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The end-all debate of the merits/flaws of moe according to 2 anime experts.


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farichada



Joined: 04 Feb 2009
Posts: 286
Location: Stevens Point, WI

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:11 pm Reply with quote
Some consider moe to be a cancer that robs anime of creative thought and as a cheap way to cash in on otaku while others cherish it in their heart as something that instantly makes them feel good. Whether you are moe fan or can't wait for this "fad" to be over, both of these knowledgeable individuals weigh in on the topic.


http://www.youtube.com/​watch?​v=​3gdsdqu5XWI

Obviously a joke, but pretty darn funny. However, there is some discussion to be had broken into three main categories:

1) How has moe's rising popularity affected your anime viewing experience and do you think moe is here to stay or just a mere passing trend? Will it evolve with the ages or remain static?

2) Is the role of moe positive or negative on the anime medium and does it appeal to you? What is that appeal?

3) What constitutes moe in the modern vernacular? a.k.a What is moe?



How has more moe elements in recent anime affected you? Do you watch shows just for this element? Is it neutral? Do you stay away from it like the plague? Or is it just something you try ignore while enjoying other aspects of the anime? Do you see it a mere passing trend like the overabundance of mecha in the 80s or is it here to stay as the most popular genre in the long term? I tend to think it's a trend that will wane as soon as the consumer want something else. As of right now adding moe and cuteness, attracts a huge anime fan target market and will almost guarantee more sales if executed correctly. Yes, even though I only tolerate moe; I do admit it can be done poorly or well based on how well it elicits the intended feelings. Plus over the years, it has slowly evolved wildly from the days of Oh My Goddess into something far from the Yamato Nadeshiko model we saw in that series into something more innocent, dependent, and sexy. How has moe evolved and how do you see it changing in the next 10 years?

What do you think of moe? Has it played a generally positive or negative role in the creation of many modern anime? Personally, I do not like moe elements as they tend to detract from the other merits a show might have and I don't not understand the appeal. To me, it tends to sexualize elements of cuteness and is a popular form of fan service. It won't stop me from watching a show unless moe is the main thing the show offers. I usually just see it as distraction. However, I understand moe means many things to many people and few people have the same reaction to it. I also see it as emotional melodrama that tends to make show less realistic. I think its best in otaku bait shows, such as Lucky Star, because it feels right at home there and it doesn't feel tacked on like it can in other genres.

This leads to a bigger question on what constitutes moe. This has always been at least somewhat blurry and vague. Is it an art style, the feeling to want to protect something, an overabundance of cute, cute and innocence serialized, or something completely different? I personally see it as a combination of all of these things. Zac, an ANN staffer, has made comments that moe tends to target a sexual need in those that do not have a significant other. Do you find an appeal to moe that is non-sexual? Does it simply just evoke a feel-good happy emotion of cloying cuteness like kittens or something completely different? I would really like to see how a hardcore moe fan would answer this question.

[EDIT: Made the thread title a little less long-winded. -TK]
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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 4967
Location: Windsor Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:55 pm Reply with quote
In the first place moe is just a term fans tossed out as a descriptor of characters they like. Of course over the years its meaning has been twisted and these days it means "stuff I don't like" to a lot of people.

For a better understanding, consult this chart

Is moe a passing trend? Not at all. Behold, Exhibit A. It's been a big part of anime since the very beginning.

What's the appeal of moe? Pretty simple: who wants to watch a show about ugly people? Shallow, I know, but admit it: everyone is on some level.

Most so called "moe" shows are meant to be easy watching. It won't make you think about serious topics, won't change your world view or whatever, but it keeps you feeling good 20 minutes at a time. I think that's a great goal to strive for.

That said, moe and 'serious storytelling' aren't mutually exclusive. Look at Higurashi or Madoka. All the girls are cutesy and 'waifu' material but the plots aren't so simple.

