Welcome. How do you view the idea of portraying real-life situations with fiction? Well quite the contrasting words I have used there, but somehow the world of anime has made it to synergize perfectly.
And here is a list of 6 such anime blending the world of fiction and realism into one.
Please do remember that this is not a grading list and the descriptions are of the entire series, not just one season.
1. AFTER THE RAIN
With every passing year something in you changes and in the flow of creating something more, something new, something fresh you keep forgetting what you had, even though they have turned stale and sour you just keep them with you just as an everyday occurrence that just happens to be there and might not have any value.
After The Rain isn’t any great love story or a great story of revitalizing friendships it’s just a “coming of age” story. And it’s fairly boring to be honest because the story doesn’t seem to move there are actually no special moments and no character is something very flashy and hardcore. It is thus the very ‘Slice’ of the life. Then why is this on the top Slice of Life pick? Let’s see!
The story mainly focuses on Tachibana Akira a 17-year-old beautiful high school girl and Kondou Masami a 45-year-old divorced Diner Manager. And, the 17 year old is shown to love the 45year old, the story vitalizes how bright and colorful the youth of Akira is and how dull and uneventful the life of Kondou is, yet how each of them gives something unique to the other while they interact and help change the way they go about life. While Akira reminds Kondou of his youth and his wild ambitions, Kondou himself stands as an admirable figure to her and how everything can just appear bright and different around him. The love in this story isn’t that of a fairy tale because while Akira dreams of having a grand romance Kondou thinks of love as a responsibility that needs to be taken care of as a bone china dish. For him he has nothing special, he is afraid of hurting someone, he is too timid lacks self-confidence, but to her, he appears bright and magnanimous (the stupidity of youth, maybe).
The story’s highlights if any are, its realism in characters and obviously the poetic lines drawn between scenes by the male lead. It shows how even when confronted with an opportunity some people can’t get out of their character and grab it, how something that was once dear to you suddenly becomes an obsession and drives you to loneliness, how when you lose something dear to you you become dull & the world starts to poke you with its joyous appearance, how with time your anger regrets all wash away and all that remains is memories neither good nor bad.
In midst of all this drama and slow-running romance, it has broken friendships, unfulfilled or broken dreams, and those beautiful poetic analogies Uff! It all feels so real. Yes, it’s boring for many occasions but what kind of hardcore SOL(Slice of Life) fan would want to escape from such realism. Do not fear of being disappointed because I promise you won’t be.
2. VIOLET EVERGARDEN
Ever seen something that appeared to you as free-flowing as a river wherein the dialogues transformed into poems and a character developed into something more than a computer-generated image.
Violet Evergarden a beautiful doll-like girl. A former weapon of war with no emotions or feelings, a savage who just knew how to fight & kill.
Out there to follow the last orders given to her and find the meaning of the words “I love you”. Violet a girl who understands nothing but following orders. To her the world is monochromatic and her “self” doesn’t exist without her Colonel.
At its heart, this show is about War and the Destruction it brings not just to the economy but to each individual directly or indirectly involved in it. How families are ravaged how unborn relationships are murdered and what dread it leaves even when it’s over. In between all these savage times The “Auto Memoire Doll Service” writes letters for those who can’t write and sends them to their desired locations, they go anywhere when asked even amidst the battle. The show is all about Violet and her journey to becoming a free human who doesn’t need commands and orders to live, and continue on the path of Ghostwriting.
Violet who was once empty, unable to understand herself, and in search of her feelings becomes a very good Ghostwriter. Every letter she wrote she is shown to find a piece of herself in it, every man or woman she met filled her with something that was missing till then.
Thus it is better to say Violet never fully transformed into a perfect human she just kept searching for herself within everyone else. And all this happened for the search of Love in midst of war, thus creating such emotionally taxing moments that deserves praise if not anything else.
With each episode, you’re left with a lingering feeling that keeps your eyes moist, and by the time it ends you are happy, for Violet.
The show completely holds it to Kyoto Animation to make something so visually stimulating and spectacular, each episode keeping that trademark KyoAni style making each precious scene bloom into something more on your screen, each scene brimming with emotions that make your tears worth shedding.
3. ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM
Sometimes you find yourself watching an anime just for the sheer popularity it has garnered and why shouldn’t you.
Assassination classroom or Ansastu no Kyuosin is one of the most popular anime out there and it has every right to be so.
A monster that has suddenly appeared on Earth and has declared to destroy it. The Monster can move at Mach 20 (20x speed of sound), has Tentacles (I know what you thought just now), has a perky and strange attitude. The entire govt. has now tasked a bunch of students from class 3-E (a bunch of good for nothing) of a famous school to kill him. While being trained in the art of Assassination. And while being taught by the monster himself. Thus begins the story of the greatest classroom of learning.
The show is basically doesn’t comes under this SOL category yet I put this here. Why? Because it has a slice of every student’s life and we all have been students or are students till now. At moments you find everything that’s happening in the series to compliment the life lessons you once were taught by your teacher but somehow end up forgetting it or somehow lost it within yourself and thus creating a wholesome mood.
The show doesn’t roam around beating the bush it dives straight into the action when certain students show better results as Assassination training begins and it brings in an adequate amount of action and thrilling scenes which capture our attention. Through this training, the once good for nothing students begin to draw out their emotions for success and start doing better overall. But between all this, the vital cog remains the Monster now the teacher. He appears to be the ideal teacher who tends to student’s needs individually and comes up with unique ways to make them study.
In between all these trials of killing, you are put to some fun moments which even include the usual school activities the school festival and so much more. Throughout all the episodes not once are you let down by the variety of personalities of students and their own battles of life, it’s quite appropriate to say you may find yourself among them too.
Assassination Classroom may be called a Shounen at heart but it gives out life lessons that come from a teacher not only teaches you how to live a proper life but also helps in living it to the fullest and that makes it a healthy SOL show. It reminds us why we are still fighting and just think for whom do we need to fight.
If there is one anime I am not sure about its true depiction or its true motif towards the audience it would be Beastars.
Whether it is showing the extent of human character through the Carnivore vs Herbivore depiction or rather a complete animal approach toward life itself, Beastars does it amazingly well.
Beastars shows a world where animals live like humans talk like them sleep like them the complete like by like lifestyle. But they are shown to retain their animal way of behavior; most Herbivores are timid and fearful of those big clawed deadly looking Carnivores.
Though the Carnivores are not shown to openly show off their true instincts it is quite evident that they are rather shown to suppress that desire. On the other hand, their hunger for blood and meat in a society looking for harmony brings them as a subject of common stereotypes, even when some of them really wish to change the way how they are looked upon. There are gangs made by superior carnivores (Lions, Wolves, Hyenas, etc). Basically, its complete society structure is similar to us where the stronger has the greater influence whether for good or bad. In between these, there is a school established to properly help young animals mingle and demolish the species barrier, and understand each other through daily chores. But it’s not that easy doing so in real life and it’s made evident in every episode that you keep watching.
The best part about this whole thing is the variety of characters that come into action and how common stereotypes are broken while keeping the very essence of animal nature true. Then comes our lead Legoshi a wolf (that’ is afraid of himself and his raw strength) he is quite the complex character he is timid and lonesome and has a crush on a Rabbit (that he almost ate) but has a strong sense of justice and many other animals that are forced to change after meeting him. Sometimes the episodes are just about animal behavior and just the next moment you feel it to be so ‘human’, proving that we are no extraordinary creatures.
The various conflicts and drama that arise when various species mix together gives the show the edge in every aspect it portrays whether it’s comedy, rage, fear, or even romance. But the power struggle is which is a decisive part of this show is hidden within these portrayals and somewhat proves that conflicts that arise between different groups are problems within a few individual and the whole group is not to be blamed thus what it ultimately generates is a masterpiece show that you can’t help but clap as it ends.
I read somewhere “Success is a lousy teacher, it seduces you into thinking that you are always right”. Barakamon tells a somewhat similar story. It’s a story about a young handsome Calligrapher Handa Seishu who is quite successful but lacks his own style, yes the textbook definition of “genius”, and when confronted by a senior official he reacts quite violently by punching him in the face. He is then sent to a remote island with a complete rural outlook for reflecting on what was wrong with him and correcting himself. But little did he know what was there in the store of luck for him.
