“The Answer is Always More Art”

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.

Less art.

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.


Stay frosty.

6 thoughts on ““The Answer is Always More Art””

  1. Great read from Penny Arcade. I kind of had to read the article to see what we’re in for. But you pretty much hit the nail on the head there. If there is something one doesn’t like, then the easiest thing to do is to simply not watch it, and let the rest of us enjoy what we like. It also goes back to that “show don’t tell” way of thinking. I’m not the one who’s too fond of over-ambiguity when it comes to anime. Granted I like getting something out of the anime I like to watch, but I don’t tend to act like I’m the smartest person in the world. I expect my anime to be uncensored rather than cut out because it disgust other people (a.k.a. people who watch Strike Witches for the military aspects yet hate the anime and claim the light novels are better because they don’t show “pantsu.”)

  2. Apparently, you’ve acquired a bit of a negative presence elsewhere on the internets for this article. I suppose some people actually have an image of you running around attempting to subvert the Anti-Moé Brigade™ in their quest to mock lesser nerds. On the other hand, there’s outright playing ostrich with the topic in regards to there not being a loosely-collective effort to demean, ostracize, and supplant others tastes.

    1. And that to me is a good thing. If Anubis is stirring the pot, and getting attention then that means the pro-moe side of the fandom is finally allowing their voice to be heard. That’s what we want. Both sides need to be heard, so that the unbiased listener out there can make up their own mind about the subject. Good work Anubis! Keep stirring the pot! Who knows maybe in about 10-15 years we’ll have an honest discussion about this material. Granted it’ll be the same diatribe ad infinitum, but maybe now moe will be taken a little more seriously and show that there are fans out there willing to defend what they love, despite the criticism.

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