Coined in Japan in the late '90s, "Moe" (萌え, pronounced as "Mo-Eh", derived from a Japanese word that means "budding, to sprout/bloom") is an ill-defined otaku term that means, amongst other things, "cute", "huggable", or "endearing". While it's sometimes used to describe a series, it's more about a specific ideal or kind of character, similar to Kawaisa. When used as an interjection, figuratively, it's used to convey that "something blooms inside your heart".
Read more at tvtropes: Moe .
answered Jan 10 '13 at 15:50
Moe is a Japanese term used in connection with manga or anime to describe something precious, usually (but not always) the ideal of youthful and innocent femininity. Written with the kanji for "to bud or sprout" (萌), the concept covers a range of ideal behaviour for youthful female characters in manga or anime. To be moe, a character can be eager or perky, not overly independent, and call forth a desire in the viewer to protect them and nurture them. The term is also used to describe any preciously cute item; there is an animal mascot character store in Tokyo called Moe.
There is a lot of debate over the crossover between moe fandom and lolicon. While the crossover exists among fans and products the two genres are not synonymous.
I think it's a good enough definition, but just for you to be able to consider, here are a few others:
Basically, all of those define moe in the same way, but with different words or phrases.
answered Jan 10 '13 at 15:53Your Answer
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Sorry, everyone. I was not able to get a new essay ready to post for this week. So in the meantime, please enjoy this repost of my first theoretical article ever on the Anime Almanac. I was reminded of this essay by this week’s Chicks on Anime column at the Anime News Network. It is much shorter than the length of my posts these days, but I think it still gets my point across. Originally posted on April 26, 2005. right at the start of the otaku boom / moé fad in Japan.
Derived from the verb “a plant sprouting, ” moe is an expression of adoration for innocent girls who are “as fresh as a flower bud”; can also be used to describe excitement towards an object or character.
According to a survey by Hamagin Research Institute, Ltd the market for ‘Moe’ merchandise, including printed media, visual media and games based on moe anime and manga characters surpassed 88.8 billion yen (US$840.5 million) in sales in 2003.
Hamagin divides the “moe” market into printed media, images and games. Games, primarily love simulations, are estimated to be worth 46 billion yen (52% of 88.8 billion yen). printed media (primarily manga) worth 27.3 billion yen (31%), visual media (primarily anime, but also including other art) is worth 15.5 billion yen (17%).
With the Japanese “otaku industry” worth an estimated 290 billion yen (US$2.74 billion) in 2003, Moe related products accounted for almost a third of the otaku market.
Unmarried males in their 30s account for the majority of the moe market.
This news really took me by surprise. Moé seems to be the newest vocabulary term used around these parts these day. In fact, I used it for the first time last night when I was reviewing He is My Master. I always find it hard to find the right words for my favorite style of anime. I throw around the words like “kawaii,” and “bishoujo,” because they all say the same thing: cute! I love cute things, especially those l’il anime girls with the big glossy eyes. But for some reason recently that love’s been a lot stronger for me then it was before. Why?
Well I guess my theory is that I’m at a stage in my life when getting married and starting a family seem to be just over the horizon. In a way, it’s very scary, but I’m also excited about the idea of parenthood. Since I grew up with just a brother, I never really interacted with any girls for most of my life. The idea of raising a sweet little girl of my sounds so appealing to me because it’s something I never had before.
There was a shoujo series that came out recently called Aishiteruze Baby that really hit a nerve with me. It was the story about a high school boy that is forced to take care of his little female cousin. But since her mother has abandoned the girl, she relies completely on the older boy to take care of her. This forms a father-daughter relationship between the boy and the girl, and the boy experiences so much love and happiness from her. It’s so sweet and innocent that it just made me tear up and wish I had that.
So then why the sudden attraction to Moé? Is it a sign of pedophilia?
Hell no, I say it’s the longing for fatherhood. That the last statistic in that article proves it. “Unmarried males in their 30s account for the majority of the moe market.” When you’re a Japanese salary man working for over decade in an exhausting job, what do you have to show for it? What’s the purpose in your life? Well, if you’re not married and don’t have a family… I don’t really think you have much going for you. So yeah, they’re seeing that window of fatherhood slowly closing on them, and it makes them long for it more. So that’s why they turn to Moé comics, anime, and games. And if you look at these things, there’s hardly any mention of anything sexual. All these men really want is an innocent little girl of their own to take care of.
Now I’m sure that many will look at this article and think that it’s a revolution of pedophilic perverts. But I say don’t be so quick to form that conclusion. To me, Moé is just another natural and healthy form of escapism.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 at 6:27 pm by Scott.
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sign in sign upThe Best Moe Anime of All Time
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Get ready for adorable characters that are too cute for words- this is our list of the best moe anime, voted on by Ranker's anime community. This may not be the most popular genre of Japanese animation, but all of these shows are worth checking out if you're looking for something new to watch. Although the definition of what "moe" is can be hazy, it essentially means that the characters in the show are insanely cute looking. Traits such as large eyes and colorful hair are typical of moe girls This poll includes video clips of each show, so if you haven't seen one you can watch it right here on this page. The shows that are listed may have different sub-genres, but they're all moe in one way or another.
