Slayers is a 90’s anime series which arrived in a time before moe became a commonplace word. The most recent series which began airing this year, Slayers Revolution, is extremely faithful to that era of anime. So faithful, perhaps, that it can be jarring when put up against the other shows surrounding iSlayers Revolution at the moment. It is with this contrast that I began to wonder about the character of Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun and how, in her very 1990’s anime characterization, she is not quite moe as we know it today.
Young and cute with a bit of sexiness.
Honest and kind, but overly naive.
Tries her best but is often clumsy.
On paper, Amelia seems to be an obviously fall into the “moe” category in its most obvious and stereotypical sense. And yet, something doesn’t add up. While she has a lot of endearing traits similar to those of characters such as Arika Yumemiya (My-ZHiME) and Nono (Top o Nerae 2), Amelia is somehow different. She is not a character easily called moe, and her immediate loss in round 1 of the first Anime Saimoe’s main tournament says she was popular enough to get there, but not popular enough to overcome others.
Just to make things clear, I believe moe to be a personal, subjective thing. It is okay to moe over Amelia. What I mean when I say she is not quite moe is that she is generally not viewed as a “moe character” despite being so similar to characters who are.
One possibility is that while it’s possible to enjoy her character, feel empathy for her, and even perhaps become infatuated with Amelia, it’s much more difficult to feel sorry for her. Amelia is the confident princess of a powerful kingdom. She is skilled in diplomacy and magics both offensive and defensive. Her personality flaws are in sort of a no-man’s land, where they’re real flaws (and not just ones to make her cuter), but not so detrimental so as to turn her into damaged goods. She has both a gentle side and an agressive side, but it could never be mistaken for the ever-popular tsundere category.
I do not have the answers, but I believe that with a careful study of Amelia’s character, we can begin to unravel the clues explaining why anime has increasingly made this turn towards moe as she sits on the precipice between two worlds.