Introduction to the Seinen Genre

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What is Seinen?

Seinen is a genre of manga that is aimed at an older male audience. In the Japanese language, Seinen means “young man”, with the female equivalent being the Josei genre. Despite the direct translation of the term, Seinen can also be aimed at an even older audience.

Seinen manga differs from Shonen in one main aspect: the emphasis on realism. Seinen manga typically has a wider variety of art styles and more variation in subject matter, from simple romantic comedy to the gory and pornographic. In the Western world of manga, Seinen is generally seen to be having more mature themes and grittiness, even though that may not necessarily be the case. With more and more manga titles being translated into English, more Seinen manga is making its way into the mainstream alongside more popular Shonen/Shoujo titles. Without further ado, here’s list of some of my favourites (in alphabetic order, not by rank). If you have any other suggestions, feel free to comment!

 

1. 3-Gatsu no Lion
by Chika Umino

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 11.11.20 am.jpgGenres: Seinen, Drama, Board Games, Slice of Life

The protagonist is Rei, a 17-year-old shogi player. He lives by himself, not having a family, and does not go to school and has scarcely any friends. Among his acquaintances is a family, which consists of a young woman, Akari, and two young girls, Momo and Hinata, and who also keep a numerous number of cats.

(source: wikipedia)

 

2. Aku no Hana
by Shuuzo Oshimi

Aku no Hana.jpegGenres: Seinen, Drama, Romance, School Life, Psychological

Kasuga Takao is a boy who loves reading books, particularly Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. A girl at his school, Saeki Nanako, is his muse and his Venus, and he admires her from a distance. One day, he forgets his copy of Les Fleurs du Mal in the classroom and runs back alone to pick it up. In the classroom, he finds not only his book, but Saeki’s gym uniform. On a mad impulse, he steals it.

Now everyone knows “some pervert” stole Saeki’s uniform, and Kasuga is dying with shame and guilt. Furthermore, the weird, creepy, and friendless girl of the class, Nakamura, saw him take the uniform. Instead of revealing it was him, she recognizes his kindred deviant spirit and uses her knowledge to take control of his life. Will it be possible for Kasuga to get closer to Saeki, despite Nakamura’s meddling and his dark secret? What exactly does Nakamura intend to do with him?

(Source: Mangahelpers)

 

3. Bartender
by Kenji Nagatomo (art) and Araki Joh (story)

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 11.19.56 am.pngGenres: Drama, Slice of Life, Seinen

The story of the Sasakura Ryu and Eden Hall, a small cocktail bar in the Chiba area of Tokyo, where troubled customers come for the “glass of the gods,” which with Ryu’s assistance helps them to resolve their often highly emotional problems.
(Source: Baka-Updates)

 

4. Berserk
by Kentaro MiuraBerserk.jpeg

Genres: Action, Adventure, Demons, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural, Psychological, Seinen

Guts, a former mercenary now known as the “Black Swordsman,” is out for revenge. After a tumultuous childhood, he finally finds someone he respects and believes he can trust, only to have everything fall apart when this person takes away everything important to Guts for the purpose of fulfilling his own desires. Now marked for death, Guts becomes condemned to a fate in which he is relentlessly pursued by demonic beings.

Setting out on a dreadful quest riddled with misfortune, Guts, armed with a massive sword and monstrous strength, will let nothing stop him, not even death itself, until he is finally able to take the head of the one who stripped him—and his loved one—of their humanity.

(Source: myanimelist)

 

5. Boku Dake ga Inai Machi
by Kei Sanbe
boku-dake-ga-inai-machi

Genres: Mystery, Supernatural, Psychological, Seinen

Satoru Fujinuma is a 29-year-old who works part-time as a pizza deliveryman in order to make ends meet due to his unsuccessful career as a mangaka. But there is more to this struggling adult than meets the eye, as he possesses a mysterious ability which takes him back in time right before a life-threatening incident occurs. When “Revival,” as he calls it, triggers, it will continue to send him back again and again until he is able to save the lives of the individuals involved.

But Satoru’s life is about to take a turn for the worse when a loved one is killed by an unknown man and he is framed for the crime. Desperate to get away so that he can assess his situation, he is inexplicably sent 18 years into the past—right before the disappearance and death of his classmate, Kayo Hinazuki, an event that has plagued him since childhood.

Satoru, now an elementary school student, must get his wits together and save the young girl from an untimely demise by figuring out the identity of the person responsible. But just how is Kayo’s murder connected to the present?

