Are you tired of the conflicts and hole-ridden plots of mainstream anime? You want to watch something that won’t stress you out, and hopefully make you laugh a bit. That’s where slice of life anime comes in. This genre gives you the perfect refresher needed after watching 100+ episodes of nothing but fighting and adventuring.
Without further ado, here is a list of the best slice of life anime titles you should watch when you need a little pick me up.
1. Grand Blue (Manga: Kenji Inoue, 2014 / Anime: Shinji Takamatsu & Kenji Inoue, 2018 )
This anime was supposed to be about college life, as seen through the eyes of the freshman protagonist. He’s looking forward to learning, making friends, and even having a relationship with a cute girl he met at school. That is until he accidentally joined a diving club, which, judging from the title, still makes a sensible plot for a slice of life anime.
Reality hits him hard, though, when it was revealed that when the club members are out of the water, they’re almost always buck naked and getting hammered with alcohol. Yes, this diving-themed summer anime is all about getting drunk in college. And if that’s not slice-of-life-y enough for you, I don’t know what is.
It’s difficult to get a copy of an English dubbed/subtitled DVD, but you can watch it on Amazon Prime Video for free if you already have the Prime service.
2. A Place Further than the Universe (Manga: Yorimoi, 2017 / Anime: Jukki Hanada, 2018)
Imagine getting friendly with someone out of pure curiosity or concern, only to get roped in their grand dream of exploring the great unknown – Antarctica. Reading that a couple of times felt weird and random, but that’s the whole point of this anime. It’s about a group of teens who got swayed by a very passionate friend to save up and prepare for the trip of their lives.
It sounds impossible, but conveniently, there’s a research ship that’s going there in a few months, and they’re raffling off slots to interested students. A lot can go wrong with this anime, but the passion and commitment in this story are so incredible that in every episode, you feel like you’re part of their gang.
Spoiler alert, they safely arrive in Antarctica – but just like every epic adventure anime, the real treasure is the friendships they make along the way!
This is also another Anime that is hard to find on DVD, but as of this writing, you can watching it on Crunchyroll.
3. Dagashi Kashi (Manga: Kotoyama, 2014 / Anime: Shigehito Takayanagi, Yasuko Kamo, 2016)
What makes a slice of life anime truly memorable is the ability to turn something mundane into a full-blown series. Take Dagashi Kashi, for example. It’s about running an old candy store, a common business in Japan. It’s like a konbini (convenience store) that sells nothing but sweets and many other goodies for kids.
What “elevates” this show to a must-watch status is that it features well-loved treats, from ramune bottled drinks to fried noodles and more. It delivers nostalgia to adult viewers, who’ve probably forgotten the names and taste of these treats until the show reminded them. We also see bits of romance between the characters, plus a good ole “I want to be a manga artist” dream of the main character – typical elements of easy-to-love slice of life titles.
You can get season one with English subtitles on Blu-ray on Amazon here: Dagashi Kashi: Season One [Blu-ray]
4. Asobi Asobase (Manga: Rin Suzukawa, 2015 / Anime: Yuko Kakihara, 2018)
The most effective formula for a slice of life anime is to get a bunch of high school girls and just let them do things. Random, pointless, and even the most mundane activities can be exciting. That’s precisely what Asobi Asobase did, and boy did it do it well.
It’s about the Pastimers Club, a group of girls who share a love for afterschool pastime activities. You’ll see some familiar ones like rock-paper-scissors but with a unique, painful twist; batsu or punishment games where the loser smells the winner’s armpits, and a lot more. It’s weird and funny; you’ll go through 12 episodes in one sitting easily. Want more proof that it’s one of the best slice of life anime available today? It’s already on Netflix!
5. Non Non Biyori (Manga: Atto, 2009 / Anime: Reiko Yoshida, Fumihiko Shimo, Yuka Yamada, 2013)
If you’re looking for a healing, relaxing anime after bingeing several seasons of your favorite shounen hero, this is it. Slip back in time and see life in the eyes of grade-schoolers in the countryside. There’s no hidden conflict, no unlikeable character, and no sad goodbyes in this story.
Despite the feel-good vibe, there are no boring episodes, as we get to see how children of different ages interact with each other (and make it look fun—ha!). Seeing the youngest character drop wisdom bombs to her neesan (big sister) from time to time is fascinating. Comic relief is often found in exchanges with a newcomer from the city, as she discovers the eccentricities of life in the middle of nowhere.
Check out the complete collection Blu-ray on Amazon here: Non Non Biyori: Complete Collection Blu-ray
6. Tamako Market (Anime: Reiko Yoshida, 2013)
It almost seems as if this artist picked topics to write about from a fishbowl at random and then turned it into a piece of art. Tamako Market is about the goings-on in a shoutengai or shopping district.
