Moe in the Real World

June 15, 2008 at 9:00 am | Posted in Articles | 10 Comments

So my recent post on Nagisa (and a future post I’m planning for another anime girl) has got me thinking…

What moe traits can you find in reality?

Obviously the first answer anyone would come up with would be, “there are none.” But as I found out a while ago that’s not entirely true. You can find them. You just can’t find the whole moe package. Girls can have some of the traits, but it’s really impossible to have too many. Moe girls are designed to fit a male fantasy after all.

Just thinking about it for a moment I can already come to a small conclusion. Personality traits are rare. You’re not likely to meet a girl so shy that she can’t speak in full sentences. Situations and appearances are more common. There are sick girls and twin-tailed girls (I know because I’ve been both). Of course even the situations can only be stretched so far. You can find a girl in a coma, but that girl won’t wandering around the town while in said coma.

So! I’m now on a mini-quest to find out what moe traits are fairly realistic and which ones are just…out there. None of them are going to be spot-on moe (because that just doesn’t happen), but let’s just see how far it goes.

I’ll give the moe trait I found in reality and then I’ll try to explain it away. Also, to just be general I’ll use all the traits found in dating sims and harem anime since maybe everything isn’t “moe” (I’m not a fanboy, I don’t keep up).

Starting with myself (ugh):

  • I’ve been sick and out of school for a while – But I’m not in danger of dying and causing some major DRAMA.
  • Apparently I look younger than I am – I’m 17 but I get mistaken for 14. I won’t be setting off any lolicon fantasies anytime soon.
  • I’m really shy – But not in that cute, “U-um…I…well…” blushing sort of way. I’m usually just too shy to even respond to someone and therefore come across as mean (that shows up in shoujo manga but not really in bishojo games…so not moe, right?).
  • I’m the “lonely girl without any friends” – I only seem that way to others at school and stuff. I have four very good friends, they just weren’t in my classes. We go to the mall and talk to each other a lot online. I’m very much surrounded by friends.
  • I have been known to hit guys – Well…come on. All girls do that. Our male friends tick us off and we know they can’t hit us back. Who wouldn’t take advantage of that?
  • I’m bad at sports – Don’t know how this became moe, but somehow it did. Anyway, it doesn’t count since I don’t really care. There’s no “ganbatte” factor.

So as far as I go…I have some moe traits, but all of them can be easily shot down by reality. Looks like I won’t have any of my own crazy fanboys anytime soon. Maybe a moe girl exists out there somewhere in this wide, wide world. But I’m not her.

Moving on now, I’m going to bring up some moe traits that I’ve found in girls I’ve met and/or know well:

  • Ojou-sama – We all know girls who can fit this, but they aren’t moe. They’re just mean. They aren’t secretly nice or have some tortured past. They’re just mean. It was years ago that they finally found out that most “bullies” aren’t bullied. So let’s move on please.
  • Bullied Girls – This definitely happens. Girls are vicious. However, guys don’t get to rescue them. More often than not what happens is we go around, spread meaner rumors and get even. Very un-moe if you ask me.
  • Depressed Girls – This probably for guys who like to save girls, just like with the bullied girls. But sorry, if you just met a girl who is honestly depressed, you can’t help her.
  • Dojikko – In real life…these girls are usually just annoying. And no one is that clumsy anyway.
  • Nee-san – Somehow girls that might qualify as “nee-san”s (moe type, not literal) almost always strike me as completely unapproachable. So I can’t say for sure how they aren’t moe. But I’d guess from one encounter, they’re pretty much just ordinary girls.

Obviously there’s more than just these types of girls. There’s more shy girls, childish girls, smart girls, and tomboys, but those ones are all way too obvious to point out and refute (even for me).

Now that I’ve pointed out lots of moe traits I’ve found in the real world, even though all the ways they aren’t moe also got pointed out, I want to go ahead and say a few things that I have never found in real life and never, ever expect to. This is the sort of “over-the-top” moe stuff I was thinking about back when I called Nagisa “realistic.” Because all of Nagisa’s traits are moe, but she doesn’t have any of the over-the-top moe stuff.

