What are seinen animes?
Seinen animes are usually more mature in their subject matter and are designed to cater to a more mature audience. They often contain themes that are deemed too taboo for shounen animes.
Seinen animes are also known for having darker themes and stories than other types of anime targeted at males.
Some of the most famous seinen anime are “Berserk” and “Neon Genesis Evangelion”.Shounen is usually targeted at a younger audience, with many titles being about fighting and adventure.
The protagonists in shounen animes are typically not as serious as their counterparts in seinen animes. Shounen anime have action-packed plots and storylines.
The 21 Best Seinen Animes to Watch right Now
In this article, we have compiled the top 21 seinen anime that are currently airing in Japan. The list is based on popularity and rankings from sites like MyAnimeList and Anime News Network.
The list includes titles like “Fate/Zero”, ” Baccano!”, “One-Punch Man”, “Made in Abyss” and many more!
We hope you enjoy!
1. Hellsing Ultimate (2001)
- Episodes: 13 + 1 OVA
- Available: Netflix
In England, the secret organization Hellsing fights the vampires and protects the population that doesn’t even know of the creatures’ existence.
Warrior Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing leads the pack in the fight against the undead and supernatural forces. Although it has an army of its own, the organization has one main weapon: the vampire Alucard.
Going against his own kind, Alucard is a vampire slayer, who enlists the help of his vampire seva Seras Victoria. However, the duo not only fight monsters, but also those who pretend to be good.
When a group of vampires long thought to be dead returns, England takes great risks. Humanity’s survival is at stake. But who are the real enemies?
2. Baccano! (2007)
- Episodes: 16
The story of several different characters is told in Baccano!. Even though they seem to have no connection whatsoever, all the narratives are connected! The plot presents a non-linear sequence, showing the different points of view on a certain event that took place in New York in the 1930s: the recreation of an elixir of immortality.
Alchemists, bandits and supernatural forces are the protagonists of this series that builds truly chaotic events throughout the episodes, in a chronological “confusion” that makes everything even more interesting, but which requires greater attention when watching.
Created by Ryohgo Narita (screenplay) and Katsumi Enami (illustration), Baccano! was originally released as a light novel in 2003. Its manga adaptation had shounen airs, but soon gained seinen characteristics.
3. Monster (2004)
- Episodes: 74
Murders and heavy ethical and moral questions permeate the entire plot of this intense anime. There we meet Dr. Kenzou Tenma, a renowned neurosurgeon who is engaged to the daughter of the director of the hospital where he works.
One night, the director asked him to stop the surgery on a poor patient to save the life of a famous artist. Successfully, the artist survived, but the doctor never got over the crisis of conscience for letting the other patient die.
When a similar situation happens again, he decides to proceed with the surgery he was performing on a young man named Johan Liebert, instead of saving the town’s mayor, as he had been asked.
In addition to losing his social status, Tenma is surprised to learn that the hospital director and other doctors have been killed. With nothing to incriminate him, he ends up taking over the direction.
Nine years later, the doctor finds the monster whose life he saved again, and now he will try to repair the trail of destruction.
4. Devilman Crybaby (2018)
- Episodes: 10
- Available: Netflix
Based on the manga series by Go Nasai (Devilman), Crybaby is definitely not an anime for kids. The plot talks about the threat of a race of demons that are planning to dominate humans. Young Akira and Ryo want to stop this from happening, but they have to make some sacrifices.
After a demonic party with disturbing scenes, Akira is convinced by Ryo to unite his body with that of a demon. In this way, he transforms into Devilman, a being with the powers of a demon, but able to retain his human soul. One of Netflix’s most audacious productions, this seinen anime has incredible traits and twists to surprise anyone.
5. Made in Abyss (2017)
- Episodes: 13
Don’t be fooled by the cuteness of this anime, the topics covered and the unfolding of the story are not for children. The plot takes place on an island in the Beoluska Sea. Discovered 1900 years ago, the island has an unbelievable crater.
The giant hole, which became known, houses traces of ancient civilizations and mysterious creatures. For this reason, numerous explorers try to study the place.
In addition to the risks they face on the way into the crater, however, explorers still have to deal with the “Curse of the Abyss”.
This mysterious ailment causes nearly everyone who tries to leave the Abyss to experience deadly physical symptoms. At the city school, students participate in excavations and study the Abyss. One such student is Riko.
Young Riko is the daughter of Lyza, a legendary explorer who never returned from the Abyss. When artifacts are sent by Lyza out of the crater, Riko finds a note asking him to find her at the bottom of the Abyss.
Aware of the risks and that she will not be able to return to the surface, Riko sets out on a journey to find her mother.
6. Darker than Black (2009)
- Episodes: 26
Created by Tensai Okamura, Darker than Black talks about the mysterious emergence of Hell’s Gate over the city of Tokyo and the macabre consequences of that event.
In this chaotic place, the sky has been replaced by fake stars that represent people devoid of feelings, and who have come to have special powers. These individuals are called Contractors and are secretly used by nations in violent missions.
