Redefining and Recontextualizing Moe: A New Dimension to Sexualized Cuteness

October 27, 2015

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After getting approval from my supervisor and head of department, I present to you my honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Japanese Studies at the National University of Singapore.

I decided upon the topic of moe for my research as it has been a very hot-button issue in anime fandom for quite some time. I hope my paper will give you a clearer understanding of the concept, why moe might be far more useful and essential to the otaku than you might have realized and why moe isn’t insidious and does not spell the death of anime. Also discussed are gender issues and virtual child pornography.

ABSTRACT

By adopting a cultural studies approach, this paper seeks to redefine and recontexualize moe. This paper argues that moe is used as a coping mechanism by the otaku to reclaim agency and remain connected in a more individualized society as opposed to a tool that legitimizes the subjugation of women in society and homogenizes anime. This is done through the possession of fictional characters via the creation of dôjinshi, attending events and going on pilgrimages to the real-life settings of their favorite manga and anime. In addition, because moe is an element of the kawaii art style, it is separate and distinct from the other elements of an anime, allowing creators to retain creative freedom while simultaneously catering to the otaku and appealing to a wider demographic. Instead of being exploited by producers, the kawaii art style facilitates the production of character merchandise that the otaku purchase and use to aid them in reclaiming agency and connecting with fictional characters and other otaku.

Continue to the full text after the jump. If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to link to this post! (^o^)

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Honors Thesis Submission – Dreams Do Come True

March 27, 2015

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…and with that, I’ve come to the end of my University education. The years just flew by and I am still in shock at how fast it felt (in retrospect). People say that dreams don’t always come true and that sooner or later, you’ll have to face cold, hard and harsh reality.

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The Importance of Moe in Character Merchandise

November 28, 2013

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This school semester (sans-finals) is finally over and this time round, I took my first honors-level class on Japanese popular culture. After much contemplation, for my research paper, I decided to write on the inherent importance of moe-elements when it comes to character merchandise. It was a long and arduous process to see this paper to completion, but it was well worth it and exceedingly fun and educational.

Enjoy!

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The True Meaning of ‘Moe’

March 17, 2011

‘Moe’. Some hate it, some love it. But what exactly is it? Why is Yui a ‘moeblob’? What does that even mean? Most of the time, people fling the word around without really knowing what it means.

Is it:

– A cutesy artstyle?
– A type of character behavior?
– The desire to protect?
– The sexual depiction of little girls?
– Slice-of-life shows with no ‘plot’?

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Actar’s Reviews 138: Figma Yui Hirasawa

February 6, 2010

Who would have guessed that Figma would enter into the K-On! franchise as well? I for one didn’t. (^.^)

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Actar’s Reviews 136: Yui Hirasawa AZONE Doll

January 20, 2010

As someone who is a self-declared worshipper of Moe Personified, Yui, how can I pass up on this gorgeous doll? From Azone International, with the utmost care and attention to detials, comes this non-scale doll of Hirasawa Yui, everyone’s favorite Moe-Blob from the Music-filled Anime K-On!. Be prepared to be blown away!

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