Top 26 Seinen Anime

Seinen is a demographic for manga magazines . This indicates that the magazine and the stories published in it are made for an adult audience, particularly focused on men from 18 years of age to 40.

As such, when adapted into anime, the seinen demographic often tackles complex issues and real dilemmas of adult life. For this reason, these series should not fall on the radar of a child audience. In addition, we must count that many of these animations have graphic scenes of violence.

Regardless of who you are and how you feel, we offer you here a proposal with the 20 most interesting seinen (always in our opinion). As usual, the titles listed are not ordered from best to worst…that’s up to you!

Monster

1 - Anime's - monsters

Adapted from one of the biggest and most influential seinen manga ever. Written by Naoki Urasawa, we follow a prominent neurosurgeon whose career and personal life are on the rise. He is about to marry a beautiful woman of high status (the daughter of the owner of the hospital where he works), and his job is about to improve soon. After promising him the role of head of neurosurgery, they ask Tenma to heed the instructions given to him from then on.

After coming to terms with these circumstances a couple of times, the doctor’s morality is shattered, and he feels guilty for ignoring more needy patients over elite politicians. However, he makes the decision not to obey in a particular case: operating on a young man who was orphaned in a fire, over the mayor of the city.

He manages to save the boy’s life, but his career takes a nosedive soon after. He loses his fiancée and eventually, his job. But what is worse, little by little the city is plunged into chaos created by a serial killer. And that killer seems to be the boy he saved that day…

Loud!

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Baccano! tells the story of different characters, seemingly without any connection. However, all the narratives are connected, in a very messy plot, but at the same time very well put together.

In addition, the plot presents a non-linear sequence, with different dates and places. It shows the different points of view about a certain event that happened in New York in the 30’s: the recreation of an elixir of immortality.

The plot takes place between 1711 and 1933. Each chapter recounts a different event located in a different time period. History tells us mainly about the events that occurred on a ship manned by alchemists in search of immortality in 1711, the events that occurred aboard the Flying PussyFoot transcontinental train in 1930-1932, and the struggle of rowdy gangs that occurred on those same dates.

Alchemists, mobsters, thieves, psychopaths and supernatural forces are some of the charismatic protagonists of this series. Due to the constant time jumps in the story, it requires the viewer to pay more attention so as not to get lost in its complex plot.

Created by Ryohgo Narita (script) and Katsumi Enami (illustration), Baccano! It was originally released as a light novel in 2003. The anime adaptation would arrive in 2007 and would have a total of 16 episodes.

Devilman Crybaby

devilman-crybaby

Based on the Devilman manga by Gō Nagai. This series directed by Masaaki Yuasa and written by Ichirō Ōkouchi premiered on January 5, 2018 and is available for worldwide streaming on Netflix as a 10-episode original series.

Devilman Crybaby talks about the threat of a race of demons that is planning to take over the world of humans. High school student Akira Fudō and his best friend Ryō Asuka want to stop that from happening, but they need to make some sacrifices to do so.

After going to a disturbing demon party and believing that the only way to defeat the demons is to seize their powers, Ryō suggests Akira join up with one of them. In doing so, Akira transforms into Devilman, a kind of demon that preserves, however, the student’s human soul.

This series is, without a doubt, one of the boldest productions on Netflix. Despite that packaging, apparently superficial due to excessive aestheticism, and where techno music plays a fundamental role (those great street rappers!), the story deals with issues of great importance in an interesting and stark way: racism, loss of identity, the disintegration of the family…

Do you have any doubt that this anime is one of our favorites and that we consider it essential for any super fan , whether or not they are a taster of the genre? Just in case, here is the trailer. When you’re hooked, remember that it was on this page that we recommended it to you!

Darker than Black

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Created by Tensai Okamura, Darker than Black is about the mysterious rise of a supernatural phenomenon in Tokyo and in South America, mainly Brazil. This turns those areas into spaces known as Hell’s Gate and Heaven’s Gate respectively, both gates being two sides of the same thing.

