Seinen is the term that refers to manga aimed at a mature male audience and is a demographic, not a genre, unlike many people think.
This term is often wrongly associated with works that contain splatter or gore or deal with adult themes like psychology and traumas.
Either is incorrect, as seinen can only be used with manga, depending on the magazine where they are serialized.
So here you can find the best anime adapted from a seinen manga to watch if you’re looking for a deeper experience.
Rankings are based on our personal experience and taste.
Table of Contents
Hinamatsuri is a 2018 anime merging yakuza with childcare in a strange combination of genres. Yoshifumi Nitta, a yakuza member, discovers a strange capsule, containing a blue-haired young girl called Hina.
She can use a wide range of supernatural powers that are beneficial to the yakuza’s business. Yoshifumi will make use of such an opportunity and many adventures will await this strange duo.
Hinamatsuri can entertain its audience quite well with a wide range of character reactions, relationships and proper gags.
It’s a comedy gem mixed with a somewhat criminal setting that you should watch to enjoy a light show.
26. Black Lagoon
Black Lagoon is an anime series that aired in 2006 and it tells the story of a regular businessman named Rokurou Okajima.
One day he is tasked to take a business trip to the crime-riddled island of Roanapur where he is taken hostage by a mafia-pirate gang called Black Lagoon.
He won’t be saved by his employer who refuses to pay his ransom, so Rokurou will join the gang and will turn from an average man to a ruthless criminal.
Black Lagoon is recognized by most as an incredible series, capable of excellently combining action, excellent characters, and one of the best mature stories about the criminal world.
This anime is ideal for action lovers that don’t mind listening to great soundtracks too.
25. Giant Killing
Based on the original work by Masaya Tsunamoto, Giant Killing is a sports-themed anime. In this case, it is based on the sport of soccer, combined with the typical elements of a seinen manga.
East Tokyo United is a Tokyo soccer team that was once extremely strong and popular but is now on the rocks.
Even the hardcore fans are giving up on the project, and to save the team from bankruptcy Tatsumi Takeshi is hired and given the tough task.
Giant Killing is a story of rebirth from the bottom up, with strong psychological focuses and mature themes, as can be expected from an anime based on a seinen manga. An excellent blend of soccer and psychology.
Erased is a fully immersive 12-episode anime that merges Mystery/Crime, Psychological, Supernatural, and Thriller elements.
The main character is Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old mangaka without success, mostly due to notorious writer’s block.
However, following mysterious happenings, he obtains a power called “Revival” that allows him to go back in time just enough to save people’s lives.
During his far-from-a-happy childhood, one of his classmates had been murdered, and this is where his mission begins.
Erased is ideal if you want to watch a good mystery and psychological short anime with mature themes.
The story will know how to grab you, making you impatient for the next clue that goes into completing the intricate mystery of the plot.
From the bizarre mind of Q Hayashida comes Dorohedoro, a manga serialized starting way back in 1999 and then adapted into anime several years later.
Cayman, the man protagonist of the story, has lost his memory and wakes up with a reptilian head, without remembering why he possesses it and without knowing where he is.
He thus sets out to find the sorcerers who live in the town of Hole, the backdrop of the events, to solve the mystery related to his appearance, together with his friend and companion Nikaido.
Hole, however, is populated by powerful demons and sorcerers capable of terrible deeds, who will make Cayman’s task anything but easy.
Dorohedoro is a controversial work, to say the least. It combines great violence with ironic moments that even result in black humor, and we love this mixture of elements and genres.
But its extravagant character design combined with some interesting settings make this anime more special than others.
We still recommend you read the manga, even though the anime per se is still a great pick.
A 26-episode anime set in a dark medieval fantasy-themed world where the inhabitants are forced to fight the threat of monstrous creatures that feed on humans.
Fighting these creatures called Yomi are the Claymores, warriors with enormous power who can counter the terrible monsters with their swords.
The protagonist of the story is Claire, a low-level claymore who will increase her fighting power over time as she discovers the deceptions behind Yomi and the society in which she lives.
A good dark fantasy setting mixed with a lot of action and excellent characters make this anime one of the must-watch if you like mature stories.
The dark fantasy setting of Claymore is charming and gloomy, perfect to represent a sad world infested by Yomi. The main complaint someone could have of this series is that it isn’t at the same level as the original manga source.
That’s because it aired before the manga finished, so the last 3 episodes aren’t canon, but nevertheless, this adaptation is still a great introduction.
21. Made in Abyss
Made in Abyss is a recent addition set in a bizarre and gloomy abyss. The narrated events follow the adventures of Riko, a 12-year-old girl who lives in the Belchero orphanage in the town of Orth.
The distinguishing feature of this place is the presence of a giant chasm, called the Abyss, containing mysterious artifacts and objects of special interest to the outside world.
