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Friday, June 11, 2021

Overly Long Sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖)

In anime, some characters wear clothing with overly long sleeves, covering their hands either partially or completely. It happens simply because some people consider it cute.

Mitsuba Sousuke 三葉惣助, example of overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖), ashi-don 足ドン.
Character: Mitsuba Sousuke 三葉惣助
Anime: Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun 地縛少年花子くん (Episode 7, Stitch)

How to Say in Japanese

In Japanese, these overly long sleeves are called:

Some other terms for sleeve sizes in Japanese:

  • naga-sode
    長袖
    Long sleeves, that reach the wrist..
  • nana-bun-sode
    七分袖
    "Seven-parts sleeves."
    Three-quarter sleeves, which reach below the "elbow," hiji 肘, but above the "wrist," tekubi 手首.
  • han-sode
    半袖
    "Half-sleeves."
    Short sleeves, which end above the elbow.
  • noo suriibu
    ノースリーブ
    No sleeve. (wasei-eigo 和製英語.)
    Sleeveless. (English term.)
    • sode-nashi
      袖なし
      Without sleeves.
  • amerikan suriibu
    アメリカンスリーブ
    "American sleeve." (wasei-eigo.)
    American armhole. (English term.)
    A diagonal cut from under the armpit to the neck, which exposes the trapezius between shoulder and neck.

Some other sleeve-related terms:

  • sode

    Sleeve. (that covers the arm, e.g. of a shirt.)
  • oku no te
    奥の手
    "Hand of inside." (literally.)
    Inner move, as in one's most secret and close-kept move.
    Ace up one's sleeve
    • te wo utsu
      手を打つ
      "To hit a hand."
      To make a move. (in a game, or strategically.)
  • sode-makuri
    腕まくり
    "Sleeve-rolling."
    Rolled sleeves.
    • makuru
      まくる
      To roll something that covers something else to reveal it. (e.g. a sleeve.)
    • maku
      巻く
      To wind. To roll. (e.g. a scroll.)
    • korogasu
      転がす
      To make something roll. (e.g. a boulder.)
  • koshi-musubi
    腰結び
    "Lumbar-tie."
    To tie the sleeves of a shirt, etc., around your waist. Normally, you'd do this if you leave wearing a jacket but then it gets too hot so you remove the jacket and tie it around your body, like how a salaryman ties a necktie on their forehead, but some characters just wear this fashionably, like a cape, e.g. Jin Mo-ri 진모리 from God of High School.
  • pafu suriibu
    パフスリーブ
    Puff sleeve.
    (katakanization.)
  • hime-sode
    姫袖
    Princess sleeves. Loose sleeves with frills.
  • detacchido suriibu
    デタッチドスリーブ
    Detached sleeve. Sleeves that aren't connected to the top, and are worn separately.
    • kafusu
      カフス
      Cuffs. (bunny girls often have detached cuffs.)
  • kata-dashi
    肩出し
    "Shoulder-exposing."
    Exposed shoulders.

For a more complete list of terms in Japanese, see the following website:

Some terms for clothing that typically feature extra long sleeves:

  • toreenaa
    トレーナー
    Sweatshirt.
    (wasei-eigo from "trainer.")
  • seetaa
    セーター
    Sweater.
  • burausu
    ブラウス
    Blouse.
  • jaketto
    ジャケット
    Jacket.
  • burezaa
    ブレザー
    Blazer.
  • hakui
    白衣
    "White clothes." White robe.
    Lab coat. (which is white, absolutely necessary for any self-respecting mad scientist.)
    • uwagi
      上着
      Coat, which you "wear", kiru 着る, "above," ue , something else.

Types

Covering Hands Completely

Sometimes a character has sleeves that cover their hands completely, which sounds pretty impractical if you think about it.