Anime on this list include Clannad and Astarotte no Omocha. What is the greatest moe anime of all time? Scroll down and find out for yourself! List Photo: user uploaded image
Anyone who has seen manga (漫画 ) and anime (アニメ ) knows that these forms of storytelling do not leave a lot to the imagination. But there are layers of symbolism at work that can escape notice unless you know what to look for. Let’s take an easy one; hair color.
The hair color of a character signifies aspects of their nature and reflects their role in a story. This is anime, so we are definitely not confined to the natural spectrum of colors. Instead, we get into a lot of punk rock colors like pink, green, and blue. While we’re at it, let’s learn how to say each color in Japanese.
–Black (黒 kuro )
When most of the characters in a story have colorful hair, black hair usually suggests that a character is insignificant, ordinary, or traditional. This is not surprising considering every Japanese person, in the real world, is born with jet black hair.
–Brown (茶色 chairo )
Since many Japanese people nowadays dye their hair brown, brown is almost the default hair color for normal characters in manga and anime.
–Blonde (金髪 kinpatsu ) / yellow（黄色 kiiro )
Blonde or yellow hair is used for a range of very specific character types. These include white Westerners, a prince or princess, a rich person, or a juvenile delinquent. I guess, for Japanese, being blonde means you’re either really good or really bad (but definitely different).
–White (白 shiro )
White hair is used for an old person, a mysterious person, or a character with special/magical abilities. That is kind of an easy one, right?
–Pink (ピンク pinku )
Pink hair is usually reserved for girls. These girls are either the main character of the story or the love interest of a main character. In either case, the color suggests a kind of innocence, or connotes a child-like personality.
–Blue (青 ao )
Characters with blue hair range from quiet and calm to cold and calculating. These correspond to still waters and freezing temperatures respectively.
–Red (赤 aka )
Red, a deep vivid red, signifies a character who plays a passionate or aggressive role in the story.
–Orange (オレンジ orenji )
Characters with orange hair are full of energy. They are often self-centered troublemakers. Orange might be read as an alloyed variation on the passions of a character with red hair.
–Green (緑 midori )
Green is often applied to so-called 萌えキャラ moe chara. This is a character created to seduce the reader. This one may require a little further explanation.
萌え moe is a slang word which refers to a deep attachment or attraction that a real person may develop for a fictional character in anime, manga, or video game.
The term 萌え moe can be grafted on to another word that describes a personality or a physical trait. For example, you combine めがねっ子 meganekko (eyeglass girl ) and 萌え moe together, and you get a word, めがねっ子萌えmeganekko moe (eyeglass-girlmoe ). This word describes a person who is attracted to fictional characters wearing eyeglasses. Is it a little weird for readers and gamers to fall in love with characters who have specific traits? Maybe! For now, let’s just stick with colors!
‘Moe’. Some hate it, some love it. But what exactly is it? Why is Yui a ‘moeblob’? What does that even mean? Most of the time, people fling the word around without really knowing what it means.
– A cutesy artstyle?
– A type of character behavior?
– The desire to protect?
– The sexual depiction of little girls?
– Slice-of-life shows with no ‘plot’?
I’ve heard ‘Moe’ being defined as all of the above on podcasts to forums to blogs to even articles written by ‘professional’ reviewers. The meanings of the word have become so varied and diverse that it’s ‘true’ meaning can be hard to pin down.
I take issue with this as many people use ‘Moe’ as an excuse to hate and discriminate a show which it might or might not be deserving of. Some people take ‘Moe’ as a ‘loli pedo’ artstyle and associate it with shows with ‘no plot’ and hate on any show with such elements, while disregarding everything else. Case in point, the (in)famous K-On! or this season’s Madoka, despite the fact that K-On! is completely chaste (the bath scenes remained censored even in the BD/DVD release) and that Madoka’s plot twists can blow your brains out through your ears. Most of the time, these people write these shows off and don’t even give them a chance which I think is biased and unfair. Worse still, there are Anime fans who hate ‘Moe’ without even knowing what it means or why they even hate it. Another contributing factor to this blatant hatred is the tendency of people on the internet to not substantiate their claims with reasons.
I’ve been planning to write something about ‘Moe’ for quite awhile, but could never seem to put one together well for one reason or another. That’s when I came across this exceedingly brilliant piece on ‘Moe’ by VillainousHanacha which I think is one of the best and unbaised writeups on ‘Moe’ that I have read. With his permission, here it is:
Moe of course coming from the verb “Moeru” which means “to bud” or “budding”. However that used to only mean in the context of plants, like a rose bud (although it is still used in that context as well). However the “Moe” were talking about also has connections with another “Moeru”, this particular one meaning “to burn”. But this “to burn” implies more along the lines of a “burning passion” or an intense like or drive. Watch any Shounen fighting or sports Anime and one of the characters are bound to say “Moeru zo!” or “Moeru ze!” at some point in time.
