Welcome to this week's recommendation series. Unlike previous weeks where I wrote pieces related to certain anime tropes or anime characters from a particular series, this week I am going to offer articles full of either manga or anime recommendations, with some added twist for flavor.
Note: This was only edited, not originally written, by Cody Perez. This may not necessarily reflect Cody’s views.
For starters, this week's topic is the 23 best seinen manga that will satisfy mature readers. And trust me, this is going to be a good one. Unlike the shounen genre that connects with your inner child, seinen manga exposes the truth, the harsh reality of adulthood.
This is why most seinen mangas gain tons of popularity and high ranking in Myanimelist. You may not have appreciated them back when you were younger. But now that we are all older and more mature, we can start witnessing their true beauty.
I am not going to lie. I had to restrain myself from giving my personal opinion. Because some of these are my favorites, I want to talk about them really bad. But I know I should shut up and let you decide by yourself whether or not you like the manga.
So, without further ado, let's dive right into the list of the best seinen manga for mature readers.
Stuck in a colossal steel maze filled with terrifying creatures, humanity is forced to isolate itself in small enclaves while constantly fearing its destruction. In this dystopia, only a strange young man named Killy is brave enough to traverse this unforgiving territory.
With his superhuman strength and a rare Graviton Beam Emitter, Killy battles bloodthirsty beasts and other evil forces in his desperate quest to find humans with the Net Terminal gene, i.e., one with the potential to restore a broken world. The story follows Killy as he meets new people, sheds a ton of blood, and draws ever closer to finding the Net Terminal gene.
22. Liar Game
A stupidly naive college student named Kanzaki Nao receives a package containing 100 million yen and a note claiming he is now a contestant in the Liar Game Tournament. In this fictitious tournament, participants are encouraged to cheat and lie to gain other participants' money, with the losers being forced to owe debts in proportion to the losses.
When Nao's first opponent, a former trusted teacher, steals his money, he enlists the help of a con artist named Akiyama Shinichi. Even though they manage to defeat her, Nao and Akiyama decide to pay their debts and advance ruthlessly through various rounds of the Liar Game tournament.
21. Tokyo Ghoul
Kaneki Ken, after barely surviving a deadly encounter with Kamishiro Rize, a woman who is revealed to be a ghoul, a human-like creature that hunts and eats human flesh, is taken to a hospital in critical condition. After recovering, Kaneki discovers that he somehow underwent a procedure that turned him into a half-ghoul.
Like other ghouls, he must consume human flesh to survive as well. He is taken in by the ghoul who runs the coffee shop “Anteiku,” and teaches him how to survive in his new life as a ghoul.
A parasite is a creature the size of a tennis ball. The number and origins of this creature are unknown. They attack and take over the human mind to survive. Shinichi Izumi is a 16-year-old high school student who lives with his parents in a quiet neighborhood. At night, an invading parasite enters Shinichi's body and tries to take over his body.
However, it cannot complete the takeover process and ends up inhabiting only his right arm, leaving Shinichi and the parasite, Migi, stuck in a strange relationship. Migi suggests they work together to survive in this odd situation.
19. Bungou Stray Dogs
Atsushi Nakajima is on the verge of death after being kicked out of his orphanage. With no food and nowhere to go, all hope seems lost until he saves a mysterious man named Osamu Dazai from drowning. Much to his colleague, Doppo Kunikida's, annoyance, Dazai offers Atsushi food and reveals that they work for the Armed Detective Agency.
It is an organization of talented individuals who deal with criminal cases that the authorities cannot handle. The two enlist Atsushi's help finding the supernatural tiger that has been wreaking havoc across the city, and he reluctantly agrees. After they settled the case, Dazai offers him a job at the agency.
18. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 8: JoJolion
The town of Morioh has been devastated by the 2011 Touhouku earthquake and tsunami, which has caused mysterious faults, colloquially known as the “Wall Eyes”, to appear across town. Local college student, Hirose Yasuho, discovers a young man suffering from amnesia buried in the rubble and nicknames him “Josuke.”
Josuke tries to uncover the secrets of his past when he is confronted with the activities of a local crime syndicate. The syndicate sells the fruit of a mysterious Locacaca tree — capable of healing people and but always claiming something in return.
The story features ubiquitous creatures called Mushi, who often display supernatural powers. It is implied that there are life forms that are far more primitive than normal living things, such as animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria. And Mushi is the most primitive of them all. Due to their subtle nature, most humans cannot sense Mushi and are unaware of their existence.
