Drawingirl94 recently posted a fantastic article on her blog. She articulated in a way I never could things I’ve been saying for a long time about the subject of lolicon. Reading it has given me a fresh perspective on the issue, and I want to revisit it, because I feel like my point is somewhat lacking.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica took the anime community by storm when it aired in the beginning on 2011. It was being compared to Evangelion, and, to a certain extent, the comparisons were valid. The two shows are quite different, but the one major similarity they share is that both were popular in both Japan and the Western market. Indeed, Madoka may be the first show since Eva to really hit it big and gain widespread acclaim in the anime fandoms on both sides of the Pacific.
Madoka’s success has raised an interesting question within the Western fanbase, however, and it ties into a common issue among the Anti-Moé Brigade.
The conflation of moé and lolicon happens a great deal more often than I’d like. Unsurprisingly, it’s almost always coming from someone who’s failed to actually grasp the concept of moé, but knows that they hate it, and lumps it in with lolicon because they hate that, too.
Let me make it clear: Moé is not loli and loli is not moé. The two might intersect on occasion, but they are two separate phenomena.
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.
One of the major criticisms of moé is how common and endemic archetypes are to it. Anti-Moé Brigadiers argue that the prevalence of archetypes is shallow and that archetypical characters are built only to pander to otaku fetishes. Archetypes, however, might be a much more natural development than the self-proclaimed intellectuals of the Anti-Moé Brigade would have you believe. I’ll explain.
I’ll admit, part of this blog’s aesthetic is tongue-in-cheek. Even I think that the notion of a “moé war” is ridiculous, which is part of why I gravitate toward a military motif. By taking the debate to a level of absurdity, I hope to make people understand just how silly it all is.
At the end of the day, though, I just like the aesthetic.
There’s a mindset that’s recently become pervasive within the anime community (Especially within the Anti-Moé Brigade) that irks me particularly, not only because it paints moé fans as mindless consumers, but because it shows an immense disrespect for the creators involved with the anime industry.
It’s safe to say that moé and virtual love go hand-in-hand. Thus, many arguments imposed against moé can be applied to 2D love and vice-versa. The idea of synthetic relationships has cropped up several times within and without the anime community, but I feel like we’re not getting to the core of the issue with the discussion that’s been had about it so far.
After 77 pages, the comment thread for the ANNCast episode in which I discussed moé with Zac Bertschy was locked. It was locked after a 20+ page argument about feminism, misogyny, and men’s rights activism. This was after the thread had derailed several times and I had intervened to put the thread back on track. After a certain point, I just gave up.
This was supposed to be a discussion about cartoons.
Images included in this article may be explicit in nature.
In the discussion on moé and sex, certain characters tend to stand out as good case-studies on where moé and sexuality intersect and how they interact with each other. These characters range from those with slightly perverse tendencies to those with seductive streaks, all the way to full-on nymphomaniacs, and each one of these characters offers a chance to examine how moé and sex play together, as well as a chance to discuss appeal itself and the differences between various types of appeal.