Best seinen anime — top 21 of all time

Are you looking for anime with action, romance, comedy, and simply everything while also having a mature storyline? Then, check out our recommendations of top seinen anime.

Many people tend to confuse seinen anime with shounen anime. The difference between them is that seinen anime is aimed at young adults between the ages of 20s to 50s. Although it has lots of romance, cool fights, and humor in it which makes it very similar to shounen, its storyline or content differs in maturity level. Hence, we made a top list where we picked out the best seinen anime so you can easily choose the best ones for you.

Seinen anime can be of any genre such as sports, action, comedy, etc. The genre of the anime isn’t what puts it in the seinen category but it’s the content. The background of the plot many times covers serious themes such as politics, injustice, etc., that can be understood and related better by young adults.

If you’re also in the mood for some romantic anime recommendations, then you should surely check out our list of best romance anime. Can’t get over how beautiful black-haired women in anime are? Then you’re going to love our list of top black hair anime girls.

Now let’s get started with the top 20 Seinen anime which would be life-changing for you.

1. March Comes in Like a Lion

Credit: Shaft

The list starts with one of the best slice-of-life and seinen anime ever made. This anime gives puts light on important issues in the simplest way possible. It follows the story of Rei Kiriyama, a professional shogi player. He is under a lot of stress because of the shogi community and lives on his own.

Rei then moves to Tokyo and starts living with the Kawamoto sisters who live with his father. These girls have very charismatic personalities. They start to look after Rei who’s not so used to having family and friends. This anime shows how depression can affect even the most successful of people and how love and care from family can help come out of it.

2. Mushishi

Credit: Artland

Yes, the anime’s name is so fun to say. Just like the anime is fun to watch. Mushishi is an anime that would calm your mind and soul. The plot focuses on the life and ways we can understand and appreciate it better. Everyone values different things so there is no standard of a “perfect life”.

“Mushi” means basic life forms in the world. These beings exist purposelessly in the world and it is unidentified if they are good or bad. However, they can mimic different things from nature such as plants, diseases, and even rainbows which are natural phenomena. Mushishi is those who research these life forms and the reason for their existence. The main character of this anime is Ginko who investigates any existence or cause related to Mushi.

3. Monster

Monster is an anime that would keep your mouth open with the surprises that come in the plot. Although some people call the anime a bit slow, the anime’s pace is best for creating a masterpiece and handling the brilliant storyline. It is a psychological thriller with lots of action and violence. The anime shows the good and bad sides of humans. That a human can be unforgiving yet kind at the same time. Monster has a complex character and storyline but is very enjoyable.

The anime follows the story of an elite neurosurgeon called Dr. Kenzou Tenma, who decides to perform brain surgery on a young boy over the town’s mayor. Consequently, it leads to ramifications for him such as losing his social standing. Mysteriously, the town’s mayor dies, and Kenzou becomes the director. However, things take a turn when it’s found the boy, he saved is a sociopath who is now after Dr. Kenzou Tenma. He then takes the responsibility of ending the boy’s killing spree which takes the anime in a whole different direction.

4. Cowboy Bebop

Credit: Sunrise

There are hardly any anime fans who haven’t heard of the legendary anime, Cowboy Bebop. Cowboy Bebop is a classic seinen anime that remains one of the best even years after its release. This anime is different from other sci-fi anime and there still hasn’t one been made like it. It is a mix of sci-fi with a western theme.

The anime is set in the year 2071 when the earth has become uninhabitable, and humans have resided on different planets. The protagonists of the are bounty hunters called “Cowboys”. The team rides on a spaceship called Bebop and together they work to keep the peace maintained in the galaxy. Each character has a background story of their own and the anime takes the audience through an exciting adventure throughout the space.

5. Vinland Saga

Credit: Wit Studio

Vinland Saga is a Viking story that is adapted exceptionally well, has a great storyline and jaw-dropping fighting scenes. It was released recently in 2019 and fans were very happy and surprised to see the way they made it. It is filled with violence and brutality but accurately depicts wars and conflicts.

The anime follows the story of a young boy, Thorfinn, who sees his father die, and due to the circumstances, he has to become a mercenary and join the group of those who murdered his father. However, Thorfinn doesn’t become an all-good hero like other characters of this story, he instead becomes a bloodthirsty person from being an innocent boy. There is a twist in the story that Thorfinn is mentored by Askeladd, the murderer of his father. Thorfinn vowed to himself to take revenge against him but they both continue working together. The anime focuses on themes such as sovereignty and religion.

