Forum - View topic
ANNCast - Moe Money, Moe Problems


Goto page Previous    Next

Note: this is the discussion thread for this article

Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Brent Allison
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 01 Jan 2011
Posts: 2104
Location: Athens-Clarke County, GA, USA
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:44 am Reply with quote
What if "moe" can be described less as a set of interrelated characteristics and more as a process? That is, not simply the presence of subjective feelings of "burning" or protection that a work (intentionally or not) inspires in an audience. Rather, moe might be described as the producer-inspired perceptive interplay between a thematic context of disruption and a situated lack of cute character agency that produces an "imagined vacuum" of assumed benevolent authority filled by an empowered normative character or, more subtly, the audience member. That is, ordinary "cuteness" vis-a-vis Hello Kitty is not enough. The possibility if not presence of "disruption" (be it physical danger, clumsiness, emotional breakdown, etc.) and an imagined figure to right this disruption are key to this process that does not result in moe so much as is moe.

EDIT: In the case of clumsiness, it may be an endearing characteristic of the cute character that in itself need not to be righted, but the effects of it (e.g. preemptively wiping away a spill on the floor, kissing a boo-boo after the fact) would be assumed by the audience to need provision by someone else.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Zin5ki
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 06 Jan 2008
Posts: 6679
Location: London, UK
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:09 pm Reply with quote
Brent Allison wrote:
Rather, moe might be described as the producer-inspired perceptive interplay between a thematic context of disruption and a situated lack of cute character agency that produces an "imagined vacuum" of assumed benevolent authority filled by an empowered normative character or, more subtly, the audience member. That is, ordinary "cuteness" vis-a-vis Hello Kitty is not enough. The possibility if not presence of "disruption" (be it physical danger, clumsiness, emotional breakdown, etc.) and an imagined figure to right this disruption are key to this process that does not result in moe so much as is moe.

This proposal is adequately detailed to be both mature and plausible, though I have this to ask: Is the need for such authority necessary to bring about this interplay, or is it merely sufficient?

You give the example of the effects of traits such as clumsiness warranting the interaction of a normative character, but can we not conceive of instances of moe in which there is no such thing to be righted? Konata from Lucky Star certainly bears charming flaws to her character, though one has the impression in which the "disruption" of which you speak is quite difficult to pinpoint in her case.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website My Anime My Manga
Brent Allison
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 01 Jan 2011
Posts: 2104
Location: Athens-Clarke County, GA, USA
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:22 pm Reply with quote
Zin5ki wrote:
This proposal is adequately detailed to be both mature and plausible, though I have this to ask: Is the need for such authority necessary to bring about this interplay, or is it merely sufficient?

You give the example of the effects of traits such as clumsiness warranting the interaction of a normative character, but can we not conceive of instances of moe in which there is no such thing to be righted? Konata from Lucky Star certainly bears charming flaws to her character, though one has the impression in which the "disruption" of which you speak is quite difficult to pinpoint in her case.


My proposed authority construct can be absent in the narrative, but present in the sense of audience imagination. The audience can (or may even be invited to by implication) imagine different scenarios of how a cute character's disturbances (I hesitate to use the word "flaws") can manifest themselves in ways that might eventually need intervention. Konata's otakuism may not need righting (or her protection from their ill-effects) within her school and family context right now, but I think the audience can fairly assume that she will grow up, and that these might present problems for her later on. I doubt that many enthusiasts would want her to "grow out of it", but in order for the process of moe to work, she will need some sort of protection eventually, at least as far as my current proposal is concerned.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
SonicRenegade84



Joined: 04 Apr 2010
Posts: 630
Location: Atlantis!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:47 pm Reply with quote
einhorn303 wrote:
SonicRenegade84 wrote:

I was talking about after Fuuko's arc, they build up Tomoya and Nagisa so much that they finally get together, making me feel like something really interesting is going to happen with the two. Then what happens? "Hey, i'm Tomoya and i'm going out with Kyou" WHAAAAAAAAT?! Unless i'm supposed to understand that they threw that episode in for the lolz, how does this fit in with the main storyline? Are we that faithful to the visual novel that we needed that side story in there?


Are you talking about the Kyou "Another World" episode? If so, both that and the Tomoyo episode are alternate reality episodes that don't share the continuity of the main series.


Yes, I was talking about the Tomoya/Tomoyo episode. But my point is that I didn't need an episode like that at the end of the first season. Why not have them as OVA's or something instead of making them the last episode?

