There’s a big debate surrounding the subject of moé and sex. The Anti-Moé Brigade is adamant in the notion that moé is a sexual thing. The moé fandom, on the other hand, can’t seem to agree whether moé is partially sexual, or completely nonsexual.
This time, however, the Anti-Moé Brigade is facing in the right direction. Of course, their rhetoric is still misguided.
The Anti-Moé Brigade presents moé as a phenomenon that’s, in large part, sexual, and I agree with them on that point, to an extent. They paint the sexual aspects as a negative, which could be blamed for the moé fandom’s divide over the subject. However, I posit that the sexual elements that are inherent moé are not bad at all.
Moé has been embedded in the visual novel genre of games for a very long time. Many of these games, especially the ones that deal with the formation of a relationship, present sex to the player as a reward. After hours of play, forging a bond with his or her favorite character, the player gets to bed down with said character. Sex is presented as the culmination of a loving relationship, as is normal in real life.
To deny the sexuality of moé is to deny moé’s history as an element in ero-games, as well as the very human nature of having sexual feelings toward someone you love. Despite what the Anti-Moé Brigade might say (An observation: For a group of people so focused on the idea of “getting laid,” i.e. “Otaku with hentai dakimakuras are virgins who won’t ever get laid,” the Anti-Moé Brigade is pretty strongly against the notion that sexuality in moé can be a good thing.), sex is a natural part of moé.
The denial of moé’s underlying sexual themes also ignores erokawaii, the facet of moé at work in most ecchi moé anime. Again, however, there’s nothing wrong with this. Sexual appeal is a legitimate type of appeal, a legitimate type of moé.
That’s not to say, however, that all moé is sexual in nature. Part of the Anti-Moé Brigade’s problem is their attempt to pigeonhole moé into one single type of appeal (Usually one they can deliberately shine a bad light on.). Ultimately, a big part of it is in the viewer’s head. Konata Izumi isn’t an eroge character, and she isn’t erokawaii, but if the viewer falls in love with her, it just can’t be helped.
It’s normal to feel sexual toward someone you find sexy, and it’s normal to want to be intimate with someone you love. The great thing about moé is: There’s someone for everyone to love. A range of personality types, body types, outfits, hair colors, eye colors, occupations, etc. A well-presented moé character will resonate with his/her audience in a way that could compel a so-inclined viewer to think of that character in a sexual way. A well-presented, appealing moé character (Especially one in an ero-game, or an ecchi/harem show) will spark a desire for intimacy within the viewer.
It’s important that we, as moé fans, realize that sex is a major part of the greater moé phenomenon. It’s also important that we embrace the sexual aspects of moé. It’s a mark of a well-designed character to be able to compel a viewer to fall in love, and, subsequently, think sexually about him/her, as if that character was a real person.
After all, moé is just another kind of love, isn’t it?
‘Till next time!