28 CommentsOre no Imouto / By Scamp /

Ore no Imouto episode 10

Fair warning before you start reading: I will be hatin’ on moe in this post. You may retort with the point that you think I’ve been doing that in pretty much every single Ore no Imouto post. That is not the case. I’ve been mainly picking apart problems with the writing, plot construction, poor attempts at humour or whatever the latest problem plagued this anime (and the occasional praise where warranted). But this time it’s different. It’s a very fundamental problem with moe as a whole. You have been warned.

The episode itself continues Ore no Imouto’s downward spiral into nothingness. The episode was pretty much devoid of a narrative, beyond maybe the fact that Ayase is warming up ever so slowly to Kirino’s hobby. There’s no rhyme nor reason behind these episodes anymore. It lacked humour as well. Sticking characters in embarrassing outfits only ever works when we have some sort of emotional attachment to the characters and understand the embarrassment they are feeling. It’s a pretty weak attempt at humour in any case, as the inevitable maid cosplay in the next episode will show, but even the very basis of the humour fails when it involves Ayase and Kayako, two characters the show hasn’t made me give a shit about as of yet. The only grin I really got from the episode was Kyousuke’s cosplay as a member of the Men in Black.

Looking pretty suave there Kyousuke.

But let’s not just dismiss the episode at take a proper look at the message. Back when the show began, people were comparing Ore no Imouto to Genshiken, on the basis they were both about coming to terms with your own hobby, both cases being otaku-ism. For the most part, that theory has dropped off as the show progressed, but there was some basis for that theory. Ore no Imouto was giving off this message that you should be more open about your love for your hobby, especially in episode 2 where Kirino an Kuroneko opened up to each other when they couldn’t in front of the yaoi fangirls (surprise surprise, the best scenes in the anime involve Kuroneko yet again). But with the more recent episodes have put what happened in that episode into a different light. It was never about being more open about your own hobby. It was about being more open about your love of moe.

The part that set me off on this train of thought was a comment by Landon back on episode 7.

Maybe OreImo is attempt­ing to mock the fans that think like Kur­oneko, and the only reason why people think it’s the oppos­ite way around is because they’re far closer to Kuroneko’s point of view. More often than not, the tar­get of the joke doesn’t real­ize he’s being mocked.

That’d explain why OreImo goes right back to being an otaku pan­der­ing series: it expects you to find Kuroneko’s stance ridicu­lous while sid­ing with the per­vert sister.

Ore no Imouto is an otaku-pandering series. Anyone who still thinks otherwise is delusional to the extreme. You can still draw entertainment from some other parts of the series, and it’s true that there are still parts of this anime that are incredibly well written and witty Kuroneko exists. But the intention of the anime shapes the direction it takes, the messages it gives out and in turn can tear down what other entertainment you had drawn from the series.

There is no mocking of moe otaku here. The quality leap in animation for Kanako’s Meruru long, along with the attention and adoration they put into her song. The line afterwards about how she thought it was a good thing that the crowd were so enthusiastic about seeing Meruru. Moe is a good thing. This is where the plain and simple moe-hate on my part comes in. This isn’t a flaw in the writing anymore. This is just me reacting negatively to what I disagree with being placed on a pedestal for praise. The celebration of emotionally immature man-children who sexualise children (she wears a friggen elementary school backpack) because they can’t handle older women. I’ve heard the argument before that being a lolicon doesn’t mean you’re a pedophile. Biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard, they’re cheering for a real-life version of Meruru here. There’s no pure-intentions here either, they showed the Meruru porn earlier in the episode. They showed Kirino, who is simply the intended audiences persona inside a middle school girl, getting a nosebleed watching IRL Meruru. Ore no Imouto is celebrating all of that.

It disgusts me. I know people will try to argue that there’s more to moe than lolicon, but that’s what it was born from. It’s similar to how you can garner entertainment from Ore no Imouto even when you’re not it’s intended audience. You can derive entertainment from other areas, but the driving force behind moe is this sexualisation of innocence. A genre based entirely around sexual titillation is bad enough. Combining this with the fantasies of immature men who can’t grow up and face the world, you have the moe genre. If anyone wants to know why I don’t like moe, it’s all here.

