“Moé anime is killing anime!!”
You all had heard this somewhere on social media at one point. A lot take it as a joke. But many are actually dead serious about this. It’s a weird thing that has always been around the anime community when it comes to different types of anime. The “moé” anime, or basically as it is, “very cute” anime, mostly centered around cute girls being cute, has been around since anime has existed. Most wouldn’t know this, and a lot would deny it, but it has been around way before shows like Gundam, Hunter x Hunter, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Fullmetal Alchemist were popular. Hell, some of those may have been in those shows too. But, to get back to where it probably all became as is, we should go back to 10 years ago when Lucky Star came about. While I know there are some that proceed it (ex. Hidamari Sketch came out a few months before it. And we can’t forget shows like Utena and Cardcaptors Sakura), Lucky Star basically started the moé anime boom of the late ’00s. It was a hit to a lot of people, and dominated 2007 with Haruhi Suzumiya. Soon to follow to a bigger degree was Clannad, K-On!, Love Live!, Chuunibyou, Madoka Magica, and others. Some of these are mostly cute girls being cute shows. Other times, there are a lot of things happening that while it’s presented as moé, it’s certainly seems like it strays from the genre in general. Either way, they still have their own way of presenting themselves as moé. And it’s not just them. Other shows have also taken some reigns as being moé, and they don’t always involve just girls. One of the earlier shows may actually be Ouran High School Host Club, as it mostly involves cute and handsome guys. Some use one or two cute girls. Others use cute guys to lead. And some just give us nightmares.
Thanks, Handsome Fantasy Luffy. But I’m here to discuss the cute girl side of moé and why it always gets a bad wrap to others. It’s a weird thing I can’t understand.
For starters, let’s go over the basis of what most view moé anime as: Cute girls doing cute things. What does that imply? Usually, it means just anime girls that are cute going through their daily lives and just doing what they want, as they are being cute. Be it the girls of Is the Order a Rabbit? serving coffee and/or green tea. The girls of K-On! playing music and eating cake. Or the girls of School-Live! surviving a zombie apocalypse while also dealing with scarring, emotional memories, mostly they go on about their lives with the utmost, brimming confidence that you see most people do in real life. And yet, for some reason, that gets people mad. Why does it do it? I have no idea. Some people think that the anime world is all full of shonen adventures, where cute girls don’t usually exist at all. Others think that their anime is supposed to be manly as hell, and strive to have nothing but muscular dudes beat the shit outta of each other in a “non-homoerotic” way, which I’ll get more into in a second. Or maybe they expect their shows to be horror, edgy, mind-breaking, anything that some of these moé shows don’t do. Which is pretty stupid. Not everything can be Evangelion, where you see daddy issues, moms being actual giant robots, or seeing your main character choke a redhead into a coma, then jerk-off to said body. And not all can be one big shonen adventure. If you seen one shonen, you probably seen them all. Sometimes you need something cute and adorable to fill a void. Moé shows do this. Sometimes, they have more depth and development with characters in only 5 episodes than some of the stuff I just mentioned above, which may have over 600 episodes!!
One thing that does get the moé hate train going with the cute girls is their relationship status. Since there are mostly cute girls, there aren’t gonna be a lot of men. So, that leads them to think that there will be “Yuri moments” between the cast, or just thinking that every girl on there is a lesbian. This actually does cause fights on social media about “If X is really into Y” or “They are a lesbian, ’cause I said so. You can’t change that!” It can also lead to thinking that the characters are just lesbians, even though no hints were dropped at it, and said show even has them with boyfriends. Just look at what Sound Euphonium! produced. Other times, it can get messy in other ways with said girls being in a relationship, but another outside force ruins it (See: Maid Dragon dub script.) As much as these are, there’s nothing wrong with anything yuri. Nothing can be all JoJo or DBZ with all the homo-eroticism that you can crave in one sitting. Some don’t like those shows at all. Some are just sick and tired of them polluting the airwaves. Hell, there are even shows that take it to the gay relationship POV like Yuri On Ice!!! or Free! (That also produced said relationship stuff as said above.) There’s nothing wrong with all this. People want to cause drama mostly because it is or isn’t there. Which, really, makes me sound like a hypocrite to some of you.
Another issue that has also appeared, mostly in Light Novel anime adaptations, is incest. While I’m on the subject that I’m not in anyway for incest in real life (or most anime,) some have pointed to this as well in some shows and trashed it for it. The latest example is Eromanga-sensei. Some don’t want to watch this show because of the implied incest it has, just like the previous authors’ work in Oriemo, which with that Season 2 ending, is whole different thing altogether. While I understand this, I do find it weird that some would trash this show for it, but then defend shows like Sword Art Online, which has implied themes as well, or even live-action hit shows like Game of Thrones, which has the brother and sister duo Jamie and Cersei, and their offspring they produced. Why those get the green light, but moé shows don’t? Don’t ask.
