Moe is a French-made bisque automaton-turned-Tsukumogami that only appears in the Love Hina anime series.
Considered one of Keitaro Urashima's promise girls, Moe was originally purchased from Tokyo University (then known as the Imperial University of Tokyo) by Keitaro's great-grandfather, Keisuke Urashima, with the promise that he would fix her legs and enable her to walk again. Two generations later, Keitaro discovered Moe underneath the Hinata House and made the same promise to her; remembering and finally fulfilling the promise he and his great-grandfather made years later when he returned to the apartments to study for Tokyo University.
Standing at around one meter in height, Moe is a traditional French-made automaton doll. Although intially regarded with skepticism by the Hinata Residents, largely due to Motoko's knowledge that Tsukumogami are not always benevolent, Moe is indeed a benevolent spirit who is both kind, understanding, and supportive of the people around her.
Due to age and wear, the gears in Moe's legs became non-functional and she was eventually held for sale, where she was bought by Keisuke Urashima. The promise by both Keisuke and Keitaro revolves around the intention of fixing the gears in her legs, enabling her to walk again.
As a Tsukumogami, Moe possesses supernatural abilities and is able to move on her own and speak with other people. Though she usually prefers to communicate with those she chooses to through what could be considered telepathy, she has displayed the ability to, when startled, physically move her mouth and emit sounds. She also possesses the ability to draw individuals into dream-like realms; as she does with Naru Narusegawa when explaining her past. She has also displayed the ability to appear and disappear much like a spirit/ghost without need of a physical body after her promise had been fulfilled.
Made in France, Moe (then known as Momé) was purchased by the Tokyo Imperial University while she was on display at the Paris World's Fair in 1900. Due to time and wear, she eventually lost the ability to move her legs. Around the beginning of the Second World War in 1935, Moem was bought by a man named Keisuke Urashima, who intended to fix her legs and return her to working condition.
Naming her Moe after the production tag on her neck, he kept the doll in one of the underground rooms of the Hinata Inn but due to his poor memory eventually forgot about her and the promise.
Keisuke’s promise to fix Moe wouldn’t be fulfilled until years later, when she was rediscovered by Keisuke’s great-grandchild, Keitaro Urashima; who at the time was exploring the underground rooms in the Inn. Seeing that she could not walk, Keitaro promised that he would fix her legs and then they could get married. Keitaro, however, would also forget about this promise and Moe remained undiscovered until 1999 when Keitaro returned to the Inn and rediscovered the underground rooms. Moe, now a Tsukumogami, was able to interact with Keitaro and through the assistance of the other Hinata Residents, her legs were finally fixed. However, when noticing that Keitaro already had a love in Naru Narusegawa, Moe released Keitaro from his other promise of marrying her and seemingly departed the Earthly realm, her doll-like body returning to an inanimate state.
Moe would later return in spirit as an observer and to encourage Naru to break the curse of the Forbidden Annex during an incident where Keitaro had accidentally cursed himself and his willing step-sister Kanako Urashima into being a couple.
Moe has one theme from the Love Hina anime series, "Theme of Moe", which is available in the Love Hina Original Sound File soundtrack.
Love Hina (manga)
- Moe is hinted at in Hinata 71 "Yes or No or ?". While Keitaro and Mitsune are spying on Naru while using Kaolla's Stealth Suits, Mitsune sneezes which startles Naru and causes her to wonder wether the noise was from "that doll in the basement again?" Even though Moe had not been referenced before this scene in the manga, here it seems very obvious that, though she is never actually shown, her presence in the Hinata House is still acknowledged.
- It was later discovered that Moe was actually a French doll called "Moem", however, the second "M" of her name had been smudged on her tag and so Keisuke mistook her name to be "Moe".
- Certain tools and dolls, if they are treasured for 99 years, will come to life on their 100th year; becoming a being known as a Tsukumogami in Japanese mythology. However, not all Tsukumogami are friendly.
- Moe's nickname for Keitaro is "Kei", it is unknown wether she also refers to his Great-Grandfather, Keisuke Urashima, also as "Kei".
- Although the general rule is that Tsukumogami are formed after 99 years, according to timeline estimations, Moe seems to have been able to communicate with Keitaro when he was a child just short of this time period.
- Possibly influenced by Moe, when Ken Akamatsu began creating Negima! Magister Negi Magi, other automaton-doll characters like Chachamaru Karakuri and Chachazero begun to appear in the Akamatsuverse.