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28 Comments

  1. Posted December 10, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    “But I don’t watch moe sexually! I just find it heartwarming, carefree and fun. Shows like this are just a kind of idealized escapism for me!”

    That’s the most common defense I hear from moe fans, and I do think it’s at least somewhat legitimate. I mean, can you claim a show like K-ON! is really sexual in nature? Scamp, what are your thoughts?

    • Scamp
      Posted December 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Same idea I mentioned in the final paragraph. You can derive entertainment from anything in any way you feel like. You can buy a football and use it as a footrest if you with. But because it wasn’t designed for that purpose, you’ll find yourself frustrated when it doesn’t do the job you decided you wanted it to do.

      K-ON is a pretty good example of this. K-ON is mainly the sexualisation of cuteness. But the sexualisation in K-ON is kept fairly low key, hence you can ignore it if you so wish. There will be scenes that are more blatantly sexual that you’ll find jarring, but you can still derive entertainment from the cuteness alone. But it’s still the moe ‘sexualising immaturity’ that inherantly drives the show.

      I don’t like cuteness as a main appeal anyway, so my K-ON viewing was doomed from the outset.

      • Posted December 10, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        There’s a point of contention to your viewpoint I want to bring up. Often what you classify as moe is based on the reactions of a subset of fandom to it, not necessarily based on the content of the series. Something like K-ON is easy to pick out as moe because its on the tail end of this moe boom, but what about anime that are moe-like in appearance but are actually just cute? Stuff like Azumanga Daioh and Yotsuba& might be just as tainted by that same crowd of lolicons as other more obviously sexualized works. Is it fair to lump them under the same ubrella? I remember reading somewhere that the origin of moe in anime came from fans of Miyazaki’s films who liked the designs of his child-like female characters. I think we have to be careful to separate fan activity from creator activity.

  2. luffyluffy
    Posted December 10, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I missed you Scamp <3

    • Scamp
      Posted December 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I do my best

  3. Posted December 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Great that the blog is back again, and you made it, Scamp.

    I’m checking this out like once an hour. I already feel like a creepy stalker. *kolkolkol*

    What will you blog for winter, if you had to decide now for let’ssss sayyy~ three or four shows?

    • Scamp
      Posted December 11, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Season Preview will be up hopefully today, although probably tomorrow. But suffice to say I’m not planning on picking up more than one, if nothing at all, especially since Bakuman will still be ongoing. This season has been a bit of a strain trying to juggle 3 shows at once

  4. Franny
    Posted December 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Agreed. While I’m very critical of certain series, able to spot tropes and lazy writing quite quickly, I will admit that I have watched and enjoyed an episode of a very light moe anime.

    Unfortunately, the Japanese market still thinks in a very isolated way. The companies know that anime is a big thing online and that their work can be seen worldwide merely hours after the episode finishes airing on TV or merely hours into the day the OVA DVD comes out in Japan. However, they still think of their home audience, because that’s where you’re going to get the most money from quickly. No waiting around for business meetings to get licenses, blah blah blah, just put out a series, watch the TV ratings soar or tank, make over-expensive DVDs to satisfy the fans…

    Seriously, Japan’s anime market is both great and awful at the same time. I think when ANN were in Japan a while ago, one of their reporters found a Blu-Ray of Chu-Bra for around $70. It only had 2 episodes on it. My Japanese pen-friend (god damn was I lucky to find a girl who is an otaku) says pretty much the same thing, although thankfully DVDs are a bit cheaper (maybe $50). But in Japan, there’s no point in voting with your wallet, because people will still buy crappy series and all the merchandise that comes with it, which good series are left to languish because they’re not quite as marketable.

