The seinen demographic is spoiled with great anime. Some of the best shows are made with young adult men in mind as the target audience. However, there are instances when lesser works get praised endlessly. Many of these works have good elements or interesting premises, but carry issues that weigh them down. Regardless, the fan appeal overpowers any of the negative elements.
While these anime are loved, they might not deserve the acclaim they receive. The seinen demographic already has classics like Mushishi, Monster, Akira, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Plus, it has new titans like March Comes in like a Lion, Vinland Saga, and Kaguya-sama: Love is War. Seinen doesn’t need weaker shows muddying its growing collection.
The following contains a segment about an age gap romance.
10/10 After The Rain Was Flawed From The Start
After The Rain
The central premise of After the Rain is what weighs it down so heavily. Akira, a high school student, develops feelings for a 45-year-old café manager. While the show does not veer into the truly unsavory possibilities of the relationship, it’s still a mistake to pursue it.
The relationship is genuinely viewed positively, and Kondou even takes Akira on a date on her request. This is a dangerous kind of romanticization, even if parts of it are handled gracefully. It is seen as one of the better seinen romances of the last decade, but the premise is questionable and the framing is completely wrong.
9/10 Blue Period Disappoints With Its Unimaginative Directing
An anime with art as its focus must be able to match it with its visuals and direction. Blue Period fails to do this. Its approach to directing is stale, predictable, and stiff. Nothing about it looks dynamic or fluid or daring. It fails to push the envelope in the same ways musical anime like Nodame Cantabille or Kids on the Slope push music. Its approach to adaptation is a disservice to the beloved manga.
Blue Period‘s slice-of-life aspects and some of its character writing still keep the show afloat in the minds of many anime fans. Even though it is not hailed as a classic, it’s still regarded positively despite its limp visual approach.
8/10 Wandering Son’s Adaptation Is Confusing & Rushed
Wandering Son‘s direction and visual presentation are phenomenal. The soft pastel pallet complements the tenderness of the story, its exploration of gender through children, and its emotional undercurrent. In that regard, the anime is fantastic. Where it hurts itself is its adaptation of the manga’s story.
The anime removes the first five volumes of the story, denying viewers full insight on how Shuichi and Yoshino felt about their genders while in elementary. These are crucial moments that are foundational to the power of the manga and removing them is a bewildering move. Any impact with the climax is truncated as a result. However, the anime is still regarded highly for being one of the few instances where gender identity is given an honest look.
7/10 Gungrave Would Have Been Better Sticking To An Original Story
Gungrave is the meshing of two different storylines: the horror-adjacent action shooter involving Beyond the Grave, and the flashback mafia drama about his past as Brandon Heat. As the show is an adaptation of a PlayStation 2 shooter, the mafia backstory is actually completely original to the anime. It is a phenomenal story about ambition, friendship, and betrayal.
These two narrative lines don’t mesh well. It’s difficult to take the gory action shooter seriously when put next to one of the best character dramas of the early 2000s. While its reputation and mafia story are carried by Yasuhiro Nightow’s involvement, the indulgent action segments drag down the show.
6/10 Grand Blue Dreaming Smothers Out Its Humor With Poor Pacing
Grand Blue Dreaming
Grand Blue Dreaming‘s manga is currently hailed as one of the funniest modern works in the medium. Its anime adaptation does not have that kind of power. Its delivery is flat and uninspired. The jokes are not paced well and don’t have the comedic timing needed to land. What should be raucous antics mixed with friendly sabotage, just ends up being loud and one-note.
The Grand Blue Dreaming anime still finds itself on good terms due to the reputation of the manga. Its fan base props it up even though it is an average adaptation with comedic issues. A second season with better story boarding and directing might improve it, but the anime as-is doesn’t live up to the hype.
5/10 Erased Goes Off The Rails By Its Last Few Episodes
For most of its run, Erased handles its time travel premise better than most other anime. It shapes up to be one of the better shows of the decade by nailing the suspense, the internal drama, and the fantastic elements. However, the plot loses its way near the end. The plot line with Gaku Yashiro is extremely contrived. It is almost comical, which clashes with the prior tone of the show.
Airi Katagiri’s backstory is also pretty silly, providing earlier insight on how poor the emotional execution of the show will be. Erased wants to deliver an emotional punch, but the conflict involves cartoonish and ridiculous reasons. Most fans still praise the show for its strengths, regardless of its ending.
4/10 Children Of The Sea Scraps Key Parts Of Its Narrative
Children Of The Sea
Fans of Daisuke Igarashi’s Children of the Sea manga should be disappointed by its film adaptation. While the movie is spectacular to look at, it guts the manga’s contents in order to fit the runtime. Important aspects regarding the framing, the themes, and the philosophy of the original work are lost in translation.
The Children of the Sea movie even changes the manga’s breathtaking ending, replacing it with a hollow blast of lights and sounds. Visually, this movie deserves acclaim. It’s one of the best-looking anime films of the last few years. However, its story is unfocused and shallow. It removes valuable elements while replacing them with bloated weight.
3/10 XXXHolic Is Hollow & Lacks Direction
Circumstances within xxxHolic‘s adaptation and manga ultimately wasted its potential. The anime was a fairly faithful adaptation of the manga until the end. CLAMP wrote xxxHolic as a sibling piece to Tsubasa: Resevoir Chronicle. In the manga, xxxHolic‘s story was crucially tied to the events of its sister manga. This was what guides its story and characters.
xxxHolic‘s anime adaptation was unable to take that step because of Tsubasa: Resevoir Chronicle‘s incomplete adaptation. As a result, xxxHolic lost the path it was supposed to take. Its ending was rushed, and its identity was unfulfilled. Fans still adore the show for its style, as well as being one of the bigger titles from CLAMP’s body of work.
2/10 Tokyo Ghoul Is Boosted By Visceral Carnage
Tokyo Ghoul blends the internal angst teenagers and young adults go through with intense amounts of carnage and violence. It focuses on people’s fight against destructive natures, proving that will is stronger than impulse. However, its delivery of those ideas is weak. The show tries to communicate dramatic tension through edgy actions and over-the-top cruelty.
The end product is somewhat juvenile when compared to the ideals it’s built on. These elements are pretty popular and trendy, so it is not surprising that the show is well regarded. Coupled with a decent production and an iconic opening, Tokyo Ghoul is an unquestionable hit, despite how flimsy its narrative construction is.
1/10 Elfen Lied Is Only Ever Remembered For Its Shock Value
Any hope of Elfen Lied being more than a glorified gore-fest should be tossed out of the window. It exists to shock viewers with how Lucy can turn from a frail innocent girl to a merciless monstrous killing machine. It goes on about how tragic her backstory is, as well as reveling in the cruelty of the circumstances that made her into a killer.
Elfen Lied is inane and difficult to watch nowadays. Its reputation only stands due to its memorability as one of the more notable edgy shows from the late ’90s and early 2000s. Without that, the show is lukewarm and lacks tangible value.
NEXT: 10 Edgiest Shonen Anime, Ranked