Show #43 – Nadia’s Moe Panel

Show #043 Direct Download:

OP: “Round Dance (Revolution) [From Revolutionary Girl Utena]” by Yoko Ishida, theme from the Utena TV Show, remixed for the Para Para Max US Mix volume 1, also available on amazon for 25 cents

ED: Neko Mimi Mode “Cat Ear Mode” from Tsukuyomi Moon Phase, used in the Moe panel because the opening sequence so typifies moe.
NEWS Noah and I are giving a panel:

Big in Japan; Unknown in America

Doreamon and Sazae-san are two of the longest running animated series of all time, with over one thousand episodes each. Kochikame and Anpanman are synonymous with “anime” in Japan but totally unknown to American fans. Join Erin and Noah of the Ninja Consultant Podcast as they explore anime series that every Japanese person is familiar with, yet have never been imported to the U .S.

6:30 PM Monday June 11th MoCCA, Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, 594 Broadway, Suite 401, between Houston & Prince Streets.

The rest of the show is Nadia’s panel on Moe from Anime Boston 2007. The audio improves after the first three minutes. The Q&A at the end is somewhat inaudible, but I did my best.

If you have quetions about the shows covered in the panel, or the terms, post them here and I’ll add some links.

I came to a kind of moment of realization during the panel that I am a Tsundere character in real life.

Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Show #43 – Nadia’s Moe Panel

  1. kudasaru says:

    *cry* You know nothing of my suffering

    Actually, I suffer a great deal for my academia. The moe panel was probably the most suffering, although 1950/60s shoujo manga was pretty bad at times too (oh god… the eyes… the eyes… THE SQUARE HIGHLIGHTS). I know it’s hard to believe someone would go to the trouble of watching 50 shows that they found mind numbingly boring and maybe I’m the only person in the world who can not only do so, but then become an apologist for what, in my heart of hearts, I actually consider kind of crappy. And actually when you come down to it, the reason I decided to start studying moe is because I just didn’t get it. I made some comments like the ones you made above around a Japanese otaku friend of a friend and he got pretty hurt and upset by them because he was all into newly-married couple love sims that showed sweet and adorable, loving relationships. Not all moe is about little girls, you know. And not all moe is sexual. Girls experience it all the time whenever they see something they consider adorable and that’s usually not sexual. It’s also the emotion they’re experiencing when they’re squealing over a rock star or a boy band, which often is sexual. Basically, it is a REALLY strong and sudden feeling of attraction that swells up inside of you. And yeah, it’s kind of pathetic from an outsider’s perspective, but I would say that about love in general. And the reason I cited girls above is because both in Japan and America, the emotion that is experienced upon feeling moe would be considered really really girly. Most girls who want to claim tomboy status will insist that they have never felt it, or at the very least, have not expressed it through squealing. (I myself will admit to squealing, but never in public.)

    But on the subject of moe being filthy, most of them aren’t really. I mean, if you look at Air and Kanon, for example, there’s nothing even remotely sexual about them. You’d have to be a pretty spectacularly perverted individual to imagine any sexual content existed in the animated series versions (the love sims, on the other hand, had sex scenes, but as several Japanese otaku have pointed out to me, Air and Kanon are games where the point wasn’t really about the sex scene. There are apparently some love sims where getting the sex scene is the main point and others where it’s sort of an aside. Kanon and Air belonged in the latter category.) Not to say such individuals don’t exist, but for people who just want to watch it as a sweet but heartbreaking romance in the case of Kanon or a… okay, I don’t even know what’s going on with Air, I guess for the mystery and atmosphere, they can do that too.

    Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got stuff like Amaenaideyo with naughty gags every other second. But this was more funny than sexually exciting (and unlike most of these shows, Amaenaideyo actually was amusing.)

    And then there are some like Yumeria and Onegai Twins which have sexual content in order to be titillating. Let’s pretend, for the sake of my sanity, that I never watched them so I don’t have to think about them too much.

    Sorry, there’s a limit to the number of characters I can post in a response. TBC

  2. kudasaru says:


    No, the real problem with moe isn’t that it’s filthy. The real problem with moe is that it is SO FRICKIN BORING. You have no clue. You cannot possibly imagine. The same characters. The same plots. The same episodes. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. Slowly, your mind begins to unravel. I eventually learned that I can just as easily watch them while doing something else and only half paying attention and pretty much miss nothing! But it was still sort of like pulling teeth. At first I made the mistake of checking out eBay and online shopping sites while I was watching it and my wallet suffered severe losses as a result. The best is if I’m chatting online with someone while I’m watching it because it makes it feel like time goes by quicker. It was sort of a relief when I started watching Video Girl Ai recently because I had begun to worry that I didn’t enjoy anime anymore.


