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Old 2013-05-03, 03:10   Link #121
relentlessflame
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
Well, guess what? When some guy comes and tells you that moe fans only like childish girls because they can't handle real women, and tries to cite the popularity of characters like Yui and Ayu as evidence, telling them "moe fans don't exist" isn't useful. These people know exactly what they're attacking, and likely their audience does too. On the other hand, pointing out that there's a solid chance those fans they're talking about also like Hitagi Senjougahara and Rin Tohsaka is useful. Personally, I'd combine it with a statement about what I think of the characters they cite (hint: Yui is far, far from my "perfect woman") in a double pronged attack. And guess what? An appeal to "moe traits" is very useful for showing that those fans probably like Hitagi and Rin. Hence why I think moe fans should know the various ways that something can be designated "moe": they can be very useful.
Well, just to be clear from the offset, I don't necessarily agree with the argument that "moe fans don't exist", I just think it's hopelessly nebulous as to what exactly that contains (and what it excludes).

But that aside... if you also have followed my own arguments on this issue over the years, you will also see that my approach has always been to combat judgemental stereotypes with a broader more thought-out perspective. So what you're saying about "broadening the spectrum" and showing that the word has a much broader meaning is exactly what I've always tried to do. Trying to broaden the definition from someone's invalid stereotype is not the problem. If someone says "moe is <x>", it's really easy to say "but it's also <y>, and <z>", where <y> and <z> are less controversial and more acceptable than <x>.

But now, try to turn around and constrain things and to define a single "moe box" that does accurately contain everything it should and exclude everything it shouldn't. I'm a bit partial to the point you said in the other thread about there being a multitude of different genres that all can be grouped on some giant "moe umbrella" (or at least "styles of content that often, but don't necessarily, evoke moe feelings"). That's an interesting way of looking at it, and may be a more fruitful approach. But, in that regard, I still think it's better to come up with other more clear and descriptive terms that accurately describe similar things (and exclude dissimilar ones) outside of the confines of "moe".


Quote:
Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
Second, I take pride in liking these "moe shows" some claim don't exist. I'm not audacious enough to try and claim NGE or TTGL (though I'm totally willing to claim some of their characters). I am, however, enthusiastic to lay claim to stuff like Crime Edge, Red Data Girl, Utawarerumono, Haruhi, Bakemonogatari, and Spice and Wolf - to name just a few. I see little reason to back down because someone might disagree with how I delineate the moe world.
But where does it end? I mean, if you group all those shows into a bucket called "moe anime", what does it even tell the uninitiated viewer about the content? Genres are only useful in the sense that they help people identify like things. In the end, your usage is more like an attribute that can be attached to (almost?) any show, regardless of genre or style. When I'm explaining Utawarerumono to someone, it's far more useful to point to its RPG connection (action/fantasy). When I'm explaining Bakemonogatari, I'd probably go more the supernatural/romance descriptor. Haruhi is a bit hard to describe, but I don't think it adds any more clarity if I say "it's a moe anime!". Then there's this ethereal quasi-genre that ostensibly exists at the intersection of K-On!, Kanon, and Chuunibyou... is that really a "thing" and how does it align with all these other shows you "claimed"?

If we're trying to reduce confusion and avoid prejudice/stereotypes, I can definitely see how it's useful to broaden the definition to avoid being "cornered". But you just end up with the large unwieldy catch-all attribute that applies to a tonne of different content without really actually describing the content. So, I ask, why bother? If I look through my anime DVD/BD collection, the vast majority have some sort of connection to the so-called "moe phenomenon". But trying to imply that, because of this, they're all in some sort of "like genre" seems insane to me. The only thing they really have in common is that I like them; "relentlessflame's invokers of moe" is not a genre, I think... (Though I do thank (and my wallet curses) the anime and bishoujo game industries for continuing to produce content in that "genre". )
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Old 2013-05-03, 04:22   Link #122
Cosmic Eagle
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Umm....you can't really classify "moe anime" seeing as moe is how one feels towards a character...

