Seinen manga is geared for adult males, but that doesn’t mean males or females from other age groups wouldn’t appreciate it. If you’re tired of overdramatic shoujo plots or have read all the josei scanlated (why are there so few T_T), here is a list compiled by Shoujohearts members. We discussed our top seinen choices for beginners and made a vote. A lot of amazing series didn’t make the cut, so hopefully we can make different parts of this post to highlight the superb variety out there. Included in this post is the title of the manga, along with a little summary/commentary from a SH member. Links on where to read and download will be included. There are a few banners that divide the series by length, the more you scroll down, the longer the series featured becomes. I want to make a special mention of a manga that was the 11th choice in our vote. It’s called Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan. It’s a must read for all beginners, and very short. We hope you enjoy the series mentioned in this list. Happy reading!
Koala: This can be either seen as one shot or five. Hotel itself is a story about an AI developed to save the memory of humanity in this world and to preserve the DNA of the humans, while the world dies of global warming. It shows how it is developed and how it develops itself after humanity is gone. Most of the manga’s carry an post-apocalyptic theme or at least a science fiction theme. It is a beautiful manga with light and heavy subjects. Sometimes humor sometimes sadness, and a perfect balance of them. The shortness of the stories might leave some things to be desired. Hotel is a perfect example of Seinen themes, and the aims of seinen manga.
Ryan: The tale of a 17 year old woman who’s memory dates back to the creation of life. I found the concept of this manga intriguing and kept me engaged from the beginning to the end. The manga gets into the story right away so I found the pacing for this kind of story to be precise. The main character Emanon is a mysterious and fascinating character portrayed perfectly. I really adored her character and the moments when she was discussing her memories with the male main character made me view ideas from a different perspective and ponder certain ideas. I found the chemistry between the two characters to be great. The character dynamics were great and I found the two characters really clicked with one another. While the manga only has 1 volume, it doesn’t leave much room for character development but I found the main characters to have wonderful personalities and emotions. Coupled together with its realistic character designs, and well-detailed backgrounds, the art in the manga is gorgeous and showcases its realistic setting. For those looking for a fascinating, well presented story, definitely give this one a read.
Marie no Kanaderu Ongaku
Ryan: The tale of two teenagers who question the world they live in. One of the strongest attributes of the manga is the universe these characters live in. I found the world intriguing with its steam punk appearance. Additionally, the manga has a strong sense of world building, as it was interesting to understand the culture these characters practiced, such as how the characters gather resources and the methods of marriage. At a runtime of only 2 volumes, there isn’t much room for character development but the manga does a great job presenting its roles for main characters. The main character Kai throughout the plot becomes enticed by this unknown entity. He must think and decide for himself what’s best suited for him. The 2nd main character Pipi has feelings for Kai but as a result of Kai’s situation, she deals with the stress of trying to grasp Kai’s attention. Both main characters’ role in the story were extremely enjoyable to witness as it made for some great drama. The art in the manga is simply breathtaking. Character designs and backgrounds enhance the amazing world setting. Seeing how the manga has a steam punk aesthetic, the mechanical imagery is mind-blowing with how detailed and beautiful it is. For those looking for a captivating story with interesting themes, give this one a read.
Zenron: Who would have thought that a manga about space janitors could be this good? It’s the year 2075 and debris orbiting earth has become a real problem. That’s where the crew of the “toybox” come in. They’re underpaid and understaffed and it’s not really something that is as valued as it should be, but they do their jobs. The characters are all charming and interesting and there’s a real sense of warmth that permeates the series, even in the cold and lonely depths of space. It’s difficult to even comprehend how a series set so high above the earth could feel so grounded in humanity. That’s what this series does best. The story is the broadest it could possible be. It’s about life and love and ambition and the connections that we make with people, but spoken through the characters with such passion, it becomes truly great. Other works to read by Yukimura Makoto: Vinland Saga
Avelys: Spectacular manhwa. I was mesmerized with it from the very beginning. It has a beautiful mix of fantasy and magic side by side with realistic life circumstances and choices. This melange of two themes give birth to a fascinating story of finding your own path in life. Seeking happiness can be a difficult path for many. Sometimes abandoning what society deems as a “normal” path to certain happiness is a lie. This is the type of idea this manhwa explores. How different people on different paths connect and try to find meaning where they have none. On one end we have a rich boy who is on his way to leading a “happy” life. The path to getting there does not permit anything less than perfection (perfect grades, perfect status, etc). On the other hand, we have a poor girl who just wants to earn enough money to provide for her family. Then we have a magician who dazzles them both into realizing that there might be another path to happiness. But is the magician really happy? Or is it all an illusion? I loved the art work for this manhwa. There was beautiful 3-D images that gave the story life (like the excerpt I included below with the flower). Everything is presented a certain way for a reason, which adds a certain beauty to this medium. I highly recommend for anybody. I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t like it. Hear Candy’s thoughts here.
