Anime are on the rise and new anime keeps coming every day and anime lovers don’t have anything to complain about. The most popular and mainstream category of anime is Shōnen. It is so without a shadow of a doubt as it contains some of the best anime ever. But it should not stop you from checking other excellent categories of anime, like Seinen.
Seinen is a category of anime/manga where the theme and content are much darker and more mature than their Shōnen counterpart, and the topics and events are sensitive. It is advised for mature audiences and is supposed to watch exclusively. There is no clear distinction between a Shōnen and a Seinen but there are some signs which differentiate a Seinen from a Shōnen. A Shōnen has a plot where a teenager aspires to become great and the plot is generally light and usually funny.
A Seinen is darker, more horror, and definitely more serious. Here the protagonist is not usually a jolly, and outgoing person, they are either extremely lucky, powerful, or have a different perspective. In order to understand what Seinen manga is all about, here is a list of the best Seinen manga which will help you understand what Seinen is.
Berserk is the epitome of Seinen anime and manga and is regarded as best written dark fantasy and it will forever represent what is Seinen manga. In other words, it is dark, violent, extremely sensitive, and has a great plot. The story is gripping and filled with supernatural elements that take you to another dimension of adventure.
Guts is a lone mercenary from the group called ‘Band of Hawks’. This manga features him as the protagonist and shows his adventurous journey to despair and all kind of emotions and events.
I would personally recommend reading manga over anime because the anime would ruin your experience, and there are two versions of anime. If you are too keen on watching the anime, watch the 25 episodes long, and not the CGI one. If you recommend any Seinen manga to your friend, suggest Berserk!
Parasyte might be slightly less violent than ‘Berserk’, but it does not mean that it does not have quality and good writing. The manga is written brilliantly with a unique concept. The character develops drastically character-wise, but it gives a more mature feeling than average seinen anime.
The protagonist finds himself in contact with an alien parasite giving him super-human-like strength with occasionally or completely taking over their body. But there are many alien parasites that came along, with evil parasites lurking too. The manga is a visual treat with some account of humor and it makes the anime a bit lighter. It makes a good combination of a solid plot, great characters, and plot-turning events.
If you love a good seinen anime with a thriller and murder mystery story, this is just right for you. Naoki Urasawa created the manga which later got adopted by Madhouse into a global hit. It is one of the few works which has received an anime adaptation.
This anime brilliantly portrays how violence is not always physical, but it can be psychological too. The anime depicts the good and bad sides of anyone and explains the usual situation of life, which is that no one is positive all the time.
The story is about a Japanese doctor living in Germany named Kenzo Tenma. He saves a child over a powerful politician. This decision will change Kenzo’s life forever. The child he saved creates a special bond with him which is not at all a good thing for him.
4. Vinland Saga
When I first saw Vinland Saga, I immediately got hooked and it gave me a ‘Game of Thrones’ vibe where the most important character is killed. Seeing Thors getting killed, I was shocked. The story is excellent and it has one of the best anti-heroes in anime, the death of his father motivates Thorsfinn to take revenge on Askeladd. But the relationship rather turns out to be quite unique.
The bond between them was complete hatred from Thorfinn, but as he spends more time with him, a unique bond is created. As is obvious at the death of Askeladd, Thorfinn could not control his emotions as he acted as a father to Thorfinn.
The anime portrays the lifestyle of Vikings and a bit of history to be grasped. The manga version has great art and Wit Studios has done its part to establish this anime as one for the ages. This series is definitely one of my favorite seinen anime.
What does a good Seinen anime look like? No one can come to a universal definition, but one thing is for sure, it stirs up your emotions pretty well. That is what these series do. This anime is produced by Madhouse which is responsible for great anime.
Hellsing is filled with dark elements with violence, vampire, gothic theme, and obviously, guns. The story features Alucard, who is a faithful and loyal vampire of the Hellsing family. This series is sure to make you jump more often with its thrilling plot and great turn of events.
The kingdom is created by Yasuhisa Hara and later adapted into anime by Pierrot Studios. The story is set in ancient China during its Warring States Period. Two orphans have great ambitions of becoming a general in the army, Xin, and Piao.
Their dream of becoming generals is not as easy, since they have to put their soul into the dedication and help their army in order to rise in the ranks. Xin helps to pursue Ying Zheng’s dream of unified China and stopping the eternal bloodshed and violence. But their dreams are not as easy to achieve as they are easy to say. Easily a top seinen anime in my opinion.
7. Ghost In The Shell
Ghost in the shell is a seinen anime produced by Production I.G. and it has done a splendid job of animating and proving why hand-drawn animation is better than CGI on some occasions. The world is set in a future where robots and cyborgs are prevalent.
The advanced technology of the era encourages people to use it for crimes and unethical reasons. The story is centered around Motoko Kusanagi, who is an android specially made to combat. The anime is one of the best sci-fi anime with a complex and gripping plot.
8. Land of the Lustrous
Land of the Lustrous is a special series that is based on an anthropomorphic theme which means it involves the conversion of things into living beings. The seinen anime is very entertaining due to different factors including brilliant animation, a great plot, and dynamic characters. All of these factors combine together to make this anime entertaining and enjoyable.
The story features Phos, who is not very popular, but she is determined to make an encyclopedia of natural history. The greatness of this series can only be believed by seeing it with your own eyes.
9. March Comes In Like a Lion
There are many undiscovered gems in seinen anime that need to be recognized, and ‘March Comes in like a Lion’ is such an anime. It is a unique anime that digs deep into the hopefulness and depressing genre.
The protagonist of the story is Rei Kiriyama, a very skillful Shogi player suffering from severe depression. The anime does not just portray his suffering but delves right into proper mental health.
10. Steins; Gate
This anime was not inspired by the traditional way of adapting a manga into an anime, but it was influenced by a video game. It quickly became well-known and famous instantly due to its clever writing with hints of slice-of-life anime.
It is an action and sci-fi thriller where a narcissist ‘Okabe Rintaro’ calls himself, “The Mad Scientist”. With his friends, Okabe discovers a way to time travel, but the developments in the plot lead to huge chaos which is incredibly risky. The anime has a great element of suspense that always keeps you guessing everything. The constant element of drama never lets you leave the story.