of a show with supernatural elements that fits this trope.
- Genshiken: Slice of Otaku life.
- Great Teacher Onizuka: Tokyo Pop advertised it with the tagline "No big eyes. No magic powers. No giant robots."
- Gokinjo Monogatari: Slice of eccentric art school life.
- Haibane Renmei: Slice of after-life (according to the most common interpretation of the series).
- Hidamari Sketch: Slice of art school life, high school edition.
- Hitohira: Slice of high school drama club life.
- Honey and Clover: Slice of art school life, college edition.
- Hyakko: Slice of Elaborate University High life.
- Hyakuen: Slice of money-saving high school girls' life, with a dash of comedy and hint of Ecchi.
- THE iDOLM@STER: Slice of life with an Idol twist.
- Itoshi no Kana: Slice of life and life after death.
- Ichigo Mashimaro: Slice of four cute kids and their Cool Big Sis's life.
- Kamichu!: Slice of divine life. Shinto-flavored, of course.
- Kiki's Delivery Service compresses this trope into a movie, and quite successfully so.
- Kimi ni Todoke: A heartwarming, tear-jerking slice of high school life.
- Kimi to Boku: A slice of boys' life, about a group of boys who've known one another since kindergarten living out their high school days in relative peace (and hijinks).
- Kirby: Right Back at Ya!: Half Kirby kicking ass, half slice of the townspeople's life under an illegitimate monarchy. Contains a lot of subtle satire and social commentary.
- Kokoro Library: Slice of library-managing life.
- K-On!: Slice of all-girl high-school rock band life.
- Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service: slice of dead people's lives and of the people who talk to them.
- Lamune: Slice of seaside summer life.
- Love is in the Bag: Slice of high school life involving a girl who turns into a bag.
- Lucky Star: Slice of schoolgirl life meets slice of otaku life.
- Mahoraba: A slice of cute, romantic life.
- Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Slice of magical life.
- Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora: Slice of magical life, but with more drama still.
- Maison Ikkoku: Slice of several years of life in a boarding house.
- Manabi Straight!: Slice of high school student council life Twenty Minutes in The Future.
- Minami-ke: Slice of three sisters' lives in an apartment.
- Mokke: Slice of ghost-haunted life.
- Moyashimon: Slice of college life with a guy who can see microbes.
- Natsume Yuujinchou: Slice of life about a boy who can see spirits, some obligations left him by his grandmother, and his Snarky Non-Human Sidekick.
- Need a Girl!: About four young men in their last year on High School, each trying to score a girlfriend.
- Nichijou: Slice of ordinary life. Except it's anything but ordinary.
- My Neighbor Totoro: Two girls move to a new place as they deal with the reality of their mother's sickness
- Nodame Cantabile: Slice of music school life.
- Only Yesterday: Slice of nostalgic life.
- Papa no Iukoto o Kikinasai: A 19-years-old college freshman finds himself as the legal guardian of his three nieces.
- Paradise Kiss: Slice of average teenager life meets slice of oddball fashion design student life.
- Patlabor: Slice of Humongous Mecha pilot life.
- Piano: Slice of Slice of Life life. Perhaps the purest anime-example of this trope one can find.
- Planetes: Slice of astronaut life.
- Plica: Slice of Japanese lesbian life.
- Ranma ½: Basically there are no real plot arcs or main antagonists present in the series, since it revolves around Ranma's life of of attending high school and training at the Tendo Dojo, fighting different rivals, dealing with different love interests, and having to put up with Akane Tendo, along with the various misunderstandings that provoke her rage.
- Real Drive: Slice of cyborg life set on a tropical island in the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex universe.
- Saint Young Men: Daily life in Japan as experienced by Jesus and Buddha.
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei: Slice of suicidally depressed, socially satirical life pumped with crack and LSD.
- Sazae-san: Slice of life of a typical Japanese housewife at home with her parents, her very young siblings, her husband, and her child.
- School Rumble: Slice of romantic (often surreal) high school life.
- Shirokuma Cafe: Slice of life with FunnyAnimals at a cafe run by a polar bear.
- Silver Spoon: Slice of life in an agricultural school.
- Sketchbook: Like Honey and Clover and Hidamari Sketch, but with a Funny Foreigner and lots of cats.
- Spotted Flower: Chronicling the life of a newlywed couple: an Otaku Husband and a fiery pregnant wife, and their love life.
- So Ra No Wo To: Slice of 5 cute teen soldier girls garrisoned in a peaceful town life except for the last 2 episodes.