6. One Punch Man

Credit: Madhouse / J.C.Staff

One-Punch Man came like a sudden bomb into the anime world and astonished everyone. The reason behind this is that most anime is made from manga, so people have expectations about the anime. However, One Punch Man wasn’t adapted from a manga but rather from a webcomic from an artist called ONE. The artist wasn’t that well known either but with this anime, he gained so much recognition because he gave the world one of the best superhero action anime ever.

The anime is set in a world where there are superheroes and villains. Saitama was an ordinary man with no aim in life, but one day he started training so hard that he ended up becoming so powerful he could defeat anyone with just one punch. Saitama starts becoming bored of being a superhero because every opponent is “too easy” for him and he’s unable to have a single decent fight. The animation of this is so beautiful and the fight scenes are amazing. It is a must-watch anime for every anime fan. It is a short series so beginners can easily start with this.

7. Ghost in the Shell

Credit: Production I.G

A list of seinen anime will be incomplete without Ghost in the Shell. This animated movie became so famous that it went on to have multiple movies, video games, and TV series made of it afterward. Ghost in the Shell became gained so much popularity at an international level that even the Hollywood movie, The Matrix took many concepts from it. The reason behind it is the anime’s interesting plot, complex characters, and excellent artwork which has made it a seinen masterpiece.

The anime is set in the year 2029, when technology has significantly advanced, and people can attach robotic limbs to their bodies to gain power. The protagonist, Motoko Kusanagi is after a criminal called “The Puppet Master” who hacks into the minds of cyborg-human hybrids. As she investigates the man, she begins to question her own life. This is an anime that will take you on a whole different journey of action and emotions.

8.  Parasyte: The Maxim

Credit: Madhouse

Parasyte: The Maxim is an action and horror anime adapted by studio Madhouse. It has a very unique storyline and the superpowers the main character has in none like others. It’s an anime filled with action and thrill which would keep you on the edge. The anime is horrifying yet impressive at the same time. Although it can be extremely gross at times and may make you get nightmares about an eye-popping out of your thumb.

As the name suggests, the main enemies in this anime are parasites. They suddenly infiltrate the earth and reach the brains of humans to take control over them. They can take control and make the host body of any form so they can feed on prey. Shinichi Izumi, a high school student becomes the victim of this parasite. However, the parasite is unable to take control of his brain and instead ends up on his right hand. The parasite named Migi is unable to relocate and has to rely on Shinichi for his life. Hence, the parasite and Shinichi have to coexist and defend themselves from other hostile parasites.

9. Hellsing Ultimate

Credit: Satelight / Madhouse / Graphinica

The first vampire anime in this list is the all-time fan favorite Hellsing Ultimate. Hellsing Ultimate inspired the creation of many vampire anime afterward. The anime has a dark, gothic theme full of blood, guns, vampires, and lots of cool fights. But the heroes are almost as scary as the villains so you’re in for a crazy ride with this anime.

Hellsing Ultimate is set in a world where vampires are a threat to human existence. The only ones who can stop them are the Hellsing organization. The organization’s head is Hellsing who has the biggest weapon, the vampire Alucard. A loyal vampire servant who fights against the vampires. He even has his servant, Seras Victoria. Hellsing Ultimate shows that even the best of help could come from your worst enemy.

10. Erased

Credit: A-1 Pictures

Erased produced by one of the best animation studios, A-1 Pictures is one of the most popular seinen anime ever made. It took the anime community by storm after its release because everyone was so surprised over how good it is and the amazing storyline. The anime follows the story of Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old who has a mysterious ability called “Revival” which allows him to go to the past and prevent many deaths.

However, things take a turn when he is wrongly accused of killing someone close to him. He is then sent back 18 years in the past and he realizes that the tragedies in the future might be related to the killing of his classmate in school. The anime follows Satoru’s journey of finding out the secret behind the accidents while also trying to save the ones he cares about in the present time.

11. Black Lagoon

Credit: Madhouse

Another classic action anime on the list that fans are simply unable to forget about. Black Lagoon is animated by studio Madhouse so you can expect the animation to be brilliant. Moreover, the anime has only 2 seasons and a total of 26 episodes so if you’re looking for a short anime with top-notch fights and badass characters, Black Lagoon will be the one for you.

