It is difficult to argue with the fact that in modern anime culture we increasingly see moe in different titles. At the same time, it is rather difficult to explain to a person who rarely watches anime [or does not watch at all] what moe is. However, if your "anime intake" is at the "otaku" mark, you can immediately or at least roughly understand what moe means.
How does moe manifest?
Quite often in the CIS, moe is perceived as a synonym for kawaii, that is, a simple description of cute girls. Unfortunately, no Oxford explanatory dictionary can give us a clear definition of moe [what a useless thing], so we focus on the general understanding of anime culture of this term.
So, moe is something on the verge of fetishism and wild admiration for the character. It is important that there is no sexual attraction to him, which holds, for example, "Kill la Kill". Moesh is a character you want to admire or protect just because he's so sweet and innocent.
But if we turn to our favorite Internet culture and go to the Urban Dictionary [English slang dictionary], and enter this word there, we get the following description: "Moe is when your heart gets a boner", which in translation means: “Moe is the feeling when your heart is hard”…. Something like that.
When the term moe itself appeared is unknown. However, some American otaku, John Opplinger, believes that he was derived from the names of such anime waifu as Hotaru Tomoe [Sailor Moon] and Moe Sagisawa [Kyouryuu Wakusei].
From Japanese this word is translated as "to burn" or "to burn with passion". But back to the Urban Dictionary, it describes moe as a personal feeling. By this logic, even your dog can be moe if it's cute enough. Or not? While the word "cute" reflects the essence of the term, it does not always mean moe. At the same time, moe always implies the word "cute".
The story behind the moe
For such a vague concept, it's hard to find a highlight in anime history when it first appeared.
Although it is logical to assume that the history of moe began approximately with "Sailor Moon". This series has a lot in common with modern moe titles. It was a story about cute girls who fought against evil, did everyday things and looked very peaceful in this everyday life. Despite having a transformation when they were stripped, I can confidently say that they were not fanservice characters, since the series was originally aimed at a female audience and borrowed quite a lot of techniques from the bisonen genre. At the same time, the girls were just the main characters, and not some kind of waifu who surrounded the main character of the guy.
Evangelion did a similar thing in the future. After all, before we realized that Asuka could not be fixed, she and Rei even aroused affection, since they were the focus of the series. Although it was the fan service that negated this potential, forcing people to constantly remember that they are 14 and be horrified.
In the future, we saw moesh manifestations in anime and used them to attract a larger audience, and the characters themselves acquired clear archetypes.
The coming of Kyoto Animation
And now Kyoto Animation burst into the industry, whose content was entirely based on moesh characters who do cute things in a cute lamp environment. And even though their first project was the mech anime Steel Alert? Fumoff ”, there were already characteristic features of this genre. And all their further work slowly led to the creation of the series "The Melancholy of Haruka Suzumi".
Unexpectedly, in a culture dominated by shounen about martial arts and furs, anime about robotic fights, a series about a restless egocentric moe girl burst into life, who suddenly became almost an object for founding a cult of her person. People became attached to her character, strenuously joined her "SOS Team" in search of the paranormal and could spend hours memorizing the famous dance from the series. Merchindise with her face has flooded the Japanese market, permanently anchoring moe in anime culture.
Kyoto Animation went further and released "Lucky star" a year later. In it, the studio took all the best elements from the previous series and added a degree of cuteness. There, lovely girls, schoolgirls, in a pleasant lamp atmosphere were engaged in no less pleasant and lamp business. It was a wonderful everyday life.
But the biggest success of this studio is certainly "K-On!" If past TV shows did tilt in a certain direction, such as mysticism in "The Melancholy of Haruki Suzumi", then this one was just about having a good time admiring the main characters and the chemistry between them. This anime sold very well and was vigorously discussed, because it is not uncommon for a series where, in fact, there was nothing large-scale, like fights or epics, attracted attention so much. And in fact, only after "K-On!" moe has become a genre. Another paradoxical thing, "K-On!" was not the first anime about girls' everyday life [even Lucky star wasn’t], but it was this series that launched the hype.
What's in there today?
Just like shonon and shoujo, moe is considered a genre purely in words. We mean the general concept that we will definitely see when launching such a series, namely: cute everyday life with elements of comedy or drama, a minimum of romance with the most charming characters.
Not surprisingly, following the trend, series began to appear, copying the concept of Kyoto Animation. Even this studio itself began to squeeze all the juices out of its own formula to the maximum. At the same time, the idal genre acquired a new breath, because it just perfectly fit into the framework of moe.
Soon people are tired of the same thing. Therefore, different studios began to experiment, adding new elements to the moe. The main thing is that cute girls interact with them. So, they could travel, play sports, or even kill goddamn zombies, or they themselves were zombie idols.
However, no matter how hard they try to maintain their popularity, it is also important to understand that other TV shows have also become infected with moess. Moe has become a common thing in anime basically. And it happened before our eyes. If other genres have evolved over the years, constantly changing, then increasing, then decreasing their influence on culture, literally in just 10 years, moe entered anime so much that now in fact it can be considered a synonym for kawaii, which perfectly characterizes modern anime.
The Topic of Article: What is moe?.