Tag Archives: spice and wolf

In Defense of Slice of Life

Welcome, weebs and authors alike, to The Aniwriter.

In my time watching anime, one genre, in particular, has often been criticized as being the least interesting and lacking in a lot of substance, and that would be the Slice of Life genre. Slice of Life is a genre that fans use to describe series where the focus is on the characters and the day to day happenings in each of their lives.

I thought I would take a bit of time to talk about the Slice of Life genre in a bit more depth because I feel like a lot of those same criticisms are still very much around, even despite the amount of high-quality Slice of Life shows that have been coming out as of late.

As I see it there are two major criticisms that still get lodged at the Slice of Life genre, so as such, I’ll be making this a two-parter. Those criticisms are as follows:

  1. “Slice of Life shows often lack any serious development on the part of both the characters and the story, and as such don’t really make for interesting pieces of entertainment.”
  2. “Slice of Life shows are so loosely defined that it doesn’t make sense to call it a genre at all.”

Today, I’ll be addressing the first of these criticisms, so without further ado, let’s get started.


First, I’d like to just get this out of the way: yes, I understand that what is entertaining or even interesting is completely subjective, but to that, I would say that I think it’s important to be able to at least make an argument as to why you believe something.

It’s also a pretty grandiose claim to make that an entire genre has no development whatsoever, so I’ll address it now: the idea that the Slice of Life genre has no development whatsoever is kind of ridiculous.

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The first major example I can give to refute this point is Spice and Wolf. The show follows Holo and Lawrence for two seasons, through all kinds of adventures and situations. Holo starts the show looking down on humans, assuming that none of them are worth her time. But, as the two continue, she comes to understand through Lawrence that humans are all living their lives the best they can.

A similar change happens inside Lawrence. At the beginning of the show, Lawrence starts out with a much more cynical view of the world. Holo, however, gets him to believe in the idea that life doesn’t have to be so doom and gloom all the time. Not to mention that by the end of the second season, the two have obvious romantic feelings for each other that aren’t just going to go away without any resolution.

Another great example of a Slice of Life with major development is Nagi no Asakura. Now, I’ll freely admit that I haven’t seen all of the show, but even despite only having seen the first 9 episodes or so, if already feels like it’s going through plenty of development. Hikari has already gone from someone who unconditionally hates humans to someone who realizes his friend might be in love with a human, and as such tries to support her.

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Even in more recent editions to the genre like A Place Further than the Universe, there is obvious development in the relationships between all of the characters. Mari starts the show as an unfulfilled high schooler who wants more out of life than just to sit around and do nothing. After she meets Shirase and decides to pursue a trip to Antartica with her, she realizes there is a lot more out there that she could be doing, and that doing those things with great friends makes them much more enjoyable.

Shirase especially sees a ton of development over the course of the series. Despite starting out as just a meek, somewhat quirky teenage girl who only seems to be the butt of everyone’s jokes, she manages to finally find her place in the world. The trip to Antartica allows her to finally fulfill her dream, and near the end of the show, she manages to get some closure about her mother.

It’s also worth pointing out that among the three series I just listed that there is an incredibly diverse set of story and characters, each with their own unique goals and hopes. One thing that is consistent in all definitions of Slice of Life is a character-driven show, but that doesn’t mean a show has to sacrifice any development in order to be more character focused.

Next week, I’ll spend some time revisiting the idea of how to classify what exactly is a Slice of Life.


How do you guys feel about Slice of Life as a whole? Do you have any favorites that you would consider Slice of Life? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support The Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

My Top Ten Favorite Anime (As of August 2018)

Welcome, weebs and authors alike, to The Aniwriter

Since I haven’t had a lot of interest in watching new shows as of late, and because this will be my 300th post on The Aniwriter, I’ve decided to document my top ten favorite anime of all time. I believe I’ve explained my philosophy on the subject before, but I’ll explain it again. This list is going to be a list of my Favorites, and not what I think is the best. That is a different list entirely, and one I would be happy to make if you’re interested. With that being said, here are my top ten favorite anime of all time, as of this month, anyway.


10. Phi Brain

Phi Brain

It’s really hard to describe this show to other people and not get some weird looks. Like, its a show about people battling each other with puzzles. On the surface, it seems like something that should be in the same boring vein as Beyblade, right?

