Burn, nerds, burn

I'll just go ahead and assume that everyone here knows what moe (萌え) means. So check out the latest issue of King magazine's cover headline is "いい女に燃え!" I fear that we must interpret this as a sand-kick directly into Akihabara's face.

Consider "燃え". Unless they're conjugating the archaic form 燃ゆ, there's no reason to use 燃え in that sentence other than as a reference to moe (萌え). But where the latter is spelt with a kanji that means "sprout" (probably due to a character-conversion mistake made by a single bulletin-board user long ago), King opt for 燃: burn.

The finishing blow is the specification of the target: いい女. Pronounced ii onna, this literally means "good women" but could be more naturally translated as "hot chicks" or "sexy dames". Specifically different from kawaii in that it implies a certain depth of experience and independent spirit. The cover model's clothing, pose, and facial expression are all carefully calculated to convey this. (Also notice her photo-print t-shirt. Very big right now. Maybe too big and already over.)

"Listen up, nerds!" barks King. "We've heard about your little moe thing where you collect cartoons of saucer-eyed little girls. We don't like it. Get with the program: Real-life foxy ladies in stripper underwear! Like this one! And while we're at it, moe means BURN!"

Is Japanese entertainment, having completely exhausted the "pictures of girls in maid uniforms" angle, about to bite the dorky hand that fed them for the past couple of years?

Popularity factor: 3


For a few issues now, KING has been doing this "ripped" page thing where you can see through the girls' clothes to view their undergarments (as modeled on the cover).

I think the message is: "They may be proper on the outside, but they are all whores on the inside."


The nerd boom is due to end any day now, if not some time ago, but hasn't there been plenty of intentional reblending over the past few years of the terms? Many fanlosers are more than happy to use 燃え either for game or action fiction female character purposes, or just as a reclaiming of the word to (fruitlessly) avoid immediate stigma in much the same way as ヲタク.


Marxy: Really? I assumed it was just for this issue... something to do with the 妄撮. Oh well. Just another piece of evidence that all magazines aimed specifically at men eventually turn into _Maxim_.

Mandoric: I have to admit I don't recall seeing 燃え used instead of 萌え before... if anything, I've seen more people feverishly defending the importance of the 萌, saying for e.g. that it's important to maintain the distinction because otherwise otaku will fall back into the rigged "love capitalism" system, which is based on passion inspired by qualities that otaku often don't have. (Maybe this was in a Honda Tohru book?) But I haven't really been following that scene recently.. You should post some links, I'd love to see 'em.

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