Feeling Moe In The City

Contrary to popular opinion, moe is possible in 3D. Moe is, after all, an emotion, and an abstract concept at that. It’s entirely possible that the right kind of person could find moe in an inanimate object. I find moe in the people I see around the city.

Actually, ghostlightning told me to think about what I’ve seen and find anime in the city; not things that I’ve seen in anime, but things that give me feelings which reflect on feelings I get from anime. It just happens that the aspect of anime which resonates with me most deeply is moe, and the parts of the world that strike out at me are the ones that give me moe feelings.

art by nabana

The first moe feeling that I got in Manila came while riding in Alecon’s SUV through an amazingly chaotic street. I happened to spot a cute girl on a vespa up ahead. She was petite, well-dressed, and her great hair was tied back in a single short braid. The vespa was powder blue, and she seemed not the least bit a punk or other character that might ride a vespa as a fashion statement. Just perhaps a girl who was fascinated with riding a vespa. A strong appeal to my biker-girl moe.

Later that day I was in Mall of Asia, one of the biggest malls in the world, which happens to have an ice-skating rink right in the middle of it. Amongst the skaters I saw a pair of girls, probably around eight to ten years old, skating together. One of them was very good and seemed to be teaching her friend a trick or two. She was dressed adorably, with pink tights beneath a skirt that allowed the skill of her movements to be apparent. Reminded me of the ice-skating scenes in Cardcaptor Sakura.

art by jun (ayafuya)

And on that note, yesterday I was reminded of CCS in the existence of three adorable grade school girls riding on the back of a motorcycle. No, you didn’t read that wrong—the motorcycle was a component of a tricycle, but the cab was apparently already full, so the motorcycle itself was seating the driver and three girls of at least eight years old. No, it did not look safe, but the girls were happily eating ice-cream cones, and this was nothing new to them.

The girls wore school uniforms, but they weren’t all exactly alike. Ghostlightning tells me that the purpose of school uniforms in this city is so that kids have cheap clothes to wear to school and don’t have to go through their everyday clothes. Thus, the uniforms weren’t meant to all look alike, so the long blue skirts were of slightly different shades. Cheap as they may have been, the outfits (with their buckled shoes) were adorable. GL said “those girls are probably poor as fuck,” and instantly I felt the moe deep in my soul.

Have you ever felt moe for the world around you? Or otherwise gotten the feeling of an anime from something you saw?

13 thoughts on “Feeling Moe In The City

  1. I guess the familiar city setting is more than enough to elicit a “moe” response in that sense then, that is, if you regard “moe” as being an abstract concept applicable to all things.

    I get where you’re coming from,but I tend to separate the real from the anime and dabble in one then in the other.

  2. I’ll admit, I’ve definitely had my meganekko button pushed a few times- which used to worry me that I was a so-called pervert (oh, God forbid). When I look back, though, it’s almost like engaging the world of 2-D taught me or conditioned me in a particular way, so I came to apply or read those icons outside of the medium, in that muddle we call the real world. You know what I’m talking about? Like those crazy-ass 3-D pictures you have to cross your eyes to see?

    I think it’s totally true that we can find moe in 3-D, but for some reason I find it so much harder to identify, especially when I try to do it. Partially ‘cause more than a few people are skeptical of that pure, “I could be the one to step in and defend him/her/it.” I mean, I constantly shoot my moe reactions double-takes. And those double-takes are almost always sexual, lol.

    I’ve always wondered about how much of moe is “pretend” or self-imposed. 2-D consists of icons, with undercurrents we can familiarize ourselves with. “Out here” we call that kind of stuff fetishes, which are (perhaps unfairly) automatically sexed in our culture. Geez, one way or another, seems that everything gets sexed somehow. “In there,” supposedly, we’re using icons, and trying to put in an idealized system for reading them. Maybe part of the initial moe experience is also the sense of safety and simplicity, or control.

    • Oh man, when I was at an airport in Tokyo, all the workers there were cute girls in uniform, and one of the girls checking tickets was wearing orange glasses. I purposefully got into her line, but she switched places with someone else RIGHT before I got to her. So sad =.=

      • Agh! Thwarted! That sucks. As for myself, a glance in the right situation at the right girl with dark twin-tails and glasses, and I immediately get warm and fuzzy, Mari Illustrious feelings. Let the good times roll.

  3. I think this is one of the sort of culturally rooted things in Japanese animation that can be tough to translate when it comes across the Pacific. True, North America has large cities too, but nothing like the population density of many Asian countries.

  4. Manila city proper, where I saw the vespa girl and where Mall of Asia is, is the densest city in the world. And the road with vespa girl was indeed by far the most crowded place I’ve ever seen in my life.

  5. I had an elementary school visit a couple of days ago, with a second-grade class in the afternoon. Two of the kids held my hands and walked me back to the staff room, and the adults who passed by would say things like “How adorable!” and “He looks like their daddy!”

    And I admit, it was nice. But I couldn’t help thinking, “God, if you’re listening, please don’t let me get sniped right now by some insane jealous lolicon.”

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