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Seinen
Seinen (Japanese for "young man" or "young men", and pronounced "ˈseɪ ˌnen", not "ˈsaɪ ˌnen") is a demographic designation of Anime and Manga targeted at male audiences aged 18 to 40. It is the older counterpart of Shōnen and effectively makes for the majority of anime in the older demographic, since major Josei manga titles rarely get adapted on screen. Compared to shonen, seinen caters to a much smaller viewing crowd, since younger audiences have much more time to spare on anime, which makes them a more attractive target, and thus is slightly less known.note 

Thanks to the older target audience, seinen shows tend to be much more sophisticated and mature than their shonen counterparts. Much more attention is paid to the plot and the interaction between characters than to action and fights, which are the main attraction for most viewers, and the characters are well fleshed out. The latter trait often leads to confusion of seinen with Shōjo (Demographic) but the key difference is that seinen does not idealize romance, instead opting for more realistic and pragmatic approach to relationships. Realism is indeed the calling card of seinen shows, commonly earning them the acclaim for their depth and maturity and Multiple Demographic Appeal.

A typical seinen protagonist can be of any gender and age (in stark contrast to shonen, whose protagonists are almost exclusively young and male), but tend to be young adults (like its target audience). Romance-wise, anything goes, from Romantic Two-Girl Friendship to obscure examples of Boys Love. In fact, Schoolgirl Lesbians are a distinctive trait of seinen, rarely if ever present in shonen shows. Relationships are portrayed in a less idealistic light than in shojo, with many grays and uncertainties like in Real Life, and don't tend to indulge the shonen over-simplification of "which heroine will be hooked up with the hero". There is a reverse side to this, too: ironically, seinen is most infamous for its sub-category of Improbably Female Cast and Harem Series that rely heavily on cutesy Moe Fanservice (again, juxtaposed to plain sex appeal of female characters in shonen) to attract viewers. These series tend to be on the opposite side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism from the grim type of seinen, instead being fluffy, heart-warming, and comedic.

Recently, there has been a considerable influx of shojo fans into the seinen demographic, thanks to the latter's traditional thoroughness in relationships and, more importantly, general retraction from blatant fanservice. This migration was particularly paved by such Gateway Series as Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Kanon, CLANNAD, and AIR due to its presence of female leads. There is also a small influx of shonen fans as well, thanks to the incorporation of dark seinen themes in many of the shonen works (such as Attack on Titan, Death Note, and Deadman Wonderland).

Some of the anime stuff shown on [adult swim] and the revived Toonami is seinen, EXCLUDING the likes of InuYasha, Bleach, Soul Eater, S-CRY-ed, Naruto, IGPX Immortal Grand Prix, Detective Conan, Durarara!!, Samurai 7, Trinity Blood, Eureka Seven, One Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist, Death Note, Kekkaishi, Deadman Wonderland and (taking only the anime as reference) Neon Genesis Evangelionnote  which are shonen, but have very Seinen type themes.

Compare the Distaff Counterpart Josei, which is aimed at females of the same age.

Before adding a new title, please double check your sources. A Seinen manga has to be published in a Seinen magazine for it truly be part of the demographic. For an anime, go check its usually late night time slot in Japan, or any slot if it airs in a satellite channel (again in Japan) unless if it's adapted from a Shonen, shojo, and Josei manga or light novel series.


Common tropes seen in seinen works:


Titles:

  • Yomeiro Choice: Only the first collected Volume, as all the chapters contained in it where published Champion RED Ichigo, later the series got popular and it was moved to Champion RED, a well known Shounen magazine for serializing series usually mistaken for Seinen, as most series is filled of what could only be considered as adult content.
  • Yumekui Merry
  • Yuria 100 Shiki
  • ''Yuureitou
  • Zero Matsumoto Taiyou a.k.a simply Zero
  • Zetman