Kikazaru キカザル, example of overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖).
Character: Kikazaru キカザル
Anime: Last Period: Owari Naki Rasen no Monogatari, ラストピリオド -終わりなき螺旋の物語- (Episode 1)
Ichii Tooru 一井透 and Momoki Run 百木るん holding hands using overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖) as protection.
Left: Ichii Tooru 一井透
Right: Momoki Run 百木るん
Anime: A-Channel, Aチャンネル (Episode 4)
Tsuruta Himeko 鶴田姫子, example of overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖).
Character: Tsuruta Himeko 鶴田姫子
Anime: Saki Achiga-hen 咲-Saki-阿知賀編 Episode of Side-A (Episode 15, OVA, Stitch)
  • Context: how do you even play mahjong like this.
  • zettai ryouiki
    絶対領域
    "Absolute territory." The space of bare thighs between a mini-skirt and higher-than-knee socks.

Covering Hands Partially

A more realistic—and harder to notice—type are sleeves that go over the wrist, but don't cover the hands or the wrists completely.

Shinjou Akane 新条アカネ, example of overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖).
Character: Shinjou Akane 新条アカネ
Anime: SSSS.GRIDMAN (Episode 1, Stitch)
Kobayashi Rindou 小林竜胆, example of hebime ヘビ目.
Character: Kobayashi Rindou 小林竜胆
Anime: Shokugeki no Sōma: San no Sara 食戟のソーマ 餐ノ皿 (Episode 5)
  • hebime
    蛇眼
    Snake eyes. (with vertical slit pupils.)
Totsuka Saika 戸塚彩加, example of overly long sleeves (moe-side 萌え袖).
Character: Totsuka Saika 戸塚彩加
Anime: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。 (Episode 13)

Without Hands

When over-sized sleeves completely cover a character's hands, it might look like don't actually have hands, specially if you never get to see them. Sometimes, this is actually the case. For reference, some examples:

Mitsuba Sousuke 三葉惣助, example of overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖), ashi-don 足ドン.
Character: Mitsuba Sousuke 三葉惣助
Anime: Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun 地縛少年花子くん (Episode 7, Stitch)
  • Context: Mitsuba is a ghost. He doesn't have a right hand, it was amputated when he died, leading to an unusual asymmetry of the trope.
    • Do you prefer moe-sode with fingers visible or not?
    • Yes.
      —author, probably.
  • ashidon
    足ドン
    A kabedon 壁ドン done by placing a foot on a wall.
The design of Lei-Lei, レイレイ, also known as Hsien-Ko, includes overly long sleeves.
Character: Lei-Lei, レイレイ, Hsien-Ko
Anime: Vampire Hunter (1997, OVA) (Episode 2, Collage)
  • Context: Lei-Lei is a ghost, specifically a Chinese hopping ghost/vampire (jiāngshī 殭屍). She appears to have four arms at first glance, two human arms, and two huge claws wrapped in over-sized sleeves, however, the claws don't actually have arms attached to them, the sleeves are mostly empty inside..
  • There's an opening in the sleeves that she uses to swiftly hide her human arms into the sleeves.
  • Some of her attacks include retracting the claw into the sleeve and pushing out some other weapon, like a morning star, that she had hidden in the sleeve.
  • Oddly, it seems she doesn't need to hide her arms into the sleeves to control them, she can control the sleeves independently, perhaps because she is a ghost with psychokinetic powers, so it really looks like she has four arms, even though sometimes the claws lay limp on the floor.
Harpy, ハーピィ, wearing overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖) that are also detached sleeves, デタッチドスリーブ, with flowers in the background.
Character: Harpy, ハーピィ
Anime: Maoujou de Oyasumi 魔王城でおやすみ (Episode 5)
  • Context: Harpy is a monster girl. She has wings, feathery non-human ears, and talons for lower legs and forearms. Canonically, her "girl power," joshi-ryoku 女子力, is 8 stars (☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆), and it's implied the reason she wears detached, overly long sleeves is to cover her uncute claws.
  • From the manga, volume 2, chapter 18, 布団トモダチ, last page omake おまけ:
  • sukoshi mae made no nayami:
    "watashi no te...... kawaikunasa-sugimasu"
    saikin no nayami
    "hime to naka-yoku naritai-n-desu kedo......"
    少し前までのなやみ
    「私の手・・・・・・可愛くなさすぎます」
    最近のなやみ
    「姫仲良くなりたいですけど・・・・・・」
    [Her] worries until a while ago:
    "My hands...... are too uncute!"
    Recent worries:
    "[I] want to become [friends] with the princess......"
Left: Ruki ルキ
Right: Alba, アルバ
Anime: Sen'yuu. 戦勇。 (Episode 7)
  • Context: Ruki thinks Alba didn't do anything the last battle, then Alba tells her she wasn't paying attention, reminding her of his heroic feats. Convinced, she says:
  • sou da na, Aruba-kun mo ganbatta ne
    そうだな、アルバくんも頑張ったね
    [That's right], Alba-kun worked hard, too, huh.
  • arigatou Ruki.. tte nani kore!? ude dou natte-n-no!?
    ありがとうルキ・・って何これ!?腕どうなってんの!?
    Thank you, Ruki.. wait, what is this!? [What is going on with] [your] arm!?
    • dou natte-n-no - contraction of dou natte-iru no どうなっているの, literally "what has [it] become."

