Top 5 Best Seinen Anime To Watch Today
Looking for some of the best seinen anime shows to watch? Stick around as we share our recommendations…
Want to ditch the typical young adult genre and embrace more mature forms of comedy, tragedy, action, and romance?
Sure, while some of us came to love anime because of Shojo and Shounen series, there comes a time when we feel the need to ditch our preteen fantasies and welcome the true order of the material world – with all its beauty and ruthlessness.
Fortunately, with Seinen, you can now expose yourself to a range of quality anime series that are touched with a realistic art style and more serious storylines. From older leads, pragmatic characters, vivid display of violence, adult humor, and many more, tons of features make this genre far from the typical.
To let you explore this diverse yet worthy-of-unravelling field, we have prepared a quick rundown of the best Seinen anime. Brimming with uncertainties and promising unembellished depictions of life, these five anime series will grant you a taste of realism.
List of Best Seinen Anime to Watch
March Comes in Like a Lion
First published in 2007, this gentle tale of a 17-year-old as he struggles towards maturity epitomizes the Seinen series.
Written by Chica Umino (the manga artist behind the popular Honey and Clover), March Comes in Like a Lion is an unforgettable coming-of-age story.
It follows the everyday life of Rei Kiriyama, a Japanese chess player forced to live with an adoptive family after his parents and sister died in an accident.
In the story, Rei, having reached professional status as a chess player at a young age, was confronted by the heavy weight of expectations from the sports community and estranged from his foster family.
Driven by his ambition to become a professional player and escape his tense home life, he moved to Tokyo. There, he met a trio of sisters – Akari, Hinata, and Momo Kawamoto.
Smart, vivid, and compelling, the anime offers an unforgettable tale of an emotionally-stunted character as he tries to achieve his dreams, overcome past traumas, and reconnect with others while dealing with the unbearable weight of loneliness and poorly-sustained lifestyle.
This psychological drama stands as one of the most unforgettable series in the Seinen category. Published in 1994, Madhouse adapted it into a 74-episode anime TV series in 2004.
In the story, Dr. Kenzo Tenma, an elite neurosurgeon, is confronted by a conscience crisis after he was delayed from performing a surgery to prioritize the life of a famous performer.
The operation ended in success with the performer saved from death. However, the other patient, a poor immigrant worker, died instead.
Disenchanted by what happened, Dr. Tenma decided to not repeat the same mistake again. With this, when a similar situation emerged, Dr. Tenma decided to perform surgery on a young boy named Johan Liebert instead of the town’s mayor.
As a result, his career went downhill, and he even lost his fiancé.
However, in a strange turn of events, with the death of the hospital director and two other doctors, Dr. Tenma found himself back in the position again while remaining chief suspect for their murders.
A few years later, he was once again confronted by his past. He saved the life of a criminal whom he once operated on.
Moving, smart, and realistic, Monster will take you into a world of drama, mystery, and compelling tragedy. The rich storyline, carefully designed characters, and strong rejection of imaginative idealization, make this series the perfect dose of epiphany.
First serialized in Afternoon Seasons Zōkan from 1999 to 2002 and later adapted in Monthly Afternoon from December 2002 to August 2008, Mushishi is another Seinen masterpiece that explores the question of purpose and existence.
Set between the Edo & Meiji periods, the world of Mushishi introduces the ethereal beings called “Mushi.” In the story, these life forms are described to be the most basic form of all beings – with no goals, no purposes, and cannot be bounded in categories of good and evil.
Ginko, a Mushi-shi, or someone who knows and ponders about the existence of Mushi, sets off on an adventure in hopes of understanding these ethereal beings and determining their place in the world’s hierarchy of life.
Gentle, philosophical, and artistic, Mushishi offers resonating questions about life, morality, and existence.
Regarded to be one of the best sci-fi anime series, Cowboy Bebop also meets the standards of a compelling Seinen series.
Set in 2071, the story introduces a set of carefully constructed characters. It also has a smart plot line that delves into the questions of humanity, hope, and catastrophe.
Earth is uninhabitable, and humanity has no choice but to set off into space and colonize other planets.
With the alarming rise in the number of crimes, the Inter Solar System Police (ISSP) rolls out a legalized contract system, which involves the help of registered bounty hunters (“Cowboys”) who chase down criminals in exchange for rewards.
This series introduces a unique and relatable set of characters. They include an exiled hit man, a former ISSP officer, an enigmatic trickster, a genetically engineered corgi, and an expert hacker.
Cowboy Bebop takes pride in its moving plot line, action-packed adventures, and light-hearted comedy. It also boasts a tight grip on the splendors and mercilessness of humanity.
Last but not the least, Berserk tops the field of Seinen anime. Written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura and first published in the now-defunct magazine Monthly Animal House, this unforgettable dark fantasy follows the adventure of a swordsman named Guts as he battles gruesome beasts and leads a ragtag group.
Unlike the typical Shounen hero, Gut’s character has more depth and complexity. His decisions and attitudes tightly attach to his past tragedies. Ditching the typical visionary, his grounded character has a touch of realism.
The relationships between characters are also more pragmatic, and the presence of revenge and violence even makes the story more mature and compelling.
Set in a medieval world where demons torment the Earth, Berserk offers a far-from-the-typical story where the line that separates good and evil blurs into the unknown.
Dark, heavy, and enthralling, Berserk is sure to take you into a world far beyond the typical Shounen landscape.
The Bottom Line
It’s certainly good to lose oneself in the absurdities and high energies of Shojo and Shounen. But why not try out a different genre? Seinen can give you a good taste of realism every once in a while. Gentle, vivid, and beaming with accuracy, these anime shows will give you a different dose of realizations and emotions.
If you’re interested in giving Seinen a try, be sure to check out these 5 best seinen anime series this year!