- Suzumiya Haruhi features this, as it does with most genres. The best example is the chronological last episode, that was so Slice of Life that it was boring (which was fully intentional).
- Season 2 has a 'slice of Groundhog Day life', or rather, eight of the same slice.
- Tamayura: slice of photographing life.
- The Tatami Galaxy is a slice of quirky College life, albeit with time rewinds.
- Tsuribaka Nisshi: Slice of life fishing manga.
- Virgin Night: Specifically life's sexual slices. Of the sort most people actually have.
- Wandering Son: Slice of transchildren life.
- Wife and Wife: The life of a young lesbian couple who have just moved in together.
- Windy Tales: Slice of wind manipulation life.
- With the Light: Slice of life raising an autistic child.
- Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: Slice of post-apocalypse life.
- Yotsuba&!: slice of summer-vacation-with-new-kid-in-town life.
- Played With in School-Live!. It looks like a slice of school life... but that's a Bait and Switch.
- Strangers in Paradise was largely Slice of Life, but had a rather incongruous thriller subplot involving a conspiracy to take over the government.
- Love and Rockets by Los Bros Hernandez started off as grab-bag of surrealism, Slice of Life and Magical Realism. With time, the Slice of Life elements predominate.
- Omaha the Cat Dancer combines the Slice of Life and Talking Animal genres. Oh yeah, and explicit sex scenes.
- Shanda the Panda, the Spiritual Successor to Omaha, has a similar tone, but confines the sex scenes to their own title.
- Most issues of Astro City were actually Slice of Life pieces, with the heroes and villains taking a back seat to the ordinary citizens just trying to keep their lives together in a world where superpowered beings attempt to save-and/or-destroy the world on a regular basis.
- American Splendor.
- In Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane superheroics become a background detail to Mary Jane's crush on the popular superhero Spider Man.
- Some of Robert Crumb's autobiographical works, like Self Loathing Comics which was an autobiographical collaboration with him and his wife Aline.
- Roberta Gregory's Naughty Bits, for the most part.
- Archie Comics follows a group of fifties-esque teenagers about their daily lives.
- Impulse was intended to be this by Mark Waid, the character's creator (ie. primarily Slice of Life with a dash of superhero). It worked, at first - some very memorable moments include Bart not-so-indirectly starting a massive schoolfight in #3, and this story from #6 - but along the way it somehow mutated into primarily superhero with a dash of life.
- Swedish indie comic writer Coco Moodysson's autobiographic comic book Coco Platina Titan Total: several slices of teenage and early-20s life.
- Ghost World
- It can be argued that Scott Pilgrim both subverts and plays this straight. While the world they live in is clearly a weird video gamed based society where everyone at the least has the potential for super powers, in their world, that is considered the norm. The main plot is essentially the lives and dynamic between all of the characters. When they aren't fighting, everything is actually quite normal, and is almost like a Canadian hipster version of Friends.
- One issue of Zot! was called "Jenny's Day", and was just that: it showed Jenny get up in the morning, go to school, and showed an ordinary day in her life. It was made interesting by seeing her thoughts and how much she hated her life and would rather be living on Zot's world.
- Later issues of Zot!, titled "The Earth Stories" did this, focusing on just one minor character and showing a sample of their life.
- Anything directed by Yasujiro Ozu can fit into this category quite well.
- Linda Linda Linda
- Napoleon Dynamite
- A Christmas Story
- The Cameron Crowe film Singles
- Yi Yi
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High
- My Blue Heaven
- The Company
- Roundhay Garden Scene
- Happy-Go-Lucky: slice of always cheerful bubbly Cloudcuckoolander Cool Teacher taking Driving Lessons life.
- Otoko wa Tsurai yo film series (literally, It's Tough Being a Man). From 1969 to 1995, it had 48 different installments and held the title of "Longest Running Film Series". All of them are slice of life romantic comedies with nearly identical plots.
- Always - Sunset on Third Street and its sequel.
- Annie Hall
- Wild Tigers I Have Known
- The Sundance Film Festival movie, Life In A Day. The day? July 24. The life? Hundreds of people across the world, recording their day.
- Another Year looks at the year of a Happily Married older couple living and working in North London and the people around them.
- Dobitsu No Mori, aka The Animal Crossing movie, detailing a girl moving into a village. No villain, only minor conflicts, and no general plot.
- The Book Thief is surprisingly slice of life, considering where it takes place.
- Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Not so much the Sequel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
- Ulysses: A slice of life cooked so rare the blood is still pumping.
- The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series of books and also the Scotland Street series, both by Alexander McCall Smith, use this.
- A lot of children's books are like this. They may have titles like The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks or Ten Ways To Make Your Sister Disappear, but in the end, they're mostly stories about everyday life happenings, with whatever the title is about in the background as a recurring element, but not necessarily the dominant one.
- For example, Ten Ways To Make Your Sister Disappear is really about the everyday life of a girl who happens to have a bratty older sister. Some chapters don't mention the older sister at all, though she's still the main conflict in the story, just not the only one.
- Operation: Dump the Chump is about a boy who wants to get rid of his younger brother by pulling schemes like trying to convince a neighbor to adopt him, and things like that. Most of the story is really just about his life and plays out like a series of anecdotes that happen to involve him and his brother.
- Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade has the underlying plot of a morbidly obese girl who wants to be accepted, and the main character, who gradually comes to accept her, and tries to get others to do the same. But the book is just as much about everyday fifth-grade life portrayed realistically and in a fun way, with the totally random hitchhiking scene out of nowhere.
- Paula Danziger's fiction.
- Adrian Mole: slice of British early-teen-to-forties life.
- Nilda by Nicholasa Mohr is about a Puerto Rican preteen, the eponymous Nilda, living in Manhattan during World War II.
- Bridge to Terabithia stars two children and their made-of-imagination kingdom and the trials and tribulations of daily schoolkid life.
- The Anne of Green Gables series is a classical example: a slice of the life of a woman with writing ambitions (and, in later books, also those of her children and acquaintances) in the late 19th and early 20th century.
- Ramona Quimby is slice of elementary school life. The books take place in different years in grade school, from kindergarten to fourth, but all capture that year of life excellently while being very light-hearted.
- Despite the horrific murder that kicks of the plot, Boy's Life is mainly about Cory's life in his hometown of Zephyr.
- Naive Super is a pretty purebred example.
- Subverted in PG Wodehouse short story A Slice of Life. The narrator tells a story about his brother's experiences (an adventure including a Damsel in Distress, a Dastardly Whiplash, and a dash of Mad Science) to show that such tropes occur a lot more commonly in daily life than people think.
- Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet. Despite the fact that it's about a girl becoming a knight in a fantasy medieval world, there's essentially no overarching plot except for in the final book of the series.
- Stuck juxtaposes this together with the oddities rampant within Tre's life in Greyson City, which provides a lot of the humor in the first and second episodes.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
- This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn
- Saturday by Ian McEwan.
- The Baby Sitters Club: Slice of babysitters' life.
Live Action TV
- Most sitcoms tend to be this.
- The Wonder Years (A slice of 1960's life)
- Kamen Rider Hibiki is a tokusatsu superhero show with elements of Slice of Life. The heroes fight monsters, but they and their allies also go about their daily lives. Any drama (to the extent that it is present at all) is very ordinary and everyday-like, in contrast to the more fantastic and more contrived drama seen in many Tokusatsu shows.
- The British version of The Office fits this model, being the mockumentary of an unexceptional office in a dreary little suburb. The American version continues with the basic premise but increasingly inserts more outlandish sitcom situations.
- Freaks and Geeks. Only Lindsay has a really pronounced character arc by the time the series ends.
- Seinfeld, which might as well be the Trope Maker for SitComs.
- The Dick Van Dyke Show is the trope maker for the Dom Com. All previous ones were of the I Love Lucy variety where the comedy revolves around an out of the ordinary circumstance, event, or scheme.
- How I Met Your Mother. Frequently an episode will be centered entirely around a conversation sprinkled with flashbacks to random events in the character's lives.
- Bear in the Big Blue House
- My Place is this for children's Historical Fiction. The series as a whole stretches from 2008 to past 1788. Some episodes are about big, life changing events, but many are basically about kids getting up to all sorts of fairly harmless shenanigans, and all focus on the kids' daily lives.
- 'Series/'Sesame Street.
- A large number of Country Music songs can fit under this trope. A good example is "Just Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Vassar.
- There are a lot of comics that could be considered slice of life stories to varying degrees of realism.
- For Better or For Worse, although the slice got more and more overcooked as time went on.
- The Far Side loved this. Of course, the lives we see slices of are weird beyond belief. This is Gary Larson.
- Charles Schultz's Peanuts, in both comic and cartoon versions, was the story of a small group of friends walking around and dealing with each other's problems.