An interesting quirk in the story is that each time a Contractor uses his power, he must make a “payment”. That penalty could be drinking a beer at the nearest bar or doing really disturbing things.
7. Ajin: Demi-Human (2016)
- Episodes: 26 + 1 OVA + movie
- Available: Netflix
Imagine if you found out you’re immortal. How do you think your friends would react to knowing that you’ll be wandering the Earth forever and they won’t? In Ajin’s world this is certainly a big problem. The story focuses 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 humans, who try to capture the immortals in order to study them. Thus, the entire plot revolves around the social, political and ethical conflicts that hang over society divided between mortals and Ajins.
Ah, like a typical mystery and horror seinen, get ready for gut-wrenching visceral scenes.
8. Afro Samurai (2007)
- Episodes: 5
An avant-garde production that definitely deserves our attention, Afro Samurai pays homage by Takashi Okazaki (creator of the original manga) to the classic blaxploitation films of the 1970s.
With a good dose of subversive humor, hip-hop and incredible combat swords, this anime takes place in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic and feudal Japan.
Yes, all together, which makes it even more interesting. In history, society is destined to obey the bearer of the “Number One Bandana”, a symbol of maximum power.
There are seven different bandanas, and samurai must follow a hierarchy of numbers in order to challenge their opponents. That is, only whoever has the number three bandana can fight against whoever has the number two, and that, in turn, is the only one who can challenge Number One.
In this context, we meet Afro, the current owner of the Number Two bandana. Afro sets out on a journey to exact revenge against whoever killed his father: the current Number One.
9. Psycho Pass (2012)
- Episodes: 33 + 1 movie
- Available: Amazon Prime Video
Pycho Pass is a cyberpunk dystopia set in a world where people’s mental capabilities are constantly being evaluated. If the citizen is diagnosed as a potential criminal, he can be sentenced to prison or death, even if he has never committed any crime.
The Enforcers are responsible for capturing the Sybils (the “unrecoverable potential criminals”) and putting an end to their lives. But, throughout the plot, we come across several cases that exemplify the moral and ethical conflict that this system causes.
Demographically, Psycho Pass is classified as both shōnen (in the manga) and seinen (in the light novel). But let’s face it, the anime’s plot is much more appealing to adults than to younger ones! The story addresses various ethical, moral and psychological issues of society.
Can you imagine living in a world without the fear and stress of suffering from crime? A wonder, right? But what would be the real consequences of this for the population?
10. Gantz (2004)
- Episodes: 26
A mix of action, horror and science fiction, Gantz was created by Hiroya Oku and adapted into an anime in two seasons, in the hands of the GONZO studio.
The story tells about Kei Kurono, a 15-year-old boy who dies after being hit by a subway, along with his friend, while trying to rescue a homeless man.
Suddenly, both find themselves in the presence of Gantz, a “dark sphere” that commands a macabre, violent and bloodthirsty game, in which they will have to participate by exterminating aliens.
The anime has very strong scenes and situations, which can easily upset the most sensitive people. For that reason, this isekai seinen is aimed at an adult audience.
11. Fate/Zero (2011)
- Episodes: 25
- Available: Netflix and Crunchyroll
This anime, which has won the admiration of critics and fans, tells the story of the Fourth Holy Grail War, a secret magical tournament that takes place in Fuyuki City in Japan. In the contest, seven mages known as the Masters of Servants summon reincarnations of legendary souls and heroes from different periods of history.
In a deadly battle, they must fight each other to conquer the legendary magical Holy Grail chalice, which can grant wishes.
In this context, we follow the protagonist Kiritsugu Emiya, a merciless assassin mage who fights on behalf of his wife’s family, the Einzberns.
The story of Fate/Zero takes place ten years before the events seen in Fate/Stay night, the visual novel created by Type Moon, which was later also adapted as an anime. The protagonist of this second story is Shirou Emiya, adopted son of Kiritsugu Emiya.
Zero is one of the best-reviewed adaptations of the Fate series, as it brings a complex narrative and characters, as well as exploring philosophical and psychological themes with a very dark footprint.
12. Mushishi (2005)
- Episodes: 46
- Watch on: Crunchyroll
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.
Few people are able to see and interact with them, but that’s not the case for the series’ protagonist, Ginko. He is on a journey to study mushi and help solve the problems supernatural creatures cause in people’s lives.
Mushishi is an anthology series, where each episode deals with a story with a beginning, middle and end. This anime follows a different line from the various seinen titles listed here.
We don’t see gore scenes, but a deep philosophical reflection on various aspects of life. Each tale (episode) has an important message to convey, with lessons that will make you think for days!
13. Death Parade (2015)
- Episodes: 12
Based on the short Death Billiards, Death Parade was created by Yuzuru Tachikawa and produced by Madhouse, which is reason enough to pay attention to the anime. In the plot, whenever two people die at the same time, their souls are taken to mysterious bar-like places.
There, they must participate in deadly games that will decide their fate: to be reincarnated or banished to the eternal void.
In the Death Parade universe, there is no Heaven or Hell. Life after death boils down to two things: oblivion or reincarnation. This plot is interesting, as it presents a totally different perspective on one of humanity’s greatest mysteries: where do we go after we die?
