The review that cried moe

Miha at Ex-Wota has found an ANN review objectionable.  After looking over the review, I have to say there is indeed something amiss.

The girls themselves offer a standard moe personality distribution. Young Kureha is the resident tsundere type; Kanata is the innocent, enthusiastic, starry-eyed newcomer; Felicia is the faultlessly nice one; Noel is the reserved, minimally-speaking one; and Rio is the hard-edged but still compassionate one. Nothing particularly fresh or exciting here, unfortunately.

The problem with ANN’s review is that those archetypes aren’t moe archetypes. They’re present in war stories going back centuries.

Sub out those names and this could easily describe any video game or movie that tells the story of fresh recruits mixed with a unit of grizzled veterans.  Plenty of military tales, for instance, had “the guy who doesn’t speak much” as a stock character, or “the guy who acts tough and ungrateful but actually thinks of the unit as his family.”  People don’t ask for fresh or exciting there. They ask for identifiable characters so they can get right to the business of the story.

Isn’t Sora no Woto a military story?  Can’t it get away with reflexively using the same military story cliches that other productions rely on?  And if it can’t, shouldn’t we accurately identify the genre a cliche belongs to?

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 2:12 AM  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think people are just attacking Sora no Woto in any way that they can when I see things like this. People leave their minds at the door (cliche, sorry) when they have to talk about something they’re biased against.

  2. Those are stereotypes that belong to both genres (and other genres while we’re at it). Just because they’re military movie stereotypes (and they are, you’re right about that), doesn’t mean that they aren’t moe stereotypes as well. The reviewer has a valid complaint regardless of what genre they choose to attribute the stereotypes to, so I don’t see what the fuss is.

    • Your defense of the article misses its point (and thus, my criticism) – he’s arguing that it’s moe, and thus generic, and thus crap. If the undesirable parts are not exclusively moe, then this line of reasoning, as a whole, is incorrect.

      We generally name things after earlier examples of their use, not later examples – if I use a movable type press I’m using a Bi Sheng press, or a Gutenberg press, not a “moritheil press.” There is no doubt that war stories vastly predate the moe genre. ANN present themselves as professionals who are above the common tier of bloggers, and should be held to journalistic standards of accuracy.

      And frankly, the ability to correctly identify why you dislike something separates the expert from the amateur.

  3. I think it’s more that KyoAni is getting their just desserts for screwing people with endless eight. True, sometimes the easiest way for people to describe their upset is by falling onto cliches themselves. Reviewers will do this as well, because it’s easier to sum up “KyoAni everyanime: wartime edition” in cliched terms. I myself am doing the same, but not because I haven’t been giving the show a fair chance. If I wasn’t willing to leave my bias at the door I wouldn’t be watching it at all.

  4. Nice way of looking at it. It made me smile.

  5. This is what I and many others have been saying – the whole pigeonholing based on character designs has gone too far.

  6. Zing!

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