Almost Otaku: Harems & Anti-Harems

Topic started by Lemon on Nov. 29, 2010. Last post by Roldan 4 years, 2 months ago.
Post by damswedon (277 posts) See mini bio Level 16
Great vid as always Tom. 
Let me just get my old man beard, rocking chair and shotgun for this. 
I still prefer the old fashioned style of Harem where the Guy had to actually work for the affections of the girls in the show. Maybe it is just because we know about more shows now but it seems like today's shows focus more on the dude making sweet Crocodile Rock instead of developing a meaningful relationship. It is bad enough that now days we have these stories where the dude gets one girl then, oh wait time warp. Its now before the relationship.
Post by Om1kron (144 posts) See mini bio Level 7
I just learned a new word. 
Post by matti00 (28 posts) See mini bio Level 7
@vergilius said:
" There's a lot more room for interesting leads in harem dramas, but I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, since most harem shows are comedies. "
Boys Over Flowers might be an interesting example of this. The characters have a lot more depth and complexity than your standard harem anime, but the show is pretty much an out and out love story with little comedy, might not appeal to the vast majority of people here. Still, I liked it.
Other harem anime that I think are worth a look: Negima, Tenchi anything, Love Hina, Shuffle! and Ouran High School Host Club. Also Fruits Basket, which might be closer to that platonic harem that Tom mentioned.
Post by PenguinDust (1,008 posts) See mini bio Level 13
 Shuffle's harem fantasy 
 Shuffle's harem fantasy 
My favorite genre in anime is the “romantic comedy” and harems and reverse-harems make up a substantial number of those titles.  As such, I’ve seen quite of few of these shows and while I am usually pleased with the stories, this is also the one sub-genre that suffers most from predictability.  It’s primarily in the harem category that we see the same jokes played over and over, the same plot lines and the same character types.  If there is a reason for the negativity directed at harem comedies it’s probably for this reason rather than their puerile and exploitive portrayal of women.  There is almost a check list for the typical harem anime:

The male lead is either a shy and unpopular boy who suddenly finds himself pursued by one (magical) girl and then by several more girls as he shows himself to be a courageous and caring individual; for example Kazuki Shikimori of Maburaho.  Or, he’s a lecherous pervert always on the prowl for more women to share company with like Keita Kawahira of Inukami.  For some reason, a cute girl attaches herself to him and others follow as he reveals there is more to his character than just sophomoric carnality. At some point during the show, there will be a nose bleed.  ENEMIES OF ALL MANKIND!! 

The girls range in character types but these days the central female has pink hair most of the time.  Since this is a harem, each girl is usually much different than each other except for their interest in the hero.  There is also the potential for rivalries over the affections of the male lead.  At some point during the show, there will be a trip to the hot springs or a bath house.  [Anime Vice harem threads:   My (Your) Harem  &    Your Anime Harem.  ]

 Rosario+Vampire's girls
 Rosario+Vampire's girls
What I find dissatisfying with most of the harems I’ve seen is the lack of romantic resolution by the series’ end.  Polygamy is not a practice I subscribe to on a realistic level.  Like communism it’s great in theory, but in practice human nature gets in the way.  So, I want the male lead to definitively be with one girl by the end. Of course, that ruins the fantasy and can create an issue if the viewer and the show’s end choice differ.  For example I preferred Kurumu Kurono over Moka Akashiya in Rosario+Vampire.  That isn’t to say I would have been disappointed with another result, but I would have felt more comfortable with my choice over the producer’s.  Now, in the first season of To Love Ru, my dislike for Haruna Sairenji over alien girl, Lala Deviluke would have soured my regard for the series even more had that choice been made clear by the final episode.  On the surface, these points sound inconsequential, but harem shows operate primarily as extensions of a viewer’s romantic fantasy life.  That isn’t to say that the audience wants to have multiple girls ardor him simultaneously, but since each viewer has a different ideal girl, various types of personalities are represented for him to connect with.  Still, I maintain that the producers need to be more resolute and pick one.  And, yes that in itself brings up the whole misogyny of selecting a girl like one selects a melon from the grocer.  Reality has no place in fantasy so impropriety is acceptable in this instance.  After all, how often in reality are you going to find three or more attractive girls devoted to a dejected loser? 

