Artist: Valeria Peri (@val_art_)
Letterer: Taylor Esposito (@TaylorEspo) and Garth Matthams
Publisher: Self-published via Kickstarter/WebToon
WHAT IS IT?
Slice of Life is a queer comic about an anime protagonist who is brought to life and the cheerleader who helps her discover that there’s more to living than vengeance.
Think Enchanted, but instead of a princess, make her a gritty anime heroine.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
When superfan Ravyn’s favorite anime comes to a close, her admiration and love for the heroine – Yuriko, AKA Lady Vengeance – brings her to life. Confused and unsure of how to cope with being in the real world, Yuriko must learn how to function with free will and a lack of enemies to slay. Ravyn’s twin sister, Lucy, notices her discomfort and finds herself guiding the revenge-focused sword wielder through these strange new circumstances.
Simple moments begin to challenge the way Lucy and Yuriko see their lives. Yuriko, once focused on a narrative littered with violence and mourning, suddenly sees a freedom and sense of choice she never had, all the while Lucy begins to come to terms with a secret she’s been harboring. The blossoming romance brings big changes to both of their lives in this fun GL (girl’s love) series.
Calamia and Falco have taken a simple concept that has been done time and again and made it relatable and enjoyable for a modern audience. Their passion for the subject of inclusive stories that subvert cliched tropes is apparent in the way the narrative is handled in both the comedic and serious moments.
Peri’s art is bright and full of life, which is perfectly complemented by the darker tones of the anime segments. The character designs lean more toward realism yet still carry cartoonish expressions that balance the “fictional character brought into our world” narrative well.
Esposito and Matthams did a phenomenal job with the lettering. It's always clear who is speaking, the text is sized in a way that makes it easy to read and follow along with. The bolded text/bubbles and sound effects that are meant to showcase an intense tone come across legibly and do not obscure the scene.
The cast is diverse, with a broad range of ethnicities, personalities/world views, and a strong LGBTQ+ lean. While small in these early stages, the central group feels realistic despite the fictional lean of the core narrative. It adds to the relatability and allows a variety of readers to engage with their journeys.
Moments that playfully poke fun at anime tropes and the obsessive nature of otakus, as well as the baby-steps Yuriko must take to adjust to things like mannequins and escalators, adds a light sense of humor to the story that blends well without feeling out of place.
The authentic conversations about young love, being more than what's expected for your age/gender, and the difficulty in coming out are heart-warming and relatable, especially for a younger audience who may struggle with the same feelings of insecurity and uncertainty. It has a reassuring sense about it, that the awkwardness and fear one feels is valid.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
CW: Some mild, cartoon-style violence.
It feels a bit odd that Yuriko’s character is made to be a fierce warrior, but less than a half a day after she’s brought into the real world, she acts more like a modern teenage girl than a gritty anime hero. The character development of her transition feels rushed.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Slice of Life is currently being published on WebToon and, with the support of a growing fanbase, a Kickstarter is running to compile the first four chapters into a physical volume. The series attempts to subvert the expectations of the slice-of-life genre by focusing on the small moments of everyday life in the midst of a larger narrative, acknowledging the true and honest events that shape a person. A series that reaches both YA and adult audiences, its balance of real-world struggles and fantasy elements invokes not only excitement but warm fuzzies.
The simplistic narrative and lively personalities of the characters will instantly draw readers in, while the heartwarming moments between them will keep you glued to the story with each new page. Filled with colorful illustrations and immense charm, this GL series is one to keep your eyes on as Yuriko and Lucy’s story continues to be fleshed out in the coming chapters.
HOW DO I READ IT?
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