  3. kudasaru says:


    I know that it’s really really REALLY hard to imagine that guys would want to just enjoy feeling an emotion. Everything in American society tells us that this is well nigh impossible. Men don’t feel emotions. According to “common sense,” they just want to plug things with their happy sticks. But believe it or not, some men do want to just enjoy an emotion and that’s basically what the new otaku generation in Japan is all about. (The older one was all about sci-fi, epic plots and meaningful themes. I really really really miss the old days.) These guys are so deviant that people refuse to accept they could possibly feel this way. Instead, like you, they assume that it MUST be filthy because that’s how we’re taught to think that all men feel about women, no exceptions. (Some people are intelligent and have experience around a diverse enough group of men to realize that this isn’t the case. However, most people tend to hang around the same kinds of people over and over so they assume that everyone they know is what the whole world is like. This is why you get some people claiming that all men are like X or all women are like Y. Be careful before assuming that your experiences are ubiquitous. This is especially true when dealing with people who are born, raised and living in another culture.)

    What they don’t want to defile isn’t the character. The character doesn’t exist. The character is just an object. Moe is, practically by definition, aimed at inanimate things rather than living, breathing people. The value of the character is that she gives you this feeling and because she doesn’t exist and can be whatever you imagine her to be, you can keep feeling those same sweet emotions forever and ever. What they really don’t want to defile is the emotions. They want to keep having that natural high over and over again.

    And, sure, you may think it’s weird. I may think it’s boring. But so what? There are worse things they could be doing to enjoy themselves. They could be ruining their liver by drinking alcohol or going around mocking others to their face for living a different life than they do. As long as they’re not hurting themselves or anyone else, then let them do whatever floats their boat. I’d hesitate to call it filthy or evil unless it moved away from the realm of fantasy and resulted in real people getting hurt. If moe was actually resulting in an increase in lolipedo crimes, then trust me, the Japanese media would be having a field day throwing those statistics at us (it’s just the sort of thing they love to report about.) But from people I’ve talked to who have spent more time in Japan and studied this far more than I (see Roland Kelts, author of Japanmerica) that isn’t happening.

    But yeah, future iterations of the panel will focus more on the why. I was in the middle of doing research for a paper I was writing on it so the panel ended up being sloppy and fairly uninformative. The why is the really interesting part of it, but in order to talk about that, you have to start delving into psychology and stuff like that. I mean, I’m at the point where I could comfortably talk about moe in that way now (whee! I’d get to discuss amae and mitate), but I wonder how well it will be received?


    • Anonymous says:

      Re: TEH END

      FYI – Quiet types girls like Rei Ayanami and Yuki Nagato are called “dandere”. Girls who are sweet and then become really fucking crazy like Kaede from Shuffle! and Rena from Higurashi are called “yandere”.

      The pillows are called “dakimakura”, or hug pillows.

      I’m surprised you didn’t cover zettai ryouiki; that’s like a moe staple. I’m also suprised you didn’t cover the fujoshi/BL movement in Japan, considering it’s growing larger than moe nowadays. Moe hasn’t been the same after Densha Otoko came around and gentrification of Akiba started…

      Anyway, greets from a fellow anthro in the trenches of the kimoi otas…

      • Anonymous says:

        I guess you did address fujoshi-kei moe.

        Should’ve listened to the whole podcast before responding…

        – Lafcadio

  4. Anonymous says:

    It-would-bring-me-to-te-ars-if-I-had-te-ars-to-shed. [fires freeze gun]

    (Daryl Surat)

    Your response is well-crafted and deserves a proportionate response, but I think I’ve got somewhat of a fundamental semantic disconnect with you. I think your definition of moe is just far, far too encompassing and–as stated in the panel–approaches a point where the term becomes devoid of meaning. Your examples regarding how moe can allegedly be sexual and nonsexual imply that the word can be used to describe two totally different emotional responses, and once you start going down that path, the only logical conclusion is that you’ll end up using the word “moe” as a shell-game substitute for “love.”

    And the most fundamental thing to understanding moe is to understand that moe is NOT love. It’s similar in many ways, but it’s not quite the same. I was going to comment about moe being like margarine to love’s butter, but then I’d be using the phrase “love butter.” Love. Butter. Hmm. I think I just gave Frank Miller half a script.

