12 Best Slice of Life Romance Manga
Slice of Life is the name given to the use of ordinary and mundane realism in depicting everyday experiences in different forms of art. There are some manga that use the slice of life theme, along with a touch of romance, to create relatable and down-to-earth stories for us to enjoy.
Here are some of the best slice of life romance manga for you to try out.
1. Fallen Words
Fallen Words is a collection of eight slice of life stories that take place in Edo-era Japan. These are a series of rakugo style tales, oral stories reformatted into manga.
The stories contain comedic elements that are relatable to readers and are full of human idiosyncrasies. One story is about a father who thinks his son spends too much time with his nose in a book, studying his life away. He tells his son he is taking him to a new shrine, but in fact, takes him to visit two workers in a brothel for a change of scenery.
Another story is about a married man who ends up falling in love with a prostitute. His wife is furious when she finds out and puts a curse on the prostitute. In turn, the prostitute curses the wife, and the two keep on adding to the voodoo curses between them. Soon, it leads to death, but their deaths alone can’t dull the jealousy they felt.
2. Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
This is a two-part manga, broken down into two different stories:
Town of Evening calm – This is a story set in Hiroshima, 1955. It is ten years after the atomic bomb was dropped on the town. It follows a young woman named Minami Hirano, who was lucky enough to survive the bomb as a young teenager. She now lives in a shanty town with her mother, Fujimi. She lost her father and both her sisters in the tragedy.
Her co-worker, Yutaka Uchikoshi, deeply cares for Minami and visits her one day when she misses work. He sees that she is in need, and gives her a handkerchief and a pair of sandals made by his mother. He tries to kiss her, but she only has flashbacks of the bomb and watching her two sisters die of radiation. She soon falls sick after this, and Uchikoshi visits her often, not able to give up his feelings for her. The story is painfully relatable, making the Hiroshima bomb and its after-effects come to life, with all the tragedy that it still causes.
Country of Cherry Blossoms - This story begins with a young girl named Nanami Ishikawa, living in Tokyo in 1987. She is the daughter of Minami’s brother and is a second-generation bomb victim. She skips baseball practice one day to visit her brother Nagio in the hospital, who is being treated for asthma. Along with her friend Toko Tone, the two throw cherry blossoms in the air to help him relive the spring he has missed while in hospital.
The story fast-forwards seventeen years and she is now working in an office. She runs into Nagio one day the two talk about their aging family. Toko and Nagio had run into each other earlier on and had been exchanging letters. Nanami finds a letter from Toko to Nagio, saying her family wants her to stop seeing him as they believe his asthma was caused by the atomic bomb. She the plans for Nagio to meet her and Toko together but leaves the two alone to reconnect. The story is riddled with tragedy and horror, all normal-day experiences for those who lived through or are generational participants, of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
3. Backstage Prince
Akari is an ordinary high school girl. What is different about her though is that she is the only girl in who school who is not interested in the young and talented kabuki actor, Ryusei. One day after school, she runs into the actor and accidentally bruises his stomach. After his, she follows a stray cat which leads her to the theatre where she once again encounters Ryusei.
In order to make up for bruising him, she volunteers to become the actors assistant. Ryusei is actually reclusive and not socially adept, but he agrees to take her on as a volunteer because she gets along with his cat so well. At the end of it all, Akari realizes she is actually in love with him, and he needs to show her his feelings as well.
There are bumps in the road, his popularity and profession get in the way of their love, along with his strict father who is also an actor, and who is also in love with Akari.
Airi Hoshina is a high school freshman with only one goal in mind, she wants to find a loving husband, settle down in a cozy home and enjoy the mundane, happy days in life together. Everything she does in life, including her hobbies and activities, revolve around this idea of a happy, loving life. She believes in arriving at school on time every day, and that by increasing her tardy-free streak, she is increasing her chances of finding a loving partner.
Her life is completely thrown out of sync one day when she drops an ancient family mirror, as she goes to pick up the pieces, she notices a seven-year-old boy standing there. He introduces himself to her as Aram and says he came through the mirror. She leaves him there, not wanting to be late for school. When she returns, he is still standing there. She takes him home, thinking he is lost.
Things become even more interesting when she wakes up the next morning to find that he has changed into a seventeen-year-old boy. He claims he is a prince from a magic land called Astale. He is a descendant of prince Chrisnele, who used the mirror to find love in Airi’s world, and the mirror belonged to her. He then tells her his brother has cursed him to age in darkness, which then leads to him avoiding darkness altogether. Only the kiss from a true love will return him to his true form.