 Shinji's potential harem
 Shinji's potential harem
Speaking of “three or more”, that’s my personal definition of a harem.  Sometimes people call a series where there are two girls after the same guy a harem show, but I don’t agree with that limited interpretation.  For me, that’s a love triangle and those are too numerous in fiction to list.  Tom used Neon Genesis Evangelion as an example to the harem genre and I’m not sure I’d agree.  To begin with, I regard Misato more as taking the “big sister” role rather than being a romantic interest.  So that leaves Rei and Asuka as the romantic options and that makes it a love triangle in my mind.  I will accede that if you were inclined to add Mari from the Rebuild Evangelion movies to the mix then there might be some validity to his position, however he didn’t mention her in his video.  

In the end, because I enjoy comedies more than serious action, drama or mysteries I’ll probably continue to watch more harems than any other type of anime.  I’m okay with that since most of the time even the ones that don’t thrill me provide some sort of entertainment value.  Besides there are lots of shows I haven’t seen yet and finding a great one is worth the effort.  I've been keeping a list of these type of shows that I've seen here on AV.  
Post by No_name_here (856 posts) See mini bio Level 11
@FoxxFireArt said:
" Well, one can certainly never accuse you of not giving personality to these videos. That's a fact.

Not the bees!
Post by Dunchad (72 posts) See mini bio Level 7

I'm definitely not a fan of harem animes, but if you like comedy, then you're bound to run into harems. It's not so much the unbelievable situation the protagonist finds himself in (being loved by several women at the same time), but rather the fact that it's always obvious how things are going to end up, that bothers me. You almost always can figure out the girl the protagonist will end up with and you just have to wade through tons of misunderstandings and tears to get there. And also, the girl never seems to be the one I would choose - which makes me enjoy the story even less. Only anime where this hasn't happened so far is Negima - there's just too many girls and the obvious pick (Asuna) might not be eligible (due to spoilerific reasons I won't mention here) so I just have no clue.  
Only harem anime where I truly enjoyed the harem-part of the story was Tenchi Muyo! GXP. That anime is not only hilarious, but due to the way they resolved the "Who should I choose?" issue, it's the one I'd recommend to others.

Post by sotyfan16 (1,342 posts) See mini bio Level 20
I agree with everything you said. I would really like for harems to have a real ending where the protagonist picks who he wants (Shuffle! did that but I only really like the first half the show so that is why I don't own it). You can always have an ending like in Tenchi Muyo GXP, too. 

While harems are some my favorite anime I don't have one in mind to write. But that could be rectified soon. Also, thanks for the Forum mention.
Post by daotherkenji (48 posts) See mini bio Level 4
@Tom_Pinchuk: If you pick a harem show for watch and learn maybe an episode of Clannad would be good. Its a seinen show it doesnt have alot of the things that make people hate harems in it.
Post by EganTheVile1 (1,511 posts) See mini bio Level 20
Jigsaw: "Tom to leave this basement alive you must watch Paranoia Agent and explain to me what it was all about"
Post by N7_Normandy (36 posts) See mini bio Level 9
good save by adding "platonic" at the end of that harem statement. 
nice video
Post by Mezmero (69 posts) See mini bio Level 10
Not as good as the last video.  I'm pretty sure you could have come up with a better gag than the blindfold thing.  Only harem stuff I remember liking was most of the Tenchi stuff and Ouran High School Host Club, which is genuinely funny despite my cynical disposition.  Otherwise these kinds of shows typically don't appeal to me so I tend to avoid them.
Post by ShadowZ (4 posts) See mini bio Level 8
Harems are pretty funny to me.
Post by dcfox (4 posts) See mini bio Level 9
Some of my favorite manga/anime series like Love Hina and School Rumble revolve a harem. So I guess I'm pro harem. I don't think I've ever seen or read any anit-harem books/movies yet, though.
Post by Terrents (13 posts) See mini bio Level 6

still not sure if i like this guy...
Post by Roldan (81 posts) See mini bio Level 7
Give me more harems like Golden Boy.
Top Editors
Top Posters
93 posts
71 posts
50 posts
34 posts
30 posts
27 posts
20 posts
16 posts
15 posts
15 posts
Mandatory Network

Submissions can take several hours to be approved.

Save ChangesCancel