The slice of life genre is massive in the anime world. Easily identified by its depiction of the everyday life of normal individuals, the genre has built a number of unique shows over the years. Because of how widespread the genre is, it isn’t uncommon to see the concept intertwine with other elements such as fantasy, sci-fi, or drama.
But even though there’s a certain beauty that comes with experiencing tales of romance, hardship, and successes through the lens of average folk, not everyone is so keen on heavy stories after a long day. A perfect remedy to the weary soul, then, would be light-hearted shows that don’t necessarily follow a plot. The slice of life genre is also a treasure trove for relaxing shows, but it can be hard to find the best ones in such a vast pool.
Without further ado, we’ve gathered several feel-good shows that have stood out as the perfect avenues to kick back and relax on.
#10. Laid-Back Camp
Nothing screams relaxation more than camping outdoors and enjoying all the sounds and sights that come with being at the heart of nature. Laid-Back Camp is all about that life, and follows a young girl named Nadeshiko as she discovers the joys of camping alongside the many new friends she makes at her school.
The best part about this show lies in how it takes you on a trip through beautiful scenery inspired by the backdrop of Mount Fuji. Meanwhile, the characters are enjoying their time setting up their tents, drinking hot coffee, and eating ramen under a starlit sky.
Few animes manage to be this atmospheric, and even fewer give you the chance to get completely sucked into their settings. You’ll even pick up a few tricks about camping in the process, so what’s there to not like?
#9. Tamako Market
“Everybody loves somebody”. So goes the line that encompasses Tamako Market. The show is about a high school girl named Tamako who, alongside her father, runs a mochi shop at a bustling shopping district.
One day, she stumbles upon a talking bird named Dera Mochizuki who is searching for a bride to his country’s prince. Incidentally, he announces Tamako as a suitable candidate, which sparks the entire district into a spree of emotions.
The appeal of Tamako Market comes from its easy-going outlook of life and relationships. Tamako is a friend to everyone in the neighbourhood and gets along with just about anyone. Through their conversations and activities together, the community comes to life and you’ll enjoy seeing Tamako and the market’s unique residents get along.
#8. Azumanga Daioh
Azumanga Daioh is unique in that it doesn’t have a story, but interestingly showcases the passage of time. It’s about a group of high school girls and showcases their ordinary lives, beginning from their first day in high school up until their graduation three years later.
The anime is great for those seeking out a comedy. Though the show is really only depicting ordinary situations, it’s a show filled with many little skits and gags surrounding the six girls and their experiences.
With themes that range from cultural festivals to sports events and classes, you’re bound to find something funny and relatable.
#7. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Looking for something a little more fantastical? For this show, it all starts when a normal office worker named Kobayashi loses herself in a forest after a round of heavy drinking. In her drunken stupor, she inadvertently ends up saving the life a dragon named Tohru, who hails from a mystical medieval world.
To repay Kobayashi’s kindness, Tohru swears eternal servitude to Kobayashi and decides to live alongside her in the form of a maid girl.
Some of the best parts of this anime involve watching Tohru struggle to get used to life as a modern Japanese citizen. Not only is she inhumanly strong, but she also attempts to clean laundry with her own saliva, and even at one point tries to feed Kobayashi meat from her own tail.
All sorts of hijinks ensue when more dragons also try to fold themselves into human society.
Beyond that, however, the show also pays close attention to Tohru and Kobayashi’s relationship. Peppered between the comedy are wholesome moments that’ll have you rooting for Tohru to succeed at the new life she’s chosen.
#6. Daily Lives of High School Boys
An anime that’s bound to tickle the funny bone of any person who has been a young hormonal teenage boy.
Like many of our other recommendations, Daily Lives of High School Boys isn’t particularly complex in terms of plot and characters. Tadakuni and his band of misfits are just trudging through high school, thinking about girls, and trying to make sense of their status as boys.
