Seinen Anime Subgenre

What is Seinen Anime?

The slightly older side of shounen, seinen refers to anime that targets older male viewers. Because of this, seinen is wide enough to encompass the gritty side of anime as much as it does the "cute girls doing cute things" parts. Of course, as a demographic-based subgenre, the series that fall under this category can be basically anything, but it does still have its own feel.


Seinen anime are classified by their focus on character development, story, depth and realism. While shounen likes to jump into action before thinking about it, seinen anime often considers the uncertainties and effects of acting, preferring to contemplate the possibilities before breaking out into awesome action scenes.

Seinen Characteristics

Logic above all. One of the cornerstones of seinen anime is its attention to realism. What's expected and what's logical is given the most attention, even going as far as to embed logic deeply into fantasy settings.


Focus on characters. A trait also shared with shoujo and josei anime, seinen likes to focus on characters and character development rather than letting things move along as a bundle of tropes. Relationships between lovers, comrades and friends are often key to how protagonists survive and let series show audiences how the world works.


Cute schoolgirls. Ass odd as it is to say that cute middle school girls are all the rage in the subgenre that usually produces dark, depressing shows, it's a trend that has seen a rise in the past decade. Cutesy healing anime about safe and fluffy topics are, most of the time, aimed at older men who need their dose of kawaii.


A bit of boob. An older male audience means older tastes and the ability to get away with certain content. While not rife in this subgenre, the freedom to flash a little extra is indulged and can distinguish the boys from the men.

Related Anime Sub-Genres

Shounen. An obvious relation but one growing more relevant with each season. As seinen grows to embrace all that is good about cute girls and fluffy stories, shounen becomes increasingly infatuated with darker stories, so much so that it can be hard to tell the demographics apart just by looking at what the show deals with.


Josei. Anime for older women and anime for older men have a lot in common, especially considering seinen's wide appeal and wider pool of content. The two subgenres have key differences in characteristics but tend to have the same mature, thoughtful approach to life.


Ecchi. You can't target college-age men and not go without throwing a few panties at the screen. While more common in romantic comedies and anime targeting the shounen audience, seinen is pretty open to more adult content.


Drama. Seinen's strong focus on relationships of all kinds means drama can be seen on the horizon. While other subgenres tend to preoccupy themselves with love dramas, seinen leans towards drama between people on multiple levels.


Slice of Life. As seinen shows that focus on small girls grows, Slice of Life becomes increasingly common. More often than not closely linked to the schoolgirl side of seinen, but it can pop up in the more expected series as well.

You won't like Seinen if you…

  • Can't stand moe.
  • Would rather the unrestrained fun and action that only shounen can offer.
  • Don't like heavy exposition or lengthy backstory.
  • Prefer a stronger focus on romance.
  • Are not a huge fan of "thinking" anime.


    Here's our top 10 'best Seinen recommendations'


    1. Berserk – Griffith and Guts are warriors of two different methods, but with Griffith's tactical sense and Guts' pure strength, they can take on all the evils in the world. An older series that looks quite dated but continues to draw in viewers with its grand story and manga.


    2. Cowboy Bebop – It's been years since man took to space, and humanity has advanced far enough to live just about anywhere. Spike and Jet, two bounty hunters travelling through space, make a living off finding criminals, but they come across much more than that. A slice of life-like series with a different setting and feel to your usual anime.


    3. Baccano! – A number of people, spanning a number of generations and settings, tackle immortal people, hijackers and a gang war. What ties them all together is a mystery, especially when there are eighteen protagonists. A Western-style anime that easily charms with its point of view-switching way of storytelling.


    4. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion – Most of the world has been taken over by the Britannian Empire, who forces its new populations into servitude and poverty. But after Lelouch vi Britannia obtains the power of the Geass, he uses his powers of absolute obedience to bring the world to its knees. A truly large-scale show that entertains as it asks the big questions.


    5. Monster – Dr Kenzo Tenma is a successful brain surgeon who has all the good things life can offer. But when he is presented with a choice to save the mayor or a child, his decision changes the rest of his life. A psychological thriller anime that lays the mystery on thick.


    6. Hellsing Ultimate – Modern day England is more than well equipped to deal with supernatural beings that threaten ordinary civilians. They're especially confident with their front man Alucard, a vampire who deals with all vampire-related threats. A supernatural horror series that delights in all things dark and cool.


    7. Bakemonogatari – Ever since Koyomi Araragi became a vampire, he's been surrounded by oddities left and right. His strong hero complex spurs him to help each girl afflicted by the supernatural, but not all of them are the easygoing type. A supernatural show that skirts between romance, comedy and ecchi.


    8. Black Lagoon – Rokuro Okajima is a typical Japanese businessman. When his business trip to Eastern China is hijacked by a band of mercenaries searching for a disc, Rokuro is drawn into their world and decides to join them. An action-packed episodic series with a dark sense of humour and a gritty adult feel.


    9. Darker Than Black – After a large-scale supernatural event, people over the world started developing super powers that ate away at their humanity. At the same time, a mysterious organization emerged as a major world superpower; it's this organization that hitman Hei works for. A dark action anime with plenty of mystery and intrigue.


    10. Ergo Proxy – It's a very different world in the future; a world where people live in domes to shelter them from the inhospitable planet outside. This is where immigrant Vincent Law is exiled to, but his journey outside the domes is wrapped up in a larger phenomenon where humanity is slowly being pushed further back. A psychological mystery series that delves into moral rights vs wrongs.

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