Reading The Moe Manifesto by Patrick W. Galbraith (published by Tuttle, 2014) was a bit like diving into Alice’s rabbit hole for me. I took a trip into the complete unknown, and to be honest I’m still a little befuddled. Don’t get me wrong – this is a fantastic book for those already super keen on the world of manga, anime and gaming, but that isn’t the world I’m from.
You know I love Japan, and I love ‘kawaii’ (cute) things, but ‘moe’ (萌え) is something I’ve never quite got to grips with. Is it just ‘cute stuff’, is it ‘cute stuff that’s a bit sexy’, is it a feeling, is it a thing? All of these questions were in my head before picking up The Moe Manifesto, and most now are answered. Galbraith tells us that “linguistically speaking, moe (萌え) is the noun form of the verb moeru, meaning to burst into bud or to sprout“. He goes on to say that, after being used as slang for ‘burning passion’ in the 1990s (probably as a mix up of 萌え and 燃え – both pronounced ‘moe’, but the latter meaning ‘to burn’), ‘moe’ came to mean ‘an affectionate response to fictional characters’. Therefore, ‘moe’ is a verb and a response, not a thing or something someone has (as I had previously believed).
I won’t go into moe in depth here – that’s what the book is for, and it does it well. The book contains 19 interviews between Galbraith and a selection of important figures from the world of Japanese manga and anime, each looking at moe from a different angle and talking about how moe is influencing the artists of today.
Galbraith, a journalist based in Tokyo, is clearly an expert in this field. Even for a complete moe novice like me this was an enjoyable and interesting read, but for someone already interested in this topic or perhaps even studying it, this is the perfect book to really get beneath the surface of manga and anime and our relationship with the characters.
☆★☆ COMPETITION TIME! ☆★☆
Would you like to win a copy of The Moe Manifesto by Patrick W. Galbraith? All you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post telling me why this book is the perfect book for you. Please make sure you leave a valid email address with your comment (this will not be published), as this will be used to contact the winner. The closing date for entries is Friday 17th April at midnight BST.
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