The Disputed Relationship Between Sex and Moé

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!




8 thoughts on “The Disputed Relationship Between Sex and Moé”

  1. A nice read as per usual, Anubis. Obviously, not all of moé is sexual in nature (see: K-ON!, minus the fanworks etc.) but other things like Nisemonogatari clearly are aiming for this element; to deny this is kind of silly at best, and dangerously delusional at worst. I would definitely advise against acting as if there’s none of this component within the sphere.

    As for the origins tracing back through eroge, I’m sure that’s a point that is completely missed by these people. How many of them play/played eroge? I’m willing to wager not that many. Another point of contention is the whole “choose your own adventure” aspect of selecting a female with traits you like. Apparently this equates to being a rabid chauvinist pig that is unintentionally enforcing stereotypical gender roles. I suspect Hetalia fans get off from such accusations though.

    I would say that by not playing eroge and thus not seeing these little “select your own adventure” mechanics, you remove a context that anime versions of these games have in common. Also, how dare you recognize sex as part of anime! That’s heretical talk right there!

    1. Yeah, I should be burned at the stake for suggesting that something so pure as anime has sexual elements to it, lol.

      My thing about “sexism” in the harem genre is that almost 100% of the time, all of the heroines genuinely have an interest in the protagonist. They all choose to pursue him as a love interest. The reason people say it’s sexist is because 1: The genre is aimed at males, and 2: The women aren’t badass “strong female” archetypes.

  2. Pretty ironic that these anti-moe losers complain about Moe being sexist, yet they themselves focus on getting laid, like “normal” people. They never seem to realize that certain characters are more than just eye candy, as this article illustrates. Heck, the cast of Strike Witches are pretty damn attractive by my standards. At the same time, they are characters that I can relate with, and have unique personalities.

    Also, whenever I hear the word ero-kawaii, Nanatsuiro Drops suddenly pops up. lol

  3. Most of the complaints from anti-moe asshats are that most moe characters are underage. To which I say “SO WHAT” because they don’t exist.

    1. Even past them not being real, in terms of eroge and harem shows in particular, the protagonist is, almost 100% of the time, of a similar age to the heroines. The player/viewer is presented with an image of the heroine falling in love with a guy her age, and the player/viewer is falling in love with her as a guy her age.

      It’s more about the player/viewer living an adolescence he/she never got to live, than it’s about lusting after underage girls.

    2. Oh please think of the fictional children! Those lines on a piece of paper have rights too! XD Sure they can be shot at, cut in half, and have their flesh ripped from their bodies, but how dare we develop affection and lust for fictional underage characters! XD

    3. Also, as another point, “underage” largely depends on where you live.

      Age of consent where I live is 16. To put it bluntly, I could legally bang any female main character in Clannad, barring Mei Sunohara and Ushio Okazaki, of course.

      Hell, Nagisa had to stay back a year, so she’s 18, legal in any state in the Union, and in most places on planet Earth.

      Most ren’ai I’ve seen are set in a high-school or similar setting, where most characters will range around 16 years old. Consider the fact that 16 is the most common age of consent in the US (Where most of these complaints come from) and the whole “moé=underage” thing starts to look pretty unfounded.

  4. Spot on Anubis, people don’t seem to realize that moe is more than just mere sexual attraction. It has to do with developing personal feelings for the character in question. You want to protect them, love them, care about them, and develop a connection with them. Lust is just a side effect of those kinds of feelings. There is nothing wrong with that, you want to know the character more and if a character can have that kind of profound impact on a person then the author has done their job.

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