However, a select few have the ability to see and interact with Mushi. One of them is Ginko. He employs himself as a Mushi master, or Mushishi, and travels from place to place, researching Mushi and helping people suffering from the troubles it causes.
16. Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan
Juri Mutou is the daughter of a famous pianist whose career ended after she was born. After the traumatic events she experiences as a teenager, Yuri attempts suicide three times and learns to hate her mother. Her aunt Monica, a priest, invites her to visit a death row inmate.
Yuu is a death row inmate charged with the murder of three people. He attempts to end his own life in his prison cell. He often receives letters from Monica, who hopes to help him except the latter sees this as mere pity. But when Yuu decides to meet with Monica to tell her he wants her to stop sending letters, he meets Yuri, resulting in an encounter that will go on to change both of their lives.
Hole is a vast favela-like city inhabited by humans and filled with witchcraft. It is a living land full of magic users and controlled by the witch crime boss En and Hell, a brutal underworld inhabited by all dead witches and ruled by demons, who are in turn led by the demon lord — Chidaruma. A man named Caiman searches for his true identity after a wizard's transformation leaves him with a reptile head and no memory of his past life.
Together with his friend Nikaido, he viciously attacks the mages in the pits with the aim of sticking their heads into his mouths and judging whether the mages he has bitten are the ones responsible for his transformation or not.
14. 20th Century Boys
Kenji Endo is an ordinary supermarket manager who is just trying to make ends meet. But when he learns that one of his old friends named “Donkey” suddenly committed suicide and a new cult, led by a character named “Friends”, is becoming increasingly famous, Kenji begins to sense that something is amiss. Kenji realizes that there is more to this cult than he had ever imagined.
This mysterious organization targets not only him and his childhood friends. The entire world faces a grave threat that only he and his friends can stop. Kenji's simple life is turned upside down when he reunites with his childhood friends, and they must find out how their past is connected to the cult.
Hastily built atop the ruins of ancient Tokyo, Neo-Tokyo is a sprawling cityscape filled with neon glitz. It is a blend of towering skyscrapers and cutting-edge technology, imbued with explosive, hyper-violent cocktails of biker gangs, poverty, and revolutionaries. Tetsuo Shima and Shoutarou Kaneda live in this seedy metropolis, two bikers who are best friends and fierce rivals despite belonging to the same gang.
Desperate to prove himself as Kaneda's equal, Tetsuo unknowingly takes on a stunt culminating in the awakening of a cryptic existence that threatens to change the face of Neo-Tokyo and the lives of those who call the city home.
12. One Punch Man
In One Punch Man, after three years of rigorous training, ordinary Saitama has gained immense strength, allowing him to knock out anyone and anything with just one punch. He decides to put his new ability to good use by becoming a hero. However, he quickly grows tired of defeating monsters easily and wants someone to challenge him to revive the feelings of being a hero.
When Genos, a cyborg, witnesses Saitama's incredible power, he is determined to become Saitama's disciple. Together, the two start working their way up to becoming true heroes, hoping to find a formidable foe and earn everyone's respect in the process.
Tomomi Nomiya, the former captain of her high school basketball team, becomes naughty and decides to drop out of school after being overcome with guilt for ruining a young girl's life in a traffic accident. While helping her out in her spare time, she comes across Kiyoharu Togawa, a former sprinter who lost his right leg and now plays wheelchair basketball.
After challenging Kiyoharu to a singles match, Tomomi is completely defeated. Inspired by this encounter, he realizes that he cannot just let his love for basketball die and decides to do whatever it takes to help others while trying to become a professional player.
10. Land of the Lustrous
In the distant future, earth has been hit by a meteorite six times, utterly destroying it in the process. All remaining land was reduced to a single coastline while almost all life was destroyed. Over a long period of time, a new race of sentient life forms emerged. This is an immortal gem in the shape of a human.
Phosphophyllite (Phos) is weak and is considered useless by his peers. Phos enlists the help of his aloof but wise partner, Cinnabar, after being tasked with creating an encyclopedia of natural history. This marks the beginning of their friendship and personal growth.
9. Kaguya-sama: Love is War
Miyuki Shirogane was considered a genius because he had the best grades in the country. He is the student council president of the prestigious Shuchiin Academy and works with the beautiful and rich vice president, Kaguya Shinomiya. The two are often considered the perfect couple by students, despite not being in a romantic relationship.
However, the truth is that the two have developed feelings for each other after spending so much time together. Unfortunately, neither of them wants to confess, because that would be a sign of weakness. With their pride at stake, Miyuki and Kaguya embark on a quest to do whatever it takes to extract a confession from the other.
