Taking a slice out of life

Slice of life, yay or nay?

Yay!
3 votes
Nay
0 votes
Mmm... coffee
6 votes

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kawaiiguy

kawaiiguy

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Today I had an exchange with harakiri about my recent review of Aria. It sparked some a few things in my mind about Aria's genre, and the types of arguments for and against serie of that type.

In my opinion, Aria belongs in the category called "slice of life." It joins the ranks of other series in this category, including Kino no Tabi, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, and Genshiken. Most of the series in this genre have one thing in common: they're not really about anything in particular. There's no major plot. Each episode sort of stands on its own.

Personally, I'm a fan of series like Aria and YKK, because they provide a glimpse into every day life. The fact that they lack plot doesn't really bother me. Many people that I know shun stories without plot. It makes them feel unfulfilled and bored. In response to this, I quote a friend of mine, who says "it's like when you're getting a cup of coffee. You don't necessarily want the best cup of coffee in the world, just a cup that you can enjoy."

Slice of life really is just that; it is a description of of the events in someone else's life. The fact that it feels like one's own makes it boring, since life is usually uninteresting and boring. But doesn't looking at someone else's reaction give insight into another perspective?

I'm curious to see what others think about the genre.

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shinsengumi

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In my opinion, slice of life is absolutely fine as long as each individual episode is able to catch my attention. Anime like Genshiken, Kino no Tabi, and Azumanga Daioh were certainly able to do that for me, as each episode had some kind of main theme that was able to keep my attention throughout. Anime like Yokohama Kaidashi Kokou certainly were not able to. YKK was simply boring. Period.

It's something of a hit-or-miss; in general I prefer series that have an ongoing storyline, but at the same time the tree anime I indicated above are three of my favorite anime of all time.

s h i n s e n g u m i
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EternalParadox

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I'm not sure if I would characterize Aria as slice of life. I have not myself seen the series, but based on your summary in your review, it seems more of a fantasy type with the human colonization of the solar system in a time far off into the future.

I consider slice of llife to be reflective of our current mode of life. Things that we can truly relate to in our daily comings and goings. When there is absolutely no magic, no mecha, no powers, no future fantasy, just plain, good-old life as we know it, that I think is truly slice of life.

I think the best example would be Piano, the series revolving around Miu's life as a middle school girl and around her piano. That was quite a nice show in my opinion, because it conveyed its themes and motifs and plot using only the things that we all know, use, love, or hate in our own lives. Another I think would be Marimite, the show about the lives of girls in a Catholic school. Again, no punches pulled there. Just life at its best and its worst.

That's why I enjoy this genre. Sometimes, the blood, sex, and fantasy just gets a bit too cliched and overwhelming. But when you watch life as it unfolds, you realize that the "simplicity of life" really isn't so simple and that there are so many layers. That we the audience can relate so easily with the aspects in a slice of life series is really quite touching sometimes.

merged: 01-26-2006 ~ 07:22am
But I had to vote for mmm...coffee. Sorry. lol

EternalParadox
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  • Jan 25, 2006

kawaiiguy

kawaiiguy

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Quote by EternalParadoxI'm not sure if I would characterize Aria as slice of life. I have not myself seen the series, but based on your summary in your review, it seems more of a fantasy type with the human colonization of the solar system in a time far off into the future.

I consider slice of llife to be reflective of our current mode of life. Things that we can truly relate to in our daily comings and goings. When there is absolutely no magic, no mecha, no powers, no future fantasy, just plain, good-old life as we know it, that I think is truly slice of life.

Aria fits perfectly ;) Even though it takes place in the future, the place where it takes place in a town that is practically today's Venice. Everything is still done by hand, making it an escape of sorts. The series would be the exact same if it took place today, with a Japanese girl moving to Venice to learn how to row a gondola.

I think it's an excellent example, but moving on...

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shinsengumi

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I wonder if it is at all productive to consider "slice of life" as a genre to itself. In my opinion, genres are subjective categorizations such as drama, action, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and the like. In my opinion, "slice of life", on the other hand, is a secondary categorization of the structural type. For example, one's particular tastes and preferences may lead him to preferring anime of the action variety over the romance variety. However, if one happens to like Kino no Tabi, that does not necessarily mean that he would like Genshiken, because they're of completely different genres.

Think of it this way. Let's assume that I enjoy reading novels and that I am presented with a work of historical fiction that happens to be written in the first person and that I happen to enjoy it a lot. Upon completion of the novel, I am presented with two more novels: a work of historical fiction written in the third person and a horror novel written in the first person. Which one would I be more likely to pick? If I am like most people, I would choose the historical fiction, because how the story is presented is secondary to what type of story it is.

s h i n s e n g u m i
Minitokyo Policy, Forum, Review, and Category Maintenance Moderator Emeritus

Do not expect to be applauded when you do the right thing, and do not expect to be forgiven when you err, but even your enemies will respect commitment, and a conscience at peace is worth a thousand tainted victories.

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