Have a hard day at work? Are things not quite going the way you want? Stressed out and tired? Escapism is often the go-to for relaxation, but oftentimes the thought of a lore-heavy plot or action focused narrative isn’t what we crave. However, we know that walking into the manga section blind can be just as stressful as the events of the day that brought you there.
The slice-of-life genre is immensely popular, it is often recommended for a more relaxed read or first steps into the wide world of Japanese comics. The familiarity that comes alongside the realism-focused settings and easy-breezy plots brings comfort, making them accessible to just about anyone. Filled with humor, romance, and relatable antics, this list compiles eight manga titles to help you find your next slice-of-life series.
For the Foodies: What Did You Eat Yesterday?
Shiro is a exceptional lawyer and gourmand who lives with his boyfriend Kenji, a hairstylist with a kind, outgoing personality. After long days at work navigating their professional lives, the two always reconvene at home over a made-from-scratch meal.
This award winning series takes a look into the daily lives of LGBTQ+ individuals in Japan the late 2000s, with a focus on the joy that comes alongside cooking and sharing meals and simple moments with your loved ones. We are treated to Shiro’s cooking as he guides us step-by-step through his processes, watching the recipes unfold around him which is a delight for anyone who appreciates a good dish.
For the Storytellers: Yoshi no Zuikara
A decade ago, reclusive artist Naruhiko Tohno finally achieved his dreams of becoming a manga creator. Barely scraping by, his newest series not only gets cancelled, but his editor suggests he switches genres from fantasy to slice-of-life. Unable to wrap his mind around it, he finds himself overwhelmed by creator’s block.
Unable to conjure up a new story, he decides to return to his quaint seaside home in an attempt to find inspiration. In Yoshi no Zuikara, we get to watch not only to Tohno’s creative processes, but the manga he creates as he begins to find his stride once again (so we essentially get two stories in one!)
For the Feline Fans: A Man & His Cat
Kanda is a kindly older gentleman with a passion for piano and teaching. While visiting a pet shop in an attempt to help ease his loneliness, he comes across a large spotted cat that everyone else ignores. This kitten, equally as alone in the world as Kanda, is given the name Fukumaru and finally achieves his dream of finding a forever home.
A surprising companionship unfurls, as Kanda learns to live life with a curious cat for the first time. This story, with its central theme of the joys of animal companionship, is ripe with pet humor and sweet moments that will have you rushing over to go hug your cat (or other furry companion!)
For the Pessimist: Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan
Are you simply sick of everything? Done with paying bills and clocking in before the sun rises? Then you’ll fit right in with the pessimistic and downright depressed cast of the children’s educational TV show, Together with Maman!
Lead by the titular Uramichi Oniisan, a former award winning gymnast turned TV personality, the over worked and underpaid cast of adults educate the younger generation on the harsh realities of adulthood through happily themed music and skits. Thrown out backs, unreasonable work conditions, and slowly dying dreams fill up this jaded dark comedy that takes an honest look at what it means to be a grown-up.
For the Geeks: Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku
Narumi Momose is desperate to hide her true self from the world after suffering one too many break-ups due to her addictions. She's an otaku*; she loves manga, video games, and boys’ love stories with a lot of smut. When she accidentally runs into her childhood friend (and fellow otaku) Hirotaka at her new job, he proposes that she date him to keep her secret safe.
This witty story follows a group of otaku as they slog through their work days to feel the satisfaction of their addictions after hours. Filled with geeky references to satisfy gamers, anime nerds, and cosplayers alike, this office drone romcom is both relatable and humorous for anyone who has ever believed they were too geeky to get a date.
For the RomCom Stans: My Love Mix-Up!
It’s a classic scenario. Boy likes girl. Girl likes a different boy. Boy borrows girl’s eraser. When the aforementioned different boy accidentally picks up the eraser only to find his name on it, he immediately assumes the worst case scenario for all parties involved.
Aoki has loved his dear friend Hashimoto for years, so when her secret crush on Ida is threatened to be revealed due to his clumsy mistake, Aoki lies to protect her. Ida is reluctant to accept these falsified feelings, but Aoki has no choice but to keep up the charade.
This comedy of errors features all of the woes of first loves as our trio of students try to balance secrets and schoolwork amidst self-wrought chaos.
For the Artists: Blue Period
Yatora is a hard working high school student who makes it all look effortless. An abundance of good grades and friends can’t help him break out of the dullness of his days, but an accidental trip to the art room changes all of that in an instant. Suddenly, the world is vibrant, colors speak to him, and a passion is ignited. He dives headfirst into this unfamiliar territory with fervor and intent.
It takes little time for Yatora to realize just how cut throat and unforgiving the art world can be, however, and his lack of experience cause him to question everything with each stroke of the brush. Filled with stunning illustrations and the struggles of the creative process, art lovers and artists alike will find this series breathtaking and moving.
For the Musicians: Become You
All Taiyou wants in life is to become a rockstar. He’s laser-focused and, in his dreams, he’s always in the spotlight. Reality, however, is not as kind. Not only does he suffer from stage fright and a lack of experience, his bandmates quit on him to focus on other endeavors!
His only chance at achieving his dreams is to convince antisocial pianist Hikari into forming a band with him. With the support of his dearest childhood friend, Sakura, and the immensely talented Hikari, Taiyou’s dreams of stardom once again seem tangible.
An honest story that showcases the struggles of mastering music and staying true to yourself, this manga is filled with self discovery and the thrill of performance.
*Otaku - someone so addicted to a certain aspect of pop culture that it becomes detrimental.