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INTEREST: Under the Dog Producer Hiroaki Yura Also Talks Production Committees, Moe in Reddit's AMA


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Parse Error



Joined: 09 Oct 2009
Posts: 590
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:02 am Reply with quote
Kikaioh wrote:
I've tried to focus on a definition that holds weight in the perspective of detractors while still making sense to supporters

It doesn't actually make any sense though. Without knowing its origins, one would almost certainly refer to Sabagebu as moe, as you tentatively did earlier in the thread. According to your definition, they can tell it is moe because they assume it is aimed primarily at otaku. What causes them to make the assumption it is aimed primarily at otaku is that they can tell it is moe. However, the same definition that would indicate it is moe, also states that it cannot be moe. Its circular logic renders that definition unworkable.

It also necessitates a vicious infinite regression. If they must created to be moe in order to be moe, then it follows that they must be created in order to be created to be moe in order to be moe, and so on into infinity. This principle is intrinsic to your definition as it currently stands.

Kikaioh wrote:
Suggesting that "anime is the same as it ever was"

Regarding the things that people complain about most often, such as school settings, cute young girls, romantic comedies, and so on, anime is the same as it ever was. For instance, many complain about how, "back in the day," anime was like Cowboy Bebop, but now all of it is set in schools. They do not say their problem is that too many are set in schools and made to appeal to otaku. If that is what they wish to complain about, it's up to them to say it themselves.

Kikaioh wrote:
selective re-imagining of the past. "Cute school age girls designed to appeal to otaku" wasn't a huge "in" thing back in the day

If my view is so selective, then why is yours the one with an explicit condition that filters out anything unfavorable to your preferred view? Of course, even if you were to discard it, then it would be a matter of them not being cute to you, regardless of whether they were apparently cute by otaku standards based on their enduring appeal among that group. Perhaps you could then say the reason otaku liked them was something other than cuteness, but this would contradict those assumptions about otaku interests that are supposed to justify the detractors' concerns about the industry catering to them.

This claim also fatally undermines your primary assertion. If my assessment is erroneous, then there is no need to even bring the matter of target demographics into these discussions. Is it not a bit of a dilemma to insist they are essential to the moe detractors' position, yet to also claim this aspect is not necessary to sustain their perspective?

Kikaioh wrote:
the problem many detractors fundamentally have a beef with

It sounds to me as though you want me to overlook the inaccuracies of specific statements to focus on their underlying motives. This is something I cannot do, because it allows those complaints to drift further away from reality over time. It is natural for people who don't have interests common among otaku to dislike most otaku-oriented anime, this is not my concern.

When it escalates into claims that there's nothing out there except cute girls doing cute things, it can cause those who don't already know better to stop seeking out new anime to enjoy. I do not enjoy these discussions; they consume time better spent on watching anime, and are not at all necessary for my sake. As long as the moe phenomenon virtually prints money, no amount of complaining endangers my interests. I'm only offering a competing perspective for the purpose of holding one that is otherwise poisonous to the fandom in check.

As for you personally, I would say you are an intelligent, knowledgeable person whose evaluation of the situation just happens to differ from my own. I see that you are trying to understand where the friction between factions originates from, but it seems to me you have been far too generous with the side you naturally favor. As a result, the defenses you have created for them are not particularly sound in my estimation.


Last edited by Parse Error on Wed Sep 10, 2014 3:17 pm; edited 9 times in total
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Touma



Joined: 29 Aug 2007
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Location: Colorado, USA
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:18 am Reply with quote
Kikaioh wrote:
@Touma: I think you're being a bit (perhaps unwittingly) disingenuous in your appraisal,

I prefer "pedantic" rather than "disingenuous," but I cannot say that you are wrong, and it was not entirely unwittingly.
At this point I am mostly just curious about what your argument really is. It has been a long thread and I might be remembering some things wrong and getting what you said mixed up with what others have said.

Assume for the sake of argument that I completely accept what you are saying about moe. Now what?
What is the point that you are trying to make? What is the significance of this moe that you speak of?
Why is it an issue?
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Kikaioh



Joined: 01 Jun 2009
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Location: Antarctica
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:56 am Reply with quote
@Parse Error: I think the reason you may be seeing it as an infinite regression is because you might be focusing too much on the superficial nature of moe, hinging your understanding of "what's appealing to otaku" around whether the girls are "cute-looking". But "cuteness" is more than just looks --- there's also personality and demeanor to consider, and how the character is portrayed in the series, all of which factors into inspiring the "moe" feeling in otaku (which, as I previously mentioned, in earlier days may have meant a burning passion for a character, but later on became more as a feeling of 'protectiveness', sometimes mixed in with a bit of libido). While a shojo work can often be "cute" in ways that are meant to appeal to young children, a "moe" work will instead try to be "cute" in ways that are meant to appeal to older men. For example, while a shojo work might be 'cute' in its focus on things such as jewelry, fashion, makeup and bishonen boys, a "moe" work might instead focuses on "cute" female portrayals, such as milquetoast personalities, tsundere archetypes, ecchi, etc.

