Anime Vice News

Manga-ka Ken Akamatsu: "Harems are Dead, Moe's a Giving its Death Rattle"

The author of Negima and Love Hina speaks out about the state of two once-popular manga sub-genres.


 Are girl line-ups like this a thing of the past?
 Are girl line-ups like this a thing of the past?
Are the harems and moe sub-genres really gasping their last breath? Manga-ka Ken Akamatsu says sales and marketing research show it's already happening. Of course, even more than dry data, I'd trust Akamatsu's deft finger on the pulse of the industry, especially considering that he's the author of Love Hina and Negima, two titans in that particular corner of shonen manga. Here's what he had to say about it last week (8/18, in Japanese), translated thanks to Sankaku Complex (NSFW site):

Certainly, the moe boom is finished, and from last year on I think we’re seeing the following phenomena:

1. Male protagonists are absent

Many anime are now nothing but girls, and the role of the “male character being excited by female characters for viewers to empathise with” has disappeared.

2. Male buying power has reduced

Now women buyers of both anime and manga are predominant. Oricon comic rankings show most of the top titles are women-oriented.

3. Male viewers can now empathise with female characters

The number of male fans who simply don’t view female characters as objects of sexual desire at all is increasing, even in titles like “K-ON!”. No more are they just thinking “I want to be part of that circle,” now they are getting into the characters themselves.

A friend of mine was saying “this will be the year of yuri!” thanks to number 3, but unfortunately I get the feeling the popularity of yuri is not quite that great…

I'm a bit skeptical about yuri being the new hotness (as is he, it seems) as loli has been doing a bit too well as of late. What do you guys think about Akamatsu's statement: on the money or full of hot air?
Eelcireon Aug. 24, 2010 at 1:11 p.m.
Too much of any one type of [sub]-genre is bad for the industry. It won't completely die, but as mentioned in the article different trends are emerging. With an increasing female audience hopefully more varied stories and characters will come out of it.
 
Can't say I empathize or relate with the characters in anime such as K-ON!, but I do enjoy watching it all the same. I wouldn't mind seeing yuri grow more as a genre as it gives a different twist when applied to other genres, such as Kashimashi melding comedy/sci-fi/yuri.
zaldaron Aug. 24, 2010 at 1:43 p.m.

god I hope moe is dieing...ugg..how I hate those shows...give me good philisophical stuff any day over that crap...
CrazyCanuckon Aug. 24, 2010 at 1:58 p.m.
AH man!!! I love K-On but I'm ready to let go of moe but please don't stop making good harems!
Helloson Aug. 24, 2010 at 2 p.m.

Damn anime Males living the dream in harems.  
I hope they all die!
SamJazon Aug. 24, 2010 at 2:04 p.m.
I do agree with the man. The harem genre is dying, and Moe belongs to the sweaty fat man.
 
Now, that doesn't mean that harems in anime are dead, and Moe will leave us. It's just that they won't work as selling points anymore. 
 
Besides, this IS Ken Akamatsu we're talking about. He knows where the money is.
Sparklykisson Aug. 24, 2010 at 2:59 p.m.
It's pretty nice to see that the moe is fading. I'd like to see more stuff designed with me in mind, so I can get back into it. I've kind of stopped watching anime recently because there were so many things that just didn't appeal to me at all.
JackSukeruon Aug. 24, 2010 at 3:41 p.m.
Akamatsu is secretly going "Just as keikaku!"
Jinbeifan1on Aug. 24, 2010 at 3:44 p.m.

im just glad one piece and fairy tail are still doin good(even though im not much of a fan of either, naruto and bleach too) 
dcfoxon Aug. 24, 2010 at 6:28 p.m.
I don't care for moe but I love harem manga/anime! 
sotyfan16on Aug. 24, 2010 at 7:45 p.m.

While he has a point, there have still been a number of harem anime/manga coming out. Some also just don't have the luster that older series do. I love harems and I'm a sap for those kind of Romantic-Comedies. Harems are classic tales and I feel there would be an uproar if they went away.  

Moe could be just a phase and I'm not a big fan of the anime and manga but they are enjoyable.

Kelleth moderator on Aug. 25, 2010 at 7:53 a.m.
What's with the news and things dying lately? Vampire scene is dying (due to Twillight and Vampires Suck) Miyazaki is dead (T_T) if Ghibli's next movie fails the studio is dead (*o*, T_T)
And now this! stop depressing me already!! T_T
 
Still i'd like to see Yuri get a chance at the spotlight.
BulletStormon Aug. 26, 2010 at 12:36 p.m.
All for the better, I love Negima - but I'd love Negima more if the characters didn't have to trip every 2 pages revealing their underwear. 
BobCaton Aug. 26, 2010 at 5:58 p.m.
The Ken has spoken.
 
That means NO Love Hina II from him.   Ain't happening.  
 
So the HKSS manga is not going to be a harem.    And the moe factor has to be reduced in later chapters.  Got it.
Leptokon Aug. 27, 2010 at 1:39 a.m.
Heh, 3 has been spreading for a while now.
reinon Aug. 27, 2010 at 7:59 a.m.
As a harem man myself, this is rather discouraging. I do feel that it can be revived however, if you add a few things.
  1. Give Harems better stories-  Harem are about the girls rather then the plot, but having an interesting storyline aside from the male lead never hurts.
  2. Action Harems- Titles that blend Harem and Action for example Negima, rosario + vampire or Ichiban ushiro no daimaou
  3. More interesting protagonist- Almost every male lead is the "hobby/specialty : none grades: average looks:average" cookie cut character. Make the lead someone insanely Gar like DS or at least competent like Tenchi. 
reinon Aug. 27, 2010 at 8:12 a.m.



yes. you know you won at life when this happens.

Dig Deeper into Ken Akamatsu

A mangaka known for his titles Love Hina, Negima, A.I. Love You, Mao Chan, and many other titles.

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