Japanese anime has a lot to offer for fans of animated TV shows, from action-packed adventure stories to captivating romance sagas and even horror and mystery, among other literary genres. Aside from those traditional genres, anime can also be divided into four quadrants, based on the intended audience.

RELATED: 10 Seinen Anime Everyone Seems to Love or Hate

Shonen anime is arguably the most popular and universal, and shojo isn’t far behind. Then again, the seinen genre of anime has some of the industry’s best titles to its name, and anime fans are definitely encouraged to give seinen a try and see why it may be considered anime’s best genre. There’s a lot to love about seinen, and it has some key advantages over its main competitor, shonen.

10 Seinen Anime Has Better Protagonists For Older Viewers

Shonen and shojo anime tend to feature adolescent main characters aged 14-17, matching the typical age of intended viewers. Then again, many anime fans are much older than that, often twice that age, and they can’t identify much with 15-year-olds anymore.

Fortunately, seinen anime tend to feature older protagonists who are in college or even 20-somethings, and these are characters whose worldview and experiences feel real to anime fans in their late 20s, 30s, or beyond. For many seinen fans, high school was a long time ago.

9 Seinen Rarely Relies On The High School Setting

It’s true that some seinen series take place in high school, such as the popular battle of wits series Kaguya-Sama: Love is War or the more obscure After the Rain. Still, the seinen genre only makes light use of the typical high school setting, and that’s a relief for some anime fans.

There’s a lot to love about high school anime, but 30-something anime fans are ready to move on, and high school anime can get tedious. Seinen anime explores a wide variety of settings to freshen things up, and high school is just one of many that seinen can offer.

8 Seinen Anime Isn’t Afraid Of Gore

Seinen anime is often R-rated, and that means seinen anime can show graphic content that would be questionable in shonen or shojo anime. Some shonen series do involve some gruesome material, such as Izuku Midoriya breaking his fingers while using One For All, or even decapitation.

RELATED: 10 Harsh Realities of Watching Seinen Anime

However, those shonen series have to hold back, while seinen doesn’t. Some movie and anime fans enjoy blood and guts, and seinen can really deliver. in Tokyo Ghoul, characters aren’t afraid to tear each other apart and devour each other, and blood runs freely.

7 Seinen Has More & Better Antiheroes

Classic shonen protagonists like Naruto, Ichigo, and Luffy are all famous and easy to like, but not everyone is in the mood for a squeaky-clean hero. Many anime fans are more intrigued by antiheroes, or protagonists who don’t embody traditional heroic attitudes and worldviews.

Antiheroes are often more complex and nuanced than regular heroes, and seinen has plenty of them. Thorfinn the vengeful Viking is one such antihero, and there’s also the famous example of Guts the mercenary or even Ken Kaneki at times.

6 Seinen Has Fewer Anime Stereotypes & Clichés

The anime industry is both beloved and mocked for its many clichés, tropes, and conventions, from shouting attack names to peeking into the girls’ bath or shonen heroes who can eat lots of good in one sitting. Seinen sometimes does that, but not nearly as often as shonen and shojo do.

RELATED: 10 Best Seinen Anime That Aren’t Overtly Dark

Seinen might indulge in some clichés for comic relief, but as a whole, seinen anime has better things to do, and its narrative can feel fresh by comparison. At times, seinen anime hardly even feels like anime, and for the better. No one needs to see Thorfinn or Guts shouting a Kamehameha.

5 Seinen Isn’t Obligated To Be Optimistic

The seinen genre is not absolute – some seinen anime shows might involve high school or anime clichés, but it’s far less frequent. Similarly, some seinen anime series have a hopeful tone and narrative, but unlike shonen and shojo, seinen isn’t required to take that route.

Unlike series like Naruto and My Hero Academia, seinen anime shows are free to have darker tones and even be pessimistic or defeatist at times, so long as the story itself is compelling and relatable somehow. This should appeal to older anime fans who are tired of heroes who always say “I’ll save the day, no matter what!”

4 Seinen Can Explore Off-Beat Topics

Not all anime series involve beating up evil aliens or ninjas to save the world. Some shonen and many seinen anime series explore relatively obscure topics or themes in fascinating ways, and seinen does that more often than shonen and shojo do. This makes seinen feel much fresher by comparison.

RELATED: 10 Anime You Won’t Believe Are Seinen

Some seinen anime, such as Laid-Back Camp, are all about niche topics that the viewer would never expect to see in anime, and these stories can be dark and gritty or light and fun depending on the material. Seinen made sure that going camping is hugely entertaining to watch.

3 Seinen Has Deep Themes & Philosophies

It’s true that anime of all genres can explore intriguing themes and philosophies, but the shonen genre has to stick to its well-established conventions, which leaves less room for deep rumination about these topics. Seinen, however, has all the time in the world.

Seinen series such as the cyberpunk anime Ghost in the Shell don’t just dabble in philosophy – the entire story may be built on it. Without its philosophy, many storylines or character arcs in Ghost in the Shell wouldn’t even exist at all.

2 Seinen Can Easily Subvert Expectations

All genres of fiction are capable of subverting each other’s or their own conventions to challenge their own ideas and keep viewers guessing. Arguably, seinen anime does this best, since it has the creative freedom to question shonen conventions in ways shonen itself is afraid to.

Seinen anime can say or do anything, and that means series such as One-Punch Man and other darkly funny stories can deconstruct, satirize, or challenge well-established ideas of what anime should be. This allows seinen to break free of the shonen rut and challenge viewers in unexpected ways.

1 Seinen Anime Tend To Be Short & Sweet

Aside from exceptions such as the lengthy Berserk manga or the sizeable Gantz manga, seinen anime and manga series tend to be short and sweet, focusing on quality over quantity. These series also tend to avoid filler, which allows them to maintain their pacing and keep things tight.

Any anime fan would appreciate that, especially older viewers who don’t have all day to binge anime on the couch. Many good seinen series can tell a complete tale in 12 or 24 episodes, 50 at the most, and that’s all a good story needs to leave a lasting impression on viewers.

Next: 10 Seinen Anime Where the Villain Wins in the End

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