Does “Show Moé” Work?

By TheBigN

Let’s start from illicit behavior and work from there, as I’m sure this topic has been done to death before. Throughout my time on forums, blogs and Twitters, something I keep noticing people say has only just started to perk up my ears. It usually comes in the form of “there shouldn’t be porn of X show” out there, and how Rule 34 always proves them wrong in that aspect. In the case of ARIA (as with other shows, I’m sure, but this is the one I know), this comment is prevalent as well, but now this prude reaction has seemingly been extended into the realm of subtext that is or isn’t there. Now I agree when people say that there’s no hint of yuri in the show (even though I don a pair of yuri goggles every now and then to “make believe” there is), and I can agree that wondering about it is a waste of time (albeit a fun waste), but it gets interesting when I hear people criticizing both the thought of subtext that might or might not exist in addition to the people themselves who have those (apparently wrong and scandalous) thoughts.

It takes a rare show to have both types.

It takes a rare show to have both types.

That sort of thing always gets a “Whoa. Step back” from me for a variety of reasons, but it makes me wonder why people feel that strongly enough to go that far. And the usual reasoning in defending the show from these apparently bad thoughts tends to go along the same vein as the reason as to why said porn shouldn’t exist. Things like “the show is pure/innocent/not (or could never be) like that/etc.”, which is usually true and makes much sense. But when it’s actually being written out there or said out there as the reason, my next thought tends to be that the person saying these things just wants to take them home protect those shows. In the same way that people apparent attribute those feelings to characters who are moé. Granted, I’m probably taking that train of thought farther than it should be taken, but it’s something.

What makes people call some works “moé anime” compared to other shows? Could there be such a thing as shows that evoke the qualities of moé (not the burning type, but the budding/sprouting type) as a whole from what ideas they represent or from the concepts they are built on, that is, not just because there are “moé” characters in the show? And if that was the case, could people feel for these types of shows in the same way as they do for characters with those same concepts (a “fatherly” sort of feeling in their pants), or it really just another variation on strongly defending a show that they like? And as always, does what I’m talking about even make sense here?

I wouldn't mind seeing an Akari like this.

I wouldn't mind seeing an Akari like this.

10 Responses to “Does “Show Moé” Work?”


  1. 1 The Animanachronism February 2, 2009 at 2:49 am

    The uncharitable interpretation is that the defenders are worried about subtext within the show themselves, otherwise they’d just laugh the ‘wrong and scandalous’ thoughts off.

    But that’s uncharitable, and the idea of shows themselves being moe is an attractive one. Must surely have some connection to their perceived purity? I doubt anyone feels moe for Golgo 13, but then it probably has a different set of fans?

  2. 2 coburn February 2, 2009 at 5:02 am

    I really like this idea. In this case the defence instinct seems to be functioning entirely as a reaction to a real ‘danger’ (i.e. lots of porn on this here internet). Regular moe characters tend to be in shows where there is relatively little in the way of actual threat. The internet’s genre (whatever that is) feels wrong for moe. You don’t get fatherly on the battlefield, you get angry.

  3. 3 schneider February 2, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Quoting roast-beefy: There is nothing wrong with Aria porn. Just saying.

  4. 4 ghostlightning February 2, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Hmmm, I find it difficult to watch a show like Kurenai because the portrayal of the little girl is gratuitous. I don’t have to see her putting on trousers. Gratuitousness may be relative, but it’s a difficult subtext to keep being oblivious to.

    And, even if I bring my own reading of gratuitousness to the 7-year old putting on trousers, it’s something I’d rather not see because there are other sources of entertainment that I arbitrarily consider less distasteful/disturbing: like a bunch of robots/space fleets laying waste to planets/star systems/galaxies.

  5. 5 animekritik February 2, 2009 at 9:07 am

    I’ve never understood why fans would be bothered by what other people think about their show (unless they believe that it threatens chances for a new season down the road). You cannot protect a show, you cannot protect a moe character, except in your head, and the only way people can get into your head is if you let them (marcus aurelius).

  6. 6 Pontifus February 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    What animekritik said, except there is no getting into one another’s heads here, as that’s impossible. While I like the identification here of show-wide protective urges as “show moe,” it’s really futile for a viewer to try to “protect” a show in its entirety, as all said viewer is doing is rejecting readings they don’t prefer, and that’s something readers have been doing since the dawn of time. Other people will bring other things to the table, and that’s not bad, per se; it’s just the way it is. Of course, some might insist that launching Macross-style missile barrages at disparate or opposing points of view is a good thing, but I don’t count myself among that group. Missiles are stupid.

  7. 7 TheBigN February 4, 2009 at 12:36 am

    IKnight: I guess you could consider Golgo 13 the burning type of moe definition. Though Duke Togo himself kinda smolders that. And I’m not going to lie in that I did have brief thoughts of the uncharitable kind for why people were so strong about it.😛

    coburn: It’s still fatherly. Just the “I’ll shoot you with my gun if you don’t treat my daughter right” variety.

    schneider: I agree. It’s there if you want it, and it’s perfectly fine if you don’t use it.

    ghostlightning: I think the problem that people have with subtext is that it tends to be more gratuitous than they think it should be, or want it to be.

    animekritik: True (at least we don’t have that much power), but there’s nothing wrong with still wanting to do that.

    Pontifus:

    as all said viewer is doing is rejecting readings they don’t prefer, and that’s something readers have been doing since the dawn of time. Other people will bring other things to the table, and that’s not bad, per se; it’s just the way it is. Of course, some might insist that launching Macross-style missile barrages at disparate or opposing points of view is a good thing, but I don’t count myself among that group. Missiles are stupid.

    THIS.

  8. 8 ETERNAL February 5, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I actually agree with what you’re getting at, even though it’s objectively illogical. Take, for instance, Clannad, of which I have only seen one good fanservice picture. KyoAni does a great job with their subtle fanservice (meido Nagisa…), and the blatant H such as the recent Tony Taka doujin does no justice to the show IMO. On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t have a problem leafing through a non-Clannad T2 doujin, just because I don’t have a “bond” with the characters being drawn. Like I said, it sounds stupid when you look at it objectively, but my own personal answer becomes obvious when I ask myself how many times I’ve searched for Da Capo ecchi instead of Kanon ecchi.

  9. 9 TheBigN February 7, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    ETERNAL: I don’t know. People can care that much about shows that they like. At the same time, I don’t see a problem with having the stuff there myself, so I just feel like it shouldn’t be that serious.😛

  10. 10 someddk power March 1, 2009 at 6:03 am

    Is she Ranka? so different feeling I Knew.
    Can I take this picture?


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