It varies from person to person. It is mistaken to even try to introduce something to someone and say this is moe
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Old 2013-05-03, 04:47   Link #123
0utf0xZer0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
Well, just to be clear from the offset, I don't necessarily agree with the argument that "moe fans don't exist", I just think it's hopelessly nebulous as to what exactly that contains (and what it excludes).

But that aside... if you also have followed my own arguments on this issue over the years, you will also see that my approach has always been to combat judgemental stereotypes with a broader more thought-out perspective. So what you're saying about "broadening the spectrum" and showing that the word has a much broader meaning is exactly what I've always tried to do. Trying to broaden the definition from someone's invalid stereotype is not the problem. If someone says "moe is <x>", it's really easy to say "but it's also <y>, and <z>", where <y> and <z> are less controversial and more acceptable than <x>.

But now, try to turn around and constrain things and to define a single "moe box" that does accurately contain everything it should and exclude everything it shouldn't. I'm a bit partial to the point you said in the other thread about there being a multitude of different genres that all can be grouped on some giant "moe umbrella" (or at least "styles of content that often, but don't necessarily, evoke moe feelings"). That's an interesting way of looking at it, and may be a more fruitful approach. But, in that regard, I still think it's better to come up with other more clear and descriptive terms that accurately describe similar things (and exclude dissimilar ones) outside of the confines of "moe".
You make some good points, but the practical reality is that it's easier to say Rin is moe with reference to her being a twintailed, thighigh wearing tsundere than with reference to some itself nebulous feeling. And when someone tells me that moe shows are about "the harem, the weak girls, and the dumb friend" in order to make otaku feel better than themselves citing Clannad as an example, I find pointing out many of these same otaku probably are also Rin fans is a good way to get them to start thinking outside the box.


Quote:
But where does it end? I mean, if you group all those shows into a bucket called "moe anime", what does it even tell the uninitiated viewer about the content? Genres are only useful in the sense that they help people identify like things. In the end, your usage is more like an attribute that can be attached to (almost?) any show, regardless of genre or style. When I'm explaining Utawarerumono to someone, it's far more useful to point to its RPG connection (action/fantasy). When I'm explaining Bakemonogatari, I'd probably go more the supernatural/romance descriptor. Haruhi is a bit hard to describe, but I don't think it adds any more clarity if I say "it's a moe anime!". Then there's this ethereal quasi-genre that ostensibly exists at the intersection of K-On!, Kanon, and Chuunibyou... is that really a "thing" and how does it align with all these other shows you "claimed"?

If we're trying to reduce confusion and avoid prejudice/stereotypes, I can definitely see how it's useful to broaden the definition to avoid being "cornered". But you just end up with the large unwieldy catch-all attribute that applies to a tonne of different content without really actually describing the content. So, I ask, why bother? If I look through my anime DVD/BD collection, the vast majority have some sort of connection to the so-called "moe phenomenon". But trying to imply that, because of this, they're all in some sort of "like genre" seems insane to me. The only thing they really have in common is that I like them; "relentlessflame's invokers of moe" is not a genre, I think... (Though I do thank (and my wallet curses) the anime and bishoujo game industries for continuing to produce content in that "genre". )
To me, "moe show" merely means it contains non-trivial moe elements. Which actually is useful data to me: Iwai is part of what sets Crime Edge apart from other supernatural action shows for me. It is, of course, not as useful to someone less familiar with the concept.

I seldom actually use the term when pitching a show to someone. Granted, I'd probably describe Utawarerumono as "a fantasy show with a light dusting of moe". But only to someone who was familiar with the term. Otherwise I'd just show them the character designs (incidentally what got me interested in the show), because my Eruruu and Aruruu wallscrolls are not inconspicuous. But Bakemonogatari would be a "harem with supernatural stories and a dry wit". I'd call Kanon a supernatural fairy tale romance and K-Onů well, I'd just say it's a cute slice of life about a band of Japanese high school girls.
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Old 2013-05-03, 05:14   Link #124
synaesthetic
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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
Because wanting to protect someone implies that they are helpless? Give me a break. There is certainly misogyny in the anime world, just like anywhere else, but this is just laughable. Is it sexist when you have your typical whiny shonen protagonist A who gets helped by some strong willed woman?

You don't have to like shows that pander to moe, but don't give me this crap about sexism.
You don't get what I'm saying.

