The Best Seinen Anime to Watch in 2023

The Best Seinen Anime
Credit: A-1 Pictures

The Best Seinen Anime
Credit: A-1 Pictures

Seinen anime is an often-overlooked category that gets overshadowed by the widely popular shounen anime. So, in no particular order, here's a list of the best seinen anime that are still worth watching in 2023.

While marketed mostly towards adult men, seinen works are ideal for adult audiences of all genders who enjoy shorter and more mature works that cover a variety of topics.

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  1. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War

    We begin the list with a rather unconventional one that most people don’t consider to belong in the demographic we’re discussing here.

    Surprisingly, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is seinen, proving that not all seinen works need to be gloomy or have older male protagonists.

    Kaguya-sama is light-hearted and fun for the most part, but the many intertextual references and complex mind games – not to mention the dark elements introduced later on – make the show ideal for anyone who wants something a bit deeper, but still entertaining and occasionally silly.

    RELATED: Will There Be a Season 4 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War?

  2. My Dress-Up Darling

    Like Kaguya-sama, My Dress-Up Darling is a high school anime, so it’s not one you’d normally consider as seinen, but there’s always a nostalgic quality about school anime, given that school is regarded in Japan as a carefree, fun chapter of life.

    Fans have fallen in love with Wakana Gojo, a doll craftsman, and Marin, an aspiring cosplayer, who end up collaborating with heart-warming effects!

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  3. Tokyo Ghoul

    Tokyo Ghoul has some shounen elements, being about a formerly ordinary boy who receives a strange power. But in many ways, it’s a tragic deconstruction of this trope.

    The circumstances around Kaneki’s transformations are very dark and cause him to struggle.

    The show, in general, follows a loveable but more mature cast of characters that are still enduring several years after the show’s original run.

    READ MORE: Do Kaneki and Touka Get Together?

  4. Monster

    Monster is one of the most iconic mystery anime out there. With a realistic, slightly gritty tone, it’s a marked difference from the over-the-top elements that give many other anime their key style.

    Instead, Monster is all about mystery, suspense, and the complex ethical dilemmas faced by a man who thought he was doing the right thing.

    Dr. Tenma is an intriguing character, whose choice to perform life-saving surgery on a young boy instead of the town mayor comes back to haunt him when the boy grows up to be a serial killer.

    Tenma’s journey to make amends is complicated and filled with both heart-warming moments and drama.

  5. Mononoke

    Seinen anime are often gritty compared to ones aimed at younger audiences, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be artistic.

    Mononoke offers a truly beautiful array of colors, following an arthouse style that you expect to see in experimental films rather than in anime.

    The anime follows the Medicine Seller, a mysterious man who roams Japan in pursuit of Mononoke; a malicious spirit that can assume many forms and can only be exorcized once the Medicine Seller has discovered their Form, their Truth, and their Regret.

    Once you get used to the style, the complex interviews and subsequent exorcisms of Mononoke sufferers are a joy to watch!

  6. Berserk

    Berserk hardly needs an introduction. In fact, it’s one of the first fantasy anime that comes to mind for many fans when they try to think of a mature, medievalist work, not unlike an anime version of Game of Thrones.

    The violent story of Guts, a young traveling mercenary, his infamous rivalry with his former ally, Griffith, and his gruesome journey of bloodshed and revenge are not for everyone.

    But if you don’t mind the show’s graphic nature, it’s a legendary moment in anime history

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  7. March Comes in Like a Lion

    March Comes in Like a Lion is a go-to when it comes to slice-of-life vibes.

    Rei, the main character, is a teenager who has triumphed as a shogi player but doesn’t do equally well in real life.

    His encounter with the Kawamoto sisters and their tragic backstories is an intriguing one that deserves your attention, especially if you’re looking for anime like Fruits Basket.

    ALSO READ: The Best Slice of Life Anime of All Time

  8. Gangsta

    Gangsta is an unfortunately incomplete but still thrilling anime about a deaf gangster who communicates through sign language, and his happy-go-lucky partner, who form an iconic duo known as the “Handymen.”

    The show does have its share of comedic elements but its overall mature feeling makes it an excellent seinen work, and, if you want more, there’s always the manga!

  9. Rainbow

    Rainbow is an iconic, suspenseful drama that you are going to love if the theme of found family appeals to you!

    While the protagonists are young, they go through shocking hardship as inmates in Reform School in 1955 Japan.

    The historical elements make for a grounded, gritty work, and the main characters’ struggle for survival is intriguing to watch!

    READ MORE: The Best Historical Anime to Watch

  10. Hellsing Ultimate

    In the past decade, many vampire shows have been aimed toward a teenage demographic, following the success of works such as Twilight (on the bookish side) and Vampire Knight (on the anime side).