For those who are fans of Death Note (which was also produced by Madhouse), it is connected that there are even some supposed relationships between the two series. Watch and find out what they are!
14. One-Punch Man (2015)
- Episodes: 24 + 13 OVAs
- Watch on: Crunchyroll
“But One Piece is not seinen!”, you might be thinking right now. Calm down, we’ll explain. Initially created as a webcomic by ONE (a pseudonym adopted by the author of the series), One-Punch Man is mistaken by many people as a shōnen anime.
In fact, it’s a parody of the classic hero stories, in which we have a super powerful character who always manages to defeat his opponents. This anime may have a shonen atmosphere, but for different reasons its manga and anime received seinen rating.
In the plot, we follow Saitama, a hero who is totally bored with his life, because he has become so strong that he can finish off any enemy with just a single punch!
Even with his unbelievable strength, he is disrespected by other people for maintaining an ordinary physical appearance. Tired of being called a “fake hero”, Saitama joins the Hero Association to become an official hero. In this context, the “Bald Cape” (Saitama’s codename as a hero) unbelievable villains.
15. Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)
- Episodes: 26
- Watch on: Netflix
NGE is another example of manga that was originally aimed at shōnen audiences, but later changed its demographics to seinen (when it was published by Young Ace). In a post-apocalyptic setting, the story of Neon Genesis Evangelion focuses on a military organization (NERV) whose mission is to fight monstrous creatures known as “Angels”.
As much as the plot seems typically shōnen, the conflicts that the characters face are the highlight of the series. In addition, the anime brings reflections on religion and philosophies of life (remember the “porcupine dilemma”?).
16. Boku dake ga inai machi (ERASED) (2016)
- Episodes: 12
- Watch on: Netflix
Whenever he witnesses a tragic event, Satoru Fujinuma is able to travel back in time. These phenomena are called Revival.
However, he has no control over this process, traveling to moments when he can change something that intervenes in the reality of the event he experienced in the present.
When his mother is murdered, the young man awakens a revival that takes him back 18 years in time.
Back in his school days, in his teenage body, Satoru realizes he needs to find out and prevent the mysterious murder of a classmate. The investigation can directly influence your present and also prevent your mother’s death.
17. Berserk (1997 and 2016)
- Episodes: 25 (1997) / 24 (2016)
- Watch on: Crunchyroll
A lot of people consider the manga much superior to the anime (and it’s not that they’re wrong), but Berserk couldn’t be left out of a list of the main seinen titles.
The plot follows the ex-mercenary Guts, who wanders through a dark and frighteningly fantastic world in search of revenge. The warrior needs to fight demons known as “Apostles”.
Berserk is filled with a lot of graphic violence, explicit sexual content and very heavy themes, such as betrayal, moral judgment, isolation, among other subjects inherent to human nature.
Some arcs of the manga (which still continue to be published) were adapted into anime in 1997, with the title Berserk: Kenpū Denki. In 2016 and 2017, the story won an anime version again.
18. Steins;Gate (2011)
- Episodes: 25 + 4 OVAs + Movie
- Watch on: Funimation
Based on the game (visual novel) developed by 5pb and Nitroplus, Steins;Gate is one of the most acclaimed animes by the seinen audience. And it’s no small feat, as both the plot and the characters are masterfully constructed.
The story tells about a group of friends who build a device out of a microwave. The artifact is capable of sending messages to the past. Soon, they begin to be persecuted by SERN, an organization that also researches time travel.
Thus, Steins;Gate is built on a tangle of different timelines that are created each time young people use the device (a.k.a. “microwave cell phone”). The plot and characters are very well built, which is already halfway to the success of the anime. If you haven’t watched it yet, watch it. It’s really worth it!
19. xxxHOLIC (2006)
- Episodes: 26 + 1 movie + 3 OVAs
The work of CLAMP (Chobits and Sakura Card Captors), xxxHOLIC mixes comedy, horror and fantasy, managing to create very interesting stories that impress and hold our attention from beginning to end.
Mixing elements of Japanese mythology, the series focuses on Watanuki Kimihiro, a young student who finds himself tormented by ghosts (known as ayakashi).
One day, while running away from a group of spirits, Watanuki ended up in the shop of Yuuko, a mysterious woman who offers to help the boy deal with these entities.
A characteristic of CLAMP is to create relationships between their works, so the link between xxxHOLIC and Tsubasa is clear: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE. In fact, the presence of characters from one anime in another is common.
20. Cowboy Bebop (1998)
- Episodes: 26
- Available: Crunchyroll
Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, Cowboy Bebop transports us through a futuristic world to the sound of American jazz from the 1940s. We follow a group of bounty hunters (Spike, Jet, Valentine, Ed and Ein) who travel through space on the Bebop spaceship. looking for criminals.
The anime touches on philosophical themes such as loneliness and existentialism. The reasons to watch this anime are many: soundtrack, well-built characters, plot (even if each episode has its own “universe) and visuals, because the features are truly beautiful. Watch it!