As one descends through its various levels, ascending back up becomes more and more complex for a human, starting from mild health symptoms to psychological and physical traumas.
This series is extremely dark and escalates really quickly. The interesting setting and the children’s cast are what make this series even more terrifying than the norm.
Made in Abyss is a great take on the fantasy genre that doesn’t really introduce new elements, but uses what’s at its disposal.
Kingdom is set in the year 245 B.C. It tells the story of Shin and Hyo, two war orphans now reduced to servants who spend their time dreaming of fighting.
One day Hyo is noticed by Shobunkun, adviser to Crown Prince Ei Sei, who decides to make him become a servant in the capital city of Kanyou. Upon his return, nothing is as before.
Kingdom is a colossal work centered on the theme of war, boasting a cast of characters with enormous depth and evolution.
It also has incredible world-building, being set in a realistic ancient China. The only reason we put it down is that its anime adaptation is not the best, which is why we recommend reading the manga first.
19. Golden Kamuy
Golden Kamuy is set in early XXth century Hokkaido and tells the story of Saichi Sugimoto, a survived soldier who seeks fortune to support the family of a deceased friend.
One day he is told the story of a famous criminal who stole a huge amount of gold and hid it in Hokkaido before getting caught by the police.
The only clue to its location is the coded map he tattooed on the bodies of his cellmates in exchange for a share of the treasure.
Sugimoto will join forces with a young girl called Asirpa, whose family was murdered by the criminal, and the pair will start searching for the hidden treasure.
Golden Kamuy is an anime dealing with the theme of war that will give you a stark realism, with a particular focus on the emotions felt by the soldiers.
Psycho-Pass is set in a futuristic society where it is possible to monitor and control an individual’s mental state and personality. With those data, it can be assessed the probability of a person committing a crime or not, the so-called Crime Coefficient.
This anime is filled with anxiogenic moments where right and wrong are constantly discussed. One of the central themes of Psycho-Pass is fear, as stated by the author himself in an interview.
Perfect for beginners who are looking for mature themes and love dystopic novels.
Psycho-Pass is one of those stories that make the viewer put serious doubts about the morality of what they are watching, leaving room for much speculation and discourse.
Its crime and badass component are also pronounced and developed, and we recommend you stop watching after Season 1.
17. One Outs: Nobody Wins, but I!
One Outs: Nobody Wins, but I! is a sports anime adapted from a seinen manga focusing on baseball and its athletes.
The main character is Toua Tokuchi, a champion and reckless player of One Outs, a variation of classic baseball with a few different rules.
Amazed by Toua’s unique feats on the mound, veteran slugger Hiromichi Kojima takes the boy for his unsuccessful team, the Saikyou Saitama Lycaons, to lead it to victory.
One Outs focuses in particular on the psyche of the characters, as is often the case in sports anime based on this demographic.
During the whole story, we will assist with a real introspective dive into the athletes’ minds, touching pretty mature and deep themes. A must-watch if you are a baseball fan.
Parasyte is a 24-episode anime that adapts the homonymous Hitoshi Iwaaki’s manga. Created by Madhouse studio, it brings the story to the present day by giving it a more modern setting.
The work stars Shinichi Izumi, an ordinary student whose right hand is infested by a mysterious alien parasite interested in taking over his body. Migi, a nickname given to the parasite, is just one of a race of parasites intent on taking over human bodies to conquer Earth.
The forced coexistence between the 2 leads them to clash with other malicious parasites in an ongoing struggle for their survival and that of humankind.
But what seems like an almost bizarre and comical situation will soon turn out to be chaotic and bloody, as the 2realize how violent and bloodthirsty the other parasites are.
A lot of action, badass moments, and excellent animation and soundtrack, all combined with a simple but highly effective plot, starring a cast with excellent characterization.
Mushishi follows the story of Ginko, a serious and composed character, and also a Mushishi. This term refers to experts of Mushis, strange creatures whose origin or habits are unknown.
What is known is that coexistence with them is complicated for human beings. For this reason, specialists who know how to deal with them are always needed.
Each episode will thus be devoted to a different creature, creating a succession of self-contained stories. It must be said that the episodes are slow, reflective, and if we want to use a misnomer, artistic.
But the anime is deliberately so, to create a fantastic atmosphere that is almost hypnotic and lulling.
14. Afro Samurai
Afro Samurai is a 5-episode anime produced by Gonzo studio and based on Takashi Okazaki’s manga of the same name.
This work is heavy in violence and themes, all reasons why the original manga belongs to the seinen demographic.
Afro Samurai is indeed a story of raw revenge, in which the protagonist Afro tries hard to kill his father’s killer, a warrior named Justice.
