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File: sol-triangle.png (605.47 KB, 3200x3100) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.


Ladies, gentlemen and ladies (gentlemen), I present to you: The Grand Theory of SoL Anime Classification

All Slice of Life is a combination of three factors:
1.) Cuteness
2.) Funnyness
3.) Relaxness

Thus you can put any SoL show on a 3-way gradient, depending on how hard it emphasizes any one of the three SoL components.

(this could probably be applied to manga too but reading is for nerds)


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Remember that all SoL includes all three components, so even a "pure" humor show would still be cute and, in some sense, relaxing.
A better way of thinking of this is not what elements the show is composed of, but what elements are the show's greatest appeal. When the wise and handsome SoL connoisseur watches an episode, does he watch it for the cute girls, the funny scenes, the soothing atmosphere, or some combination of the three?

Inversely, if a show does NOT include elements from all three, then it is not an SoL show. For example, Mushishi is commonly hailed as one of the greatest iyashikei of all time, but it is not conventionally cute or funny. This principle becomes critically important when taking into account the existence of romcoms. While often cute and funny, most romcoms have a plot, thus negate the vital soothe-factor.
By this reasoning I will also argue many KyoAni "SoL" shows are not Slice of Life at all!


File: sol triangle example.png (1.51 MB, 3200x3100) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.

Some examples:
A.) A "pure" Cuteness show would be something like Generic Kirara Moeblob Fest #0814 (aka Gochiusa)
B.) A "pure" Funnyness show would be something like Kill Me Baby.
C.) A "pure" Relaxness show would be something like that one small girls show from a couple of seasons ago.

Again, note how all three of these still include all three SoL ingredients, but someone who watches, say, Kill Me Baby PROBABLY isn't watching it for the relaxing atmosphere.

(Do feel free to argue over my placement of example shows in this chart, and please add some of your own)


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As a last sidenote, it's worth pointing out this theory is still incomplete. It does not take into account the all-important Yuri Factor. I'm afraid I am forced to leave this conundrum to minds greater than mine.


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Well I have to say you put work into this if you made it yourself.
Why would you put SSR near Soothing and not Cute? It was extremely, if lowkey, grimdark by the end so I don't think it can really count as soothing at all.


I think that apparent contradiction is partly a trick of terminology and partly an impression that SSR purposely wanted to cause.

"Soothing" or "healing" is just the established name for anime like Non Non Biyori and Flying Witch where things happen at a slow pace, as in SSR, so that's that for terminology. It's about what each episode plays out like, rather than the setting or overall message.

The first thing I learned watching SSR was that I had to stop worrying about the girls' survival and the future of Humanity and just sit back and relax. It is at heart a slow-paced or "healing" anime - the darkness serves to highlight its theme, which is, in Yuuri's words, getting along with despair.


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What would Slow Start be?
Is there a corner for "hyper sexual" since Tama-chan is so fucking arousing?


>Why would you put SSR near Soothing and not Cute? It was extremely, if lowkey, grimdark by the end so I don't think it can really count as soothing at all.
The girls were cute, but was it what you watched it FOR?
I can't really speak for others, but I watched it for the unique/quiet/introspective atmosphere more than anything.

(thinking about it I actually regret putting SSR closer to the "humor" part and having the smol girls be "pure soothing". the two should be swapped)


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also swapped NNB & Flying Witch because looking back NNB had a lot more funny moments than Flying Witch


I can't call it healing or soothing for me because the ending depresses me greatly. But then again I read the manga first and that was horrible to experience


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This is pretty impressive, nice work icicle. Your contributions to the science of cute girls being cute is very appreciated.
I'd move Sora no Woto more towards Soothing and Yuyushiki more towards comedy. SnW had a lot of sorta introspective or even emotional moments, while Yuyushiki never goes long without a gag.


>and Yuyushiki more towards comedy
but then it wouldn't have each of the girls representing a corner


I knew you were trying to make a point by putting Yuyushiki in the middle, but I didn't notice that.