It must have been a real challenge to make the story interesting, considering that there isn’t much material to work with. That’s what makes this slice of life anime stands out—it was able to weave a lot of interesting elements with such a simple topic.
There is magic and mystery (like a talking bird from a faraway land, searching for a potential wife for his master back home). There’s romance, between the story’s main heroine and her childhood friend. These are just ordinary, everyday interactions that take place in a market. But it works! It’s so good that a few months after the 12-episode series concluded, a romantic comedy film entitled Tamako Love Story was released.
You can get the complete collection Blu-ray on Amazon here: Tamako Market Blu-ray
7. Amagi Brilliant Park (Manga: Shoji Gatoh, 2014 / Anime: Fumihiko Shimo, 2014)
Ever wonder what it’s like to operate your very own Disneyland, with full control over the staff, the rides, and everything in between? Wonder no more, because that’s what this anime is all about. It’s nowhere near the happiest place on Earth; all the people working there are creatures from a magical land.
Oh, and did I mention that you’re not a willing participant, either? It’s more like a case of Stockholm Syndrome—the main character was forced to visit an amusement park from a different realm, and the creatures working there feed off the energy generated by visitors who are having fun. A bit more tweaking, and we’re ready to cross the horror genre. It deserves a spot on this list because we get a glimpse of how an amusement park is run (not technically, though) and how the unwilling savior reluctantly helps strangers from a strange land.
You can find the Blu-ray on Amazon here: Amagi Brilliant Park Blu-ray
8. Yuru Camp (Manga: Afro, 2015 / Anime: Jin Tanaka, 2018)
Before I even get into the details of this anime, know that this series singlehandedly boosted winter camping and tourism in Japan. Some campgrounds reported up to three times as many visitors than the average winter season.
The premise is simple: a high school girl loves going camping during winter when most campsites are empty, and Mt. Fuji’s views are astonishing. She inspires others to go camping with her, going on trips to various locations all over Japan. The anime also tackled several camping elements, like having the right (affordable) gear, side trips to a nearby onsen (hot springs), and generous close-ups of camping cuisine. Even the most sedentary viewers would be inspired to pack up their bags and have fun outdoors. That is until they realize that it takes a lot of hard work and commitment, not to mention the possibility of freezing to death.
The DVDs are sometimes available on Amazon here: You can find the Blu-ray on Amazon here: Yuru Camp - Complete anime TV series DVD box set (12 episodes)
9. Flying Witch (Manga: Chihiro Ishizuka, 2012 / Anime: Deko Akao, 2016)
This ain’t no Harry Potter, but it’s so good you’ll probably end up finishing the whole series in just one sitting! When you mention witches and anime in one sentence, it’s probably something like a magical girl series or a super-powered epic adventure. Not this one, though.
Here, the main heroine is a witch or a witch-in-training, but she’s not into something sinister or end-of-the-world-y. It’s more like a continuing family tradition while living a normal life, having friends, and riding your broom to ride a sky whale. Maybe not the last part, but you get my drift.
It seamlessly integrates everyday activities with elements of magic, like walking home and coming across a mandragora.
Or spending the summer with friends while brewing concoctions on the side. It’s simple, it’s fun, and it’s very magical!
Check out the complete collection Blu-ray on Amazon here: Flying Witch Blu-ray
10. Barakamon (Manga: Satsuki Yoshino, 2009 / Anime: Pierre Sugiura, 2014)
Oh, you’re still here? I was pretty sure you skipped to the next item when you read that. Glad you didn’t, because this anime turned something rather bor…niche into a very compelling story.
It’s about a professional calligrapher who gets thrown into “time out” island when he punched a critic. Wow, even calligraphers have haters!
The anime is less about art and more about the interactions and relationships he built while on a retreat.
He finds a better version of himself and chose to live as a farmer instead. Just kidding!
It’s a great feel-good story for those who are having a career dilemma or an existential crisis. It tells us that it’s okay to step back and take a break once in a while, and building relationships is just as rewarding as creating your next masterpiece.
You can find the Blu-ray on Amazon here: Barakamon: The Complete Series Blu-ray
11. Hinamatsuri (Manga: Masao Otake, 2010 / Anime: Keiichiro Ochi, 2018)
What do you get when you combine typical themes like aliens, yakuza, and high school girls? A dry-humored, laugh-your-pants off slice of life anime like this one!
Picture this: an upstart Yakuza suddenly becomes a custodian of a powerful alien creature that looks like a girl. Instead of relying on her powers, though, he takes her as his daughter—who naturally becomes spoiled and stubborn. It’s their everyday life and interactions that make this a must-watch.
The Yakuza dad steadily climbs up the organization’s ladder; the child goes to school and makes friends. Plus, you get the occasional violence when rival gangs are involved, or when other alien girls arrive and try to disrupt the relatively peaceful life they have.