PS: I saw it all on Anime Network. That might be the reason for confusion.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website My Anime My Manga
notrogersmith



Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 181
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:49 pm Reply with quote
Here's my attempt to break down what "moe" is supposed to mean, based on what I've heard in the podcast and read on this this thread and elsewhere. I'd say the term has a few different meanings, depending on the context:


  1. "Moe," an adjective describing a feeling. This is a warm, fuzzy feeling that might be described as "DAWWWWW!!" and have overtones of wanting to protect or comfort someone. In principle, this feeling can be directed at almost anyone.

  2. "Moe," an adjective describing a character. This is a descriptor of a character that is either

    1. known to elicit the aforementioned "moe" feeling in a wide variety of people, regardless of author intent, or
    2. designed to elicit the "moe" feeling through the use of certain traits, such as cuteness of appearance and quirks that are supposed to be endearing (e.g. verbal tics).
    From what I've observed, if a character is described as a "moe character" or a "moe blob," it usually refers to a character intended by its author to elicit "moe" feelings.

  3. "Moe," an adjective describing a genre. This is a descriptor of a show whose plot and character designs are primarily meant to elicit that "moe" feeling toward certain characters.


Based on this, the shows commonly labeled as "moe," such as AIR, Kanon, and Clannad, are "moe" in sense 3, while Azumanga Daioh really isn't moe in that sense. Sure, some of the characters in that show may elicit a "moe" feeling, but that's not the main point of the show. Mikuru from Haruhi Suzumiya is a "moe character," but Haruhi herself is not, since she's meant to provoke a wide range of reactions, including annoyance at her selfish actions. Osaka from AzuDai may be considered "moe" by many fans, but isn't a "moe character" in the sense of being primarily designed to provoke feelings of moe. Finally, this seems to explain what Ouran High School Host Club was lampooning when it mocked "moe." Here, the "moe" feeling is elicited in the host club's clientele in the episodes where Honey has a toothache and where Kasanoda's spoiler[romantic intentions toward Haruhi get shot down]. Neither of those scenarios has much to do with senses 2 or 3 of "moe," but rather just with the "moe" feeling of sense 1.

Hopefully, that clarifies the usage of "moe."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
Cheesecracker



Joined: 01 Sep 2007
Posts: 240
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:10 pm Reply with quote
OK

My last bite at the (Moe) title apple:

Potatmoe
Potahtmoe

Let's call the whole thing off.

If not, can we all agree that Moe tunnel back thru time and declare Persephone Moe?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
abunai
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 05 Mar 2004
Posts: 5463
Location: 露命
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:11 pm Reply with quote
I think I'm pretty satisfied with that attempt at a comprehensive definition of moe, notrogersmith. Although there are sure to be peripheral cases that defy interpretation via this categorisation, it will do very well for most cases.

Well put.

- abunai
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website My Anime My Manga
TheBigN



Joined: 24 Oct 2005
Posts: 59
Location: Somewhere in DC
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:19 pm Reply with quote
Cheesecracker wrote:
Eleven pages later and not only do I feel like I really don't know what Moe is, I'm not sure anyone else does either.

It just seems either too vague or poorly understood to be of any use as a term.


That's sort of the point. And one of things that people should look at going into a conversation that focused on moe is not to get anything concrete about the term itself, because there isn't one specific definition for it. That in itself leads to people sometimes grasping at whatever at least makes works with their mindset about the term while probably not paying as much attention to other possible considerations of what moe is.

As for the ANNCast: Really enjoyed the group discussion, and I felt like wildarmsheero worked with Zac, Mike and Hope well.

It was interesting to note the manipulation of feelings angle, but it's not something relegated to one specific term or condition. Any genre (and moe's not one in my opinion) can do the exact same thing, but all that matters whether we as the audience can see it or care enough about that manipulation to be offput by it or not. Razz
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Cheesecracker



Joined: 01 Sep 2007
Posts: 240
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:42 pm Reply with quote
notrogersmith wrote:
Mikuru from Haruhi Suzumiya is a "moe character," but Haruhi herself is not, since she's meant to provoke a wide range of reactions,


Your definition(s) certainly outlines what I would've considered Moe. However,does the quote suggest a narrowness and perhaps shallowness to the 'Moe-Trigger' if not the Moe reaction? Not only that it could be narrow, but that it should be. While it might be taken as a negative, maybe it just is what it is?

