After watching Ore no Imouto Episode 7 and the past incidents with a certain commenter on my blog started posting strongly biased comments against the moe genre. Well in reality, most anime fans don’t really care about the moe but care about the characters, story, animation and/or music. Also, the strong elitist hatred towards a genre could be destructive for the whole Anime Fandom.
As demonstrated in the arguments between Kirino and Kuroneko over the kind of shows they watch, it shows the obsessive side of the fandom. Nevertheless, genre elitism is harsher in real life with bashing of titles, making fun of/bullying fans of a genre, have strong feelings of hate and saying that anime is dying because of it. Moe seems to get so much unnecessary blame to the point that I feel the need to defend the genre even though I am completely neutral to the genre.
What is “moe” exactly? Moe is a feeling of cuteness over a specific quality of a character. This can range from the stuff they wear (e.g. glasses, maid outfit, cat ears), appearance and behavior. So, why would haters hate something that is so cute? Well there are reasons ranging from the lack of manliness, shows that lacks plot (categorizing slice of life with moe), disgusted by the 2D otaku interests or finds it stupid. It’s okay for people to express their opinions about the genre in a rational and intelligent way. However, bashing it by spreading false information or FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) to scare fans from watching it is neither rational nor intelligent; I think it’s pretty foolish.
I view moe as the whip cream of a sundae. It is not a significant factor when I decide what shows to watch. The enjoyment, character development, animation, and plot are the things I look for when I watch a show. Like the whip cream on a sundae, moe is simply an enhancement for a show. For instance, Suzumiya Haruhi and Hayate no Gotoku incorporate characters with moe to drive the comedy in an effective way. For instance, Mikuru being forced to wear specific outfits for a movie for the club and the numerous times Hayate is forced to crossdress. These moments are meant to appeal to the viewer while maintaining their interest.
Moe being viewed as a mindless genre of Anime is simply a myth. Like every show in any genre, they can have a deep and emotional storylines. For example, even though Air had a lot of cute girls, each girl has an emotional and deep story. Misuzu had the most tragic and sympathetic story with the origins of her curse as shown with her affection towards her mother and reaching her “goal.” While some shows that have moe like Lucky Star and Azumanga Daioh does not have a real plot, it simply doesn’t represent the genre. Moe like slice of life is a genre that does not stand alone, but go along with other genres like comedy, action, drama, mystery and so on.
Since I mentioned Slice of Life, most haters of the genre seem to pair it with moe as a mindless genre. The issue is, slice of life does not mean moe as I stated in my editorial on the Slice of Life genre a few months ago. This means that any show including action and mecha genre can use the slice of life format to tell the story. Some might not even realize that slice of life plot development is a lot slower compared to shows that have different method of storytelling. Therefore, I think the arguments that slice of life is mindless genre is not valid.
The problem I see with the hate towards genre is the “it is popular, so it sucks” attitude. It was resulted in the moe genre rising towards popularity during those years, especially after 2006. As a result, shows with the moe element became a punching bag for all the anime problems from the genre elitists. Reasons ranged from the lack of action, hot blooded and mecha anime. I think the problem lies with the person’s prejudiced attitudes or hatred for the moe element since they are closed minded, they never tried it or against their interest.
Moreover, I don’t agree that fans of intelligent anime think that moe sucks because it is so ironic. It is more like anti-moe elitists who cannot tolerate moe hates the genre. It is not fair to just blame a genre of shows for all the Anime problems just because you hate it. It has to do with the economies of scale, which ultimately decides what shows studios should produce. In addition, the Anime Industry is still suffering from the wounds of recession. So, how you will feel if someone come up to you and say, “Intelligent fans hate hot blooded shouen anime” or “hot blooded shouen anime is the cancer that is killing anime” because there is a lack of romantic harem comedies? You will probably be upset too. Lastly, I think the anti-moe elitists have a feeling of insecurity based on the things I mentioned previously. They feel the need to bash moe so they would feel better about the shows they love.
Likewise, I see the blame of “x is the cancer that is killing anime” in a different perspective. I do not think moe is the cancer that is killing anime; it is the elitist genre haters that hate a specific genre religiously are killing anime and the fandom. They do not realize that the animation companies are not catering for the western crowd, they are catering to the Japanese audience. There are still going to be action and mecha shows out there, but most of the resources are going to focus on moe comedies, romantic/harem and visual novel adaptations. So, I don’t really see the point of wasting energy on bashing/hating a genre when there are still shows they could still watch.
In the end, I think it is better off to stop hating and stick to the genre of anime you like or watch western shows. Then again, I highly doubt this will happen so it is better to ignore that part of the fandom and just enjoy the shows that you enjoy. Everyone needs to agree to disagree and stop making preview post bashing a show in a certain genre or bash a genre just to get attention. The blogosphere is chaotic enough already with the outrage from the Otaku Elimination Game, Amagami SS controversy, OreImouto Episode 4 fanservice and the hate; we don’t need any more drama.
Just to be fair, I don’t hate any genre of Anime out there. There are only a few genres I don’t care for like mecha for instance.