Zenron: I’m not sure there is anyone in the world that has completely captured the disenfranchisement of youth as well as Asano Inio. It’s a bold statement to make but when reading this as a newly formed adult, there’s a real sense that he just gets what it means to be caught in that strange place between being a child and an adult. When you feel like you’re hanging on a precipice and you might drop at any moment. There is a lot of art which tries to understand this, but none ever really hit as close to home for me as this. This is something that you should read not just because the characters are entertaining or the story is emotional and interesting (and all of that is true). You should read Solanin because it might just teach you something about life. Other works to read by Asano Inio: Everything. Just read everything. Especially Oyasumi Punpun.
Kokou no Hito
Koala: Kokou no Hitou is a sports manga with a very interesting sport as its main focus: mountain climbing. It will not be about teamwork here. Mori Buntarou is a loner and a loner he’ll remain throughout the manga. It has strong powerful art among which are some beautiful landscapes. The main character is not a likable person, he does not need to be. His goal is to get that incredible sense of accomplishment he gets from climbing mountains. Through this manga you will learn to love mountains and maybe even mountain climbing. You learn more about the sport, but you will also learn about he dangers. It is a good entry level seinen manga for people who want to get into a character, in this case the strange mind of Mori Buntarou, as well for those who love the beautiful art that is often shown in seinen manga.
Koala: Holyland is a manga about a bullied boy Kamishiro Yuu, by learning how to fight, learns to stand up for himself and survive in the streets. It is a coming-of-age story combined with a martial arts manga. It has beautiful art, good character development and is immensely immersive. The path that Kamishiro Yuu takes is not an easy one and has ups-and-downs, dark days and bright days. It is a manga about teenagers living in the world between being kids and being adults, a place of freedom in a sense. It distinguishes itself from shounen manga through its darker attitude its realism and its artwork. This manga is a great entry to seinen, especially if you are already fan of shounen manga or martial arts manga, but even if you’re no tinto shounen, since it is also a very emotional and heartbreaking story. Much love for Holyland
Ryan: The story of an arranged marriage and the focus of other characters in a Central Asian setting. One of my favorite parts of the manga is the story’s presentation. While the central male and female characters do get their focus, the story switches from various perspectives which further adds to the world building. It was really fun and interesting since I was just thrown in an unknown place and as I read more chapters, I was able to learn the lifestyle and the fashion these characters practiced. Speaking of characters, Otoyomegatari offers a colorful cast of characters each with their own distinct personality. The main lead Karluk, despite his young age is mature for his age and displays acts of courage and determination. The main female lead Amir is independent; capable of hunting and fishing. There’s also Pariya, an outspoken girl who for the most part serves as comedic relief based on her reactions and her embarrassment which really just adds to the charm of the manga. Out of all the characters, Amir is definitely my favorite. She’s very overprotective of Karluk which makes for some adorable moments in the manga. She’s friendly and respectful towards the other characters which is really cute to see. Seeing how this is an historical manga, the human interactions exchanged between characters fit well with its 18th century setting as well as the actions portrayed in the manga. Various moments in the manga, I noticed characters going out hunting, fishing, shopping at markets and doing house labor. I was really pleased to see that the manga was historically accurate. While I do love the story’s presentation, it does have its drawbacks.
Some side stories don’t get covered as much as others and some characters have more screen time than others which some people may not like. Despite these issues, I still think it’s important that I was able to see more locations being shown to further build its world building, even if certain side stories and characters weren’t captivated on. The art in the manga is absolutely amazing. It’s extremely detailed and clear as to what certain objects are. The way the dresses and the facial expressions look are so crisp and clear, it’s the perfect art style for this type of story. Those looking for a heartwarming slice of life that can be both emotional and dramatic with astonishing art should definitely give this a read.
Zenron: Set in 17th century Sengoku era Japan, Vagabond tells the story of the sword saint, Miyamoto Musashi. To put it simply, Vagabond is a marvel. A lyrical tapestry of violence and peace, of what it actually means to be strong or wise or gifted. It’s a famous story that has been told many times, but there is a nuance and beauty to this manga that elevates it to a higher place. Musashi is a deeply complex and interesting character that undergoes drastic and real change throughout his story. It’s a wonderful portrait of a man slowly realising the things that matter in life. The art, by the great Inoue Takehiko, might actually be some of the best I’ve ever seen in a manga, especially the coloured watercolour pages and it’s worth checking out for that alone. It all adds up to something that isn’t just another samurai story. It’s the samurai story. Other works to read by Takehiko Inoue: REAL, Slam Dunk