In all of our convoluted analysis of imagery, theme and plot, we seem to have forgotten about something very fundamental— the pleasure of watching anime.
This blog was originally named akira/scuro, but I intended never intended that name to be permanent. Just a placeholder while I figured out what I wanted this blog to be about. Now, I’ve finally figured it out (to a reasonable degree.)
Yesterday, I had a long, long chat with 2D-Teleidoscope about anime, love, life and everything in between. In one of the afternoon’s most surprising conclusions, we both decided that anime needed to go back to basics. So that’s what this blog will be about. Moe fundamentalism.
I am decisively not anti-moe. I thought I was for a while until I realized with horror that I fucking love Hoshii Miki. No amount of analysis can explain that. Maybe I’m too manque to understand my own attraction to Miki, or maybe there’s just no real reason. There’s just that je-ne-sais-quoi about Miki.
What I’ve decided is that that’s alright. Moe is not the problem with anime. We can try and fit shows into these little boxes all day long— “Type A”, “Type B”; explain characters in terms of tropes and archetypes— but at the end of the day, attempting to fit these critical frameworks on top of our anime simply ruins the viewing experience. To be sure, there are shows out there that are nothing more than an amalgamation of tropes— but no two characters are truly the same. When we simply think of any given character as a “tsundere”, we immediately conjure up assumptions and stereotypes.
We love labels. Just look at the proliferation of “x-dere” characters. We couldn’t think of a word to describe Kotonoha@School Days or Kaede@Shuffle!, so we created yandere. Lucky Star informed us that the then-“modern” tsundere had strayed away from its roots, so we have cooldere… and so on and so forth. We’ve come up with words to describe almost every class of character— osananajimi, imouto, inchou, et cetera.
Enough. These labels are useless. Let’s just talk about characters, without labeling them as anything. Kotonoha is Kotonoha. She’s a crazy bitch— but she’s also more than that. Defining her by the seminal event of her life (decapitating Sekai and slicing her stomach open) ignores everything else she’s done.
Back to Basics
Let’s talk about anime without all of these buzzwords. The elimination of tsundere from my vocabulary will not significantly hamper my ability to talk, intelligently, about anime. If anything, it will only enrich it.
I advocate moe without labels. I’m removing them from my vocabulary completely.
Anime should be about the emotions it evokes. Fear, joy, horror— whatever it is, we should engage these emotions without the use of rationalizing labels. This is what I will attempt to do from now on: talk intelligently about anime without resorting to too much analysis and using no mention of tropes and archetypes. We already have TV Tropes for that. It’s much more fascinating to me to write about the feelings and images that come up in my head while watching anime. It’s more visceral. It’s more real. It’s less detached, more effusive. I wish to capture the experience of being an anime viewer. Perhaps this approach is better, perhaps it is worse. Who knows?
In any case, I am a moe fundamentalist.