Something has been afoot in the anime community for quite a while. While I’d hesitate to call it a “conspiracy,” it’s sort of like that, and, of course, its endgame involves the vilification of moé fans and moé anime.
Before I break this scheme down, it’s important to understand the status quo. We’re currently in an anime fandom environment where moé fans are quick to deny any link between moé and sexuality, and where they will argue vehemently that moé is a completely nonsexual thing. At the same time, the Anti-Moé Brigade is very quick to call out moé as being sexual, and will often portray that sexuality negatively.
Part of what makes this sex-negative attitude pervasive in not the Anti-Moé Brigade, but, to a lesser extent, the general Western fandom, is the idea that anime needs to be “legitimized” to the general public, and that the proliferation of fanservice titles and moé have held the medium back from that. To a certain extent, that assessment is correct (Though, one might argue that “legitimacy” of anime in the West was doomed as soon as Urotsukidoji was released in the West), but it’s important to remember that part of what makes anime special to us is the culture it comes from, and it’s not exactly fair to expect the cultural product of one culture to cater to the sensibilities of another.
The Anti-Moé Brigade realizes this. They understand that there’s just no swaying the Japanese anime industry to cater more to them and create more shows that could “legitimize” anime for mainstream Western audiences (Except, perhaps, for supporting the shows that have that potential). They know that they can’t hope to supplant the market forces that determine what kinds of anime get made.
Their endgame isn’t to take “legitimize” anime by somehow forcing the creation of more anime they like. Rather, their strategy is one of suppression: Convince the Western fanbase that sexuality and fanservice in anime are negative things and vilify those who enjoy those things. That way, a false dichotomy of “bad” (Fanservice, ecchi, harem, etc. anime) and “good” (Story-heavy, “mature” shows) anime develops, and the people who enjoy the “bad” anime are dismissed and set a level below those who enjoy the “good” anime. At the same time, because moé is another force holding back the “legitimization” of anime, associating moé with sexuality is an easy way to make it look bad, as it’s already been established that sexuality is negative in anime.
Unfortunately, much of the moé fandom has played into this trap, denying any interplay between sexuality and moé, and refusing to have a discussion about it, or even to question whether it’s bad or not. Like the rest of Western fanbase, they’ve blindly accepted the conventional wisdom as fed to them by the Anti-Moé Brigade.
This is why it’s important to have a discussion about sexuality and moé. By having this dialogue, even amongst just us moé fans, we call into question the standards set by a small group of people with an agenda, and that brings us a step closer to a fandom of open opinion and discussion, rather than one where acceptable preferences are dictated by a few opinion leaders and “unacceptable” preferences are shouted down.
It’s really easy to defend a position when your side has convinced everyone that the opposition are “perverts” and “pedophiles.” The first step to reversing this is calling this perception into question. The next is debating it. The step after that is spreading the discussion, and encouraging people to give this stuff a fair shake and draw their own conclusions.
As long as the Anti-Moé Brigade is driving the discussion about moé, it will skew negative toward moé fans, and people will get the wrong ideas about it. Only the moé fandom can bring the moé discussion into a realm of reason and rationality from which an actual exchange of thoughts about the role of sex in moé can occur.
Why is sexuality so looked down upon in the Western fanbase?
Was the Western fanbase tricked, or did their perspective on sexuality in anime develop more naturally?
Why is moé so often conflated with sex?