  • Yandere – This needed to be stated first. Someday I’ll likely rant all about yandere girls (I hate them all with few exceptions), but for now I’ll just leave it as…Sure there are crazy girls out there. But you do not want to date or sleep with them. Doesn’t matter how hot they are.
  • Lolis – By this I mean girls who look like a child, but are actually of a nice legal age that keeps a guy from being a pedophile. No. There’s some very rare cases, but even then, if guys are honestly attracted to these girls…you’re a pedo. Sorry.
  • Tsundere – Whichever definition you use, they don’t really exist. Girls don’t hate a guy and slowly fall in love with them. Girls past the age of fifteen don’t really insult the guy they like (not often anyway). Guys don’t really like girls who are mean to them. We’re not going to sabotage ourselves (besides, tsundere girls never win anyway).
  • Genius Girls – They exist, but they aren’t moe (and you’ll never meet one). Usually they don’t have a single other moe trait except being a genius…which by itself isn’t moe at all.

At least these are the main types of girls I know I’ll never meet in my lifetime. And in the case of a yanderekko…really don’t want to meet that crazy-ass girl. Though, I will admit a real-life tsundere would make a fun friend (either definition).

Looking at all this I must come to the sad, sad conclusion that yes, *sigh* there are moe traits in the real world, but we are sadly lacking in a supply of moe girls. Or maybe the demand just exceeds the supply and some guys (and girls) are hogging all the moe girls to themselves.

As a girl this conclusion tears me in two. I want to meet a moe girl and have her as a friend, but if she existed, wouldn’t all the guys be after her? Actually, maybe not…I really think most moe traits only work in fiction.

A clumsy girl in real life is annoying. Yandere…would just never work. Tsundere girls would lose out in the real world even more than in anime. And sick girls…speaking from personal experience, people get tired of a sick girl fast because she can hardly ever go out and do anything. What good is a girlfriend you can’t date?

But maybe she is out there somewhere. The real-life Nagisa. Just no one meets her because she’s sick all the time and too shy to bring attention to herself.

I guess we’ll never really know. But for now I’ll go with reality. Cold, harsh, cruel reality. Not a dango, anteater, or kitten plushie in sight.

Oh well. To leave off, here’s an image that’s not from Shuffle!:

Tomoyo, Nagisa, and Kyou. The three girls I consider to be at the very top of their moe game (Sorry Kotomi, your violin playing is too annoying).

*sigh* Why don’t you girls exist in reality?

Oh yeah I just realized not everyone is familiar with some terms. Here are wiki pages on: Yandere, Tsundere. The Yandere page has those oh-so-typical, but unnecessary spoilers that you see on wikipedia pages, just as a warning. For any other terms, do what everyone else does…google.

–Originally I planned to do a post for father’s day, but since there aren’t really aren’t many fathers in anime that I enjoy (Konata’s dad in Lucky Star and Akio are the only two who come to mind) or really fathers in anime just generally (so many teenagers without fathers), it really became impossible (for me). Maybe dads who enjoy moe will like this scheduled post instead while I go watch Indiana Jones with my dad–