Perhaps, eliciting other reactions would dilute the strength of the singular reaction? You don't want that 'dropped on the floor and stepped on' stuff. You want the pure white mind-blowing Moe experience.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MorwenLaicoriel



Joined: 26 Feb 2006
Posts: 1610
Location: Colorado
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:10 pm Reply with quote
SonicRenegade84 wrote:
einhorn303 wrote:
SonicRenegade84 wrote:

I was talking about after Fuuko's arc, they build up Tomoya and Nagisa so much that they finally get together, making me feel like something really interesting is going to happen with the two. Then what happens? "Hey, i'm Tomoya and i'm going out with Kyou" WHAAAAAAAAT?! Unless i'm supposed to understand that they threw that episode in for the lolz, how does this fit in with the main storyline? Are we that faithful to the visual novel that we needed that side story in there?


Are you talking about the Kyou "Another World" episode? If so, both that and the Tomoyo episode are alternate reality episodes that don't share the continuity of the main series.


Yes, I was talking about the Tomoya/Tomoyo episode. But my point is that I didn't need an episode like that at the end of the first season. Why not have them as OVA's or something instead of making them the last episode?

PS: I saw it all on Anime Network. That might be the reason for confusion.


That would be the reason, yes. The Tomoyo episode IS an OVA, one that was packaged with the DVDs. It's counted as an additional "episode" on places like Netflix and Anime Network to allow streamers the chance to see it, but it doesn't fit into the continuity proper--hence why it's called an "Another World" episode. The episode summary states pretty clearly that it's set in an alternate timeline, too...at least, it did on Netflix, and I'm assuming both places have the same summary.

In fact, if I recall correctly neither Tomoyo's episode or the summer-time episode that shows Tomoya and Nagisa as a couple are part of the actual broadcasted series, I think it originally ended with the confession scene, or so I heard.

I honestly didn't find it that confusing when I watched it, though, the episode summaries made it pretty clear that they were bonus episodes.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address My Anime My Manga
Darth Joker



Joined: 10 May 2010
Posts: 84
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:19 pm Reply with quote
Splitter wrote:
JesuOtaku wrote:
*SIGH* =w=

Splitter wrote:


"They don't do that when you flip the genders. There's usually a HUGE age difference between them". Oh, that's SO much better. I enjoy watching you play feminist tactics to make your lust for pectorals look reasonable by comparison, Hope. Let's face it, we're all carnal. You're no better than the rest of us.


I...never said I was...? I wasn't saying "OH BISHOUNEN IS BETTER BECAUSE YOU CAN TELL THE SHOTA FROM THE GROWN MEN LOL," I was just stating the obvious: you can tell the difference. Doesn't change the fact that they're objectifying guys so we can slobber over them. I mean, I was making direct parallels between moe-based series and reverse harem for a reason: they pull the same kind of nonsense for different audiences. I do not like series like Miracle Train or whatever, but I can profess to understanding them "carnally" a little better. I never said that made them better, because it doesn't. The topic was moe, which is largely aimed at otaku men, (with exceptions before you raise them,) and which has caused a much greater trend in what the industry churns out than bishounen for now.

Additionally, to the various commenters who accused me of poking fun at Air, go back and listen to the podcast. I did NOT once mention Air in the context of what I was discussing. I brought up "a little girl who likes bean buns, says 'gao' and dies a tragic death" as an example, but if I was trying to call out Air specifically, I'd have been less obtuse. I didn't mention Air by name because I wasn't talking about it specifically and yes, her reasons for dying tragically are explained...it's in supplemental materials and the explanation as TopGun pointed out, is cheap and manipulative, but yes, it is explained. The point is that the tragic child-minded girl who dies or has something awful happen to her is in many series and I was referring to the trend in general, not to Air TV. So arguing specifics on how much makes sense in Misuzu's story is kind of beyond the point.

Finally, I would like to point out something about my POV in the discussion. I am absolutely coming at the moe phenomenon from the perspective of a very western-minded anime fan. This was intentional, and while I can try to crawl into the mindset of the Japanese otaku or male otaku in making points or raising counterpoints, I had no need to. That's what Greg was there for. I have learned a lot about the moe subgenre/phenomenon/emotional response over the years and I don't hate it as much as I used to. However, in a panel setting like that where Greg is deeply engrained in how the Japanese moe fan thinks, I thought it only fair that I come at it from the perspective of someone who processes and explains moe's permutations in the west. In America, moe is looked at as a genre by non-hardcores. That's what it's become in order for us to grasp it very well. I can seek to understand the otaku perspective, but I felt it was more my job to represent the average joe schmoe American anime fan and his problems and *completely* different understanding of the trend because that's closer to what I am and variety's the spice. I was intentionally playing against Greg, without being untruthful. That's why I tried to make the point that what he looks for is the very thing that insults me in a lot of titles. I *get* the other side, but I don't have to embrace it. Most "mainstream" anime fans are more demeaning to it all than I am, but I've been on their end of the fence for longer and I get it more.