Speaking of Eromanga-sensei, it’s not just the implied incest that got to people. Another thing it has is what really gets people going against these shows: fanservice. Fanservice is everywhere. It’s not new to anime. It’s been basically around since anime has been a thing. But people always seem to have a thing out for moé shows when they show fanservice. It is because of the beach episodes? The random shots of girls in their underwear? Or just because they don’t like it? Either way, fanservice is going to be around in most anime. Fanservice can be in kid shows as well. And yet, if it’s something like this involving Mio from K-On!
People get mad (Including actual Mio stans. No really, they do.) But if it’s something like this involving Lucy from Fairy Tail
People eat it up. In fact, a lot of shonen shows get a free pass from the fanservice usually. Whenever it be Bulma in early Dragonball episodes, Naruto and his “Sexy Jutsu”, the un-human like figures of the girls from One Piece, anything Fairy Tail does, whatever. Shonen shows don’t get dumped on as much as moé shows do. I guess it’s fine it mostly involves big, beefy guys fighting, and the girls are just there for T&A. Which, is not fair at all to the guys, is it? They can be just as sexy.
But hey, why talk about all of this when I haven’t even gotten to what makes these shows: the animation itself. The animation can sometimes make or break shows of any kind. Be it moé, shonen, horror, or just American cartoons in general. A good animation can sometimes save a bad animation. Sometimes, what looks like bad animation can actually be funny and meme worthy. While other times, the show is meh, and so is the animation. Mostly, animation is what you want to behold, and for those who don’t like moé, they can see animation from it in any bad light. For example, let’s look at this shot from K-On! It’s a faraway shot, which makes the characters look kinda poor, or “smol” as some, including me, have called it.
It’s not much. In fact, it kinda looks cute, if you really can see it for what it is. However, some would dismiss it as bad animation, and people may agree with it. Now, let’s look at a shot from Yuri on Ice!!!
Remember this? Same smol features basically of a faraway shot as with the K-On! girls. However, when people actually pointed it out, it raised a HELLSTORM of epic proportions when the show won Crunchyroll’s “Best Animation” and people went on about how we can’t judge shots from afar. So it raises the question: Why is it that Yuri on Ice!!!, a show that some have even said is a moé show, gets all the praise and defense from people, while stuff from cute girls shows like Kemono Friends gets batted down cause of said poor animation?
Is there a reason? I don’t know. It is weird that people would instantly drop a cute and fluffy (pun intended) show like Kemono Friends because of said animation, but watch all of this show with its unholy CGI animation, and hope and pray that this show gets better animation treatment in the future, when it may never happen?
I don’t know. And quite frankly, it leads to my final point which is what this piece asked:
“Why Does Moé Anime Get All The Hate?”
That’s just it: I Don’t Know. Is it because people can’t stand cute shows taking all the good spots on streaming sites? Is it because people want adventure and not things they find boring? Is it because they know deep down these shows may be better than the shows they enjoy? Is it just because, like a lot of AniTwitter, they want to hate something just because they feel like hating it? Again, I do not know. I seen simple things like Tohru from Maid Dragon just lick clean a shirt that belongs to the girl she loves, and she gets called a “perverted rapist” for it. While countless times, I seen the attempted rape scenes in Sword Art Online get defended time and again. I don’t know why moé anime gets all this hate. I do know one thing: Moé anime IS NOT killing anime. If you actually think this, then you need to get out of your little fantasy world. Anime is as popular as it has ever been. I mean, look at Yuri on Ice!!! and how it became mainstream literally overnight. Wanna know what is killing anime?
- Anime piracy
- Animators getting overworked to death over the untimely hours/deadlines they do
- Said animators not getting paid enough for all they do
- Japan relying on volume sales that sometimes don’t count for how some shows actually do
- Shows that are supposed to sell manga/light novels to survive, but don’t get published at all.
- Double Paywalls from licensors that inhibit people from seeing an anime (I had to throw in Anime Strike here.)
Whether or not you love them or just can’t stand them, cute, moé shows are not the ones that are killing anime. That we can as least agree on, I hope. Besides, it doesn’t matter what shows are out there. Everyone’s taste is different from others. You can like action-packed shows and cute girls enjoying life. You can enjoy a swimming team do their best, while also liking a moé boy explore dungeons to get girls. You can like giant robots and girls piloting giant tanks. Point is, do what you like that you find fun. Because as you know