With the recent release of Violet Evergarden on Netflix outside of Japan, one cannot help but wonder how they are able to churn out anime of such masterful animation and graphical quality at the rate they are going. The new release is a slice of life anime which would take you on an emotional rollercoaster through a fantastical world and leave you on the edge of your seat, so we’ve prepared 2 other slice of life animes to help you settle back down. Whether you’ve already watched Violet Evergarden or not, let’s take a look at the other recently released anime they have made for more feasts for the eyes, and possibly soul as well.
Sound! Euphonium -High School Band Club from zero to the Nationals-
If you enjoy the slice of life genre, you may want to check out Sound! Euphonium. It’s a novel series by Ayano Takeda, with the start of the anime series adaptation in 2015. Season 2 soon followed in 2016, along with some movies, the latest one of which was freshly released in Japan just last month in April, 2018.
The story takes place in Kitauji High School set in Uji, Kyoto. It focuses mainly on how the Kitauji concert band club improves, going from ground zero to the national tournament with instructions from the newly appointed adviser. We begin the story following Kumiko Oumae, as more characters are introduced. In a sense, all the members featured are part of the main cast, with the focus shifting around to add depth to the characters and overall story. As what can be called a trademark of Kyoto Animation’s works, Sound! Euphonium greatly features in the emotional depiction of the characters, bringing the audience into the world and sharing in the feelings of the cast.
Their aim is to attain the gold medal in the National Concert Band Tournament, but in order to even reach that level in the tournament, the Kitauji band club has to be able to get at least the third place in the Kyoto prefectural tournament and then the Kansai regional tournament. It’s absolutely not an easy task, and anyone who has had experience being in a band or perhaps even having learnt a musical instrument may feel this even stronger. Thus, they have to practice strictly and even fight for the solo part.
Even if you don’t have any experience with being in a band, you can actually feel the characters’ pain from the strict practices, their nervousness during the tournaments and also share in their joy when they improve. The problems aren’t only all about the tournament, there are also other conflicts. For example, the tension between students who give priority to playing in the band for fun and those who give priority to the tournament, and the friction between the club members and their family who think that the club is a waste of time. These emotional parts entangle you into the lives of the characters and follow their stories with your true emotions.
Some people may prefer magnificent adventure stories or things set in the fantasy world, but when you want to watch something that is closer to life and the emotional capacity of humans being depicted in various ways, Kyoto Animation delivers this anime like a literal slice of life for you to indulge in. Sound! Euphonium is like a cup of tea, some people may think it is watery and bland, but others could enjoy the many layers of taste contained within. Would you like to try it and see if it is your cup of tea?
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid -Daily life of a programmer and her dragon maid-
Released in the Winter of 2017, it ran for the entire season with 13 episodes and a final 14th episode which was unaired, included in the DVDs and Blurays. It is based on a manga of the same name by artist and writer, Cool-kyou Shinja, which is currently still ongoing. A slightly fantastical slice of life comedy, it is a fair share of cuteness and humor, all presented with Kyoani’s meticulous and beautiful animation.
The story revolves around Tooru, the Dragon Maid and Miss Kobayashi’s daily lives, where Tooru constantly does things out of the norm for the human world while trying to do her job as Miss Kobayashi’s maid, unintentionally causing more trouble for Miss Kobayashi. This results in hilarious situations along with Miss Kobayashi’s generally cool and slightly stoic personality, acting as the straight man. All of that is occasionally peppered with a larger main plot involving the world where Tooru came from and her family and acquaintances from there.
The main cast of Tooru and Miss Kobayashi gradually gets joined by other dragons and mythical beasts who can turn into human forms all bringing their own fair share of trouble and fun. The characters all have unique and adorable designs, personalities and quirks which never cease to please. With quite a few dragons joining the fray, you can expect there to be fights happening, in both human forms and dragon forms. Those fights are remarkably well done, both in terms of visuals, effects and intensity. Despite their extremely cute appearances, these dragons are actually very strong and it gets pretty cool at times.
The main plot which revolves around Tooru’s circumstances of how she ended up in the human world and maid of Miss Kobayashi may get rather serious at times, but it always gets resolved (without dampening the actual deepness of the plot itself) before it becomes too serious and heavy. Personally, that is done in a perfectly balanced way perfect for when you just want something cheerful to watch which isn’t just pelting you with shallow gags.
There are also 7 episodes of short specials included in the discs, which are extremely cute and definitely should not be missed if you enjoy the series. They include really hilarious snips of spinoffs of other popular anime and such, short and delightful.
The originally cute art style and lighthearted comedy combined with Kyoani’s brilliant animation topped with really on point voice acting is a really delectable treat. Guaranteed to satisfy any cravings for some comedy, sweetness, the occasional epic fight, or a need to be distracted from real life for awhile.
All 3 anime mentioned share a common “slice of life” genre, but they all have very different stories and overall feel. Sound! Euphonium brings us a story closer to life, one that may be more relatable to many, focusing on the emotional aspects of the various club members and their struggles. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is set in the human world but it brings along some parts of the fantasy world in buckets of cute and comedy, not forgetting to add in some depth to the plot to keep up the interest. Depending on what you feel like indulging in at any particular moment, Kyoani probably has you covered.