If a character is written realistically with realistic limitations and defects, and the character is written as a person? That's a different story.

The problem is that a great deal of "moe" characters are written using specific tropes that are explicitly and specifically designed to appeal to a male viewer. The writers take great pains to ensure that the character is not threatening and evokes strong feelings of protectiveness.

It's the "cute baby animal" syndrome. You see a fuzzy little kitten, and all you can do is go googly-eyed and d'awwwww... it's so adorable. You feel the need to protect it because it's a baby and it can't protect itself.

The problem with applying these characteristics to mature characters should be pretty obvious to anyone--you're stripping away that character's agency. And before you start accusing me of feminism, this happens to MALE characters, too, and I don't like it any more when it happens to them than when it happens to female characters.

(Edit: Unless, of course, the character is intentionally written this way as a part of their character and it's treated realistically within the context of the story--i.e., their uselessness is called out or their weakness/need to be protected is made into a plot point. Then it's okay, because it's properly dealt with and isn't just pointless fanservice.)

People are always misusing the term, I think (I blame afk's fansubs for this). There are lots of characters who seem to be called "moe" who actually aren't. None of the characters in Nanoha are what I'd refer to as "moe." They're cute, sure, but damn if they can't take care of themselves.

Even at their most vulnerable, they can still kick ass. They don't need a man to do it for them. They don't even need to discard their femininity to remain capable and competent. They don't need to force themselves not to cry, or to chop their hair off, or to wear pants instead of a skirt.

And that? That's awesome as hell. If you've got a female character who is not only scarily competent but doesn't feel the need to throw away her femininity to conform to the tired old stereotype that "feminine" and "cute" automatically equals "weak," she's definitely a keeper.
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Old 2013-05-03, 08:44   Link #125
Jan-Poo
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I think the best way to approach this issue is by comparing it with similar concepts whose definition is already well accepted understood.

Let's take: Beauty, Cuteness, Moe.


Some say that you can't define "moe" because what is "moe" is different from person to person. The last statement is true, but I can argue that that is equally true for "beauty" and "cuteness" and yet their definitions are generally clear and well accepted.


While defining "beauty" it's not a good idea to show an example of "beauty", that's not what you'll find in a dictionary. Rather you should explain what kind of reaction or feeling you are supposed to get.
In short, the object that causes that particular reaction may vary from person to person, but the reaction itself does not, it's the very point that should be considered inherent within the definition.

Everyone more or less understand what Beauty means and everyone more or less understands that beauty and cuteness are two distinct things (albeit they can overlap).

Not many people understand what "moe" means or its difference from "cuteness" and "beauty".


I dare you to explain what is "moe" and how it is different from "beauty" and "cuteness" without making any sort of example. Can you define it?

And I have even more difficult questions: "what makes you sure that your definition is correct?" "what if you always got it wrong?" "What kind of proof or rational basis you have that your understanding of moe is the right one?"


All that you have is a list of characters that are commonly defined as "moe", the only thing you can do is looking at them and trying to figure out what is their common denominator. Problem is there's certainly a lot of other things that they have in common, so you might get the idea that only female characters can be "moe" or only human characters can be "moe", until you get Daru from Steins;Gate calling the LHC "moe" and your whole theory falls apart.

Because as well as things can be beautiful or cute the same apparently is true for "moe". You're not getting anywhere if you don't really understand the kind of "feeling" or "reaction" associated with the concept of "moe".
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Old 2013-05-03, 12:52   Link #126
Kaisos Erranon
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Re: earlier posts, I'm not really saying that people can't call themselves "moe fans", I'm saying that I believe the term is something that the detractors (the people claiming that "moe is fetishized innocence" and that "all moe fans are manchildren") came up with.
It really doesn't matter what counterarguments you offer these kind of people, because they have already made up their mind to hate you and the things you enjoy, by placing both under a vast, ill-defined umbrella.
Personally, while I can very much -feel- moe for characters, that's more a consequence of my liking the character to begin with. If pressured to define what I like in anime, I'd say "I like cute girls with fun personalities", not "I'm a moe fan", because the latter is useless for imparting understanding.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic Eagle View Post
It varies from person to person. It is mistaken to even try to introduce something to someone and say this is moe
This. Moe is something you have to grasp on your own; when you feel moe for the first time, you'll understand what it means. You can't really have another person explain it to you, least of all by describing shows that are somehow moe.
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Old 2013-05-03, 14:33   Link #127
rulfo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
A lot of people just seem to use "moe" interchangeably with cute or adorable. This is not correct. "Moe" is supposed to evoke the desire to protect and shelter in a (usually) male viewer/reader.
Everytime I see this I just drop the conversation. It's because of retarded general consensus about the word that makes everything hard to swallow.