Pranks and awkward accidents are the names of the game as these kids try to satiate their endless boredom. The gags are hilariously on-point, capitalizing on the fact that boys really do try and pull off the silliest stunts whenever they can.
#5. It’s Difficult to Love an Otaku
A rare breed in anime is one that portrays about working adults. Anyone looking for a change of pace from the usual high school premise should definitely check out It’s Difficult to Love an Otaku.
The show follows a group of regular office workers that also happen to be hardcore otaku. The main character Narumi harbours a dark secret – she’s a huge fan of boys love stories and even fervently contributes to the art at an event called Comiket.
Meanwhile, her childhood friend and co-worker Hirotaka is also an otaku that’s into video games. The two eventually begin dating and also get along with another romantic pair of otaku at their office.
With each character sporting their own brand of closeted interests, it can be fun to see how each person complement the other. You’ll get to see them engage in their hobby, but also watch as they juggle a career, relationships, and their interests all at once through a light-hearted and comedic format.
#4. Sweetness and Lightning
Tragedy can befall any of us, but that doesn’t mean life afterwards has to be depressing. Take for instance the Inuzuka family in Sweetness and Lightning.
Kouhei is a single parent who has to take care of his daughter Tsumugi after his wife passes away. He has a hectic job as a teacher and can’t quite cook to save his life.
However, one of his students, Kotori, invites the pair to dine at her family’s restaurant, in which they eventually find themselves bonding over delicious meals. Tsumugi is a cute little munchkin to her father’s kindness and limitless patience.
The show champions the value of spending time together with your loved ones, especially over a hearty meal. Those yearning for a relaxing anime with a warm message would do well to check this one out.
#3. Grand Blue
Get ready to drown in laughter with the absurdity that is Grand Blue. Iori is just your regular guy who’s about to begin college life, but quickly gets roped into the local scuba diving club called Grand Blue.
The anime cleverly attempts to introduce itself as an inspirational story about the passions of diving, but that’s really not what most of the show is. Soon, you’ll see Iori and pals fawn over alcoholic drinks and get naked at inopportune moments. It’s a far cry from his ideal college life of chasing beautiful girls and bettering himself.
Many of the jokes are over-exaggerated, filled with dramatic facial expressions and loads of misunderstandings, which is perfect if you prefer that kind of raw humour. One thing for sure, though, is that it’s a great portrayal of a phase that we all go through when hanging out with good friends.
#2. Nichijou – My Ordinary Life
Nichijou is a Japanese word that roughly translates to, “My Ordinary Life,” in English. It’s a fair description of the show in a nutshell, but doesn’t quite prepare you for how bizarre, surreal, and hilarious it can be.
From the existential crisis of ordering coffee at a café to watching one’s school principal wrestle a deer. There’s no telling what to expect when diving into the wacky yet somehow ordinary life of Yuuko and her friends.
Expect hours upon hours of just the most absurd situations you can think of. Paired with that is incredible animation work that does complete justice to these incredulous everyday situations.
Plucking from the late 2000s is an anime that, even over a decade, still manages to stand the test of time. Spanning three long seasons, Aria is a show without much of an overarching plot. Instead, it excels by transporting an audience to a world and time that’s more carefree and gets them acquainted with gentle and likeable characters.
Akari begins her new life in the distant future on a terraformed planet Mars that’s now called Aqua. Though a bit clumsy, she works hard as a trainee gondolier within Neo-Venezia, transporting people on a boat through the water canals of a city resembling Venice in all but name.
Tourists visit Neo-Venezia to take a break from the hectic life, in which Akari and friends happily oblige. They themselves are also enjoying life in this quiet city, experiencing new events and memories as they learn the ropes of gondoliering.
Trying to get into Aria is akin to experiencing a long vacation. There are no concrete goals to be met, only memories to be made. The animation isn’t there to impress anyone, but an utterly fantastic musical score on top of its cosy and somewhat futuristic context may very well spirit you away.