When it comes to making you feel real human emotions, the slice-of-life genre does it best. Whether it’s laughing to the point where you can’t breathe or crying your eyes out, feeling like you got punched in the gut, slice-of-life anime has a perfect way of engaging the audience to truly care about the characters they are watching.
Many can agree that watching anime is an escape from their own life so it’s ironic that they turn to an anime genre that embodies real life a little too well. Some moments in slice-of-life are so real, it can feel as if you’re watching clips of your own life play out on screen. Here are 10 moments where slice-of-life anime hit a little too close to home.
10 When Your Crush Is Clueless: Lovely Complex
As far as romantic comedies go, Lovely Complex is one of the best for being so true to real life. Risa and Otani are an “odd couple” compared to the rest of their friends. Risa being unusually tall for a Japanese girl and Otani being unusually short for a Japanese boy. Throughout the anime, they navigate the relatable “friends to more than friends to boyfriend/girlfriend” dynamic.
When Risa originally confesses her feelings to Otani early on, he is so clueless he doesn’t believe her. Viewers can’t help but feel as crushed as Risa when she realizes all the work she put into getting to this point was for nothing. Her hurt feelings and bruised ego remind us of having our own confessions go awry.
9 When You Experience Unrequited Love: Honey and Clover
Honey and Clover is one of the most popular slice-of-life anime. It follows the story of five college students dealing with success, failure, love, heartbreak, and college. The entire anime is filled with relatable moments from students not knowing what to do post-college to weird love triangles.
One of the most notable relationships is that of Ayumi and Takumi. Ayumi has been in love with Takumi her entire college career but that love goes unrequited as he is in love with someone else. As the series progresses, Ayumi has to make a decision whether to stay hoping for Takumi or move on to someone else.
8 When You Fake It to Make It: His and Her Circumstances
Originally airing in the 90s, His and Her Circumstances is a story that has remained timeless due to the central plot being one that resembles what many students and adults experience. Yukino Miyazawa is a perfect student on the outside: perfect grades, perfect appearance, and other students look up to her. The only problem is that it’s all a lie.
Once Yukino meets Arima, another fellow “faker,” her facade of the perfect girl starts coming undone. Working together, both Arima and Yukino navigate the complications of faking a perfect persona in order to receive praise, appease your parents, and to hide your true self.
7 When You Feel Like a Failure: Sing “Yesterday” for Me
In Sing “Yesterday” for Me, the focus is on a group of people trying to figure it out. Some are full-fledged into their careers yet struggling with their personal lives while others don’t seem to have a handle on either.
Rikuo Oozumi has been out of college for six months and already considers himself a failure. He watched his friends go off to reasonable jobs while he stayed behind to work part-time in a convenience store. Sing “Yesterday” for Me speaks to everyone feeling stuck. It’s hard not to see yourself as a failure when it feels as if everyone around you has got it all figured out.
6 When You’re In Love With Two People: Golden Time
Starting college away from home can feel like starting a new life. In Golden Time, the main character Banri Tada is actually starting an entirely new life because he doesn’t remember his old one. Banri lost his high school memories after experiencing an accident and has come to terms with that.
As Banri is settling into his new life with a new girlfriend, Kouko, he starts remembering his old life and realizing that he was and may still be, in love with his high school friend, Linda. While an amnesia-inducing accident may not be too common, being in love with two people, unfortunately, happens all too often.
5 When You Can’t Avoid Bad Situations: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Life comes at you fast and sometimes you wish you could rewind and change things. For Makoto in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, she got her wish as one day she discovers she has the ability to time travel and avoid awkward situations. Throughout the movie, Makoto uses her powers to be on time, get good grades, and even avoid a love confession.
What Makoto didn’t know was that every time she changed something, she would face another obstacle. Makoto learns like we all do that she can’t continue to avoid the moments in life that make us uncomfortable and ultimately help us grow.
4 When You’re Dealing With Sickness: I Want To Eat Your Pancreas
One of the hardest realities to deal with is that no one is immune to a disease that can kill you. The anime film I Want To Eat Your Pancreas stars Sakura Yamauchi, a high school student who has a fatal pancreas illness. In spite of her diagnosis, she tries to make the best of her situation and befriends Haruki, who accidentally discovered her secret.
While Haruki is reluctant to make a new friend, especially one with an expiration date, he begins to fall for Sakura and his life starts changing. I Want To Eat Your Pancreas hits home for many because it serves as a reminder that tomorrow is not promised.
3 When You Lose A Friend: Anohana
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is another popular slice-of-life anime that tugs on your heartstrings in every way imaginable. Following the death of their friend Meiko, a childhood group of 5 friends split up and never really deal with her death. A few years pass, and now in high school, they are brought together by Meiko’s ghost.
Jinta and the rest of the group have to come together to work through all the unresolved trauma of the accident and the impact it left on them. Anohana can be difficult to watch with dry eyes because it covers all aspects of losing someone too young: regret, confusion, anger, and sadness.
2 When You Lose a Parent: Ao Haru Ride
Ao Haru Ride starts off as your typical slice-of-life high school romance. Girl meets boy, girl likes boy, boy maybe likes girl. Viewers are quickly thrown for a loop when the anime gets deeper into themes outside of the romance, such as dealing with fake friends, finding your true self, and regret.
One of the hardest-hitting moments of Ao Haru Ride is watching Kou Mabuchi process the effects of his mother’s death. Kou feels guilty because he was working so hard to make her happy and simultaneously missed spending time with her during her last moments. Ao Haru Ride is a real look at the impact the death of a parent can have.
1 When You Lose Someone You Love: Ride Your Wave
Love can sometimes come to you in the most unexpected moments. That was the case for Hinako and Minato in Ride Your Wave. Hinako who is new in town meets Minato when he rescues her from a fire on her building. From there love blossoms quickly and the two are inseparable.
As life would have it, Minato dies rescuing someone, and Hinako is left reeling in grief. Ride Your Wave is heartwrenching. It tackles the grief and hopelessness of loving the love of your life in a different way, but also shows that you can always move forward.
When it comes to making you feel real human emotions, the slice-of-life anime genre does it best. Here are times where they hit too close for comfort.