Moe is a character killer
Yes, that’s right, a rant about moe. However, this is not a typical rant where I talk about how the art style is usually bad and the glorification of weak characters is annoying and the fact that it sexualizes stupid, underage girls is insulting, because these things have been ranted about already by far funnier and smarter people than me. Instead, I am going to discuss what I would consider the worst part of moe. But, before we begin, I would like to clarify my beliefs on the subject.
Moe, on its own, does not bother me. It has its uses as some characters are just naturally cute or weak. However, these are the things I hate about moe, that will not be discussed, at least not at length, in this article:
- The art style isn’t that great. It can be used well, but the eyes that take up half of the face annoy me.
- The shows that focus around moe tend to be vapid and boring.
- Moe is becoming so popular that shows that don’t focus on it are becoming harder to find.
- God damned pedophilia.
- Retarded, useless, stupid little girls should never be considered a good thing.
Now, to the meat of things.
The reason why I read, watch or enjoy anything is for the characters. Oh, there’s the occasional parody and comedy and of course the show that’s so bad it’s bad-entertaining but, to me, what makes a show, more than its plot, are its characters. In fact, I am of the firm belief that you can tell the same story over and over and, as long as the characters are new and interesting, people could enjoy it. I am also of the firm belief that the plot of something doesn’t necessarily need to be “deep” if its characters have enough depth to carry the story on strong shoulders. And, while I could write an article on that subject alone (I could probably write an article on pond scum if I set my mind to it…), that is not the topic of the day.
The reason why moe pisses me off the most, is its terrible treatment of characterization. Characterization is what makes a show. If you have a bunch of cardboard cutouts running around acting cute or angry or stupid for no good reason other than to act cute or angry or stupid…well, then you have a KyoAni show…but, more than that, you creating boring, tepid, unwatchable shit. As a wannabe writer, flat characters (outside of the very few exceptions) are insulting to me as even the most boring character can be good when written well. Moe strips its characters of all viable motivations, aspirations, dreams, wants and needs and simply turns them into dumb fanservice tools. Now, I don’t mind fanservice at all. Hey, I like Queen’s Blade. But, unlike blatant fanservice, people actually take moe seriously, enough to find the “characteristics” exhibited by its archetypes to be desirable (Yes, even tsundere, because she always ends up realizing that what she needs most is a man).
Now, I could suddenly turn into uber feminist and say that I find it insulting as a woman that moe characters rely on men for stability and always end up happily in the arms of a patriarcal society (Don’t cheer too hard, feminist blogsphere. All y’all are crazy in my book, too.), and how it’s wrong of that to be considered desirable by anyone, but I honestly don’t care. Let the otakus think that dumb, weak-willed, submissive girls are really where it’s at. What bothers me the most is, of course, the flat characters with zero motivations, other than to pander incessantly to a crowd used to gorging on the bloated cake of the moe factory.
Moe doesn’t just affect girl characters. Oh no. It’s infecting my yaoi.
It’s also affecting supporting characters of the same shows. Take, for example, a dying moe girl. Let’s call her Trauma!moe. Trauma!moe is dying of some unspecified disease, and rather than develop a personality by interacting with those around her, coping with her disease, dealing with last minute things and inspiring the audience by not going quietly into that good night, she sits around a cries as the protagonist centers his entire character (dreams, aspirations, hopes, fears, needs and wants included) around Trauma!moe’s sad, sad life, for no other reason than to manipulate cheap tears out of an easily satisfied audience. Now the “Dreaded Tendrils of Moe” have infected another character that, might have otherwise, been interesting.
There’s something else that really gets my goat about moe, and that’s its wonderful treatment of naturally weak or innocent characters. Now, these people exist in real life. They walk about the streets every day. You want to know what else? Every human has a survival instinct, no matter how sheltered or weak they are. A person who does not fight tooth and nail for survival is not moe, they are suicidal. Even weak, innocent people care if they live or die. If someone were to corner a woman in an alley way, she would fight, maybe not physically, maybe not at that moment, but sometime, somewhere, she would fight.
Now, am I saying moe doesn’t have its place? Am saying it shouldn’t exist? Am I against pandering?
No. I have nothing against shit, as long as shit isn’t put on a pedestal. And that, right there, is the problem.
There’s nothing wrong with moe, except for the fact that it’s become a cancer that spreads and infects, taking over the anime industry and creating flat, uninteresting shows with flat, uninteresting characters, and going out to the masses that eat it up like free cake. And this stuff is selling. Big time.
Is anime dead?
Can anime make a comeback?
Depends on your definition of the word “comeback”. Frankly, I think there’s always a pile of shit with a few gold nuggets. Deny it all you want, but there is no such thing as “a golden age” of anything. You just don’t remember all of the stupid crap because it wasn’t worth the space in your brain. That stuff is for Star Trek quotes and sports statistics, my friend. Moe will go, and it will be replaced by something else. Do I think it’s bloating the anime industry? Oh, hell yea. Is my ranting going to fix it?
No, but it does make me feel like a ganster.