Where generic-brand moe may just be as good as the brand name…

Selection is important in some areas and not as important in others (like above). Can you get value with generic-brand moe or is moe something too refined to go for less?

whitehatazn-48.jpgOf the shows I’m watching this season, I started picking up the first few episodes of Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka. Even though it has quite the who’s-who of a seiyuu cast for a harem show, the show itself is not particularly impressive. Outside of Rie Kugimiya’s character being really annoying for a tsundere character, the other thing I’ll note is that I’m starting to really like Aya Hirano’s character, Minato. Part of it is because I tend to like a character which fits the motherly/housewife harem archetype. Part of it is the conclusion that came to me in the first episode: “Wait… She looks like a Nanoha knockoff.”

My suspicions were more or less validated after the 4th episode. After watching 4th episode and Minato’s well-fitting dress, I decided to do a vector to suspend my current boredom. Ignoring my impatient tracing and shading, here’s what I came up with:

“Sorry to keep you waiting, Nii-san. Gosh, Nii-san. Don’t stare at me so much.”

Now to verify my suspicions, I decided to take my vector and make the simplest modifications to change Minato to Nanoha. After changing her body colors (to Nanoha’s signature blue eyes and orange-red hair), changing her clothing colors (to match Nanoha’s usual style) and a few other tweaks (rounded off her eyes and gave her a happier expression), the resulting output is this:

“Sorry about the wait, Yuuno-kun. Yuuno-kun, why are you covering your nose?”

And with these simple instructions, we have our teenage Nanoha waiting for her Feito prom date to arrive. Now there are a few more things I can do to produce a better Nanoha image like adjusting her figure (since Minato is quite skinny and Nanoha in StrikerS is a bit more full-figured). But the point of this exercise was to demonstrate that characters with similar features are not that different from each other. This is also a reminder that we can be attracted to some generic character design. The features added onto the character (either by colors, accessories, seiyuu or archetype) may be the only things which separates one from the moe masses.

Despite the similar character features, Minato and Nanoha have differing personalities which makes selection of one over the other dependent on your own personal preferences. What makes this dilemma interesting is not with similar character features, but with similar personalities. One can make the argument that Kagami and Kyou are not that different personality-wise. Similar personalities are more prone to a copout feel since pulling from a stock character type and pasting on a different face is too easy and happens way too often. Again, such decisions on one character over another is up to the viewer’s preferences.

Brand A Brand B
Name Minato Nagase Nanoha Takamachi
Versions 1.0 1.5 (A’s) or 2.0 (StrikerS)
*1.0 (TH) and 1.1 Discontinued*
Classes Sister, Housewife Loli, Imouto (A’s)
Sensei, Mother (StrikerS)
Vocal Core Aya Hirano Yukari Tamura
Pedigree New to
Moe Competition
4-time Saimoe Competitor
2-time Saimoe Top 8
2005 Saimoe Champion
Standard
Features
Chef’s Knife Raising Heart
Optional
Packages
Tsundere
Roomate
Feito Roomate,
TSAB Technical Support

I remember hearing before that Porsche owners usually spend $8,000 on average in options with their new car. Minato has some good value, but that Feito option package makes the Nahoha brand worth it.

Now knowing this, will you take store-bought over Grey Goose, locally-built over Apple, Minato over Nanoha? Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to take a better look at your moe options. So the next time you are in this moe dilemma, it may not be a bad idea to take the generic brand.

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7 Responses to Where generic-brand moe may just be as good as the brand name…

  1. CCY says:

    Hahaha, another great ‘analytical’ post that’s really unique, I like it.

    I seem to agree with your opinion of Akasaka so far, it’s relatively unoriginal and the characters sometimes do feel a bit generic … yet still, I end up watching it on a relatively regular basis. Whether this is because I like it, or because I want to see how poor a show it is, I don’t know.

    I understand the benefits to the easily produced, mass-market moe characters you outline, but you have to take the long-term effects into mind as well. Minato may seem to be the better deal but there’s no telling how long she’ll last before a breakdown. (Or is this the wrong anime…?)

  2. tj han says:

    Haha good job. But it truly shows how shit Nanoha and the generic character designs are.

  3. koneko-chan says:

    @ CCY: Glad to be of service to the blogosphere once again with my “informative” posts.

    It’s not that I dislike Akasaka. It’s just that it hasn’t done anything to make itself stand out. It’s weighed down a bit by Yuuhi’s annoying girl-that-needs-constant-saving bit. Once again, what is keeping me along is Minato.

    True. It could be that Minato’s or other characters’ value may change with time. This still presumes that there is some cost to liking one character over another. The point of this exercise was get others to consider other moe options outside of the common mainstream.

    tj han: What’s truly sad is that the number of Nanoha followers is probably large enough to take on most small armies.

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