(Source: myanimelist)

 

6. Bonnouji
by Aki Eda
Bonnouji.jpeg

Genres: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life, Seinen

Fate brings two people who live in the same condo together on a typical afternoon. Ozawa (26) has just broken up with her boyfriend of five years and was in the process of trying to rebuild her life when she meets Oyamada who lives a couple floors below her. He is somewhat of a loner although he does have a few friends and his room is cluttered with all the random stuff that his impulse shopper brother sends him. Ozawa takes an interest with all the things in his room and the two start a friendship that slowly turns into something more.

(Source: Mangahelpers)

 

7. Dorohedoro

by Q HayashidaDorohedoro.jpegGenre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Seinen

There are two different kinds of people in Dorohedoro. Magic users and non-magic users. The magic users all reside in the magic user realm while all the non magic users reside in a place called “Hole.” Magic users all have different powers. Magic users will often go into hole and find unfortunate victims to test out/practice their powers on. The magic users that do this have yet to master their powers so it will often leave their victims either dead, wounded or semi-transfigured. The main character Kaiman is immune to magic, has the head of a lizard & has lost all his memories. He is accompanied by his female companion and best friend Nikaidou as he hunts down magic users in hole in an effort to find out the identity of the magic user who put him in this state.

(Source: myanimelist)

 

8. Gantz
by Hiroya Oku
Gantz.jpeg

Genres: Action, Drama, Ecchi, Horror, Sci-fi, Supernatural, Psychological, Seinen

Thought your life was bad? Sometimes, death is worse. There is no salvation, peace, nor god waiting to receive you into their care. But wait, a god? Maybe you are talking about that big black ball stuck in the room with you. Now you are thrown into a game, fighting green aliens and robot monsters for the chance to survive.

When Kei Kurono is killed, he thus finds himself caught in such a game; a test of his skills, morals and will to survive. His life is not his own, his death spat and trampled upon over and over again. What happens if he does not listen? God knows.

A word of warning: Gantz is not for the faint-hearted, but neither is it as simple as it looks. Gore, rape and violence is rampant, as are portrayals of greed, violence, and all the ugliness that one sees in society today.

(Source: myanimelist)

 

9. Holyland
by Kouji Mori

Holyland.jpegGenres: Action, Martial Arts, Psychological, Seinen

Yuu is a high school kid who doesn’t really fit anywhere. To find a place he can belong, be accepted, he will do anything. However one thing leads to another and he is forced to fight to keep his place, his holyland.

(Source: mangaupdates)

 

10. I Am a Hero
by Kengo Hanazawa
I am a hero.jpeg

Genres: Drama, Horror, Psychological, Seinen

Insecure 35-year-old Hideo Suzuki is forced to work as a mangaka’s assistant when his own series fails due to low sales. As he struggles through a mundane life plagued by hallucinations, he comes to realize that his relationship with his girlfriend isn’t that great, suspecting that she may be cheating on him with her ex-boyfriend. After confronting her about the possible affair, however, Hideo feels bad about his inquisition and decides to visit her house to apologize.

But the world as he knows is about to be overturned. At first, not much seems to have changed, but he soon realizes that society has become a living nightmare, as the horrifying reality of what is taking place around him finally begins to sink in.

(Source: myanimelist)

 

11. Kingdom
by Yasuhisu HaraKingdom.jpeg

Genres: Action, Drama, Historical, Military, Seinen

Two boys who work as slaves dream of becoming great generals. An opportunity arrises when one of the boys is taken away to the capital. However, he returns on the brink of death. Shin, the other boy, vows he will continue their dream. He does everything he has to to survive on the battlefield and become a superior commander. Starting from a 5 man team, he works his way up through every battle, every war, to get to the top. Based on the Warring States period in Chinese history.

(Source: ANN)

 

12. Molester Man
by Takuma YokotaMolester Man.png

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Seinen

Molester Man is a perverted, socially inept otaku who spends most of his time on the textboard 2ch. One day, on the way home from his part-time job, he is mistaken for a stalker and arrested. After clearing the misunderstanding, Molester Man learns that the girl, whom he subsequently refers to as Miss Understanding, was left traumatized by her stalker, so he offers his hand in the hope of dating her. However, exceeding his own expectations, he gradually becomes closer to Miss Understanding and her friends, the cheerful Kansai and the guileless Loli Jugs.

