Of course Faye Valentine is Moe!

Faye Valentine

Faye Valentine

I must have read/skimmed a dozen posts in the last year on how awesome Cowboy Bebop is.  I think digiboy’s agitprop finally did the trick (you’ll notice all of the pics in his post are Faye pics).  Considering next month will be the 10th anniversary of the airing of the first episode, it was about time I started watching it.

Now I’m 6 episodes in, and I feel that I can respond to a post on Faye (Someone’s showing a bit of character: Faye Valentine), specifically to the suspicion voiced by ghostlightning to the effect that Valentine might fall within the domain of moe.

Well, from the first six episodes all I can say is: Hello?!  Of course Faye is moe!

The lady is totally helpless.  The very first thing we hear about her is that she has amassed an enormous debt.  Then she gets herself handcuffed to a toilet.  Inklings of moe.


Later on she runs out of gas near Ganymede Moon.  Now, Ganymede in Greco-Roman myth was a beautiful boy who was abducted by Zeus Jupiter and forced to serve as his sensual slave cupbearer for the rest of eternity.   So it’s no accident that astronomers would choose Ganymede as the name of one of Jupiter’s moons.  And it’s just as fit and proper that Faye Valentine, bearer of voluptuous cups, should be stuck around that very area.  Her calls for help are solid moe…


When she’s finally rescued it only means she gets to spend time handcuffed again.  Here she gets to talk to the Welsh Corgi.  Awesome moe.

cuffed again

And then on her first outing after “joining” the Bebop crew, Faye undertakes independent action and gets herself caught and bound!  Her eyes, when Spike decides to rescue her after Jet has pretty much told her to fix her own problems, are ultimate moe…

tied up

I realize that this is just my impression for the first quarter of the show, that character development might shatter this impression to smithereens, and that perhaps many who read this will be smirking and chuckling and muttering: “If only he knew…”

Then again, I read somewhere that she spends most of her time in the Bebop movie tied up again.  And there’s one contributing factor to Faye’s moeness that will not change unless she starts eating loads of donuts or waffles or something: her physique.  What I mean is that Faye Valentine’s body has obviously been engineered to provide the perfect object for shibari, orJapanese bondage.  Skinny torso, ample chest, long arms and long fingers (check out the opening sequence).  So she’s just bound to be bound, and with her cheerful disposition that just means we’re going to want to rescue her.  Or at least loosen the knots a bit.  Ultimate moe.

At her most Misatoesque

At her most Misatoesque

Faye reminds me of Misato from Neon Genesis Evangelion.  But Misato is far more adept at holding her own than the Faye of the first few episodes of Bebop.  Plus Misato will only use her “feminine charm” as a last resort, whereas Faye looks like she can’t really turn it off.

I must admit that a strong, subterranean reason for my linking up Faye and Misato is that they’re both involved with male characters voiced by Koichi Yamadera (as Spike and Kaji).  Of course, Megumi Hayashibara does Faye’s voice as well as Rei Ayanami’s, but these two are so different I don’t think it’s impacting the way I feel for the series.

~ by Haloed Bane on March 10, 2009.

18 Responses to “Of course Faye Valentine is Moe!”

  1. I forgot in which episode, but there is an excellent scene featuring Faye recalling her past 🙂

  2. Moe is in the eye of the beholder. When I watch Cowoby Bebop, she isn’t moe. Evidently, when you watch it, she is.

  3. Faye is extremely moe, and as you said, just like Misato, who is moe just for being in Evangelion, the ultimate creation of moe.

    And moe is NOT in the eye of the beholder.

    Also, all the pics in my CB post are faye just because I always post women >_>

  4. I can’t see how later episodes would de-moe her for you, but then personally I didn’t react to her character like that. Maybe we just have different takes on bondage?

    In a cool cartoon there’s a risk that any character who’s sympathetically human can wind up giving off a moe buzz. Still, I’d say she’s less moe than Jet is.

  5. S’all about appearance and attitude that defines moe for me. And in that way, Faye ain’t moe.

  6. When I saw Cowboy Bebop I was illiterate about moe and the theory behind it. It is only after reading blogs (look up The Animanachronism’s oeuvre on it) that I had a measure of understanding.

    Watching her now, I can see how she fits in moe theory, but it’s also remarkable how her physicality prevents me from seeing her as such.

    For context, I have a hard time ‘feeling moe’ for non-loli or non-blob characters. Looking at each year’s SaiMoe lineup, I’ve never been inclined to support the bids of Sheryl Nome, Kallen Statdfeld – basically girls who looked like women. If they have aggression or wield weapons for great justice (as opposed to mere tsundere behavior which is directed towards the lead), they inspire moe in me even less.