You could add a new axis for sex, turn the triangle into a tetrahedron and put Aiura at the very apex.


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I thought he was trying to say Yuyushiki was like, a perfectly balanced SoL, which it totally is so I can support it being there I suppose.


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What about when there is a strong element of plot like Urara?
Or a strong element of yuri, also like Urara?
Because those are my favorite.


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A slice-of-life doesn't have to be cute, comedic, or relaxing. It's a discrete literary technique, and sometimes genre, on its own. Japanese stuff, for various reasons, tends to emphasize cuteness and comedy, and slice-of-life lends itself to relaxed stories, exemplified in iayshikei, but there really isn't any particular tone exclusive to it. Sora no Woto, Niea_7 and Tsuritama are excellent SoL anime and are often rather somber in tone, as are some classic iyashikei (which, contrary to popular belief, does not necessarily need to be a SoL, even if it often has SoL characteristics) like YKK, Haibane Renmei and even Aria at times. Hell, Tamayura is some of the best healing out there largely because almost every other episode is a tear-jerker.

I also object to your assertion that romance detracts from the soothe factor of an SoL-heavy series, but that's mostly because of the idea of SoL techniques being mutually exclusive with plot. I wrote the following little essay of unsourced opinions before this paragraph but it basically explains why.

Plot and slice-of-life aren't mutually exclusive, since SoL is just a narrative technique. Rozen Maiden and InaKon are series with strong plots that are heavy on SoL. The former mostly uses it as a method of character development in the form of discrete SoL episodes vs plot-heavy episodes, while the latter weaves the plot itself into SoL, subduing the drama and mellowing out the tone. Even "pure" SoL anime are anything but, since there are always other aspects there just to give the show some substance. Aria and YKK are about as close to pure SoL in genre as you can get and both have significant comedic and dramatic aspects. In fact I would go so far as to argue that they would suck without them (though YKK would still be real pretty to look at), since the defining feature of slice-of-life is arbitrary narrative progression, emphasizing sequence over significance of events.


The effect is in other words a low density of significant events. Ulysses and Catcher in the Rye are SoL novels. At the far end of genrefication of the technique, SoL can devolve into a seemingly asinine ramble or stream-of-consciousness like Finnegans Wake or Tristram Shandy, or Min Kamp I guess as a more recent extreme example. Most anime we consider "slice-of-life" use SoL techniques fairly sparingly in fact, as a truly arbitrary chronological narrative is pretty boring to most people. No matter how cutely she wakes up and brushes her teeth and does her hair and eats breakfast while watching TV and walks to school, most viewers would prefer to watch the cute girl doing more interesting things that better highlight her cuteness. Honestly, "cute girls doing cute things" is a more discrete genre than slice-of-life could ever be, though it excludes those shows with similar vibes that inexplicably decide to be about something other than cute girls. Interestingly, the first episodes of these shows tend to be the most SoL since they often start with characters waking up, going to school, meeting everybody and having classes or opening ceremonies or whatever, going home and reflecting on the day all chronologically and in more detail than is usual. In addition, shows can generally only be moderately episodic to be SoL-heavy, since very episodic shows need to cram lots of stuff into their timeslot. Something like Kino's Journey for example is just barely an SoL. In contrast, something semi-episodic like K-On lends itself to SoL since you can have the whole day lazily take up a whole episode without anything significant happening. This low density of significant events is both what turns people off SoL and what attracts people who want to take it easy, but again, the work itself taking it easy doesn't make it necessarily SoL.

Uh, it got kinda long-winded and patronizing and I lost focus at some point but basically yeah it's still SoL but only sometimes.


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I think there's a misunderstanding in terminology that's clouding discussion. I don't think this triangle is saying that a genre like Iyashikei belongs exclusively to the realm of SoL. Rather, some SoL anime are more prone to fall into that category. Meaning, there's an intersection of themes where SoL happens to be the dominant aspect. Catcher in the Rye has SoL elements but it's far from being the dominant theme. That's where this chart is lacking.