Kimono 着物

One type of clothing known for its overly long sleeves is the traditional Japanese kimono 着物, and its lighter variant, the yukata 浴衣.

Hikage ヒカゲ and Hinata ヒナタ, example of kimono 着物 with overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖).
Left: Hikage ヒカゲ
Right: Hinata ヒナタ
Anime: En'en no Shouboutai 炎炎ノ消防隊 (Episode 11)

The same style of garment is often seen in miko 巫女, "shrine maiden," "priestess" outfits. Non-Japanese characters, specially nobility, also wear similar clothing. The kimono is originally Chinese, so series based on Chinese culture are likely to have an outfit of sort.

Although this can't be said about every character, some timid, maiden-like characters who have overly long sleeves appear to have mannerisms based on maidenly, kimono-wearing characters, princesses from historic tales, period pieces, and the sort.

Tropes

Connected Sleeves

Sometimes, a kimono-wearing character place one hand inside the other hand's sleeve, connecting them together.

Ren Kougyoku 練紅玉, sitting on a chair with her hands inside her sleeves.
Character: Ren Kougyoku 練紅玉
Anime: Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, マギ (Episode 13, Stitch)
Tsurara つらら, hiding her hands inside her sleeves.
Character: Tsurara つらら
Anime: Nurarihyon no Mago ぬらりひょんの孫 (Episode 2)

As far as I know, this only happens with kimono, no anime character does this with a jacket, though I'm pretty sure I have done it with a jacket, personally, but I'm no anime character.

Traditional, kimono-wearing characters have a tendency to keep their hands close to their chests. I'm not sure where this custom comes from, if it's just a matter of etiquette, or there were practical reasons for this, e.g. it's simply cold, so everyone keeps their limbs close to conserve heat.

In any case, the reason why some modern, jacket-wearing characters with long sleeves weirdly keep their hands next to themselves is likely because a kimono-wearing character would have done it.

Kannabi-no-Mikoto 神奈備命 sitting on top of Ryuuya 柳也.
Top: Kannabi-no-Mikoto 神奈備命
Bottom: Ryuuya 柳也
Anime: AIR (Episode 7)

Covering Mouth, Timid Characters

Sometimes, timid characters with long sleeves cover their mouths with sleeves. Traditional characters do this too, may use a "fan," sensu 扇子, instead, although in their case it's typically more about looking composed than being shy.

  • sode de kuchi-moto wo kakusu
    口元隠す
    To hide [one's] mouth with [one's] sleeves.
    • kuchi

      Mouth. Sometimes in the sense of entrance, opening, or hole.
    • kuchi-moto
      口元
      The mouth and surrounding area, i.e. not only the hole that is the mouth, but the part of the face where the mouth is..
Examples of characters covering their mouths with their sleeves or fans: Shirasaka Koume 白坂小梅, Fujiwara no Sai 藤原佐為, Kogami Akira 小神あきら, Uraha 裏葉, Ruki ルキ, and Shuna シュナ.
From left to right, top to bottom:
Shirasaka Koume 白坂小梅
Fujiwara no Sai 藤原佐為
Kogami Akira 小神あきら
Uraha 裏葉
Ruki ルキ
Shuna シュナ
Anime: The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, アイドルマスター シンデレラガールズ (Episode 8)
Anime: Hikaru no Go ヒカルの碁 (Episode 1)
Anime: Lucky☆Star, らき☆すた (Episode 1)
Anime: AIR (Episode 8)
Anime: Sen'yuu. 戦勇。 (Episode 3)
Anime: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken, 転生したらスライムだった件 (Episode 9)
  • Left: modern.
  • Right: traditional.

