Anime is best known for allowing the viewer to experience other worlds and lives through the experience of other characters. In the world of animation, the sky’s the limit. But sometimes, you might want to take a seat back and just enjoy something closer to home.
Aside from taking you on grand mystical adventures, there are a ton of anime released that are great in emulating life. While it sounds a bit mundane, I can assure you that these stories are some of the best anime has to offer us. Sometimes a good story doesn’t need any magic to be grand.
If you feel that you need a break from fantasy anime and want something closer to life that’s relatable, this list might have something that will pique your interest. The list has some of the best realistic anime that I had the opportunity to watch. There’s a good amount of old and new anime on this list with a variety of real-life situations, so there’s a good chance you’ll find an anime you’ll love in here.
15. Danshi Koukousei No Nichijou
This is a series I never Imagined Sunrise to produce. While most of us know that Sunrise is the studio responsible for Gundam, the studio went out of its way to produce a daily-life anime in 2012. Fans are treated with a cameo of a Gundam in the first episode, but unfortunately, it turned out to be a crazy dream one of the protagonists had.
The series follows the daily lives of three boys from the same school: Tadakuni, Yoshitake Tanaka, and Hidenori Tabata. All three of them seem to be very close friends and attend Sanada North Boy High School together. In the series, you get to watch the trio get into funny situations with other students, family members, and other people around their neighborhood.
If you’re looking for a good laugh, this is a great anime to go to. The anime is about this trio trying to get through their ordinary high school life. But ordinary is far from boring since the characters go out of their way to enjoy their youth as much as possible.
14. A Silent Voice
A story about the effects of bullying on both the bullies and the bullied. While the movie does have a deaf character, “deafness” is actually used as a metaphor for isolation and miscommunication in the film. This film covers a lot of problems people face when they enter puberty.
The film begins with high school student Shoya Ishida who attempts suicide, instead of going through with his plan he decides to fix his wrongs from his childhood. A flashback reveals that he used to bully his deaf classmate, Shoko Nishimiya. Shoko originally tried to befriend her classmates, but due to her differences, she becomes the target of bullying.
At one point, Shoya gets singled out as the culprit of the bullying causing his classmates to bully him instead. Angered by the turn of events, Shoya blames Shoko and gets into a physical fight with her. Shoko eventually transfers schools after the event.
The film is Shouya’s journey towards redemption. Through his journey, he not only starts opening up to Shouko but his classmates and the people of his town as well.
13. Wotaku Ni Koi Wa Muzukashii
Life is hard for an otaku, especially if you are trying to hide this side from the public. Narumi Momose is a fujoshi otaku who blames all her misfortunes on her lifestyle choices. She also keeps her hobbies and interests a secret from her office.
On the other hand, we have Hirotaka Nifuji, a gamer otaku who doesn’t care if people know he is an otaku. The anime follows the love story of these two otakus and shows that any relationship comes with its own share of hardships.
12. Luck Star
Speaking of otakus, Luck Star is another anime that features an anime-loving character. Lucky Star is a cute Slice of Life anime that follows the lives of Konata Izumi, Tsukasa and Kagami Hiiragi, and Miyuki Takara. While all four are considered main characters, the show gives special attention to Konata.
Similar to Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, the show highlights comedic moments in the main characters’ lives. The series also tends to show a couple of mundane parts and the girls’ random musing. A lot of anime fans started loving the Slice of Life genre thanks to this show.
11. Hajime no Ippo
Sports anime tend to be some of the most unrealistic anime out there, but that doesn’t mean all sports anime are unrealistic. Hajime no Ippo, one of the earlier sports anime, is actually known to be accurate. To this day, the boxing anime is still loved despite being aired in 2000.
The story follows Ippo Makunouchi, a shy high school student who gets bullied quite often. At some point, Ippo passes out due to the bullies and gets taken in by a professional boxer. When Ippo wakes up he meets Mamoru Takamura, the boxer who saved him.
They later figure out that Ippo has a talent for boxing. After some time, Ippo decides to try to become a professional boxer and begins his training towards that goal.
10. Garden of Words
Instead of having a heroic protagonist with problems on saving the world, Garden of Words introduces realistic main characters with real-life problems that a majority of us can relate to.
