The objective of Inktober is to draw one inky illustration each day of the month of October! Let’s hope I’m not going to lag behind too much, bear with me.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the genre in manga, and not because I care about stereotypes, but because it’s necessary to be precise when publishing my light novel. Instinctively, I would say that Wings of Steel is shonen manga (boy’s manga / young adult). This is my gut feeling and it’s likely the most accurate. It is shonen because it tells the story of a boy growing up and facing hardship, fighting hardship, becoming stronger in his craft, achieving his goals. That’s clearly a shonen theme. At the same time, it’s not your typical shonen about battles and martial arts.
I would compare it to quiet manga like Mushi Shi. This manga is the story of a traditional medicine man who investigates supernatural events in medieval Japan. It is considered more of a seinen topic (young men’s manga) because it has more of a peaceful and introspective nature. This is similar to Wings of Steel, and different from fighting manga. So there’s that and you could say Wings of Steel is seinen.
Now, there are some very gruesome seinen manga. This is not what we’re talking about here. Broadly speaking seinen splits into 3 sub-genres: 1) Introspective and ambient like Mushi Shi; 2) Light romance like Oh My Godess; 3) Finally, the extra-violent grimdark.
People often mix up the introspective and romantic sub-type of seinen with shojo manga (girl’s manga, think Sailor Moon). And it is true they are similar, but romance is not the primary focus of seinen. There is something else that drives the action, romance is like a… add-on bonus to the plot.