Even my dearest cousin just got the wrong notion thanks to this revolving bullshit. Initial thoughts about it is that if a character is cute/ditz then that = moe. We had this conversation quite a few times and I tried to explain it to her how absurdly vast and vague this word's "definition" is and that it's pointless to make any association with it. I just couldn't slap her as that would be going too far.

Seriously, she even asked her boyfriend's sister who's japanese citizen. I'd say it was 80% agreeable to me but still, the notion of how she said what moe is and how she associates it to anime, is still in a negative fashion.

A couple situations she says something is moe.

Designs with big eyes = moe
helpless/clumsy/ditz character = moe
cutesy voice = moe

It's bad enough that the definition of moe was so one sided, she even caught the dreaded slur called "moeblob". Believe it or not, at some point she even considers that the recent Rurouni Kenshin anime was moeblob in design just because the character design approach was different. I.... give up...

I could give my definition of moe but we'll never see eye to eye with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic Eagle View Post
Umm....you can't really classify "moe anime" seeing as moe is how one feels towards a character...

It varies from person to person. It is mistaken to even try to introduce something to someone and say this is moe
I really agree with this. I really believe that moe comes from your own preferences. But dammit, I can't help but wish the word be tabooed because how it's muddied and lost in translation. Most of the time it's brought up it is used as a means to demean a shows worth.
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Old 2013-05-03, 15:33   Link #128
Kyuu
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Kyuu's Moe Checklist:

* Is the character female? Yes (default answer)
* When I look at her, do I feel even remotely fuzzy?
* If I don't feel fuzzy looking at her, is there someone in the world who does?

If Yes to 2 out of 3 questions, then the character is moe.

Addendum question:

* Are there additional questions to be added here?
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Old 2013-05-03, 17:35   Link #129
Reckoner
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
You don't get what I'm saying.

If a character is written realistically with realistic limitations and defects, and the character is written as a person? That's a different story.

The problem is that a great deal of "moe" characters are written using specific tropes that are explicitly and specifically designed to appeal to a male viewer. The writers take great pains to ensure that the character is not threatening and evokes strong feelings of protectiveness.

It's the "cute baby animal" syndrome. You see a fuzzy little kitten, and all you can do is go googly-eyed and d'awwwww... it's so adorable. You feel the need to protect it because it's a baby and it can't protect itself.
Yeah, no. Just because a character is non-threatening does not imply this at all. Non-threatening does not mean that said female character requires a man in their life to depend on. There's nothing sexist here that you're pointing out.

An example of sexism in anime to me is how denigrating some fanservice often is to women. When they start feeling like sacks of meat to be put on display rather than actual characters. That would be sexism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
The problem with applying these characteristics to mature characters should be pretty obvious to anyone--you're stripping away that character's agency. And before you start accusing me of feminism, this happens to MALE characters, too, and I don't like it any more when it happens to them than when it happens to female characters.
You're going to have to give me significant examples for me to even begin to understand how you came to this conclusion whatsoever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
People are always misusing the term, I think (I blame afk's fansubs for this). There are lots of characters who seem to be called "moe" who actually aren't. None of the characters in Nanoha are what I'd refer to as "moe." They're cute, sure, but damn if they can't take care of themselves.
Wanting to protect has nothing to do with the perceived independence/strength of a character. Nanoha is heavy on the moe appeal. Especially characters like Fate whose tragic past is constantly played up as a means to garner audience pity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Even at their most vulnerable, they can still kick ass. They don't need a man to do it for them. They don't even need to discard their femininity to remain capable and competent. They don't need to force themselves not to cry, or to chop their hair off, or to wear pants instead of a skirt.

