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Author Topic: Discussion on Moe  (Read 3035 times)

lordcloudx

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Discussion on Moe
« on: August 04, 2010, 03:25:37 pm »
First of all, I’m going to tell you what this post is NOT going to be all about, so that you know exactly what not to expect. This is not going to be a deep, well-referenced, scientific or even mildly collegiate discourse on moe, nor am I even going to pretend that “it” is a viable tool(?) in writing or in the visual presentation of written works.

In #9 of BTW (Baka-Trio Webzine) http://baka-trio.lunaen.com/btw_january_2010.pdf our guest writer, Ghislain Francois Rene Magritte, wrote an in-depth article about the demerits of the rise of moe and why it was ruining the anime industry in general by affecting the makers and forcing them to include so-called moe traits in their stories. The author concluded, quite justifiably, that, “… in the end moe is predictability.

Before proceeding any further, let’s dissect the term, “moe.” There’s no need for me to do this personally and present you with some pseudo-scientific graph or research outputs. This article does it better than any of the self-proclaimed “moe experts” floating around the interwebs (you know who you are) http://xorsyst.com/anime/what-is-moe/.

Right, now that you have a general understanding of the term, including its disputed etymology, let’s get down to business shall we? Still with me? Good.

Now then, if you are familiar with the term, what exactly comes to mind when you hear the term moe? A specific cute anime girl or an anime girl in general, correct? You might also be thinking of traits exhibited by said girls, but in the end, they’re still connected to just that: “cute anime girl/s.”

And this, my friends, in a nutshell, is exactly the alpha and omega of “moe.” It’s not a deep, scientific, philosophical or an even vaguely pseudo-intellectual subject matter. Moe is all about cute girls, usually exhibiting loli traits despite their cup size. In the simplest terms moe = cute. That’s it. Period.

Lastly, let’s talk about connotation and denotation. Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connotation

The way I see it, moe is simply a variant of the word “cute;” nothing more than that. So here’s my definition.

Moe = cute usually used in context with cute girls in Japanese anime, games or related media with said girls commonly exhibiting loli traits (regardless of cup size.)

With this, I rest my case. I invite differences of opinions but remember to keep the global teacup board rules in mind.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2010, 03:32:49 pm by lordcloudx »

mikey

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Re: Discussion on Moe
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2010, 09:01:49 pm »
I used to feel slightly irritated, especially by discussions where a "true" meaning of moe is never-endingly being elaborated, because in those discussions any attempt to finalize a definition is questioned and any proposed definition is found to be inaccurate on some level - if all logical methods fail, then by referring to some form of an intangible essence that is part of moe.

That intangible essence is of course only known to and being able to be understood by those who feel they "understand", or "get it", or some form of that. They can't put it to words, but they can definitely say which words DON'T describe it.

It's more than anything reminiscent of a teenager, who says "Mom, you just... don't understand". It seems to them there is an ultimate depth that cannot be expressed by words, but the truth is that ultimate depth is in fact made up - designed - specifically it is the acknowledgement of the existence of a depth which is beyond the understanding of your parents, but which you feel you yourself are able to grasp. Not being able to put that feeling into words serves as proof of its depth (i.e. beyond what words can express). And the more parents laugh at you, the more that is proof of their shallowness and the more proof that is of the depth you think you feel.

So I can understand how people come to the belief that moe is more than just a few design features and the appreciation for soft, round and non-threatening things. In my experience it is - much like other cultural phenomena such as teen vampires, a cult music group, or goth lifestyle - a means of creating something differentiating you from your immediate environment (your family and people you don't consider close friends).

And much like many other things like this, it is impossible to realize until one is out of it. It also takes a lot of strength to admit that such intangible essences on which people build their future personalities are in fact placeholders without substance, so most people just laugh at "how silly they were back then", and also tend to knowlingly smirk whenever confronted with others who they see having a similar case of believing in "something YOU can't understand".

I never had my "moe" moment, I never fell for its charms so hard I couldn't allow people to disrespect it with a simple, shallow definition. But I would say whether it's moe or something else, at some stage everyone must have experienced moments like these. Realizing them for what they are may destroy their intangibility, but it will also allow you to remember them - as beauty.

Vatina

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Re: Discussion on Moe
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2010, 08:51:28 am »
What comes to mind...?

Well mostly fluffy, big-eyed and underaged anime girls, yeah. In general I dislike moe because it makes me think of a shallow stereotype and easy excuses for character design. And worst of all, it makes me think of useless fanservice.

If people really find things moe in a positive way with actual character depth, then deep down I guess it's alright.

But when creators label things as moe, it makes me believe that they are just trying to use it as an easy attention-magnet without any real depth. Like "let's just make it moe enough, then it will sell."

Sakura Kinomoto is cute and awesome. Nanoha is apparently made to be "moe". I don't like the latter one, as watching the first season gave me the impression described above.

At other times I think it ruins a good character when people fling the moe concept at it, since it makes it sound like less than it really is. Like when they use the term "emo". (Just noticed those two words are made of the same three letters - is there a conspirancy??)

I guess I just have something against stereotypes... although I am sure that many disagree with my viewpoints on this matter.

mikey

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Re: Discussion on Moe
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2010, 05:00:35 pm »
Anyway, so... I was on the internet today, and somehow found myself going idly between numerous Web 2.0-social whatever sites. From there, I took a turn and ended up browsing apps for smartphones. So, apps and social networks are pretty much the hottest thing these days. And I just realized they are both completely moe!

They have shiny icons - overstylized and oversimplified, with a shadow or an effect like mirroring on a shiny surface. Very much the same visuals as moe's visualization of girls who have shiny thighs and shiny hair, especially on magazine covers, wallpapers or promo material. Everything has a round feel to it - all icons are rounded, all geometrical shapes are rounded. Of course moe girls, are all that - all soft and round with large non-sharp eyes. Even the functionality is like moe - applications don't overwhelm you, websites favor simple user experience. Moe girls aren't overwhelming either, interacting with them is comforting and not stressful.

Knowing how things go, I am probably not the first one to say "iPhone and twitter are moe", but sometimes it takes a while to make the connection. It is a generalization, of course, but if nothing else, it is kind of interesting to look at how the principles of "non-threatening, round and shiny" are being applied. And I've heard several people already being fatigued by this round-rectangle shiny-icon design, so more than anything, this is the reason why I was reminded of my own "moe fatigue", which was based on pretty much the same complaints.

Vatina

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Re: Discussion on Moe
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2010, 09:49:14 am »
That's an amusing observation. I've noticed things looking like that a lot too, and in general, I think there is point there - it does share some of the aesthetics that people tend to like.

Now I won't be able to look at my Ipod touch again without thinking of 'moe'.... :P (it even has a cute anime girl as background, so why not!)