Manga is one of Japan’s biggest cultural imports, and in more recent years, has seen an increased spread across the world, as the art form becomes more and more popular with Western audiences.
One of the best things about manga is that it is incredibly varied! There are so many distinct types of manga and so many distinct genres to be found within the medium.
From Shonen series like DragonBall to slice-of-life Shoujo manga like Kimi No Todoke. There’s so much interesting and varied stuff to enjoy in the world of manga (see also ‘Best Horror Manga‘)!
However, one distinct genre that often goes completely overlooked by even some of the most hardcore manga aficionados is that of Seinen manga.
Seinen manga is a form of manga that is marketed toward young adult men, which differentiates it from its counterparts like Shonen manga, which is marketed towards young boys and teenagers.
There are some truly amazing series that you can check out if you want to experience the glory of Seinen for yourself, but what are they? Let’s dive right in to find out now!
This series, which began publication in 2007, and has an extensive run up until concluding in 2013 has gone on to become one of the most beloved seinen manga of all time.
The content of the manga is very dark, which stands in stark contrast to its seemingly innocent-looking main character.
The series follows the titular Punpun Onodera, a young boy who is depicted throughout the series as a simplistic and crude cartoon illustration of a bird.
Over the course of the series, readers watch as Punpun grows through his experiences in life, and tackles the various stages involved in going from childhood to adulthood.
Fans have praised this series not only for its dark content, deep story, and truly intriguing cast of characters but also for its tremendous art, painstakingly penciled by talented artist Inio Asano.
The series is 13 volumes in length, and has become a massive cult favorite in the manga world!
Berserk is one of the most recognizable seinen manga of all time, and its impact on pop culture is totally indelible.
The series, which began its publication in 1989 continues to this very day, and depicts the story of Guts, a lone swordsman and mercenary, living in a world of high fantasy.
This series could easily be compared to Game Of Thrones, in terms of how dark its content is, and how it utilizes its medieval fantasy to highlight some truly intense themes.
Death and violence are rife in this series, and it has earned itself a healthy reputation as a very graphic and action-packed series.
The series continues to this day, despite the sudden passing of its author in 2021, and it is likely that it will continue to draw in more fans, to uphold its reputation as one of the most beloved and acclaimed manga series of all time.
This is a totally essential series for any manga fan, so make sure to check it out for yourself!
If you’re looking for a series that is a little more grounded, with fewer fantasy elements but still boasting the viscera and gore of Berserk, then you should definitely look no further than Vinland Saga.
This series depicts the tale of Thorfinn, a young Viking raised in a world of bloodshed and revenge, as he tackles the horrors of growing up in such a violent society.
The series explores themes surrounding revenge, the endless cycle of violence and war, and the never-ending pursuit of peace.
The series has earned massive acclaim because of its lead character Thorfinn, who boasts one of the strongest character arcs in all of manga history.
Reading as Thorfinn experiences and learns from the world around him is totally mesmerizing,
This series has been in publication since 2005, and still continues to this day, giving you plenty of content surrounding protagonist Thorfinn to dive right into!
One of the best things about manga is its sheer versatility.
Though many outsiders to the medium may pigeonhole the art form as cartoon comics for small children, series like Monster prove that manga can be just as sophisticated as other mediums!
Monster is a psychological thriller series, written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa, that depicts famed Japanese surgeon Kenzo Tenma, currently residing in Dusseldorf in Germany.
Tenma’s perfect life of fame and riches is thrown upside down when one of his patients, whom he saves from the brink of death, turns out to be an incredibly dangerous and wanted killer.
The series explores Tenma’s guilt around saving the man’s life as he attempts to hunt the killer down.
Over the course of his quest, the series explores some very deep questions about the value of life, and what it means to be a ‘Good’ person.
This deep and rich morality tale is equal parts thrilling and introspective, and will easily have you on the edge of your seat every single time you turn the page.
It’s a total masterclass in tension and pacing, and one of the very best thriller manga ever produced.
Many of the most beloved Seinen manga of all time are those that depict historical settings, sometimes with a little bit of extra fantasy injected in.
Vagabond is no exception to this rule, but it is a much more grounded affair than some of its Seinen counterparts.
Vagabond has become a truly beloved series across its long publication run, since it debuted in 1998, and this is thanks, in no small part, to the masterful artwork of Takehiko Inoue.
Vagabond is praised as one of the most beautifully illustrated manga of all time, and you only need to look at some of the artwork for yourself to understand why.
The level of detail and realism that Inoue is able to achieve with his artwork is totally unmatched and helps to heighten some of the moments of absolute beauty and splendor that the series depicts.
Vagabond follows the tale of Musashi Miyamoto, in a fictionalized account of the real living legend in the world of samurai.
The series depicts the earlier years in Musashi’s life, in an attempt to explore how he was able to become such an enlightened and wizened figure in the world of samurai.
If you love samurai stories, then you owe it to yourself to check out this stunning seinen manga that is often recognized as one of the best manga ever published!
Attack On Titan
Attack On Titan is one of the world’s most recognizable manga series today and has gone on to become one of the most beloved Seinen manga of all time since it began its publication in 2009.
The series very recently ended its publication, upon reaching the conclusion of the story, meaning that there has never been a better time to get into the series and explore its richly detailed world and its cast of vibrant characters.
The series has a very simple premise that lends itself to some very mature themes and some very intriguing and exciting storytelling that will easily have you turning every page in anticipation.
The series follows a cast of characters living in a small town surrounded by walls on all side.
Outside of those walls reside the titans, towering giants akin to zombies in their craving for human flesh and reckless sense of abandon.
These titans help to make the series equal parts horror, and equal parts action.
Attack On Titan has also become incredibly beloved because of its intense action scenes which are depicted with total mastery by artist Hajime Isayama.
The visceral fights against the gigantic titans are rendered with such gleefully exciting mastery that it is difficult not to get pumped up at points!
You’ll also easily fall in love with the cast of characters in this series, including Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert, all of whom undergo some very intense character arcs.
To Wrap Up
As you have probably seen, there is a large number of Seinen manga series dating across numerous eras, and this can make it quite difficult to choose just one series to check out.
We hope that this list has not only shown you the potential of Seinen manga but also that you now feel ready to dive into some of the best series in the form!
These are just a few of the very best seinen manga in the world, but definitely the very best that the form has ever achieved, so make sure to check them all out!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Seinen Better Than Shounen?
This is a difficult question to answer as both forms are catered to very different audiences. Shonen manga is aimed at younger audiences, while Seinen manga is aimed at slightly older audiences.
Is Death Note A Seinen?
Though DeathNote touches on some dark subject matter, it is actually a Shonen manga, due to being published in Weekly Shonen Jump.
Is Naruto A Seinen?
No. Naruto is a Shonen series that was published in Weekly Shonen Jump.