(Source: myanimelist)

 

13. Monster
by Naoki Urasawa
Monster.jpeg

Genres: Mystery, Drama, Psychology, Seinen

Dr. Kenzou Tenma is a renowned brain surgeon of Japanese descent working in Europe. Highly lauded by his peers as one of the great young minds that will revolutionize the field, he is blessed with a beautiful fiancée and is on the cusp of a big promotion in the hospital he works at. But all of that is about to change with a grave dilemma that Kenzou faces one night—whether to save the life of a small boy or that of the town’s mayor. Despite being pressured by his superiors to perform surgery on the mayor, his morals force him to perform the surgery on the other critical patient, saving his life and forfeiting the mayor’s. A doctor is taught to believe that all life is equal; however, when a series of murders occur in the surgeon’s vicinity, all of the evidence pointing to the boy he saved, Kenzou’s beliefs are shaken. Along his journey to unravel the true identity of his little patient, Kenzou discovers that the fate of the world may be intertwined with the mysterious child.

(Source: myanimelist)

 

14. Mushishi
by Yuki Urushibara
Mushishi.jpeg

Genres: Mystery, Fantasy, Historical, Supernatural, Seinen

“Mushi”: the most basic forms of life in the world. They exist without any goals or purposes aside from simply “being.” They are beyond the shackles of the words “good” and “evil.” Mushi can exist in countless forms and are capable of mimicking things from the natural world such as plants, diseases, and even phenomena like rainbows.

This is, however, just a vague definition of these entities that inhabit the vibrant world of Mushishi, as to even call them a form of life would be an oversimplification. Detailed information on mushi is scarce because the majority of humans are unaware of their existence.

So what are mushi and why do they exist? This is the question that a “Mushishi,” Ginko, ponders constantly. Mushishi are those who research mushi in hopes of understanding their place in the world’s hierarchy of life.

Ginko relentlessly chases rumors of occurrences that could be tied to mushi, all for the sake of finding an answer.

It could, after all, lead to the meaning of life itself.

(Source: myanimelist)

 

15. Onani Master Kurosawa
by Takuma Yokota
Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 12.15.31 pm.png

Genres: Drama, School Life, Psychological, Seinen

Kakeru Kurosawa is an antisocial junior high school student. He rarely associates with his classmates, and he looks down on them. But this behavior is topped off by a certain bad habit, his closely guarded secret: every day after school, he sneaks in to the rarely used girls’ toilet on the 3rd floor and masturbates in a stall.

Kakeru’s shadowy routine remains undisturbed until one day, when a diminutive girl from his class, Aya Kitahara, almost discovers him. Their meeting begins a coming-of-age story dealing with blackmail, bullying, revenge, heartbreak and ultimately, redemption.

(Source: ANN)

 

16. Otoyomegatari
by Kaoru Mori
Otoyomonogetari.jpeg

Genres: Drama, Historical, Romance, Seinen

A Bride’s Story tells the tale of a beautiful young bride in nineteenth-century Asia. At the age of twenty, Amir is sent to a neighboring town to be wed. But her surprise at learning her new husband, Karluk, is eight years younger than her is quickly replaced by a deep affection for the boy and his family. Though she hails from just beyond the mountains, Amir’s clan had very different customs, foods, and clothes from what Karluk is used to. As the two of them learn more about each other through their day-to-day lives, the bond of respect and love grows stronger.
(Source: Yen Press)

 

17. Oyasumi Punpun
by Asano Inio
Oyasumi Punpun.jpeg

Genres: Drama, Slice of Life, Psychological, Seinen

Punpun Onodera is a normal 11-year-old boy living in Japan. Hopelessly idealistic and romantic, Punpun begins to see his life take a subtle—though nonetheless startling—turn to the adult when he meets the new girl in his class, Aiko Tanaka. It is then that the quiet boy learns just how fickle maintaining a relationship can be, and the surmounting difficulties of transitioning from a naïve boyhood to a convoluted adulthood. When his father assaults his mother one night, Punpun realizes another thing: those whom he looked up to were not as impressive as he once thought.

As his problems increase, Punpun’s once shy demeanor turns into voluntary reclusiveness. Rather than curing him of his problems and conflicting emotions, this merely intensifies them, sending him down the dark path of maturity in this grim coming-of-age saga.

(Source: myanimelist)

 

18. Planetes
by Makoto Yukimura
Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 12.20.46 pm.png

Genres: Drama, Sci-fi, Slice of Life, Seinen, Psychology

Haunted by a space flight accident that claimed the life of his beloved wife, Yuri finds himself six years later as part of a team of debris cleaners on a vessel called the Toy Box charged with clearing space junk from space flight paths. The team consists of Hachimaki, a hot shot debris-man with a sailor’s affinity for the orbital ocean; Fee, a chain-smoking tomboy beauty with an abrasive edge; and Pops, a veteran orbital mechanic whose avuncular presence soothes the stress of the job.

