When you think of seinen or ‘adult male audience’ in anime, the usual image that comes up would be dark and gory classics such as Berserk. It’s the quintessential dark seinen anime, after all. But ‘mature’ doesn’t necessarily mean dark or depressing. Some lighthearted seinen anime titles understand that adults are tired, anxious, and callous already; we– I mean they don’t need more blood, drama, and negative emotions in front of them.
So on the far end of the other spectrum for seinen are lighthearted seinen anime that will at least put a smile on any adult anime fan’s face. At the same time, they also don’t shy away from mature discussions such as work, chores, and actual, normal dialog between humans. But most of all, adults will relate to these lighthearted seinen anime.
Arakawa Under the Bridge
Arakawa Under the Bridge is a story about a bunch of worn-out and disillusioned people who decided to set up their own misfit community under a literal bridge. Their newest reluctant recruit is the yuppie business heir named Kou Ichinomiya who insists on building his own wealth in order to compete with his own father.
However, as Kou embraces his new life among whom he perceived as weirdos, he begins to learn a valuable lesson about life. He learns to slow down and put value in other things more important than money and status, such as friendship, leisure, and peace.
You probably know already who’s the specific target audience of this deceptively profound anime.
Kaguya-Sama: Love is War
Kaguya-Sama: Love is War is a high school dramedy, but its views on romance and personas are rather sensible and full of substance. At its core, it’s a love story about two top students at a prestigious academy who are head over heels for each other, but their pride gets in the way, so they resort to intricate and drawn-out tactics to make the other person confess.
Because, in their perspective, the first one to confess their love is the loser in the relationship. It’s a satirical and hilarious jab at toxicity and immature relationship views. However, you’ll find no comedy more seamless with its integration of romance. These are actual characters that you will miss either due to their nonsensical shenanigans or chemistry.
Fun fact, the author of the Kaguya-Sama manga is the same one who created Oshi no Ko.
My Dress-Up Darling
Speaking of unique romance seinen anime, My Dress-Up Darling is quite a trendsetter. On top of being an anime about cosplaying, it’s also a slice of life depicting a budding romance between a guy who’s good at making dolls and an outgoing gyaru girl who wanted to cosplay her favorite characters.
It’s simple, heartwarming, and at times, even has somewhat modest ecchi elements for more viewer engagement. After watching this series, you might even be inclined to shed that timidity and try out some cosplay for yourself; because one of its morals is to not be ashamed of what you like (extreme exceptions apply, by the way).
A musical comedy not unlike Kaguya-Sama, K-ON! is a classic from the 2010s that has sparked its own trend.
Its story begins with a freshman high school student named Yui who joined the Light Music Club because she thought it only involved simple instruments like castanets. But to her surprise, the band members were musical prodigies, and she was disheartened. Meanwhile, the club, for fear of disbandment due to a lack of members, played a song for Yui and this sparked off a love for music that Yui never knew she had and she got hooked.
So while the art style and premise are cutesy and all, K-ON! actually got licensed and serialized in a seinen magazine as a manga, so that’s where it belongs.
Bocchi the Rock!
While on the topic of musical comedy anime, Bocchi the Rock! is another outstanding title. It’s also new, released only in late 2022, so you’ll appreciate its fresher and more up-to-date visual style.
Like K-ON!, Bocchi the Rock! is about a group of struggling musicians, with the titular protagonist among them as a guitarist. The anime highlights their efforts and funny blunders as well as their idiosyncrasies that either clash with one another or provide pure comedy gold.
But whatever the case, you’ll come to appreciate music once more and will also be treated to a refreshing bandmate chemistry comedy.
Grand Blue is about having expectations about a certain stage in your life, having them ruined, but still having fun anyway. The anime explores that kind of notion through Iori Kitahara’s lens. He’s a university freshman who just moved to a coastal town with high hopes for the area.
However, Iori is quickly sucked into the diving club which had a different idea of fulfillment for their town and university life. They’re primarily into alcoholic activities and laid-back pastimes. Still, this group of eccentric and relaxed anime friends might just be the character development and restful cycle that Iori needed in his life.
It’s a comed anime as well with enough sea and diving to make you crave a beach vacation.
Asobi Asobase puts schoolgirls in a different and wackier light. Instead of making them hyper-fixated on boys and romance, the comedy anime instead makes them the butt of all jokes and slapstick humor, complete with immaculately drawn meme faces!
The whole anime revolves around the daily blunders of the Pastime Club as they try to find their footing in high school while surrounded by strict and “regular” people. Their pastimes include failing to learn English, getting into club room dominance wars against other students, and making up humiliating games because they have no idea what to do with their school club.
Once in a while, it’s good to watch a show like Asobi Asobase; it has no rhyme or reason– just pure schoolgirl chaos.
Kotaro Lives Alone
We’re trying our darndest to avoid making you cry a bit with these suggestions but skipping Kotaro Lives Alone when recommending lighthearted seinen anime should be a federal crime. Because adults need to watch this series.
It’s about a boy who, due to mysterious circumstances, was forced to live alone among troubled grownups who needed to get their lives together. Surprisingly, the guidance and push they needed came from Kotaro himself and his youthful naivete and innocence.
At the same time, watching Kotaro’s struggles with living alone is way too relatable for any adult who is just starting out with their own independence in a world that’s ready to swallow them whole.