If you’re a fan of anime, the word Moe should not be new to you. It’s one of the most important words in Otaku culture today. Moe is used to describe anything from a really cute girl, a situation, or the feeling you get when you are watching Ink in the popular, and fittingly named, anime Moetan.
But where did Moe originate, and what does it really mean?
There are a few different opinions on where the word comes from. Akiba-blog’s weekly AkibaWord column choose Moe as their first AkibaWord. Akibablog writes,
Originally, “Moe” is used to express feelings of loving something- especially, when otaku is crazy about bishojo (cute ladies) characters, they say “Moe.” Sometimes, it can be used to show the sexual excitement.
Upon doing my own investigating, I turned to my ever-increasing library of books and found a really good answer in Cruising the Anime City. The book talks about how many believe the word Moe came from the shortened version of Tomoe, the real name of Sailor Saturn in the classic anime Sailor Moon. Others say that the word originates from the Japanese word Moeru, which means “burning” (the burning desire that fills your soul when you see a cute girl)
Moe at its most purest form means “a plant sprouting.” In anime and manga, it’s common to see a character obtain an older brother role to the girl he finds moe. He is willing to protect her from harm, and anything perverse.
Moe as a word can be used a few different ways:
- Sakura-chan is so moe.
- I am moe over Kitahara Sayaka from MilkyWay.
- I am Miko moe.
- Oh my god, Becky, moeeeee!
One cannot talk about the word Moe, and not talk about the underage aspect that is attached to the word. While the word was clearly used before being attached to rise of the Loli-scene, many continue to associate Moe with it. However, when one talks about Moe, the image that usually comes to mind is that of innocence and purity… something definitely not associated with the Loli-scene.
So now that you are a bit more familiar with the word Moe, add it to your Otaku vocabulary!