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5 Most Memorable Slice of Life Anime of 2014

Slice-of-life is not typically the most heated genre discussion topic about anime for any given year. Regardless, it remains an undeniably captivating genre for many viewers for the emotions and feelings evoked or sometimes for the relaxed nature of the shows themselves. The year of 2014 has been fairly kind to the slice-of-life genre so far, and with a quarter of the year still yet to come, there are already many strong additions to the genre.

Again, the slice-of-life genre is a less commonly discussed topic for most. But for those seeking a bit of respite from all the action-packed and lightning-paced shows around them, there is likely a title among this list that would be a perfect match.

Isshuukan Friends (One Week Friends)

Yuuki Hase had no idea about the cost of being friends with Kaori Fujimiya when he first made his overture. Kaori Fujimiya has a fairly unique problem: she forgets any memories of her friends at the end of every week. Undeterred despite this, Yuuki Hase resolves to become Kaori’s friend as many times as it takes.

Isshuukan Friends is a light hearted and heartwarming slice of life escapade into the realm of friendship. Very rarely does a shounen tackle the theme of friendship without involving grand adventures or a school setting so sparingly used in the narrative’s final product. Instead, Isshuukan Friends details the trials and growing pains of friendship through friendship, not by some other means. It also happens to do so quite well. For anyone in want of an atypical, mellow slice of life on friendship, there is Isshuukan Friends.

 

Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou (The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior)

Kazunari Usa finally has a chance to enjoy the lifestyle he wants now that he’s entered high school – living alone. To his mild alarm, he soon finds out that the Kawai Complex is purposely populated by rather unique individuals. He is dismayed over his living situation until he sees Ritsu Kawai at school. The girl of his dreams, Kazunari’s disposition towards his living situation takes a U-turn once he learns that she lives at Kawai Complex.

Closer described as a romance with a slice-of-life backdrop, Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou still manages a captivating slice of life and romance element. Aided in large part by a robust and memorable cast, the slice of life in Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou is as much about the main characters as it is about the snippets of the everyday for the rest of the cast as well. Occurring almost wholly at the Kawai Complex, Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou masterfully relates a day in the life for the Kawai Complex rather than for any one character.

 

Barakamon 

After punching a curator for criticizing his calligraphy, Handa Seishu undertakes a semi-self-imposed exile to a small rural island. A veritable urbanite for the majority of his life, Handa had no intention of attempting to adjust to his new environment. He would have been content to spend his days there practicing his own calligraphy. Unfortunately for him, young Naru Kotoishi and the rest of Handa’s neighbors were not content with the same. Handa is forced to adapt to the people of Gotou Island and realize the growth of his calligraphy as a result.

Bright, charming, and clever, Barakamon takes an increasingly prevalent element in having a rural setting and meshes it well with the more unusual calligraphy background. At the forefront of the slice of life allure of Barakamon is Handa Seishuu’s relationship with the island youngster, Naru. It is in a way both symbolic of Handa’s growing relationships with the rest of the villagers as well as his own growth as a person and in calligraphy. Barakamon often feels less about the calligraphy and more often about the use of calligraphy as a narrative means and storytelling device. The result is an easily accessible slice of life that quietly establishes the growth of a real human being in a very real and empathetic way.

 

Gin no Saji 2 (Silver Spoon)

For a variety of reasons, Yugo Hachiken wishes to live life as far away from his family as possible. Not the kind to have such a desire half-heartedly, Hachiken quickly takes the initiative to enroll in an agricultural school. Belief in his inherent penchant for schoolwork is soon found to be misplaced as the city boy must adjust to the rigors of agricultural life. At an impressionable and aimless point in his life, Hachiken must live out the consequences of his chosen path.

Gin no Saji 2 is a continuation of the plot of its first season, and, alongside that, a continuation of all the aspects that made the first season great. Set in a carefully handled and carefully implemented, yet in arguably unique environment, Gin no Saji is at its heart a beautifully told and woven coming of age story. Rarely is such a thing attempted and executed so cleanly and excellently.

 

Mushishi Zoku Shou (Mushishi: The Next Passage)

For as long as can be remembered, mushi have roamed the planet. Considered life in their purest form, humans have long been fearful of the mushi. Ginko is a mushishi: one who can actually see the mushi. Ginko traverses the land helping humans ailed by mushi as best he can.

Little more can be said about the excellence of the Mushishi series in general at this point. Each episode paints a powerful and poignant vignette about the world Ginko and the mushi inhabit. The mushi themselves come across as poetic expressions about nature given form. Mellow, but inexorably and deeply felt, Mushishi is an absolute experience that should not be missed.

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Categories: Anime Reviews, Lists and Editorials

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