The seinen anime genre is poised to have a great year with the likes of Vinland Saga and Golden Kamuy set to return. It should give fans plenty to keep up with for 2022, but there have been plenty of hits both ongoing and in the last couple of decades.
Rating aggregator MyAnimeList has ranked the site’s 10 best seinen anime, with plenty of variety between them. The series range from Kaguya-sama’s charming brand of comedic romance, resonating historical dramas like the Norse-themed Vinland Saga, and equal parts gripping and harrowing psychological crime saga in Monster.
Best Seinen Anime of 2022
Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War Season 2 (8.65)
Kaguya-sama: Love is War is one of the most popular romantic-comedy manga and anime series. The story revolves around the senior high school student council president Miyuki Shirogane and the vice president Kaguya Shinomiya, who have a mutual romantic attraction toward each other.
However, they’re both too prideful to admit their feelings, leading to comedic scheming to see who breaks first. Regardless of the season, the whole series has been acclaimed for its spin on romantic comedies and the energetic tone it maintains throughout. When done poorly, romance can be full of eye-rolling tropes, but Kaguya-sama’s delightfully frenetic pacing, subversive narrative, and endearing humor make it a must-watch for fans eager to see something fresh.
Yuki Urushibara’s Mushi-Shi manga was acclaimed for its spiritual brand of introspection and studio Artland’s tasteful adaptation. It’s a beautiful blend of slice-of-life with supernatural fantasy. Mushi-Shi takes place in a time between the Edo and Meiji periods of Japan, where otherworldly entities of life known as Mushi are elevated from the material and petty squabbles of humankind. The story follows Ginko as he travels the country trying to study Mushi and their place in the world.
Mushi-Shi has been praised for being a beautifully self-reflective and original story with a mellow atmosphere. It’s one of those shows that appeals to anime newcomers thanks to its episodic storytelling and grounded art style wrapped in an immersive layer of magical realism.
Mushi-Shi: Next Passage (8.71)
Mushi-Shi was succeeded by another praised anime adaptation in the form of Next Passage. It’s told in the style of the best anime anthology series, following Ginko’s ventures across Japan as he attempts to mend the relationship between Mushi and humanity.
The Mushi hold no malice against humans since they are beings that are above black-and-white morality, but they’re predictably exploited nonetheless. Next Passage continues its anthology/episodic-style mode of storytelling, and it proved to be even more well-received for building upon its predecessor’s unique style of mellow natural beauty. The series did an excellent job at conveying a surreal sense of mysticism by using Ginko as a “journeyman” POV for these stories — and he’s an intriguing protagonist in his own right.
Vinland Saga (8.73)
Makoto Yukimura’s Vinland Saga got some much-deserved limelight thanks to Wit Studio’s (of Attack on Titan seasons 1-3 fame) 2019 anime adaptation. This series takes fans to the early 1000s of the Scandinavian subregion of Europe for a compelling Viking-themed epic.
What starts as a bloody revenge story about young Thorfinn looking to kill Askeladd — his father’s killer — fills out into a resonating tale of learning to let go of the past and live for the future, as well as the barbarism that war leaves behind. Vinland Saga features a well-rounded cast of characters spread across the moral spectrum with convincing motivations, and MAPPA’s upcoming season 2 is arguably one of the most highly-anticipated 2022 anime.
Mushi-Shi: Next Passage Part 2 (8.74)
The second part of Mushi-Shi: Next Passage sees Ginko’s continued efforts to understand the Mushi beings. He continues meeting new people and Mushi; some are considered blessings and others curses, with Ginko trying to understand and discover the delineation between the two. The problems he sees are complex, as some people are obsessed with them and others desperate to be rid of them.
Being one of the most consistently-acclaimed modern anime, there aren’t enough praises to go around for its expertly struck atmosphere, tone, and emotionally nuanced storytelling. Next Passage continues with an episodic structure that sees Ginko faced with situations and people that know how to strike every emotion it aims for: bittersweet, heartwarming, and unabashedly crushing, yet it never loses its mystifying sense of wonder.
Kingdom Season 4 (8.79)
Kingdom takes things to another side of the world in the form of BC-era China. The anime, adapted by studios Pierrot and Studio Signpost, has steadily gathered steam with each successive season. The series centers around a young war orphan named Xin who makes a promise to his friend to become the country’s greatest general and unite China for the first time in centuries.
Season 4 covers the coalition campaign, with China in a state of economic recovery. A major boon to Kingdom’s storytelling in the manga has been emphasizing character development and drama, punctuated by thrilling strategic battles all done by Yasuhisa Hara’s hand. Season 1 received some controversy for lackluster CG animation style, but it has since adopted an exceptional approach since season 3 that fans feel has done the source material justice.
Kingdom Season 3 (8.80)
As of now, season 3 of Kingdom is the most acclaimed entry in the anime adaptation. It covers the Coalition Invasion arc of the manga that follows the events of the Sanyou Campaign with Xin as Commander.
The series had been building its resurgence in terms of art and animation quality throughout its now-four seasons with season 4 following suit, but so far, season 3 looks to be the anime adaptation’s peak — if only just. According to Anime News Network, the use of a more traditional artistic direction and a more faithful adaptation of Hara’s writing has greatly paid off since Signpost came in to help pivot away from season 1’s dodgy CG aesthetic and tone.
Naoki Urasawa’s Monster is one of the most intense crime sagas in manga and anime, and Madhouse’s adaptation matches that reputation. It easily became one of the best seinen anime ever, with the series following the darkly unraveling life of Kenzo Tenma, a Japanese doctor working in Germany.
After Tenma was fired for saving a critically injured boy instead of a prominent political figure, his good deed comes back to haunt him as the boy returns years later as an elusive and psychopathic serial killer. It’s engrossing as it is bleak, with Monster delving into dark psychological and philosophical themes of morality. As far as “single-season” anime go, Monster masterfully earns every second of its 74-episode run, with each story arc revealing a grim new revelation that’s as dread-inducing as it is captivating.
March Comes In Like A Lion Season 2 (8.96)
Chica Umino’s March Comes In Like a Lion is a touching slice-of-life and coming-of-age story. The manga was adapted into a two-season anime by animation studio Shaft that spanned 44 episodes.
It details the life of Rei Kiriyama, a 17-year-old introverted boy and elite-level professional shogi player. His talents result in the weight of the world put on his shoulders by both the shogi community and his oppressive adoptive family. Season 2 was lauded for getting even more personal and grounded with its meta themes. It doesn’t hold much back, with the story branching from Rei’s battle with depression to Hinata’s struggle against bullying, telling the story in an emotionally raw and tactful way.
Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War – Ultra Romantic (8.99)
The success of Kaguya-sama: Love is War continues in the form of the ongoing Ultra Romantic. This third season of the overall series has already amassed incredible praise as the story gets into its final stretch. Ultra Romantic ups the stakes of this romantic contest and the comedic hijinks.
The fandom has fully embraced these wildly entertaining characters, and even more so when their dynamics combine and/or clash. The season shows Kaguya’s struggles in breaking away from the strictness of her wealthy family and growing closer to Miyuki and the other friends while doing so. It also shows the bubbling romance between the supporting character.
The original post is from Screenrant.
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