Good evening, otaku dragons! I began reading manga again earlier today and I realised that I’ve been missing slice-of-life, feel-good manga so much. I remember that when I used to sit down and read through things that would make me laugh or make my heart feel warm and fluffy, it somehow always helped me deal with my anxiety and life-stress in much healthier and more manageable ways.
My first real slice-of-life goodness stemmed from GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka, as well as a shit ton of laughs. To celebrate my appreciation for—as well as my desire to dive back into—this genre of manga, I have created a list of the five serials I would like to read the most. I have seen the anime adaptations for almost all of these, and it’s because I’ve already experienced their awesomeness already that I wish to return to their world via the graphic novel medium! One of the things I enjoy most is reading the original source material for adaptations. It helps me gain a better understanding of the serial, as well as to obtain insight on hidden meanings or motifs I may have missed in the TV/film versions. I also really enjoy checking out the different artistic qualities that vary from one mangaka to the next.
With this list, I know that my heart will be swimming in all kinds of happy and healthy vibes in no time, with an occasional tear or two as these can also become rather sentimental when you least expect it.
5. Honey & Clover (ハチミツとクローバー)
Honey and Clover is a josei, slice-of-life series written by Chika Umino that spans ten total volumes. It follows a kid named Takemoto who lives in a crappy student apartment where his biggest concern in life is whether or not he’ll be able to afford eating meat and not being late to his college classes, where he majors in art. Even though he’s on his own, he’s got plenty of growing up left; a journey that he shares with four friends.
I remember watching both seasons of the anime many years ago. I instantly fell in love with the soundtrack and aesthetics and then my admiration for the story and characters came with progression. Recently, I was lucky enough to acquire all of the volumes of the manga, and I feel it would be a beautiful, nostalgic trip back into time to be able to love, laugh, and cry with these characters again. They remind me a lot of my friends and the time we shared when we were young and still trying to figure our shit out.
4. Flying Witch (ふらいんぐうぃっち)
Flying Witch is a shōnen, slice-of-life, comedy series written by Chihiro Ishizuka that has seven volumes and is currently ongoing. It follows Makoto who is a young lady from Yokohama that moves in with her relatives in Hirosaki, where she will train to become a witch. The series follows her daily shenanigans as she becomes adjusted to her new life, makes new friends, and hones her skills.
I watched the anime, fell in love with it, and then bought the collector’s set of it when it released on Blu-ray. This show made me so good. So happy and so fluffy. Makoto has a small black kitty as well, who just made everything about the series even better. I am excited to read the original source material for this and re-experience their antics.
3. You and Me. (君と僕。)
You and Me. is a shōnen, slice-of-life, school series written by Kiichi Hotta with fifteen current volumes and more to come as it’s still ongoing. It’s about a group of five guys who have been buddies since kindergarten. The narrative is very light-hearted and humorous, and essentially about what it means to have deep friendships and attachments in high school, and how those things can impact decisions or feelings that need to be made when the kids graduate and have to move on with life.
I had seen the anime many years ago and adored it. Stories about the everyday musings of friends has always been some of my favourite, and these guys really tugged my heart strings while make me laugh my ass off. Can’t wait to see them again in the manga.
2. Barakamon (ばらかもん)
Barakamon is a shōnen, slice-of-life manga written by Satsuki Yoshino. Seventeen volumes have been currently released and it is an ongoing serial. It’s about a calligrapher named Seishū Handa who is forced to move to the remote Gotō Islands off the western coast of Kyūshū, where he tries to find new inspiration for his artwork after a terrible critique throws him off his game. There he meets the townspeople, including an annoying little kid, who helps him appreciate the smaller things in life and find inspiration in ways he never dreamt possible.
This ended up on my list because my cousin loved this series. When he recommended it, raving on and on and on, I knew that I would not be able to pass it up. The reason I wanted to begin with the manga instead of the anime adaptation is because I’ve heard wonderful things about the artwork and the way it’s used to tell the narrative for this story. Colour me intrigued.
1. Natsume’s Book of Friends (夏目友人帳)
Natsume’s Book of Friends is a shōjo, supernatural, slice-of-life series that is one of my all-time favourite serials, ever. I would have to say it’s right on par with Initial D and GTO, which is quite a feat because no other anime has ever come close to matching that duo. The series is written by Yuki Midorikawa with twenty-two released volumes and it’s currently ongoing. It follows a young high school boy named Takeshi Natsume, who inherited the abilities to see and interact with yōkai, or supernatural entities (spirits, ghosts, deities, etc.), from his late grandmother, Reiko. Because of this he had an uncomfortable and scary childhood. But as he gets older and truly starts to understand these people and creatures, he begins to develop friendships in ways he never fathomed before; bonds that will help shape him into an extraordinary person and finally help alleviate his life-long loneliness. He also has a trusty supernatural cat companion named Nyanko Sensei.
This series is perfect. It has the perfect balance of various multi-faceted motifs, such as the falsehood of first impressions, grief, loneliness, bullying, etc. The examination of the it means to be a real and honest friend is breath-taking, evocative, and fluffy. The humour is sweet and oft times intellective. Everything is legit perfect. I found the first volume of the manga at a local bookstore and I fell in love with the drawings. They differ a bit from the anime, which I appreciated, and I knew that being able to experience this story in manga format would bring me all the joy it did in the anime and then some.
Those are my picks for slice-of-life manga that I want to check out, hopefully relatively soon-ish. Have you seen or read any of these? What did you think? What are some of your favourite slice-of-life manga?
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit me today. I appreciate the support! Until next time, keep reading and keep otakuing. 🌸
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