    This is not to say that there are no dark, gory vampire anime shows!

    Hellsing Ultimate is a thrilling supernatural work following Integra Hellsing, her vampire assistant, Alucard, and the rest of the Hellsing organization as they fight against vampires that threaten humanity.

  11. Erased

    Going back to a more subdued and less violent tone, Erased is a great, mysterious story about a young manga artist with the power to send himself back in time and prevent tragedy.

    But what will he do when he is accused of murder himself, and he goes back in time once more, becoming implicated in a tragedy that's close to him?

  12. Ghost in the Shell

    Ghost in the Shell is an iconic 1995 movie about a futuristic Niihama city, where robotic prosthetics have become a common occurrence and corruption and terrorism are tackled through a highly advanced public security system.

    The initial film follows Motoko Kusanagi and her subordinates as they pursue an enigmatic hacker, but there are a lot of sequels and prequels for those interested.

    Not only is Ghost in the Shell intriguing in terms of action, but it also explores philosophical questions, making for a mature watch that will keep you interested throughout.

  13. Parasyte: the Maxim

    Parasyte: the Maxim, is a gory psychological seinen anime by studio MAPPA wherein alien parasites infiltrate human brains, controlling them and forcing them to perform violent acts.

    But what happens when a parasite infiltrates a victim’s hand instead?

    When high-schooler Shinichi Izumi is attacked by one of the parasitic aliens, who takes over his right hand rather than his brain, the two are forced to coexist, navigating an environment that is now hostile for them both.

  14. Dorohedoro

    Studio MAPPA specializes in dark works, and Dorohedoro is no exception.

    Ideal for those who enjoy odd mixtures of death and comedy, the show features a gritty dystopian district, separate from conventional ethics and dominated by magic users, who use it as a testing ground.

    The twists and turns of the fantasy show are very enjoyable, but beware; it’s quite disturbing!

  15. Death Parade

    Seinen anime tend to have more of a death count compared to anime aimed at underage audiences, but they can still be fun and look good while at it!

    In this mystery anime, what seems like an amusing bar with cool employees, is, in fact, a place of judgment, where decisions are made about the destination of recently deceased people’s souls.

    If you give it a chance, you are likely going to love the main character, Dekim, as well as the mysterious woman who has found herself working for him, having lost all memories of her past.

  16. Vinland Saga

    A positive about seinen is that they can cater to fans of historical anime by focusing on periods that might be a bit violent for younger audiences.

    Vinland Saga, whose second season is actually airing in 2023, is an action-packed adventure drama.

    The tale of Thorfinn, a young Viking seeking to avenge his dead father, features great worldbuilding, character growth, and brutal war.

    Does Thorfinn ever go to Vinland, the coveted legendary land? Watch to find out!

    RELATED: The Strongest Characters in Vinland Saga Ranked

  17. Fate/Zero

    While all Fate anime have some dark elements, Fate/Zero is one of the most mature.

    Following the fictional Fourth War for the Holy Grail, Fate/Zero features a cut-throat competition in which no one's survival is guaranteed.

    The characters of Fate/Zero don't shy away from questionable and horrible, though sometimes understandable actions.

    This is a far cry from the clearer delineation of good vs. evil often shown in media that's aimed at a younger demographic.

  18. One-Punch Man

    Another great thing about seinen anime is that they can make fun of anime character tropes since their intended audience has likely seen everything!

    One-Punch Man parodies the overpowered superhero archetype by focusing on Saitama, a character who trained so relentlessly that he can now defeat anyone with a single punch.

    The problem? Things are now too easy for him and he no longer feels the thrill he used to, so he joins an association that will hopefully help him rediscover his enjoyment in fighting.

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  19. Black Lagoon

    Heists, organized crime, and gangs are often the subject matter of seinen anime, and Black Lagoon is one such case.

    When a group of pirate mercenaries kidnaps Rokurou, a working man, he decides to join them instead of trying to escape!

    As a member of the Lagoon company, Rokurou must adjust to an entirely different way of life. Will he manage to do so without losing his humanity?

  20. Grand Blue

    While many seinen shows focus on high-concept plots that involve heists, crime-solving, or epic quests, they can also focus on everyday topics such as adjusting from high school to college life.

    Iori Kitahara, a university freshman, moves above Grand Blue, his uncle's scuba diving shop for his studies.

    But his idea of the perfect college experience changes when he finds himself drawn to the antics of some upperclassmen who are members of the Diving Club -- much to his cousin's dismay.

Discover more of our insights and the latest anime news by following us on Twitter @epicstreamanime.

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