Slice of life is a phrase describing the use of mundane realism depicting everyday experiences in art and entertainment.
The theatrical term refers to a naturalistic representation of real life, sometimes used as an adjective, as in "a play with 'slice of life' dialogue". The term originated between 1890 and 1895 as a calque from the French phrase tranche de vie, credited to the French playwright Jean Jullien (1854–1919).
Jullien introduced the term not long after a staging of his play, The Serenade, as noted by Wayne S. Turney in his essay, "Notes on Naturalism in the Theatre":
During the 1950s, the phrase had common critical usage in reviews of live television dramas, notably teleplays by JP Miller, Paddy Chayefsky, and Reginald Rose. At that time, it was sometimes used synonymously with the pejorative "kitchen sink realism" adopted from British films and theatre.
The literary term refers to a storytelling technique that presents a seemingly arbitrary sample of a character's life, which often lacks a coherent plot, conflict, or ending. The story may have little plot progress and little character development, and often has no exposition, conflict, or dénouement, with an open ending.
In anime and manga, "slice of life" is a genre that often parallels teen melodrama in addition to using slice-of-life narrative techniques. Another common trait in slice-of-life comics is their emphasis on seasonality or procedures.
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