    /end rant

    I gave up on OreImo about 5 episodes ago. While I liked the idea of it at first, I just couldn’t find myself caring (even a tiny bit) for any of the characters besides Kuroneko and Saori. Kyousuke is so bland that he’s nothing but a personality-projection tool for every otaku who wants to have a sibling or a friend who’s in their situation.

    Blargh I don’t know where I’m going with this. Excuse my rambling.

  5. Posted December 10, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    I came across this post and must say that totally agree with you. Moe is just another way of spitting characters without any thought-through background. I’m just sick of the way animes are going with fanservice adoration, but moe is just unbearable. One thing is wonder how cool that character might be when/if fully developed, but fantasize over some childlike girl like Meruru or Taiga is just another way to stimulate already distorted minds.

  6. Tenchi ryu
    Posted December 10, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Good to see you back scamp. I agree with everything you and the comments above me have said. Moe is just utterly annoying most of the time, thats all this show has become. It honestly makes me wonder where the hell they plan on taking this series. Making a visual novel that has a death route in this kind series is already ridiculous, but to not only end this 12 episode series with what they call the “good ending” only to basically retcon it with 4 new episodes on Blu ray as the “true ending”. WTF Where is Manami when you need her. Oh well me looking at my new love will do. Saori is so hot its sad Kirino is the focus of this show….
    http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1139.snc4/148157_1665364189872_1110281613_31846086_680600_n.jpg

  7. Posted December 10, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    “The cel­eb­ra­tion of emo­tion­ally imma­ture man-children who sexu­al­ise chil­dren (she wears a frig­gen ele­ment­ary school back­pack) because they can’t handle older women.”

    This. And a lot of the other things you mentioned, too. I think it can be one thing to watch something viewed as moe just for the heck of it, but there are times it’s taken way too far. Based on reading this review, I’d say this series is definitely in line with the whole “taking it way too far” thing.

  8. Zaku-loli-dono
    Posted December 10, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, I can’t agree with you and your mixing of lolicon, pedophilia and moe when those three things are entirely different.

    First, I believe the problem in anime is not moe in itself, but rather what happens with it, what the producers make with it. Create a reason for moe, a place for it, a story for it to evolve like any other style and it works. What you should smash is the lack of story/development/depth and not the character design.

    Second, lolicon is, you could say, a logical sexual derivation of the moe style in 2D. Hear me, 2D, not real. Real = Pedophile = harm, etc. I won’t do a complete essay on this, but that sums it up.

    So, don’t mix up your intolerance of lolicon and your hate of the lack of story in today’s anime. Everyone has is own sexual and porn preferences, it is not a moral problem like moe is not a moral problem in itself inside animes.

    Thank you. (=^.^=)

  9. Posted December 10, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    You can derive enter­tain­ment from other areas, but the driv­ing force behind moe is this sexu­al­isa­tion of inno­cence. A genre based entirely around sexual tit­il­la­tion is bad enough. Com­bin­ing this with the fantas­ies of imma­ture men who can’t grow up and face the world, you have the moe genre. If any­one wants to know why I don’t like moe, it’s all here.

    This is like saying all muslims are terrorists. A gross exaggeration.

    The driving force behind moe is the commercialization of cuteness, not the sexualization of innocence. Are there subgroups that are based around sexualization? Sure, but that is a smaller subset. K-ON certainly isn’t, anymore than Lucky Star is. Oreimo? Maybe more on that side. Kodomo no Jikan? Clearly on the sexualized side. But like anything there’s a sliding scale with extremes.

    But moe is about cute, perfecting it to a degree where you can sell it en masse. The appeal of moe to me, is like the appeal of LOLcats. It’s appealing because it’s cute, and thus lends itself to funnier situations, not because it’s sexual in any way.

  10. Scamp
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    I’m not backing down on this

    Moe = attraction through immaturity

    I’ve yet to find anything that counters this definition of moe. It fits the ‘moe is a feeling’ trend people tend to say about it. This fits kadian1364’s comment about fans turning works that aren’t intentionally moe into moe products. But there’s also anime, like K-ON, that deliberately aim to bring in that audience.