  1. I think it’s the other way around.

  2. Whoa…moe. Pretty big topic to cover but so fun to talk about all the same. Hehe. xD;
    I agree with you that certain moe traits do exist in reality. It’s just reality itself that keeps us from classifying it as “moe.”
    I have a friend (I think she’s the only one whose traits comes close to being moe) who displayed some of those characteristics but I won’t go any further about that or she’ll hate me and never speak to me again!!! *exaggerating* TAT.
    But wow, I’m a little surprised that you have more close-moe traits than I thought. And I think that’s awesome. ^^ And another great part about it is if you realized those things about yourself, then you understand moe on deeper level than how other people would. I mean, it’s evident if you can point moe out in other and real people, no?
    Heh, I can relate to being shy and not good at sports but I just like being alone (more than I should) and doing sports never really interested me. So I’m not moe at all. Yay. lol xD;
    I have yet to meet or see a true “Oujo-sama” type. I’ve know a few girls in my high school who tried to act similarly to being rich and bitchy but they were really only just bitchy…so they fit into more of the bullying girls type. I’m also guessing that their parents are most living off of welfare (oh, it’s pretty clear to tell) so that’s probably why.
    Depressed girls are either eventually going to be un-depressed or just can’t help but be emo, IMO. :/ And there’s nothing cute about the real life ones. You take a look at them and it’s just so…ugh. I want to smack them sometimes and tell them to get on with their life (I don’t even think I’m talking about the same kind of girl anymore, aish~).
    Never met/saw a dojikko or a nee-san yet. Actually, for “Nee-san” I’m not so sure. Cuz if they’re really like that, they’re too normal for me to notice. Urk, I’m getting’ confused now.
    Yandere girls intrigue, sometimes amuse and make me sick. Yangire girls even more so. o.O;;; I hope I never come across one ever.
    Lol Lolis…don’t know what to say about them. I’d say you’d have to be pretty damn lucky to know one (and there’s probably a high chance of the person being a guy and therefore, a pedo, if he does. Heh.)
    I’d laugh so hard if I know a tsuntsun exists. xD But I’d like to have a tsuntsun friend and/or relative and then tease her about it. Ha, it’d be fun. Lol
    Genius girls are boring. -_-;
    *sigh* Well, I’d like to meet said moe girl (if she exists) but if I don’t, oh well. *shrug*
    …hey, I think the government kidnapped all the moe girls…that’s why we don’t see them. *idiot* xDDD;;;
    But yea…moe girls probably don’t exist because if they do, they’d be hated to the point of crime. Lol ^^; That’s why they’re “moe” and fiction, isn’t it? Moe is meant to be loved and hated, not just hated (I know, weird thinking). Ah, moe moe moe…
    I’m so confused by my post now. xD;
    P.S. Shuffle looks cool. Is it any good? xDDD;;;

  3. Oh, forgot to say. This is xiao_jie88. Sorry for the double post. ^^;

  4. Nice idea for a blog post! it’s always good to remember reality and see how anime measures up :). I think half of it is what you said, the exaggeration and “perfect moe-ness” that is just created by an author and not real. also I think the other half is, when you watch an anime show you are “forced” to focus on the characters and learn everything about them and thus influenced to care about them and have the moe reaction. If you stalked someone in real life and learned as many details as you know about an anime character they might turn out pretty moe too (just a theory, maybe you’d end up hating them instead).

  5. Best post ever, lol. Never would’ve thought of it. I kinda agree with Susie though about the “If you stalked someone in real life and learned as many details as you know about an anime character they might turn out pretty moe too”
    No I don’t stalk anyone. I just mean that if you learned enough about a person you might just find them really moe. I’m saying this because a) I know someone very Nagisa-like minus the sickly-ness and she absolutely adorable (though she was annoying at first) and b) a number of my friends say I’m moe [why? no idea. I’d ask but I kinda don’t want to know].
    It’s true that you end up finding a character cute and moe because you know about them and developed at liking to them. I’ll take Nagisa again because I’ve been finding her cuter and cuter every time I see a picture of her. I hated her but now that I understand her a bit … I find myself thinking she’s really cute [lol, once again that was because of one of your posts] Okay rant over. XD

  6. lelangir: The other way around? What are you referring to specifically?


    ling88: Ah, I knew something was familiar about the writing in this entry the first time I read if through.

    Heh…I have a friend who’s kind of moe. She’s got sick girl moe (like me!) and and she’s the nee-san I mentioned. But as far as anyone is concerned…I never said anything about her. Luckily she has no idea what moe is anyway…and she doesn’t know this blog exists.

    Is it awesome? I’m not quite sure. I think most anime fans have shyness and “lonely girl” down pretty well. But once I looked over my list I got embarassed because I had so many. I purposely left out things I used to be and I’ve now been informed that my desire to be a librarian is another type of moe. I’m stuck between being flattered and regretting adding myself into all this. lol and about understanding moe, I wonder if that’s a good thing or if it means I act too much like a fanboy sometimes.

