I didn’t think CLANNAD could top Fuko, but…

Now I get why everyone loves Kotomi.

Her shyness is so hyper-exaggerated it’s absolutely endearing. Since SDS has told me on number occasions that he believes that true moe comes from a character whose personal weakness is similar to that of the viewer’s, I’ve always seen the truth, kind of, in that, but since watching things like Hitohira (and falling in 2d love with Mugi-Choco) and after seeing how absolutely adorable Kotomi is here in CLANNAD, I think I’m understanding what he’s about.

Moe, to me, has always been a kind of subset of love, a specific word that one could use to signify that you loved a fictional character. That sounds really silly in concept, but it’s not really “love” in the sense that two human beings experience love. It’s almost similar to the response one feels when one encounters someone in reality that has a similar behavior pattern to you–you feel a sense of attachment to that person, not necessarily a romantic attachment, but a kind of emotional, “I’m not the only one in the world who acts this way” attachment. Anime characters, through exaggerating the character’s weaknesses, offer this kind of comfort, this sense that you are not alone in your ways. It’s like through shared experience, one feels empathy with a character. Empathy is almost a default reaction to me; whenever I watch or read something, I rarely hate a character because they don’t act in a mature or sensible way. Stories are, at their most basic, about affecting the person experiencing it in some way, small or large. If one can feel empathy for a character, then in some small way the reader or viewer may recognize a similar fault or feeling in their own experience. Aristotle always said that one of the most valuable things fiction could provide was catharsis, a purging of emotions through the act of crying (or feeling any emotion, really, but especially crying) at a work of fiction that served to heal the reader or viewer and cleanse them. It’s like a mental car-wash.

Derailed by moe, sorry.

CLANNAD continues with the storyline of finding Nagisa some members for the drama club. This derails, however, into making friends for Kotomi, who is shy and quiet and reads a lot. Since this is pretty much me (anime has a habit of creating characters who are me, except anime, and except girls), of course I find her adorable, as mentioned above. I don’t quite think she’s a Fuko topper, but there isn’t a single character in CLANNAD that I’m not gung-ho about (even the guys). It’s already better than Kanon in that regard, but I don’t really hold that against Kanon as it was the first Key title. Whatever her story’s going to be about concerns her parents, so maybe we’ll get at a deeper reason for her shyness and quietness. Which would be delicious.

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I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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a ridiculously long and only partially organized list of subjects


January 2008

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