So knowing these 2 things, we can ascertain that the true and correct meaning of “Moe” in the sense of Anime and Manga are concerned, is a growing, intense, passion or like of something or someone. Nothing more, nothing less. Often “Moe” manifests itself as an “urge to protect”. This being that the “intense passion or interest ” is coming from the interest in the character’s safety and well being. Moe allows you to be able to worry for a character, hence the “passion or interest” and hence the feelings of “Moe”. Cuteness can also create a similar feeling, because it’s something you want to have, hence the “passion or interest”, etc, etc…
However there are very important things to note. Since “Moe” depends on PERSONAL passion and interest, there is no one guaranteed method of inducing a person’s “Moe”. True, business savvy studios have over time created characters “More likely to induce Moe” (Others just incorrectly call such types “Moe Characters”), but not everyone’s interests and tastes are the same. To western Otaku, Azumanga Daioh is often not seen as being very “Moe” at all, and if they did, they would most likely find “Moe” from Sakaki. However to Japanese Otaku, Azumanga is seen as being quite “Moe”, with Osaka garnering the most “Moe” (you don’t win the 2002 Saimoe awards for nothing). Also Japanese Otaku find Saeko of HOTD “Moe”, while most Western Otaku find her sexy, but not particularly Moe. Point is, there is no definite way to make your audience “Moe” for your characters, therefore terms like “the Moe genre” are incorrect because that would imply everyone had the exact same interests.
Not to mention the term “Moe genre” is incorrect for other reasons as well. Feelings of “Moe” are mostly generated from characterization and art style. With this in mind, it is idiotic and silly to name a genre after a character trait. The “Anti-Hero genre”? The “Magnificent Bastard genre”? Those characters can appear in any genre. For Magnificent Bastards, Lelouch appears in a drama, political intrigue action Mecha, and Souma appears in a slice of life comedy known as Working. “Moe-trait Characters” can also be in any genre as well. Puella Magi Madoka Magica proves that quite well. Rei Ayanami, possibly the original “Moe Character”, also proves quite well “Moe” can be in any genre. It can play in Index, Railgun and Bakemonogatari just as well as it can in Lucky Star, K-ON and Working. The Idea of a “Moe Character” is dubious by itself (as that would imply everyone found the same thing “Moe”, when the reality is that it’s characters “more likely to induce Moe), but the term “Moe genre” is just as incorrect a term as the “Animation genre” in the west.
The true problem here is the incorrect usage of the term. the term “Moe” has become bogged down with unnecessary baggage and untrue meanings. “Moe” is just a feeling of happiness, deriving from the intense “passion or interest”. Even for those who claim to hate “Moe”, you have felt it before, I know you have. It is a natural extension of human passion, and our ability to love something. “Moe” is not something to be shunned, it is a beautiful thing that should be celebrated, as it can be found anywhere, from any genre and from anybody, which then brings us a brief moment of happiness in our too short lives. You have felt it before, you just haven’t accepted it yet.
Hopefully, as an Anime fan, you have been a little bit more enlightened on this whole ‘Moe’ debacle. That being said, what is your definition of ‘Moe’? How did you arrive at that conclusion? Do you hate it or love it? If so, why?
Some people hate on ‘Moe’ because of what it supposedly does to the Anime industry and culture. There are also some older Anime fans who grew up watching shows form the 80s and 90s where all Anime was about Giant Robots, Hyper Violence, Sci-Fi and Avant Garde Works of Art and can’t stomach the more high-school, comedy orientated Anime that is so prevalent nowadays.
Older Anime fans have to understand that times have changed. From what I understand, in the 80s, producers were willing to experiment and they had tons of money to spare. They were able to let Animators do whatever they pleased. Shows like Robot Carnival and a lesser known Bobby’s Girl are all a result of the culture during that time.
In this day and age, where money is scarce and a single flop can easily bankrupt a company, producers are more likely to go with a sure-hit ‘Moe’ show (or a popular adaptation of a Light Novel, Manga, Eroge, etc…) than venture into unknown territory with a completely original production. Not to mention, comparing DVD sales figures of the past years ‘good’ shows just don’t sell as well as ‘Moe’ ones as only the ‘Moe’ loving Otaku crowd really spend the money to buy DVDs and merchandise.
In short, the culture has changed, the industry has changed and most importantly, the fans have changed. But, I believe that innovation is still present today and there is something for everyone to enjoy in every new season of Anime.
I am fully aware the each of us have our own unique tastes and preferences. But if you don’t like something, you can just not watch it. The problem arises when fans begin to think that their opinion is the truth, hate on shows and ruin other fan’s enjoyment. If you do hate something and must voice your opinion, do remember to explain why and offer constructive criticism if possible.