Moéphobia

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.

Almost.

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.

 

Stay frosty.


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13 Responses to Moéphobia

  1. Otakuanthony says:

    I think some of their concern that is it has to have moe in it or rely on moe as a selling point that it is not a good show/movie/OVA to begin with. Will the new GiTS series suffer if it has moe in it? If the show is very good then it most likely won’t suffer.

    While I don’t think moe will ruin a show, I think it would change the impact of a series if moe was used, but this would only happen to a handful of titles.

  2. Cytrus says:

    Now that you point it out, the Tachikomas cover almost all basic moe qualities. Pure, innocent, funny and cute, but loyal and brave.

  3. Jof12788 says:

    I think it’s become pretty obvious that ANN is nothing more than either a really bad troll site, or a moderated hate machine, given that these people tend to focus more on the negatives than the positives.

    Back on topic, great article as usual. I was never a Ghost in the Shell fan, not even when I first saw it back in 2002. Granted I do love non-moé shows (i.e. Fist of the North Star, Gundam 0083, etc.) At the same time, it was a moé show (CCS) that got me into anime. That was what I wanted, so I knew what I was getting into.

    I am behind your statement that anime is a product for Japanese audiences. It would be like people complaining that Britain doesn’t make comedies, or any type of show for that matter, that appeal to American audiences. It just wouldn’t be right.

    The main problem with non-moé (or to be more precisely, action anime) is that most of the writers, directors, etc., are pretty much gone, or don’t have any steam left in them to create something good. Bakumatsu Gijiden Roman, to me, lacks a lot of the charm and subtlety that the original Lupin III series had. And despite the uber-hype that the western fanbase has given it, Kids on the Slope (a.k.a. Sakamichi no Appollon) is nowhere near as good as Cowboy Bebop, or better yet, Macross Plus. Blood-C was nothing but overly pretentious gore porn. And let us forget about that piece of shit that was that Eureka Seven “sequel” (or for a lack of a better term, an Asshole’s Orgy.) What’s sad is that ANN ate it up and gave it a decent review, all while giving something like Papakiki a negative review.>_<

    For me, the action genre has never died out. I enjoyed SAO, and to a lesser extent, Blue Exorcist. Strike Witches, Vividred Operation, and Girls und Panzer also qualify as action anime to me. But because it's moé, the western fanbase won't give it a chance and shit on it.

    and that's my two Euros on the matter.

    • OtakuAnthony says:

      @Jof12788 Not to defend ANN, but the only on who really knocked it down heavily was Bamboo Dong and by everyone during the preview guide but it did get a pretty decent review scores for the story otherwise once it was reviewed after the show was completed.

      I rather enjoyed Blood-C myself then again I love really gory things, so maybe that is why.

      • Jof12788 says:

        Yeah, there are only a few people on ANN that know what they are talking about, rather than spew out blind rage and hate.

        Ahh. To each his own I guess. While I do like gory things as well, I just couldn’t bring myself to like Blood-C.

  4. TsukuyomiMagi99 says:

    ” . It’ll take Redline and leave Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 1st in its place.”

    HEY Leave My Waifu out of this!!!

    Lol just kidding. Another good article Anubis and if people here would actually support the industry and show the Japanese Executives that they can make even a bigger profit here if they cater to some western tastes then this stupid phobia would die. Anybody who has looked at the climate of the American anime industry will tell you that supporting a non moe show with your wallet is more crucial then ever.

    It’s simple really, make something people like and they’ll pay for it just ask any moe otaku. This was a point I tried to make on VZ’s blog but someone strawmanned me.

    • TsukuyomiMagi99 says:

      P.S. There are non moe shows out there AMB you just need to look for them.

      • TsukuyomiMagi99 says:

        Here ya go AMB, try to actually SUPPORT this anime for a change

        • My prediction is that this will go largely unsupported by Anti-Moé Brigade types because it isn’t ACTION, SCI-FI, EXTREEEEEEEME like Redline, it isn’t a kinetic violence anime, and it isn’t directed by Shinichiro Watanabe with music by Yoko Kanno.

          It’s not so much that they want “non-moé” anime. It’s that they want anime to cater specifically to a Western taste, which means the minimization of Japanese elements (Y’know, those things that make anime anime.).

          • VZMkII says:

            I kinda disagree. While there’s those AMB types that want action anime (which isn’t a bad thing mind you), what I feel they REALLy want is anime with “substance” and is relevant to social issues.

            Of course they fail to understand that real life problems is the last thing otaku want to see in anime.

            There IS an audience for the type of anime that Tsukuyomi post above, but they aren’t the types to watch a lot of anime and generally just see anime in theaters or off beat OVA. Very rarely will they watch anime on TV and you can forgot them actually buying anime at rape your ass JP prices.

          • @VZMkII

            I think it’s two ways, really. I mean, you look at Ghost in the Shell and, yeah, that deals with some real-world social issues (Transhumanism, cybernetics, a 100% networked world), but take something like Cowboy Bebop, Redline, or Tiger & Bunny. You could maybe make a case for Tiger & Bunny touching on corporate over-reaching, but that takes an extreme back seat to the action in the show.

            There’s certainly a demand for socially-conscious anime from the AMB, but that doesn’t account for shows like Cowboy Bebop, Redline, or Tiger & Bunny.

  5. @OtakuAnthony

    I think that the idea of “relying on moé” would be a more convincing argument if there was a precedent for moé, by itself, ruining shows and I’ve yet to see that happen. Sure, moé shows can be mediocre, but that’s usually because there was some other element of the show that was done poorly.

    @Jof12788

    I think the thing about action shows is that times have changed. They just aren’t as common as they used to be, and a good amount of the ones that are made today do incorporate some moé into them, which the Anti-Moé Brigade won’t even touch.

    @TsukuyomiMagi99

    I really think a major problem with the Western fanbase is that we seem to be content with being an impotent market force. There are a few dedicated fans who buy DVDs and merchandise, and that just isn’t enough to sustain the Western fanbase as a legitimate market for anime. We continue to see shrinking anime DVD racks in stores like Best Buy, and the merchandise market is shrinking to the point where I predict that soon, the only reasonable place we’ll be able to find figures or model kits will be at cons, as those products have already been relegated to small specialty stores and some comic shops.

    Meanwhile, people continue to complain about the price of anime DVDs, and people continue to complain about Aniplex’s prices for DVD and Blu-Ray sets they probably never would have purchased anyway. It’s a vicious downward spiral.

  6. Zangief says:

    Well, if you want an example of a classic non-moe series getting a divisive moe follow-up, there’s Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing.

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