The complete series can be found on Amazon here: HINAMATSURI: The Complete Series Blu-ray
12. ReLIFE (Manga: Yayoiso, 2013 / Anime: Michiko Yokote, Kazuho Hyodo, 2016)
You failed in life as an adult, but you’re offered a chance to participate in an experiment that would make you look 10 years younger and live life as a high school student. Would you take it?
That’s the plot of this anime and probably a handful of other titles as well. What makes this one special is that it’s an experiment set for only a year. Succeed, and you return to your adult life with better career options. Fail, and you gain nothing other than wasting another year. The real draw of this anime is the main character’s road to redemption; the one year he spent as a high schooler made him appreciate the value of friendships and himself more, and he even learned about love along the way.
You can check out season one on Amazon here: ReLIFE: Season One Blu-ray
13. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K (Manga: Shuichi Aso, 2012 / Anime: Michiko Yokote, 2016)
What is it like to be the most powerful person in the world?
It turns out that it’s not that great. You’re always trying to control your powers to keep yourself from destroying the world. If you make a mistake and end all life on Earth as we know it, you’ll have to undo everything and make everyone forget what happened.
Also, you have to go to school, deal with weird friends, all while keeping your powers a secret. Not that it’s a problem, you can just reset everyone’s memory, or brainwash them to think you’re normal. This anime’s truly a riot, and it’s not because of the main character’s powers or the consequences of his actions. It’s because he’s surrounded by eccentric characters, from his overly-affectionate parents to his friends’ quirky group. He may be super-powered, but he’s the most normal person in the series.
You can check out season one on Amazon here: The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. - Season One Blu-ray
14. Bakuman (Manga: Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata, 2008 / Anime: Reiko Yoshida, 2010)
Ever wondered how your favorite manga gets made? Or how can a mangaka (manga artist) breathe life into their creation on a weekly or monthly basis?
Well, this one’s for you. Bakuman is one of the first titles to give us a closer look at creating and publishing a manga. We get to see how the two protagonists, a writer, and an artist, decided to join forces and get started in the industry.
What makes Bakuman appealing is that it has all the elements of a full-fledged anime: rivals and love interests. The duo gets a rival mangaka, who debuts on top of the rankings. Throughout the series, they aim to equal or be better than him. Also, one of the characters made a promise to his classmate that he would date her when his manga gets turned into an anime. Wow, it’s like, he wants to stay single forever!
The DVD is available on Amazon here: Bakuman: First Issue
15. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (Manga: Izumi Tsubaki, 2011 / Anime: Yoshiko Nakamura, 2014)
This anime is also about a manga artist but is less serious and more comical. It takes a spot on this list because we see why we can’t judge a manga or anime based on their artist.
It’s not uncommon to assume that action-adventure titles are created mostly by male artists, and romance titles by female artists. The reality, however, is not as black and white, and this anime proves that.
Nozaki, the artist and titular character, is the mangaka of a well-known high school romance manga. Everyone assumed that he’s a girl, and only his closest friends (and unwilling assistants) know the truth. It’s a funny take on story creation, as we see him try and fail miserably to accurately depict relationships because of his lack of experience and dense nature.
Check out the Blu-ray on Amazon: Monthly Girls Nozaki-Kun Blu-ray
16. Silver Spoon (Manga: Hiromu Arakawa, 2011 / Anime: Taku Kishimoto, 2013)
If it’s slice of life you’re after, then you need to watch Silver Spoon. It’s about life at an agricultural school in the middle of nowhere, as experienced by someone born and raised in a big city.
We get to see many of his “firsts,” like catching chickens, eating freshly-laid eggs, raising livestock (and not getting attached to them, for you know, “eating” reasons,) and even falling in love. With a fellow student, of course, not with livestock, that would be weird. Or is it? I don’t judge).
Going back to the topic, it’s an excellent watch for those who, like many city dwellers, are blissfully unaware of where their food comes from. It’s also a nostalgic trip back to the boondocks for those who’ve moved from rural to urban life. Even though the protagonist looks weak and indecisive, you’ll soon find yourself rooting for him as he starts to adjust to his unique school life.
You can find the collector’s edition of season one on Blu-ray on Amazon: Silver Spoon Season 1 - Collector's Edition Blu-ray
17. Daily Lives of High School Boys (Manga: Yasunobu Yamauchi, 2009 / Anime: Shinji Takamatsu, 2012)
From the title, you’d guess that this one’s a slice of life anime. But surely, you’d never expect to be laughing so much for the next 6 hours. Neither did I, but this series is just a goldmine for slapstick and situational comedy.
It follows the (mis)adventures of a group of male high school students, who often find themselves in weird situations that never fail to make viewers laugh. And their experiences aren’t that uncommon! What makes this show funny is that they’re very relatable, and you’ve probably experienced some of them back in high school, regardless of whether you’re a boy or a girl.
