Seinen vs Shonen: Differences Between

Seinen and Shonen are the two demographic targets that an Anime viewer and Manga reader most likely encounter and need to know. So let’s compare which one is suitable for you, for your age; Seinen vs Shonen!

What does Seinen and Shonen mean?

Let’s quickly dispel a very common misconception;

Shonen/Seinen are not genres, they represent an anime’s specific demographic target. While Shonen anime are usually aimed at the age group of 12-18, Seinen is aimed 18-30. Also, both are aimed at male audiences.

Does this mean that only men watch Seinen/Shonen?

No, but let’s open it up a bit. This reflects the target audience, e.g. particularly interesting for which gender to. The vast majority of Seinen/Shonen audiences are male.

#1 They Target Different Age Groups

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Seinen vs Shonen: Age Groups

  • Seinen animes target people between the ages of 18-30. And often, Seinen animes are not suitable for under 18s.
  • However, the Shonen genre is aimed at 12-18 year olds.

Many famous anime such as Death Note, Jojo, Attack On Titan, Hunter x Hunter, Bleach, Naruto, Spy x Family belong to the Shonen genre. When it comes to anime, the anime that most of us thinks of is Shonen, it is the brand of anime.

Whereas, Seinen appeals to a larger audience (18-40). So why? Primarily, Shonen anime can be popular with viewers up to 25 years old, secondly the 12-25 year olds make up the majority of anime viewers.

When it comes to the most popular Seinen anime, we can again find great and popular anime. Ghost in the Shell, Berserk, Code Geass(?), One Punch Man, Vinland Saga, Fate/Zero, Hellsing Ultimate, Cowboy Bebop, Steins;Gate and more.

As people tend to watch simpler and funnier anime before the age of 18, at an early age, Seinen may seem unnecessarily complicated, progress slow, and even unappealing.

Viz, you can save Seinen animes after 18 for a smoothly experience, but this is not always the case.

#2 Seinen Contains Adult Scenes

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You can often see obscene scenes in the Seinen anime that you wouldn’t find in the Shonen anime. Don’t let having Riass Gramory in the image fool you, it’s there because it’s better than a beheading image. Not just talking about sexuality.

Seinen, as it contain sexuality, can contain as much violence, horror and blood and can focus specifically on showing these elements.

Shonen animes contain fighting and action, but it certainly do not disturb or set a bad example, and do not contain +18 scenes.

On the other hand, Seinen can be sickening to some people and of course that differ from anime to anime, human to human.

#3 Seinen Stories are More Realistic and Complex

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As we mentioned, Shonen animes are aimed at a very young audience between the ages of 12-18. That’s why Shonen animes have a simpler plot and storyline and focus more on action.

Shonen animes often use elements such as action, friendship, love, sadness and comedy to attract the attention of the audience, Seinen animes also use them, but not as much as Shonen. Seinen animes become more complex and unique with plot, realism, unusually engaging topics, and as a result.

For example, in Shonen anime, often the main character gets stronger in various ways, maybe save the world, maybe the city. But in Seinen anime, the situation is much more complex, difficult and unpredictable.

This doesn’t mean that Seinen are better, in fact, since Shonen are simple in subject area, it focus more on comedy, friendship, love, loved ones of the young and that’s why Shonen animes are more fun and fluid. And after a certain age your tastes start to change, that’s just what’s going on!

#4 Seinen Contains Less Clichés Than Shonen

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There are typical features of Shonen animes, for example;

Most Shonen animes contain copious amounts of fight scenes, and many famous Shonen animes have fighting tournaments (etc, My Hero Academia and Naruto), the characters say the name of the move they use aloud, the theme of friendship is often emphasized, characters overly fond of food or ramen like Naruto etc.

Yet, clichés are generally not harmful, it can be said that we love clichés, except for the average animes that only exists with clichés.

#5 Shonen Has More Comedy Than Seinen

Both Seinen and Shonen animes contain comedy. But Shonen typically includes more comedy.

Not only am I saying that the majority of comedy anime is Shonen, but Shonen anime typically has a more fun vibe. 

Comedy is the most common anime genre, with most Shonen anime and a lot of Seinen anime featuring comedy. Who doesn’t want to have fun?

#6 Shonen More Often Includes Action

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Shonen anime is nothing short of action. Shonen is the anime genre/demography with the most action.

Seinen anime may also contain action, but it’s as if all Shonen animes do.

Animes that are known by everyone who has an interest in anime and fall into the action category, very very mostly Shonen:

Attack On Titan, One Piece, Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist: Broterhood, My Hero Academia, Sword Art Online, Naruto, Hunter x Hunter.

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