Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun and the Mystery of Moe

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.

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9 thoughts on “Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun and the Mystery of Moe

  1. As both a justice fan and an Amelia fan I feel I must speak up. Ameila is not moe because Slayers does not lend itself to moe in general. All the characters are supposed to be parodies of fantasy characters. In fact I would go as far as to say Lina and company seem to me like parodies of the type of characters people make in table top fantasy RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons.

    Could they throw in moe in Slayers? Sure. But chances are it would be as silly a parody as anything else in Slayers. Lina would take advantage of …. I mean help some poor moe girl in need of assistance and comedy would ensue in some random filler episode.

    Actually now that I think about it Jeffrey from Slayers: Book of Spells in pretty moe. : )

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  2. It’s kinda interesting to me, since there’s something about Amelia that’s appealing to me, but I can’t quite figure it out. Maybe her overzealousness with justice. And I don’t attribute it to “moe”, since it’s not something that tends to drive my liking/disliking of a character, but I think the post has started to help me with thinking about why my feelings are so. :/

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  3. Actually, from that description it sounds like Amelia is a well-rounded character. A lot of explicitly moe characters are, by contrast, rather shallow collections of stereotypes. Maybe that’s the answer…

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  4. Maybe it comes down to the fact that she is very assertive? That, and like you said, how she isn’t pitiable. She doesn’t need any HELP.

    Moe is all about being non-threatening (even tsundere boils down to this in the end), and that means the character has to be pitiable and in need of easily-offered help, and also that she shouldn’t be assertive, so she’ll go along with whatever help is offered to her. (For the most blatant and transparent recent example of how this works, see Nogizaka Haruka.)

    Amelia knows what she wants and how to get it (even when she’s completely wrong), and won’t take no for an answer. She puts demands on those around her. Thus, not moe.

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  5. …and when I think about that a bit more, I suddenly realize that what Misaki was doing in Welcome to the NHK was describing moe in reverse – it’s all about finding someone more pitiable than yourself, and helping them to make yourself feel better.

    Why didn’t I see that earlier?

    It occurs to me that I may only be focusing on a fragment of the whole picture still, but at least it’s the one fragment that makes up about 98% of all of Key’s productions.

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  6. Sorry to send a reply in, but I just found this article. I think I understand this situation though (I watched the original series of Slayers as a kid, and I’ve rewatched the entire thing now once I found out about Revolution/Evolution-R).

    To first address the Saimoe thing: It’s very much a young blood event. The voters seen to have a “What have you done recently” feel to them. IIRC, something like 75% are from series less than 5 years years old and ~90% from less than 10 years old. Amelia is a veteran in a place where it isn’t good to have years added on.

    Second, I think that Amelia, despite having been one of the original characters to describe moe (and my personal favourite in the matter. Nobody has ever replaced that in all 11 years I’ve known about her), has turned into a parody of moe. The fact that she plays a comical role quite often in the show means that it is hard to take her position seriously and thus loses to more focused characters (Mikuru Asahina being a primary example of a character who is PURELY in that catagory).

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