That sensation where all the warmth flows through your body and your cheeks burn with glee---What do you call that exactly? That feeling that has no exact explanation but is something you merely experience, that is moe.
If you've read a few of my articles (thank you, by the way!) or even if you just watch a lot of anime, you have probably heard of "moe" which is pronounced as "mo-eh," but how much do you really know about this term? Do you even really understand what it means?
"Moe" is a Japanese slang term mainly used by otaku to describe an intense feeling towards a character in an anime, manga, or video game. I have seen "moe" translated as "burn" which could technically be due to the warm feeling of excitement a person may experience, but "moe" is literally translated into "budding" like the budding of a plant. Perhaps this is due to the budding love or infatuation one might feel towards a character?
As a term, "moe" is quite unique as it can be used as an interjection such as when some characters in ecchi anime cry out "Moe!" upon a background of hearts or as an adjective to describe a feeling, sensation, or character. Its usage can be quite varied allowing it to be used fairly easily by anyone, even those who do not have a complete idea of what the word means.
It is a tad difficult to explain "moe" to someone who may not have experienced this sensation. Even though I stated that it is an intense feeling, it doesn't really apply to just any emotion. It is a strong feeling akin to love or infatuation for something or someone that is not quite sexual in nature. There is a very fine line between moe and sexual attraction so please, do not confuse otaku who feel moe as perverts because that is not always the case. The term "moe" does usually refer to an individual in an anime, manga, or video game, but there are other types of moe, as well, but I shall touch on that point in a moment.
Moe in Anime
If you haven't noticed, anime are full of moe factors. What I mean to say is, there are many different character types included in an anime to increase the possible viewers by appealing to a person's particular moe. We can see this quite clearly in ecchi and harem anime that involve various character types like shotas/lolitas, tsunderes, danderes, and meganekko. The vast amounts of character types will likely bring in more viewers.
Of course, there are also certain anime dedicated to certain moe preferences. If you have seen Loveless, it can appeal to the nekomimi (cat ear) moe or for that shounen ai moe. Loveless is a good example of a moe anime that isn't ecchi, but I happen to feel like there are more moe anime that are ecchi like He Is My Master that is to appeal to those interested in French maids.
There are so many different types of moe out there. I don't even think I could list them all, but let me give you a general idea so you understand what it means. As some of you have seen in Kyoukai no Kanata, Murai provides the meganekko moe, which is the glasses character moe. Another standard moe would be the tsundere moe that you can experience in anime like Toradora. I never really understood the appeal of tsunderes until I watched a reverse harem and played an otome game. While the idea is the same, the difference in genders changes the experience, or maybe it's because I chose a gender I find appealing.
Anyway, I did state before that not all moe involves people or character personalities. Look at Souta from Working!! (Wagnaria) who has a moekko, which means he finds cute things very moe, which is why he likes Popura. For girls turned off by an otaku's moe, let them know that they probably have a moekko! What girl doesn't like cute things?
Maybe you have a technology moe? The feel of a new piece of technology may spark your inner geek and get your gears revving. I remember squealing with glee and feeling completely moe over a new game system. Yes, games hit me deep down. Maybe you have an animal moe! They are cute so you just can't help but gush over them and want to glomp onto them!
I hope you have had a better understanding of what "moe" is after reading this article. Do you feel moe over anything? Or maybe you started to think I'm just a little weird. Either way, let me know your thoughts!