People have asked me many, many times what I think about the moe phenomenon that's taken over anime. I should make a few things very clear. I don't mind the moe, I think it adds a unique charm to a show. But, there are a few shows that are built entirely on moe, which I feel takes away from the show.
Before I go into any more detail, what exactly is moe? Anime News Network's Lexicon page defines moe as "A Japanese term used to describe something precious, usually (but not always) the idea of innocence and femininity." That's what you'd find in a dictionary. I asked a few people on Twitter and Formspring what moe is to them, and whether or not it's beneficial to the anime industry as a whole. The responses ranged from "FUCK YES, IT'S BENEFICIAL!" to "It's really a mixed bag." This leads me to believe that everyone has their own definition of moe, as well as different opinions on its impact on the industry.
Now that that's taken care of, let me throw my 2 bits in. Moe is, as I said earlier, a nice add-on to a show, but it shouldn't be the entire show. When I watch anime, I don't want to be squealing so much that I miss the plot. I want to see a legit plot-driven show with some moe.
I've also seen moe used as a synonym for "fetish," like "maid moe," or "nekomimi moe." Somehow, this doesn't do the term justice. In fact, it clouds the real definition of moe. Or maybe "fetish" is just "moe" at its highest extreme. I'll leave that for the readers to decide.
Either way, moe is certainly a selling factor in Japan. The question is, can moe sell in the United States. With K-ON! hitting shelves, that question may be answered.