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.