The 15 Best Slice of Life Anime OVAs of All Time

Slice-of-life is a genre that really thrives in the OVA format. Because slice-of-life is focused on creating specific emotions or developing characters as opposed to dealing with a complex plot, a medium that's typically short is perfect. That being said, not all slice-of-life OVAs are created equal. 

Some of the best slice-of-life anime OVAs are associated with a high-quality series from the same genre. For example, Natsume's Book of Friends has a wonderful OVA where the protagonist helps a snow yokai find a lost item. Other OVAs stand on their own - Saint Young Men depicts the bizarre everyday life of Jesus Christ and the Buddha as they share a modern-day Tokyo apartment.  

Which slice-of-life OVA do you like the most? Help other fans of the genre figure out what to watch next by voting up the superior entries. 


  • 1
    60 VOTES

    Natsume's Book of Friends: One Snowy Day

    Natsume's Book of Friends is an acclaimed supernatural slice-of-life series that tells the story of the titular Natsume, a teenage boy who inherited a magical book from his grandmother. The book contains the names of yokai (demons). Because those names could be used to control the yokai to do the owner's bidding, the kind-hearted Natsume makes it his mission to return the yokai's names, and therefore their freedom.

    In this warm and cozy OVA, Natsume has an encounter with a snow yokai who is searching for a lost item. It has the same gentle atmosphere and beautiful art as the rest of the series, while also telling a self-contained story that's accessible to new viewers. 

    60 votes
  • 2
    49 VOTES

    The Ancient Magus' Bride: Those Awaiting a Star

    The Ancient Magus' Bride: Those Awaiting a Star
    Photo: Wit Studio

    Chise Hatori might have a near boundless capacity for magic, but that doesn't mean she's happy. In fact, her magic is the reason why she's constantly assaulted by spirits, and why she no longer has a family. In desperation, she puts herself up for auction, only to be purchased by a mage named Elias Ainsworth. Rather than hold her captive, Elias offers her friendship and a means of controlling her magical abilities. 

    In this OVA prequel to the main series, Chise's painful backstory is touched upon in a story about a library in the middle of the woods that's staffed by a mysterious man named Riishi. While the OVA is best appreciated by people who are already familiar with The Ancient Magus' Bride, it still serves as a lovely standalone tale.

    49 votes
  • 3
    28 VOTES

    Hyouka OVA

    Hyouka is a charming slice-of-life anime about a school club that's dedicated to solving mysteries. But like any good slice-of-life, there's a lot more to it than just the premise - the best parts of the story come from the character development. Hyouka is exceptional in that each character is a well-developed and interesting person who viewers can't help but want to see in a variety of situations.

    That's part of what makes the OVA so much fun. It's a bit cliched - it takes the standard anime "beach episode" and moves it to a pool - but it does a great job of capturing the show's more light-hearted elements. If you enjoy fan service, there is a little bit of that here for you - and if you're not really a fanservice person, you can still enjoy the characters' solving mysteries like usual, and see the work-averse Oreki actually employed. 

    28 votes
  • 4
    18 VOTES

    Watamote OVA

    Watamote is an oddly compelling series about a teenage girl named Tomoko who desperately wants to be popular, but is so awkward and anxious that she ruins her own attempts to make real connections with other people. What's more, a lot of her ideas are doomed to fail from the start - for example, she stops bathing in order to make her skin shiny and therefore enchanting toward boys. This can be pretty funny at times, but it's also painful. 

    The Watamote OVA continues Tomoko's story with a 23-minute episode that's pretty similar to the rest of the TV series. What makes the OVA unique is that viewers get the opportunity to see Tomoko from someone else's perspective. Instead of a the awkward freak she sees herself as, a classmate actually sees her as cute, interesting, and powerful. It's a good reminder as to how much anxiety can wreak havoc on a person's self-esteem. 

    18 votes
  • 5
    20 VOTES

    She & Her Cat: Their Standing Points

    She & Her Cat: Their Standing Points
    Photo: Makoto Shinkai

    Makoto Shinkai is one of the most renowned directors in the world of anime - and his career began with a slice-of-life OVA. She & Her Cat: Their Standing Points was the first of Shinkai's works to be noticed by a major corporation - CoMix Wave Films discovered it when he was selling it on CD-Rs at Comiket, and brought him on board as an employee of their company as a result. This OVA is worth watching for its place in history alone, but it's also thoroughly adorable. Told from the perspective of a cat, it depicts the daily life and personal struggles of his owner. The OVA was later adapted into a TV series that expands on the concept Shinkai originally developed.

    20 votes
  • 6
    20 VOTES

    Chihayafuru 2 OVA

    Chihayafuru 2 OVA
    Photo: Madhouse

    Chihayafuru is a delightful anime about a teenage girl named Chihaya who is determined to become the greatest karuta player in the world - karuta being a card game that's based on the a collection of classic Japanese poetry. Assembling a team of fellow players is a tough job, because it's not exactly a popular sport, and the friend who got her into it in the first place refuses to play. But once Chihaya's team is assembled, they're ready to take on any challenger. 

    In this OVA, the team focuses on something other than karuta - instead, they prepare for their school's cultural festival and tangle with the complicated romantic feelings that are bubbling up between the members. It offers the same high-quality content as the rest of the series, while also offering a slightly different type of storyline than what's typically included. 

    20 votes