    So Faye’s moe registers very faintly with me, and Misato – never.

  7. @Kitsune

    Yep that scene was EXCELLENT 😀

    And apparently we aren’t alone, as I mentioned that scene as a highlight in ghostlightning’s post and there are few who agrees with me.

  8. Well, of course my curiosity is piqued by gaguri and kitsune. It’ll be exciting to see how Faye and the others deal with events to come. I went back to the Animanachronism’s classic “Theory of Moe”, where he mentions this article (http://ogiuemaniax.wordpress.com/2007/12/23/if-moe-is-to-survive-compromises-must-be-made/) which I think fits nicely with Faye’s moe. Her physique should not be an impediment to her moeness.
    And on IKnight’s basic point that moe is in the eye of the beholder, I’ll say that so is beauty (and morality) but because we all belong to the same species our eyes are biologically extremely similar, our vision culturally not at all dissimilar, and so we’re likely to recognize similar moe traits. Otherwise the very concept “moe” could not have arisen (nor beauty nor good and evil). So I guess I stand between IKnight and digiboy on this.
    coburn’s comment supports my suspicion that jet (and spike) are both as helpless and help-worthy as Faye is, so that this show might really be total moe.
    ghostlightning, swear to me you didn’t want to hold misato after one of her fights with Kaji, share some beers and protect her! Swear it!!
    omysith, on the attitude thing. I think in ep 06 Spike flies off to avenge Mao Yenrai and leaves Faye saying something wistful like: “why are men such idiots?!” There’s a moe attitude!…

  9. @ animekritik

    No, I won’t feel protective of Misato even then. The feelings she inspire in me are predatory.

    As for the episode where Faye recollects, take your time to get there as Cowboy Bebop is worth it. Then indulge me and read Hard Luck Woman, the same titled post as the episode I write about. I’m quite fond of it because it’s the first post I’ve ever written.

  10. @ghostlightning

    Jesus, I clicked on your link and you’ve got exactly the same screencap I put on top of my post!!! Mine was my own snapshot off of the vlc player. I wasn’t gonna include it because it wasn’t particularly moe but I thought it was too nice a shot. I swear I didn’t steal it from your site!! amazing…

  11. LOL that’s epic synchronicity. Pardon my use of the term ‘epic’ (as some esteemed animbloggers have spilled a lot of ink over its proper contextual use) I like using it because it’s a 4-letter word.

    As it were I believe I got it from a google image search as I wasn’t very industrious in post construction back then. And yes, it’s a very pretty picture of Faye ^_^

  12. ghost,

    see, just as our two nations switched hands together in 1898, our cultures still share the same tastes, obviously. I like the pic a lot because of the subtle cold sweat..

  13. It’s been some odd years after hearing the phrase ‘moe’ and I still have no clue what the exact definition is. Desire to protect is the main deal, right? Because I think Takeshi Kaneshiro of ten years back is such a cute motherfucker, I don’t want to ever let him go. But he has to be let go. I can’t infantilize someone, shaping him into my desires. So fuck moe. Faye, sink or swim. Call on your posse if you have to, but it’s better to bail your own ass out.

    Still, I’ll have to say, episode 5? Faye was hilarious.

  14. @prophet

    You claim to have no clue but you know it inside out. You’re so moe!! (OK, maybe I need more education on “moeness” too). But Kaneshiro, he was horribly popular in Japan when I lived there. I think your “fuck moe” attitude is correct in the real world, but I guess in anime people are allowed (and encouraged) to infantilize and control. In a sense, anime characters are our slaves..
    Ep 5 was cool.

  15. I think if folk are going to put anime into the ‘art’ category (ugh, I shudder using that word THAT way) the general rules have to apply as well. Off the top of my head…I can’t think of any female protagonists, at least none that aren’t overshadowed by the male protagonists or sheer eye-candy. I think Moribito? But I never watched it so I’ve got nothing on that.

    And I was just reading the Yellow Wallpaper and all I can think about now is “fuck that male-dominated society repression shit”.

  16. I think you could make the case that art itself is of two minds: sexism and feminism vie for control of the artist. Isn’t classical painting nothing but sheer eye candy? And yet revolutions often begin in art. It’s all messed up, really…

  17. […] I Like Her: The case has been made well for Faye Valentine by such bloggers as Ghostlightning and Anime Kritik, and I can’t do much better than either of them. I’d say that I love Faye because she […]

  18. […] in the next episode — do the people making the series have some sort of fetish for this? (This blogger actually briefly discusses the character in relation to bondage.) The whole issue makes me think […]

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