Slice Of Life Vs Shonen And Why ONE Is More Mainstream Than The Other

Slice Of Life Vs Shonen, And Why ONE Is More Mainstream Than The Other

I enjoy slice of life more than Shonen. It’s my #1 anime genre along with psychological.

If we’re talking about:

  • Popularity.
  • Fame.
  • Mainstream availability.
  • Sales.

Then in general, it’s clear which of these between shonen and slice of life is raking in the most dough. Or the most sales, attention, etc.

Shonen is number one for a good reason despite being overhyped at times and not having the best ratio of quality anime shows (there are well over 1000+ shonen).

There’s even more slice of life.

Let’s talk about it.


Why slice of life is appealing:


1. Relaxation

non non biyori ep 6 s3

The big benefit of slice of life as a genre is it’s all about:

  • Relaxation.
  • Chilling.
  • Calming vibes.

And a way to destress that almost no other genre can give you. The plot in a slice of life tends to NOT be complicated or too complex, and this helps with its relaxation elements.

Also, sometimes there’s no plot and it’s all about the progression of the character’s life, what they’re up to, behind the scenes you might not see in other genres, and more from a realistic perspective (no bells or whistles).


2. Iyashikei

kubo san wont leave me be kawaii

The word “Iyashikei” is a subgenre of slice of life. Following from the last point, this subgenre of slice of life translates to anime that promote healing, wholesomeness, and similar feelings.

Wikipedia puts it like this:

“Iyashikei (癒し系) is a genre specific to Japanese works, primarily manga and anime. It is a sub-genre of slice of life, portraying characters living out peaceful lives in calming environments, and is intended to have a healing effect on the audience.”

Anime examples of these Iyashikei series are:

  • Tanaka Kun Is Always Listless.
  • Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family.
  • When Will Ayumu Make His Move.
  • Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible.
  • The Helpful Fox Senko San.

Anime like this is clearly good for mental health, even if it has been studied in a scientific kind of way.


3. More realistic and true to life

aharen is indecipherable funny moments tv e1675615512890

It’s no secret.

Slice of life is a slice of the lives of whoever the anime is portraying. And usually, it’s shown from a realistic perspective. So realistic in fact, it fits more of a certain type of person or age group.

Even if the type of anime is mixed with slice of life and fantasy (like Ice Guy And The Cool Female Colleague), the interactions between characters, their lives, and how they live it feels real.

This is another factor you see in anime like Love Is Hard For Otaku, where even though the main characters are Otaku, is portrayed and displayed in a truer sense and you can connect with their “ordinary” lives.

Related: 16+ Funny Anime Shows That Will Cheer You Up On A Bad Day


4. Less cliches (potentially)

Flying Witch series countryside

Slice of life anime, depending on which anime genres they’re paired with, can have LESS cliches and fewer tropes that Shonne is known for since it’s more mainstream.

Take an anime like Flying Witch for example. This anime has little to no cliches but still has some humour. It just leans more towards being realistic rather than over-the-top and forced.

When a certain genre is full of cliches and starts to get tiring, slice of life is one of the comfort genres you can come back to and get away from the BS of sorts.

Relevant: 38+ Wholesome Anime That Will Make You Warm and Fuzzy


why shonen is appealing:


5. One of the most engaging genres

YouTube video

Shonen shines for many reasons. One of them being how engaging and involved it feels when you watch it. And this goes for any age for the most part.

This is more true for certain shonen like:

  • My Hero Academia.
  • Dragon Ball Z.
  • Naruto.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen.

And other shonen along these lines.

There’s so much happening that it’s hard to deny the impact it can have on you as you watch it.


6. Unrealistic and imaginative

shana flame punch flame haze

This isn’t completely true for the unrealistic part or the imaginative part. But there’s truth (a LOT) when it comes to these aspects of shonen and why it’s a big benefit.