No matter how many moe shows are made, 'serious' show keep coming out. I enjoy both types of shows so it's all positives for me. My only issue is with all the negativity dished out by the people who hate moe. If you don't like it, fine, but is it really necessary to go out of your way and let everyone know how it's the cancer killing anime, that all these shows are garbage and that anyone who likes them are pathetic otaku trash with no social lives?
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farichada



Joined: 04 Feb 2009
Posts: 286
Location: Stevens Point, WI

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:16 pm Reply with quote
That chart certainly gives such a nebulous definition to moe to a degree that it almost seem like it is at least partially poking fun at the topic and not meant to be taken completely seriously. Perhaps, it's the disconnect between what moe originally meant and what it means in the more common usage by the anime fandom. I feel that the usage has evolved to a point where it at least strong applies certain things from the "Not" list even if that it is a corruption of the original usage. Yes, moe has always been around in some form, but it has changed radically in the last one or two decades. However, I think it is disingenuous to argue that there hasn't been an uptick in moe elements in the last 20 years assuming you define moe based on how the modern-day anime fandom masses define it.

Perhaps, the increase in what most see as heavily moe based content is caused by the trend of more otaku in the anime indsutry Miyzaki argues here: animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2014-01-30/miyazaki/the-problem-with-the-anime-industry-is-it-full-of-otaku. An interesting idea to see a shift in the make-up of the creative talent behind anime.

Here is a plea for the anime fandom to tolerate moe and to mature more as a group. The cancer killing anime isn't moe, it's us as a fandom. Well, almost....

http://www.youtube.com/​watch?​v=​6nEK0EWhxzg
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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
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Location: Windsor Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:28 pm Reply with quote
It pokes a bit of fun at it, yeah. People take moe far too seriously when it's just some minor, innocent little thing.

Words evolve overtime, this is nothing new. However in this case the modern definition of moe is mostly shaped by those who toss it around as an insult. In such cases I think it's important to reassert the original meaning. We must take back our word! Laughing

But yeah, I agree that it's not moe, but the fandom that's the problem. I mean, anime is selling better than ever because of moe.
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Beltane70



Joined: 07 May 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:54 pm Reply with quote
Are all these terms like 'moe', 'tsundere', 'yandere', etc. fairly recent creations? I don't remember any of the old anime magazines using these terms and only just started noticing them within the last ten years or so.
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Vaisaga



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:59 pm Reply with quote
The terms themselves are fairly recently, but the concepts they embody have been around forever.
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FenixFiesta



Joined: 22 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:04 pm Reply with quote
Beltane70 wrote:
Are all these terms like 'moe', 'tsundere', 'yandere', etc. fairly recent creations? I don't remember any of the old anime magazines using these terms and only just started noticing them within the last ten years or so.

The terms are (relatively) new, yet there exist examples of each term that would certainly predate the phrases modern usage.
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Beltane70



Joined: 07 May 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:00 am Reply with quote
Oh, of course. I wasn't questioning what they represent, just the terms. I can definitely think of examples of characters that fit them in my earliest of anime viewings. In fact, the first character to come to mind when talking about tsunderes is Madoka Ayukawa from Kimagure Orange Road.
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Wrathful



Joined: 08 Mar 2010
Posts: 290

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:16 am Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:
The terms themselves are fairly recently, but the concepts they embody have been around forever.


I find it amazing Ranma 1/2 embodies at least two words that haven't been coined when the series began. Although the series is disguised as the romantic comedy, in some way, it could be the harem.
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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:45 am Reply with quote
So yeah, the moe "problem" isn't some new trend that just came out of nowhere.

Actual trends have happened, like a few years ago there was a visual novel adaptation trend and these days there's a light novel adaptation trend. Those are more worthy of analysis rather than such a vauge general concept like moe.
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Aylinn



Joined: 18 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:28 am Reply with quote
Yeah, I am bit curious why visual novel adaptation trend has ended, not that it pains me. Light novel adaptations have, on the average, greater possibility of being better anime and none of the visual novel adaptations major issues.
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jl07045



Joined: 30 Aug 2011
Posts: 873
Location: Riga, Latvia

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:36 am Reply with quote
FenixFiesta wrote:
Beltane70 wrote:
Are all these terms like 'moe', 'tsundere', 'yandere', etc. fairly recent creations? I don't remember any of the old anime magazines using these terms and only just started noticing them within the last ten years or so.

