A Glossary of Common Anti-Moé Brigade Terms

Anti-Moé Brigade arguments are often filled with words that are used differently from their normal meanings as a rhetorical tactic. It can be confusing.

Throughout my various experiences discussing moé with the Anti-Moé Brigade, as well as listening to their rhetoric, I’ve put together a glossary of common terms used by the Anti-Moé Brigade, and how they’re used in the moé debate.

Pandering: A remarkably common term in anti-moé discussion, The Anti-Moé Brigade uses the word “pandering” specifically to describe moé and ecchi-fanservice anime, using the already negative connotation of the word to cast a negative light on shows they don’t like.

Tropes: Used exclusively to refer to moé character archetypes, the Anti-Moé Brigade not only completely ignores the actual meaning of the word (Devices and conventions found in creative works, as in all creative works incorporate tropes to some extent), but attempts to twist the word into something it isn’t, bringing their “nuance=automatic superiority” mindset into the picture. “Tropes” (In the way they use the term) are bad, and works that incorporate “tropes” are inherently worse than works that don’t incorporate “tropes” (Read: Moé).

Manipulative: Used by the Anti-Moe Brigade to describe tragedy moé shows such as Clannad. The criticism is that shows like Clannad “manipulate” the viewer into caring about the characters and their plight, despite the fact that with any emotionally-charged work of media, the viewer must be receptive to the emotion the work is attempting to bring forward, and that watching with a cynical, “impress me” sort of attitude toward the work is going to make the work seem “manipulative.”

Sexist/Misogynistic: Often used to describe moé (Especially in harem or VN-based anime), the Anti-Moé Brigade is always very quick to point out how moé focuses on “weak female characters,” in doing so falling into the trap of consistently demanding “strong” (Read: Not moé, not aimed at a male audience) female characters.

Fetishes: Both an attempt to cast the sexuality of moé in a bad light, and an attempt to sexualize the non-sexual elements of moé, the Anti-Moé Brigade uses the term “fetishes” to refer to harmless archetypes and character traits such as twintails, glasses-girl, animal ears, etc.

Creepy: Used by the Anti-Moé Brigade to describe moé otaku and as a deliberate effort to vilify and ostracize moé fans from the greater anime community.

Milquetoast: Used to refer to male harem anime protagonists and their indecisive tendencies, despite the fact that, in recent years, the genre has been moving away from that kind of protagonist.

Lolicon: Often used interchangeably with “moé” when used by the Anti-Moé Brigade, in an effort to portray moé as an attraction to children, despite the fact that most moé involves highschool-aged characters.

Pedophilia: See previous article.

Moé: Curiously, almost exclusively used to describe harem, fanservice, and slice-of-life anime, referring to these genres as “Moé anime.” This completely ignores more robust anime with predominantly moé characters (Clannad, School Days, Madoka Magica, Bakemonogatari) and moé characters that occur in other genres (Rei and Asuka from Evangelion, C.C. from Code Geass). They also, apparently, perceive moé a new thing in anime, even though moé traits in characters have been around and in use since anime began.


I understand the moé debate can be confusing, in part due to the way the Anti-Moé Brigade twists language to serve their own agenda. However, I hope that, armed with this knowledge, we can better argue against the Anti-Moé Brigade’s rhetoric, and better defend moé.


Stay frosty.

11 thoughts on “A Glossary of Common Anti-Moé Brigade Terms”

  1. I think you missed one…

    “Getting Laid” – often used to describe manliness and normality that “creepy” otaku can never achieve due to having dakimakuras, figures, merchandise, etc.; constantly ignoring the fact that STDs would occur due to a lack of safety precautions taken.

    But yeah, I don’t get “manipulated” by moe characters because these are characters that I can relate with. I also adore strong female characters regardless of whether or not they are moe. I’d be surprised if the anti-moe bitch-gade likes any strong female characters at all. The fact that they see moe as a new thing makes me think they’ve left their brains in the middle ages.

  2. Those are indeed pretty common terms used by critics and internet warriors. Milquetoast is used correctly though, as it is a reference to an old comic character that was a totally harmless and useless wuss.

    1. It is used correctly. However, at the same time, the genre is moving away from that kind of lead character, yet the Anti-Moé Brigade still defaults to “milquetoast” to describe harem anime protagonists. That’s my issue.