My Hero Academia, regardless of the hate the anime’s been getting since day one has proven itself with every season. And is now one of the most known shonen as far as new-generation shonen goes.

The world has elements of creativity, the outfits and quirks have a lick of imagination, the way the world works within the series, and how everything comes together is why the anime gets people hooked.

This element of shonen has been around for decades. DBZ was one of the earlier and more popular ones to set the stage and make the genre so massive because of it.


7. Emotional impact

mha eri deku fight

Not to say slice of life can’t be emotional (Violet Evergarden), but Shonen, especially the superpower type can be so engaging with the character’s story that it can drive you emotionally.

It’s also why so many people get emotionally attached to the main characters, side characters, or whoever it is the anime focuses on.

This aspect of Shonen is a cliche at this point, but one they keep using (and sometimes doing a good job of) which is why the cliche never dies. And people continue to accept it.


8. Motivational

Kagura Mikazuchi Quotes

Again, not all shonen are like this. And some slice of life is motivational. But certain Shonen, especially those that represent the genre to the highest level are good at motivating and inspiring.

It’s no accident that over 20+ years later, fans still love Naruto Uzumaki, his story, his upbringing, his progress, and how he became more than his circumstances dictated.

People identify with Naruto on some level, even if other aspects of his character are unrealistic.

The same is true for Dragon Ball Z. Many today might not like it, but the motivational impact of this franchise on a global level is undeniable. And this carries over into newer series like MHA.


Why shonen is more mainstream than slice of life:


9. Nobody cares about realism


I don’t mean that literally. But as a general rule when talking about anime, there’s a reason why shonen is more mainstream than slice of life. That comes down to realism (or lack of it).

Even a school series that happens to be Shonen like Assassination Classroom isn’t super realistic. But it is an anime that sparks the imagination.

This is what people want the most.

Shonen is aimed at teenagers, the main demographic, and the majority of teenagers don’t care for realism when they can watch something that stirs the imagination a lot more (shonen).

Slice of life in comparison isn’t like that as a general rule. It’s more true to life, and not a lot of people wanna see that in mass numbers.

Miss Kobayashis Dragon Maid characters kyoani

It’s no accident that anime like Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid or The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K is popular despite being slice of life.

They may have realism, but they’re also supernatural series as well.

This was proven even more during the pandemic. Well, what I mean is slice of life was more appealing during the pandemic because THAT is what people’s lives became.

All of a sudden it became “Interesting” to watch slice of life when it started to reflect how people’s lives were looking… Meaning not all that exciting or dramatic.

That leads to my next point.


10. Shonen is a better form of escapism

mio akiyama computer escapism

Shonen is full of:

  • Fantasy.
  • Imagination.
  • Hype.
  • Exaggerations.
  • Comedy.

And elements that are driven to the point of ridiculous, on purpose, to get a reaction out of the audience. And that plays into the escapism that shonen is able to give.

I mean, if you’re watching something that is:

  • Realistic.
  • Too authentic.

Or anything of the sort, there’s gonna be less legroom for escapism when compared to something that’s deliberately a fantasy like shonen.

This is why shonen is more mainstream than slice of life anime as a general rule, and it’s not surprising.


11. More mass appeal

demon slayer nezuko tanjiro siblings

If you wanted to put it down to just ONE reason, this would be it.

Shonen has more:

  • Mass appeal.
  • Mainstream appeal.
  • Likeability in general.

And is built to attract audiences of all kinds in a broader sense. That’s why, unsurprisingly, it sells so well and attracts so many fans to the industry.

It’s a gateway drug.

Slice of life is something fans get more into as they either get older or get more into the industry and figure things out.

Obviously, people of all ages watch slice of life (not just shonen), but the age gap speaks for itself. And for good reason.

And there you have it.

Both genres are solid, but with anime being more available than it was in the past, slice of life’s are starting to get more traction and get noticed.

But shonen will always be the one for the youngest of fans.



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