In those places, the sky was replaced by fake stars (representing the lack of feelings) and some people started to have special abilities. Those people are classified as Dolls , Contractors or Moratoriums .

The first two present, in addition to their supernatural abilities, the lack, absolute or partial, of emotions or behaviors such as empathy, sociability and/or conscience. Third parties have no control over their abilities and sometimes deploy them due to emotional stress.

Individuals called Contractors are secretly used by the governments of nations on violent missions. An interesting quirk of them is that every time a Contractor uses his power, he must make a “payment”. This penalty can be anything from drinking a beer at the nearest bar to having to do wildly disturbing things.

Darker than Black has 26 episodes (first season), OVAs, and also had a manga adaptation (2007 – 2008).

Class: Demi-Human

the demi-human class

Imagine discovering that you are immortal. How do you think your environment would react to knowing that you are going to be left wandering the Earth forever and they are not? We assure you, in the world that Ajin : Demi-Human takes place in, that would surely be a big deal.

The story centers on Kei Nagai, a student who after an accident discovers that he is an Ajin , a creature of an immortal race. The Ajins are seen as terrorists by the humans, who try to capture these immortal beings so they can study them and exploit their abilities.

The entire plot revolves around the social, political and ethical conflicts that hang over the society divided between mortals and Ajins . As a good seinen of mystery and horror, the series is full of visceral scenes capable of turning a sensitive stomach.

With 13 episodes, the anime is available on Netflix and also had a live-action adaptation in 2017.

Afro Samurai

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With only 5 episodes, Afro Samurai is a tribute from Takashi Okazaki (creator of the original manga ) to the classic blaxploitation movies of the 70’s.

Afro Samurai features a healthy dose of dark humor, hip-hop , and incredible sword fighting. It takes place in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic Japan with feudal characteristics where society is destined to obey the bearer of the “Number 1 Ribbon”, a symbol of maximum power.

There are seven different belts and the samurai must follow a hierarchy of numbers in order to challenge their opponents. In other words, only the one who has the number three belt can fight against the one who has the number two, and that, in turn, is the only one who can challenge the Number One.

Afro, the protagonist of the story, is the current owner of tape number 2. He goes in search of revenge against the person who killed his father and took tape number 1 from him: Justice, current bearer of the tape that designates him as the warrior mightiest of all.

This avant-garde series, produced by Samuel L. Jackson (who also voices Afro), can easily be found on Youtube . The plot is very violent, with touches of humor, a lot of action and, above all, a lot of blood.

The main character of the series is partially inspired by the life of Yasuke, a true samurai of African origin who lived during the Sengoku period, in the era of Feudal Japan.

Psycho-Pass

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Pycho-Pass is a cyberpunk dystopia set in a world where people’s mental abilities are constantly being tested. If a citizen is diagnosed as a potential criminal, he can be sentenced to prison or death, even without having committed any crime. This probability is known as the “Criminality Coefficient” index and consists of a number associated with a color in each person.

The Enforcers are responsible for capturing the Sybils (the “unrecoverable potential criminals”) and ending their lives. However, the executors themselves are a special team of potential criminals, who are under the supervision of the Inspectors. Both corps employ special weapons called “dominators”, designed to shoot only those with a higher crime coefficient than what is considered “normal”.

The story addresses various issues of an ethical, moral and psychological nature. It poses a supposedly utopian society in which one lives without the fear and stress of suffering from crime. But what would be the real consequences of this for the population? Throughout the plot, we find several cases that exemplify the moral and ethical conflict that this system provokes, seen both from the perspective of the main antagonist and from the very system that governs society.

The anime has two seasons and a three-part film-series ( Psycho-Pass SS ) is scheduled to premiere in January 2019 .

fat

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A mixture of action, horror and science fiction, Gantz was created by Hiroya Oku and was adapted for anime in two seasons by the GONZO studio.