  3. I only have one word to the Anti-Moe brigade it’s a common that they don’t seem to get.

    Cultural Differences – Meaning a culture that is different from yours and has it’s own customs as to what they enjoy and the method on how they enjoy it.

    Intolerance – Wanting only what pleases them so as to prove to the American mainstream that they are mature for watching “Cartoons”

    1. I can attest to the Anti-Moe Brigade not understanding cultural differences. Matter of fact, some of them seem to think that the cultural differences between the US and Japan are so few as to be negligible, which is not only absolutely absurd, but pretty damn culturally insensitive as well.

    2. Despite cultural differences, there are people in the west that do enjoy what Japan is producing now. Don’t let the vocal minority of the anti-moe brigade fool you into thinking their opinion speaks for the entirety of the western fandom.

  4. Pandering: Is it a bad thing to care about what the audience cares about/wants? If you want to get profound messages about life watch TED talks.

    Tropes: I’m a firm believer in all works are derivative. No matter what these are inevitable. That being said, most of the anti-moe folk can’t see past basic similarities; eg. they classify Kanade from Angel Beats, Kotomi from Clannad, Rei from NGE and Yuki from Haruhi as the same kuudere even though they have their own nuances. It’s about the same as saying a photosynthetic bacteria and a plant are the same because they can both do photosynthesis.

    Manipulative: From another person’s perspective this is totally a good thing. I mean isn’t the point of moe to heighten the emotional experience?

    Sexist/Misogynistic: Utena isn’t exactly nice to guys. You don’t see people complaining about how feminist Utena is.

    Fetishes: Well that escalated quickly.

    Creepy: REALLY? I’d say those sex-obsessed freaks I see irl are creepy. I’d say that a lot of what the anti-moe folk call moe is innocent compared to the sex-obsessed craze I see in a lot of other media. If going d’aww at a cute girl is creepy, then I guess all parents are creepy.

    Milquetoast: If used right it can work out well. I mean Ippo started out as a meek doormat then he became a boss boxer.

    Lolicon: There are real high-school girls out there the size of children. It’s not exclusive to anime.

    Pedophilia: It’s ironic how the anti-moe folk are like “You take this shit too seriously” when they believe works of fiction directly indicate tastes in real life.

  5. I’m just going to skip the ones that don’t bother me that much.

    Pandering: The internet has made me come to absolutely despise the term “Pandering”. The term seems to only exists for elitists to insult others with different taste then them.

    Manipulative: The one thing that bothers me about this term the most is that isn’t a fictional work supposed to manipulate your emotions? I mean really, a comedy is supposed to make you laugh and feel good, a horror is meant to scare, and a drama should make you cry or feel sad. Now I’m not saying that there is no such thing as badly done drama, I just don’t understand whats bad about a fictional work being “Manipulative”.

    Sexist/Misogynistic: As a female moe fan, this one bothers me the most. I genuinely do not find moe/fanservice sexist or misogynistic. I’m also of the opinion that what one may find offensive is subjective and that you shouldn’t assume someone is sexist just because they aren’t as offended by something that you are.

    Fetishes: All people who use this as a way to insult moe don’t seem to understand that ANYTHING and EVERYTHING can be a fetish. If you’re going to criticize something because someone could be fapping to it, you might as well not like anything at all.

    Creepy: I gotta say I personally find it creepy how obsessed the Anti-Moe Brigade is with masturbation. Honestally who gives a shit if someone’s fapping to K-ON? Is it that fucking important? I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that we were still living in 1565 where masturbation is evil.

    Lolicon: I’ve noticed that anti-lolicon people seem to care more about body shape than actual age and that bugs the hell out of me. For example, Yoko Litter is 14 years old and yet has a body that makes her look like she’s in her 20’s. If one were to make comments about finding Yoko sexually attractive, they would just get friendly jokes about her being jail bait and that would be it. Meanwhile if one were to say that they found Evangeline McDowell sexually attractive, people would be disgusted with that person because she has a loli body even though she is over 600 years old. It’s mindsets like this that nearly caused Australia to ban A-cup porn.

    Pedophilia: They are cartoons and are not representations of real people. I myself find guro hentai to be absolutely disgusting. However, I can distinguish reality from fiction and know that it’s not real people being harmed. Likewise, I can assume that most guro fetishists can also distinguish reality from fiction and are disgusted by the idea of murdering/torturing real people.

    Also I know this is off topic, but I find it greatly amusing that your avatar is Zero.

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