...as for feminism, the idea that moe characters are demeaning and insulting to women never came up. (They...are, guys. They kinda are~. It's something I'm honestly shocked hasn't come up in the discussion thread, probably because we're so used to sorry depictions of women in anime.) If it had, oh boy, would you have better reason to tear into my opinions on the subject. Be glad the entire focus was on the fandom and the relevance of the phenomenon to good narrative or successful anime.


That comment probably wasn't best thought out. I know there is a difference between what girls find moe and what guys find moe, but the whole podcast it felt like you were trying to put your idea of moe on a pedestal below everything you simply didn't understand. As a voice for what is considered moe in a male character, you worked fine, but everything else... didn't.


Everything else she said worked fine too.

This podcast was a very well-balanced discussion on moe, including critics and fans of it alike.

Obviously, the critics of moe are not going to make points that the fans of moe are going to find terribly agreeable. That's life. More importantly, that's the whole point of a discussion of this nature: To explore different perspectives on a topic of interest.

A lot of the posters on this thread seem to be saying "Your opinion is fine, but only as long as it agrees with mine". Rolling Eyes

It's sad how many people on this thread are totally validating the criticisms of the moe fandom that was made in this podcast. Are we (and I include myself here, because I like moe myself, for the most part) so insecure about what we like, that we can't handle the least bit of constructive criticism or questioning over it?

I have to admit that the moe critics in this podcast (including Hope) raise some decent points against it (or against how its sometimes used, at least). Many animes do, in fact, use moe (and some other elements, like fanservice) to mask weaknesses in the broader work, such as a poorly constructed plot, or a glaring lack of character depth or character development. These criticisms are not entirely subjective, either. A plot hole is a plot hole. How much the viewer cares about plot inconsistency is subjective, but not whether or not there is one: Some plot inconsistencies are as clear-cut as saying "2 + 2 does not equal 8".

And, honestly, I think Hope has a point about how death is used in some moe animes... and I say that has somebody who liked Kanon 2006 and Clannad (I haven't seen Air, though, so I can't comment on that). There might be a good idea or reason behind many of these deaths (at least some of them definitely do have a good reason behind them), but because they're used quite a bit, they start to lose their effect for a lot of people. It starts to feel like a cheap gimmick to many people (kind of like the overuse of characters dying and coming back from the dead in American comic books). Even if I don't entirely agree with Hope's assessment, I can see where she's coming from.


Quote:
Hope, we understand you don't get what guys find moe. Most girls don't. You made it very clear when you tried to divide moe into two groups; what you understood and what you didn't. It's fine if you don't get it, but you really hurt your credibility when you start talking about moe from the perspective of someone who doesn't understand moe.


No, it doesn't hurt her credibility, imo. She's taking a perfectly valid approach to the topic at hand. It's good to get an "outside the fandom" take on something. If for no other reason to know how people not already deep in the fandom might think of something on a "first impressions" basis. To the extent that you want to introduce non-fans into the anime fandom (or try to demonstrate what you like about moe to anime fans not already into it), isn't it good to know that kind of thing? Isn't it good to know, beforehand, what sort of objections you're likely to run into, and hence to perhaps come up with ways to answer them effectively?

Open and honest communication, including sincere critique, is almost always good, in my opinion.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Zump



Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 126
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:09 pm Reply with quote
I'm not too sure about Mike's take on Elfin Lied as a vicious parody of the moe genre. That show seems to take itself way too seriously, and its attempts at drama come across as forced and outright cringeworthy (example: spoiler["Why are you crying? You're a guy. Guys aren't... supposed... to cry... *bursts into tears*]).

