Moé Can Only Be Good for Anime


Time Enforcer Anubis here with more on moé!

No matter what your personal definition of moé is, I’m sure everyone can agree that the purpose of moé, generally speaking, is to make characters appeal to the viewer. It’s a group of strategies employed to endear characters to the viewer. According to the Anti-Moé Brigade, however, moé is killing anime. How is it that a simple group of tropes meant to make characters more compelling to viewers is what’s killing anime? As far as I see, moé can only be good for anime.

Moé’s been around for much longer than it’s had a name, and while “moé anime” is only a relatively recent development, the elements have been there for a very long time. Moé can be found in varying degrees in almost any kind of anime, and its effect on fans is easy to see. Fans of moé grow attached to characters. They care about them.

Making fans care about characters can be very powerful and can really make a story. Characters can also make the entire anime, particularly in titles where story isn’t much of a factor, such as K-ON! or Lucky Star. Moé manages to accomplish this. The moé element is very versatile and can be strategically applied to many different genres of anime.

At the same time, moé is the current driving force for anime in Japan. The moé otaku demographic is the current big buyer of anime and merchandise. Like it or not, moé is what’s currently keeping anime afloat, not what’s killing it. Even if moé wasn’t the big thing, it would still exist in anime, because it’s such a powerful element. Nothing about moé gives it the power to “kill anime,” especially when it has the potential to do so much good for anime as a whole.

Like it or not, as an easy way to create compelling characters, moé is here to stay. Even years down the line, when the moé craze has died down and the anime industry has found the next new thing to capitalize on, moé will remain a prevalent element in anime that want their viewers to care. It can’t kill anime. It’ll only make anime stronger.


‘Till next time!





10 thoughts on “Moé Can Only Be Good for Anime”

  1. Unfortunately, the anti-moe brigade will whine that moe is what is causing the declining birthrates and making people not care about “intellectual”anime in Japan.


    1. I like how the Anti-Moé Brigade constantly says that moé is such a niche product that it’s a threat to anime, however, somehow, the moé otaku are a large enough force to matter to the birthrate.

      I’m pretty sure birthrates in developed countries are supposed to be relatively low anyway.

    2. That’s not the only reason, they’ll also complain that caring about such characters especially younger girls will contribute to pedophillia. Hence why so many moe haters detest it when it really has to do with cultural differences.

    3. That’s not the only reason, most Moe haters can easily twist the meaning of caring for such characters especially young girls contributes to pedophillia. And that of course makes them look bad so they must try to squash the evil moe demon before they are labeled as pedophiles.

  2. I’ve been reading your blog for a while so this would be my first time commenting on it.

    I agree with everything you said in this post. Unfortunately, the so-called Anti-Moe losers are too ignorant and stuck up to accept the fact that moe exist. Not only do they think moe is “killing the anime industry” but they hate it just to be cool, which is downright pathetic. I’ve been into anime since middle school and my taste ranges from Lupin III all the way to light-hearted stuff like K-On! I like moe anime due to my obligation of being an anime fan.

  3. I know it’s kinda late to say something but anyways: There is a difference between appealing and well done. Moe is by no means something bad by itself, but it’s made mainly to appeal or at least it’s usually used that way. Some shows like Madoka use Moe in an effective way, with cute desings but a dark story that makes a powerful contrast with it. But others like K-On aren’t really great animes, they just try as hard as possible to be likeable but don’t really have a story, the chracters are pretty one dimenional that just have many endearing quirks. That is not a bad thing at all, but I think it’s wrong to confuse “well received” or “popular” with “well done”.

    Look at the Transformer movies, they are pretty bad but yet they are enjoyable for many, or The Da Vinci Code one of the best selling books of recent years, yet critcs destroy it and many readers too despite its popularity.

    I’ve always seen the intentional use of Moe, such as aiming to gather fans and have them be appealed with the cute characters, as a form of fanservice. A (rather) non sexual and more innocent form, but fanservice in the end. Kinda like what I said about the Transformers movie, they are cliché, slow and silly, but we have kickass action scenes, cool robots and Megan Fox being hot, that’s pure fanservice for guys. Don’t get me wrong, not all Moe is fanservice, some shows actually build a story that go in hand with cute designs, but many don’t a have a real story to begin with, just some justification to have cute characters doing cute things.

    Now the reason some people claim it was hurtng the anime industry is because it was being saturated by it. The different art styles were dropped for moe ones, many many shows with no story, bland characters adn silly plots started appearing and since it sold well they got their popularity wether they deserved it or not. Also Moe became for many the face of anime, which is a fallacy: anime IS NOT MOE, anime CAN BE MOE, huge difference there. Just like there is a camp that hates moe, there is another equally annoying camp that worships moe and considers all the non meant to appeal styles awful, it was a different flag but the same kind of people.

    Like I said before, knowing how to appeal doesn’t make something good. It’s not that hard to press some of the publics buttons to get into them without actually going the hard way and earn your place. That’s why I say it’s a form of fanservice.

    1. I don’t entirely agree with the notion that not having a story is a negative thing, especially with something like K-ON!, or that K-ON! itself even lacks a story. The way plot moves is different in slice-of-life, and I think a lot of people fall into the trap of seeing that difference as a lack of a story, rather than just a different way of doing things. Shows like K-ON! base themselves off of a premise, rather than a traditional plot. They present a world and show things happening in that world. While that might not be as dynamic exciting as something like Madoka Magica, which does use a traditional plot, the point of shows like K-ON! isn’t to be dynamic or exciting. Also, storytelling differences notwithstanding, K-ON! has beautiful animation and sound, both of which are important to consider when judging the quality of an anime.

      I’m not sure what you mean when you say “The different art styles were dropped for moe ones.” I apologize if I’ve got you wrong, but “moe art styles” encompass an extremely broad range of art styles. Even among moe shows, art styles vary widely. I mean, you can’t say that Hidamari Sketch and Upotte!! have the same art style. Anime art still differs just as much as it always has.

      This might be expected, but I disagree with the idea that the radical pro-moe camp, the ones who worship moe and consider non-moe anime to be awful, are anywhere as bad as the Anti-Moe Brigade and my reasoning is this: You don’t see the radical pro-moe camp specifically vilifying other fans like how the Anti-Moe Brigade does. Radical pro-moe people don’t call other fans pedophiles or sexists, or accuse them of killing anime. My problem with the Anti-Moe Brigade isn’t that they hate moe. My problem with them is that they actively try to keep moe fans underfoot and make them second-class citizens within the anime fandom. It is most certainly not just the same kind of people under a different flag.

  4. Yeah, nothing leads to good characterisation like the writers translucent attempt at appeal their audiences fetishes.

    1. I’ll say this: I’m more inclined to care about a character that appeals to me in some way. Whatever way they want to make that character appeal to me is up to the creators, but the appeal’s gotta be there somehow.

      Anything that gets me caring about a character is value-added in my book.

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