Justice killed Afro’s father to gain possession of the number 1 sash, which is extremely important since in the world of opera there are sashes that stand for the power of a warrior.
There will be no shortage of crude and borderline human confrontations, where rivers of blood will flow constantly. But the real reason Afro Samurai must be watched is its breathtaking soundtrack, which even won an Emmy.
Its rap and soul music combined with breathtaking action scenes make this anime a real experience.
13. Spice and Wolf
Spice and Wolf is a truly unique work, almost difficult to pigeonhole into a single category.
This is because the anime, based on Isuna Hasekura’s novels, despite its vague fantasy world-building features does not adhere to the canons of the genre. This is given the absence of magic and the struggle between good and evil and relying more on economics and trade.
The story revolves around the events of merchant Lawrence Kraft who agrees under request to help return to his native place a wolf-god called Holo, receiving in return her divine help and several privileges. But feelings always blossom, and we will watch how they fall in love.
Spice and Wolf is not only a good adaptation of a seinen manga but a superb and charming romance story that we recommend to all anime fans.
12. Grand Blue
Iori Kitahara is moving to the Izu Peninsula to prepare to attend college and start a new life. He will live with his uncle, who owns a store that deals in diving equipment called Grand Blue.
Although he has to concentrate on his college study, Iori will be constantly distracted by Shinji and Ryujiro, two of his senpais at the university who drag him into their circle of friends.
Iori is inundated with a sea of booze and parties that will keep him perpetually busy by not letting him concentrate on studying.
Grand Blue will make you die of laughter with adult and mature comedy and at the same time will entertain you with excellently written characters.
If you are looking for endless laughs along with college vibes, we have no better advice to give you.
11. Space Brothers
As the name suggests, this is the story of two brothers willing to go to space after seeing a UFO heading towards the Moon as children.
Hibito Nanba, the older brother, will be the first man to go to the Moon, whereas Mutta is a salaryman. Fate blesses Mutta as he has the opportunity to go to space and catch up with his younger brother.
This story is not just about space, it’s about promises and dreams. Everything is so realistic and relatable, unlike many other similar shows with exaggerated representations.
And that is precisely its strength. Space Brothers like much other anime shows us space travel, but it does so humanly and realistically without getting lost in science fiction.
It gives us scientific and rational explanations that could be implemented in reality as well, and this gives it tremendous realism and depth.
Monster is a 74-episode anime based on Naoki Urasawa’s seinen manga masterpiece of the same name.
Monster is a real behemoth, and we are talking about what is undoubtedly one of the greatest crime stories ever, with a cast of characters bordering on perfection.
The story follows Kenzo Tenma, a renowned surgeon. One day he decides to rebel against his boss, thus saving a child from a fatal wound instead of the mayor of Düsseldorf, the city where the hospital is located.
Time will prove Dr. Tenma wrong as he realizes that the child he saved, Johan Liebert, has become over time a serial killer who continues to claim lives.
It will then be up to him to investigate to get to the bottom of it and stop Johan, to make up for his mistake.
Nothing is taken for granted, from the twists and turns to the evolution of the characters, all the more reason not to miss this absolute masterpiece. Johan, moreover, is considered no less than one of the best villains ever.
9. Kaguya-Sama: Love is War
One of the best and most acclaimed romance genre anime in recent years, and generally one of the most highly regarded series since its release.
Kaguya-Sama: Love is War deals with small self-contained stories about the eternal psychological and love struggle between Miyuki Shirogane, distinguished student council president, and his deputy, Kaguya Shinomiya.
Both are determined to get the other to confess their love first because you know, in such cases the one who gives in first loses, and they cannot afford it.
This anime is incredibly solid and complete that even those who don’t appreciate romance should watch it.
It really has it all: funny moments that will bend you over with laughter, serious psychological moments, and many beautifully realized romance scenes.
8. Vinland Saga
Vinland Saga is one of the most interesting and followed works in recent years, animated in two seasons by Wit Studio and based on the manga of the same name by Makoto Yukimura.
The plot follows the life of the warrior Thorfinn, in a Viking world inspired by real historical events.
Thorfinn is a boy that became a warrior to avenge the death of his father Thors, who was killed by the pirate Askeladd on behalf of King Sweyd because he had deserted years earlier to retire to a quiet life.
An anime with intense psychological traits, it dwells on the choices that must be made when on the battlefield mixed with realistic and believable action.
Vinland Saga is a must-watch anime if you appreciate anime centered on war and its aftermath set in the past.
Berserk is a masterpiece of the dark fantasy genre created by the notorious mangaka Kentaro Miura. Its 1997 anime adaptation is famous for its vintage style and fitting setting.
Few other works can match this one due to the complexity of its characters and for starring two incredible personalities: Gatsu and Griffith.
