What type of cancer would it be? Something slow-growing, yet considered incurable like a chronic lymphocytic leukemia? Something that could have been avoided if people didn’t use certain things too much, like smoking with lung cancers? Something that’s silent until it’s too late, like some forms of pancreatic cancer? Course, I have problems with hearing this metaphor in the first place, as it paints moe as something that’s negative, bothersome, and ultimately ruinous for anime, and I wonder why? Whether you agree with that or not (and I feel like I’m simplifying things too much here, in my opinion), I feel like moe is used as a scapegoat too much, where people use it as the answer du jour for whatever ails anime, and I never feel comfortable about that.
I feel more uncomfortable about it since moe is a complicated concept with different definitions for different people. For myself, I mostly see it as something that one feels: something that one becomes or gets whenever they see something that appeals to them in that way, like a character trait, or a random thing. From that I believe that one can feel moe for anything (glasses moe, train moe, show moe, etc.), and that whatever instills that feeling presents a sense of innocence, cuteness, pleasure or whatever the hell you want to call it. And that makes you want to do something to it, be it wanting to observe them, protect them, care for them, care for them in your pants, whatever. But who says that’s really the right way to look at it?
And it’s why I get confused when I hear that a show is moe, or when people refer to characters such as “moeblobs”. Terms like that make me get the opinion that the people who use them call things moe to mean that these things contain characteristics solely for the purpose of appealing to that “moe” sense. And is that sense a certain type of cute properties or properties trying to be cute (if it’s sorta like that, then why the hell not call it just that to be more specific)? Something like that I was talking about before? Something more implicitly sexual? Something just for otaku? A certain type of aesthetic for others? Something that burns with a fiery passion of manliness? Something that you know when you see it? Something devoid of any productive value? Something else?
Regardless, most of the time, to me the usage sounds derogatory, as in there’s no other worth to these shows/characters/things other than pandering to a certain subset of people that aren’t the people saying these terms (who are also the ones making things bad for everyone else, from what I infer as well). I worry/think too much about what’s meant by those terms, since it gets to the point where I refrain from saying that a character/shows is “cute” or “adorable”, even when that’s the case to me. Those words to me sound like buzzwords that can be easily connected to moe, and the more “negative” aspects that seen to come with the term (male “dominance”, titillation, pandering, easy money make, not artistic/special) and so on. And I wonder in turn that that means about me, who thinks these things about some anime I watch and some people that I like in these anime. Even the people who openly like moe seem to keep that worry in mind.
I also wonder about how moe is leading to a decline of anime, and possibly a death. I think I get the argument that as anime focuses more on “moe” or whatever the term’s supposed to mean in more works, the audience becomes more and more focused to the lowest common denominator (in size of audience and in moral standing, hurr hurr hurr). And because apparently most recent shows produced only cater to these individuals, how can the industry sustain itself as that niche begins to get older, and there doesn’t seem to be a will to make more works that cover a larger audience (again, clarify if I’m totally off here), or something along those lines? One could claim that the seeds are sewn for that, but there’s no answer to that question for the moment, especially since we haven’t reached that “dire” situation yet. But to that, why is moe considered to be so limited in that respect (the amount of people willing to watch shows containing more apparently obvious examples of it)? Don’t different types of moe appeal to different people, and so on and so forth?
For something that seems complex, how come a lot of people (including myself) try to simplify moe so much, and then use that simplification as a scapegoat, or as something to look down at? I’m not saying that it doesn’t need criticism, but doing it that way seems like an easy way out. And yay victimization, but I also sometimes sort of see it as an “Us vs Them” argument, since sometimes it comes out to me as it the main reason people pick a bone with moe is that it’s not the anime they want to see, and are just hating on it because it’s there. I can get that some people don’t like it, but to phrase things as if it’s a scourge on anime that needs to be eliminated to me sounds like overkill. It’s why I keep asking what a person means whenever they say that a show/character is moe. Since there isn’t one set answer for what moe is, how come many seem to treat it like such?
I mean, there are different types of cancers out there with different prognoses, treatments and such, but it’s all considered to be bad. When looking at moe in that aspect, it isn’t that problematic, is it? Do I have it completely wrong?
P.S. Here are four of my favorite takes on moe (the first is not safe for work, and on the third hopefully SDS can update his post or repost it on Ogiue Maniax for more to see like these), but again, they aren’t the be-all and end-all, and I don’t necessarily agree with all that’s said there. But it shows a little bit of how moe is more complicated than it may seem, or more complicated than what others might want to think about it.