Yesterday I posted my translation of Japanese blogger Tamagomago‘s post about the moefication of the “Otaku Girl.” This is my own follow-up to it, and how I feel about the various themes and ideas put forth by Tamagomago.
While I think the threat of otaku confusing reality with fantasy is not that likely for the most part, I do see how “Otaku Girl Moe” is different from most other types of moe, with the possible exception of “Imouto Moe, ” though that mistake can be quickly dispeled by interacting with real little sisters. Otaku Girls actually exist in the real world and are in a sense closely related to Otaku Guys, so the line between fantasy and reality can blur quite a bit. It’s sort of like how most people probably wouldn’t realize that a model’s photo was airbrushed, or that the situations that occur in porn have very little chance of actually happening, but because we associate those things with “reality,” e.g. photos are realistic, we as people can be susceptible to their illusion.
Basically, while I don’t think there’s an immediate danger involving confusing the Otaku Girls in Anime with Otaku Girls in real life, there is a sort of precedent.
I of course also agree with the notion that as strong a character and as realistic as Ogiue is, she’s still just a character in a story. Though I can still hope…!
Another interesting point Tamagomago talks about is what I translated as the “exceedingly shaky” foundation upon which otaku build their preferences for women. I mentioned an earlier example of confusing fantasy with reality, but this one is particularly interesting as it’s almost an inverted example from the one above.
What we have is a situation where an otaku will take a realistic goal, i.e. finding a girl that can relate to them, and using their doubts and fears to transform it into an impossible dream. In other words, they’ve taken what is real and confused it for fantasy, something not talked about quite as often in these conversations about moe we have on this internet.
Of course, the part that generated the most conversation was where Tamagomago said that the act of calling someone moe is “violent” because it strips them of their individuality. Perhaps it was my translation not being completely clear, but the point that Tamagomago was trying to get across was that real people are not anime characters. It’s kind of an obvious thing to say, but within the context of moe you’re using a term associated with fiction and fictional characters and attaching it to real human beings with real depth and personalities. Let’s forget the word moe for a second, and instead imagine that I was talking about one of my female friends and I said, “Her character development is excellent!” It’s still a compliment, but it’s kind of bizarre to use that kind of language with an actual girl.
One more note, I don’t really think calling girls fujoshi is that bad, especially as it’s taken on this specific meaning of “yaoi fangirl.” Words in languages are malleable things as much as some would like to disgree, and the word “otaku” is a perfect example of this as its negative properties have fluctuated over the years. It’s like, I know that the word decimate originally meant “reduce by 10%.” Do I care? Not at all.
So in conclusion, I can’t wait for Hirano Kouta to knock down Tamagomago’s door for daring to say that there’s no such thing as Otaku Guy Moe.