    Right, next points

    Moe != Cute
    Moe != Lolicon

    Cuteness is a form of immaturity. That’s where it inherantly comes from. Hence moe is frequently derived from cuteness. Lolicon runs somewhere along the same paths. Obviously kids are the very definiton of immature, hence they get moe fans.

    Moe is a feeling. Attraction through immaturity, whether it be aesthetic of large eyes and flat chests, or actions like being incapable on controlling your feelings (tsundere). My problem comes with anime that exist to tap into this feeling, another form of sexual titilation. I hold equal scorn for moecrap than I do for boobfests than I do for yaoi.

    As for lolicon not equaling pedophile, I’d point out that actually it does mean that in Japan but whatev’, the westernised version is taken as someone attracted to young animated characters. To which I say “yeah, and I jerk off to yaoi but I’m, like, totally not gay or anything

    • Scamp
      Posted December 11, 2010 at 1:01 am | Permalink

      Hmmm, OK, minor edit to this comment: I don’t really hold equal scorn for moecrap as I do for boobfests. There is that part of me that’s slightly more put off by the lolicon version of moecrap due to moral outrage. If Ore no Imouto was exhalting the virtures of boobfests then I probably wouldn’t have had such a negative reaction. That’s also partly because boobfests aren’t having quite as much a negative impact on anime as moe is currently having

      • Posted December 11, 2010 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Boob­fests aren’t hav­ing quite as much a neg­at­ive impact on anime as moe is cur­rently having.

        Really? I’d say that the mindless fanservice romps are worse than most moe shows. I mean, it’s not absolute – I’m never going to say that Kodomo no Jikan is a great show – but as a general rule of thumb, I’d think that something like OreImo, Lucky Star or K-On would be a fair cut above Queen’s Blade, Ikki Tousen or Seikon no Qwaser.

    • Posted December 11, 2010 at 3:05 am | Permalink

      Hence moe is fre­quently derived from cute­ness. Lol­icon runs some­where along the same paths…My prob­lem comes with anime that exist to tap into this feel­ing, another form of sexual tit­il­a­tion.

      There’s a big difference between moe and lolicon, in the same way there’s a difference between teenager and jailbait.

      I would add to your equations:
      moe != sexual titillation

      You may not be able to distinguish between the two, but the difference exists. I think you’re letting yourself be clouded by the typical Sankaku scene of the pig-disgusting otaku humping their loli dakimakura, or the Oreimo scene where all the adult otakus were going nuts over the little girl cosplays. Does that faction exist? Sure, but they’re a minority. Maybe a vocal minority, but still a minority. Both in and outside of Japan. Those not in this scene can most definitely separate moe from “sexual titiliation.” Just because you’re *squeeealing* about a “moe” character doesn’t mean you’re getting a raging a hard-on for them.

      That’s also partly because boob­fests aren’t hav­ing quite as much a neg­at­ive impact on anime as moe is cur­rently having

      I’m not sure how you can say that when the boobfest-inspired harem-type shows are a significant staple of the anime scene since at least the early 2000’s, if not earlier. I think you’re swayed because the “moe” trend is something the otaku crowd attaches themselves to moreso than the “boobfest” trend.

  11. Taka
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/articles/2009/Bryce.html

    A paper on the concept of Moe and how it applies to Otaku. He does talk about moe and sex. He illuminates the parodoxical nature of how one can simultaneously want to protect AND violate innocence. He does state that most characters that are perceived as moe are “little sister”, innocent types. However he also argues that because these fantasies are the result of nostalgia for what they never had as an adolescent, and because real people do not play “the little sister character” (he elaborates on how moe character traits and even reality are flattened to better fit the otaku fantasy) than those fantasies generally remain in that world and don’t extend to the realm of the physical.

    So to me that paper is saying it’s a little bit of both. I personally think it’s all just fantasy. I think RP is right on target when he declares it more the commercialization of cute rather than the sexualization of innocence. Innocent characters are more likely to be perceived as moe but that does not necessarily mean those characters will be adolescents or children. Celty is moe. Nino is moe. Even someone like Akashi-san from Tatami Galaxy is moe.