    Ah…maybe everyone doesn’t know Oujo-sama girls after all. I’m just completely used to it because my town is kind of near the beach (meaning…lots of rich people with beach houses). Though I have no idea why some of the rich kids go to my public school. The private school is closer to their houses anyway. But yeah…they’re snobby and stuck-up and just as awful as regular bully girls. Ugh.

    That’s true I neglected depressed girls who are just emo. There’s the girls with real problems and then there’s just emo girls. But I don’t think anyone has ever thought an emo girl is moe…at least I hope not.

    Heh…the dojikko and nee-san that I know the best are the same person (just as different points in life). When we were twelve she used to fall down the stairs once a week at school. Now she’s just…completely awesome and cool, to outsiders anyway (hence why it’s not moe, because she’s at least as weird as I am…and she’s can still be a dojikko when she’s tired).

    Yup, that summarizes my feelings about yandere girls. I’m actually kind of okay with yangire girls because they’re usually normal (though they’re even scarier when they snap).

    I want a tsuntsun friend too! It would be so great!!

    Stupid government! Let my moe girls go! I can protect them from mean people!

    Well, everyone says Shuffle is good. Personally I stopped watching it halfway through because none of the girls I like really win in the end. So I’m just going to play the game instead…once the patch is finished.


    Susie Q: Ah that’s true. I never thought of that. If you think about it, there’s a good chance there really is a moe girl of some sort out there…you just don’t know enough to be sure and all that. Her cute little moe moments might go completely unnoticed! Some of the best moe-ness in anime happens at home!

    But I’m cynical and kind of think that hating them is more likely (or maybe it’s just the town I live in where ojou-sama girls are so un-moe).


    saimaisama: Just more proof that I spend too much time thinking about really random things when I should be working on…work (lol).

    You know a Nagisa? Ah! Lucky! Though it’s probably best I never meet a Nagisa-like girl because I’d probably freak her out and ask her to wear a Clannad uniform (that really makes me sound like a perverted old man).

    I’m sure many girls are more moe than they think anyway. I expected jus “sick girl” and “shy girl” out of my own moe test and ended up with 6 things…more than for either of the other categories…and 7 if you include my possible future appeal as a librarian. Now I’m even more embarrassed about my career choices for an entirely different reason!

    Haha, then go look at more pictures of Nagisa until you are forced to think she’s as cute as I do (though that might be impossible).

  7. I have this bizarro urge to do a moe analysis on myself… o.O

    Anyway, I don’t completely agree with all your points, but I found the entire analysis pretty interesting.

    I actually have an older friend who started out really disliking a guy… and now they’re married =) Granted, I’d never refer to her a tsundere, because it wasn’t dislike of the mallet-smack variety, but the fact remains.

  8. Ok in all seriousness – although I still have yet to read the post and the comments – moe in anime is a hyperbolic transfer of real life qualities. Real life did come before anime, you know; and saying that anime is entirely “original” in that its characteristics don’t exist in reality is a grave mistake, I think, although I don’t think you said that anywhere. My point is that instead of focusing on “moe in the real world,” it is the other way around – trying to decipher exactly how “moe” ended up being a trait associated with anime, and not exaggerated facts of real life.

  9. adaywithoutme: A moe analysis is fun (more fun that I thought it would be anyway). As long as you don’t have a massive fear of fanboys anyway…

    Ah, so it does happen. I’d never run into a girl who disliked a guy and then ended up liking him…even getting married. Okay, so that part of tsundere can happen I guess. The situational stuff of it anyway.


    lelangir: Ah okay, I get what you’re saying now.

    That’s a very good point. I didn’t think of it like that really, even though what you’re saying is true. Moe didn’t just pop up out of thin air, someone had to see it somewhere (they just exaggerated it beyond all belief).

    Looking at it that way, then this post is just…coming full circle I suppose. I’m just looking at how far off-track moe has gotten. Though, looking at how moe became associate with anime in the first place…I’m curious about that now too.

  10. […] cute and charming, likely funny, girls that share their hobbies. Well it’s wrong because moe girls don’t exist (that aside, I’m still totally watching this anime). But I think the fact that Nogizaka […]

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