Seinen manga are series that are created to appeal to males aged between 18 to 40, but honestly, anyone can enjoy them. The stories tend to walk a morally gray line, feature pragmatic romance, graphic violence, and a mature take on sex.
However, a not all seinen manga are mature. Some series feature gratuitous gore and nudity for shock value, which is fine. However, these series feature stories that are a little more grounded, touch on realistic themes, and challenges readers to draw their own conclusions.
Shinmen Takezō was shunned by his village due to his violent nature. After surviving a disastrous military campaign, Takezō becomes a legendary and wanted ronin.
2. Vinland Saga
Thorfinn is the son of one of the Viking’s greatest warriors and is one of the best fighters in a band of mercenaries. However, Thorfinn is not a mercenary for love of battle or plunder, but instead, so he can take revenge on their leader Askeladd. Despite all the planning, Askeladd hatches an ambitious plan that could affect England and drags Thorfinn into it.
In 1982, a mysterious explosion decimates Tokyo and ignites World War III. Fast forward 38 years and the city has been rebuilt as Neo-Tokyo. Underneath the technological sheen and skyscrapers lie vicious biker gangs, poverty, and civil unrest. Tetsuo and Kaneda are affiliated with the same gang but have a fierce rivalry with one another. Desperate to prove himself to Kaneda, Tetsuo pulls a risky stunt during a turf war and is severely injured. However, the incident awakens something in Tetsuo and he is taken by the army to be the newest test subject for the “Akira Project.”
4. Ghost in the Shell
In the future, cybernetic implants have become a normal part of life and robots roam among society, with consciousness being connected to a data stream. Yet, this new technological advancement has given way to cyber-terrorism and hackers that can control a person’s mind. Major Motoko Kusanagi and the Public Security Section 9 combat cyber-terrorism, but a hacker called The Puppeteer challenges Kusanagi’s view of the world.
5. Liar Game
Nao Kanzaki is an honest college girl who receives a mysterious package containing 100 million yen and a note stating she is a contestant in the Lair Game Tournament. The game revolves around obtaining another contestant’s money, with the loser bearing a debt equal to their loss. When Nao’s money is stolen, she asks a con man named Shinichi Akiyama to help her retrieve it. After defeating their first opponent, the duo vows to advance through the tournament to free their opponents from their debt and to defeat the Liar Game organization.
6. Blade of the Immortal
Manji is a swordsman cursed with eternal life. He has no skills outside of killing and devises a plan to regain his mortality: he will kill 1,000 evil men to atone for causing the deaths of 100 good samurai.
7. Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan
Juri Mutou is a pianist who has attempted suicide three times and has grown to resent her mother. Monica, Juri’s aunt, is a member of the clergy at a prison and invites Juri to visit a death row inmate.
Yuu is a death row inmate convicted of murdering three people and has attempted suicide to escape his punishment. He receives letters from Monica as part of a clergy program, but he views the letters as pity. Yuu decides to accept a meeting with Monica so he can request for her to stop sending letters but encounters Juri.
These two people shrouded in depression and suicide begin a new journey to find hope and solace.
Meiko and Taneda have been dating since their college days, but they have no real goals or direction. Meiko has been working as an office lady for the past two years and Taneda works as an illustrator. They earn just enough to pay the rent. One day, Meiko decides to quit her job to find a worthy goal and Taneda decides to reunite with his old bandmates. The couple is prepared for the unpredictable future, no matter what hardships it may bring.
9. Bitter Virgin
Daisuke is a popular high school student who would date any girl, except for Aikawa. He finds her “sweet virgin” annoying and aversion to physical contact offensive. His attitude changes after he accidently learns of Aikawa’s secret; she was sexually abused by her step-father and gave up a child for adoption. Aikawa is not aware that Daisuke knows her secret, but becomes more relaxed around him due to his mysterious compassion.
10. I Am a Hero
35-year-old Hideo Suzuki works as a manga assistant after his own series fails to meet sales goals. His mundane life is filled with frustration due to unfulfilled goals, failed relationships, and hallucinations. However, Hideo’s life changes after learning about a disease that turns people into homicidal maniacs.
Trepanation is the procedure of drilling a hole in the skull as a way to improve blood circulation and to improve skull pressure. It’s also said to bring out a person’s sixth sense. Susumu Nakoshi is a homeless man and agrees to let a medical student perform the procedure in exchange for 700,000 yen.
Kanji is a shy college freshman who decides to join Genshiken, which is a club for otaku. He hopes to become a little more social to quit feeling guilty about being an otaku.
Saki is bewildered by her boyfriend, anime otaku Kousaka, and wishes to drag him out of the club. Thinking otaku culture is for losers, she slowly learns more than she ever thought possible about the various subcultures.
13. Billy Bat
Japanese-American comic book artist Kevin Yamagata draws the popular “Billy Bat” series. Kevin learns that he may have unconsciously copied the character based on a drawing he saw while serving in occupied Japan. He decides to return to Japan to get permission from the original creator so he won’t feel guilty about drawing Billy Bat. However, enters a world of murder, cover-ups, and strange prophecy that can all be traced back to Billy Bat.
Ryo Narushima was a talented student who was about to enter the prestigious Tokyo University. Before setting a path towards success, Ryo murdered his parents and was sent to a reformatory. Instead of being rehabilitated, he was gang raped and took up karate for self-defense. Now a free man, Ryo uses his martial arts skills to participate in deathmatches and to commit heinous crimes.
15. March Comes in Like a Lion
Rei Kiriyama is a 17-year-old shogi player. Rei lives on his own, due to a combination of his earnings and his strained relationship with his adoptive family. Once expected to be the best shogi player in Japan, Rei’s career has entered a slump due to the emotional strain he has with his family and fellow high school classmates.
16. Space Brothers
One night in 2006, brothers Mutta and Hibito saw what they believed to be a UFO heading to the moon. This event inspired them to become astronauts.
In 2025, Hibito becomes an astronaut and is heading to the moon. Mutta, on the other hand, chose to work in the auto industry. But, a violent altercation with his boss may have destroyed Mutta’s career. He takes this as a sign to chase his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, just like his younger brother.
17. Until Death Do Us Part
Haruka is a young girl with precognition abilities and is kidnapped by a powerful organization. While on the run, she meets a blind swordsman named Hijikata and makes a deal with him: Hijikata must protect Haruka until death them part. In turn, he and his contacts can use her ability to defeat mercenaries and other assassins.
18. Oyasumi Punpun
Punpun is a naive boy whose world slowly begins to change after meeting a girl named Aiko. Thinking first love will be easy, Punpun learns that relationships are a tricky thing. And after witnessing his father abuse his mother, he learns to never idolize anyone.
Dr. Tenma is a renowned Japanese brain surgeon working in Germany. He is respected by his peers, has a beautiful fiancé, and is about to get a promotion. But all of that changes when he chooses to operate on a boy named Johan after he was shot, which is a decision that causes the mayor to die. Little did Tenma know that Johan was a psychopath who is on a bloody crusade.
20. 20th Century Boys
The 20th century is ending and people all over the world are anxious that the world is changing for the worse. Kenji lives a quiet life working as a convenience store manager but learns that a friend has committed suicide. On top of this, a new cult is gaining notoriety…and that they may be targeting Kenji and his remaining friends.
What are your favorite mature manga series?