    Porn is porn. Moe is moe. Lolicon is lolicon. yes they overlap at times but not in the broad generalizing ways that you have described.

    • Taka
      Posted December 11, 2010 at 2:04 am | Permalink

      Also the random picture that shows up as the avatar of people posting without accounts is super moe.

  12. ~xxx
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    episode 10 is better that the past ones…

    well, I’m surprised how kanako able to take her cosplay as meruru…

    and I think I understand how Kyousuke had been able to draw borders and realize that he is indeed the match that triggers them all… sorta.

    in the end I didn’t receive what I think is needed in this episode…
    Ayase doing the cosplay.

  13. Gutts
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Even though I haven’t watched Ore no Imouto yet, after reading a bit off the front page, I felt compelled to click on this post and continue reading. I just need to say, WOW, after reading this I know now why I like moe. Yes, I’ll admit that I enjoy moe. I’ll also admit I never realized moe is derived from lolicon, which I dislike. I prefer a type of innocence in the moe characters of anime and after reading your post I realize how immature this is. Even though I know what moe really is now, I don’t think I can pull myself away from shows like Ore no Imouto or the plethora of anime just like it. I guess what I’m trying to say is this, even though you’ve made me realize that what I enjoy is my own immaturity and insecurities assuaged by characters created for that very purpose, and nothing else. I will still continue to watch anime with moe characters because I enjoy them, even if I have to contradict myself by saying I dislike lolicon while knowing that moe is the personification of lolicon. I feel like I repeated myself there and I’m not even sure I made any sense. It’s late as hell and I’m not sure why I’m still awake.

  14. Posted December 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    As far as I can see, you’re mainly saying two things here – that moe is about finding attractiveness in flaws, and that Kirino is supposed to be a ‘perfect’ image for otaku to project themselves onto and agree with.

    But if Kirino’s supposed to be everything that an otaku would agree with, then I wouldn’t say that the appeal of the show is from her flaws.

    So, is OreImo not a moe show, or is Kirino not supposed to represent the audience? I’m not sure what you’re saying here. :P

    On the other hand, I agree with you on some things – the show hasn’t fully lived up to its appeal, and while I’m still enjoying it overall there are a lot of overblown drama things which are a little grating to watch. Also, everything is salvaged by Kuroneko.

    We need moar Kuroneko. (And Saori, and Manami).

    • Scamp
      Posted December 12, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      What, no. Where did I say flaws? I said immaturity, which isn’t necessarily a flaw at all

  15. Posted December 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    I’d say mocks neither and both. OreImo continues to seem contradictory. If you think moe is the disease killing anime, then you should be bashing this show (and you do). But I think that OreImo, or the anime adaptation at least, has shown cases where it is thoroughly self-aware, the amazingly paradoxical episode 8 not withstanding (ofcourse, the definition of a paradox is that it seems contradictory). And that is why I watch this show. It is not well constructed of any sort but it’s pretty slick. Don’t take this show on face level and don’t try to enjoy it on that.

  16. A guy from /m/
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Your opinion about the whole moe fad and the way it’s been portrayed for the past few years truly hits home. Although, if I may, there’s one more thing I would like to point out, mainly the lack of insight or actual thematic depth that these type of shows lack. It’s something that I take serious issue with seeing as how they’re currently coming in droves, all being pretty much identical, or worse, interchangeable. Of course there are outliers, but they’re more the exception rather than the rule.

    • A
      Posted December 14, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      >mainly the lack of insight or actual them­atic depth that these type of shows lack
      So basically they have thematic depth and insight?

  17. A
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Homosexuals are homosexual because they can’t handle women.

    You’re just a normal, cartdriver. That deserves less of a pedestal than moe otaku.

  18. Roy Mustang
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Cartdriver is obviously tsundere for Moe. Damn pedo.

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