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10 Best Seinen Manga Perfect For New Readers – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Anyone looking to get into the world of seinen manga is encouraged to try these excellent titles first.
The world of Japanese manga is a rich and deep one, with hundreds of different titles exploring every literary genre imaginable and then some, from action-packed shonen series to heartfelt shojo and, of course, the more mature world of seinen and josei manga. Anyone looking for more mature and thought-provoking fiction should try josei and seinen; some of the best manga titles of all time are indeed seinen.
RELATED: 10 Reasons Why Seinen Is The Best Genre Of Anime
Anyone new to seinen manga, or manga in general, is encouraged to try out a variety of well-written series to get a taste of what this kind of manga is capable of. A handful of beginner-friendly seinen titles should be enough for newcomers to fully appreciate what seinen is all about and refine their tastes from there.
Gambling stories are always popular among movie, novel, and graphic novel fans, and many R-rated movies feature a casino scene, such as Casino Royale. In the world of seinen manga, new fans can try out Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji, which has a distinct and clean art style and some truly gripping storylines.
This seinen series is about the brilliant antihero Kaiji, who must gamble his way out of crushing debt and unravel the mysteries of the suited men who run these cruel games. It’s also a great series for fans of TV shows like Squid Game, but with less gore.
Vikings are always a popular topic in Western fiction, such as the live-action TV show Vikings and the How to Train Your Dragon animated movies. Any fan of Viking fiction or history should also try out Makoto Yukimura’s hit seinen series Vinland Saga, which takes place in medieval Europe.
In this grim but compelling manga series, the young Viking Thorfinn Karlsefni embarks on a quest for revenge, only to learn some hard lessons about the nature of vengeance and the importance of finding a fulfilling goal in one’s life. Thorfinn’s personal quest in Vinland Saga is a heartfelt but violent one.
A variety of Western franchises involve gothic monsters and visuals in a modern setting, such as the Marvel Blade comics and the Underworld movie franchise. Anyone who loves those stories ought to try out Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul manga series as well and possibly the sequel Tokyo Ghoul:re.
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Tokyo Ghoul takes place in Tokyo, where punkish flesh-eating ghouls rule the streets and CCG investigators desperately fight back to keep the people safe. In the middle of all this is the half-ghoul Ken Kaneki, who is determined to reconcile the two sides without losing his remaining humanity in the process.
The Flowers of Evil did get an anime, but the experimental animation style didn’t sit well with many fans. Fortunately, the original seinen manga series features some excellent art and a grim story that moves at a decent pace, making for a great read.
This particular seinen manga should appeal to any drama fan or fans of realistic stories depicting the dark side of human nature. In The Flowers of Evil, protagonist Takeo Kasuga gets mixed up with a disturbed girl named Sawa Nakamura, who soon drags him into her own twisted world of boredom and troublemaking.
Anyone new to manga will soon realize that the four main demographics have some overlap; some seinen series emphasize romance and relationships over violence and horror, including After the Rain. Anyone who enjoys romance drama movies is sure to like After the Rain, too.
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While After the Rain appears to be an ordinary romance, the story is really about healing and self-acceptance for the two main lovers, which makes the story far more powerful. Heroine Akira Tachibana, a cool and aloof high school student, develops a crush on her manager Mr. Kondo while also reigniting her passion for running after sustaining a nasty ankle injury.
Like its seinen cousin Vinland Saga, Takehiko Inoue’s legendary seinen series Vagabond is historical fiction and depicts actual people, except it takes place in Japan rather than medieval Europe. Any movie or graphic novel fans who appreciates Japanese culture owes Vagabond a try.
Vagabond is famed for its outstanding art and action scenes, which only get better over time. Vagabond is also divided into distinct story arcs to give it an episodic feel as fans join Musashi on his many adventures across pre-modern Japan.
Seinen is often serious and dark, but plenty of seinen titles are actually fun and cheerful without sacrificing the core values of seinen fiction, including the hit series Grand Blue Dreaming. This well-regarded series is all about scuba diving and the thrilling ups and downs of college life in general.
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Grand Blue Dreaming’s punkish protagonist, Iori Kitahara, is in for a wild ride when he joins his new college’s diving club, complete with gorgeous underwater vistas, beer-soaked parties, romance shenanigans, and much more. Anyone who loves a good college comedy story is bound to love Grand Blue Dreaming.
Black Lagoon’s manga has slowed down in recent years, but it’s still a worthwhile read for any fan of crime thrillers or movies such as The Italian Job or John Wick. This famed seinen manga series features the Black Lagoon company, a small team of skilled mercenaries who take on a variety of dangerous jobs for money.
Protagonist Rock is a former salaryman turned hapless criminal and he’ll do everything from shooting missiles at helicopters to stealing paintings from marauding Neo-Nazis to fighting Rambo-style maids in the crime-ridden port city of Roanapur, and much more.
Anyone who enjoys cowboy stories or spaghetti Westerns will enjoy the hit seinen manga series Golden Kamuy which, despite its Japanese setting, is remarkably similar to a Western in many ways. The snowy wilderness of early-1900s Hokkaido is like the Wild West, where frontier justice reigns supreme.
Golden Kamuy’s hero is Saichi Sugimoto, a soldier who’s looking for a hidden treasure and he has an Ainu companion, a girl named Asirpa, to help him. Golden Kamuy has it all: mature themes, cool action sequences, a Western vibe, mystery, humor, cooking, and many insights into Ainu culture.
One-Punch Man is ultimately a seinen manga series, though it also has some shonen elements and definitely involves the superhero genre to make a unique package, all backed up with excellent artwork and surprisingly deep themes. One-Punch Man follows Saitama, the caped baldy who can end any fight with one punch.
One-Punch Man is great for new seinen fans who want more than just blood and gore in their stories. One-Punch Man also features plenty of dark humor and insights into what it means to seek a fulfilling purpose in life. This series should appeal to any fan of the superhero genre — even if it is satire.
NEXT: 10 Anime You Won’t Believe Are Seinen
Louis Kemner has been a fan of Japanese animation since 1997, when he discovered Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z in elementary school. Now he’s a bigger anime/manga fan than ever, and is ready to share what he knows with readers worldwide. He graduated high school in 2009 and received his Bachelor’s in creative writing from UMKC in 2013, then put his skills to work in 2019 with CBR.com. He’s always looking for a wonderful new anime to watch or manga series to read.

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