Sunday morning coffee and 5 best list of the greatest underrated seinen manga of all time -what else do you need you manga freaks!! And while talking about freaks, recently I had a great chat with Akanksha. She is a seinen freak. I mean in a good way. Maybe the old folks of our site or discord guys would remember her from ‘Top Psychological Manga Like Signal 100’ time.
She and I don’t talk very often, but when we do, it is always about our latest seinen manga recommendations and discussions. She loves nothing more than curling up with a good seinen manga and getting lost in the story. Recently she asked me again for some new seinen recommendations.
Normally I’d suggest her some new titles to try but I thought maybe I can make it a blog for the next featured post going for another underrated list or something. Because her taste in manga is so obscure and niche that sometimes it is almost impossible to find anything that she hadn’t already read.
I was excited to share my latest discoveries with her, so I eagerly pulled out my notebook and started listing off some of my favorites, but all I could come up with were some old classics that real manga guys had already read.
So, I scoured the internet, went to my old MAL & Mangare list, and dug deep into the obscure corners of the manga world, searching for something that even old folks had never heard of. And finally, after hours of searching, I found few. For now, it’s only 5, but I’ll add more in the future for sure.
Anyway, enough with the introduction, let’s get started:
Best Hidden Gems and Overlooked Seinen Manga That Should Be Read By More
There are a lot of great manga out there, but sometimes the ones that get overlooked are the ones that deserve to be read more. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most underrated seinen manga of all time and why you should add them to your reading list. We’ll discuss titles from all genres in the seinen category, and why they’re worth your time. So whether you’re a manga newbie or an experienced reader, don’t wait any longer – check out these underrated seinen titles and see for yourself!
5. Shamo (軍鶏)
There are numerous manga with boxing and karate themes, but “Shamo” cuts into the darkness of the human heart & the evil side of society through struggle and lacks these same old martial arts story ideas that we see nowadays. To make it more simple, let’s give you a summary of the plot first.
Ryo Narushima was a genius at the age of sixteen and appeared to have no issue getting into Tokyo University and assimilating into society’s elite. Yet, something in Ryo’s mind broke that summer. Maybe it was the obsessive obsession of his elite banker father and beautiful mother’s clinging affection that sucked everything out of him.
In the early afternoon at noon, he mercilessly slaughtered both of his parents with a little knife, leaving just his sister, and was sent to a juvenile detention center, where he began training in martial arts. After his release, he becomes a brutal fighter, seeking redemption through his victories in the ring.
In the world of manga, there are quite a few works that feature a protagonist who begins as an unruly criminal and develops physically and mentally through martial arts. This story depicts the MC’s battle in different shadowy societies, including the yakuza and illegal gambling martial arts. There are drug addicts like the protagonist’s sister among them, as well as outcasts who are unable to function in society at large and bad guys who won’t think twice about harming others.
The series has been both praised and criticized for its dark and violent themes, as well as its depiction of graphic scenes of sex and violence. Some readers appreciate the gritty realism of the story and the depth of the characters, while others find it disturbing or offensive. I mean sometimes this series is really too gritty and filthy to be classified as a decent martial art manga. So it’s no wonder you’ll get that kind of review.
While reading even you will ask yourself, “Why is the main character fighting?” And the only answer I can give you is that he is a Shamo, and he was born to fight. Please read the series to find the rest. Izo Hashimoto who co-wrote the screenplays for Katsuhiro Otomo’s THE FAMOUS Akira is the man behind all this crazy storyline and Akio Tanaka of Glaucos & River End Cafe brought them to life with illustrations.
4. Multiple Personality Detective Psycho (多重人格探偵サイコ)
Who are your allies and who are your adversaries? Who is the real malevolent? Fragmented murders, cannibalism murders, flower murders… Multi-personality detective Kazuhiko Amemiya takes on the challenge of a series of bizarre murders! A controversial work by the duo of Shou Tajima and Eiji Otsuka depicting mystery, madness & modern pathology!
