I recently finished a comedic slice of life anime, enough that I wanted to mention it here. The anime is Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou / The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behaviour. I found it really funny and relaxing, two things I enjoy in a slice of life anime. I’ll mention some of the things I think the anime did well (no spoilers).
The Anime is Segmented
This is another point that I think the anime does very well, and I also think really benefits the comedic variety of slice of life anime. While some slice of life anime have an overall story, they generally focus on small daily plots. That I think is what they excel at, introducing and concluding mini plots. Segmenting allows the anime to skip ahead and move straight from one plot to another. This means the anime can show a comedic plot, skip ahead a few days, and then show another one. The viewer doesn’t care about what happened in the few days that were skipped because the focus is on the small plots, not the overarching story.
I think that having a central location is generally beneficial for slice of life anime. It allows the anime to become focused and coherent. In this case, Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou clearly focuses on life at the apartment complex, and the interactions between the characters at the apartment complex. It doesn’t focus on school life, work life, or any other setting and makes it clear from the start that this is an anime about the people at the apartment complex. It may show school or work from time to time, but it always comes back to the apartment complex – which I think is important so that the anime stays on topic and doesn’t introduce too many characters / questions / unnecessary topics.
The anime is very relaxed as I mentioned, and a large part of that is due to there being next to no drama. The characters don’t hold grudges across multiple episodes, there are no major breakdowns, and the viewer isn’t shown intense situations. I don’t think that drama is necessarily bad in slice of life – for example, Toradora! is a great slice of life anime that introduces some drama later on when the viewer is more invested in the characters. I do think having no drama worked very well for Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou.
Exaggeration is a key element to slice of life, both in the character design and in the animation style. For character design it’s important to create a group of eccentric and very different individuals – an anime with a bunch of average people in an average life is just boring. That’s why generally the characters in a slice of life have defining characteristics, such as the genius, the lazy one, the crazy one, etc. because it’s more fun to watch them interact.
The other part of exaggeration that I love in slice of life is in animation. For example, when a character literally turns completely white, or when the anime uses low detail chibi characters. Exaggerated emotions like the red anger mark or the giant sweat drop on someone’s head. I know other anime use these as well, but slice of life tend to use them extensively and I love it – especially for comedic value.
One thing in particular I noticed from this anime is how it often the background changes behind the character(s) to a specific colour / design to even further convey emotion. I don’t know if other anime use this effect – although I’m sure they do though and I just haven’t noticed. It’s something I never even noticed it before I actually sat down and looked at some of this qualities of this anime. Sometimes its the small things.
So that’s pretty much it, I really enjoyed Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou.
A simple plot with a lot of warm and funny moments.
If you are looking for a good comedy / slice of life, check it out!