Also fair to consider, a work that airs at a late-night hour with mature themes is often considered an 'otaku' series, so it stands to reason that when 'cute school age girls' appear in those sorts of series, especially with personalities that otaku have historically been shown to enjoy and be very passionate about, such "school age girls" can more easily be identified as designed with an appeal for the show's normal demographic in mind.

@Touma: If you accept the definition, that's fine, but if not that's fine too. My point was only to discuss and clarify a position. To me anyways, there's no deeper meaning to it than that.
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Parse Error



Joined: 09 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:49 pm Reply with quote
Kikaioh wrote:
I think the reason you may be seeing it as an infinite regression is because you might be focusing too much on the superficial nature of moe, hinging your understanding of "what's appealing to otaku" around whether the girls are "cute-looking".

No, the flaw is that it never answers the question of what moe is, instead it must return to its own proposition for eternity. Even stating it as "created to appeal to otaku" does not remedy this issue, because then it only raises the question of how it appeals to otaku, to which the answer is moe, and thus we are back at square one. To make it logically valid would require describing what qualities or types of qualities cause otaku to find those characters appealing in the first place, but to do so would mean having a standard by which a character would be moe based on their characteristics, which may appeal to a certain audience, rather than the audience themselves.

Kikaioh wrote:
While a shojo work can often be "cute" in ways that are meant to appeal to young children, a "moe" work will instead try to be "cute" in ways that are meant to appeal to older men.

In the sense of intent, or at least primary intent, I don't necessarily disagree with you. I understand these intentions are essential to your position, but bear in mind they are not relevant to my own, which is a matter of anime influencing the tastes of its viewers. One can observe through the hentai of the era especially that there was an adult audience interested in those types of characters. The works created by otaku themselves at the time unarguably indicate their own lolicon tendencies and the preferences regarding both appearance and personality inherent to them. I am not presently interested in 'proving' that adult otaku, or boys who would go on to become them, were watching, but one could say it was most certainly not unlikely.

Furthermore, when one considers the genres, traits, behaviors, character designs, etcetera that would later become associated with the moe phenomenon, it should not be a contentious position to hold that the crossover appeal of vintage shoujo-oriented shows in particular played a substantial, even dominant role in shaping those otaku preferences we would now consider as moe. Among other things, one would have to dismiss the ongoing popularity of magical girls among otaku as sheer coincidence otherwise. These characteristics which otaku find moe today are not a new development, nor is the fact that otaku find them to be what the term moe was coined to describe.

The more recent trend of mixing and matching those traits for assignment to reusable character templates is a result of moe, but that does not mean moe appeal in its previous forms should no longer be referred to as moe. An old car is still a car even though it is drastically different from a modern one. A wolf from before the word "wolf" even existed is still a wolf.

Kikaioh wrote:
Also fair to consider, a work that airs at a late-night hour with mature themes is often considered an 'otaku' series

Indeed, they do make up the core audience in most cases. However, what one might consider the average viewer of what are thought of as "moe shows" has been steadily moving further away from the dysfunctional mouth-breathing otaku stereotype, and closer to these students, in addition to girls and young women. There is a potential danger of obsolescence if one relies too much on a disparaging image of the target audience, because its composition is subject to change.


Last edited by Parse Error on Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:52 pm; edited 5 times in total
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:43 pm Reply with quote
On that wolf analogy, I could see applying that to anime like Leda and Dream Hunter REM. Maybe they're not sitting around and sipping tea, instead they're out going on adventures and solving mysteries, but they're designed to be extremely cute and their works were sold as OVAs, which only otaku would have been buying/renting at the time. If they came out now with the same general design aesthetic but modernized, you'd definitely have people calling them moe trash.

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Parse Error



Joined: 09 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:59 pm Reply with quote
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
If they came out now with the same general design aesthetic but modernized, you'd definitely have people calling them moe trash.

Or at the very least, as they would tolerate those examples for the reasons you mentioned, they'd rage over how moe was starting to poison "their" anime. Jiggly-butt, for another instance, would be considered symptomatic of the moe cancer metastasizing.

@Kikaioh: It should also be noted that I am not unaware of the unfortunate implications of my stance. While it is not strictly necessary for a character to be childlike in order to evoke moe, it is hardly an uncommon theme, and this can make people uncomfortable with the concept.
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Kikaioh



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:25 am Reply with quote
@Parse Error: Strangely enough, I've actually stated on several occasions what moe is, and sort of figured I had explained how the reasoning isn't circular as a result --- but maybe I expressed it in such passing as to subtly render it unnoticeable (I may have assumed you had picked up on it or were already under the same understanding, since these are common definitions for the term).

