Is the Moé Boom Over?
Any anime fan that has been around for a few years will no doubt have heard of the Moé Boom, a time when an unusually large percentage of airing anime was of the moé genre. For those new to the term, moé is generally used to describe a cute or adorable character that invokes feelings related to protecting them. Just imagine the feeling you get when you walk by an abandoned kitten sitting in a cardboard box in the rain, moé is something like that.
A moé anime is a series that contains female characters that invoke the moé reaction, often in the absence of any male characters. There is no specific start date for the moé boom, but most people consider it to have started in the second half of the 00’s with anime like Haruhi and Lucky Star. A few years later, it reached its epitome with the airing of K-ON, widely considered to be the most moé anime ever. It’s been 2 years since K-ON ended though, and anime like it aren’t topping the popularity charts anymore.
Last year, titles like Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Bunny Drop, Steins;Gate, Fate/Zero, Ano Hana, and Mawaru Penguindrum were the most talked-about in the anime world. While Madoka, Bunny Drop, and Ano Hana did have characters that could be considered moé, that was not their primary focus. If 2011 is any indication, it seems that moé is starting to move to the sidelines, or at least become incorporated as a minor aspect of a series rather than the main one.
Some anime fans are celebrating the end of moé, but at the same time, many are still clinging on and hoping for more moé anime like Nichijou to take the place of K-ON. While there may never be another moé anime to reach the same levels of success as K-ON, I don’t think moé will ever entirely disappear. Just as we still see harem anime and mecha anime today even though the Harem Boom of the early 00’s and Mecha Boom of the 90’s are long over, moé anime will still probably show up every once in a while.
What do you think of the Moé Boom and where it’s going? Share your thoughts in the comments or in the forums.