Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Moe

They are cute beyond belief. Are able to make you laugh and cry. Surely most of them have master the ability to make you feel pity. Most of the time their cries of pain would make you want to run over to them and give them a hug. Their personalities make them seem as innocent as a five year old and sometimes they may also have the mentality of a five year old. Their charm can draw in crowds with just a simple action yet also able to push people away. Still this young force of girls is rising and will work their cuteness and charm on anybody if given the chance (even if they want to or not). They are....

The Moe!
Moe. Yep, moe....I am finally touching this subject. There is so many things I could say about Moe. I am sure a lot of better knowledgeable people have said what I am about to say before or done this better. Still I am going to give it the good college try and see what I can add to this.

First off some explanation for those who don't know. Moe is in a place of limbo. Most anime fans don't know if Moe is a type of character or an anime genre. People are thinking that there is a such thing called 'Moe' animes while others think that animes have Moe characters. This is all based on what I have observe from the anime community. Moe is also very controversial too from what I can tell and some people think Moe is ruining the anime fandom in some way. Still to me Moe is a character type. Most animes seem to have some sort of cute anime character that makes you want to hug them or something like that. So that means there may be a moe character in an anime. Now some shows may have more moe characters then others but that doesn't make them a Moe type anime.

Now with that out of the way, time to rant! I mean discuss! Yeah...Discuss....

Moe is fairy new and has only been out in the open for a few years now. That may explain why people don't know where to place it. Older animes seem to display characters that may hold some of the traits to what moe is today but recently it seems like we are getting an explosion of shows that features a lot of moe characters.

Lucky Star (Image seen above) is just a bunch of cute looking girls doing nothing really. Some could say that each one of them show off a different part of what 'moe' is. Overall it kind of set up what eventually would be the main setting of where most Moe character would live and grown. The characters are cutely drawn and there is no really point to what is going on in the show from what I been told. Heck, half of the first episode is about  them eating. That is the charm of the series (or so I think).

So where did Moe characters get their big break? I would have to say during The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya with Mikuru. Even Haruhi called Mikuru their Moe character and since then you can see her do almost anything that is consider fanservice. Mikuru has worn it all! Bunny girl outfits, maid outfits, frog outfits, and anything else that I can't think of right now (Well not everything but mostly). Still it is never by her choice! Mikuru  is forced into something and then you can hear her whimper as she is being forced into these outfits.
"What should I say? You just look like you weren't accepted into college. Or somebody who lost their job after buying their dream home."
-Kyon (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
And that usually what happens. You want to go help out little Mikuru (understatement here). That just tends to happen with Moe characters. Then from Mikuru, the idea of Moe seem to have devolve until recently with Yui (K-On!). It wasn't as bad with Mikuru since she was just one person. Then also Mikuru had some sort of substance due to the plot of Melancholy. Still as we get closer to today, the idea of Moe just rose more and more as these characters get dumber and dumber and the need to comfort them rose.

That is mean to say but it feels true. They become less like people more like 'moeblob' (as the term is called). Characters that are just cute, bubbly or always being force into things they don't want to do.

Mio (K-on!) display this charm too and maybe one of the most recent Moe stars too. It just happens too. You don't want to see this stuff but the good Moe figures has this thing that makes you want to care for them.

Now Mio isn't really a moeblob since she isn't clueless but Yui is. She may bring comedy to the series but really she just does nothing else. Doesn't really push the series. I am not saying that K-On (and shows like it) are bad series but for the purpose of this blog I am saying that the characters in them are mostly a bad image for women. In my opening post for this blog I mention that I don't want anybody I know to say that they want to be just like *Insert anime character name here*. Any Moe character is what I would insert into that 'blank'. They are one of the personal reasons why I made this blog. Do we want clueless girls doing nothing but eating cake, doing pointless things and whimper in fear? Do women want this themselves? Of course not!

Moe makes women and teenage girls look bad. I admit that some of the shows that have Moe characters are good but if you have too much of it then it could be painful to watch. Moe character showcase women as defenseless people who are cute. It is nice to a limit but when you think about it then it just really sickening to watch. You realize that not all girls are like Moe characters put out there. Yet there are people out there that mostly watch shows with mostly Moe characters. There has to be something that draws them to these shows and I don't think it just the story line. I also wonder do they really think that girls act like the ones they see in Moe filled shows? Just something that I wonder. People say that TV helps forms the way we think about the world. If so then Moe really does provide a bad picture for girls.

So why do we have moe? I let Haruhi (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) to help explain.
"In this situation, moe is an important concept to keep in mind"
Moe sells. They can be the complete opposite of the heavy chested female anime stereotype yet it can bring in anime fans to watch the show or buy all the figurines and merchandise. They look very young and sometimes they don't even look like the age they claim to be. Moe characters create this charm that seems to sell well among most anime fans. These studios have to make as much money as they can so if they can get a cute figure head in there that would make the fans buy anything that person is on. If that happens then it is good for them. It can be used to help determine which shows could get sequels or OVAs which means more work for them. There may not be people who like Moe but those people don't really matter since they are not watching it or could make them money.

The situation is money and money is something that all companies have to think of when they decide to animate a series. Anything to help make that money is a good thing for them. Even if that means making a series filled with Moe characters.