- Except with canine fighter pilots.
- Dykes to Watch Out For.
- Requested by Garfield in this strip: [dead link]
Jon: I'll have the spaghetti, Irma
- The Time Of Your Life
- Animal Crossing
- Harvest Moon
- and conversely Rune Factory
- Persona 3 and Persona 4
- Steambot Chronicles
- The Sims
- Photopia is mainly this.
- Loco Roco 2 had extra cutscenes which included mostly that and described as "view of everyday life of the planet".
- Blaze Union puts a lot of emphasis on this, despite its fantastic setting.
- Most "Tycoon" games tend to be this since your goal is to be a successful businessman and the only thing holding you back is your own incompetence.
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is set up like this... until the horror elements begin showing up.
- Kira Kira
- Shizune's route of Katawa Shoujo has elements of this, which the route's detractors frequently cite as shortcomings. It makes sense, though, as Shizune is said to compartmentalize events of her life and live in the moment, thus not realizing the implications her rejecting Misha's Love Confession has on their relationship, or how her developing relationship with Hisao might exacerbate the problem.
- Botched Spot's original storyline revolves around the lives of two independent wrestlers. A lot more of the story takes place outside of the ring than inside of it and the relationship between the two main characters is the focus.
- Questionable Content is, for the most part, about the daily lives of a bunch of twentysomethings.
- Rival Angels is set in a world where Pro Wrestling Is Real and where women's wrestling is much more popular than it currently is in Real Life. The comic focuses on four female competitors and shows us not only their matches, but also their lives outside of work.
- With the Angels is mostly about the protagonist making observations about the people she meets during her stay in California.
- Acerotiburon by Antonia Pinnola is a webcomic that tends to follow this pattern. Can be found here. The earlier parts of her comic, which involve the protagonist's ex-boyfriend and the characters of Naruto. It Makes Sense in Context. Well, actually, not as much as you'd hope.
This trope is commonly invoked when it's an educational book/TV series targeting little kids and is well loved among children book writers and children show producers alike. For example, take Jumbo Pictures'/Cartoon Pizza's show lineup:
- PB and J Otter
- Jojo's Circus
- Pinky Dinky Doo
- Allegra's Window
- Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps
All of them follows the Slice of Life format almost to a T (and may make use of gratuitous amounts of Imagination Sequence scenes)
Other educational book/TV series that uses this format:
- The Berenstain Bears
- Rugrats and it's spin-off All Grown Up!
- Madeline—Well, there are a a dozen or so episodes excluded.
- Spot the Dog—Excluding Spot's Magical Christmas.
- Clifford the Big Red Dog—Yes, there's a breakage in that there's a big red dog and Amazing Technicolor Wildlife, but even the dogs face human problems.
- Dragon Tales—Dragons and magic notwithstanding.
- Franklin—Again excluding the Christmas Special, Franklin's Magic Christmas. And oh, the Very Special Episode, or Special Movie in this case, Franklin and The Turtle Lake Treasure.
- Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat—The fact that they are cats in the 18th century notwithstanding.
- Pocoyo—Most of the time.
- Strawberry Shortcake—The 2003 and 2009 series, with certain episodes excluded.
- Care Bears--- Most of the Adventures In Care-A-Lot episodes fits this trope.
- Stickin' Around—The series itself is built around the Imagine Spot.
- My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic—Partly. After the characters' saving the world with The Power of Friendship, the series continues on in the daily life routine of Ponyville. The main character is "tasked" with reporting on how friendship helps her and her friends. Just about every episode has a clearly progressing, conflict-driven plot, though, and sometimes they are straight-up adventures, more like Monster of the Week than Slice of Life. But there's still hardly any continuing storyline between episodes.
And hundreds of other examples.
Non-little-children-targeting examples include:
- Early Funny Animal cartoons like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Flip the Frog and Mickey Mouse often featured the characters in everyday situations.
- Beavis and Butthead, most of the time. An entire episode revolved around them waiting for a tv show to come on.
- The Weekenders
- As Told by Ginger
- Home Movies, especially the early episodes which contained lots of improvisation.
- Hey Arnold!
- Daria, save The Musical and its day at the Bizarro.
- King of the Hill
- Regular Show plays it straight yet subverts it at the same time.
- Birdz is a pretty straight example of a five-member bird family, focusing mainly on the middle child (a 10-year-old bird named Eddie) and his adventures both in school and out.