Hello. Today is a topic that I feel needs some attention. It is sadly a point of contention and confusion in the Western anime fandom as people struggle to figure out this Japanese concept. I will attempt to explain my perspective on it.
Anime has many different genres. It is as diverse as live action television in its themes and content. Within the anime medium, there are certain trends. One of these trends is known as moe (with an accent on the e). The impact it has had on anime is widespread and it is by no means a new thing. Anime has been focusing on character appeal for many years. This generation of anime is an especially character focused time. The anime fandom community deeply enjoys interesting characters and their interactions. Moe is in response to that.
The definition of moe is simple: love. This love can be manifested in a character, a mood, a setting, or theme. It can be seen as the pure distilled essence of anime with all the trappings unraveled. A common perception of moe is anime girls with endearing personalities doing humorous things. This might be true for some shows but the moe feeling can be broadly found and is different for each person. Still, there are some shows that are commonly accepted as being "moe".
The quirky ladies of Hidamari Sketch.
Anime slice of life series, comedies, romances, and visual novels are known for their moe elements. Some examples are Hidamari Sketch, Strike Witches, Ah My Goddess, Honey and Clover, School Rumble, Da Capo. I could go on easily. The point is moe is used widely in anime and its main focus is being life affirming. The warm fuzzy feeling in your heart, a sunrise, the smile of a friend, those are some of the things moe is trying to convey.
The presence of moe makes anime unique among other animation styles. It is not afraid to be cute, to be positive, to be silly. Moe brought me back to anime by helping me smile when my spirits were low. It continues to make me smile to this day. It taught me to remember to enjoy life, to have fun, to laugh, and to not take everything seriously.
Moe is about continuing to keep the spirit of love and fun alive. That is something truly beautiful.