Garden of Words explores the relationship of two characters who met in a garden at Shinjuku Gyoen one rainy season. The two eventually found comfort in each other till they had to go back to their responsibilities following the summer break. In a way, the garden is a place where the two escape from reality and people.
This one is for the fujoshi readers looking at this list. Given is a shounen-ai series revolving around the relationship of the members of the band ‘Given.’ It follows a mysterious student, Mafuyu Sato as he discovers his talent with music thanks to his new bandmates. The story eventually branches out to the other band members and even characters from Mafuyu’s past.
Just like any band, once a member gets into a relationship with another member, the couples’ problem becomes the band’s problem. The band has to fix their problems before their first live gig.
8. Your Lie in April
If Jrock isn’t really something you enjoy, but you still want some realistic music anime, then maybe Your Lie in April will be your cup of tea. Unlike Given, this anime focuses on the classical music scene. The musicians featured in this anime are also no longer novices, and face problems a long-time musician would face.
The series follows piano prodigy Kosei Arima, who has stopped playing the piano due to the sudden death of his mother. He encounters Kaori Miyazono who tugs him back to the world of music. It turns out that Kaori has looked up to Kosei as a musician since she was a young girl.
7. Silver Spoon
A lot of us crave to live far away from a stressful environment, Silver Spoon shows us that an unfamiliar life might actually be more stressful. Yugo Hachiken decided to get away from the city by enrolling at Oeza Agricultural High School, far away from home. He assumes that since it’s an agricultural school, it’ll be less competitive on an academic level.
Due to his unfamiliarity with the way of living, he now has to adapt to the agriculture world. This is a comedic adventure of a boy who tries to fit into a new environment with new people. Through his struggles, he learns to appreciate his new and old life.
6. After the Rain
A lot of anime fans tend to skip this anime since the premise sounds like it’s a romance anime about a middle-aged man and a high school girl. It is a romance anime, but there isn’t really anything heavy going on. If you’re looking for a nice Slice of Life anime that shows valuable lessons, then After the Rain has a lot to offer.
After an unfortunate injury, Akira Tachibana, a former track athlete, is lost in life. Her entire high school career seems to be ruined due to her inability to run. Until she meets Masami Kondou who inspires her to enjoy life more.
5. The Wind Rises
The Wind Rises is an animated film released by Studio Ghibli. While you probably know Ghibli for all their fantasy-like entries, this film is one of the studio’s closer-to-life entries. The film follows the story of Jiro Horikoshi, a young Japanese aviation engineer.
As a kid, Jiro has always loved planes. However, due to his nearsightedness, he could never become a pilot. This doesn’t stop him from getting involved with aircrafts. This is his story leading up to his creation of the infamous Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter aircraft.
Another sports anime made it to this list! Tsurune is one of Kyoto Animation’s creations but unfortunately did not receive a lot of attention. If you’re looking for an anime that deals with archery and talks about actual struggles an archer tends to face, Tsurune fits the bill nicely.
The anime is about Minato Narumiya who has loved kyudo since he was young. During an important competition in middle school, he suddenly gets “target panic,” which causes him to lose confidence and distance himself from his team. High school is a fresh start for him, and while he tries to avoid archery, he finds himself standing at the shooting range once again.
3. Sweetness and Lightning
Most Slice of Life entries are of the romance genre, but Sweetness and Lightning focus on family relationships and friendships. After losing his wife, Kohei Inuzuka starts to raise his daughter, Tsumugi, by himself. At the start, he only buys ready-made convenience store meals until he witnesses his daughter’s enthusiasm towards home-cooked meals.
2. Non Non Biyori
Life in the countryside is what the anime Non Non Biyori offers the viewers. While it may look typical and boring, the characters do a great job adding color to the town. The story follows the adventures of the only students of varying ages in Asahigaoka Branch School.
One student, in particular, transfer student Hotaru Ichijo who comes from Tokyo has to adjust to her new life in a much smaller village.
The first day of High School is an adventure for everyone. Yui Hirasawa faces her first dilemma of choosing a club. She ends up joining the Light Music club, which she assumes only plays simple music.
When she finds out the club is forming an actual band she decides to quit. However, since the band is facing disbandment, the members try their best to tempt Yui back into the club. With Yui now on board, the band now faces having to teach Yui how to be their lead guitarist.