“Seinen” is used to describe a male demographic between the ages of 18 to 40. Anime targeted towards the seinen crowd can include a number of other genres. The stories can be morally grey, romances are more pragmatic, action is more graphic, and the humor is more adult.
The general way to spot a seinen series is to look for an older lead, a realistic art style, and a more serious story.
“Mushi”: the most basic forms of life in the world. They exist without any goals or purposes aside from simply “being.” They are beyond the shackles of the words “good” and “evil.” Mushi can exist in countless forms and are capable of mimicking things from the natural world such as plants, diseases, and even phenomena like rainbows.
This is, however, just a vague definition of these entities that inhabit the vibrant world of Mushishi, as to even call them a form of life would be an oversimplification. Detailed information on Mushi is scarce because the majority of humans are unaware of their existence.
Dr. Kenzo Tenma is a renowned young brain surgeon of Japanese descent working in Europe. Highly lauded by his peers as one of the great young minds that will revolutionize the field, he is blessed with a beautiful fiancé and is on the cusp of a high promotion in the hospital he works at. However, all of that is about to change with one critical decision that Dr. Tenma faces one night—whether to save the life of a young child or that of the town’s mayor. Despite being pressured by his superiors to perform surgery on the mayor, his morals force him to perform the surgery on the young child, saving his life and forfeiting the mayor’s. All of a sudden, Dr. Tenma’s world is turned upside down by his decision leading to the loss of everything he previously had.
3. Ping Pong The Animation
Makoto Tsukimoto (nicknamed Smile) is a quiet high-schooler who’s been friends with the loud and energetic Yutaka Hoshino (nicknamed Peco) since childhood. They’re both in the local table tennis club and both have a natural talent for it, although Smile’s personality always prevents him from winning against Peco. The club teacher, however, notices Smile’s talent and tries to make him gain some sportive tenacity.
4. Hellsing Ultimate
Hellsing, a secret organization of the British government, has long been battling supernatural threats to keep the people safe from creatures of the night. The current leader, Integra Wingates Hellsing controls her own personal army to eliminate the undead beings, but even her highly trained soldiers pale in comparison to her most trusted vampire exterminator, a man by the name of Alucard, who is actually a powerful vampire himself. Along with Integra’s mysterious butler and Alucard’s new vampire minion, Seras Victoria, The Hellsing Organization must face not only regular ghouls and vampires, but a rivaling secret organization from the Vatican, and Millennium, an enigmatic group of madmen spawned by a certain war over 50 years ago… A bloody battle between monsters is about to begin. The dead are dancing, and all hell is singing…
5. Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin
Seven teenagers in 1955 have to learn to live together in the same hold in the reformatory of Shio. Confined in a hall where suffering and humiliation are daily, they are waiting for a ray of hope in a dark, incarcerating world. The story follows their life together and how they move on afterwards.
6. Space Brothers
Mutta’s life has hit rock bottom. He’s been fired, blackballed from his profession and now he’s had to move back in with his parents. Meanwhile, his kid brother Hibito has been literally riding a rocket and training to be an astronaut. The same career Mutta once dreamed of. So, is it ever too late to go after your dreams? Through a little coercing and a bit of covert activity, Mutta’s family and friends can get his resume on the right desk, but from that point on it will be up to Mutta himself. Does he have what it takes to turn his life around and put his footprint on the moon? The first step on the highway to the stars is always the hardest, and in a job where crash and burn isn’t just a euphemism, it will be the biggest risk Mutta’s ever taken. But with the best support team ever, maybe he’ll find what he needs to rekindle the spark inside him and light the biggest candle of them all!
During the early 1930s in Chicago, the transcontinental train, Flying Pussyfoot, is starting its legendary journey that will leave a trail of blood all over the country. At the same time in New York, the ambitious scientist Szilard and his unwilling aide Ennis, are looking for missing bottles of the immortality elixir. In addition, a war between the mafia groups is getting worse. On board the Advena Avis, in 1711, alchemists are about to learn the price of immortality.
8. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
In the not so distant future, mankind has advanced to a state where complete body transplants from flesh to machine is possible. This allows for great increases in both physical and cybernetic prowess and blurring the lines between the two worlds. However, criminals can also make full use of such technology, leading to new and sometimes, very dangerous crimes. In response to such innovative new methods, the Japanese Government has established Section 9, an independently operating police unit which deals with such highly sensitive crimes.
In feudal Japan, evil spirits known as mononoke plague both households and the countryside, leaving a trail of fear in their wake. One mysterious person has the power to slay the mononoke where they stand; he is known only as the Medicine Seller, and he vanquishes the spirits using the power of his Exorcism Sword. However, in order to draw his sword he must first understand the Form, Truth and Reason of the mononoke. Armed with a sharp wit and keen intellect, the Medicine Seller wanders from place to place, striking down the evil spirits in his wake.
10. One Outs
The story begins when Hiromichi Kojima, the star batter of the fictional Lycaons in Japan’s Pacific League, heads to the southern Japanese island of Okinawa to train and bring himself out of a slump. There, he meets Toua Tokuchi, a 134-kmph (83 miles per hour) pitcher and the undisputed king of a gambling form of baseball called “One Out.” At Kojima’s urging, Tokuchi signs up with the Lycaons under an unusual contract: he gets 5,000,000 yen (about US$46,000) for every out he pitches, but loses 50,000,000 yen (US$460,000) for every run he gives up.
11. Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
Kaiji Itou is a drifting deadbeat who releases his frustration with life through vandalism. One day he learns that by unthinkingly co-signing on a former workmate’s shady loan he has made himself liable for a crippling amount of compound interest.
The debt collectors offer Kaiji a deal: rather than slaving to pay off the loan for decades, he can take part in a special competition and clear it all in one night. This is his entry into a series of fiendish underground gambles.
12. Black Lagoon
Okajima Rokuro is a Japanese businessman in a town full of Japanese businessmen. His normal day consists of social drinking with clients and being kicked around by his bosses. He finally gets a break though, as he’s sent by his company to the tropical seas of Eastern China to deliver a disc. But his boat gets hijacked by a band of mercenaries hired to retrieve the disc. Rock (as he is newly dubbed by his captors) catches the interest of the only female merc Revy as she thinks he’s worth a ransom, taking him hostage. However, the disc that was stolen has a terrible secret that’s unknown to Rock, which causes massive confusion and chaos for both him and his kidnappers.
13. Berserk: The Golden Age Arc
Guts, an immensely strong sword-for-hire, has little direction in his life, simply fighting one battle after the next. However, this all changes suddenly when he meets and is bested by Griffith, a beautiful and charismatic young man who leads the Band of the Hawk mercenary army. After Guts joins the Band and the relationship between the two men begins to blossom, Casca, the tough, lone swordswoman in the Band of the Hawk, struggles to accept Guts and the influence he has on the world around her. While the two men begin to fight together, Griffith continues to rise to power, all seemingly in order to reach his mysterious, prophesied goals.
14. ef: A Tale of Memories
On Christmas Eve, Hiro Hirono’s bike is stolen by a girl chasing a thief who stole her purse. He gives chase and finds her unconscious and his bike ruined. The girl, Miyako Miyamura, soon awakes and the two begin to talk. After making sure she is okay, they end up spending Christmas Eve together. Later, Hiro finds out Miyako attends the same school as him and they begin to spend more and more time together, Miyako developing affections for Hiro. Kei Shindou—Hiro’s childhood friend who has long held a crush on him—begins to become jealous and a love triangle follows.
15. Tatami Galaxy
When a college dropout stops for a late night bite at a mysterious ramen stand, he crosses paths with a self-proclaimed deity of matrimony. This bizarre meeting sends the young man hurtling through a horrifying flashback to his not-so-glorious college days when the influence of a cruel new friend turned him from a hopeless romantic into a mischievous “black cupid.”
