Because in Japan, Less is more. (Moe, that is)

chigaimasu-48.jpgGood evening, ladies and gents. I’m chigaimasu. I will (hopefully) be the second contributing writer to this blog. While juggling college and other obligations, I’ll hopefully be punching in my two cents whenever I feel it’s appropriate. Anyway, shall we begin?

I wanted to get this first article out a week or so earlier, but such is the life of a college student. A little more than two weeks ago, the Japanese Saimoe 2007 tournament came to a close. For those not in the know, the Saimoe tournament is a 2 month, viewer’s choice elimination tournament, where the fans pick which anime character is the most moe. (It is assumed here that moe is understood by the reader. If not, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moe_(slang) for more information).

This year’s winner was Furude Rika from Higurashi no Naka Koro Ni Kai. Even though I have my opinions on the events of this year’s tournament, I will not get into arguments over whether or not this was the right call by the voters. That’s not my style. I am going to point out something that seemed apparent to me as the ending stages of the tournament came together. I found it very fascinating that the two finalists (Rika and Sanzenin Nagi from Hayate no Gotoku) were little loli girls. Backtracking, you can also find that 3 of the 4 semifinalists (Shinku, Rozen Maiden Ouverture) and 7 of 8 quarterfinalists (Konata and Tsukasa, Louise, and Nanoha [yes, Nanoha counts. Even though she’s 19, She started as a little loli girl back in 2005.] from Lucky Star, Zero no Tsukaima, and Magical Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, respectively) were also little loli girls. It seems the otaku believe in building their moe small.

I originally thought it was just something special for 2007, but history shows otherwise. In 2006, 3 of the 4 semifinalists (Shana, Suiseiseki, and Fate from Shakugan no Shana, Rozen Maiden Traumend, and Magical Lyrical Nanoha A’s) looked like little lolis (I say looked in this case because Shana’s older than we think and Suiseiseki’s a doll). 2005’s final was between Nanoha (then 9, hence, small) and Souseiseki from Rozen Maiden. In fact, the history of winners of this prestigious tournament have all been bite-sized moe:

2002: Sakura Kinomoto (CardCaptor Sakura)

2003: Riku Harada (D.N.Angel)

2004: Rosemary Applefield (Ashita no Nadja)

2005: Nanoha Takamachi (Magical Lyrical Nanoha)

2006: Suiseiseki (Rozen Maiden Traumend)

And now, 2007’s Rika Furude. I wonder why there’s a fascination with small among Japanese otaku. I’m not going to put any ideas out there without a more thorough understanding of the details, but it is a very interesting correlation. If any of you have any feedback, though, feel free to drop a comment on what you think. I’d love to hear them. All I know is, if you have to put a bet on a winner for next year’s tournament, remember: go small.

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2 Responses to Because in Japan, Less is more. (Moe, that is)

  1. tehshien says:

    Oh, that’s certainly interesting :3
    I think it’s because older characters doesn’t radiate the same kind of moe as younger/smaller characters do.
    And I don’t mean in the “zomgh loli!x3” kind of way, rather that older characters just doesn’t hit the “cute-spot” the same way and many maybe prefer “cool” older characters, and then maybe doesn’t see them as moe but cool/wild instead.
    ….I might be on to something or just completely lost, I’m not sure yet 😀

  2. […] those who’ve seen my previous post, perhaps Hinako is next year’s Saimoe tournament winner? – […]

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