Ghosts, Creepy Characters

In anime, overly long sleeves are sometimes associated with ghosts, probably because characters that wear them tend to keep their hands close to their chests, like a ghost going "boo" around, or a zombie, or something like that.

  • Koume, from Idolmaster, likes horror movies, and it's sometimes implied that she's a psychic that can see ghosts.
  • Adenela アデネラ, from Shinchou Yuusha 慎重勇者, is simply creepy as hell.
  • Tooru, from A-Channel, likes horror movies, and is quiet and eerie, specially when her irises become fully black (beta-me ベタ目).
Miyako ミヤコ, example of overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖).
Character: Miyako ミヤコ
Anime: Princess Connect! Re:Dive, プリンセスコネクト!Re:Dive (Episode 10, Cropped)
  • Context: Miyako is a ghost that likes pudding.

Silly Characters

Sometimes, a character that wears overly long sleeves does so because they're a silly, free-spirited character, that doesn't care about rigid things like wearing clothes that are actually for your size.

The Legendary Yamada Tae 山田たえ, example of overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖).
Character: The Legendary Yamada Tae 山田たえ
Anime: Zombieland Saga: Revenge (Episode 6)
  • Context: a random social media user comments on the legendary Yamada Tae, who is also known by the pseudonym "number 0," zero-gou ゼロ号.
  • zero-gou kami-kawa!!!!!!!
    0号神かわ!!!!!!!
    Number 0 is super cute!!!!!!!
    • kami

      God. Deity.
      Epic. Super. Top-level. (slang.)
    • kawaii
      可愛い
      Cute. Adorable.
      (~kawa is kawaii with the ~ii part clipped off.)
Matsuno Ichimatsu 松野一松 and Matsuno Juushimatsu 松野十四松 on the roof.
Left: Matsuno Ichimatsu 松野一松
Right: Matsuno Juushimatsu 松野十四松
Anime: Osomatsu-san おそ松さん (Episode 17)
  • Context: Juushimatsu is always smiling. Always.
  • taiiku-zuwari
    体育座り
    "Physical-education-sitting."
    A term for sitting holding your knees.

Little Girls

Sometimes, small girls, loli characters wear adult-sized clothing instead of child-sized, ending up with overly long sleeves.

Although there are scenarios in which this would make some logical sense, most of the time it just happens because someone thought it was cute, and the character could totally have worn appropriately sized clothes if they wanted to, they just didn't.

  • Tooru, from A-Channel, is much shorter than the other characters. Her sleeves being too long is part of a recurring joke on her height: in episode 4, she puts on a shirt over bloomers, and it looks like she's wearing a dress.
Aurora Suya Rhys Kaymin オーロラ・栖夜・リース・カイミーン, after drinking a potion that turned her into a child, with overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖).
Character: Aurora Suya Rhys Kaymin オーロラ・栖夜・リース・カイミーン
Anime: Maoujou de Oyasumi 魔王城でおやすみ (Episode 4)
  • Context: Aurora used an item that turned her into a child, making her already loose sleeves become even larger, relatively speaking.
Tasujin Ratu, タスジン・ラトゥ, Hakase 博士, example of overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖).
Character: Tasujin Ratu, タスジン・ラトゥ, Hakase 博士
Anime: Akiba's Trip The Animation (Episode 4, Stitch)
  • Context: Hakase wears a lab coat that's over-sized for her, despite being just normal-sized for her fellow researchers. Presumably, the high cost of university tuition left her unable to afford a tailor.
Mitsumine Mashiro 三峰真白, example of overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖).
Character: Mitsumine Mashiro 三峰真白
Anime: Mikakunin de Shinkoukei 未確認で進行形 (Episode 2, Cropped)
  • Context: Mashiro, 9 years old, is a high school student, wearing a high school uniform, for some reason.
Character: Kogami Akira 小神あきら
Anime: Lucky☆Star, らき☆すた (Episode 1)
  • Context: one of the most forced but convincing attempts at looking cute ever seen in the history of anime.

For reference, some other sites to see:

References

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