Best Slice of Life Manga of All Time
Although many people cherish watching anime, they often forget that most anime serve as adaptations of the original source material. While there are some instances where the anime is better than the manga, those instances are few and far between. With the amount of manga released on a daily basis, it could be hard to cut through all those books to find the “Best of” for any chosen topic.
Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest, and unforgettable manga through the years. For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best manga, our attention this time turns to those with a strong focus on slice of life. From heartbreaking scenarios to relaxing everyday activities, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
Yotsuba to! – Kiyohiko Azuma
Yotsuba to! is a great slice-of-life manga with well-written characters, a charming storyline, and wholesome illustrations. Despite lacking a well-crafted or complex storyline, it has enough charm to keep readers engaged after every chapter. Where it lacks in complexity it makes up for with compelling and amusing humor.
From dry humor to slapstick, you’ll have a rough time holding in your laughs. A 5-year-old named Yotsuba serves as the story’s central protagonist. She has just moved into a new city with her father and can’t be more excited to explore it. Although her neighbors are skeptical of Yotsuba’s strange behavior at first, they’ll grow to appreciate her company and her optimistic views on life.
This manga will never cease to let you down in the cheerful department. Although Kiyohiko Azuma’s artwork can look simplistic at times, there are moments when you’ll be surprised by his craftsmanship, preferably in the background department. This is a perfect go-to manga series to read if you ever need to read something that will make you smile after a rough experience.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Aka Akasaka
Kaguya-sama Love is War is an entertaining manga with a colorful cast. It revolves around two student body representatives named Miyuki and Kaguya. Many people refer to them as the perfect couple, but Miyuki and Kaguya don’t agree with their opinions. They choose not to confess to the other because they don’t want to look weak in front of their acquaintances.
Therefore, we examine Kaguya and Miyuki’s joyful and humorous feud of love ensuing throughout the narrative. This story offers great jokes, gags, and deadpan humor to lighten the mood after it focuses heavily on Kaguya and Miyuki’s romantic quarrels.
Expect the manga to tackle subjects like love and grief with high authority. At the same time, prepare for the comedy to make you laugh nonstop. For those looking for a fun romantic comedy manga to read, Kaguya-sama Love Is War is worth your time.
Nichijou: My Ordinary Life – Keiichi Arawi
Nichjou: My Ordinary Life’s title is ironic. Nothing about our cast’s lives feels ordinary in the slightest. While the girls partake in activities that aren’t too different from real-world school girls, they’re often depicted doing things girls their age wouldn’t do. From getting into intense drag races to pulverizing people with their superhuman-like feats, the manga should be called Nichijou: My Extraordinary Life.
Nonetheless, the premise follows five friends who like to get into all types of mischief. They’ll take part in strange activities and witness some unfold before their eyes. The manga specializes in comedy and features a variety of different approaches that will get you excited. The art style is simplistic yet effective. The author utilizes their characters’ normal appearances to give readers well-executed humor.
Every lead character receives a defining trait to help them stand out. They all contribute to the narrative wonderfully, and it’ll be easy for readers to point out a favorite among the cast. For those hunting a hilarious and comfy manga to read, Nichijou: My Ordinary Life is worth your time.
Goodnight Punpun – Inio Asano
Goodnight Punpun is one of the darkest entries in this list. It’s a difficult story to recommend to folks due to it carrying heavy adult themes and saddening imagery, but it’s a story everyone should read at least once. Inio Asano’s a master at telling heartbreaking stories that will leave a lasting impact on readers, and it shows with the effort he put into crafting Goodnight Punpun.
The story follows a toddler named Punpun Onodera. He’s idealistic, romantic, and loves keeping things to himself. His life changes when he encounters Aiko Tanaka. He gains cheery feelings whenever he’s around Aiko, but Punpun’s soul isn’t as pure. He lived a rough life under the guidance of poor adult figures and will use what he learned from them to inflict torment on people he cares about.
This is a sad endeavor not many people can finish reading. However, it touches upon what could happen to innocent people who grow up in terrible living environments significantly well. For those looking for a life-changing slice-of-life manga to read with jaw-dropping illustrations and an emotional narrative, read Goodnight Punpun.
Horimiya – HERO
Horimiya is a great manga about two unlikely love birds forming a connection they didn’t expect. Its storytelling is captivating and its character dynamics are strong. It’s entirely wholesome and doesn’t contain any raunchy elements like most romantic comedy manga and anime released in modern times. HERO builds upon his characters’ relationships well and nothing feels contrived.
It opts for strong character development, too. This is an easy-going romantic comedy everyone can get into without worry. The story revolves around Hori and Miyamura. They get close to each other one day and reveal their diverse secrets to each other. Hori is popular but likes to keep herself busy with work. As for Miyamura, he looks weak but is a troublemaker who likes causing mischief.
It’s their bizarre yet relatable differences that will aim them in forming a tighter connection by the story’s conclusion. With some lighthearted comedy and great tension, Horimiya is a slice-of-life bundle of happiness you don’t want to skip out on.