The story doesn’t start in the happiest of ways, but it gets even worse as the protagonist Gatsu has a fateful encounter with Griffith, the leader of the Falcons.
Berserk is a milestone in Japanese art and the progressive suffering of Gatsu is what makes it more realistic and relatable.
The anime relies mainly on its incredible worldbuilding and its deep psychological side, but the action, when present, will also play its part.
6. Hellsing Ultimate
The name of the series comes from the homonym secret organization Hellsing, whose duty is to hide the existence of Vampires and to keep the population safe.
It’s financed and supported by the British government and its current leader is Integra Hellsing.
The main character Alucard works for Hellsing as a vampire exterminator, being himself a member of the vampire race. He is supported by his new assistant Seras Victoria, a former policewoman whom he saved in the past.
Integra is worried about a new wave of vampire attacks and the problem seems much bigger than she expected.
The mysterious group called Millenium is plotting to throw England into disarray, and maybe threaten even the entire world.
The great representation of London is one of the reasons why it also deserves a spot as one of the best anime set in England.
5. March Comes in Like a Lion
March Comes in like a Lion came out in 2016 and takes inspiration from the homonymous manga written by Chika Umino.
This anime tells the story of Rei Kiriyama, a 17-year-old shogi master who decides to live alone in a Tokyo apartment.
Rei is depressed and isolated from the rest of the world given his dark and sad past, and his status in the shogi world contributes to increasing the pressure he receives.
After meeting a trio of sisters, his life will radically change as they will help him to fight his personal battle.
March Comes in Like Lion is a great example of coping with depression and dealing with your emotions and feelings. It’s an extremely introspective show, with beautifully written characters and incredible depth that rivals many other anime.
Akira is a 1988 Japanese movie based on one of the most famous and important seinen manga ever written. Its author is Katsuhiro Otomo and is set in a dystopian 2019.
In the ’80s, the city of Tokyo has been destroyed by a boy with mysterious psychic powers, and the government is forced to take him into custody as World War III rages on.
In 2019 the Japanese capital has been rebuilt into a new city called Neo-Tokyo and it is riddled with crime, violence and acts of terrorism.
Tetsuo Shima, a member of a criminal gang is starting to develop weird abilities after a mysterious encounter so the government seeks to capture him to prevent another apocalypse.
Akira is one of the greatest cult films of the Japanese medium, one that you can’t miss. It seamlessly combines a dystopian, rotten post-apocalyptic setting where humanity has lost its mind.
It has excellent action sequences that will keep you glued to the screen, a whole host of twists and turns and excellent characters.
3. Ghost in the Shell
Based on the seinen manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell is a work by Mamoru Oshii. This movie is the apotheosis of the thriller genre, examining themes like existentialism and the breakdown of the self.
Technological singularity and the role of innovation are some of the core elements of the philosophy in Ghost in the Shell.
It’s 2029 and the world is almost completely automated. Much of the population consists of individuals who have cybernetic grafts that can enhance their senses and faculties.
One of these is Motoko Kusanagi, and she is part of Section 9 of the police. It will be up to her to solve the case concerning a particular terrorist called the Puppeteer, who operates through cyborgs themselves.
In a world where entirely artificial people exist, can one find one’s own identity? What does living mean? These are some questions that will be touched on during the movie.
2. Maison Ikkoku
Based on a seinen manga by Rumiko Takahashi, Maison Ikkoku is a great classic of the 1980s.
Yusaku Godai, the protagonist of the events, is a young high school student who aspires to enter a prestigious college. To prepare himself best and quietly for the difficult entrance exam, he rents an apartment at the extravagant Maison Ikkoku boarding house.
The boarding house is run by Kyoko Otonashi, an extremely charming woman older than him with whom Yusuke has an immediate love affair.
A groundbreaking work in the romance genre. A must-watch if you are a fan of stories in the genre and in general of the works of Takahashi.
Maison Ikkoku is without the slightest shadow of a doubt one of the milestones of the romance genre that any fan of the genre should watch.
1. Ping Pong The Animation
Ping Pong the Animation has 11 episodes and is an adaptation by Yuasa, who based its remake on the original seinen Spokon manga.
This is not the classic anime about sports, it’s more than that: it will speak to your soul thanks to its deep introspection about the characters.
The animations are really smooth and it is a delight to watch the ping pong matches in this series, even if you may not be a fan of the sport.
The fights take place on more of a psychological and motivational level than a physical one, and that is why you have to give it a chance; this is something that borders on the avant-garde.
The story centers on Tsukimono (Smile) and Hoshino (Peko), childhood friends with a hobby of playing Ping Pong since they were schoolmates in elementary school.
The former plays ping pong to kill time, the latter because he hates to lose and loves the sport. How will they be received by the cold world of competitive Ping Pong?