Seinen anime refers to anime whose target audience are males between the ages of 15-24. These stories tend to be more mature, as well as more expansive, than Shonen anime. Authors in this genre often try to make social commentaries or lessons that adolescents and young adults can learn. This usually leads to some of the most compelling narratives that one can think of. This, when combined with Japan’s wonderful animation techniques, results in truly fantastic animes.
10 DEATH NOTE
Death Note depicts the life of Light Yagami, a prodigious student, after he receives the Death Note from the Shinigami, Ryuk . This book gives the writer the ability to kill any person by writing their name on its pages. After Light finds this book, he entertains the idea of it and he experiments with it. To his surprise, it actually works. With this tool at his hands, Light decides that he will rid the world of all the criminals and take his place as 'god' in a new, peaceful world. After committing a number of murders, the sharp and intuitive, L, starts to pick up on Light’s tracks and eventually tracks him down. Death Note is an exciting psychological thriller that is sure to leave watchers on the edge of their seats.
Akira is an award winning anime that many believe defined an era. It had a lasting impact, with many mangaka and animators siting it as a major influence on their development. It depicts a world where Tokyo was destroyed due to the psychic powers of a boy, and that destruction was the catalyst for World War III. This leads to even more destruction and destabilization in Japan. In the time since the war, the country has become even more chaotic, with gang wars, corruption and infighting rampant. New-Tokyo, as the city is now known, is a breeding ground for chaos. This chaos led to Tetsuo Shima developing mysterious abilities and, when they learn of this, the government tries to quarantine him. This is a fantastic story with interesting political commentary. It also does a very good job at showing how important one, good friend is.
8 TOKYO GHOUL
In the city of Tokyo, humans and ghouls exist beside each other, however, they do not live in peace. Ghouls are man-eating creatures who must feed on humans to survive. Tokyo Ghoul follows the book-loving, Ken Kaneki, as he tries to come to grips with his new life following his accident. After being attacked by Rize Kamishiro, Kaneki was in critical condition and required surgery. Due to severe damage to his organs, a doctor transplants the organs of Rize (a ghoul) into Kaneki’s body. This turned him into a half ghoul and he spends the rest of the series dealing with the struggles of not quite being able to fit into either of his two worlds. Tokyo Ghoul does a good job of getting the audience to care about Kaneki, which makes for an engaging watch.
7 THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO
The Rising of the Shield Hero is an isekai anime, where four ordinary humans are summoned into a fantasy world to become its saviors. Naofumi Iwatani is given the legendary shield, while the other three heroes are given a sword, a spear and a bow. Due to a rumor about the previous Shield Hero, Naofumi attracts very few companions, unlike the remaining heroes, who amass followers immediately. To make things worse, Naofumi is then falsely accused of sexual assault, which causes him to be scorned and rejected everywhere he goes. However, he doesn’t allow this to stop him and, eventually, he is able to gain companions, who he learns to love and trust. With these people at his side, he attempts to clear his sullied name. The Rising of the Shield Hero is a fantastic redemption story that handles adult themes with maturity and expertise.
6 PARASYTE THE MAXIM
One day, alien parasites arrive on earth, with the intention of taking over the human race. With drills for heads, these parasites can enter the human body and, if they come into contact with the human brain, they can take it over. Shinichi Izumi is attacked by one such parasite, but managed to prevent it from reaching his brain. However, it ends up taking over his right arm in the process. Now bonded, the two must slowly learn how to cooperate and, as they do, they become closer. After being targeted several times by other parasites seeking to destroy them, Shinichi and Migi begin targeting other parasites, hell-bent on destroying the world. Parasyte is an incredibly fun and fulfilling story that makes brilliant comments on the nature of humans, and the world at large.
5 RE: ZERO
One night, Subaru Natsuki is heading home after leaving a convenience store and is suddenly summoned into an unfamiliar world, with no knowledge of his surroundings. Soon after, he is pounced upon by some thugs lurking in the shadows and, with nothing to protect himself, he gets beaten to a pulp. Fortunately for him, Satella happens to run into him and recuses him from his misery. To repay her, Subaru offers to help her with her current mission of locating her insignia. After the two hunt down those responsible, they are brutally murdered. Subaru awakens and, in time, finds out that he has the ability, "Return by Death". This begins the tragic story of Subaru, who must constantly die and return to save those he loves. At times, this breaks Subaru and seeing how he handles this, is reason enough to watch this anime.
4 ATTACK ON TITAN
Attack on Titan focuses on the battle between the people of Marley and those Of Eldia. Ever since the days of the first Titan shifter, Ymir, these two groups have been at war with each other. After obtaining several of the Titans, the people of Marley drove the Eldians onto Paradis Island, where they built walls to protect themselves from the Titans. But on 'That Day', the people of Marley attacked Paradis Island and brought down Wall Maria. This takes us into the current storyline, where all the mysteries of the world are slowly being revealed to our protagonists. They each deal with these revelations in their own unique ways. Attack on Titan takes an interesting premise and continually builds upon it until it turns into a masterpiece.
Hellsing follows the story of the group of the same name. This organization is tasked with ridding the world of all its supernatural evil. To do this, Hellsing’s leader, Sir Integra Fairbook Wingates, sends out her most potent fighting force, Alucard. Alucard is the first and most powerful vampire in existence and, after being beaten by the legendary hunter, Van Hellsing, he swore loyalty to his bloodline. As the world continues to fall into chaos, Hellsing must find a way to defeat its enemies to save the people. Madhouse’s adaptation was as gritty as it was beautiful; a must see!
2 MARCH COMES IN LIKE A LION
Rei Kiriyama fell in love with Shogi at a very young age, after his adopted father introduced it to him. A large part of this was due to Rei losing his parents. So, when a young and scared Rei is introduced to Shogi, he dives in. One part due to his genuine interest in the game, and the other, being able to distract himself from his tragic loss. Now in high school, Rei is a professional player, but still struggles with his past and pressure from his adoptive family. This prompts him to move to Tokyo, where he initially struggled, due to his social ineptitude and poor self-maintenance skills. This all changes when he meets a trio of sisters who shine a light of hope upon him. With them by his side, Rei grows exponentially and finally feels as if he has a family.
1 COWBOY BEBOP
Cowboy Bebop is a classic and a must watch for any fans of seinen anime. It follows the adventures of Spike Spiegel, and the rest of the ragtag team, flying around on the Bebop. The year is 2071 and humans have colonized several planets and moons across the solar system (as the Earth became inhospitable). The massive size of the galaxy means that, despite their best efforts, the law enforcement usually finds itself short-staffed. As such, bounty hunters known as Cowboys are often employed to bring criminals to justice. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Cowboy Bebop does everything well. From it’s brilliant music to its easy to love characters.