Nana – Ai Yazawa
This manga is celebrated for its complex characterization and its portrayal of struggles, relationships, and friendships. It provides compelling commentary on fame, music, and romance. Nana’s gothic-like aesthetic is stunning and fits with the themes presented in the work. This story follows two girls named Nana. They travel to Tokyo to pursue different goals of romance and fame.
Eventually, the two Nana meet and form a tight connection throughout the series. This manga knows how to explore one’s innermost desires, fears, and relationships. While each Nana is different personality-wise, they share a deep sense of longing and aspiration. Ai Yazawa does a phenomenal job of fleshing out its characters, showing their past, present, and future.
Yazawa demonstrates the intricacies of human emotions and the reality of heartbreak. Friendship and self-discovery are a few noteworthy themes the series tackles, allowing the audience to relate to our characters’ journey and learn from their mistakes and happiness. Give this a read if you’re searching for a story with great characters and a beautiful setting.
Beastars – Paru Itagaki
Beastars offers an amazing animal-dominant world that will make you ponder. The show’s animal characters display humanistic traits and encounter many human-like issues relating to romance, racism, segregation, and other topics. Manga readers will adore its mature themes alongside its lighthearted slice-of-life content that helps lighten the mood after its intense drama segments.
In this world, we examine the lives of herbivores and carnivores. They live together but don’t see eye-to-eye. Their small bit of peace is shattered when a herbivore named Tem dies on a fateful night. Many of Tem’s friends believe Legoshi murdered him because he’s a wolf. Legoshi is far from terrifying, though. One day, Legoshi visits his Drama club ally Louis and tells him to keep his eyes open.
Legoshi meets a white rabbit named Haru, whose scorned by her peers. After developing feelings for Haru, Legoshi embarks on a mission to keep his predatory behavior at bay to win her heart and to look innocent in the public’s eye. With its impressive artwork, mature storytelling, and likable cast, Beastars is an incredible and unique slice-of-life manga you should read.
Our Dreams at Dusk – Yuhki Kamatani
Our Dreams at Dusk is an emotional slice-of-life story that hones in on the representation, acceptance, and journey people take to locate their true selves. It revolves around Tasuku, a troubled child who is on the brink of ending his life due to people discovering his sexual preferences. He witnesses a woman jump off a building and rushes to her aid, only to discover that she’s still alive.
She’s referred to as Anonymous, the owner of a building where people meet to discuss their life issues. After discussing his issues with Anonymous, Tasuku hopes to come to terms with who he is. This manga offers an incredible stance on LGBTQ+. It handles the topic with proper care and honesty. It’s a rare experience everyone should read to understand the struggles people like Tasuku endure.
The manga’s artwork is phenomenal with its dreamlike style that adds more emotional weight to the narrative. Many characters in the story receive excellent backgrounds, quirks, and personalities to allow people to resonate with specific parties. For those on the hunt for an incredible manga with an excellent portrayal of the LGBTQ+ community, give Our Dreams at Dusk a shot.
Wolf Children – Mamoru Hosoda
Wolf Children is an incredible manga that tackles issues surrounding single-parenthood. It follows a human girl named Hana who falls in love with a wolf boy named Ookami. They eventually have wolf kids named Ame and Yuki and live happily together. This all comes to a saddening end when Ookami dies. This encourages Hana to flee with her kids to the countryside.
Therefore, the manga highlights Hana’s struggles with being a single parent of two wolf children. Many people will feel targeted by this manga’s premise and will grow to appreciate Hana’s determination in taking care of her children alone. Ame and Yuki start off as typical children but develop different and mature perspectives later in the story.
Readers can expect the manga to tackle similar themes as its popular film like family, sacrifice, and self-discovery. It captures the lengths a mother will go to protect and provide for her children. Regardless of your age, Wolf Children’s handles its themes in a universal matter allowing anyone to relate to its story and its cast.
Genshiken – Shimoko Kio
Genshiken is a great slice-of-life manga that follows a group of likable characters who are passionate about their hobbies. It follows Kanji, a college introvert who wants to befriend people. He stumbles upon the Genshiken club, whose goal is to spread the goodwill of otaku culture. A club member named Makoto welcomes Kanji with open arms.
It’s Makoto’s kind-hearted persona that entices Kanji to join the club. He’ll meet many people and will adore hearing about their differing passions and goals. Readers will adore seeing Kanji gradually become a more confident and proud person. The audience will enjoy Shimoko Kio’s handling of identity and self-discovery themes in this narrative.
It’s relatable and thought-provoking, making it a great read for fans of the slice-of-life genre. Furthermore, the manga’s set in a college setting, so those who are currently experiencing college will be hit the hardest by this manga’s storytelling and cast. Other themes like social anxiety and love are touched upon in this work to entice more people to check it out.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best manga through the years centering on slice-of-life shenanigans!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!