8. Vinland Saga
Young Thorfinn grew up listening to stories of old sailors who had sailed the seas and reached the place of legend, Vinland. However, he currently lives in an era where the war between England and Denmark keeps worsening yearly. Death had become commonplace, and the Viking mercenaries love every moment of it.
Aligning with either side would cause a massive swing in the balance of power, so the Vikings are happy to make a name for themselves and pick up the spoils they earn along the way. In the midst of the chaos, Thorfinn must take revenge and kill Askeladd, the man who killed his father.
In the Warring States period in China, Li Xin and Piao, two young brothers who, despite their low status as orphaned slaves, dream of becoming great generals. One day, they meet a noble who gives Piao the opportunity to take on an important job in the royal palace of Qin state.
Xin and Piao split up and promise each other that, one day, they would become the greatest generals in the world. However, after a violent coup in the palace, Xin meets the dying Piao, whose final words compel him to act and lead him to meet the young and soon-to-be king of Qin, Ying Zheng.
6. Grand Blue
Kitahara Iori looks forward to his new life on the Izu Peninsula as he prepares to start his college life there and live in an apartment above his uncle's Grand Blue dive shop. However, he is quickly taken aback when he encounters the local dive club, a group of muscular men who spend more time partying than actually diving.
His cousins, Kotegawa China and Kotegawa Nanaka, try to convince him about the beauty and charm of diving.
5. Oyasumi Punpun
Punpun Onodera is an ordinary 11-year-old boy living in Japan. Highly idealistic and romantic, Punpun sees himself turning into an adult when he meets the new girl in his class, Aiko Tanaka. Thus, the quiet boy learns how difficult it is to maintain a relationship and the tremendous difficulties he must face while transitioning from a naive childhood into an adult.
When his father attacks his mother one night, Punpun realizes something else: the people he admires are not as great as he thinks. As his problems escalate, Punpun's once shy demeanor changes to that of a willful loner. Instead of curing him of conflicting issues and emotions, this change in his self only strengthens him as a person.
Kenzou Tenma, a renowned Japanese neurosurgeon working in post-war Germany, faces a difficult choice: operate on Johan Liebert, an orphan on the verge of death, or on the mayor of Düsseldorf. Ultimately, Tenma risks his reputation by saving Johan, effectively leaving the mayor to die. The director of the Heinemann hospital dismisses Tenma from his post, and Heinemann's daughter, Eva, breaks off their engagement.
Tenma loses all hope for a successful career until the mysterious murder of Heinemann gives him another chance. Nine years later, Tenma is the head of the surgical department and is on his way to becoming its director. Everything seems fine at first, but he is soon entangled in a chain of gruesome murders that take place across Germany.
Living in 16th-century Japan, Shinmen Takezou is a wild and violent young man, both in appearance and action. His aggressive nature has earned him collective reproach and fear from his fellow villagers, leading him and his best friend, Matahachi Honiden, to flee in search of something greater than life in the outskirts. The couple ends up joining the Toyotomi Army and yearns for glory.
When Toyotomi suffers a crushing defeat at the hands of the Tokugawa clan at the Battle of Sekigahara, his friends barely escape alive. With the two separated from each other, the Shinmen return home on a self-proclaimed mission to inform the Hon'iden family of Matahachi's survival. Instead, he finds himself a fugitive charged with the murder of his friend based on his violent history.
2. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 7: Steel Ball Run
Teenager Johnny Joestar, a disabled horse racer, has come to San Diego to witness the start of the American Wild West. There, he meets Gyro Zeppeli, a racer with two steel balls strapped to his hips instead of a gun. Johnny watches as Gyro uses one of his steel balls to unleash a fantastical power that compels a man to fire his gun at himself during a duel.
Johnny accidentally touches one of the steel balls and feels a force surge through his legs, allowing him to stand up for the first time in two years. Johnny vows to solve the mystery of the ball, embarking on a bizarre adventure that takes him across America.
Guts, a former mercenary who is now known as the “Black Swordsman,” seeks revenge. After a tumultuous childhood, he finally finds someone he respects and believes he can trust, only to have things fall apart when that person takes everything Guts holds dear to fulfill his own desires.
Sentenced to death, Guts is condemned to a fate where demonic creatures relentlessly pursue him. Embarking on a terrifying and ill-fated quest, armed with a formidable sword and terrifying power, Guts will let nothing stop him, not even death itself, until he is finally able to retrieve the head of the man who had scorned him and his lover.