Who’s afraid of Little Red Riding Hood?

“The words themselves aren’t bad. Who you have to worry about is the racist a**hole using them”
George Carlin, on racial slurs.
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So I’m confused. What exactely is moe? According to The Anime News Network’s lexicon, Moe is “a Japanese term used in connection with manga or anime to describe the ideal of youthful and innocent femininity. Written with the kanji for “to bud or sprout” (萌), the concept covers a narrow range of ideal behaviour for youthful female characters in manga or anime. To be properly moe, a character must be eager or perky, not overly independent, and call forth a desire in the viewer to protect them and nurture them. “
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But every where I go, moe is tossed around like it’s a horrible, horrible genre and that I must be a sick pervert for even considering watching a series that has a moe character, let alone liking it. WTF?! Granted, I’ve said that fantasy writers aren’t allowed to use Elves any more, but that’s because they are overused, and badly overused. Granted, I’ll give the detractors that the prevalence of moe characters is really high, but that in and of itself is not a reason to toss an anime out.
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I mean there are so many BETTER reasons to dislike a series, like plot, tension, character interaction, soundtrack, general direction, theme, whether or not the pictures on the box are pretty or not. Really, I consider the artboxes more important than whether a character appeals to some person’s inner fantasy to have a baby sister.
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And before anyone gets all high and righteous on me, and starts saying something like, “Well it’s become cliche.” All I have to say about that is that those same people don’t complain about the Chars or the Roy Fokkers or the Alex Rowes or the Spike Spiegels. They don’t gripe about the twentieth time they saw another incarnation of Amaro Ray climb into another copy of the Gundam.
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Then why are they afraid of another incarnation of little Red Riding Hood?
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The obvious answer is that they aren’t. They’re afraid of the Big Bad Wolf. They’re afraid of the people who have body pillows and even more the people who take their obsession to the next logical step. Again from the ANN lexicon, “There is a lot of debate over the crossover between moe fandom and lolicom. While the crossover exists among fans and products the two genres are not synonymous.”
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Now, I’m not going to argue with whether they’re synonymous or not. The fact is that I find THAT idea disturbing. But judging a series because you don’t necessarily like the people who might like the series is like not using shampoo because you don’t like people who use shampoo.
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And even more, it marginalizes people who actually like series with possibly moe characters. I enjoy Shakugan no Shana, not because there’s a cute girl with big eyes and childish features. I don’t feel any need to cuddle or nuture them (I’m dead inside, cute does nothing for me). I like it because it’s got some interesting (if somewhat cliche) plots, some neat character designs and can work up enough moral revulsion for the bad guys and enough cheering on of the good guys to keep me involved.
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I really like Eureka 7, even with having the basic starting point of any mecha show, and a moe character, because it’s got an interesting world, a good plot and a lot of gray area for the characters to mull around in.
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Sure, there’s some credit to the argument that if you hate a character then it makes the show less enjoyable. But to hate the show just because it has a moe character (or even a moe character design) makes as much sense as judging a series on it’s artbox. And judging the people who watch those series as pedophiles, just pushes the real bad guys further into the shadows.
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