    In your panel you mention that the character one would feel moe towards is something that’d be put up on a pedestal, so to speak. In a sense, that’s true, but it’s not like that stupid Kevin Smith speech from Chasing Amy is really applicable here. The pedestal act is what people tell themselves they’re doing, but here’s THE TRUTH: whatever someone feels moe for must be something that person can perceive as being weaker than they are, because then they can say “yeah, but at least I’m stronger than THAT,” thus assuring to themselves that they, too, are strong enough to be able to protect something. Moe arises out of THEIR OWN weaknesses projected onto some character/object and then amplified for the sake of self comfort. It’s a mental funhouse mirror. A common example: many otaku aren’t exactly at the peak of physical fitness, so if you amplify that aspect and create a character that say…needs to be on dialysis due to kidney failure, you can win more hearts and minds than even 20,000 soldiers. Kana Little Sister is proof.

    As a substitute for love, moe carries with it an additional set of drawbacks. I initially had a butter/margarine analogy, but a more fitting one would be that love is to morphine as moe is to heroin. Hmm, but if moe is heroin, perhaps that makes love methadone? Whatever, the primary consumers of goods deliberately designed to elicit a moe response are single males in their late teens to twenties.

    You know. Otaku.

    For whatever reason, these people–and we’re talking about REAL otaku here, not people like…Noah–simply cannot connect with others on anything beyond a casual acquaintance/friend level (if even that). They can’t actually have significant long-term (or even short term) relationships. Too bad for them that all intelligent life has a reproductive directive hardcoded into their DNA. Human beings kind of need to love someone…or some-THING. Given the circumstances, there are two choices otaku can make:

    1. Attempt to ignore that feeling. Pretty much impossible, and doing so will pretty much kill them one way or another since the resulting pain is what would drive people to suicide or some sort of drug habit in the hopes of dulling the pain. That won’t help. The only way to survive this one is to follow the advice of Hokuto Shinken’s most gifted practitioner, Toki: turn your sorrow into anger and move on. Regardless, no matter what, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel on this route. Otaku meifumado, if you will. Welcome to THE LIFE.

    2. Substitute something similar that’ll fool the irrational, instinct-driven portion of the brain just enough. You know, like that blue serum Blade would take instead of drinking blood, the one that only sort of worked? This is where moe enters in. Like Rick Astley himself, moe characters are never gonna give you up, let you down, run around, or desert you. Of course, they’re not actual human beings (“but she’s just a silent, cold-skinned doll”), but what else can an otaku do? Once they’ve hit the median age of the moe demographic, that’s the point where they have to come to terms with the fact that they have become Arthur Lynch.

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: It-would-bring-me-to-te-ars-if-I-had-te-ars-to-shed. [fires freeze gun]

      (Daryl Surat)

      The Arthur Lynch admission is the last thing humans want to do because–as stated above–to deny it and fail means to die, but as Marquis Lohengramm pointed out, “in that case, DIE. Do you think there’s any value in your life now?! You’re a coward!… Nobody will support you, no matter WHAT excuses you give! Even so, you STILL think your life is precious?”

      At which point the otaku can only conclude “you’re right. It’s been so long, I can never clear my dishonor. In that case, why not live thoroughly shamelessly in my cowardice?” Next thing you know, they’ve got their hugging pillows and their collection of dolls and figures that run several thousand dollars worth. They’re beyond caring that the world laughs at them and thinks they’re losers because hell, they ARE losers, but at least they’re comfortably numb without having to pay to watch the laser show. The reaction of sane people to this madness is “if these people have THAT much money, couldn’t they get an ACTUAL woman?” The answer of course is “no.” Money can’t buy you love or even moe. It CAN rent you sex. And also buy the all-important merchandise, but everyone remembers that one scene in Paranoia Agent where those two pursuits were combined. And honestly, much like how Blade always ends up wanting actual blood because sooner or later the thirst always wins, moe can only work for so long, even if things keep ramping up to the point that the Ultimate Moe Character is neither a joke nor ultimate. What will happen to the moe-following hordes over the next few decades? Probably even more suicides that nobody will care about.

      Have you ever had a crush on someone that you didn’t really want to go out with but you just wanted to enjoy the feeling of having a crush on them?


      I know it’s hard to believe someone would go to the trouble of watching 50 shows that they found mind numbingly boring and maybe I’m the only person in the world who can not only do so, but then become an apologist for what, in my heart of hearts, I actually consider kind of crappy.

      Posts like these are why the back of your Polaroid reads “don’t believe her lies.” PS: she opens up her wrists at the end. MOEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

  5. horseydad says:

    Привет! Все кто читает этот блог – С Днем Примерения и согласия!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *