Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My thoughts on moe

Doesn't this make you wanna remark on how cute it is? Or could it be considered moe?

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.


  1. I'll be very surprised if K-ON! sells well in the United States. It doesn't seem like the kind of show American fans would buy; no action, no fanservice, no magical girls... almost NOTHING of real interest to the average otaku. Given the sad state of the American anime industry, I wonder why they even bothered licensing it.

    But maybe I'm being overly pessimistic. Guess we'll just have to wait and see...

  2. I can only hope K-ON! will be successful. I want it to get the whole Azumanga Daioh treatment, where they had booklets and swag and explained more cultural aspects of the show. But given the state of the industry it may be a bare bones release. Things aren't as simple and fun as they were 10 or even 5 years ago.

  3. If a moe show is marketed right, I think it could sell well. I mean, did anyone ever think of maybe marketing these shows to girls? I know in Japan the target audience is older men, but I personally know quite a few girls that like Lucky Star, K-ON!, Haruhi, and some others.

    Viral marketing always helps. Adam from FUNimation said that Strike Witches sold very well for them, and why is that? Thank the War on Pants! I also heard that Kannagi and Haruhi sold well for Bandai thanks to the viral marketing campaigns surrounding them. Meanwhile, Lucky Star had no such viral marketing, and as we know, didn't do too hot (though I think those stupid shirts included with the DVDs may be partly to blame as well).

    Finally, Clannad has certainly seen success, or else Sentai Filmworks wouldn't have re-released it with a dub. Clannad worked out because Sentai was conservative in its release. They started it out as sub-only and then noticed it was selling, so they dubbed it and offered an upgrade program to those who already owned it.

    Bandai is really hyping up the audience at conventions lately with K-ON! and they seem to be pretty confident and excited about it. Hopefully all the hype will translate into sales, because I would love to use this as an example of "Hey, guess what? Moe DOES sell in the US!" to some of them haters out there.