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October 11, 2012 / Bradley

Advertising by Any Other Name: Psycho-Pass’ “No Moe” Rule

So director Katsuyuki Motohiro, who made his name making successful live action series and movies, now has a new anime coming out in noitaminA’s slot, and he’s doing the promotional rounds in magazines like Playboy Weekly:

Motohiro revealed that he prohibited the word “moe” when they were in meetings about the anime. He explained that they intended to counter the current anime trends. As a result, he said with a laugh that this work can only be a “strikeout or a home run,” with nothing in between.

I think we can safely infer a few things that give some overlooked context as the anime pundit-o-sphere threatens to overheat from critical levels of pundit-o-citement. First, keep in mind who Motohiro is talking to. It’s not otaku, or anyone who fits any profile of an anime fan. Playboy Weekly is a “lad’s mag” with nekkid pictures of gravure idols, and is made for young men who are probably turned off by all that weird, icky moe stuff. We’re just eavesdropping here on someone’s sales pitch. These guys probably know Motohiro from his work on the popular Bayside Shakedown, which was a popular police drama in the 90’s and early 2000’s. And guess what, Motohiro has a new procedural police series out, but this time, it’s a science-fiction anime. Will it have any of that weird 2D girlfriend stuff in it?, wonders potential fans. Of course not, assures Motohiro, in fact, they couldn’t even discuss moe! They wanted to do something that’s completely different from current anime trends… and familiar to the director’s past work, and the kind of movies and comics Playboy Weekly readers like. It’s not that Motohiro is railing against moe so much as he is pitching his work towards a very different audience, one that has zero interest in those kind of cartoons, and may even have been turned off by other anime that promised a similarly dark procedural but ended up trucking with some weird fetishes regardless.

The instant reaction I’ve seen- and the one I tweeted as well- had a logic along the lines of, “if you’re so sick of moe because it panders so much, why does you cartoon have promotional material with shirtless men?” And police procedurals aren’t known for their innovation either, and on top of that, Psycho-Pass‘ concept sounds a lot like a certain Phillip K Dick story.  But I don’t think that criticism is what’s relevant here. In fact, trying to catch Motohiro in hypocrisy misses the whole point.

What’s relevant here is some good news: late night anime is trying to find new audiences beyond the established otaku/fujoshi set. And I really wish them luck with that, if only because, hey, I happen to fit Playboy Weekly‘s demographics as well, and would love a new police procedural cartoon. If Motohiro name-dropped Stand Alone Complex, for instance, I’d be skipping class for the premier of Psycho-Pass. While more variety doesn’t mean more quality or more visibility or even healthier revenues for the industry, it is one key element for all those things. And I’m sure Motohiro and everyone who funded him knows this. Thus, doing some friendly promotion at Weekly Playboy.

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3 Comments

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  1. kViN (@Yuyucow) / Oct 11 2012 7:11 pm

    If you want to ban moe from your show, you don’t typecast Hanazawa Kana for the main female. If you want to stay away from fujoshi stereotypes, you don’t promote your show with naked pictures of the male cast. If you simply want to make /something different/ that appeals to new demographics, YOU DON’T FUCKING GET THE FAKE BAND FROM GUILTY CROWN TO SING THE ENDING.

    YOU DON’T.

    • fencedude / Oct 11 2012 8:40 pm

      Wait seriously, this is the show that the Guilty Crown band did a song for? Oh lol thats perfect.

  2. kuromitsu / Oct 11 2012 7:41 pm

    “What’s relevant here is some good news: late night anime is trying to find new audiences beyond the established otaku/fujoshi set.”

    So how come Hanazawa Kana voices the main character? And how come the original character designs are by the author of Reborn, famous for her pretty, pretty male characters? How come that promo images show the two main male antagonist characters with their head on each other’s shoulders, one of them fiddling with the other’s hair? And so on and so forth…..

    Frankly, I find the creators’ attitude hypocritical and pretentious, and it doesn’t reflect well on the actual anime – that I personally found pretentious, clichéd and trying way too hard to be dark and edgy as opposed to genuinely intelligent and interesting.

    If you want intelligent, mature anime for mature viewers that doesn’t rely on otaku hooks, there’s Ghost in the Shell: SAC, where even the Major’s nudity doesn’t come across as fanservice, given her attitude to her body. I’d love to see more anime like GITS:SAC. Psycho-Pass is run-of-the-mill with the grittiness turned up to eleven.

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