This is an old post I originally wrote for the now-defunct Moé Coalition site. The site has since been taking down by the owner, but I’ve managed to salvage some of my posts. This is one of them.
Time Enforcer Anubis here with more talk about moe!
Moe anime and fanservice often go hand-in-hand. Not always, but often, and especially when the Anti-Moe Brigade’s talking about either.
Fanservice is a strange word nowadays. Fanservice used to encompass everything from drawn-out action scenes to elaborate transformation sequences to, of course, pantyshots. Anything that’s a service to fans, really. But lately, it’s been used exclusively to describe sexually-charged imagery, usually with the qualifier “Mindless” to make it sound worse than it is, which brings up a point about the Anti-Moe Brigade.
“Mindless fanservice” is used as a value judgement, as it’s become characteristic of the Anti-Moe Brigade to value “deep” or “thoughtful” anime over all else. It’s the reason they claim moe “enables bad storytelling” despite it having been proven time and time again that anime can exist without a story, but to them, story is everything, and pandering to the fanbase is only okay if that fanbase isn’t the moe fanbase.
It’s actually really convenient for the Anti-Moe Brigade that fanservice has taken on its narrower meaning. It means that they can never be accused of enjoying the “mindless fanservice” they claim is ruining anime. Gurren Lagann remains a great anime, even though it’s nothing but “mindless fanservice,” going by the old definition. However, even on the new definition, there’s a double-standard. How does moe fanservice end up “harmful” to the industry, but BL and yaoi get looked upon as some kind of necessary evil? The “I’m not into it, but I see it’s appeal” type of acceptance. Where is the line drawn? I’ve heard BL and yaoi equated to some sort of “moe for girls,” but there’s no stigma associated with it. Everyone who isn’t into it just accepts that it exists and disregards it like any other anime they’re not into. When something described as “moe for girls” gets accepted as legitimate, while “moe for boys” is something that must be destroyed, that’s called sexism. I really hope we’re not going back to sexism.
The phrase “Mindless Fanservice,” and the complaints put forth about fanservice by the Anti-Moe Brigade, are nothing more than just more swipes at moe, and it embodies multiple hypocrisies and double-standards present within the Anti-Moe Brigade’s rhetoric. While a lot of fanservice anime is indeed mindless, that alone doesn’t make it any better or worse than any other kind of anime.
‘Till next time!