To my understanding "moe" in the past and somewhat in the present may have been an expression of an otaku's feeling of "burning passion" for a character (possibly inspired by the Japanese word "to burn"), but in more recent years it's grown to have more of an expression of affectionate, sometimes libidinous 'protectiveness' that otaku have towards certain types of anime characters (also possibly inspired by the Japanese word "to blossom", as in the blossoming of a young girl).

Cute school-age girls are thus often able to inspire that 'moe' feeling as a result of the girls personalities, demeanor, visual design and characterization in a show, expressed in a manner considered attractive to otaku. Whether it's 'infinite blushing', cherubic features, expressions of embarassment, etc., the characters often embody traits that evoke a feeling of strong, maybe lovey-dovey affection from otaku towards pre-adolescent girls.

My emphasis in this discussion has mostly been to point out that 'moe characters" and 'moe shows' are described as such by detractors because such characters and shows specifically aim to inspire that 'moe' feeling in otaku audiences --- hence the 'moe' label. While someone can feel moe towards a character, in the opinion of many detractors the character can't be labeled a 'moe character' unless the character was designed to be 'moe', and similarly that a show can't be labeled a 'moe show' unless the show was designed to be 'moe'. If you disagree on this perspective because you'd prefer the label's usage not be limited by intent, that's fine by me --- just so long as it's understood how people are using the word, there isn't a law forcing people to use it one way or the other.

I would agree that shojo aesthetics have likely played a role in shaping the modern expression of moe. However, given that they weren't inherently designed to evoke the moe feeling out of an otaku audience, I would stop short of labeling such works as "moe" shows or "moe" characters.
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Touma



Joined: 29 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:00 am Reply with quote
Kikaioh wrote:
--- just so long as it's understood how people are using the word, there isn't a law forcing people to use it one way or the other.

If people can use the word for different things then it is not understood how they are using the word. That is the problem with "moe."

In my experience people put a lot more time and effort into explaining what they mean by "moe" than would have been required if they had just used common English words to express themselves in the first place.

If you are trying to express an idea it is not good to use words that you know can be easily misunderstood, and possibly turned against you.
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Parse Error



Joined: 09 Oct 2009
Posts: 590
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:30 pm Reply with quote
Kikaioh wrote:
in the opinion of many detractors the character can't be labeled a 'moe character' unless the character was designed to be 'moe', and similarly that a show can't be labeled a 'moe show' unless the show was designed to be 'moe'

In other words, you are not trying to define moe, just describing the circumstances in which certain individuals might apply the label moe to a character or show.

Kikaioh wrote:
I may have assumed you had picked up on it or were already under the same understanding

You can see in the quote below the type of thing that confused me as to what the topic was, not that I fault you for it. I'm sure there are likewise many instances where I said simply "moe" when referring to something more specific or related to it instead.

Kikaioh wrote:
I've actually stated on several occasions what moe is

It also does not help matters that, as a criticism, "moe" is often used by itself, as it was in the AMA.

Kikaioh wrote:
just so long as it's understood how people are using the word

The core issue on this side is, many people do little if anything more than glance at a key visual before launching into rants about how the show is going to be more moe garbage. They don't look into the substance of whatever source material it's being adapted from, nor even the target demographic. It simply doesn't fit their vision of what anime is supposed to be, isn't catering to their own interests, and therefore should not exist as far as they're concerned.

Certainly there are people whose concerns are more understandable, but the detractors a moe fan is going to encounter most frequently are those who are constantly having knee-jerk reactions to nearly every show that's greenlit. Most likely it all comes down to being exposed to a different subset of moe detractors, under different circumstances. Perhaps we can agree to disagree over whether my experiences are the norm or the exception, but apparently enough other people share them that it is not yet necessary to increase my dose of dried frog pills.
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Kikaioh



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:28 pm Reply with quote
@Touma: There are quite a number of words that can have different meanings under different circumstances and perspectives, especially words that are labels for controversial topics. Despite that, I do think there can oftentimes be a general consensus as to how certain groups tend to apply a word, and what they generally mean when they use it. The problem is that people don't often individually have the wherewithal to reason through their point of view to the point of fundamentally understanding it --- it's much easier to form opinions about things from offhand experience and a gut-feeling. Although at some core there may be a valid perspective, oftentimes it's easier to understand and communicate frustrations than the reasons behind them. Especially so in the arena of debate, since the nature of argument is to undermine an opponent's perspective, where firey emotions can often lead down paths that stray from communicating a broad and mutual understanding.

@Parse Error: I have nothing to counter in your post. It seems we have something of an understanding. Valid points and well met in the back and forth conversation.

TBH, I originally outset to tease people with this topic, since in the past I've expressed disdain for the moe aesthetic and took part in my fair share of heated exchanges on the topic. That said, anime has been good for me in the past year and a half or so, and even though I might not be keen on moe, so long as the industry has a good share of titles that I can personally feel passionate about, I have no complaints.
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