If you’ve been a fan of Anime for as long as I have, you will have noticed some changes in the types of Anime that have come out as of late. We have seen a type of Anime that seems to have taken on it’s own Genre. What I am talking about, is Moe.
(All of this is my opinion. If you disagree with me, by all means do, it’s your opinion and I will respect it. In turn, I ask you do the same. All photos are not mine.)
What is Moe, you may ask? Moe is a type of slang used in the Japanese language to describe or express one’s strong interest in a particular type of character or trait. An example would be a person who likes characters wearing Neko-Mimi, or cat ears. One very popular type is someone who likes the Tsundere-type, or a character who has a tough exterior but is soft and cute on the inside.
As you may imagine, Moe Anime, or “Moe-Blobs” as they are affectionately called by some, are Anime that are specifically catered to these interests. We often see many traits and types crammed into one Anime in order to serve to the masses.
So why am I explaining all of this? Simply put: There are those out there who believe that Moe-Blob is the end of Anime. The basis of the arguments stem from the alleged “facts” that Moe-Blob Anime are starting a trend where storytelling is becoming second nature, and that catering to the fan’s love for specific traits has become more important. Some believe that if this continues, Anime would just essentially become shows about big breasts, girls with glasses, and so on, without any of the other things that have made Anime what it is today.
While I agree that Anime in a story is important, I do not agree that Moe-Blob is a bad thing; In fact, I feel it is quite the opposite. Moe is there to cater to someone’s love for certain characters, and that is all that should matter. Anime should be a medium where anyone can have fun watching. It’s entertainment. Plain and simple. Entertainment is like a living thing, it will change with the times and trends, and Moe is the current trend. For the sake of example, let’s take the recent Moe/Comedy/Slice-of-Life Anime, K-ON! (I will refrain from going into great detail as there may be some of you who have not seen it yet).
K-ON! is a music-based four-panel manga that was turned into an Anime in 2009, and is currently in it’s second season as of April 2010. It tells the tale of Sakura High’s Light Music Club, or Keionbu if you want to get technical. You have Yui, the easy-going, food-loving lead guitarist; Ritsu (often called ‘Ricchan’), the energetic, tomboyish drummer; Tsumugi (mainly referred to as ‘Mugi’), the wealthy and gentle keyboard player; Mio, the shy, left-handed, scaredy-cat Bass player, and the newest member, Azusa, the serious ( or at least tries to be) rhythm guitarist and junior of the group. There are also a number of side characters, such as Sawako (often called ‘Sawa-Chan’ by the club), the club Advisor and teacher at the school who was a former member of the Light Music Club during her high school days, and hides a very different side of her past; Nodoka, Yui’s childhood friend and president of the student council, and Ui, Yui’s very mature and kind little sister.
The Anime basically follows their everyday lives as they go through High School. There is the typical fare of going to the beach, hanging out at each others houses, and going shopping, as well as the expected musical concerts at their school and practicing.
As expected, the show is full of Moe moments. Each individual character displays a type of Moe, particularly Mio in the first season. Much of the things involving Mio play on her being very shy and easily scared and grossed out.
Before this becomes an analysis on K-ON!, I need to get back on topic. This Anime is often cited when talked about Anime and it’s eventual demise. As previously stated, those who believe that Anime is over due to the rise of Moe-Blob Anime say so because the shows do not have any substance or story to speak of. In my opinion, they have lost their minds. Sure, some Anime such as Lucky Star have really no storyline, but it still did not take away from the fact that the show was a hit and attracted much revenue in terms of tourists to the sites of the places featured in the Anime. K-ON! is no different, and has become a very popular Anime, despite being a Moe-Blob Anime. Why? Because they were entertaining.
The point I am trying to make is that Anime will not die simply because the current Genre is less substantial than Anime in the past. Mangaka and Animators still put their hearts into their respective creations, and it deserves to be heard, even if there are those who do not approve of it because it does not fit their description of what Anime should be. The whole point of Anime is to entertain people, and if people watch it and love it, then it is a job well done, and others should not ruin it for them. Do not get me wrong, I love the past Anime, as well as the new ones coming out, I also love a good, complex, involving story, but sometimes I just want to watch something that I can enjoy without following something complex. I’m sure you can tell by this, but I love K-ON! (I have a soft spot for Mio because she is a fellow left-handed person, but all the characters are great) and I would like to see more of Anime like this, where I can watch something and just enjoy it for what it is.
Moe is not the end of Anime. It’s simply a form of entertainment in which someone will find pleasure in. Sure, there are some tasteless types of Moe, but once again if it appeals to someone, all the better. Those who say it is the end of Anime are simply afraid that their works will get overshadowed and forgotten, or just closed-minded. Who knows what the next trend will be? Whatever that is, I hope to be there when it surfaces, and I hope that one day Moe will be looked back on as a Genre that, at its core, was a form of entertainment that made people smile. And that’s what counts.
tl;dr version: Moe is entertainment. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. And don’t give people crap for liking it either. Show some respect.