Is Armin a Boy or a Girl? (Attack on Titan)

Is Armin a Boy or a Girl? (Attack on Titan)

Attack on Titan is probably the most well-known anime franchise in the world. One of the main protagonists, along with Eren Yeager and Mikasa Ackerman, is Armin Arlert. Since the debut of the series, fans have been wondering whether Armin was a boy or a girl. Everyone could clearly tell the gender of every other character except for him/her, which made the character even more interesting. 

Hajame Isayama himself confirmed that Armin is a boy. Armin possesses feminine features and a feminine voice. However, he was written from the start in the manga as a boy. The confusion comes from Isayama’s jokes and the fact that a major character is not a macho man with the tendency to destroy the world. Instead, he is sweet and bullied by stronger men.

Fanfictions and theories are an important way for fans of most successful franchises to fill in the gaps between releases of new manga or series. In Attack on Titan, people either ship Mikasa and Eren, Mikasa and Levi, or Armin and Annie. However, one of the most talked-about topics is the true gender of Armin Arlert. Fans are too invested in the anime that even a small detail such as a character’s gender is far too important to be ignored.

Armin’s Distinct Personality

Is Armin a Boy or a Girl? (Attack on Titan)

Armin Arlert joined the Survey Corps with Eren and Mikasa. He was trained in the military and continued his training with the corps as he wanted to have an impact on the world and change it for the better. He always dreamt of the world beyond the walls as he believed that there was life out there. People did not believe him so he was regularly bullied by those stronger than him. 

Armin’s vulnerability and gentleness have led many to think that he is female. Those qualities have been associated with females more than males. People believe that a man must have certain qualities such as anger, brutality, and the ability to hide the pain. 

Lack of self-esteem is another characteristic attached to the female persona. Armin never valued himself or his life and believed that he was never good enough. Since a soldier’s worth was mainly in their ability to fight, Armin was deemed worthless. That was why he rushed to sacrifice himself in any battle such as when he died by the steam of Bertolt’s Colossal Titan.  

Armin never had the strength nor the physique of a soldier. However, he proved to be a fundamental asset owing to his intelligence and strategic thinking. He was the only one fit to be a strategist after Erwin Smith. That was why Levi saved him by transforming him into the Colossal Titan instead of saving Erwin’s life

One of the great things about Attack on Titan is that when one of the characters obtains a certain titan, its shape is different from its previous owner. For instance, Armin’s colossal titan is taller and slimmer than Bertolt’s. Its teeth are showing from the sides because of the lack of skin and his eyes are gloomy and dropping because Armin hates killing people. 

This was clear after the battle in Marley when Armin’s Colossus had to blow up the ships. The look in his eyes and regret reflected Armin’s true nature. At moments like this, fans confuse Armin for being a girl. After all, even Hange and Mikasa did not feel that kind of regret. 

Some people may argue that Armin is not as soft later in the series as he kills people and believes that losing one’s humanity is justifiable. However, I believe that extreme situations and battles can bring out the worst in people and force even empathetic ones such as Armin to take drastic measures. 

Armin’s Feminine Features and Voice

Is Armin a Boy or a Girl? (Attack on Titan)

Armin’s face could be seen as boyish because of his bony structure, or as girly because his features are soft. Isamaya made Armin’s nose round to indicate weakness, but fans assumed he was a female because of the stereotype that girls are weaker than boys. His haircut is gender-neutral. 

Physique

Most of the males in the series were tall, muscular, and strong. Levi was short but he had other abilities and sharp looks that convinced everyone he was a typical male. On the other hand, Armin was short, thin, and had no fighting abilities. His body was built that way because Isayama wanted his strength to lie in his mind. 

Voiceover

Armin’s character is voiced by Marina Inoue. This led to more confusion, however, a lot of male characters in anime were voiced by females. For example, in Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward Elric was voiced by Romi Park and Gon from Hunter x Hunter was voiced by multiple women. 

In anime, it is common for female actors to voice male characters to indicate softness. Sometimes they voice the teenage versions of some men for fans to notice the change after the characters hit puberty. 

In the English dub, Armin is voiced by a male because they don’t give much thought to the voiceover. However, in the original Japanese version, they pay attention to authenticity, so the voice was done by a female to make the character seem more real and reflect its nature to the fans. 

Is Armin a Boy or a Girl?

Is Armin a Boy or a Girl? (Attack on Titan)

Armin’s character and physique have confused fans, however, the one thing that drove them mad was when Isayama said in an interview that Mikasa’s closest female friend was Armin. Everyone suddenly started building up theories that Armin is a girl. However, later in another interview, he confirmed that Armin is definitely a boy. 

Even if Isayama didn’t correct himself, a lot of hints throughout the anime indicated that Armin is a male character. For instance, his name is a boy’s name in Japan. Furthermore, he referred to himself using male pronouns such as “Boku”, which was seldom used by females. When Armin was unconscious before transforming into the colossal titan, his upper body showed that he was clearly a male. 

As of the latest season, Armin’s hair looked different as he was almost without bangs and it was shorter. His haircut became different, indicating maturity and losing a part of his innocence. Mikasa also cut her hair, but no one confused her for being a male from the start. However, there were a lot of hateful comments about her masculine appearance that came up after appearing in the battle at Marley. 

Another indication is the way Armin blushed when he first saw Annie. Despite knowing that she’s a spy, he continues to love her. Even though she was trapped inside a crystal, he still visited her to talk to her and was saddened by her absence. His love for her might not prove his gender conclusively, but it definitely contributes to the previous reasons. 

Isayama did a great job at writing Armin’s character and that’s why the confusion sprouted. Armin is a three-dimensional character just like every other character in the anime. Isayama used a female voiceover, made him short and slim, gave him little strength and this was to magnify his leadership abilities. He paid attention to every detail to make him believable and for a moment there, I forgot that Armin is a fictional character. 

  • Hrvoje Milakovic is co-owner of Voice Film and a big cinephile. Apart from that, he likes to read comics, play games and collect action figures. He has been featured on LifeWire, Yahoo and IMDb, to name a few.