(Source: Tokyopop)

 

19. Real
by Takehiko InoueReal.jpeg

Genres: Drama, Sports, Psychological, Seinen

Tomomi Nomiya, former captain of his high school’s basketball team turned delinquent, decides to drop out of school after he is crushed by the guilt of ruining a young girl’s life in a traffic accident. As he dedicates his free time to helping her, he stumbles upon Kiyoharu Togawa, a former sprinter who has lost the use of his right leg and now plays wheelchair basketball as an alternate outlet.

After challenging Kiyoharu to a one-on-one game, Tomomi is completely defeated. Inspired by this encounter, he realizes that he can’t let his love for basketball die so easily and decides that he will do what he can to help others while striving to become a professional player. Meanwhile, Hisanobu Takahashi, Tomomi’s replacement as the high school’s team captain, gets into an accident and finds himself permanently paralyzed below the waist. Real tells the touching tale of these three young men as they struggle to overcome their disabilities and inner conflicts in order to achieve their dreams while igniting a passion that will bring them together.

(Source: myanimelist)

 

20. Vagabond
by Takehiko Inoue

Vagabond.jpegGenres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Seinen, Historical

In 16th century Japan, Shinmen Takezou is a wild, rough young man, in both his appearance and his actions. His aggressive nature has won him the collective reproach and fear of his village, leading him and his best friend, Matahachi Honiden, to run away in search of something grander than provincial life. The pair enlist in the Toyotomi army, yearning for glory—but when the Toyotomi suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of the Tokugawa Clan at the Battle of Sekigahara, the friends barely make it out alive.

After the two are separated, Shinmen returns home on a self-appointed mission to notify the Hon’iden family of Matahachi’s survival. He instead finds himself a wanted criminal, framed for his friend’s supposed murder based on his history of violence. Upon being captured, he is strung up on a tree and left to die. An itinerant monk, the distinguished Takuan Soho, takes pity on the “devil child,” secretly freeing Shinmen and christening him with a new name to avoid pursuit by the authorities: Musashi Miyamoto.

Vagabond is the fictitious retelling of the life of one of Japan’s most renowned swordsmen, the “Sword Saint” Musashi Miyamoto—his rise from a swordsman with no desire other than to become “Invincible Under the Heavens” to an enlightened warrior who slowly learns of the importance of close friends, self-reflection, and life itself.

(Source: myanimelist)

 

21. Vinland Saga
by Makoto Yukimura

Vinland Saga.jpegGenres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Historical, Seinen

As a child, Thorfinn sat at the feet of the great Leif Ericson and thrilled to wild tales of a land far to the west. But his youthful fantasies were shattered by a mercenary raid. Raised by the Vikings who murdered his family, Thorfinn became a terrifying warrior, forever seeking to kill the band’s leader, Askeladd, and avenge his father. Sustaining Throfinn through his ordeal are his pride in his family and his dreams of a fertile westward land, a land without war or slavery… the land Leif called Vinland.

(Source: baka-updates)

 

22. Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan

by Sumomo YumekaWatashitachi no shiwiase na jikan.jpegGenres: Drama, Music, Romance, Slice of Life, Psychological, Seinen

They wanted to die for their own reasons.

Juri Mutou is the daughter of a once-famous pianist whose career came to an end after giving birth to her. After a traumatic event she experienced as a teenager, Juri has attempted suicide three times and has come to hate her mother. With her life clouded due to a dark past, her aunt Monica, a member of the clergy, invites her to visit a convict sentenced to death.

Yuu is a death row inmate charged with murdering three people, leading to many attempts at ending his own life within his jail cell. He frequently receives letters from Monica, who hopes to help him, but sees this as as an act of pity. But when Yuu decides to meet Monica to say that he wants her to stop sending letters, he encounters Juri, a meeting that would change both of their lives.

(Source: myanimelist)

 

23. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou

by Hitoshi AshinanoYokohama kaidashi kikou.jpegGenres: Drama, Sci-fi, Slice of Life, Seinen

The story is set in future Japan, in which the sea level has risen and flooded many of the coastal areas and Mt. Fuji has erupted within living memory. The population has been considerably reduced and political and technological institutions have broken-down. Local communities have become nations and telephone and television no longer exist (although coffee vending machines and streetlights stubbornly continue to work). There are strange new animals and plants (like flying fish and glowing streetlight trees).

The remaining people have adopted a slower-paced, simpler way of life and rely more on each other. Along with the human population are some intelligent, humanoid robots. One of the robots, a female named Alpha, runs a café by the same name in the country outside of what remains of Yokohama. With her trusty motor scooter and her camera she travels around the area making friends with the humans and robots, having new experiences and observing the passage of time.

(Source: myanimelist)

 

Happy reading y’all!
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