I added this to the chart. Each triangle represents a region of intersection. The sweet spot doesn't necessarily mean the place where the best SoL will be found. Rather, it's a perfect balance. Anime that surrounds the sweet spot are mediocre and/or aimless. Unless you add a third dimension which ties in with what I wrote above: depth of theme.

Yuyshiki is very close, probably in the sweet spot, but what about theme? The plot is about the data processing club, but it's little less than an excuse to have girls web search stuff. Compare with Takkyuu musume. A better example would be comparing stella C3-bu with Sabagebu. Both have the same theme but C3-bu is much more committed to its theme while Sabagebu is more focused on being a comedy show where airsoft is just a vehicle.

The deeper a theme is, the further an anime drifts from SoL as its main theme.

If I had the photoshop skills, I'd turn this into a tetrahedron.

Depth of theme. Yuru yuri is a comedy with yuri elements.

Depth of theme again. Fanservice being the theme in this case.


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Yuyushiki is the SoL Baseline.


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Uh, I'm about to go on a huge tangent about iyashikei which you can skip if you went since it's not that important.

I didn't mean to imply you implied anything about iyashikei. That was just my own tangent and rereading it looks like I was trying to say that despite a lot of good iyashikei being soothing, it need not be soothing to be iyashikei, and brought up Haibane Renmei and Tamayura as particularly depressing shows that are also very much healing shows, specifically because they make you feel like shit before offering catharsis. I guess in a way that's soothing too, though instead of just being soothed the viewer ends up needing soothing because of the show itself. YuYuYu and Nanoha are less extreme examples and stuff like Clannad (and most Keyshit too, especially the VNs) and Plastic Materials can also technically be considered to have elements of iyashikei since the overall tone is cathartic even under a tragic plot which amplifies the soothing effect of the slice-of-life portions in the way looking back at a happy memory does. In fact I'd probably plot iyashikei itself in three dimensions, with the axes being emotional vs anesthetic, nostalgic vs uncanny, and dramatic vs comedic, with bounds on the y- and z-axes that exclude examples that are too uncanny, too comedic, and too dramatic. A setting that fails to welcome the viewer and a plot that is too heavy or prominent detracts from the healing aspect. Clannad would be well within all the bounds except dramatic, and Hidamari Sketch would be within them but near the edge of comedic and Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na koto would be really damn close to the uncanny edge with it up to personal opinion whether it goes over or not.


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All that aside, the main point I was trying to make was that SoL (as opposed to iyashikei, which can easily be considered a genre) is a narrative technique, not a genre or a theme, and the attempted genrefication of it in anime tends to have unsatisfactory results if unnaturally dense (compared to the ultimate SoL: IRL) drama or comedy are not introduced. Plot and SoL can easily exist prominently together if the plot is driven by SoL. The only thing that makes something more or less SoL is how much stuff is cut out to make way for significant events. I used Rozen Maiden as an example specifically because its individual episodes alternate between very SoL and very plot-driven almost on a whim. And that's the main thing: SoL narration is defined only by being chronologically driven rather than plot-driven. The presence or absence of a strong plot itself is largely irrelevent.

Contrast any Yuyushiki episode to Rozen Maiden episode 3 or Akikan episode 10 to understand what I'm getting at. The first To Heart anime is also an excellent example (and one that included drama and romantic overtones) but I haven't watched it in a while so I can't point to any specific episodes. Rozen Maiden in particular is adept at letting comedy and plot just happen even during SoL episodes through the strength of the characters and plot. I'm not going to watch a half cour of Rozen Maiden with a beer to wind down a day for obvious reasons but I'd call it more of an SoL than YYS even if the latter is infinitely more relaxing and much more fits the mold of iyashikei.

Also, sorry for hijacking your thread with a semantic argument. I can't help myself when it comes to this topic.


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hey dont just steal my images


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YUNO laying down the LAW
Also go watch Antarctica


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What was that?
Don't seal your mages?

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