The story is about Kei Kurono, a selfish and apathetic 15-year-old boy who is run over by a subway train while he and his friend try to rescue a beggar.

Suddenly, they both see each other in Gantz’s presence. It is a “black sphere” that forces them to participate in a macabre, sadistic, violent and bloody game that they cannot deny. To that end, he puts at their disposal a futuristic arsenal that they must learn to use to fight various species of aliens and other threats that escape the knowledge of the rest of mortals.

The anime has very strong scenes and situations, which can easily disturb the most sensitive people. Due to its gory content and nude scenes, it was censored in some countries. It has a film adaptation in real image, which had two parts and was quite successful.

Fate/Zero

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The story of Fate/Zero takes place 10 years before the events seen in Fate/Stay night , the visual novel created by Type Moon, which later also ended up being adapted as an anime.

However, even if you have never watched any other Fate series anime , you can start with Zero easily. This seinen works as a prelude to the story, showing details about the Fourth Holy Grail War.

The War for the Holy Grail is a battle to the death in which seven magicians ( Masters ) summon seven heroic spirits ( Servants ) to fight each other. The winning team will be deserving of the power of the Holy Grail, capable of granting any wish.

Zero is one of the best-reviewed adaptations of the Fate series , due to its complex narrative and characters, as well as exploring philosophical and psychological themes with a particularly somber tone.

Busy

in a hurry

Created by Yuki Urushibara, Mushishi is a historical fantasy series about the mysterious creatures known as Mushi .

According to anime mythology , mushi are beings that represent the pure energy of life and inhabit humans in a parasitic way. Few people are able to see and interact with the mushi; one of them is the protagonist of the series, Ginko.

Mushishi is an anthology series, with self-contained episodes that never get repetitive. We witness the adventures of Ginko, an expert in mushi who travels the world helping those whose lives have been altered by coming into contact with them. As payment for his services, objects related to resolved cases are usually brought.

Mushishi, with his melancholy, calm and collected air, presents a profound philosophical reflection on various aspects of life. Exploring human feelings and with important messages in each episode that will make us think and get excited alike.

Death Parade

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Emerging from the short film Death Billiards , the Death Parade series was created by Yuzuru Tachikawa and produced by the famous animation studio Madhouse, which is already a guarantee of quality.

Whenever two people die at the same time, their souls are transported to a mysterious bar-like place (Quindecim). A kind of waiter named Decim works there . There, they are forced to participate in a series of deadly games that will reveal what secrets led them to this place, also deciding their fate: reincarnate or be banished into the infinite void.

In the Death Parade universe there is no Heaven or Hell. Life after death can be summed up in two things: oblivion or reincarnation. This premise is interesting as it presents a totally different perspective on one of humanity’s greatest mysteries: where do we go after we die?

For fans of Death Note (also produced by Madhouse), it is interesting to note that there are theories that place the two series in the same universe. Moreover, in one chapter a cameo of Light , the main character of Death Note , can be detected . But you have to be very careful!

One-Punch Man

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Initially created as a webcomic by ONE, One-Punch Man is mistaken by many as a shōnen anime. It is actually a parody of the classic superhero stories, where we have a super-powerful character who always manages to defeat his opponents.

The story focuses on Saitama , a hero who is totally bored with his life, because he has become so strong that he manages to kill any enemy with a simple punch.

Not only is Caped Bald ( Saitama’s superhero alias ) a tremendously funny character, but so are the other sidekicks, villains, and bizarre monsters that appear throughout the series. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular anime in recent years and is also available to watch on Netflix.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

2 - Anime's - Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion (NGE) is another example of manga that was originally intended for shōnen , but later changed its demographic to seinen (when it became published by Young Ace magazine ). The Evangelion series is considered by many to be one of the biggest productions in anime .

The story of Neon Genesis Evangelion focuses on a military organization (NERV) that has the mission to combat monstrous creatures known as Angels, using humanoid mecha called EVA . Everything happens in a post-apocalyptic setting.