Series sometimes mistaken for seinen note 

  • Akumetsu, a series which runs on heavy, yet well constructed, critics against a corrupt Japanese government, protagonized by basically a young terrorist dead set on killing as many corrupt politicians as he can find. Yes, all of it ran in a shonen magazine from start to finish.
  • Apocalypse Zero, in spite of its infamously graphic violence, was published in Shonen Champion, which (if it weren't already obvious) is the sister magazine to Champion Red. The manga is actually more violent than the OVAs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's also by the author of Shigurui.
  • Attack on Titan: This series is lauded for its realistic depiction of war, with the war in question being human against human-eating mindless giants. A majority of the named characters are either Mauve Shirts or nigh-Shell Shocked Veterans. About 90% of the unnamed characters are Red Shirts or nameless titans. Plot points involve sexual slavery, child soldiers, cultists, corrupt police, casting couches, corrupt government officials, and huge conspiracies, all of which are very seinen in their approach. It's also known for showing that War Is Hell in every sense imaginable, and that there's no such thing as a Heroic Sacrifice, brutally deconstructing that very trope. However, the characters are rather idealistic, most of them are either teens or children, and they seem to run on sheer determination most of the time. Plus, it runs in Bessatsu Shonen Magazine, so it's a moot point.
  • Azumanga Daioh: Much like its spiritual successor Yotsuba&!, both by the same magnaka Kiyohiko Azuma, ad the very similar Lucky Star, the manga ran in a shonen magazine. However, much of the show/manga's fanbase is composed of 18-40 year old males, like both Lucky Star and Yotsuba&!, as well as the entire genre that it helped popularize: the Schoolgirl Series.
  • Baccano! - while the original source material was targeted to a somewhat younger demographic like most other Light Novels, the anime is very graphic in its violence and aired on a satellite channel (WOWOW) best known for airing seinen and shows with adult themes and content.
  • Barefoot Gen, a semi-autobiographical manga famous for its harrowing depiction of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima, originally ran in Shonen Jump.
  • BECK has many realistic aspects found in seinen, but it ran in Monthly Shonen Magazine.
  • Change123, it runs on the famous Champion RED magazine, so yeah, it features a lot of mature content like nudity, extreme violence, and lots of Fanservice.
  • Claymore: Despite its dark tone, violent content, and superficial resemblance to Berserk, it runs in Shonen Jump.
  • Deadman Wonderland - It has a dark storyline and some glaring gorn, it runs on many a Trauma Conga Line, yet it runs in a shonen magazine.
  • Death Note: Due to being a largely cynical crime story with a Villain Protagonist and What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?, it just has Multiple Demographic Appeal. It ran in Shonen Jump.
    • Sorta brought up in Bakuman。, a manga written by the same author. Most of the main mangaka characters in Bakuman seem to support the idea of running seinen-like stories in shonen magazines.
  • Fist of the North Star due to its violent content. Also ran in Shonen Jump. Fist of the Blue Sky, Jibo no Hoshi, and Hōkō no Kumo, among others are genuine seinen.
  • Franken Fran: Another horror manga that ran in a shonen magazine, despite having a lot of elements that appear seinen.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist contains a more complex plot and is less focused on fight scenes than typical shonen, and as such is occasionally mistaken for a seinen series; however, it ran in a shonen magazine and, at its core, still embodies most of the typical shonen elements.
  • Gunslinger Girl is a violent series with a dark, realistic tone, themes of child abuse and terrorism, and bearing a superficial resemblance to Black Lagoon... that runs in a shonen magazine.
  • InuYasha: Even though it shares many similarities to Berserk, it ran on Shonen Sunday.
  • Lucky Star: Like Azumanga Daioh, they both ran in shonen magazines. The anime ran rather late at night, though.
  • Mai-Hime and Mai-Otome both ran in Shonen Champion.
  • Mermaid Saga: Despite having tons of Gorn, Family-Unfriendly Violence, and Nightmare Fuel, it ran in Shonen Sunday.
  • Mirai Nikki: Violent, horrific and containing adult themes and situations. It ran on Shonen Ace. It's spinoff, Mirai Nikki: Paradox, is Seinen.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion, due to its increasingly adult tone and graphic content, is typically associated with the seinen demographic, but originally it ran during a 6pm timeslot and was by the creators' own admission intended for youth audiences. If that seems hard to swallow, don't worry - Japanese parents, sponsors, and media watchdogs felt the same way; the series is probably the single largest reason for the Otaku O'Clock trope. It pulled very strong ratings during both its initial airing, and a late-night rerun on a satellite channel.
  • Read Or Die: Rehabilitation: Despite Read or Die and Read or Dream being Seinen, Read or Die: Rehabilitation (which runs on a shonen magazine) is even more risque than the latter two, complete with the main character who's literally the opposite to the original main character in virtually every way.
  • Red Eyes is shock full of Family-Unfriendly Violence, the setting is all about war with many, many cases of Info Dump and All There in the Manual which is huge set off for younger readers or the general public who just don't like to read too much into the story to understand what's going on; the art is very realistic, no cases of Generic Cuteness and Fanservice to be seen here. All in all this series just screams it was made for mature readers, and yet it runs in a Shounen magazine.
  • Rosario + Vampire Season 2 at least after a few chapters. Despite gratuitous fanservice and increasingly dark plot elements, it ran in a shonen magazine.
  • Rurouni Kenshin is darker and more violent than most Shonen Jump series, but still unmistakably shonen.
  • Sakigake!! Otokojuku like Fist of the North Star above this series has violence abound and ran in Shonen Jump in its entirety.
  • Shigurui, violent, horrific and containing exclusively adult themes and situations. It ran on Champion Red, a shonen magazine (In Name Only), the magazine that also runs Franken Fran. No, seriously.
  • Trinity Blood, or at least the manga version, despite seeming having the themes of most Seinen manga, complete with graphic violence, Fanservice and adult themes, actually ran in Monthly Asuka, a magazine aimed at teenage girls.
  • Welcome to the NHK, a wretched take on concepts of being a hikikomori, anime otaku, and having most of the characters experience intense feelings of depression and loneliness. The original novel and manga adaptation ran in a Shōnen magazine, while it's hard to indicate where the anime adaptation should be placed, it derived from two Shōnen works so it can't be seen as any different.
  • Both iterations of When They Cry. Their manga adaptations have consistently run in Square Enix's shounen "Gangan" magazines.
  • X/1999, which a series made by CLAMP set Just Before the End, with many characters fighting in incredibly brutal, gruesome fashion. It actually ran in Shojo magazine, Monthly Asuka.
  • Yomeiro Choice, only the first few chapters were genuine Seinen as it was published in a fitting magazine, but the majority of the series (basically 5/6 of it) ran in a Shounen magazine till the very end, and yet the contents shown in the first chapters didn't change at all, actually it got more risque as it went along, stuff like extreme nudity, sexual innuendos, strong content abound.
  • Yotsuba&!: Like Azumanga Daioh, it runs in a shounen mangazine.

Panty FighterAnime GenresSekaikei Genre
Shonen (Demographic)Anime Fan SpeakShoujo Demographic
KodomomukeMangaShoujo Demographic

alternative title(s): Seinen Demographic
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