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Moe (pronounce moh-eh) is a Japanese slang term for something one likes, and within the anime realm is used to refer to characters who inspire a protective sort of love-- usually because the characters seem to need someone to take care of them.
Public opinion seems to be searching for a definite definition of the word 萌え “moe”, which has already come into use among the public, and when I searched, net experts and glossary sites had various definitions.
* The state of having a deep feeling towards a certain person or thing
* An extremely primitive sensation that happens even faster than one can judge with feeling, much like a spinal cord reflex, which happens when one sees generally bishoujo or little girls, or other pretty or innocent things. It is being fascinated then deeply moved.
* “Moe” is word which indicates a budding feeling of love, as well as a fetishistic taste, generally towards fictional characters from anime, manga, and games, especially an attachment or obsession with those who have certain special characteristics (nekomimi, tsundere attitude [a character type in which the character, generally female, is alternatingly tsun-tsun, "pointed; mean", and dere-dere, "lovey dovey", hence tsundere. See Sara from Futakoi]); originally used as slang among otaku.
* Indicates an “admiration” of a cute girl’s human emotions from afar.
However, we still don’t know the reason why people feel “moe”.
Accordingly, I would like to present the following hypotheses of my own.
First of all, “moe” must meet the following conditions:
1. It does NOT include sexual action:
“Moe” is being calmed/soothed by watching from afar. It is not an object of sexual action. There are other classifications such as “2D-con” for those who include sexual conduct. Looking at a bishoujo and thinking “I want to do her” is a normal sexual desire for a man; looking at a biyoujo [美幼女, a girl younger than a bishoujo, synonymous with "loli". Maachi in Gokujou Seitokai, or Miku in Zettai Shounen, for example] and thinking “I want to be calmed/soothed” is “moe”.
2. The person feeling it must be stronger:
The object of “moe” is weak and dependant (like a child) on the person, or is in a situation where she cannot oppose (like a maid). Also, the person is raising her (like a pet).
Accordingly, being fond of the girl as if loving a pet cat, the person is willing to put themselves in harm’s way if danger approaches. (*Tsundere only: There will be times where the stronger and weaker role is reversed)
3. Affirms the present situation:
Moe is the action of enjoying “the present situation” and does not wish for changes afterward; one wishes to enjoy it forever.
In the above-mentioned (1), I think you realize that, rather than a male’s emotions, it is a feeling similar to that of a mother looking at her daughter, or of other females looking at someone else’s child and feeling soothed/calmed, or of looking at a pet and feeling affection for it.
In the above-mentioned (2), at first glance, there is a feeling of otaku-like convenience, but, in fact, you can catch a glimpse of the positive affection of “I want to love” more than “I want to be loved” in it, and the strength of not being weary of spending both time and money for that purpose is the foundation of it. To compare it, it resembles a parent’s strength.
On the feeling of the moratorium of (3): if you take it negatively it gives the impression of a “hikikomori” [one who withdraws from society], but, in fact, it is not the denial of the process of “The object of moe growing, loving, and moving on from the present condition”, it is similar to a positive sense of denial, such as “I don’t want my daughter to get married.”
…Well, you’ve probably realized I’ve used the word “parent (mother)” many times over.
I would submit the following hypothesis:
“Moe” is a “maternal affection” which a part of males have been left with that has undergone a change and shown itself and, originally, is an irregular feeling a male should not have, however, it is a pure love which does not include any sexual action and is an exceedingly peaceful desire.
* If we suppose that “moe” occurs from a maternal affection that should be lost, could we then assert that moe otaku are basically peaceful, and do not wish for physical conflict? (They do have verbal fights, though)
* If we think of “Love towards a pet” as an compensatory action for “Love towards a child”, then it is, after all, a variation of motherly love. In other words, could the “moe” of putting nekomimi on (it’s a syllogism, but…) be motherly love?
* Is the brisk economic activity of the “moe” industry very close to that of stupid parents pouring money into child-rearing (education) expenses?
I think that the “moe” that has recently been occurring among females is an imitation of male “moe”, and is false. Or, rather, should we call it the true thing since they of all people possess the original maternal love?
…What do you think?
The aggressive males who go so far as to rape to satisfy their sexual desires have been reported on, but on the other hand, there are a large number of males who possess this peaceful essence. Moe~.
I think it is not a cultural phenomenon that has surfaced recently, but most likely something which has existed from the beginning of time.