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[萌え] How to Read Moege - A Comprehensive Guide

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How To Read Moege 101 - A Comprehensive Guide

 

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Preface
      Many people struggle with learning a second language. If it just so happens that you're trying to learn Japanese, you can probably already tell by now that it's not an easy task. I can relate to the tormenting frustration of desperately wanting to read a certain VN, but being unable to merely due to a lack of Japanese proficiency. Having to look up every word in the dictionary is not only time consuming - it's also actually not that productive because chances are, you won't remember half of what you read. You shouldn't dive into a visual novel that's way above your difficulty level. You need to prepare body and soul with some hearty foreplay. Yes, foreplay. But alas, you don't have the slightest idea as to how you should go about doing that. You have my condolences. That's why I am writing this guide - not to teach you how to read Japanese per se, but to make it easier for you to read your very first untranslated 'moege'. After reading a few on your own, you will start to get the feel of Japanese writing, humour, expressions, and maybe even pick up some kanji. I am merely dropping you off at the doorstep - you still have a long road ahead of you. Good luck.

 

1) Understanding How Moege Work

      Moege is derived from the two words, "moe" and "game" (self-explanatory). You're usually going to be paying attention to the characters more than anything else in the game. Sure, they look nice, but what I really mean is their personality. Indeed, personality. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that personality is more important than looks! That only happens in 3D (but let's not get to that right now)... Anyway, there are a select few 'generic' and frankly 'stereotypical' heroine-types that you will find in pretty much every moege. I won't go into too much detail, but I'll describe a few of their unique traits. This will not only help you connect to the heroines better, but it will also help you guess or 'predict' what they are saying (even if you can't read the Japanese) which will be further explained in the next section. I am only going to list five, though I'm sure there are many more out there waiting to assault their onii-chans.The stereotypical heroine archetypes I am going to expand on are:

 

The Tsundere

Let's start with one of my favourites. I'm sure most of you have already heard about the ever-so-common 'tsundere'. They are violent, yet lovable creatures (when treated right). They usually act normally unless flustered (you can tell because all anime characters blush profusely out of nowhere). They usually get embarrassed when you compliment them, and consequentially beat you up (which makes absolutely no sense, but hey, just sit back and watch the show). When their embarrassment-meter is at 100%, they will either act cold towards you, or, as stated before, beat you up on the spot.

 

TL;DR - "I want the D, but I'll kick you in the balls just cuz. D-don't get the wrong idea! It's not cus I wanna touch u or anything"

 

The Senpai

I guess you could call them independent, but there's one word that can describe a lot of 'senpai's to a T - sacrificial. Every single problem they have, they will hide to themselves. They will attempt to do every single task alone. When offered help, they will reject unless you force it upon them, which usually ends with them being grateful and you earning some senpai points. They are well-mannered and step forward to protect everyone when needed. Everyone depends on her, but since she keeps all her problems bottled up inside, she will eventually snap unless protag-san can do something about it.

 

TL;DR - "Pls count on me if u ever need anything. Omg no don't help me, I can do all the work by myself."

 

The Onee-chan

You'd expect that the companies would be a lot more creative with their 'onee-chan's. Instead, most of them are cookie-cutter generated traps of NON BLOOD-RELATED BLASPHEMY. I digress. Yes, believe it or not, your beloved sister is probably not blood-related to you. On the bright side, you won't have to tarnish your conscience when banging her. Okay, now I digress. She's a typical older sister character who likes to baby her younger brother. Although she seems strong and dependable, deep down, she secretly wishes for you to baby her. But she knows she can't, since she is the older sibling - that is why she puts up a strong front all the time. And you, as protag-san, your job is to rip down that facade until she's bawling her eyes out. I know it sounds harsh, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

 

TL;DR - "I luv u 5 ever. I'll baby u and rub my boobies all over your face. Our parents are probably dead or just gone. I'll try my best to protect u but I secretly want to be protected."

 

The Klutz

The klutz is a tough cookie to crack. Just don't try. She's usually a terrible character anyways. I guess there's the whole thing with 'gap moe' when she finally breaks down and shows her insecure side to you, but there isn't really anything notable about her - other than, of course, her extreme clumsiness.

 

TL;DR - "I'm pure and innocent. Even tho I look and sound confident and brush off my clumsy mistakes, I'm actually rly insecure about myself."

