What is Moe? [Definition, Meaning]

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Lucky Star wallpaper


Honey's Anime always enjoy bringing you the sweet goodness when it comes to definitions, and we would love to discuss the meaning of moe. Many of you are probably familiar with this term, but for those who are just jumping into the world of anime this one is for you. Akihabara, the hub for all things otaku, features a lot of the moe culture. You'll find an array of figurines, posters, and more displaying young cartoonish girls. More so, you may even come across a handful of women dressed up as maids to accommodate you into their cafe.

So you're still wondering, what is moe? The term moe stems from the Japanese word moeru which can mean “to burn/get fired up” or “to burst/bud”. This all depends on the way it is written in kanji, but in otaku terms it refers to one's strong emotional attachment for a certain character, preferably a younger female. Cute girls represent purity and innocence, which is very alluring to many people and so moe becomes the term used to emphasize that. It is by no means spreading any negative connotation, but rather embracing our youth and happy-go-lucky state of mind. Furthermore, moe isn't something romantic (unless you want it to be) but rather, a strong overwhelming feeling of wanting to just hug and cradle these characters. To borrow the moeru term fired up, many otaku get excited over seeing young fictional girls having a good time. So we're going get you all bursting with excitement as we will now provide some great examples of moe themed anime.

Embracing our youth

As aforementioned, moe is a term used to emphasize one's love for the younger fictional female characters. Moe is a symbol of youth and adventure, and so many anime feature these types of girls who personify the word. Both male and female embrace the moe culture because of the freedom and prosperity it provides. We all wish to feel young again, where there are no rules attached to our behaviors, and we can enjoy the random conversations that come with being young. The feeling becomes nostalgic, as you watch a group of youthful cute girls enjoying the slice of life, and it reminds you of how beautiful life was when nothing mattered.

While some may not agree to the overwhelming passion that others have for moe culture, it's a story that we all can read in our imaginations, sift through the pages, and accept that we too at one point were also searching for truth and had a thirst for adventure. Himouto! Umaru-chan is a wonderful example of moe so let us hop right in.

Himouto! Umaru-chan

Himouto! Umaru-chan  dvd
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 9, 2015 – September 24, 2015

Himouto! Umaru-chan is a story about Umaru, who is just your ordinary high school girl. She is well mannered, achieves good grades, and is adored by many male and female classmates. However, what many of her mates don't know is her superman-like persona. Behind closed doors she transforms into a lazy, chibi sized, and overly messy otaku causing all kinds of havoc. This slice of life comedy follows Umaru and her unfortunate brother Taihei, as the two live together under one roof, creating all sorts of mischief. Umaru becomes a carefree individual who spends her time watching anime, drinking cola, and causing Taihei much pain as he has to clean up after her.

It's a very funny example of embracing our youth and not caring for authority, as we see between Umaru and Taihei. As she waddles about lazily around her apartment looking for something to catch her attention, Taihei is always there trying to tame her, but to no avail. Umaru's close friends are no different than her, as they all share the quirkiness of a youthful mind, spreading laughter around themselves. Moe is very much a selling point of the show, as we see a young adorable girl who really loves nothing more than living her life the way she chooses, and lets no one tell her what she can or can't do. If you truly love moe then Himouto! Umaru-chan is a highly recommended anime to watch.

Himouto! Umaru-chan Wallpaper

Himouto! Umaru-chan Trailer


Clannad dvd
  • Episodes: 23
  • Aired: October 5, 2007 -March 28, 2008

When Tomoya, a bright young teenager, walked to school he passes a young girl mumbling words to herself. Something she says catches his attention, and so he approaches her with curiosity. He discovers that her name is Nagisa, and that she is suffering from an illness. Over time the two become friends through constant communication and Tomoya is then told that, due to her illness she's set out to achieve her goal to revive the school drama club. What gets more interesting over time is that four other young cute girls come together, along with Tomoya and Nagisa to help overcome their own respective obstacles.

We chose Clannad as part of our moe anime because, immediately you become emotionally attached to at least one of the five girls and you relate to them. One great example is Fuuko Ibuki, who is somewhat of a loner but enjoys spending her time carving really cute looking starfish to make others happy. Her character design is that of a young girl with dreams of becoming something, embracing her youth and just being ditzy. When you see her, your heart will flutter and burst with emotion because of how adorable she is and you just want to hug her to say everything will be alright. This is what moe refers to, as the characters make you feel a sense of awe and create an everlasting feeling of warmth.

clannad wallpaper

Clannad Trailer

Cute and Innocent

Moe is more than just about clinging to our youth, but also it is about admiring the innocent and cute nature of the characters we so love. When we are in the presence of these characters, our hearts lose all control and fall into a state of quasi love. It is a remarkable feeling, since we don't even realize that we have become hypnotized by the innocent, shy, and quirkiness of our beloved. This is why moe has become such a popular genre for many, because a large number of us dream of being embraced and feel that “doki doki” overpowering our will.

In our next example of moe anime, we will take a look at Lucky Star. This anime truly defines moe just as much as our other examples, but you'll immediately fall in love with Tsukasa and her sister once you see how they behave. Without further adieu, let us get right into it.

Lucky Star

lucky star dvd
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: April 8, 2007 – September 17, 2007

The name itself sounds so fun loving and childlike, similar to that of main characters Tsuaka and her sister Kagami. While most of the spotlight is focused on Izumi, we have decided to choose Tsukasa for good reason. When you first get a glimpse of Tsukasa, your heart starts to melt at her extremely child like appearance. Her happy-go-lucky attitude shines all throughout, and her passion for cooking gives her a strong sense of maturity despite her looks.

Tsukasa isn't perfect by any means, as she is quite clumsy and airheaded at times. It is for that reason we quickly fall for her, because we just want to hold her in our arms to tell her that mistakes are okay, and we love her for who she is. When she falls asleep (which is very often) her adorable face stands out, and at that moment your heart swells with jubilance. Kagami on the other hand is more mature than Tsukasa, and is the one who protects her. While her cold exterior may throw some viewers off, she is just as moe as Tsukasa because of her tsundere mindset. The large beaming eyes, paired with their rosy red cheeks just make you want to scream and reach out to worship them. We highly suggest tuning in to Lucky Star, as it will surely fill you up with joy.

Lucky Star wallpaper

Lucky Star Trailer


Moe popularity will most likely continue to grow and evolve over time, so we suggest you check these fantastic anime out for a nice glimpse. Since the mid 80's, moe culture has touched many and will be forever eched in the stones of anime lifestyle. Whether you see the cute girls wandering the busy streets of Akihabara in the mid afternoon, or while tuning in to your favorite series, you'll always find a hint of moe lying around. If you feel like there are more moe anime out there that didn't make the list, be sure to show your love and leave them in the comments section down below!

As always, for your sweet anime fill, keep it locked here at Honey's Anime.



Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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