The best slice-of-life anime list is hard to make, but we came up with 6 great shows you could watch right now. If you’re a fan of the genre and looking for a new series, you’ve come to the right place!
Before we begin, we’d like to point out that this isn’t a list of the 6 best slice-of-life anime ever – it’s simply a list of things you might enjoy. So without further ado, let’s dive right into it!
Silver Spoon is definitely an underrated anime. The story follows Yugo Hachiken, who enrolls into an agricultural high school, after failing his parents’ high expectations. He learns a lot about farming, animals, but also meets new friends. Every segment of the story is carefully crafted with just the right amount of comedy and emotions. Characters are all unique, their struggles are presented in a way audience can relate to.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the manga author is no one other than Hiromu Arakawa, the author of Fullmetal Alchemist. Her talent shines right through, and it’s evident in the anime adaptation, which closely follows the manga.
Silver Spoon currently has 2 seasons, however, after 8 years and a long hiatus the manga is finished. Hopefully, we get to see the conclusion to this story soon, because it’s truly a gem in the coming-of-age genre. I would recommend it to everyone, especially those who feel overwhelmed with school and deadlines. It will make you laugh, and it will make you cry. Overall, it’s just a wonderful experience and one of the best slice-of-life series.
You can watch it on Crunchyroll and Funimation.
You’ve probably heard of this one – if you haven’t watched it yet, you definitely need to. Barakamon aired in the Summer of 2014 and was animated by Kinema Citrus. It follows a young calligrapher, Sei Handa, who punches a judge during a calligraphy content. As a punishment, his father sends him to live on a remote island. Upon arriving there, Sei realizes he is far from the comforts of the life he was used to. Soon he meets his neighbors and learns that the rambunctious Naru sees his house as a free real estate for her mischievous operations. Will he get used to the life on the island or go back to his moody ways?
This slice-of-life comedy is probably among the funniest anime you will ever see. It’s light-hearted and has a very chill vibe. It doesn’t contain a lot in terms of action and drama, seeing as it’s considered iyashikei. It truly has that calming, relaxing effect. As Sei learns to navigate his new life, the viewer is left just going with the flow, without stressing or wondering what might happen next.
Barakamon manga ended in 2018, but since then there have been no new announcements regarding the future of the anime series. Don’t let that sway you, the first season is a perfect stand-alone piece if needed (this is not to say we wouldn’t like another one). If it leaves you wanting more, you can always check out the spin-off anime that focuses on Sei’s high school years – titled simply Handa-kun.
You can watch it on Funimation.
Another fairly popular anime series, that first aired in the Summer of 2015. Many of you probably watched it or are familiar with it through GIFs, screenshots or emojis that are all the over internet. The reason it’s on the list is that there’s a Umaru in all of us, and that’s what makes this series so easy to connect to. She is one of those characters that you either love or hate, which also makes her relatable. There’s no feeling indifferent about her.
Himouto! Umaru-chan follows Umaru, a seemingly perfect high-schooler who comes home and… just turns into a slob. She eats only fast food, drinks inhumane amounts of Cola (that goes well with chips, apparently), and bullies her big brother into doing what she wants. Umaru has no trouble keeping up the façade, her grades are perfect, her classmates love her and not even her closest friends know what she’s like.
If Umaru doesn’t enrage you, this is a really good show to just watch an episode of after school, work, just to unwind and forget about your troubles. The opening song for season 1 is one of the catchiest things ever, and scenes of Umaru just being lazy and wondering where the time went are quite relatable. If you do like the series, don’t forget to check out the OVAs and season 2!
You can watch it on Crunchyroll.
Only Yesterday is an underrated gem from Studio Ghibli. This slice-of-life anime movie originally came out in 1991, before the studio gained popularity in the west so it flew under the radar for quite a while. However, the movie was a big hit in Japan, where it was the highest-grossing domestic movie in 1991.
