Aniwords – Making Moe Real

New Game! has kind of sneakily become one of my favorite shows this season, but it’s not just because of the great character designs or the pretty colors. Instead, I think there are some elements to the show that really ground it in a semi-reality and make it feel much more substantial (even if it’s only softly so) than your normal cute girls doing cute things anime.

Here’s the link~

New Game 5-15

2 thoughts on “Aniwords – Making Moe Real

  1. I’m not sure I see it the same way as you do, because these sort of things are highly personal. But I think that feeling of groundedness is something I get from all of director Fujiwara’s shows, even Plastic Memories, which stands out from Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, GJ bu, and now New Game, by being more flashy concept-wise. All the other shows have this sneaky way of gaining my affection. And, yes, there’s a sense of groundedness. It’s not so much that it feels real; these shows are all idylls (again, except for PM). I mean giving Hifumi a pet hedgehog with a dead-pan expression is so centre-moe with its blatant symbolism and sense of semi-tragedy. But when Hifumi then watches Aoba eat and is reminded of her hedgehog – another stock scene, really – this element is taken out of its metaphorical context and doubles as a sort of bridge. And I think the director is good at arranging standard moe elements in a way that creates an effect that’s not easy to pin down. And underneath it all is a good eye for bodylanguage and setting (earlier examples: the spider scene in GJ bu; Mahiro dancing to the television show in Mikakunin).

    The show is pretty much what I expected after hearing about its director. (It wasn’t on my radar at all before that.)


  2. So maybe this isn’t the ideal place to leave this comment, but after your tweet-discussion on moe last night that being a non-tweeter I could only read, I really wanted to say something on that topic. Hope you don’t mind me doing it here!

    The problem we’re dealing with in trying to pin down moe is that “moe” originated as a slang word and never really had a clearly established definition even at its origin, so it’s been easy for people to appropriate it for use as a noun, an adjective, or a pejorative depending on their personal biases – ask 15 different people to firmly define moe and you’ll probably get 15 different answers and a couple of fistfights.

    Personally, I’m a bit of an “originalist” in that, rather than trying to parse and analyze moe from ten different angles, I always fall back on the original broader concept of moe as a general audiovisual aesthetic and the emotional reactions that aesthetic wants to evoke from the audience. It’s one of those things, to me, where its simplest just to apply the Duck test. Sure the style and presentation have evolved somewhat over the last ten years, but at her essence, if she looks like a moegirl, talks like a moegirl, and behaves like a moegirl, she’s probably still a moegirl. For example, Rewrite is easily the most moe series I’m watching this season – from the doe-eyed character designs to the selection of personality archetypes to the girls having particular problems the MC has to help them solve, the whole thing shouted “moe” right from the first episode – so I wasn’t surprised when I read Theron Martin’s first weekly episode review on ANN and he said pretty much exactly the same thing. Similarly, when I showed Kanon to my Mom a couple of months ago, she commented on how the character designs were different from other anime I’ve shown her and how childlike the girls looked and acted, and she asked me if this was an art style and if it had a name. Kanon is, frankly, one of the most moe anime ever made no matter how you parse the word, so I told her a little bit about the idea of moe and how it’s presented, and having watched Kanon’s girls for about 15 episodes at that point, she understood what I was talking about immediately. That’s someone who’s outside the fandom, who doesn’t attach any personal significance (or baggage) to that word, and was just interested in it wholly from an artistic point of view.

    Anyway, that’s my solution to the “moe problem” – look back to its origins for the answer, and don’t try to make it something too narrow or too specific. Maybe not the most sophisticated solution, but it’s worked well enough for me over the years.


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