You can find the collector’s edition of season one on Blu-ray on Amazon: Daily Lives of High School Boys Complete Collection Blu-ray Set
18. Nichijou My Ordinary Life (Manga: Keiichi Arawi, 2006 / Anime: Jukki Hanada, 2011)
Like the previous entry, this one is clearly a slice of life anime. Only this time, it focuses on a group of girls. And while the Daily Lives of High School Boys is more relatable, this anime takes simple situations to absurd extremes!
From overzealous classmates, borderline violent pranks, to android maids, this anime takes classroom comedy to the limit. What makes this appealing is that even when some of the themes are farfetched, it still finds ways to bring the story back to the ground.
For example, even with all the uproar caused by eccentric characters, we still see one student who aspires to be a manga artist, though she mostly likes to draw BL (boys love) manga. Every segment, which runs somewhere between 3 to 5 minutes, offers a rollercoaster of emotions, that by the end of a 20-minute episode, you find yourself exhausted from laughing too much.
You can find the collector’s edition of season one on Blu-ray on Amazon: Nichijou: My Ordinary Life - The Complete Series Blu-ray
19. Working!! (Karino Takatsu, 2005 / Anime: Yoshimasa Hiraike, 2010)
The idea for this anime was probably conceived over dinner. Why’s that?
The story, just like many slice of life titles picked from seemingly random topics, is about working at a family restaurant. You heard that right: it’s about the lives of servers, cooks, and managers working in a “famiresu” as the Japanese call it.
It’s one of the most successful slice of life titles on this list, with four seasons available for everyone to binge on. It’s simple and straightforward, with little to offer in terms of conflict. Although there is quite a bit of tension coming from the budding romance between the main character and his coworker. And just like every anime that involves food, it also has gratuitous close-ups of some of the dishes they serve, so you better stock up on snacks before you start watching.
The complete collection can sometimes be found on Amazon here: Nichijou: Wagnaria!! (Working!!) Complete Collection Standard Edition
20. Saint Young Men (Manga: Hikaru Nakamura, 2006 / Anime: Rika Nezu, 2012)
Are you deeply religious and couldn’t stand to see mainstream media grossly misrepresent your beliefs? Well, congratulations, you’ve finished the list, you can now stop reading.
But if you’re the curious type and don’t mind a bit of blasphemy from time to time, this slice of life anime is for you! Stick around to see Jesus and Buddha as roommates. Yep, you heard that right.
Saint Young Men is about Christianity’s Jesus and Buddhism’s Buddha living together in a small apartment in Tokyo. They’re vacationing on Earth, so you can see them enjoying everything that the big city offers: beer, manga, and thrift shopping. They’re trying to be discrete, so nothing flashy and fancy. However, it’s a running gag that Buddha shines when he’s excited, and Jesus may inadvertently turn bodies of water, like a public bath, into wine.
1. Sakura Quest (Anime: Masahiro Yokotani, 2017)
Job-seeking main character fails to find a job in Tokyo, so she accepts an offer to work for the tourism department of a rural town. She mistakenly signs a contract meant for someone else, but in the end, she learns to like the job and takes it seriously.
Check out the complete series on Amazon here: Sakura Quest: The Complete Series Blu-ray
2. Genshiken (Manga: Shimoku Kio, 2002 / Anime: Michiko Yokote, 2004)
This anime is about a club comprised of university students who share a passion for anything otaku. They learn to be more confident and less ashamed of what they love. They often hang out together while doing different things.
The complete series is on Amazon here: Genshiken: Complete Collection
3. Interviews with Monster Girls (Manga: Petos, 2014 / Anime: Takao Yoshioka, 2017)
Demi-humans are now socially accepted, so naturally, some of them would be going to school. The series follows the life of a biology teacher and his regular interactions with demi-human students trying their hardest to fit in and live normally.
You can find the complete series on Amazon here: Interviews with Monster Girls: The Complete Series Blu-ray
4. Devil is a Part-Timer (Manga: Satoshi Wagahara, 2012 / Anime: Masahiro Yokotani, 2013)
What would the baddest creature in existence do when he suddenly gets transported to Earth and finds himself powerless? He works at a fast-food joint to very, very, slowly rise and regain his power!
The complete series is on Amazon here: The Devil Is a Part Timer - The Complete Series Blu-ray
5. Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku (Manga: Fujita, 2014 / Anime: Yoshimasa Hiraike, 2018)
A game nerd is in a relationship with a fujoshi (female who loves seeing male on male love), and they work together at the same company. They’re both good looking, but their “hobbies” get in the way of a healthy relationship.
It can be hard to find a copy of an English dubbed/subtitled DVD, but you can watch it on Amazon Prime Video for free if you already have the Prime service.
What about you? Seen any significant slice of life anime that you think needs to be added to this list? Head on to the comments section and share it with us!