Well, yes, but hear me out. The show has a lot of has a whole lot of entertainment value, from its hilariously edgy characters to the extreme situations they find themselves in. Not to mention the surprisingly messed up backstories of its villains. For those reasons alone, it’s absolutely one of my favorites

9. Terror in Resonance

Terror in Resonance

Two words: the soundtrack. If nothing else, you should absolutely go listen to this show’s soundtrack, even if you don’t like the premise of the show itself. Personally, however, I do think the show it is attached to is worth it. Sure, maybe it’s not the most well-executed story-wise, but I think there’s a lot to relate to when it comes to the main characters. Nine and Twelve go through the entirety of the show with an identity crisis on their hands. They rebel against society because it was society’s institutions that caused them to live without knowing who they are. It seems like their in a perpetual state of being lost, and there is certainly something about that I relate to a lot.

8. The Devil is a Part-Timer

The Devil is a Part-Timer

On a much lighter note, what if the Devil worked in fast food? Yeah, this show is entirely underrated, and the fact that it didn’t get a second season makes me extremely angry. It has a hilarious premise, plus the side characters make the show even better. One of my favorite running gags in the show is how Maou thinks that getting promoted at MgRonalds will somehow allow him to conquer earth. Lucifer is also pretty hilarious the way he just sits in the apartment all day and does literally nothing. If you’re ever looking for something to just sit back and relax with, give this a watch.

7. Black Lagoon

Black Lagoon

Black Lagoon is awesome, plain and simple. I remember the first time I watched this show, and it immediately blew my mind. It was a lot like those memes with people using song lyrics and then saying “My thirteen-year-old mind:” and then showing the Kermit the frog picture. Much of that awesomeness comes from Revy, who frequently rushes in and just starts blowing everything up without much of a second thought. By the end of the series, Rock becomes pretty awesome too, especially in the last scene of Roberta’s Blood Trail, where even Revy notices a large change in his behavior. Then, of course, there are the various fights which also look incredible, so yeah.

6. Spice and Wolf

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Shoutout to one of my best friends Sean for recomending this show to me, because without him it would have never even shown up on my radar. Slice of Life really is one of the most interesting genres to me, because there are so many possibilities in terms of characters, setting, and the challenges people face in their everyday lives. Spice and Wolf, though, manages to bring together such a unique combination of storytelling mechanics, and at the center of it all is Holo, one of the more interesting main characters not just in Slice of Life, but in anime in general. Her view on life is a blend of optimism and pessimism. Lawrence is cut from a similar cloth, which seems to be why they connect so early on in the show. And this is where I make a joke about medieval economics and then move on.

5. No Game No Life

Sora and Shiro

Definitely a newer entry on my list, but none the less an important one. You might also notice about most of the entries on this list that a lot of the main characters of these shows are ones that I find extremely relatable, and Sora and Shiro are not different. Their core philosophy is that “Life is just a shitty game,” and for a lot of people, that’s true. A lot of people don’t get the same opportunities to succeed as others. Most people are born in countries where the living conditions aren’t the best and some are even born into active war zones. For Sora and Shiro, from what has been revealed about their past, it was not having parents that even remotely cared for them. Having the ability to escape to another world in which everything is ultimately decided by your willingness to succeed is exactly what they wanted.

4. Robotics;Notes

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Two Words: The Opening. No, seriously, this shows opening is absolutely hype. I honestly might have to bring back opening of the week just to do a post about this show’s opening, because I love it so much. Yeah, it is pretty generic J-Rock, but Junjou Spectra by Zwei gets me hype every time I listen to it. However, it is not just the music in the show that makes it one of my favorites. Robotics;Notes has a wealth of interesting scientific lore. One of the most interesting parts by far is the Condition of the two main characters: Elephant and Mouse Syndrome. The former causes your perception of time to slow down, while the latter speeds it up. Without giving spoilers, the show is able to use this fictional condition to some interesting effects.

3. Oregairu

Oregairu

Some might look at this show and think: “with a title like that I’m sure it will just be some generic garbage.” Now, to be honest, if you talked to me right before I started watching this show, I wouldn’t have blamed you. The English title is “My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU,” but at first I didn’t really feel like it was worth watching, and I sort of just started it on a whim. However, after having watched through the show, I changed my opinion a lot, and now we’re here. Sometimes it can be hard to know who you should really be letting into your life. A lot of people act fake, either because they want something from you or because they think being friends with you will offer some kind of benefit. Oregairu is a show that exposes that kind of fakeness and lays it out for everyone to see, and that’s what I love about it.