As much as the plot seems typically shōnen , the conflicts that the characters face are the most important of the series and are loaded with psychological depth. In addition, the anime brings reflections on religion and philosophies of life, while the personalities of the characters become increasingly unstable and their development becomes fundamental in the story.

Boku dake ga inai machi (ERASED)

erased

Satoru Fujinuma, a frustrated manga author barely making ends meet, works as a pizza delivery boy and leads a seemingly ordinary and boring life. However, he has a special ability: whenever he witnesses some tragic event, he manages to travel back in time.

These phenomena are called Revival . After going through an extremely traumatic event, the young man experiences a flashback that takes him back 18 years in time, just before his classmate Kayo Hinazuki became the first victim of a serial killer .

In 1988, a 10-year-old Satoru will have to use this opportunity to try to save all those who were killed, be they friends or family. However, the repressed memories of his traumatic childhood will end up having devastating and tragic consequences in his present.

Written and illustrated by Kei Sanbe, Boku dake ga inai machi, known in Spain as Desaparecido and in Latin America as Erased , was adapted into an anime in 2016, with a total of 12 episodes. In 2017 it had a live action adaptation for Netflix of great quality and fidelity to the original seinen .

This wonderful and tender story masterfully combines time travel, thriller and emotional component. Another series that we highly recommend!

Berserk

berserk

Many people consider manga far superior to anime (and rightfully so), but Berserk couldn’t be left out of a list of top seinen titles .

Berserk is based on the manga written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura, belonging to the epic-fantastic genre. It is set in a dark fantasy world inspired by medieval Europe. The story centers on the characters of Guts, a lonely orphaned mercenary, and Griffith, the leader of a mercenary gang called the Hawk Gang (or Hawks ).

Isolation, camaraderie, betrayal, moral judgments, and the question of whether humanity is fundamentally good or bad are constant themes throughout the story. Explore the best and worst of human nature.

The manga and anime adaptations are known for their use of graphic violence and explicit sexual content.

Some arcs of the manga (which is still being published) were adapted into anime in 1997, with the title Berserk: Kenpū Denki . In 2016 and 2017 the story had a new adaptation, which does not even deserve a viewing due to the nonsense of its animation.

Steins;Gate

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Based on the visual novel (visual novel) developed by 5pb and Nitroplus, Steins;Gate is one of the most acclaimed seinen anime . And it is not for less, because both the plot and the characters are masterfully constructed and developed.

The story is about a group of friends who build a device from a microwave oven, capable of sending messages to the past. Shortly after, they begin to be persecuted by the SERN, an organization that also investigates time travel.

Thus, Steins;Gate is built based on a tangle of the different time lines that are formed every time the young people use the device.

The plot and the characters are very well constructed, which is one of the keys to the success of this anime. A film about the anime, Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryōiki no Déjà vu , was released in 2013, while the sequel, Steins;Gate 0 , opened in April 2018.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

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Created by Hirohiko Araki, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has been around since the 1980s, but it wasn’t until 2012 that it received an anime adaptation .

The plot focuses on the Joestar family , where each member has a unique power and must battle supernatural creatures. The work spans several generations, each of them having a descendant of the Joestar as the protagonist, as well as a large number of other characters. JoJo is a common nickname for each of the members of the Joestar bloodline.

The characters are very creative and expressive, with quirky, fun and glamorous personalities. The work is full of references to movies, television, fashion and, especially, rock n’ roll.

Even if you have never heard of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure , tell you that the series is responsible for having inspired several movies, series and games in recent years. In short, it has become a great milestone in pop culture and one of the best-selling manga series in history. In 2017 it had a live-action film adaptation.

xxxHOLIC

xxxHOLIC

This work of the girl group CLAMP ( Sakura Card Captors and Chobits ) mixes magic, comedy mystery, horror and fantasy, with perfectly balanced characters and a moving and terrifying story in equal parts.

