10 Best His Manga, Ranked – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

10 Best His Manga, Ranked

In the world of anime and manga, there are different categories or demographics that cater to specific audiences. The most common demographics are shonen and seinen. Shonen series primarily target young males and often focus on action and adventure, with popular titles such as Dragon Ball Z and Death Note falling into this category. Seinen, on the other hand, is aimed at an older male demographic, typically those in their late teens or 20s.

Seinen manga and anime are known for their depth and complexity, with stories that explore darker themes and feature more mature content. While they may star older protagonists and deal with more explicit subject matter, this is not a requirement for a series to be classified as seinen.

If you are interested in exploring the world of seinen manga, here are ten of the best series to get you started:

10. Land of the Lustrous – Haruko Ichikawa’s visually stunning fantasy series follows a humanoid jewel-like species in their war against the Lunaris. The story delves into the cost of their powers and features exceptional 3D animation in its anime adaptation.

9. 20th Century Boys – Naoki Urasawa’s sci-fi twist on the mystery genre follows convenience store manager Kenji Endo as he investigates a childhood friend’s suicide and a dangerous new cult. The series is known for its intricate plot and engrossing storytelling.

8. Kingdom – Yasuhisa Hara’s historical fiction series is set in China’s Warring States period and follows war orphan Xin on his quest to become the world’s greatest general. With 64 volumes and counting, Kingdom has maintained a thrilling narrative and striking artwork throughout its run.

7. Vinland Saga – Makoto Yukimura’s Viking epic explores themes of redemption, war aftermath, and growing past vengeance through protagonist Thorfinn’s journey of self-discovery. The anime adaptation of Vinland Saga has been praised for its immersive storytelling and character-driven plot.

6. Grand Blue – Kenji Inoue and Kimitake Yoshioka’s slice-of-life comedy follows college student Iori Kitahara as he navigates the antics of the diving club at his uncle’s shop. Grand Blue is a fan favorite in the slice-of-life genre and features a grounded, coming-of-age storyline.

5. Goodnight Punpun – Inio Asano’s coming-of-age drama follows the life of 11-year-old Punpun Onodera as he navigates the complications of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. The series explores dark psychological themes and social commentary.

4. Monster – Naoki Urasawa’s crime thriller tells the story of Japanese doctor Kenzo Tenma, whose life crumbles when he refuses to operate on a political official in favor of a child in critical condition. Years later, that same boy returns as a psychopathic serial killer. Monster’s anime adaptation is considered one of the greatest seinen anime ever produced.


3. Vagabond – Takehiko Inoue’s character-driven story follows ronin Musashi Miyamoto on his journey to become the “strongest under the Sun.” The series is known for its intimate storytelling and stunning artwork.

2. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run – Hirohiko Araki’s colorful and inventive series takes place in the American Old West, where Gyro Zeppeli and Johnny Joestar take part in a grand race for a chance to win $50 million. Steel Ball Run is considered one of the best seinen manga ever written and is aimed at older fans in the demographic.

If you are looking for a change of pace from the typical shonen series, these ten seinen manga and anime offer a diverse and underappreciated genre that is sure to satisfy.

The world of anime and manga is split into demographics, with the most common being shonen and seinen. For most, it’s dominated by shonen series, often action-focused anime and manga that aim primarily at a young male demographic. That includes famed hits like Dragon Ball Zand even some things one might not expect, like Death Note. However, there are also anime and manga aimed at an older demographic, and that category is known as seinen.

What is seinen, exactly? “Seinen” is media aimed at older males, such as those in their late teens and 20s. The older-skewing genre has seen some impressive depth with the kinds of stories written and illustrated for it, including the likes of Berserk and Vinland Saga. In general, these series tend to star older protagonists, be more explicit, and deal with darker subject matter, although they don’t have to. The only real requirement to be seinen is to cater to that male demographic, and as such, there’s still a welcome level of variety here. Below are ten of the absolute best seinen series out there, offering great entry points into this diverse and underappreciated genre.