And that? That's awesome as hell. If you've got a female character who is not only scarily competent but doesn't feel the need to throw away her femininity to conform to the tired old stereotype that "feminine" and "cute" automatically equals "weak," she's definitely a keeper.
If a girl is getting bullied and then a guy helps her out, is that sexism? If your answer to that is yes, then your position is so extreme that I think this conversation will go nowhere.

Most people in real life aren't superman. It makes sense that in fiction, such as anime, this would often be the case as well. And this doesn't just apply to females.
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Old 2013-05-03, 18:28   Link #130
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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
Wanting to protect has nothing to do with the perceived independence/strength of a character. Nanoha is heavy on the moe appeal. Especially characters like Fate whose tragic past is constantly played up as a means to garner audience pity.
I was sort of thinking the same thing. Some of the most popular "moe characters" are those who are known to "kick ass and take names" with no help from a guy. But it does illustrate how the term means so many different things to so many people, and there isn't really a firm handle on being "right" (as was pointed out in Jan-Poo's comment, among others).

To be honest, I think the actual use of "moe character" by most people is effectively no different than "bishoujo character I like/feel passionate about". synaesthetic may be right that this may be a "misuse of the term"... but I don't know that "the need to protect a defenceless creature" is quite right either. But who knows...


(That aside, I'm staying out of the sexism thing. It's like jumping from the frying pan into the fire...)
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Old 2013-05-03, 18:39   Link #131
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Noun--It's an art style, a type of show, an element of a show, a type of character, an element of a character, and a feeling you'll know when it happens. One, all, or a combination of the above might be applied.

Noun subset--May also represent an industry phenomenon.

Adjective--Descriptor for the above nouns where a negative or positive connotation is dependent on the user's context.
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Old 2013-05-03, 18:47   Link #132
relentlessflame
 
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Originally Posted by Akito Kinomoto View Post
Noun--It's an art style, a type of show, an element of a show, a type of character, an element of a character, and a feeling you'll know when it happens. One, all, or a combination of the above might be applied.

Noun subset--May also represent an industry phenomenon.

Adjective--Descriptor for the above nouns where a negative or positive connotation is dependent on the user's context.
See, it's so perfectly clear!

And we wonder why anyone has a hard time figuring out what it means, and why each person pretty much has their own description of what it means to them...
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Old 2013-05-04, 01:31   Link #133
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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I think the actual use of "moe character" by most people is effectively no different than "bishoujo character I like/feel passionate about".
I've come to that conclusion as well,I've also observed that the term "bishoujo anime" is not used as much as it used to be be (in fact I rarely see it these days) which would make me wonder how much of that decrease in use is due to the term "moe anime" popping up.
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Old 2013-05-04, 02:54   Link #134
0utf0xZer0
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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
You're going to have to give me significant examples for me to even begin to understand how you came to this conclusion whatsoever.
I think Syn is talking about the tendency to… let's start with an extreme example, throwing both a mute girl and a blind girl into a six heroine game. That kind of thing goes way back - the particular combination I used there comes from One (sometimes called "Proto-Kanon" for those unfamiliar with the history of Key). Definitely not how I define moe, but a notable enough trend in its own right to be worth some discussion.

Among my own top ten characters, this tendency is clearly reflected in Nadeko (Bakemonogatari), Kotomi (Clannad)and Chihiro (EF). And you could certainly argue that Kotomi and Nadeko don't exhibit a lot of agency in their respective subplots. (That argument is harder to make with Chihiro given that some of her decisions are extremely important to the plot. Ditto for, say, Eru in Hyouka, whose short attention span is an example of a very mild manifestation of this thinking. Sure, her attention span makes her vulnerable to distraction when navigating her school festival - which I think is very cute - but you can't really watch the last scene of Hyouka and not feel the girl has her compass set on something.)

As a fan of this stuff (how can I hate the trend that brought me Kotomi and Nadeko?) I rather dislike the claim that Kotomi and Nadeko's tugging at my manly heartstrings is "wanting to protect them". Lend them a helping hand, sure, but this "want to protect" thing always feels to me like it carries a chauvinistic connotation that I'm not really comfortable with. I don't think that connotation reflects my feelings.