 

The Osananajimi (Childhood Friend)

The osananannanaajimi. She's usually a tsundere, but can also be an onee-chan type, so she's pretty hard to depict. More often than not, she has feelings for you already (frackin' donkan protags) and has felt that way since you were kids. These routes will often piss you off at how retarded the supposed virtual representation of you (Mr. Main Character) is. But if you see her in your bedroom first thing in the morning, chances are that: 1) she's waking you up 2) she made breakfast and boxed lunches 3) she broke in through the balcony or your mom left her a spare key 'cause she wants you to get laid already.

 

TL;DR - "Wow I can't believe I liked u for this long and u still haven't realize my feelings for u. B-b-baka!"

 

      Now, I realize that there may be a tsundere senpai onee-chan klutz osananajimi somewhere out there, but let's leave that for now. Due to popular demand, I will unveil a brand new section for everyone's favourite (including mine) - the imouto.

 

The Imouto

Basically an osanannanajimi, except she's your little sister. Can be tsundere or just really sweet and adorable, or she can be clumsy. That is why imoutos are so great. They are so versatile that they themselves can fill every archetype in visual novel existence. I mean, just look. There are several titles out there marketed towards people who love imoutos *cough* Clover Day's *cough* self-advertising.

 

TL;DR - "I'm jailbait."

 

 

2) Reading Between The Lines

      Now that you have most of the basic heroine-types nailed down, it's time to learn how to read between the lines (or, "I don't know these words, but judging from their facial expressions, tone, the situation at hand, and their stereotype, I can probably guess what's going on!" for short). The point is that you shouldn't get stuck on a few words you don't know. Sometimes it's best to read through context instead. Like I said before, foreplay. You can grind (hue) all those difficult kanji symbols (that you may or may not ever see again) later. That's all just memorization, and a whole lot of studying. But right now we're tackling a more technical aspect of the Japanese language. Now's the time to sit down and enjoy a moege.

 

3) Kanji/Vocab You Should Probably Know

      These are kanji or basic vocab words that you will see in almost every moege. I will add to this list as necessary, so feel free to leave a comment if you think I missed anything key. I will cut it off somewhere so people don't get overwhelmed though, so pick the ones you think show up in 99% of exclusively moege. For now, I will briefly go through them all:

 

[先輩] (Senpai) - Your senpai.

[幼馴染 / 幼なじみ] (Osananajimi) - Your osananajimi.

[妹] (Imouto) - Your goddamn frickin' imouto.

[お兄ちゃん] (Onii-chan) - Older brother, so probably you.

[学校/学園] (Gakkou/Gakuen) - School.

[恋 / 恋愛] (Koi/Rennai) - Love.

[馬鹿] (Baka) - Idiot, so probably you.

[遅刻 / 遅い] (Chikoku/Osoi) - Late/Slow.

[面倒(を見る)] (Mendou) - Trouble; looking after someone.

[好き] (Suki) - Congratulations you're on a route!

 

 

4) Where To Start

      Honestly, there isn't really a list of VNs I can give you. Besides, that wouldn't be fun. You should read things you think you'll really enjoy. But if moege are not for you, then suck it up. You have to learn to walk before you can learn to run. I guess all I have to say for now is that Cube, ALcot, and Favorite (albeit games by Favorite are harder reads) are all companies that make great moege that are, at the same time, relatively easy to read. If you find yourself bored to death starting out, feel free to pick another game. If you think it's still too hard for you (this is kinda late but make sure you've mastered basic hiragana and katakana), push on through. Don't stumble every time you come across a word you don't know, or you don't know what's going on. Just playing through will help you, even if just a little.

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I'll be damned if someone actually reads that wall of text though. It's just me rambling on for about thirty minutes.

 

Nvm I've been writing this for over an hour... Lol...

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I will use this guide once I'm ready... my Japanese proficiency is still to low though. 

High 5 nice avatar. Re-watching lots of Anime and paying attention to key phrases helped me speed up my (audial) vocab.

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Interesting, good luck on making that.

 

Maybe you could link the "Visual novels for beginners" thread that Clephas made too?

 

And could you also add a "Work in progress" kind of thing at the bottom of the thread ? So I don't go and try commenting on some unfinished work.

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Interesting, good luck on making that.

 

Maybe you could link the "Visual novels for beginners" thread that Clephas made too?

 

And could you also add a "Work in progress" kind of thing at the bottom of the thread ? So I don't go and try commenting on some unfinished work.

At this point I'm not sure if I'm going to leave it as is or if I have anything else to add on. Digging through my memory now, but nothing's coming up.

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Haha good guide, I laughed at the stereotypical heroines part, well done. As for me, gotta properly learn english at least, before trying to understand japanese...I tried once and my brain broke up at the Hiragana and Katakana part.

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