The series centers on Kimihiro Watanuki, a young student who finds himself haunted by ghosts (known as ayakashi ). One day, he comes across the shop of Yuuko Ichihara, a witch who grants wishes. She tells Watanuki that she can fulfill her wish, but only if she is willing to exchange something of equal value. Watanuki agrees, but Yuuko informs him that the value is too great, and that she must pay off the debt by working at her store.

A characteristic of the CLAMPs is to create relationships between their works and link the different fictional universes of some of their previous works. That is why there is a clear connection between xxxHOLIC and Tsubasa: RESERVE CHRoNiCLE . In fact, the presence of characters from one anime in another is common.

Cowboy Bebop

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Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, Cowboy Bebop transports us to a futuristic world (its 26 episodes are set in the year 2071) bathed in the sound of American jazz from the 40s.

The story centers on a group of bounty hunters (Spike, Jet, Valentine, Ed, and Ein) traveling through space on the Bebop ship searching for and capturing dangerous criminals. The anime touches on philosophical themes, such as loneliness, existentialism, emptiness, and influences from the past.

There are many reasons to watch this anime: soundtrack, well-constructed characters, exciting plot, and overwhelming visuals. The series became a critical and commercial success worldwide, being regarded as a masterpiece in both the Japanese and international markets (particularly in the United States).

Samurai Champloo

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From the same director of Cowboy Bebop (Shinichiro Watanabe), Samurai Champloo mixes lo-fi hip-hop with the history of the traditional samurai of the Edo Period. Contemporary elements are constantly mixed with typical features of that time, which gives a special and distinctive touch to the series.

We witness the journey of Fuu, a 15-year-old girl who searches for the “samurai who smells of sunflowers”. Accompanying him are Mugen (reckless and rakish) and Jin (calm and stoic), a swordsman and a ronin , respectively, who help the girl as a way to pay off a lost bet.

Shamurai Champloo is officially classified as a shōnen , but like Cowboy Bebop , it deals with themes and situations that are not very appropriate for younger audiences.

Moments like the marijuana plantation, the slave prostitutes, the various combat scenes and the tragedies that show how life is not made of happy endings like in the movies.

All 26 episodes of Samurai Champloo are available on Netflix. The term champloo is an Okinawan word meaning to mix.

Death Note

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There is a lot of controversy over the demographic classification of Death Note . The manga was originally published by Weekly Shōnen Jump , a magazine specializing in stories for young adolescent audiences, but it is undeniable that the complexity of its plot is more in line with the basic characteristics of a seinen.

The manga series is written by Tsugumi Ōba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, and the anime adaptation was directed by Tetsurō Araki. It also has several movies and video games.

All the intellectual conflict between L and Kira (Light Yagami), the absence of a predominant hero in the story and all the complexity and gravity of the plot are more than attractive elements for adults. As a curiosity, the series was banned in China due to children modifying their notebooks to resemble the Death Note.

Death Note is one of the most acclaimed titles in the world of anime and manga , and is considered a true masterpiece.

The anime is available in its entirety on Netflix, which also produced a live-action movie in 2017, directed by Adam Wingard and received mixed reviews (predominantly negative) due to changes from the original version. A second part is planned for 2019.

Aggretsuko

aggrestsuko

Don’t be fooled by Aggretsuko ‘s cute looks . Although many people think that it is a Komodo , a demographic classification given to anime made for children (between 4 and 10 years old), Aggretsuko is full of rage and bad blood.

Retsuko is a single, 25-year-old anthropomorphic red panda who works in the accounting department of a Japanese trading company. Retsuko suffers from constant daily frustration due to her overbearing superiors and her unpleasant co-workers. Because of this, she vents her frustrations every night in a karaoke bar singing death metal .

Aggretsuko is an anime about the daily problems that almost all young-adults face: work, lack of money, machismo, false friendships, unrequited love… Despite not being officially classified as a seinen , we think it can easily fall into this category and that’s why we’ve placed it on our list…plus because we love it!

