The fantastic thing about anime is that there’s something for every member of the audience, even crusty old anime veterans like myself. Seinen anime is generally aimed at older men and often times (but not always) features more adult characters and situations. That doesn’t mean that the entire genre is filled with nothing but non-stop blood, violence, and T&A. There are several fantastic series from this genre that feature amazing stories and memorable characters that are perfectly suitable for beginners.
Considered by many to be one of the most underrated anime titles ever, this 99 episode dramedy is all about chasing after your dreams, no matter how many obstacles are put in your way.
The stars of this series are two brothers, Mutta and Hibito Namba. Ever since they were children and saw what they believe to be a UFO, they’ve dreamed of becoming astronauts. As adults, however, the only one who has achieved this dream is the younger brother Hibito. Mutta, on the other hand, starts the series off by losing his job as a car designer and being blackballed from the industry. Hearing this, Hibito has their mother send Mutta’s resume to JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). This starts Mutta’s journey to become an astronaut and escape the shadow cast by his younger brother.
Space Brothers is a journey well worth every single step. Filled with both emotional highs and lows while sprinkling in one of the most intense story arcs in the history of anime, Space Brothers is brilliant in a way that doesn’t happen very often.
ERASED follows a 29-year-old man named Satoru who works part-time and has no actual plan for his future. What makes him different, however, is that he can involuntarily jump back in time several minutes, which he uses to save lives or just stop tragedy from occurring.
One night after he is accused of killing a family member, but before he can be apprehended, his power sends him back in time eighteen years to grade school, around the time that a classmate of his disappeared. Now not only must Satoru unravel the mystery of his classmate, but also the mystery behind his power.
ERASED tells a powerful story in only one cour, which can be very hard to do. Filled with twists and turns, this is a psychological drama that will keep you guessing.
The Rising of the Shield Hero
One of the more divisive series to come out within the last couple of years, The Rising of the Shield Hero starts rough but gets better as you progress. In this isekai series, four young men from different realities are summoned to a fantasy world in order to become their legendary heroes. One of these young men, Naofumi, gets saddled with the title Shield Hero, which is the least respected of the four heroes. To make matters worse, he is set up by a conniving woman to be accused of sexual assault, which is a grave crime in this world. Shunned and ostracized, Naofumi must figure out how to survive in this new world with no support to speak of.
Shield Hero is a challenging series at times because there are so many unlikeable characters scattered throughout its run. That didn’t stop it from becoming a runaway success, however, and get green-lit for two additional seasons at once, which is something that rarely, if ever, happens.
An office worker’s life is turned upside down while on a business trip in SE Asia. Kidnapped by a group of mercenaries and left for dead by his employers, Rokuro Okajima ditches his old life, takes on the moniker “Rock”, and joins the Lagoon Company as their newest sailor.
Black Lagoon is a mad fantasy come to life. How many of us have dreamed of ditching our dreary everyday lives and signing on for a life filled with endless excitement and adventure? That’s what Rock finds in his new life. This series is more than just endless gunfire, however, over the course of multiple seasons and an OVA series, we get to know the members of Lagoon Company and what brought them to work in SE Asia.
Laid Back Camp
A series about a group of high school girls who go camping. That’s the show.
One thing that surprises people about the seinen genre is just how many iyashikei (healing anime) titles are scattered among it, and that includes this one.
The main character of this series is a high school girl named Nadeshiko who passes out one night in the wilderness. When she wakes up, she’s in an unfamiliar place with a girl that she doesn’t know. It turns out that this girl is named Rin, and she saved Nadeshiko while out camping by herself.
This is one of the best iyashikei series to come out last decade. While I wouldn’t say it’s the very best, this is a worthy series for those who aren’t looking for something with lots of internal or external conflicts.
A yakuza comedy with a twist, Hinamatsuri follows a yakuza named Nitta who until the start of this series was living a leisurely lifestyle free from major stresses and hassles. One day, though, a girl named Hina appears in his life and uses her telekinetic powers to force him into letting her stay with him.
Airing in 2018, Hinamatsuri is a screwball comedy from start to finish but still manages to throw in some real heart along the way to its conclusion. What makes this series strong, however, is its ability to tell multiple stories and see them throughout to the end.
If you had the chance to relive a single year from high school, would you do it? That’s the question posed to 27-year-old Arata who quit his job after only three months. Now, with his parents threatening to cut off his allowance, he feels as though he has hit rock bottom. That’s when he is approached by a man named Ryo who says that he can give Arata a drug that will make him look like a teenager again and he’ll be able to relive a year of his high school life.
ReLife will either make you wish you could be in the shoes of the main character or it will remind you why you never ever want to be in the same position with very little in the way of middle ground. This is a fun series about second chances and appreciating what you have when you have it.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
A series so good that it won a Crunchyroll award for Best Comedy!
In this slice of life comedy, our main character is a jaded adult woman who works as a coder in a large company. One night while drunk, she stumbles across an injured dragon and invites it to stay with her. When the dragon shows up on her doorstep, the next day ready to take her up on that offer, the woman named Kobayashi has no real choice but to make good on her end of the bargain.
A bittersweet entry onto the list because of the death of the original director in the Kyoto Animation arson attack, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is just filled to the brim with memorable characters and fantastic one-liners that will have you giggling to yourself for days after you finish it.
Girls’ Last Tour
Another iyashikei, Girls’ Last Tour features two lone soldiers and very few others throughout its run. Throughout the run of the series, the audience will follow these two women as they search out a barren wasteland of a world and work their way ever higher through a literal labyrinth.
This moeblob series is one that flew under quite a few radars when it first aired but has since found quite a vocal audience who want to see more. There are lots of little things in this series that make for enjoyable viewing (my personal favorite is the episode where they discover beer).
Emma: A Victorian Romance
For those who don’t want to deal with the usual anime aesthetic, there’s this period drama. Taking place in Victorian England when social classes were still rigidly enforced, a young man named William from the upper class falls in love with a maid named Emma. In a world where such relationships are frowned upon, the pair must figure out how to navigate these tricky waters.
Emma: A Victorian Romance is a gift from the anime gods. An often heartbreaking story about true love trying to triumph in the face of adversity, this series will pull you in in a way that stories about modern times just can’t do it as well.
There you go, ten seinen anime which are perfectly suited for beginners to sink their teeth into!