I recently read an article on Penny Arcade that got me thinking about the moé debate. The article itself, while completely unrelated to what I’m about to talk about, is a very good read, though, if you’re not hip to the Hitman: Absolution trailer controversy (A gaming issue), some details might fly past you. One quote from the article, however, stood out to me as particularly applicable to the moé debate:
The answer is always more art; the corollary to that is the answer is never less art. If you start to think that less art is the answer, start over. That’s not the side you want to be on.
The Anti-Moé Brigade is characterized by their constant clamor for the destruction of moé, and their position that moé is a destructive force in the world of anime (Despite the fact that moé otaku are the current majority consumers of anime). Whether they also hold the deluded mindset that if they weren’t making moé, they’d make more things the Western fanbase would like, is debatable, but nevertheless, despite their claiming to still be fans of anime, they’re calling for the moé’s destruction.
It even extends into things like the lolicon debate and the Kodomo no Jikan controversy, though, for things like those, we have a more familiar word for this phenomenon: Censorship. Though these issues are more controversial, the principle still applies: The Anti-Moé Brigade wants to put an end to moé simply because they don’t like it. That’s what it boils down to. They think less art is the answer.
The beautiful thing about a medium is that anything can exist within it. A medium can tell any story, address any issue, and depict any subject. Literally anything can occur within the constraints of any given medium, including things that may be offensive to some people, even you or me. This extends to all people and all media, however within no work of media (Especially fiction) should there be any destruction of art just because one group of people finds it offensive.
Those of us who have realized that media does not have to our individual tastes and sensibilities 100% of the time already understand how absurd this kind of behaviour is. All of us can probably name examples of art or media we find uncomfortable, disturbing, or straight-up offensive. That doesn’t, however, give us the right to destroy that art or media.
That’s not to say that criticism of art and media is without value, but there is never any reason to call for the destruction of art. There is no way that the existence of moé will destroy the potential for existence of other types of anime. Likewise, there is no guarantee that the absence of moé will “make room” for more of those other types of anime. The presence of one does not preclude the existence of the other.
As fans of anime, we are all united in our appreciation for this artistic medium. However, the Anti-Moé Brigade, who are among the people who most tout anime’s artistic qualities above all others, are those who most wish to limit its potential.
The people who have called for the destruction of OreImo, Kissxsis, and Yosuga no Sora because of their incestuous themes:
Those who believe Astarotte’s Toy should not exist, simply based on its premise alone:
The individuals in high places whose over-reactive outrage helped push along the cancellation of Seven Seas’ US release of Kodomo no Jikan:
These people are harmful to anime and should be ashamed of themselves. Despite their much-touted intellectualism and alleged appreciation for anime as an art form, they are the ones closest to wishing for anime to be destroyed.