Otaku annotated: adventures in moe, porn, and postmodernism

I found Hiroki Azuma’s Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals at the university library — seven or so months ago. And, what do you know, it’s due back. Overdue, probably. So I suppose I should annotate this thing at long last, for your benefit and mine.

It’s a short book, but I won’t be entirely exhaustive here. I’ll omit basic overviews of things many of us would find intuitive anyway, and some of the more extreme postmodern/poststructural business, in the assumption that you’ll read the book yourself if you’re looking for that sort of thing. It must be said, though, that, while Azuma got his start as a Derrida scholar, Otaku is very readable even if you aren’t so familiar with Baudrillard, Lacan, and their ilk — and, that being the case, I suppose I ought to make this post more or less readable, too.



Defining moements

Silence your groaning, imagine how it was to actually type that odious title! Worry not, it is apt to reflect the quality of the equally odious post here under. In it I will be the worst kind of curmudgeon, the one who imagines to have a point.

The question “Where is moe?” is queer. If asked “Where is love?” or “Where is anger?”, I’d be consternated and profoundly confused what was being sought for, given lack of context. (Given right context, any arbitrary set of words could make sense.) Failing to establish one, shooting in the dark would be necessary. “In the courtyard” doesn’t seem admissible. “In the meetings between people” might work, but is false. “In the world” is perfectly true though uninformative. Whatever the answer, it’d be all metaphor and poetry, which of course is very much fine. Understanding does grow through it, if one seeks not to put too much stock in it. And it would naturally be wrong to interpret it literally, per definition.


The Structure of Moe

Or, Whence the Urge to Burn and Protect?

I’ve been having odd thoughts lately, mostly when I walk to and from class — but also in the shower (both places from which ideas emerge).  Where does moe come from?  That’s the question underlying our work here today.  I’m not going to quibble about the definitions of what moe is, I’m going to try to examine where it comes from.