The terms are (relatively) new, yet there exist examples of each term that would certainly predate the phrases modern usage.


I could argue that Macchiavelli was tsundere for Republican government or something to that effect. There's little new in the world. I've heard that people call Lum Invader from Urusei Yatsura the first tsundere, but that doesn't matter. What matters is when creators started to see a "mass" appeal in the archetype. When that happens there is less inclination to explain what is behind the tsundereness and characters increasingly start to lack substance.

We can problematize "moe" the same way. I would describe moe as a trend that intentionally uses neoteny and childish behaviour in characters to increase their appeal. And again, the more creators realize that simple hooks can influence people, the less they're inclined to give characters and storyline some substance.

Of course this is nothing unique for anime. Relentless copying to the point that there's no substance left is one of the basic ideas in postmodern critique of pop culture in general. Miyazaki is correct at least in some aspects - you can't make something good if all you're watching is copies of copies.

Aylinn wrote:
Yeah, I am bit curious why visual novel adaptation trend has ended, not that it pains me. Light novel adaptations have, on the average, greater possibility of being better anime and none of the visual novel adaptations major issues.


I'm not sure it has ended. We had White Album 2 and Little Busters last season, there's going to be an adaptation of Grisaia no Kajitsu and a new F/SN this year. The major ones like Little Busters and Stein's Gate are still hits. A number of others have been adapted in the last couple of years. It's just that vn market ha declined and is extremely oversaturated and even top vs companies can't sell as many units as 10-15 years ago. I'd say that instead of ever being a trend adapting vns is now seen as an ordinary part of anime industry.
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Aylinn



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:31 am Reply with quote
I should have been more clear. I didn’t mean that there are no VNAs, just that there is less of them. Form what you write, it is as I thought, less lucrative these days. Not that I care. Most of VN had been turned into mediocre anime due to anime creators lack of guts or lack of understanding the difference between a game and an anime series.
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jl07045



Joined: 30 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:45 am Reply with quote
Aylinn wrote:
I should have been more clear. I didn’t mean that there are no VNAs, just that there is less of them. Form what you write, it is as I thought, less lucrative these days. Not that I care. Most of VN had been turned into mediocre anime due to creators either lack of guts or lack of understanding the difference between a game and an anime series.


My argument is that there isn't less, the're simply not as prominent as Kyoani's key adaptations were in their time. I'd have to re-read the mid-00 anime charts, but I'm pretty sure that there weren't many more vn adaptations than there are now, it's just that apart from Stein's Gate there haven't been any top sellers since the new decade started.
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farichada



Joined: 04 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:30 am Reply with quote
The VN novel adaptation trend is interesting, especially since a good portion do contain adult content. Contrasting strongly with that sort of content is the sort of female archetypes we are seeing. VNs are usually rich in source content and can provide very successful adaptions as seen by Stein's Gate, but there are possible slight misses if the right studio isn't used, such as Little Busters.

I would like to see an adaption of Rewrite, and given the people behind it and its general success it doesn't seem completely out of the question. Certain arcs are flooded with cuteness and moe to a point where it is cloying, but other times it can offering a very interesting mix of emotion when entangled behind more ominous themes. It has some interesting use of moe that divides the story between light-hearted and more serious storytelling. There are definitely quite, dark, dire, somewhat real-world themes explored all tied together by a s somewhat melodramatic, but cautionary environmentalism message. It almost reminds you of some of the themes found in certain Miyazaki films such as Princess Monoke or Nausicaa. My friend joked that Al Gore helped fund these projects, but the theme of the need to preserve the environment and its resources is far from anything new in the anime medium.

And oh yeah I don't even try to argue that moe is anything new, but that its pervasiveness and what is associated with show that may rely more strongly on those elements has evolved strongly over the past two decades. Moe from Ramna 1/2, Oh my Goddess, and Kimagure Orange Road is a far cry from what you see today. Things are definitely more hardcore otaku oriented, racier, and much less influenced by the Yamato Nadeshiko archetype.
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