In the year 2075, mankind has reached a point where journeying between Earth, the moon and the space stations is part of daily life. However, the progression of technology in space has also resulted in the problem of the space debris, which can cause excessive and even catastrophic damage to spacecrafts and equipment. This is the story of Technora’s Debris Collecting section, its EVA worker, Hachirota “Hachimaki” Hoshino, and the newcomer to the group, Ai Tanabe.
17. Ergo Proxy
After the explosion of the methane hydrate layer, the remaining members of mankind are forced to live in isolated domed cities scattered across the arid and inhospitable planet. They live in a controlled society and are assisted in daily life by autonomous robots called AutoReivs. In one of these cities, Romdo, Inspector Re-l Mayer, granddaughter of the regent, leads an investigation concerning AutoReivs that have gone mad after being infected by the Cogito virus. In the process, she comes in contact with a monster called Proxy.
18. Mardock Scramble
Rune Balot is a down-and-out teen prostitute in Mardock City. One day, she’s picked up by an ambitious casino manager named Shell who gives her everything she could want. Renewed by a false innocence, a false past, and now the false life Shell has given her, Balot feels grateful. However, she can’t help but be curious about why he’s done so much for her, so she does some research about his past on a computer. This turns out to be a mistake which will change her life greatly. When Shell finds out what she’s done, he attempts to burn her to death by blowing up her car.
In a man-made underground society, descendants of a banished generation vie for control of the crumbling city of Lux. Ichise, an orphan turned prize fighter, loses a leg and an arm to satisfy an enraged fight promoter. On the brink of death he is taken in by a young woman doctor and used as a guinea pig for the next evolution of Texhnolyze. With his new limbs, Ichise is taken under the wing of Oonishi, a powerful leader of Organ, an organization with some hold on Lux.
20. Serial Experiments Lain
Lain Iwakura appears to be an ordinary girl, with almost no experience with computers. Yet the sudden suicide of a schoolmate, and a number of strange occurrences, conspire to pull Lain into the world of the Wired, where she gradually learns that nothing is what it seems to be… not even Lain herself.
21. Knights of Sidonia
It’s been a thousand years since the Gauna, a strange alien race with no known method of communication, destroyed the solar system. A portion of humanity managed to escape using enormous “seed ships” like the Sidonia, which have allowed them to maintain the population while drifting through space. Nagate Tanikaze is a young man who has been raised deep in the bowels of the ship. When he goes into training to pilot the huge robotic weapons known as Gardes, Nagate is entrusted with piloting the legendary unit known as Tsugumori. Nagate and his fellow pilots put their lives on the line against the Gauna, in the ultimate battle for the survival of humanity!
The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality. This information is recorded and processed, and the term “Psycho-Pass” refers to a standard used to measure an individual’s being. The story centers around the “enforcement officer” Shinya Kougami, who is tasked with managing crime in such a world.
In the future, it is possible to quantitatively measure a person’s emotions, desires, and every inclination. In this way, it is also possible to measure a person’s criminal tendency factor, which is used to judge criminals.
In the future, personal computers have developed into “Persocoms,” mobile computers that look like human beings. Hideki Motosuwa, a prep school student, desperately wants to buy a Persocom but cannot afford to. One day, he finds a Persocom that has been thrown away and decides to keep it. When he turns on the Persocom, all she can say is “Chii” so he decides to name her that. After a while, it starts to become apparent that Chii is more than an average Persocom. Having much better performance, it seems that Chii might be a “Chobit,” a type of advanced Persocom rumored to have independent thought.
24. Darker than Black
In Tokyo, an impenetrable field known as “Hell’s Gate” appeared ten years ago. At the same time, psychics who wield paranormal powers at the cost of their conscience also emerged. Hei is one of the most powerful of these psychic agents, and along with his blind associate, Yin, works for one of the many rival agencies vying to unlock the mysteries of Hell’s Gate.
A ruthless arms dealer on a quixotic quest for world peace. A child soldier born into chaotic conflict. Their lives will intertwine as they journey together through the seedy underbelly of the world’s arms market.
What are some other Seinen anime you’ve watched? Share your recommendations in the comments!