With Space Dandy on the horizon, and the hype around Kill la Kill going strong, I’m reminded of Kids on the Slope, The Flowers of Evil, and Redline. While those three shows might have little in common visually and thematically, they do share a particular relation that I’d like to touch on.
I’ve observed a pattern with the Anti-Moé Brigade with regards to how they consume the anime they enjoy. Back when Redline’s domestic release was on the horizon, and then for a short while after the fact, the hype was absolutely massive. Though I’ve made my opinion known about that particular film, I can’t deny that the outpouring of support for it from particularly anti-moé segments of the Western fanbase was impressive. However, shortly after the domestic release, the hype and fanfare dropped off completely.
When the spring season of 2012 rolled around, people were getting really pumped for Kids on the Slope. By summer 2012, however, few were still talking about it. Psycho Pass was a thing for a bit, but when it was over, it suffered the same abandonment. In spring 2013, it was all about The Flowers of Evil, but by summer, not much more was being said about it.
Now, we’re in the thick of the fall season of 2013, and I feel like the same thing will happen to Kill la Kill, and with Space Dandy set to air in January, I predict the same fate for it, as well. For all the Anti-Moé Brigade whines about the shows moé fans like being forgettable, it sure seems to me like the moé fandom has less of a problem committing their shows to memory and carrying on the discussion around them than the Anti-Moé Brigade does.
Not only that, but the Anti-Moé Brigade can only gain from supporting the media obviously created for them. There’s no reason for them not to support media they enjoy. It’s really the only way to guarantee that more of it gets made. Moreover, lack of support will, vastly more often than not, lead to less of that kind of media, and at this point, that kind of media isn’t exactly common to begin with.
It’s like a feedback loop. The Anti-Moé Brigade complains about there being too much moé anime while not giving anime that appeals to them the support it deserves. Meanwhile, the moé fandom douses the anime they enjoy with support, and keeps talking about the shows they liked long after they’ve stopped airing. In turn, more moé shows get made, and the Anti-Moé Brigade complains about there being too much moé anime.
Part of this is the Anti-Moé Brigade’s love for controversy and being “against the grain.” Redline’s thing was that Koike wanted to make an anime specifically catering to the Western audience. Psycho Pass’s staff was banned from using the word “moé” during production. The mangaka for The Flowers of Evil said in an interview that moé fans would likely be disappointed by the anime. Kill la Kill? That’s Studio Trigger’s first TV anime, so of course it’s something to get hyped about. Space Dandy? Kids on the Slope proved that Shinichiro Watanabe’s name is enough to get people excited for an anime series, even if they don’t end up continuing to support it when all is said and done.
Controversy, large and small, is was drives the Anti-Moé Brigade’s interest and, as a result of that, any support they show for a series is fleeting, at best. When you have an audience that’s only waiting for the next big work that “shakes things up,” there’s nobody left to appreciate the work itself, and once all is said and done, and the controversy is over, they move on to the next shaker. I’ve said it before: That’s a dangerous mentality to have.
In addition to the controversy-chasing, however, is an undercurrent of entitlement. The Anti-Moé Brigade, in their constant clamour for anime to “appeal to a broader audience,” doesn’t seem to care that that “broader audience” (which includes the Anti-Moé Brigade, incidentally) has proven time and time again to be unreliable consumers, even of media specifically aimed at them. They will complain about the disproportionate amount of anime aimed at moé otaku, but refuse to accept the reason things have ended up that way, even when it is explained to them.
I reasonably enjoyed what I saw of Free!, for what it was. Like The Flowers of Evil, however, most of its publicity came through controversy, when a minority of moé fans spewed hate in the wake of the commercial airing, were jumped on for it, and then suffered childish retaliation when the anime proper was announced. I hear it’s doing pretty well in Japan sales-wise, however, and I sincerely hope all of the people who came out and shouted down the moé fans in support of KyoAni appealing to fujoshi go out and buy the series, if it ever gets picked up for a domestic disc release.
I’m having a good time with Kill la Kill, so far. My hopes are high for it, but I fear that once it’s finished airing, everyone will have moved on and it will fall by the wayside, because much of the interest for it is driven by its status as Studio Trigger’s first TV anime.
I probably won’t watch Space Dandy. It’s just not my kind of sci-fi, to be honest. I do, however, predict the same fate for it. The hype may be very much alive now, but once it’s finished airing, it’ll fade quite quickly, because the draw for many of the people hyping it is nothing more than who’s making it and what it looks like on the surface. How do I know this will happen? Because it’s happened several times before in similar situations and because past performance is always an indicator of future results. That being the case, I’ll be pleasantly surprised if I turn out to be wrong.
Surprise me on this one, Anti-Moé Brigade. Please surprise me.