Only Yesterday is based on the manga by the same name and it follows Taeko, a young Japanese woman. She grew up in Tokyo and now works there. Looking for a way to relax and unwind she decides to visit the countryside and help out with the summer fieldwork. On the way there, she reminisces about growing up and remembers fond (and not so fond) moments from her childhood. Her journey makes her reconsider her life choices and ask herself if she’s truly happy with her life.
The story is aimed at an older audience, the manga is considered josei. As such, it does not idealize too much, the story is realistic, down to earth, and makes the viewer feel personally connected to the characters. Taeko’s journey will surely awaken feelings and make us all wonder what we’re doing with our lives. It’s a gentle story of finding yourself and finally taking control of your own life. Bonus points for some truly unique music choices.
You can watch this movie on Netflix – if you’re outside of the US.
You’re probably familiar with this one, seeing as season 2 aired this winter. It’s probably more known under its Japanese name – Yuru Camp, and it’s one of the best slice-of-life anime series in recent years.
The story follows high-school girls who go camping in the winter. That’s it, that’s the whole plot. Nadeshiko moves to a new town and meets Rin, a girl from her school, who loves solo camping in the winter. They become friends and Nadeshiko tries to get Rin involved with her club while hoping to learn more about camping. Their friendship is simple, with no drama but filled with mutual understanding and respect.
This anime is best enjoyed during the winter. Grab a blanket, some cocoa, huddle up, and pop an episode on. It has some wonderful scenery shots of Mt. Fuji, so if you’re a fan of the Japanese countryside and sights it’s definitely perfect for you. Food in this anime is absolutely mouth-watering, it’s simple, but watching it being prepared gives it a special effect that makes you want to snack. It’s one of those series that are pure food for the soul, in every sense of the term.
You can watch both seasons on Crunchyroll.
March comes in like a lion
Last, but not least, because this anime is truly special. Let me start off by saying that this isn’t a series you can easily binge. It’s very slow and has a melancholic vibe to it, but it delivers so much emotion in a single episode. March comes in like a lion is an adaptation of the manga with the same name, animated by studio Shaft. It has a unique art style, but it doesn’t take too long to get used to it. Everything about it feels like it should, especially when it comes to delivering impactful moments.
Rei Kiriyama is a 17-year-old professional shogi player. Rei lost his family when he was very young, and he was taken in by his father’s friend, who happened to be a shogi player himself. All his life Rei struggled to fit in with his new family, but that never happened. He eventually moves out and starts a new life, while finishing high school. Being out on his own makes him face his loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Soon he meets the Kawamoto family, who take him under their wing and make him feel less alone.
What makes it so good
One thing that stands out in this anime is how well the characters are written. Throughout the first season, we meet most of them and become familiar with their personalities and struggles. Although most characters are truly likable, there’s a chunk of them that are just cold and unwelcoming. However, as the story goes on we learn more about motives, and some of the episodes focused on them are among the best in the series.
There isn’t a lot of action in this anime, shogi scenes are perhaps the most exciting but it still has a way of sucking you right in. It makes you feel warm and accepted, while dealing with some serious topics, such as bullying and mental health. I would like to point out again, that even for a slice-of-life anime, the story is pretty slow. However, if you manage to watch both seasons it will be seriously rewarding. All these little things make this anime among the best in the slice-of-life genre. It’s not meant to be cute, it’s serious, but it’s somehow relaxing. Manga is still going strong, so hopefully, we’ll get another season at some point.
You can watch both seasons on Netflix, Funimation, and Crunchyroll.
Why we need more slice-of-life
Watching anime to cure burn-out is something most anime fans probably do. However, sometimes even watching anime feels tedious and exhausting. Spring 2021 season is full of amazing new series (and some sequels), but week to week schedule can become a bit much at times. If you’re getting tired of waiting and just want to relax over the weekend with a nice, cozy binge, then most of these would be perfect for you. With all the action series and the excitement most popular anime bring, it’s sometimes truly nice to just relax and watch a story that doesn’t bring you much but simply serves as food for the soul.
We hope you enjoyed the list! What is your favorite slice-of-life anime?
All images obtained via legal streams