In all of fandom there are arguments that seem to stretch across the span of time. Subs vs. Dubs. Eva vs. RahXephon. Fansubs. And now it’s moe.
To be honest, I don’t get it. I mean I don’t get any of it. On a basic level, I understand what moe is, I understand that there’s supposed to be these cute, lovable girls that I, the viewer, just want to protect. They’re anime’s equivalent of the teddy bear or the picture of the puppy dog.
Now I’ve watched the first four episodes of Air and all I have to say is, um… what’s the problem? All of the people who froth in the mouth about how bad moe is seem to go on about how these characters are spineless drones that pander to an audience that wants an ideal little sister, who’ll do all those things that stereotypically have been the woman’s province.
I have already said my piece about stereotypes in fiction, but I’ll say it again. The actual stereotype doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if Harriet spent all day smiling over a sink full of dishes. It doesn’t matter that a character enjoys filling a role that has been classically designated by one’s gender. Anymore than it matters that Rambo likes going out and kicking ass and taking names.
What matters is what the show/movie/book says about the stereotype. The reason why Harriet or June Cleaver might be offensive is that they are lauded as the ideal. They don’t have bad days. They don’t have hopes and dreams or fights. The plot and world says that they’re happy filling that role and that everyone who fufils that role is happy. Just because a character is moe, doesn’t mean they’re the ideal.
And considering how borderline unhappy these people seem to be I don’t think it’s sending a positive or negative message either way.
But again, that’s just me.
I mean it’s not like all of the female characters live off of their husbands, smiling that they get the extreme joy of being dependent on their man. It’s not like they need the guy to solve all their problems. In fact the main character in Air is at best a vagrant, at worst he’s a loser.
The female lead might be cute and yes, a bit ditzy, but it isn’t like she can’t make up her own mind without going to the male lead. So how is this a horrible stereotype that classifies women.
And to top it all off, and I hate to say it, but aren’t these all harem shows to begin with. Even though someone’s sure to launch themselves at me for this one, but when were harem shows great to begin with? I don’t see people holding up Ai Yori Aoshi or Love Hina as the height of anime. So instead of random girl going crazy once an episode, now we have random girl being cute once an episode? What’s the big deal?
And will I ever know?