2. Fairytail

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Fairytail was, in a sense, a lot of my childhood. It was one of the first shows I watched when I discovered what anime was, and ever since then, I’ve watched it religiously. More and more viewing of the show has lead me to realize that it is most certainly not the greatest show out there, but its one that’s been with me for a while. If you had asked me in 2016 whether or not this show was my number one, I would have said yes without hesitation, but after seriously thinking about this list, there really was only one answer.

And for my number one…

1. March Comes in Like a Lion

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There isn’t much I can say here that I haven’t already said about this show in other posts. In fact, I think the last post I wrote about the show probably explains my feelings the best, so check it out. But, In summary, March Comes in Like a Lion provides a cathartic experience for me that no other show has. From its incredibly beautiful visual presentation to the characters whose lives sometimes feel more real than my own. If I could get everyone I know to watch one show, it would be this one.


I know I always ask a question at the end of my posts, but this time I am genuinely curious, what are some of your favorite anime? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

12 Days of Anime #8: This Year in Light Novels (For Me, Anyway)

Reading is always one of those things that I avoid, even though as a writer I really need to do more of it. I don’t really have a lot of ideas as to what I should read from western authors, so if any of you guys do I would appreciate some, but I do follow a lot of other stories, and this year I read a couple of different light novels that I absolutely loved.

No Game No Life

No Game

If you want to see my thoughts on each of the individual novels I’ve read so far, you can go here, but to summarize, No Game No Life is possibly one of the most emotive, emotional investing stories that I’ve ever read. Not only are its world and lore worth putting extra time into, but its characters, despite their oddness, are loveable and relatable in ways that many wouldn’t want to admit. Sure, at times it is definitely convoluted,  but that is just part of the appeal.

Spice and Wolf

Spice and Wolf Light Novel

Admitting that I’ve only read about half of the first volume of Spice and Wolf is kind of embarrassing considering how good it is. The light novel has everything that makes the anime great and more. The conversations between Lawrence and Holo are explored in a bit more detail than in the anime, probably because it is a novel and there is more time for that. It is also interesting to see more of Lawrence’s mental state before he meets Holo, and discovering that he is not that stable, to say the least. Definitely worth a read if you haven’t watched the Spice and Wolf anime.


What light novels did you guys read this year? What western authors would you recommend I read? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

Opening of the Week: Tabi no Tochuu by Natsumi Kiyoura(Spice and Wolf)

Any opportunity to talk about Spice and Life is a good one, and the show’s phenomenal first opening is no exception. The show’s second opening is also quite lovely, but I chose this one because I think it also encaptures what the show it’s attached to is all about. Its slow, quiet build to an extremely beautiful chorus makes it stand out as one of best anime openings I’ve ever seen.

The title of the song roughly translates to “On a Journey.” This is obviously referring to the many journeys that Lawrence and Holo take in order to get her back to her home, but it also refers to their own personal journey, both in terms of their relationship and their individual personalities. Lawrence learns that he is often too uptight in his approach to the world and that he should learn to enjoy his journey more. Meanwhile, Holo learns that not all humans are bad and that learning to be more trusting is the first step in living in the human world.

The lyrics go into more details about their journeys to new places and their journey together. The song musically starts out as a slow Piano ballad, almost like a lullaby, but as the song goes on it changes and becomes more powerful as the song lyrics talk more about the journey that Lawrence and Holo will have together, symbolizing their excitement for the future.

The song’s tone is also set well by the female vocalist Natsumi Kiyoura. Her soft vocal tone, in the beginning, builds alongside the music and creates a feeling of power, of adventure.

If you haven’t seen Spice and Wolf, you should, but if you’re just looking for some new music, still check this out. It’s one of the best songs on Spice and Wolf’s OST and, in a weird way, kind of relaxing.


What do you guys think of this of this Opening? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading. See ya, Friendos!

What Else Should You Watch?: March Comes in Like a Lion

I’ve decided to start another weekly post series, this one being called What Else Should You Watch. In this series, I’ll take a different anime every week and give you some alternate recommendations for shows you should watch based on similar traits the shows share, like characters and story, or just that another show might share a similar X Factor, something that makes it special. Since it’s airing this season and, much to my approval, many people seem to be enjoying it, I thought I would start with one of my new all-time favorites: March Comes in Like a Lion.

