Because Oi, Hayaku has gone defunct, I will be reposting all my OH! posts here. Enjoy if you haven’t already.
How does one come to adore moe? Where does it begin? And where does it go from there?
The issue has been debated long and hard on the internet. Welcome to the NHK has it’s own theory:
But is this really true? I wanted to study one man’s obsession with moe – and what better test subject than myself?
I got into anime for action and it wasn’t until three years later as a misanthropic, emo 15-year old that I branched into other genres, starting with moe. Haruhi was first, followed by Air and Kanon and gradually more. See, when I first saw these shows, they were immediately among my favorite anime simply because I hadn’t seen anything like them before. It didn’t take me long to watch much, much more moe anime and as I gradually lost my memories of Air and Kanon, one of my first major questions as a full-fledged otaku became, “would I still like them today?”
Over time, moe as a whole seemed to loose it’s appeal to me. I started to grow tired of “stupid” girls who were blatantly manufactured for otaku. Even as I thought like this, though, my standing favorite characters were all moe and reading about moe things still made me feel the love I’d had in the beginning which had now become nostalgic. And so, when I needed a plan to get back into watching anime after months of hiatus, I decided to have a week-long moe marathon. Below, I have chronicled my thoughts over various days of my marathon.
DAY ONE – December 1st 2008 – MOE CONSUMED: Strike Witches 1, Air 1-8
Air gave me my first revelation of how moe becomes a part of otaku obsession and the idea to post. It began with the lead female, Misuzu. She is very sexually attractive and has a bright and sunny personality in spite of serious mental and physical issues. Initially, my thoughts are that she is pitiable because of her condition. After all, anyone would feel sorry for her. And then I ask myself, would I go out with her? She is both sexually attractive and has a great personality, so it just makes sense that I would. I can get past her condition because she would be a great partner nonetheless. As I see more of her story, my feelings grow for her, as they would for a real woman. I start to feel the need to protect her. I love her, so I should take care of her. When the story ends, having come to love the character makes the ending impactful, and similar characters and stories become attractive because I want that feeling again. It gets to the point that my attraction becomes completely synonymous with moe.
(DAY TWO – MOE CONSUMED: Air 9-12)
DAY THREE – MOE CONSUMED: Toradora 3-9, Lucky Star 1- 2
Once you’ve gotten really into moe, you start to become particularly familiar with the character archetypes. You start saying ‘she’s a tsundere’ within 5 minutes of a character coming on screen and in your average moe anime, you can usually tell exactly where her story will go from there right from the start. However, some anime take the familiar convention and bend it a bit to make it totally unpredictable. A character type you are familiar and comfortable with now also has the power to surprise you leading to a balanced style that a moe aficionado will be pleased to find. Toradora is obviously my example of this.
(DAY FOUR- MOE CONSUMED: Toradora 10, Aria 7-8, Kannagi 2 (dropped))
(DAY FIVE – MOE CONSUMED: Toradora 10 again, Hyakko 3)
DAY SIX – MOE CONSUMED: Lucky Star 3-24
It can be said about nearly anything that once you get into it, you are opened to a new world of it. It can also be said that comedy is reliant on relatability, and therefor those whose world involves moe would appreciate comedy and references relatable to moe things. There are all varieties of references revolving around moe. Some shows, like Moe-tan, dedicate themselves to being parodical of moe while simultaneously being moe. Some such as Lucky Star also combine their own moe with a basic sort of slice of life comedy aspect aimed toward a life that understands moe. Lucky Star could be said to be the ultimate culmination of moe in that it not only is thoroughly moe itself in a serious way (and not merely parody), but also constantly references moe. Double-moe.
DAY SEVEN – MOE CONSUMED: Aria 9-13
Many anime fans like moe girls, but not necessarily the plots of anime in which they star. While anime that has you fantasizing about yourself with a moe girl or involving dramatic situations is fine, a lot of us would rather just watch the girl in her day to day life. Supposing I feel no need for romantic escapism, I might just be interested in the girl herself. This is where moe slice-of-life comes into play. One can enjoy the simple wonders of a moe girl’s life and get to know her and her world.
Do You Fucking Get It Now?
Moe is all-encompassing. It is unavoidable. No matter who you are, you can find a moe anime that will appeal to you. If you like to see moe girls fighting for a guy who could for all intents be you, or like to see them speaking softly to friends on a slow gondola ride, or even like to see them talking to other moe girls about how moe they are, there’s definitely a moe anime for you. It might not be easy for your to find the one – it might take you a whole week – but chances are, before long, you’ll be a moe-crazed monster snatching up doujins left and right. Maybe even….. A LOLICON!!!
Don’t believe me? Take Madarame’s Word For It.