“Moe,” pronounced “mo-eh,” literally referring to a budding plant, is an informal Japanese term meaning a type of feeling towards anime female characters. The moe character exudes an aura of innocence, through her appearance and quirky personality; we might be attracted to her so much that we desire to be with her — to protect her, to be her boyfriend, to be her father, because in our minds she represents the ideal female.
Take the anime series, “K-On!” for example — it can be considered bishojo and moe anime. Mio Akiyama, among fans of the series, is a popular character because she displays moe characteristics. Though she is shown to be serious, we also see her embarrassed and frightened; she generates her audience’s desire to console her as well as protect her from her friend Ritsu Tainaka, who happens to tease her frequently. Mio can also be bishojo due to her hime (hii-may) cut hairstyle; though, all of the female characters of K-On! can be bishojo because the school uniforms they wear make them look cuter (subjective).
Visual novels (VNs) are a popular genre of game in Japan, and are another major source of bishojo and moe characters aside from anime series. The majority of VNs involve romance between a male protagonist and several female romantic prospects. Usually the male protagonist is depicted as a young Japanese or Asian, as it’s assumed that whoever plays such VNs is a male of Asian descent, giving him someone to identify with. A player sees the world in his view, and eyes a girl whom he deems bishojo and moe. He desires to be with her maybe because of her beautiful long black hair and clumsy personality, or he identifies her with a girl he has known in real life — he thus plays the game to vicariously have a relationship with her. In the end, he can have sex with her (in adult-oriented VNs), and/or marry and have children with her.
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