Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #77, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Our guest today is 萌田 (moe.ta) 薫子 (kaoru.ko), main character of Comic Girls, a Slice of Life currently airing on Spring 2018. This post considers the events up to Episode 2 so you might want to check those out unless you want to get spoiled.
萌田 (moe.ta) 薫子 (kaoru.ko)
萌田 (moe.ta) 薫子 (kaoru.ko) is a shy fresh high school girl that is still crawling her first steps as an amateur mangaka. An otaku at heart, she collects figures and Anime posters and is passionate about everything that surrounds this japanese subculture. Kaoruko seems to be recovering from her usual 引きこもり (hi.kikomori; shut-in, stay at home) life since joining the dormitory. Still, her introversion clings to her as she struggles to hold social interactions. Let’s check her name out to see if we can find something relevant!
Family Name: 萌田 (moe.ta)
Not sure if I should be surprised or not, but 萌田 (moe.ta) does not seem to exist as a real name. Both kanji are used in plenty of names, but I could not find any instance of them being used to form 萌田 (moe.ta), which might be a sign that this name was tailored for our guest.
萌 is used to convey two ideas. First one is related to plants sprouting or bursting, as in 萌え立つ (mo.e.ta.tsu; to burst in leaf) or 萌え木 (mo.e.gi; young tree sprouts. This one is also a valid Surname). It is also the kanji for 萌やし (mo.yashi; bean sprouts), a very common cooking ingredient in Japanese cuisine, notorious for its volume, (lack of) flavor and cheapness, also commonly used as a derogatory term very frequent in Anime (first example of this usage that comes to mind is how Chitoge called Raku in Nisekoi). The second idea in 萌 is the one that the vast majority of us are familiar with: 萌 (moe; various usages, but usually revolves around ‘adorable’). There are various theories and studies on the etymology of the word 萌え(moe), sometimes associating it with the homonym 燃える(mo.eru; to burn) to convey the metaphorical idea that you are burning in passion with a given character. There is also defenders of the theory that it is rather directly associated with the sprouting/budding original meaning, which would relate to the usual pattern of ‘moe’ characters being in the early budding of human beings, also known as puberty. Going even deeper, there are people who associate the very kanji 萌 to notorious characters who would later, in retrospect, be considered “moe”. The easier example for this is 土萠 (to.moe) ほたる (hotaru) from the Sailor Moon series.
Back to our guest, Kaoruko is definitely a clear example of a 萌 character. I mean, seriously, take a look at this:
Cuteness aside, 萌 here also plays well into her passion for the otaku culture so this is by all means a very fitting kanji for her.
田 is a very recurring kanji in names as it is a) easy to write, b) ‘ta’ is a very common phoneme in Japanese and c) it depicts a physical place. I could even throw a d) it is related to rice. It has been featured here many times, the last when we were checking Tatara-kun from Welcome to the Ballroom! on [Onamae wa #62]. Similarly to Tatara-kun, I would argue that 田 here does not really convey any meaning, being just there to represent the sound ‘ta’.
That being said, it is easy to link ‘sprouting’ from 萌 and ‘rice fields’ from 田, but I’m not sure this will lead us to anywhere. Following this idea 萌田 (moe.ta) could mean ‘a field of sprouting rice’ or maybe it just depicts someone who is really passionate about rice (something totally understandable as RICE IS LOVE), but so far we have no clue on whether she loves rice that much (or at all). For now let’s just stick to 萌 being the main kanji here, as Kaoruko surely has enough ‘moe’ to fill let’s say… an area equivalent to large rice field.
No other 萌田 (moe.ta) in Anime!
Given Name: 薫子 (kaoru.ko)
薫子 (kaoru.ko) is a very feminine name, following a very similar idea to our guest of last week, Karen-chan from GGO. It exists in reality, although it seems to be held in a weird spot as I ran into a few instances of people feeling ashamed of bearing this name (such as this case, Japanese only).
薫 is a kanji variation for 香, sharing usage in words like 香り(kao.ri; scent, smell) and even appearing together in the not very common 薫香(kun.kou; incense). Judging from a few words like 薫らす(kuyu.rasu; to smoke using a pipe) and 薫製(kun.sei; smoked food), the scent idea here is associated with the act of burning/smoking something, thus giving us a nice parallel to the burning aspect of 萌 that we have seen above on her Family Name.
We have seen 子 in this blog multiple times, including in last week’s closer look at Shimomura-kun from Ajin, which you can read here. The idea is simple though, as it usually means child and as stated before is used in the pattern [Whatever + 子] like in 海子(umi.ko; Child of the Sea) or 秋子(aki.ko; Child of Autumn).
Thus 薫子 (kaoru.ko) could mean child with a nice scent or a more suitable option, in my opinion, burning child. This plays perfectly into the Japanese term for moe characters, 萌子(moe.ko) or 萌えっ子(moek.ko). The original intent here follows a flower themed context, indicating a a girl that will smell greatly through all her life. Ah, seems rather obvious but her Pen Name, カオス(kaosu) comes from her Given Name while also being a valid option for ‘Chaos’ in Japanese, maybe a reference to the state of her previous room before moving into the dormitory:
Others 薫子(kaoru.ko) in Anime:
- サザキ (sazaki) カオルコ (kaoruko) from Gundam Build Fighters Try (Fall 2014)
- 黛 (mayuzumi) 薫子 (kaoru.ko) from IS: Infinite Stratos (Winter 2011)
- 一希 (kazuki) 薫子 (kaoru.ko) from Bubuki Buranki (Winter 2016)
萌田 (moe.ta) 薫子 (kaoru.ko)
A moe girl whose passion about otaku culture and moe can be smelled from afar.
Thanks all for your time, hope you enjoyed your reading. Upon seeing this show’s concept my first thought was associating it with my beloved Hidamari Sketch but it turned out to have a very distinct vibe. Nevertheless, it has its own charm so if you enjoy the cute girls doing stuff template, you can’t go wrong with this one. See you all next weekend!