10 Land Of The Lustrous

The more cheerful Phos and the stern Bort in Land of the Lustrous manga cover art.

Haruko Ichikawa’s Land of the Lustrous is a visually beautiful and creative fantasy seinen manga. As eye-catching as Ichikawa’s emotionally expressive art style is, the series doesn’t slack on depth in the story department, either. The story follows Phos, a member of a humanoid jewel-like species of beings who are deemed weak by their peers in their war against the Lunaris, who want to hunt them down for their value as jewels.

As the story goes on, though, Phos discovers that their powers come with a brutally steep cost. These revelations gradually unwind in a shocking fashion, and Land of the Lustrous‘ CG anime adaptation garnered special praise for accomplishing the rare feat of creating exceptional 3D animation that does justice to one of the best seinen manga out there.

9 20th Century Boys

A collage of the main cast of 20th Century Boys.

Though he’s more well-known for his work on Monster (also on this list), Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys is another excellent seinen effort by the writer/artist. Urasawa has made himself known for stringing together mysteries that are equal parts intricate and engrossing at the core of his stories, and 20th Century Boys works that in with a sci-fi twist. The plot follows an average convenience store manager, named Kenji Endo, who starts to feel suspicious of the suicide of a childhood friend and a dangerous new cult on the rise. From there, 20th Century Boys spirals into a tense psychological and conspiracy thriller that easily ranks among the best seinen series.

8 Kingdom

Kingdom promo art with a determined Li Xin in the foreground and Lei Qiang in the background.

With a somewhat similar genre appeal to Vinland Sagawriter Yasuhisa Hara’s Kingdom is an equally acclaimed historical fiction and sweeping seinen drama. Kingdom‘s length and success make it rival One Piecebut in a very different setting. Its story is a fictionalized version of the Warring States period of China, during the fifth century BCE. Kingdom uses this setting to follow a war orphan named Xin, who is on a grand quest to become the world’s greatest general, and plans to unify China in the process. The seinen manga series has been ongoing since 2006, and it’s been acclaimed for maintaining a thrilling narrative throughout that thanks to its compelling characters and strikingly expressive artwork across 64 volumes and counting.

7 Vinland Saga

Thorfinn standing atop a mound of corpses in Vinland Saga cover art

Despite 2019 being a stacked year for anime with the likes of Demon Slayer, Attack on Titan season 3, and more, Vinland Saga still managed to be one of the best series of the year. Makoto Yukimura’s original manga is a sweeping Viking epic, with its story evolving into a philosophically and emotionally resonating journey of self-discovery for Thorfinn that explores themes of redemption, the aftermath of war, and growing past vengeance. This seinen manga series is a consistently enthralling tale of historical fiction, able to tell immersive, character-driven stories without a fantasy wrapping. The strong reception to Vinland Saga‘s first anime season made sure that a second one debuted in 2023, and it gained a spot among the best anime of the recent past.

6 Grand Blue

Iori Kitahara looking nonchalant in promo art for Grand Blue

Fantasy and high-octane action will always attract plenty of attention, but Kenji Inoue and Kimitake Yoshioka’s Grand Blue is a welcome change of pace. It’s a grounded seinen slice-of-life/coming-of-age comedy revolving around college student Iori Kitahara. He’s looking forward to starting this new phase in his life, staying in a room above his uncle’s diving shop. Iori tries to steer clear of the antics of the diving club there, who are more interested in partying than actually diving, but eventually gets roped into the group’s exploits and learns more about diving through his cousins. It’s become a fan favorite when it comes to seinen manga in the slice-of-life genre, with an anime adaptation by studio Zero-G earning a strong reception as well.

5 Goodnight Punpun

The minimalistic Punpun lying down next to Aiko.