As for the moe genre itself, I care very little for it. I agree with the belief that it has damaged the creative output in Japan. I hope it is merely a passing fad for this previous decade, just as super robots were all the rage back in the 70s. Besides, I can't bear to watch programs with character designs that even Masami Obari would have been embarrassed to draw.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
xBTAx



Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 178
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:09 pm Reply with quote
SonicRenegade84 wrote:
einhorn303 wrote:
SonicRenegade84 wrote:

I was talking about after Fuuko's arc, they build up Tomoya and Nagisa so much that they finally get together, making me feel like something really interesting is going to happen with the two. Then what happens? "Hey, i'm Tomoya and i'm going out with Kyou" WHAAAAAAAAT?! Unless i'm supposed to understand that they threw that episode in for the lolz, how does this fit in with the main storyline? Are we that faithful to the visual novel that we needed that side story in there?


Are you talking about the Kyou "Another World" episode? If so, both that and the Tomoyo episode are alternate reality episodes that don't share the continuity of the main series.


Yes, I was talking about the Tomoya/Tomoyo episode. But my point is that I didn't need an episode like that at the end of the first season. Why not have them as OVA's or something instead of making them the last episode?

PS: I saw it all on Anime Network. That might be the reason for confusion.


Yeah, that explains things. As MorwenLaicoriel said, it was indeed an OVA, but it's one with the length of a normal episode and was put after the last episode on the DVD release. I can see how someone watching it on Netflix/the Anime Network could end up being very confused... Laughing

(And, slightly off-topic, now that I check Netflix... they don't seem to have After Story streaming (or have the DVDs, for that matter). And the first season is split into the half-season releases and is subbed, so it's not like it's because the dubbed full-season set isn't out yet, so... Huh.)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
notrogersmith



Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 181
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:19 pm Reply with quote
Cheesecracker wrote:
notrogersmith wrote:
Mikuru from Haruhi Suzumiya is a "moe character," but Haruhi herself is not, since she's meant to provoke a wide range of reactions,


Your definition(s) certainly outlines what I would've considered Moe. However,does the quote suggest a narrowness and perhaps shallowness to the 'Moe-Trigger' if not the Moe reaction?

Not necessarily. One could have a character who is designed to provoke a moe reaction, but is nonetheless well-written. The character could be recognizable as a moe character on account of being drawn in the cute style that other such characters have, but have the moe reaction meant to be spawned less by the cuteness itself and more by the author's choice of believable character traits interacting with the world that the author built. How much that happens in practice? I'll let people more experienced with moe shows answer that.

ETA:

Cheesecracker wrote:
Perhaps, eliciting other reactions would dilute the strength of the singular reaction?

That's not quite what I mean. I don't doubt that many moe characters are designed to provoke responses besides just moe. It's just that, as far as I can tell, for a moe character, the moe is primary. By contrast, Haruhi Suzumiya does not act like a character primarily meant to make viewers think "AWWWW!!" There are far too many times that she's portrayed as selfish and obnoxious for that to be the case.


Last edited by notrogersmith on Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
Cheesecracker



Joined: 01 Sep 2007
Posts: 240
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:26 pm Reply with quote
notrogersmith wrote:
Cheesecracker wrote:
notrogersmith wrote:
Mikuru from Haruhi Suzumiya is a "moe character," but Haruhi herself is not, since she's meant to provoke a wide range of reactions,


Your definition(s) certainly outlines what I would've considered Moe. However,does the quote suggest a narrowness and perhaps shallowness to the 'Moe-Trigger' if not the Moe reaction?

Not necessarily. One could have a character who is designed to provoke a moe reaction, but is nonetheless well-written.


Fair enough. Perhaps this is the distinction that is so controversial. How often is that actually accomplished(Does it really matter? Ask any know-it-all snob and they will tell you that most people are ignorant swine who wouldn't know quality if it was NIB)



notrogersmith wrote:


ETA:

Cheesecracker wrote:
Perhaps, eliciting other reactions would dilute the strength of the singular reaction?

That's not quite what I mean. I don't doubt that many moe characters are designed to provoke responses besides just moe. It's just that, as far as I can tell, for a moe character, the moe is primary. By contrast, Haruhi Suzumiya does not act like a character primarily meant to make viewers think "AWWWW!!" There are far too many times that she's portrayed as selfish and obnoxious for that to be the case.


That wasn't really directed at you. I was just speculating on why tropes emerge to such extremes. From a business standpoint, you want to get under peoples defenses and go deep. Bait the hook with their greatest weakness. I know from a fan's standpoint that sounds incredibly cynical, but it is still a business.


Last edited by Cheesecracker on Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page Previous    Next
Page 12 of 14

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group