Aggretsuko is an anime franchise based on the eponymous character created by “Yeti” for the Sanrio company mascot . The character first appeared in a series of animated shorts from the Fanworks company , broadcast on TBS Television between April 2016 and March 2018. The Netflix original anime series was released in 2018 and consists of 10 episodes. And it is already confirmed uan second season.

Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu

3 - Animes seinen - Kiseijuu Sei no Kakuritsu

Also known as Parasyte, this 24-episode series made our list for its sheer merit. A story with a rather hackneyed plot: alien invasion, but that takes on a life of its own with its excellent handling of its characters and its very successful social commentary.

The aliens that invaded the earth are more dangerous than ever. Why? Because it can be your neighbor, your brother, your mother. They are beings that unite with the human they possess, and take their identity completely, being practically impossible to trace.

Interestingly, this story takes a turn when its protagonist, Shinichi, is touched by an incompetent alien that instead of invading his brain, lodges in his right hand. They now have a dependent relationship, but obviously the alien, nicknamed Migi, has the upper hand: he can hurt or kill anyone Shinichi tells his secret to. Parasyte is dark, disturbing and full of intrigue. It is certainly worth seeing.

Vinland Saga

4 - Anime's - Vinland Saga

A story like few others of its kind, Vinland Saga portrays the Viking Age in all its glory. The protagonist of the story is Thorfinn, a young man who has grown up hearing the legend of Vinland, a fertile place reached by sailors. He is nothing like the frozen land he was born in, Iceland, where it is cold every day.

Little by little, the social conflict between England and the Danes worsens, and the constant invasions of Viking mercenaries increase. Thorfinn’s reality is completely shattered when these barbarians arrive at his gates, ending the life of his father, a peaceful man who taught him to respect the lives of others.

Because of this, Thorfinn grows up with a thirst for blood impossible to quench, until he ends all those who put an end to his father.

3-gatsu no lion

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We follow Rei Kiriyama, a young loner whose proficiency in shogi has earned him the status of a pro in the discipline. However, he is a boy who suffers from a very severe depression, and he voluntarily distances himself from those who love him.

But after moving to Tokyo at the age of 17, a chance encounter leads him to meet the Kawamoto sisters. The eldest realizes that the young man does not take care of her, and she decides to take on the role of her family, a warmth that Rei evidently misses with her whole being.

His hospitality, the affection of the two younger sisters and that familiarity, help him overcome and face his demons, and perhaps learn to value his life and the people around him a little more.

Bungou Stray Dogs

2 - Bungou Stray Dogs

Do you want a light seinen anime ? Do you like magic, great animation and unique and endearing characters? Well , Bungou Stray Dogs is perfect for casual viewing.

Atsushi Nakajima is a young orphan whose orphanage seems to be constantly attacked by a tiger. One day, he is kicked out of the place without explanation, and a chance encounter puts him on the radar of Osamu Dazai, a “paranormal” investigator.

When Atsushi explains the case of the tiger to Dazai and his partner, they meet at an abandoned place to catch it, following a lead. However, Dazai reveals to Atsushi that the tiger is actually him, who transforms during the nights. Now the young man will have to learn to control this power, if he intends not to harm his new friends.

Differences between Seinen and Shonen

the son

Basically, seinen are manga aimed at the male adult audience, between 20 and 40 years old. On the other hand, shōnen are stories for young people and adolescents, between 12 and 18 years old. However, this division is not as easy as it seems at first glance.

The main difference between the two classifications is in the subject they address. The seinen tend to deal with more complex, mature and hard topics. Shōnen tend to have more action scenes, comic relief, and accompany the development of a hero (or group) throughout the plot. The camaraderie between boys or men on a sports team is also often emphasized in a shōnen. Of course, the scenes of physical and psychological violence are also usually much softer.

It’s important to remember that shōnen and seinen are not anime genres, but rather demographic classifications. That is, indications to know what age group they are intended for. In addition, we need to pay attention to another important factor: the concept and criteria that define “maturity” for the Japanese are slightly different than for most Westerners.