Inio Asano’s Goodnight Punpun follows the life of an 11-year-old boy named Punpun Onodera as he navigates the complications of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. This is another grounded slice-of-life seinen manga, but it’s one that takes a darker and more dramatic approach. Punpun is initially a naive romantic with preconceived notions of what romance is like, and he ends up discovering the complications of not only keeping a relationship together, but the bleaker aspects of those he once looked up to. Punpun realizes this after witnessing his father assault his mother, sending him into a spiraling state of fearful reclusiveness. Goodnight Punpun has been praised for being a compelling, coming-of-age drama that explores dark psychological themes and social commentary, ensuring its place among the best seinen manga.

4 Monster

A grizzled Kenzo Tenma in Monster key art.

Naoki Urasawa’s Monster is one of the few acclaimed seinen manga that could justify a live-action adaptation, should the likes of HBO take interest in it. It’s one of the best and most grounded seinen manga series out there, telling a grim and riveting crime drama story that could arguably serve as a premise for a series like True Detective. Monster tells the story of Kenzo Tenma, a Japanese doctor working and living in Germany. His life first begins to crumble when he refuses to operate on a political official in favor of a child in critical condition. Years later, things begin to unravel further, as that same boy returns as an elusive, psychopathic serial killer. A gripping crime-thriller, Monster‘s anime adaptation still stands as one of the greatest seinen anime ever produced.

3 Vagabond

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Vagabond is one of those manga series that arguably can’t be adapted in a way that’s worthy of writer/artist Takehiko Inoue’s work. In addition to telling a deeply intimate and character-driven story, Inoue could be put on the same pedestal as the late, great Kentaro Miura of Berserk when it comes to his artwork. Vagabond chronicles a fictionalized account of ronin Musashi Miyamoto on his journey to become the “strongest under the Sun.” He gains a daunting reputation as such, but he begins to discover that such a title isn’t the key to feeling whole. Unfortunately, Vagabond remains unfinished, but Inoue’s storyboards for the ending have been released online, which should provide some closure to one of the best seinen manga ever written.

2 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run

Gyro Zeppeli with Johnny Joestar in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run manga key art.

When it comes to popularity, Hirohiko Araki’s colorfully chaotic and stylish JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has to take first place. It’s one of the most vibrant and inventive manga ever, with the series getting even more mainstream with the ingenious and iconic invention of Stands. As esteemed as the sprawling generational adventures of the Joestar bloodline have been, however, Steel Ball Run still sits at the top for many veteran fans. This seventh part of the long-running manga rebooted the series, aiming at older fans in the seinen demographic for the first time. Steel Ball Run takes things back to the American Old West, where Gyro Zeppeli and Johnny Joestar take part in the titular grand race for a shot at winning $50 million. The JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure anime has excellent adaptations of the story’s arcs, but longtime fans are surely salivating at the thought of a Steel Ball Run anime.

1 Berserk

Guts and Griffith in Miura's art for Berserk vol. 34

While it may sound cliché, there’s some merit in hearing Berserk touted as the seinen manga equivalent of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels and HBO’s Game of Thrones adaptation. Series creator Kentaro Miura passed away in 2021, unfortunately, but the series has been picked up by his longtime friend and fellow mangaka Kouji Mori. Miura will be sorely missed, but the late, great writer/artist leaves behind a revered legacy as having put one of the greatest dark fantasy manga ever put to pen and paper. It’s filled with stunningly detailed art, cathartic fights, and dense fantasy worldbuilding.

It must also be said that the grueling and horrific scenes in the series are understandably not for everyone, but several of Berserk‘s powerful themes of healing from trauma, letting go of the past, and the power of sheer human will at its best are timeless. Guts, Casca, and co.’s personal journeys have been punishing ones, but the story of Berserk evolves past revenge and into one of inspiring perseverance and indomitable hope, ensuring a top spot among the best seinen manga ever.

While these ten series stand out as the pinnacle of seinen manga, there are a great many more that are almost as deserving of a spot on this list. Anime and manga fans who have only watched shonen series should absolutely give seinen manga a try, as many of shonen’s bad habits are absent here, leaving seinen series feeling much fresher and more original. There’s no better place to start than with one of these, the best seinen anime and manga ever.

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