The anime is set in a city in Thailand called Roanapur, where corruption and crimes are at their peak. A Japanese businessman, Rokurou Okajima goes to South Asia for a business trip. His life turns around as he gets kidnapped by a group of mercenaries in Roanapur called Black Lagoon. The group had decided to use him to get money from his company in his exchange but that fails. So, Rokurou ends up joining the group. Rokurou then has to adapt to this sudden drastic change in life which will become full of bloodshed and violence.  He has to suddenly change from a decent businessman to s violent mercenary.

12. Land of the Lustrous

Credit: Orange

Land of the Lustrous is a short anime of only 12 episodes. But in each episode, there is action, drama, and mystery. Each character of this anime has a unique personality. It is a heartwarming anime which shows focuses on friendship and care for others. Land of the Lustrous is an anime that almost anyone would enjoy. Due to its unique storyline, the anime is very unpredictable.

The anime is set in a time when the world has become uninhabited. 28 gems which are crystalline organisms are sent into the world to fight against Lunarians. Every gem is given different roles. Phosphophyllite is a gem given the role to compile an encyclopedia. Although she wants to do an effort to help her friend she is too weak. The anime focuses on Phos’s journey and determination while showing the situation of the world.

13. Rainbow

Credit: Madhouse

Rainbow is a suspenseful anime that would take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. It is iconic in every way. It has a unique plot, each character is different in its way, and the music is really good. This is a must-watch seinen anime for all seinen lovers. It gives the audience an experience like none other anime.

The anime is set in the year 1955 when five teenagers, arrested for serious crimes are sent to one cell. There they meet Rokurouta Sakuragi, an older inmate. They develop strong bonds with each other and Rokurouta develops a promise amongst them that they will meet each other in the outside world once their sentences are finished. This gives all of them hope. However, their lives are made miserable because of a prison guard who has a grudge against Rokurouta. The cellmates struggle to live through their sentences in such brutality. But even if they go back to the outside world, their lives will not be the same as they were before.

14. Psycho-Pass

Credit: Production I.G

Psycho-Pass is a sci-fi anime produced by Production I.G. It has a lot of action and thrill in it, but it focuses on important issues such as injustice in the name of justice and corruption in society. It also tells that one must logically think of everything and not blindly follow what is happening.

The anime is set in the 22nd century where each citizen in Japan has their mental state examined for the level of criminal intentions. This is known as Psycho-Pass which tells the mental criminal possibility with a numerical. This determines the person’s all living rights and even decides if they get to live or not. The protagonist is Akane Tsunemori, a girl with a strong sense of justice. She soon realizes this system is corrupt and begins questioning justice.

15. Berserk

Credit: OLM, Inc.

Berserk was released in 1997 and although it’s been criticized for its animation style, it remains as one of the best seinen anime ever because of its exceptionally good storyline, characters, and fights. Berserk is not just an anime, it is a whole experience on a different level. Although there is much more violence and gore in Berserk, it is still a dark fantasy anime that has no other anime similar to it.

Berserk follows the story of a mercenary called Guts, also known as the dark swordsman. He does jobs for money but leaves a group soon afterward. However, one day he is ambushed by a group and he defeats most of its members. Griffith, the leader of Band of Hawk, challenges him in a duel and defeats him easily. The two battle once again and Guts loses the fight and joins the Band of Hawk. Soon, Guts become one of the group’s commanders and its second strongest member. The two fight together against difficult enemies. However, a threat is about to approach Guts which would change his life forever. The story twists in such a way that no one could have imagined what is to come.

16. Tokyo Ghoul

Credit: Pierrot

Tokyo Ghoul is one hell of a crazy anime where there is a lot of action but the characters are many insane. If you dare to watch Tokyo Ghoul, be sure to know that there are many gory and torture scenes in the anime. However, the storyline of the anime is brilliant and there is so much character development.

The anime follows the story of a bookworm student called Ken Kaneki. He is an introvert and is delighted when a beautiful woman called Rize Kamishiro takes an interest in him. They go out on a date together but things turn upside down and Rize attempts to devour Kaneki. She is a ghoul and ghoul eat humans. However, Rize accidentally dies during the process and Kaneki is taken to the hospital in an emergency. The doctors implant Rize’s organs in him and so Kaneki gets the power of a Ghoul. Ever since then, Kaneki’s torture and difficulty in adapting to his new self begin.

