10 iconic protagonists of the Seinen anime, ranked

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While it’s quite common to hear someone claim to be an anime fan, anime is a very broad genre and has thousands of shows specifically aimed at a particular demographic. In the midst of the anime itself, there are different genres; shonen anime being one of the most well-known genres among anime lovers.

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The line between shonen and seinen anime is fine and “dark shonens” (as Death threat Where The attack of the Titans) are often confused with the seinen anime. While the shonen is the most popular genre of anime, the seinen anime follows just behind, with some incredible titles to claim. Here are the most iconic protagonists of the seinen anime who really define this genre as theirs.


ten
Ryûko Matoi

  • Series: Kill the kill
  • Release year: 2013

Since the initial release of Kill the kill, both protagonist Ryuko and his pal, Senketsu, quickly gained popularity in every corner of the seinen fandom. Ryuko’s iconic red striped hairstyle, paired with her cute yet rugged schoolgirl aesthetic, has become an incredibly iconic look; simple but unique in its own way.

However, it would be just disrespectful to praise Ryuko’s aesthetic without mentioning Senketsu. Senketsu is the sensitive uniform / armor that Ryuko often wears in battle. Ryuko may be the one in the spotlight, but it’s clear that she owes much of her dashing appearance to the kind and loyal Senketsu. Hope Ryuko plays it back regularly!

9
Vash the stampede

A man in a red sweater points a gun at Trigun

  • Series: Trigoun
  • Year of release of the anime: 1998

Despite first being released over 20 years ago, Vash remains one of those rare anime protagonists who are still instantly recognizable. However, it’s not as shallow as Vash’s outfit and hairstyle that made him stand out as an unforgettable protagonist. Vash’s cheerful demeanor and the famous “love and peace” slogan made audiences fall in love with him.

Despite being an incredibly skilled shooter, Vash believed in spreading the message of peace and always did his best to get out of any sticky situation without ever killing any of his enemies. A perfect combination of Vash’s signature look and his overall personality was what really made him stand out as the lovable protagonist of the seinen.

8
Re-l Mayer

X Best anime with female protagonists Ergo Proxy

  • Series: Ergo Proxy
  • Year of release of the anime: 2006

This cyberpunk anime from the early 2000s was definitely ahead of its time. His works of art and the general atmosphere were reflected in both the world of Ergo Proxy and also in the character design of the protagonist Re-l Mayer. His look was an incredibly refreshing take on the usual archetype of the goofy, shiny-haired seinen protagonist who was rather popular at the time.

Re-l’s unique look matched the often dark environment of the heavy story and lets audiences know just how tough and proficient she is. Her signature blue eyeshadow and slightly grimy eyeliner made her easy to recognize in an instant.

7
Chii

Chobits Chii Close Up

  • Series: Chobits
  • Year of release of the anime: 2002

A sure way to rise to the top as a well-known protagonist is to use a strong “cute factor” and Chobits‘the female protagonist, Chii, really understood it perfectly! Although the series allows for the role of the main character to be shared between Persocom, Chii and her beloved Hideki, Chii is truly the face of Chobits.

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Her adorable playfulness and childish curiosity quickly won over fans and her big eyes, beautiful blonde hair and iconic cat ears were the icing on the cake.

6
Jotaro Kujo

Jotaro Kujo from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

  • Series: Jojo’s bizarre adventure
  • Year of release of the anime: 2012

Even if Jojo’s bizarre adventure has gone through a small handful of different protagonists throughout the series, there is one specific main character that almost every anime fan is familiar with. While Jonathan Joestar was the first protagonist the series saw and was quite the gentleman, Jotaro is the JoJo most people will recognize as the face of Jojo’s bizarre adventure.

While Jotaro only appears as the main protagonists of Part 3, he and his stand, Star Platinum, are the most iconic duo in the series. Jotaro is the first JoJo to be a Stand user and so it was only natural that he stood out from the other protagonists from the start.

5
Madoka Kaname

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Madoka Kaname

  • Series: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
  • Year of release of the anime: 2011

Madoka’s signature bright and colorful look is easily recognizable. Among the many protagonists of Magical Girls, Madoka always manages to stand out as one of the most prolific. However, it is Madoka’s tragic story that reminds fans when they see her adorable pink outfit.

It is Puella Magi Madoka Magicathe story of that sets it apart from many other magical senin or shonen anime girl. As Madoka dons a typical, cutesy magical girl outfit, her story is anything but typical. Madoka’s story is known to draw unsuspecting viewers on a heartfelt and tragic journey. It’s his disarmingly dark story that makes his signature bubbly appearance impossible for fans to forget.

4
Ken kaneki

Ken Kaneki cracks his fingers in Tokyo Ghoul

  • Series: Tokyo ghoul
  • Year of release of the anime: 2013

Maybe Kaneki seemed like an ordinary college student at the start of his story, but like Tokyo ghoul progressed and Kaneki began to reveal himself more and more in his ghoul life, his character became unforgettable.

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When fans first met Ken Kaneki, he was just a college student and didn’t really stand out as a standout protagonist. But by the time his transformation was on track and Kaneki finally donned his iconic white hair and donned his signature mask, he secured his place as one of the coolest anime protagonists in the world. His harsh and mysterious appearance scares the hearts of fans, while capturing them with his powerful charms and relatable vulnerability.

3
Motoko Kusanagi

Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society Mokoto Pointing Handgun

  • Series: Ghost in the Shell: Self-contained complex
  • Year of release of the anime: 2004

Sometimes in an era of massive series revisions, remakes, and adaptations, it can be easy to overlook the value of the original source material. While Ghost in the shell hasn’t been in the media lately for good reasons (or good reviews), it’s important to look back and remember that an unfavorable copy shouldn’t speak for the original masterpiece .

The original Ghost in the Shell: Self-contained complex was a seinen animated series loved by fans around the world. The powerful protagonist of the series, Motoko, is actually a cyborg with an entirely cybernetic body, despite his very human appearance. Major Kusanagi’s unique purple hairstyle, paired with his sleek cropped jacket, gives him a polished yet rugged look. Not only does the series allow him to show off his toughened exterior for the battlefield, it also allows him to explore his more personal side through his complex relationships with others.

2
Saitama

A punch man video game announced for consoles

  • Series: A punch
  • Year of release of the anime: 2015

Infamous for its plethora of memes floating around the far corners of the internet, A punch‘s Saitama is a protagonist that almost everyone knows. Her iconic egg-shaped face is the perfect material for fans.

Maybe Saitama is a real threat to his enemies and possesses astronomical amounts of raw power, but it’s his goofy side that fans know and love him.

Saitama’s versatility is what he’s famous for. One second he’s a terrifying menace and the next he’s just a round egg, and A punch fans wouldn’t change it for the world!

1
Bowels

Berserk Guts Manga Cap

  • Series: Berserk
  • Year of release of the anime: 1997

Guts is by far one of the most easily recognizable protagonists of both longtime anime veterans and newcomers alike; its fame even reaches an audience that has never even read or watched Berserk! From his oversized sword and sturdy black armor to his iconic ’90s hair and elf ears, Guts is an incredibly prolific seinen anime protagonist.

Berserk has a surprisingly large and dedicated fan base and the fandom is never tired of hearing about a new chapter. BerserkS legacy will forever continue as glorious as it was from the very beginning. Many thanks to Mr. Kentaro Miura; his work will never be forgotten. Leave it to the brave Guts to bear the name of the good Miura.

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