Nana is the story of two girls who have the same name.
Nana Komatsu is a young lady who has been in one bad relationship after another. She moves to Tokyo, hoping that it will allow her to take control of her life, leaving her failed love-life behind her. She hopes to start fresh and find a new and lasting love in Tokyo.
The other woman, Nana Osaki, is focused, cool and confident. She drifts into town and takes over the Tokyo underground punk scene. She has a dream to become Japans No.1 rock star.
The two women come from completely different backgrounds, but meet and become best friends. Together they journey through music, sex, fashion, gossip, and parties. Relatable for those in the young, free stage of their lives.
6. Stray Love Hearts
This manga follows Kozuke Hiyoki. The night of her sixteenth birthday, she experiences a strange dream. In her dream, she is visited by the perfect man who steals her heart. To make it more interesting, he actually managed to literally steal her heart, and she wants it back!
She enrolls in the S-Hall dormitories at St. Nazareth Academy hoping to find this man. To her surprise, it is not what she expected at all. All her room-mates and dorm-mates are guys! This takes her on a unique journey of finding love, all while being a girl living among young, impressionable boys.
Ryuu is a business-minded transfer student from England. She has beautiful black hair and large blue eyes. One night during the Tanabata festival, she locks eyes with Yukino. They have an attraction at first site. He then declares that she will be his, and she is taken aback. She has absolutely no experience in love and now has to figure out all her new feelings, which come into conflict with her business-like mind.
8. Fall In Love Like a Comic!
Rena might seem like an ordinary high school student, but she is, in fact, a very successful shoujo mangaka. She decides to make her writing even better by experiencing romance for herself. She chooses the famous actor Tomoya to help her learn what it feels like to be in love.
The two state that they are dating only for business sake, but Rena finds herself actually falling for Tomoya. She learns that romance is not what it seems, especially the way she writes about it in her manga stories. Her love for Tomoya becomes too strong for her to contain any longer.
9. Red Colored Elegy
This beautifully detailed manga follows two young artists, Sachiko and Ichiro. They are both temperamental and not happy with what life has had to offer them so far. The two are always falling in and out of love with each other, and find themselves jealous of the others talents and interests. Both feel unchallenged by their careers and paths they have taken in life.
Follow the characters through their heartaches, passions and tender bitterness between each other.
10. Nodame Cantabile
Shinichi Chiaki is a top class musician, and his dream is to play alongside the elite musicians in Europe. Thanks to his distinguished family, he is an extreme perfectionist and is incredibly critical of himself and others.
The only roadblock in the way of pursuing his dreams in Europe is his uncontrolled fear of flying. When he is in his fourth year at a top music university in Japan, he meets Megumi Noda, known as Nodame. He thinks nothing of her at first, only that she seems unkept and has no real direction in life.
His mindset changes when he hears her play one day and is in awe of the way she creates music on the piano. He then finds out that she is actually his neighbor, and is dismayed at first. But as fate would have it, she falls madly in love with him.
11. Paradise Kiss
There is nothing Yukari wants more from life than to make her parents proud by studying hard and being accepted into a good college. Life suddenly changes for her one night when she is kidnapped by a group of fashionistas called “Paradise Kiss”. She is flung into the turbulent world of the fashion industry, being guided by the art-snob extraordinaire George.
They completely change her life from being an average looking bookworm to a clothing model used to show off clothes designed by her new group of friends.
12. A Bride’s Story
This manga takes a step back in time and is set in the time of the Crimean War in Central Asia, mid-19th century.
The story takes place on the Silk Road which connected Asia and Europe. Amir is a nomadic tribeswoman who is well skilled in archery and horsemanship. It is decided she is to marry Karluk, who is from another village, but he is eight years younger than her. The two meet and become married, and despite their age difference, they end up really liking each other. They follow a long and patient path towards enjoying a mature love together.
However, the Russians are expanding towards the south and political unrest is heightened. Amir’s family decide that they want to take her back, but she isn’t so willing. The story follows the young couple and the new and difficult challenges that have been set in their path, all while trying to better their lives.
Slice of Life manga are so much more than just ordinary, mundane stories. They can be set in different times or scenes, but the underlying truth of human struggle, love, and emotion can be found so apparently relatable in these stories.
Immerse yourself in these romance tales, with stories that speak to our human emotions, our own experiences, and feelings. There are some really great slice of life manga to choose from, crossing over many themes and stories, all while staying true to what we know in our own lives.