Quirky, cutesy, strangely dressed

The only kind of “moe” I really understand is Moe Howard. I’ve been trying to get a handle on moe as the term is used in the otakusphere, and I have been following Avatar‘s reporting on this year’s Saimoe tournament, but I’m not sure that I grasp the concept (or that there is a concept there worth grasping). Let’s see if I have this right.




Not moe. (From Oh! Edo Rocket)

Let’s try a subtler distinction.




Probably not. (From Denno Coil)

Isako is possibly the most interesting character in any current series, but I think that she’s probably too intimidating to be truly moe.

Let’s see how far we can push the concept.


Definitely not moe.



2 thoughts on “Quirky, cutesy, strangely dressed”

  1. It’s a highly individual concept, and frustratingly difficult to explain.

    Best explanation I ever saw was in a conversation between an American and a Japanese on a discussion board somewhere. American admitted that he found it difficult to quantify exactly why he liked a character, but that “it was like she’d found a little place in his heart”, and he figured that was what moe was. Japanese guy replied that he understood moe exactly.

    Think of it like cuteness, in that there is room for individuals to say “this is cute” even when you absolutely disagree (think goths), but at the same time there’s a rough consensus for what constitutes cute for most people. That’s how moe works – you can have your own, but there’s also a sort of average otaku moe.

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