Attack on Titan is one of the most popular manga and anime series worldwide. Both manga and anime are highly regarded by many fans worldwide, with some people even hailing it as the best series. Although some people may disagree that is the best, many people can agree that AoT is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling and exciting series.
There has been a debate among fans on whether the series is classified as a shounen or a seinen. The reason for this is because the series has themes that can be classified under a seinen but the series is published in a shounen magazine.
Before diving deep into the real classification of Attack on Titan, it is important to understand the basics of a shounen and a seinen.
A shounen manga is often marketed to teen males between the ages 12 and 18. The age group may vary with the individual readers and various magazines. A shounen manga has high-action sequences, which may contain humorous subplots. Some of the common themes in shounen manga are science-fiction, robots, martial arts, mythological creatures, or horror.
A shounen manga may include camaraderie in teams and fighting squads. The protagonists in a shounen series are often emphasized to have a desire to become better and may often face challenges with their skills and abilities. Some of the common values include self-perfection, self-discipline, sacrifice in the cause of duty, as well as honorable service to society, family, or community.
Meanwhile, a seinen is marketed to young adult men. It often targets the demographic of 18 to 45 years old. The seinen manga often focuses on politics, action, science-fiction, fantasy, comedy, relationships, and sports. It may contain scenes that are more violent than a shounen series.
It has to be noted that in some cases, shonen and seinen mangas borrow themes from one another. This means that the themes are not limited to either shonen or seinen.
Many fans classify the series as a seinen due to the violence and brutality involved in the series. Attack on Titan also involves politics which falls under seinen. However, none of these characteristics and themes are a requirement to categorized a series as either shounen or seinen.
Some fans may argue that based on the themes, violence, and plotline of Attack on Titan, it can be classified as seinen. However, since Attack on Titan originated from Japan, it is best to identify the series within their qualification. The exact way to determine if Attack on Titan is a shounen or seinen is the official classification of the magazine where it is serialized in.
Attack on Titan is serialized in Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shounen Magazine. As the magazine’s name suggests, it is a shounen magazine. The official way to identify a series is not just through its themes or characteristics, it is mostly classified by the magazine where it is serialized in.
The characteristics within a seinen series may appear in a shounen manga as these two borrow themes from one another. In fact, even if the manga doesn’t fit all the demographic, characteristics, and themes of a shounen, as long as it is serialized in a shounen magazine, it is considered as shounen.
An example is Yotsuba&!, which features a female lead that may get mistaken as under shoujo which is targeted at teen girls. Yotsuba&! is serialized in Dengeki Daioh which is a Japanese shounen magazine that automatically classifies it as a shounen.
It is true that Attack on Titan borrows many themes and characteristics from a seinen manga. Fans can also argue that the target demographic for the series is not for young teen males. However, the official classification is determined by the magazine which serializes the series which means Attack on Titan is officially a shounen.