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Jul 11, 2018

Going From Mascots to "Moe" Characters

I'm sure you know this already, but Japan has an obsession with the idea of "moe". I have heard moe being defined as this innocent and non-sexual cuteness of humanoid characters. Many anime and manga aimed towards the otaku demographic obviously strive with this unique characteristic, and it has been widely accepted as a sub culture of Japanese pop media. But from a moment I don't know when, moe characters began spreading into different daily life organizations we interact with.

Going From Mascots to "Moe" Characters photo

I theorize it first started with the widespread fever of creating uru character (mascots) following the mysterious explosion of Kumamon's popularity. After that, every organization seem to have needed a mascot. Every prefecture, every city, every piblic company, every governmental arm… yes, I see that they are great chances to sell merchandise, and that has definitely brought in tons of money for different groups who never thought they had a chance to take a cut of the sanrio character (ex. Hello kitty) pie. However, what is an elementary school trying to do by having a mascot character, especially when they aren't even good because they were designed by that young teacher who was free during 5th period every Monday?


Particularly with the latter point, the issue with designing mascots is that they should reference something from its origin, be it a historical figure or a locally grown product. However, not all organizations have something to show and push, and that's when we start to see laziness come out. A common example is bus companies that rather than thinking of smart ways to incorporate a bus into a mascot design, they just went with a random bus guide lady that was moe-fied. Since the demographic of the moe characters is only a subset of the public, it makes me question who the people caring about having a "moe character" are. I don't imagine a random moe girl for a local bus company will attract a fan base, so, why bother? Perhaps there is something I'm missing.


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