Not denying that there aren't some moe characters that come across a chauvinistic in nature, but I've never found it as widespread as some seem to think it is. Emotional vulnerability and childishness (not the same as mere innocence) can annoy me, but the fact Kotomi is on my favourites list should indicate that I'm willing to cut the writers a fair bit of slack even there.

(The other shot I'd fire across the bow of those who would say I just like these girls because I'm stronger than them s that the other Bakemonogatari girl in my top ten is Hitagi (I consider her moe, some might not but I don't think it's critical to the point I'm trying to make). Who is designed to appeal to a different group of men: those who like strong women, dry wit, and being verbally abused. Though personally I'm not "M" enough for the last one.)
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Old 2013-05-04, 03:22   Link #135
Archon_Wing
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There's just too much of cases where "moe" is just used as a blanket term as "stuff I don't like". And truth is, there's a huge variation of stuff being done to invoke this lumping and then if something I actually like falls in here, I activate the Magical Exception Skill (aka Thinly Veiled Intellectually Dishonest Escape) to protect it.

For example, "moe" could easily be used to describe several of the characters of True Tears but they mean completely different things. There's quirky "moe", soft-spoken "moe", and umm... miscellaneous.

Surely, moe gets tossed around that particular show a lot, but despite all the focus on cuteness and sometimes signs of people needing help, the series did treat its characters with respect.

I could also apply this to Jintan and Anaru in Anohana as well, to some degree. Their interactions do give off that vague feeling known as moe, and there's absolutely nothing insulting about it.

The only problem is when an anime tries to present its characters as consumables. For example, I find Monogatari to be extremely sexist, especially after its first season, but it has nothing to do with moe appeal because without it, it's arguable that I would have thrown the series away a long time ago. Oh, and pretty much every Yoshino original work, but that has nothing to do with moe or anything besides, I hate the writing itself.

Also, Kaiji is moe.
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Old 2013-05-04, 03:58   Link #136
0utf0xZer0
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Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
The only problem is when an anime tries to present its characters as consumables. For example, I find Monogatari to be extremely sexist, especially after its first season, but it has nothing to do with moe appeal because without it, it's arguable that I would have thrown the series away a long time ago. Oh, and pretty much every Yoshino original work, but that has nothing to do with moe or anything besides, I hate the writing itself.
The Monogatari girls have always had far too much depth for me to see them as mere consumables, even in later seasons. I just wish someone would rein in Koyomi's perverted side, which has started to become seriously distasteful.

Yoshino... oh boy, Guilty Crown. I won't even start.
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Old 2013-05-04, 04:39   Link #137
synaesthetic
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The more I read from the apologists, the more I'm convinced ya'll like the term "moe" being so vague and ill-defined that it becomes very easy to move the goalposts any time someone hits your position.

Nice job.

As far as I'm concerned, as of this moment, Moe is the bartender from The Simpsons.
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Old 2013-05-04, 05:09   Link #138
hyl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
The more I read from the apologists, the more I'm convinced ya'll like the term "moe" being so vague and ill-defined that it becomes very easy to move the goalposts any time someone hits your position.

Nice job.

As far as I'm concerned, as of this moment, Moe is the bartender from The Simpsons.
It is a somewhat a vague and ill-defined concept because there is no concrete way to define it. Because just like many others in this have already said it: the defintion of it moe is very subjective.
Besides, who can say that your previously assumed definition of "evoking a feeling to protect" is even completely correct?
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Old 2013-05-04, 05:19   Link #139
synaesthetic
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Being vague and ill-defined make it pretty useless as a literary device, though. Words have meaning for a reason.
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Old 2013-05-04, 05:29   Link #140
hyl
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Being vague and ill-defined make it pretty useless as a literary device, though. Words have meaning for a reason.
If the term "moe" was so perfectly clear, then people won't have different opinions about it.
Even if you try to set a definition now, people won't neccesarily follow your interpretation. So in my opinion, you should stop stubbornly try to define it.

Besides "moe" is not the only word in the world that is vague and ill-definied, so i don't get what you are trying to say
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