10 Best Anime Series That Set The Standard For Seinen

While there are still plenty of shonen that thrive on combat scenes and violence, seinen generally get more creative freedom by being able to be as gory and uncomfortable as they want. Still, that doesn’t mean seinen is all about outright violence, blood and guts.


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This creative freedom allows for a slew of series that feature different genres and themes that adults are generally more likely to connect with and enjoy. There have been many popular seinen anime that have paved the way and set the standard for new and aspiring entries.

10/10 Elfen Lied went hard with Seinen’s mature themes

elf lied is a hybrid of dark fantasy, science fiction and horror, created by Studio Arms in 2004. elf lied is considered more popular than high-quality, its overuse of its maturity rating being likely to blame. As pure blood seinen anime, elf lied does not retain its graphic violence and gore, which hasn’t aged too well for some.

Regardless of opinion, elf lied was undeniably one of the anime to put the major adult tropes of seinen on the map, and it ultimately managed to appeal to its target audience. Other seinen anime have since surpassed elf lied adding more meaning to their graphic violence, but elf lied certainly still paved the way.

9/10 Mononoke fused challenging themes and compelling action

Mononoke often finds itself overlooked or simply confused with the popular Studio Ghibli movie Princess Mononoke. However, Mononoke was created by Toei Animation, the studio behind A play and dragonball. Released in 2007, Mononoke is 12 episodes of seinen goodness, with its aspects of psychological horror and mystery making it a very compelling short anime.

Mononoke follows a character known as the “drug salesman” as he seeks to uncover various unnatural spirits called Mononoke before taking action to exorcise them. Mononoke has its classic seinen tropes of violence, but it also relies on Mushishithe challenging themes of to create a more complete experience.

Ultimate Hellsing was another seinen anime released in the mid-2000s that excelled in its gore, violence, and sheer intensity. He’s still immensely popular and beloved, mostly for his over-the-top vampire-slaying action. Many fans flock to the anime either for the first time or for a re-watch after finishing Netflix Castlevania series.

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In Ultimate Hellsing, Alucard is a super-powered main character who destroys his opponents, meaning classic violence and mayhem is virtually guaranteed in nearly every fight scene. There are better seinen anime out there, but Ultimate Hellsing really helped codify adult tropes about this demographic.

7/10 Parasite: Generic Seinen Tropes Popularized by Maxim

Whereas Parasite: The Maxim only released in 2014, it was an adaptation of a manga that debuted in 1988, and therefore deserves to be called a classic. Parasite set the standard for many seinen tropes, from the ordinary protagonist becoming a reluctant hero to the gruesome gore and violence that ensues.

Shinichi Izumi is embroiled in a war between humanity and parasitic aliens when his hand becomes host to such a being named Migi. Madhouse brings the various seinen tropes to life, including psychological horror and shocking gore, keeping its audience captivated throughout.

6/10 Tokyo Ghoul showcased the dark and edgy worlds of Seinen

tokyo ghoul originally aired in 2014, but it feels like it’s been around for a lot longer. Its popularity still persists today, despite it divides the public in terms of quality. Many believe the groundwork was there, but the anime just didn’t adapt the manga appropriately.

However, tokyo ghoul did a lot for seinen anime yet again, showcasing a dark world, psychological horror, and plenty of bloody violence. tokyo ghoul leans into his tropes and cliches, and the fact that his edginess has always garnered such a cult following speaks for itself. Aspiring seinen anime can use tokyo ghouldark horror as a guide in a terrifying and tense narrative.

5/10 Black Lagoon proved that protagonists don’t have to be perfectly clean

As a crime thriller anime, black lagoon is still one of the best. Released in 2006, black lagoon was animated by Madhouse and became an action-packed masterpiece. The anime follows a team of pirate mercenaries who blur the lines between good and evil.

Anime isn’t always as simple as good versus evil, so explore more complex anti-heroes and characters can be rewarding if done right. black lagoonThe moral ambiguity and engrossing action of seinen anime has shown that it can have more substance than just mindless murder, and exploring those complex choices can also appeal to its target demographic.

4/10 Erased Reminds Fans Not All Seinen Anime Should Have Stupid Gore

Deleted is another seinen anime that was released less than a decade ago, but it feels like it’s been around a lot longer. This 2016 mystery thriller is 12 episodes of high-stakes intensity as Satoru Fujinuma travels through time through a phenomenon known as “Revival”. This gives him the chance to save lives that have already been lost.

Deleted imposes itself as a seinen by its mixture of supernatural mystery and treatment of heavy themes of death and loss. Deleted is a prime example of a seinen that isn’t all about gore and action. Yet he is still able to piece together a highly engaging and entertaining experience for audiences.

3/10 Bungou Stray Dogs has inspired other anime with its intricate themes

Bungou Stray Dogs is an example of an anime that has significantly improved since its first season. Its second and third seasons continue to raise high expectations for future seasons. Bungou Stray Dogs is intriguing thanks to its seinen tropes of moral ambiguity and dark, complex themes, but it still has its own unique identity and doesn’t feel too generic.

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Bungou Stray Dogs fell into seinen’s other supernatural mystery anime that features compelling storytelling without resorting to mindless violence, and it excels as another stellar work from Studio Bones. Although it’s still ongoing and only launched its first season in 2016, it can easily be used as a benchmark for future seinen anime thanks to its impressive growth and reputation.

2/10 Berserk 1997 showed how to construct a narrative with compelling characters

BerserkThe reputation of is often questioned when considering its revamped two seasons which debuted in 2016, but the manga and 1997 anime series make it one of the best seinen series of all time. The 1997 series captured the true essence of Berserkwith his dark dark themes and settingendearing characters and violence.

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This adaptation of Berserk quickly became a welcome trendsetter in seinen anime, with its dark premise rooted in fantasy horror and fantasy. None of the reboots, sequels, or adaptations could top the original, and it remains one of the best anime series of all time.

1/10 Ghost In The Shell Has Pushed The Limits Of Seinen Anime

ghost in the shell was groundbreaking for anime in many ways. He popularized futuristic and sci-fi concepts aimed at a Seinen demographic. The 1995 movie was a huge hit, and it even paved the way for the 2002 one The loneliness complex series to surpass it.

ghost in the shell really showed how varied seinen anime could be. The franchise raised the bar for seinen anime at the time, but it also set a standard for the future. This ultimately encouraged a wide range of future anime that would explore deeper subject matter instead of just focusing on pure violence and gore.

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