Toradora! Taiga gets angry with Ryuji whilst Minori and Yusaku look on amused
(J.C Staff)

Sit Back and Relax With These 10 Slice-of-Life Anime

Turning to stories can be an escape from our daily lives, but sometimes we don’t want high fantasy, we just wish to escape into someone else’s day-to-day. This is exactly what slice-of-life anime is perfect for: comfort viewing for the soul.

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Though the unfamiliar may see anime as one genre by itself, they are desperately mistaken. Anime is the medium through which a story is told, and sure there are some cliches and tropes that can often be found across the board, but there’s a wide range of stories to be told. From fantasy like as isekai anime to dark, mind-bending thrillers, anime can transport us to a variety of worlds. For many though, comfort can be found in watching characters overcome struggles on a smaller, much more relatable scale.

Here then, are our top 10 recommendations for some easy-watching and binge-worthy slice-of-life anime.

My Dress-Up Darling

Marin from 'My Dress-Up Darling' blushing
(CloverWorks)

Shy high school student Wakana Gojo has been left traumatized after a former friend ridiculed him over his love of traditional Japanese Hina dolls. He reverted inward, thinking the bright, popular students, including the beautiful Marin Kitagawa, were as different from him as if they came from another planet. One day after school, Marin finds Wakana sewing and is delighted, as she also has a secret passion of her own: cosplay. She asks Gojo to help make her costumes and the two form a bond, sharing their passions with one another.

This anime is sweet as cherry pie, with plenty of romantic tension between the two characters, as well as personal growth and development, a common theme in slice-of-life anime. Sometimes, opposites really do attract.

Nana

Nana and Nana on the train
(Madhouse)

Having first aired in 2006, the anime revolves around two 20-year-old women, both called Nana, who meet on a train to Tokyo. The two could not be more different. Nana O. is a bold and edgy musician heading to the city to make it big with her band, Black Stones, while sweet and naive Nana K. is planning to move in with her boyfriend. The two coincidentally end up renting a flat together and form a strong friendship despite their differences, but that friendship is put to the test when love and jealousy take the reigns.

This anime is a lot more grounded in reality than many other slice-of-life anime, filled with complex and flawed people and the hard decisions they have to make. It also gave us the wonderfully sensual (though highly toxic) relationship between Nana and Ren. Watch it if you’re looking for some major 2000s music and fashion vibes.

Komi Can’t Communicate

A high school girl sits silently at her desk in "Komi Can't Communicate"
(OLM)

High school student Komi is revered as somewhat of a goddess at her school thanks to her beauty and elegance, saying very little to those around her, making them feel unworthy of her attention. What her classmates do not know is that she has a communication disorder and struggles to utter a single word. The only person to discover her secret is the exceedingly average Hitohito Tadano, who discovers her communication disorder and learns that she desperately wants to make friends—100 of them to be precise.

Ouran High School Host Club

The cast of 'Ouran High School Host Club'
(Bones)

Ouran High School Host Club is arguably one of the more famous shoujo anime of all time. When Haruhi Fujioka gains a scholarship to a school for the extremely wealthy, they have no idea what they are in for. Upon accidentally breaking a vase that belongs to the famed host club, filled with the school’s most handsome and elite male students, Haruhi is forced to work as a host to pay off their debt. The big issue? Haruhi is a girl.

Full of daft humor and ridiculous hijinks that show off the students’ ridiculous wealth, the series has become a genre staple, not to be missed!

Your Lie in April

A young woman plays a violin while a man plays piano in front of a cloudy blue sky in 'Your Lie in April'
(A-1 Pictures)

Much like My Dress-Up Darling, this is another anime featuring an effervescent girl pulling a boy out of a slump. This time round, it’s focused on music. Piano prodigy Kōsei Arima loses his ability to hear the piano—and just the piano—after his mother passes away, resulting in his life becoming monochromatic and dull. That is, until he meets Kaori Miyazono. A violinist who plays with passion and freedom, Kaori eventually draws back Kōsei to the world of music and out of his depression, but she’s been hiding her own issue.

