Psych hats on everyone because this may get freudian.
If you know me, you’re probably aware that I have a general dislike of archetypal moe girls. My biggest peeve is K-On personally. I’ve found that most communities on the internet against this type of moe culture are very hated, often called different names like oldfag or whatnot, but I just never saw the appeal. If anything this brand of moe is unattractive to me. Yet I’m a huge fan of Key games, does that cause a contradiction? I think I’ve come to understand exactly how my brain operates to give me such a dislike of typical moe culture.
The answer I’ve come to is quite simple: Unintelligence is unattractive to me.
I think it’s fair to say that most typical moe girls are portrayed as one-dimensional and stupid for lack of a better word. The clumsy maid who spills the drink she’s serving, the simple schoolgirl who doesn’t know anything about society, etc. Whether or not they’re actually intelligent or not, these girls are portrayed as dumb (or worse ACT dumb), and for some reason that’s attractive to people. This is what doesn’t click with me. Why are stupid girls cute? I’ve always felt that intelligent = attractive, but it’s these silly ideas that stupid girls are cute that I just can’t agree with. This is my problem with moe culture.
One might argue that characters from Key games do this too. Top example would probably be Komari Kamikita from Little Busters (Kud is a bit different so I’ll leave her out of this argument). She has been proven to be an intelligent character, but her actions always portray her as a dumb girl, and her route even stretches that a lot further (in a different way sure but it’s still the same idea). But even so, I can’t hate her. She’s got a huge amount of personality and an interesting mind behind that moe exterior, that I find her interesting. I put up with the moe tropes she’s bound to as a victim of this moe-driven medium, and am able to appreciate her for the well-designed and fascinating character she is, the sincere and earnest Komari. I can’t say the same for most moe characters I see in Anime and Visual Novels.
One thing I can’t agree with is that moe-styled art = typical moe. Many call Key’s work moe styled, and sure it looks that way, but Key’s characters aren’t even close to the typical moe that I see everywhere. Some characters may suffer the tropes, but each has their own unique, fascinating personality and story that always interests me as a reader. I can look behind their failings as products of mass appeal, and appreciate them as they really are. But even saying this, it’s not like I hate moe altogether.
Chihiro Shindou from ef – a fairy tale of the two is probably my all-time favourite ‘moe’ character, probably the closest thing to an anime crush I’ll ever have. She’s incredibly shy, she’s quirky, she wears an eyepatch (another moe trope), she has the mind of a younger girl, yet she’s mind-bogglingly deep and complex. Her story is one of the most fascinating, emotional and inspiring stories I’ve ever seen, and it just brings me to love her even more as a character. Despite her moe appearances, this is an incredibly strong and intelligent character, and it all goes back to her story. Honestly, this is probably the pinnacle of moe as far as I can see. They used her story to create the most admirable moe character possible, the perfect match for someone like me who values strength and intelligence in characters, but can also appreciate the ‘paternal appeal’ of a moe character. This is moe how it should be, but never really is. I don’t hate moe, I hate some of the concepts which constitute moe, like this idea of atractive stupidity. I’m still going to go on denying K-On! and all other second-rate moe shows and games, while pursuing the ideal of this intelligent, strong moe character. It’s not that I hate moe, I just don’t see the appeal most people do.
I guess in the end, I’m just big for gender equality. Don’t dumb women down to make them more attractive. I can’t approve of that. And women, don’t act dumb to look cute, you can be cute while maintaining your own unique personality. Well, I’m just glad I’ve finally been able to make use of a bit of psychological insight to figure just why this genre never worked for me. It all makes sense now. Unintelligence is plain and simply unattractive to me. This isn’t just in moe, it applies to the western media as well. The whole world dumbs down women for mass appeal, and I just can’t accept that, no matter what country it comes from.
Row row fight the power!