17. Dorohedoro

Credit: MAPPA

Dorohedoro came out recently in 2020 and is a short anime of only 20 minutes. But it deserves a spot on this list because of its exceptional storyline and how well it has been executed in the anime. The animation is excellent since it is by studio MAPPA. Dorohedoro is a unique anime as it blends the genres of action, comedy, and horror, all in one place.

“Hole” is a city full of unlawful activities and disorder. The denizens of the hole are used by sorcerers for conducting different experiments and mutilating them. A caiman is a man whose head was turned into a reptile’s head by a sorcerer and he has lost old memories. He hunts sorcerers in the hole to find the one who put this curse on him. He is the only existence on whom sorcery does not work. A strong sorcerer known as En sends his “cleaners” to kill Caiman.

The mystery behind Caiman’s identity leads to a war between the sorcerer’s world and the hole.

18. Bungou Stray Dogs

Credit: Bones

Bungou Stray Dogs is an anime with lots of amazing characters with unique superpowers, eccentric personalities and there is a lot of character development. The plot is built on each character so it would be much enjoyed by viewers who get attached to characters. Although characters with superpowers sound cliché, Bungou Stray Dogs is not cliché. The story is very well executed and there is a lot of action and comedy which makes the anime very enjoyable.

It follows the story of Nakajima Atsushi who is kicked out of his orphanage and is starving to death when he encounters two strange men, Dazai Osuma and Kunikida Doppo. The two introduce themselves as men from “Armed Detective Agency” which solves crimes that the police cannot. Atsushi begins to accompany the two in helping them find a tiger that terrorizes people in the night.

In the city of Yokohama, some people are Bungo, which means those that have superpowers. The Armed Detective Agency finds and handles those who use their superpowers for bad purposes. The anime follows the journey of Atsushi and the rest members of the agency.

19. Ping Pong The Animation

Credit: Tatsunoko Production

Finally, an exception to the seinen anime list, which is a sports anime. A person doesn’t have to be interested in sports to watch it because this anime is focused on a lot more than sports. It is an anime that focuses on perseverance, friendship, and ambition. It has scenes that would make you jump from your seat out of excitement.

The anime follows the story of two friends, Makoto Tsukimoto and Yutaka Hoshino. Yutaka has the ambition of becoming the best table tennis player in the world. Makoto and Yutaka, also nicknamed Smile and Peco, always fight together. They set on the path to achieving their dream by participating in the Inter high championship. The anime follows their exciting journey filled with challenges and goosebumps.

20. Space Brothers

Credit: A-1 Pictures

Space Brothers is a long 99 episode series animated by A-1 Pictures. The title indicates the anime is about space and brothers, but it is not as straightforward as it sounds. Space Brothers is a sci-fi, slice-of-life anime that shows how life does not always turn out how we dream of them to be and that achieving dreams your dreams is not always an easy journey.

It follows the story of Mutta Nanba and his younger brother Hibito Nunba. After seeing a UFO together in childhood, they promise to each other that Mutta will step on the moon and Hibito will step on Mars. However, life doesn’t turn out the way expected as years later, Mutta is working in an automotive company, and Hibito is the first man to step on the moon.

But the story takes a turn when Mutta leaves his job and gets an opportunity to become an astronaut. The anime shows very accurate details about space and astronauts. It is a well-written and well-animated anime which makes it worth watching.

21. Fate/Zero

Credit: Studio Deen

One can get a bit confused on the watch order when it comes to starting the Fate series. If you’re one of them, starting to watch from Fate/Zero would be a good choice. The anime series has a lot of sequels and alternate world stories so if you love the series, you’ll have the option to watch more. The animation is done by studio Ufotable so of course, that means the animation is great. Fate/Zero has an amazing plot, strong characters and is packed with a lot of action and unforgettable fight scenes which look ten times better because of the animation.

Fate/Zero features seven mages and their heroic spirits whom they summon. These seven mages do fights against each other to get their hands on Holy Grail, a piece of magical equipment that has the power to grant any wish. This anime should be watched before the Fate/Stay night series because it is 10 years before the events in that anime. Fate/Zero shows the selfishness of each character and how far everyone is willing to get for their benefit. It’s an anime filled with bloodshed so keep your heart strong while it.

You can relax and watch any of these seinen anime and each of them will hopefully provide you the entertainment experience you want. In case you’re looking for more fun reads, hop onto our list of best cats in anime.