Quick – shout out a seinen title! Okay, I’m pretty sure everyone said Berserk or Serial Experiments Lain or something like those. Cool.
But did you know that shows with gore, sex, psychological themes, and a lot of dialog isn’t the only thing that is made for the seinen (male aged between 18 – 45) demographic? Prepare to be surprised.
1. Is the Order a Rabbit?
© Koi / Houbunsha / White Fox
What people see: Cuteness overload of questionable quality. I hope Chris Hansen isn’t behind me…
Why it’s seinen: Because grown ass men like cute stuff too. Let’s just hope that Chris Hansen isn’t behind us…
2. Oreimo: My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute!
© Tsukasa Fushimi / Hiro Kanazaki / ASCII Media Works / AIC Build
What people see: An incestuous series that revolves around a guy picking between a dumpster and a trash can.
Why it’s seinen: To give the light novel credit, Oreimo actually does touch on how being an otaku is really taboo in Japan (especially for girls) while giving a semi-respectful look at incest.
3. Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends
© Yomi Hirasaka / Buriki / Media Factory / Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai Productions Partners
What people see: A typical ecchi harem with a typical loner protag, but with TWO lolis!
Why it’s seinen: Haganai actually touches on concepts of isolation, what happens when people have poor communication skills, and teenage immaturity. The light novel is one of the better coming-of-age stories in the medium.
© Clamp / Kodansha / Chobits Production Committee
What people see: A typical rom-com about a boy falling in love with a robot.
Why it’s seinen: Not only does Chobits symbolizes the relationship between humans and technology, but touches on one sided relationships, isolation, and the concept of being human.
© Bow Ditama / Kodansha / Feel
What people see: A borderline hentai series of twin sisters trying to get frisky with their step-brother.
Why it’s seinen: “Firmly grasp it in your hand” – Patrick Star, 1999
6. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
© Magica Quartet / Aniplex / Madoka Partners
What people see: Just another frilly magical girl series…whoa…that got 2edgy4me real fast.
Why it’s seinen: Reading before signing contracts is an important life skill. Overcoming personal trauma, betrayal, and low self esteem is secondary.
7. Alien Nine
© Hitoshi Tomizawa / Akita Shoten / Alien 9 Committee
What people see: Autistic kids running around and screaming, “Alien hunting! Alien hunting!”
Why it’s seinen: A surreal, sci-fi, horror series that will creep you out with body horror. Some fans debate if there is meaning behind the imagery (Japan’s lax stance on child abuse) or if it’s “just for the lols.”
© Kakifly / Houbunsha / Kyoto Animation
What people see: The face of moe, do-nothing anime. May or may not be the best thing ever.
Why it’s seinen: The anime does touch on emotional farewells of growing up. Also the manga has some tasty yuri moments. Rawr.
9. Otome Yōkai Zakuro
© Lily Hoshino / Gentosha / Aniplex / J.C. Staff
What people see: A typical josei romance with a bishounen lead.
Why it’s seinen: Because the magazine publisher said so. Josei and Seinen romances focus more on character growth than their shoujo and shonen counterparts.
10. Sakura Trick
© Tachi / Houbunsha / Studio Deen
What people see: A yuri series for horny high school boys.
Why it’s seinen: Because it’s a yuri series for horny college boys.
11. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya
© Hiroshi Hiroyama / Kadokawa Shoten / Prisma Illya Production Committee
What people see: A loli pandering spin-off based on the Fate/ franchise.
Why it’s seinen: It’s true that the loli fanservice is strong, but Fate/kalied still has the emotion trauma and characterizations of the mainline series that everyone loves.
12. Non Non Biyori
© Atto / Media Factory / Silver Link
What people see: Cute girls doing NOTHING!
Why it’s seinen: Because it just is.
What did we learn today? That the “seinen” demographic does not just consume series with loads of gore and sex. Deep, psychological themes and dialog heavy shows also aren’t the only seinen series around. Nope. Even a moe, slice-of-life can be made for a mature audience.