On reaching the island he is met with people who have no sense of personal space and are all merrily going around their lives. There old geezers who are just boring, kids that are simply annoying, and everyone else who seem to hold hands with everyone else. A stark contrast with his city life. And Handa is furious with all this, he is given a private house (which was an active base for the village kids to play and hang out) but he can’t concentrate at all since one kid keeps popping up time and again through some holes.
The village even though a scenic beauty doesn’t appeal to his heart and his rough mood. But he was still accepted by the villagers and he too, mellows down quickly, that shows how Handa’s character wasn’t bad it was his attitude which needed some changes.
Soon after coming to the village, he starts to work on bettering himself and that goes without saying that he is hindered every now and then by some means. Still, it doesn’t bring him despair as he realizes as his days go on as he changes and so does his way of writing, he realizes how he no longer writes to just win competitions, and every time he is lost in his past self he is redeemed by the kids around him or even those boring looking Gramps and grannies. He finds new meanings in life and enjoys thoroughly not from some internet site not from some motivational speaker by some very common folks. Which brings us to realize that interpersonal relationships may not always be a good but they are always rewarding. Handa’s growth as a human who understands himself comes with his persistent nature but it is vastly catalyzed by those simple-natured humans livin’ in some remote corner.
Barakamon as a story isn’t that great it has nothing very eye-catching except for those really good comic scenes but it is a great depiction of the “need to be human” aspect it radiates calmness and you’re drawn in as soon as you start the episodes because we all might be victims of some sort of self-deprecating behavior, and probably we too need a big long vacation in the middle of nowhere with some chilled village folks with open hearts.
6. MISS KOBAYASHI’S DRAGON MAID
Come home from a tiring day at work/school or bored with the same tropes in every Shounen anime and In need of some cute dragons doing extraordinary things.
Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid probably is not an anime you watch when you’re in desperate need of action or a healthy rom-com or even that “makes me cry every time I watch” show. The best I can describe it is “chill” (with some really thoughtful insights into the human way of living). If you’ve decided to watch it then prepare yourself for Cuteness, some wholesome Yuri, some Motherly feelings, some hardcore Otaku moments, some world-class Boo… Ughhmm I mean character design and in total a stress relief package of 13 episodes.
Miss Kobayashi a regular office going lady unmarried and lonesome with a stoic attitude has a fateful encounter with a wounded dragon and helps it with its injury and promises it a place to stay with her(all the while being as drunk as a lord), something leads to another and now the dragon is her personal maid. Very soon more characters are introduced and the story picks up its charm.
Tohru (the dragon maid) is completely infatuated with Kobayashi even though her simple demeanor and almost bogus way of life, then comes Kanna a little, cute dragon who came in search of Tohru and is unable to return back to her world. Together they form a family and start living together. Soon comes in more dragons and each brings a new way to enhance the quality of the show; There is one odd and fierce dragon Fafnir who is super intolerant to humans, a big boo…..cough cough!! weird ex-god Lucoa who likes to wear odd clothes and an indecisive confused dragon, Elma. They all soon come to appreciate the human way of living and are fascinated with the almost everything, even when their way of doing isn’t extraordinary they often find excitement in things we give little attention to, bringing in a completely new way to visualize our lifestyles and the world around.
But you can forget about all this if you want to. Just dive into it and enjoy the show for the freedom of feelings it offers, enjoy the dragons doing amazing stuff, enjoy feeling like a kid, enjoy how it doesn’t coax its way to your heart but simply requests entry and leaves. Forget that it tells you the ways of “living happily” forget that you may cry out by the end of the last episode with all that is presented to you. Just forget it and enjoy it because for me it is the primary essence of this show. Not to teach you but to make you desire to learn it, so simple yet so daring and that’s what makes it so different, so special, so captivating.
How did you like this post ? What’s your favorite slice of life anime ? Have you watched any from this list. Do let us know in the comments below!