Spice and Wolf

Spice and Wolf
Source: Funimation

I’ve mentioned Spice and Wolf a few times on this blog because it is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. The animation is nothing impressive, but everything about its writing is brilliant. From Lawrence and Holo to the Journeys they take, the show is filled with enjoyable moments and, best of all, ECONOMICS!

Both Spice and Wolf and March share a distinct level of character development that makes their leads feel like real people. Even though meeting came about through fantastical circumstances, by the end of the show, we feel Holo and Lawrence’s connection. Their journeys together and their deep understanding of each other as people make them feel like you know them. Rei meanwhile is a loveable but understandably troubled seventeen-year-old who is just trying to find who he is. that need to take a journey through self-discovery is a strong feeling indeed.

Honey and Clover

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Source: Nefarious Reviews

This is admittedly something of a shot in the dark because I haven’t actually seen it. The show’s original manga was written by the same person who wrote the manga for March Comes in Like a Lion and was adapted into an anime series in 2005, with a sequel in 2008 both by J.C. Staff. I thought I would give it a shoutout here is because I have heard a lot of goods things about the show. It also seems to have pretty high praise across the board, so if you check it out before I get to, let me know how it is.

Chihayafuru

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A lot of March Comes in Like a Lion’s appeal comes from its characters and their development, but that development usually revolves around Shogi. Shogi is admittedly very entertaining in March, because the show knows how to build tension between two characters who are facing off, especially when one of those characters is Rei.

If that sort of intense game environment is something you want more of than look no further than Chihayafuru. It centers around the competitive card game Karuta, where players have to knocks cards off the mat as they are called out. It has a lot of the same game and visual appeal that march does while throwing in a love triangle for good measure.


What would you recommend based on March Comes in Like a Lion? How do you feel about some of these shows? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading. See ya, friendos!

5 Great Slice of Life Shows You Should Watch if You Haven’t

The Slice of Life genre is one that has always been fascinating to me. The way that stories can focus on singular characters and have them be the story makes for a very different type of show. I thought I would take the time to share some of the ones that I enjoy the most. Some of these are my favorites, and some I just think are ones people should watch.

1. Spice and Wolf.

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Spice and Wolf is a show that I watched this summer because a friend had told me it was his first anime. After getting curious enough, I watched, and man am I glad I did. The Story of Lawrence Craft and his mercantile adventures with Holo is one of the most entertaining and thoughtful shows I’ve watched. As the two travel around the world, they talk about the economics of the times, the places that they’ve yet to visit, and even the mysteries of life. The show never fails to bring a smile to my face, or when it goes south, make me care for Lawrence and Holo. It is definitely worth your time.

2.  March Comes in Like a Lion

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If I had to pick an anime for anime of the year in 2016, it probably would have come down to March Comes in like a lion and a few other shows. After seeing Nisekoi a while back, I was honestly surprised that the people at Studio Shaft could take such a similar art palette and design style and apply it to a show like this. It’s quality shines through in every aspect, and most importantly in the characters. Rei Kiriyama is not only someone I can relate, in that, I get so focused on one thing that I shut out people, he is also someone I root for. His story is not only emotionally painful but also a journey I felt I had been with him for his entire life like I was his best friend. March Comes in Like a Lion is an example of why character driven stories can be so rewarding.

3. Tonari no Seki-Kun

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Aside from fantasy adventures and character dramas, Tonari no Seki-Kun is probably one of the funniest shows I’ve seen. With each episode, Seki is preparing a new gimmick, and his classmate Yokoi can only sit there and imagine what must be going through his head, whether it be a war on a chess board or the falling of a domino empire. The antics in this show reach absurd heights and it’s better for it.

4. Kokoro Connect

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Kokoro Connect was a show that I was not expecting to be as lively or as dramatic as it was, but it definitely wasn’t bad. It was a very interesting exploration of interpersonal relationships and how those relationships can get ruined by both lies and truth. It did amaze me when I watched it that such a fascinating show had flown under my radar for so long, but no longer!

5. Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

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If you’ve been in the anime community for any period of for the last year now, you probably know about Dragon Maid. The memes have reached far and wide and with them the show itself. But, if you have been one of the ones unfortunate enough to not check out this adorably hilarious comedy about dragons living in some random lady’s apartment you should. The show is genuinely enjoyable, and it has one of the most mature characters you will see in a show: Kobayashi. She’s kind, understanding, and respecting other people. Her, along with Tooru and the others will make you want to stay for the ride. But remember, don’t lewd the dragon lolis.