I think it’s a masterpiece of a subculture where you can enjoy the decadent atmosphere of the 90s. It’s been a long time since I’ve read such a complicated manga. Probably because it’s a manga that doesn’t know what it is. The setup is too big. There are many inconsistencies and discrepancies in the setting since it is set too much, however, some sources claim that it was done on purpose.
Sometimes it seemed like this is a work that refused to escape the cruelty of death in depicting death. And the really cruel, cold-hearted, and inorganic depiction is expressed from an extremely objective point of view without any blood passing through.
There is also even a story or more likely anecdote in the Japanese manga community that in the first chapter of the serialization, an executive at Kadokawa Shoten stopped the printing press after seeing the scene in which Detective Kobayashi’s lover had both hands and both legs amputated and was delivered in a box by courier service. This delayed the start of the serialization by a month.
I think that alone is worth checking out the manga itself. Although it is a series that I absolutely do not want to show to children or underages. I’m not gonna lie, actually, this manga has too many bizarre murders, realistic depictions of corpses, and grotesque and brutal depictions so much so that it is designated as a “harmful publication” by the Metropolitan Ordinance Regarding the Healthy Development of Youths.
But in any case, despite its notoriety, in a stunningly gripping narrative that is equal parts thrilling grotesque and satire, the author follows Amemiya’s spine-tingling exploits while introducing a cast of intriguing characters—into the highly charged environment of violence and danger. If you are in for a wild ride, then hold onto your seat. In the midst of this sinister murder mystery that begins to unravel, we plunge deep into an extraordinary world of psychos and criminals.
As new characters are introduced and added to the plot, so do intriguing twists and turns. The whole thing is very gripping and exciting because it sets up the reader for a suspenseful ride that leads everyone into the bleak world of brutality. So get ready for a beating stomach as your heart pounds faster as you turn each page in this dazzling manga.
3. Bakuon Rettou (爆音列島)
Tokyo, summer of 1980. Memories of the souls of youths who wanted to be “someone”. The resurrection of overwhelming “runaway” realism! The distorted youth pulls back the curtain! Changing schools, making new friends, and inviting people to meetings. And, amidst the roars and violence, to the world of “zoku,” which is dominated by an overwhelming sense of liberation! Takashi quickly goes from “boy” to “bad” in the blink of an eye. A coming-of-age ensemble drama serialized in “Monthly Afternoon” that drew a lot of attention from readers & critics alike.
I’m not sure whether you should call it “realistic” or “baroque”. It’s a work of unbelievable quality. Bakuon Rettou may be one of the most unique, also one of the most refined manga I have read in the last few years. The plot and characters could not be more simple or touching at once, but they work together to make a masterpiece that gives off a powerful impression.
When I read this manga I had absolutely zero expectations. The first page was just about a typical intro where the protagonist is introduced, and you’re told about his life and all. What could go wrong? Well, maybe nothing as far as that goes. I mean, two chapters in, and it started to become whole new & something.
Takahashi’s writing style is richly atmospheric, bringing the city of Tokyo to life with its winding streets, hidden alleys, and dark corners. The whole story is filled with memorable characters, from the directionless Takahashi himself to the gruff yet enthusiastic Ayase who was later appointed as president to succeed ZEROS. There are also moments of romance, action, suspense, and psychology, all of which contribute to the sense of freedom and duality that permeates the story.
Furthermore, I should also mention Bakuon Rettou is a true masterpiece of art, with Takahashi’s incredible illustrations bringing the world of 80’s Tokyo and its inhabitants to vivid life. The motorcycles in the series are a particular highlight, with their sleek lines and powerful engines adding an extra layer of excitement and energy to the story.
Overall, “Bakuon Rettou” is an amazing and engrossing manga that transports readers to a bygone era and keeps them guessing until the very end. There are no other books or manga on my shelf that discuss biker gangs or their culture in this way. That’s just not something that gets talked about around here very often – so when I read it I knew how much I liked it. And the fact, it is an autobiographical work by the author, Tsutomu Takahashi, who himself belonged to a motorcycle gang makes it a spicy bildungsroman in plot. So go read it.