This anime combines highs and lows, with a sweet and tender romance as well as true heartbreak, prepare your tissues for this one!

Blue Period

Yatora in 'Blue Period'
(Netflix)

From music to fine art, Blue Period personally taught me so much about art (and I have a degree in it!). It follows the story of high school student Yatora Yaguchi, a student with excellent grades who suffers from boredom. One day, after witnessing the work of the Art Club members, his eyes are opened to the world of art and he begins to dedicate himself to the study of art and self-expression. He meets other like-minded individuals and begins to understand what it means to be an artist.

A truly wonderful bit of storytelling, one with real heart at the core, Blue Period will have you looking at art in a new light by the end of the first season.

A Silent Voice

Shouko Nishimiya in 'A Silent Voice'
(Shochiku)

Okay, so this one is not an anime series but rather an anime drama film, but it’s too good not to include. In elementary school, Shōya Ishida was a bully and he and his friend bullied newly transferred deaf student Shōko Nishimiya. After being branded the sole perpetrator, Shōya is disciplined and Shōko transferred away, the former living under the shame throughout elementary and middle school and descending into isolation and depression. Years pass, and Shōya feels ending his life is all he can do, but first he wishes to make amends.

The film looks at how bullying can alter and shape people’s lives, including the bullies themselves, and how redemption is possible, through action, understanding, and communication, even if that communication isn’t always verbal.

Clannad

A man hugs a child at sunset in "Clannad: After Story"
(Kyoto Animation)

In true anime slice-of-life fashion we have another sad boy, this time it’s Tomoya Okazaki a delinquent high school student who has no passion for life. After bumping into Nagisa Furukawa, a student held back a year due to an illness, Tomoya decides that, given he has nothing better to do, he will help her revive the school Drama Club. Along with Nagisa, Tomoya helps four other female students, helping them overcome obstacles to achieve their goals.

Clannad is a beloved anime in this genre because it goes beyond the happy ending and into the harsh realities of life well into adulthood. It gets a little more magical later on, pulling it almost out of the slice-of-life genre.

Flying Witch

Flying Witch, the characters sit on the porch laughing and enjoying the sunshine
(J.C. Staff)

If you’re a fan of Kiki’s Delivery Service then this is the anime for you! Upon turning 15, in the tradition of being a witch, Makato must leave home to be independent and learn witchcraft. She leaves the hustle and bustle of urban Yokohama to head to the remote city of Hirosaki, Aomori. Here she lives out her days in an almost idyllic way, attending high school whilst also learning how to become a witch. Just like Kiki she also has a black cat familiar!

This slow-paced and calming anime is sure to soothe your soul after a busy day of working in a capitalistic hellscape.

Toradora! 

The characters of Toradora! on a rooftop looking at the camera
(J.C Staff)

When a boy with a menacing face but a heart of gold meets a girl whose cute look and diminutive size belies her rage-fulled nature, you just know things are going to be interesting. All set against the backdrop of high school (obviously), the two form an unlikely friendship as they both have crushes on the other’s best friend. They agree to help each other out, but emotions never run smoothly, do they? This anime works well as both a slice-of-life and romance anime and will have you on the edge of your seat by the end.

Another anime that looks at the bonds that tie us all together, Toradora navigates love, friendship, and hardship as the characters move from childhood to adulthood.


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Author
Laura Pollacco
Laura Pollacco (she/her) is a contributing writer here at The Mary Sue, having written for digital media since 2022 and has a keen interest in all things Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and anime. She has worked for various publications including We Got This Covered, but much of her work can be found gracing the pages of print and online publications in Japan, where she resides. Outside of writing she treads the boards as an actor, is a portrait and documentary photographer, and takes the little free time left to explore Japan.