To some, moé is an annoyance. It’s the thing preventing them from seeing the anime they want to see. It’s what Japanese fans want and that’s a problem to them because it forces anime production companies to make more moé.
To others, moé is a bogeyman. They fear that any anime could become moé at a moment’s notice, and any mention of moé anywhere close to the anime they like causes them to lash out, fighting desperately to protect their anime, like a cornered animal.
A new Ghost in the Shell production was announced pretty recently. I like Ghost in the Shell. It has an interesting, well-built world, and, through the anime, I enjoy watching things occur in that world. Many people of the Anti-Moé Brigade are also GITS fans, so the news of a new GITS production was well-received by all.
Above the discussion hung a stench, an odor. I realized what was going on as soon as I saw posts like this:
“Hopefully they won’t follow current trends in anime and add some moe character.”
And posts like this:
“I just hope to god the new story isn’t just an excuse to have the show resolve around some ditzie moe character.”
This made me wonder: What precedent is there for this? When was the last time we saw a famously non-moé series incorporate moé into a new installment and make the show worse as a result?
I posed this question to a few people and nobody could give me an answer, so I can only figure that there’s no precedent for this, and that people really are afraid of moé somehow “ruining” anime they like. This was made even clearer to me when, in the same discussion, a poster lashed out at me for daring to state that I find the Tachikomas moé (Which I do. Their voices and mannerisms are quite endearing to me).
Is this really the point we’re at? Are people really so afraid of moé “ruining” what they like that they’ll move on new installments of famously non-moé anime franchises with cautious optimism, half-expecting them to turn into harem comedies? Are people really so afraid of moé “ruining” what they like that they‘ll deny the very presence of moé in a show just because it’s a show they like?
It’s moéphobia: The irrational fear of moé. Moé will sneak into your window at night and replace the discs in your Ghost in the Shell box set with Nurse Witch Komugi. It’ll swap your Cowboy Bebop discs with the entire collection of Popotan. It’ll take Redline and leave Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 1st in its place. Moé is coming for your anime and it won’t stop until everything is cute girls and slice-of-life.
The concept of moéphobia is absurd. There’s nothing to be afraid of, so long as you can understand why certain anime are made, who makes them, and who they’re made for. That’s where the issue comes in. The Anti-Moé Brigade is constantly on high alert for anything that could damage their chances of getting more Western-styled anime. To them, more moé would harm the already-dubious legitimacy of anime over here in the West, whereas more “Westernized” anime would make anime more appealing to Westerners.
However, the thing about that is: Anime is a Japanese product made primarily for Japanese consumers. We get what they produce. The fear that moé will “ruin” a series is the fear that Japan will do what it needs to in order to appeal to its consumers. Furthermore, the notion that moé can and does “ruin” anime franchises is completely unfounded and without precedent.
It’s really easy to vilify moé, and I feel like those who suffer from moéphobia are working with something that goes deeper than just a fear of moé. They have an insecurity with the medium they claim to be fans of, and that’s the real issue.