Still girls should like shows with Moe characters right? Half of the time these characters are either the leads of the shows and are cute. It gives them something to watch and like. The girl is doing something beside just standing on the sidelines. So it turns out good for the girls right?
"You see, they think oh its cute, girls like everything cute and pink in the world, right? They'll love this! But really we're going "this is making me want to puke and why is everyone so stupid"....Why are we going to like something that's making us seem like nothing but cute, helpless, and stupid."
-Jennifer M.
In reality most girls don't like moe as you can see. I used to think that girls like moe but as I see more anime I can begin to understand why they don't like it. Girls just don't like how moe characters act and I don't too after seeing so much of it. They are way too cute or just annoy the heck out of them (and me). As I said before, it makes girls look dumb and now that I am 'older' I can see that. It may seems like Moe is targeting a female audience but really it seems like it is slowly aiming at the main stream anime watcher which could be a guy. Moe can ruin a pretty good show too. People would go into a series thinking it will be moe related when it may actually have some good points to it.

Sora No Woto is my example. The show had some great artwork when you watch it but I kept on thinking that this was just K-On! but in the military and it was really pretty. I just couldn't get that out of my mind. Then as you get into the next episode you feel like this show isn't going anywhere and it was about a bunch of cute girls doing nothing. The animation was well done and the pretty sunsets and such but the plot wasn't anything impressive from what I saw. In the end I just dropped it and I am sure a few other people I know dropped it too. The moe looking characters and elements were just too much for me.

Clearly I don't really like the Moe character. I don't mind them but if there is too much of it or something like that then I am willing to drop a show because of it. I can see how moe can tear up the anime fandom. People either love it or hate it. Still Moe isn't a good image for girls (or guys). I know there may be timid girls out there but if you are thinking that girls are like that all the time then please get some fresh air or something (Sorry).

Moe is a touchy subject from what I have seen. Moe can be good but it can also go bad really fast. Still I stand firm on what I said: If anybody tells me that they want to be just like a moe character then I will surely give them a strange look.


  1. It almost sounds like you're strongly against moe characters. I don't mind them all that much. While it's true that they act like some kind of an airhead but they delivered what some of us are looking for in animes. Laughters. At the end of the day, it all comes down to what a person is looking to derive from the animes they're watching.

  2. @Lisa-chan
    I don't hate per-say moe characters. I like to laugh when I watch anime so that is one thing that I like them for. You are right that that they do that. Still from the stand point of the image then I have to hate them. Also I think it comes from just that we have so many moe characters out there that it is too much and annoying.

  3. I personally hate moe. I can deal with it in small doses, for example there was a moe character called Penelo in Ergo Proxy. But that character was an actual child and she was supposed to be cute and endearing because she was a cyborg and it helped the audience connect with her character and care about her. Moe can actually work when it makes sense for one character.

    Not to mention shows in which they blatantly sexualize moe characters (Haruhi) where the show is basically promoting sexualization of young looking girls. Or shows in which High School girls look and act like children (Lucky Star and K-On!) where the show just blatantly says young women are stupid children.

    Generally moe sucks. It especially sucks when they make an entire show of moe characters, because then it just seems like the shows about nothing but being cute. I'm glad you guys picked up on that by the way, I thought I was crazy for not seeing why everyone loved this stuff, but now I know why. Its because its about nothing!

    Also, I have never found moe funny. "I'm stupid and have the mentality of a child and I don't understand. Isn't this funny?" NO, its not funny! If anything, its sad.

  4. Honestly, the best moe series manage to subvert the cute image in some way. Lucky Star at least lampshades that each of its characters' moe tendencies would be insanely annoying in real life. Azumanga Daioh even goes so far as to make them exasperating.

    That said, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the best moe character I've ever seen wasn't even human. I'm talking about the eponymous character from Chi's Sweet Home. Not only is Chi insanely cute (by virtue of the fact that she's a kitten), her personality is very well-justified in her species and age. It's purely adorable, and I'd love a kitten just like her (or, failing that, Yui from K-On, but as a small dog).

  5. Let's start with the origins of the expression, shall we?
    "Moe" comes from the Japanese "moeru", translating roughly to "to burn with passion". Moe is about getting the reaction you have described, about wanting to reach out and help/defend/care for the moe character. Or they could really just make you go "Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! CUTE!"

    I'd say Moe isn't a character type per se, rather it's an attribute. You can have the moe bookworm, or you can have the bookworm that is really a sociopath out to kill the Main, or why not the moe bookworm that is really a sociopath out to kill the Main...

    Yui can just as well be described as a clumzy girl with an attention deficit, and perhaps even hyperactivity disorder... Hmm, I've never thought of her in those terms before. Heh...
    Anyway, Moe doesn't _have_ to be a part of the description, it's just convenient to group up a large part of the female characters, and some male ones, in a single term.

    I want to know what you base your "all women"-comments on. Have you asked all women in the world? Have you asked a large enough group to be secure in your conviction that it's true?
    I'm guessing that a Yamato Nadesico would be rather Moe, and there are Japanese girls aiming at being a Yamato Nadesico.
    It's a fallacy claiming that all females dislike Moe, and that no females want to be seen in that way.

  6. @Anonymous
    I completely didn't made the connection on the possible sexualization of young looking girls. That surely is bad but and could be said about a lot of animes. Still good point. Didn't think about that and I should have mention it.

    Yui as a puppy. haha That sounds like an awesome idea. I think I would enjoy watching a bit of that. haha

    I think I would enjoy watching a moe bookworm that is really a sociopath out to kill the Main. Sounds like a great story. haha

    From what I can tell, moe is undefined and I am surely not somebody that can say it is 'this' but in my opinion I feel like it could count as a character type. I could see it as an attribute but I could also say it could be a subcategory. Also a lot of characters can crossover different types as well.

    I haven't asked all women of the world. Just the ones that I know that are into anime. Still I would like to try to think of this from a women's perspective and wonder if I would won't to aspire to be the common idea of moe and think I wouldn't want to.