Anime Talk: The Harem Genre

This week on Anime Talk I want to examine the “Harem Genre” of anime. Let us begin by first explaining what the Harem Genre is. The basic concept of harem anime is a protagonist who is the center of romantic attention of at least two  or more members of the opposite gender whom are actively competing for the protagonists attention. The most typical combination is a male protagonist surrounded by a harem of ladies, but there does exist harems with a female protagonist with an all male harem though they are rare in comparison and are often referred to as a reverse harem. Most of these anime fall into the romantic comedy category however they are often mixed with main other classic anime genre such as mecha, martial arts,  Sci-fi, supernatural etc.

Now while I myself am a fan of many harem anime series, there are a few things about many of them I have watched that I find I am less then thrilled about. First is the excessive amount of “Fan Service” that is typical of the average harem series. I’d be lying if I said that I did not enjoy fan service however as I mentioned in a previous Anime Talk I think too much of it distracts from the show. In other words I want some story with my T&A.  Next on my list is there seems to be an ever growing popularity in having a  “Pervert Protagonist”. I do not enjoy this character type myself and though I know it is a work of fiction I find it hard to believe one girl let alone a harem of them would be attracted to this type of personality. The Perverted protagonist stories also tends to be the worst offenders of the fan service issue.

These types of anime are hard pressed most of the time to even remain in the “ecchi” end of the harem spectrum and just barely fall short of being full blown hentai.

Lastly I HATE when an anime series ends without resolving the story. Though any anime genre can and has fallen prey to this  I find that Harem Anime is the worst offender. Often time a promising series is ruined for me by ending before the protagonist selects the girl he want to be with. Even in those series where the protagonist selects ALL the girls, or rejects them all are better then the open end we never know endings! When I finish watching a series like when I finish reading a good book, I want all the loose ends tied up and know that outcome of all the main plots. When a series ends without a proper ending I just feel cheated.

Well those are some of my thoughts on Harem Anime, what are yours ? DO you watch them?, Do you have a favorite Harem series? do you have any nitpicks about the genre you want you express ? Leave a comment below with you thoughts and lets get a discussion started.

2 Responses to Anime Talk: The Harem Genre

  1. Having been part of a “reverse harem” myself, I find anime treatment of crushes rather gratuitous. To me, it’s not just a cultural difference but a generation gap. When I was in my teen years, I liked the flirtations and teasing. I still do, but on a different level.

    Definitely agree that an “unresolved” romance in anime is annoying. Anime tends to have a lot of relationships (ie., too many characters). The interaction and inter-twining gets a bit complex.

    I am not familiar with the newer anime. However, what I have seen is the trend toward more “family” rather than harem. Where it’s not so much a romantic interest; rather, “paternal.” The lead is the matriarch or patriarch.

    Kind of funny, because one of the things that turned me off of Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex was an early episode where the Major visits a friend’s apartment. The friend has an obvious crush but the Major is indifferent and blasé.

    That was one episode. After that brief encounter, there was nothing more. Well, at least from what I’ve seen. Point being, it left a gaping hole in the Major’s story. Normally, I can make assumptions or insert my own details. In this case, I wanted a story arc.

    Turns out, the Major was just stone cold. A lot like my matriarch.

  2. I’ve tended to prefer stories where the protagonist just started in a happy relat. or was already in one. Better yet, when relationships come and go (as in life) completely on a different schedule from the rest of the plot for realistic reasons.
    Not just one type of story–ALL of them.