2. Ultra Heaven (ウルトラヘヴン)
Set in a world where drugs and meditation aids in the near future have made it possible for anyone to easily experience surreal experiences, the line between reality and delusion is only ambiguous. So, when Kabu, a junkie and dealer with suicidal tendencies, is invited by a drug pusher to try out a special kind of drug, he begins to explore his own inner world, a world that is more real than life itself.
Keiichi Koike, the youngest person to ever win the Tezuka Prize and who has also had works published by Marvel in the United States, has made Ultra Heaven a special kind of unique work that explores the haziness of life through the lens of the human psyche and questions it with themes like obsession, addiction, pleasure, and the very nature of its reality.
That reminded me of the bliss of reality; it was like a lucid dream. A fictitious comfortably numb-like adventure. There are various things about drugs here that aren’t limited to manga kind of things. You know what I mean! I don’t want to categorize it as merely a manga since the quality is quite high for the feeling of being blown away by an illusion. It pulls me as if I’m doing drugs. That is the essence of this work, and no explanation is needed.
The first time I read it was a few years ago, around the time Volume 3 came out. Been waiting for the next volume since then but it never came out. But don’t worry about it. 3 volumes are enough. Just for once, do yourself a favor and read & ride the fictitious wave of reality. Whether it’s reality or a dream, a dream of a dream, you will love it.
1. Takemitsu Zamurai (竹光侍)
A tall, slender young samurai who unexpectedly finds himself living in an Edo craftsmen tenement. He isn’t a contemporary NEET, but he has no idea what he does for a living. The way that the characters in Edo Nagaya are portrayed as if you were listening to rakugo, and the intriguing way that the main character’s bond with the neighbor youngster is intertwined with actions & all with illustrations, it’s just straight-up addictive.
Co-written by Matsumoto Taiyo and his pal Issei Eifuku, Takemitsu Zamurai or Bamboo Sword Samurai is the first manga on which Matsumoto sensei worked with others. It is also his first piece to showcase Japanese-era dramas. It is a highly unique piece of work in his thirty years of artistic endeavor. His own excitement is clearly visible in every panel.
In an interview during Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize award, he even said “It is too wasteful to hand over the background to an assistant to draw.” I mean that says a lot. Furthermore, he used a lot of ukiyo-e paintings as inspiration when he was working on this one, and he also tried to live with candles to feel the Edo period’s intensely gloomy nighttime atmosphere. There are many fascinating interior stories in the manga, including those involving Soichiro’s sabre, the horses, the cats in the longhouse, and everything it’s a pleasure to eye and mind.
I can’t say enough good things about this series; Taiyo Matsumoto is a genius and this is his finest output to date. The artwork is unique, moving, striking, and full of life. This is one of those manga that just made me speechless. If you thought his ‘Ping Pong’ (popularly known in the anime community as Ping Pong the Animation by Masaaki Yuasa) was great, just read this one. I don’t care if you are a die-hard fan of Matsumoto Taiyo or not, this manga is not to be skipped.
From university professors to art critics, from Rumiko Takahashi (Inuyasha) to Oda Eiichiro (One Piece), Takemitsu Zamurai has been recommended by everyone. The manga was awarded the Grand Prize at the 15th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2011 and the Excellence Prize in the manga category at the 11th Japan Media Arts Festival Awards in 2007. At the 2012 Angoulême International Comics Festival, it was nominated for best comic.
There are a ton of underrated seinen manga that will undoubtedly make you go ‘woah’, but for now, I’ve come up with these five. You’ll have to be satisfied with this for the time being, but we’ll add additional titles in the future. What do you think, nevertheless, about the list? Have any other crazy cool titles you want to share? Want to submit a new blog request? Let me know in the comments below. You can also contact us through mail or be in touch with us through social media like Quora, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Discord, Amino, etc whatever media you prefer.