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Harem Recommendation Thread.


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Animeking1108



Joined: 26 Apr 2011
Posts: 969
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:49 pm Reply with quote
Let's not kid ourselves here. Harem shows are boring. They're filled with the same BS clichés that need to die, but must have wished for immortality. The main couple hates each other, there's a childhood marriage promise, the male lead gets his ass kicked because of comedic misunderstandings, the girl that actually treats the male lead right get's pushed to the side because affection is so last year, etc.

The cliché that irritates me the most is the fact that they always pick the tsundere. What's so appealing about a violent sociopath that treats you like dirt? Here in America, we call that abuse. Take a look at Naru Narusegawa, Louise Francoise le Blanc de la Vallière, Akane Tendo, Taiga Aisaka, and Chitoge Kirisaki and look at how they treat their alleged love interests. Would you date somebody like that in real life? If your answer is yes, I highly suggest seeing a therapist and figure out where you developed Stockholm Syndrome.

Now, the big question is that "are there harem anime that avoid the clichés?" I'm not sure about adding "Negima" since it's harem elements downplayed after Evangeline was introduced. I also heard good things about "Sekirei." Maybe it helps that it was written by a woman and actually knew how to write female characters.


{Changed title from "Harem anime that are actually good?" ~nobahn}
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nobahn
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:10 pm Reply with quote
Just a reminder: Unannotated listing is prohibited.

EDIT: I am sanctioning this as an official recommendation thread (Specific / Unique Modifiers) because I don't see anything in the Aniime Hunting OP that fully matches this topic.
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Raftina



Joined: 15 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:20 pm Reply with quote
Sekirei is not what comes to mind when thinking of a harem anime with well-written female characters. The lead girl has the body of an adult but the mind of a 5 year old. She tends to follow the male lead like a lost puppy. The runner up is a typical violent tsundere. There may be some depth to uncover, but it does not really make the show a good example of a well-written harem.

Another example of an anime with an idiot magical girlfriend as the lead female is Date A Live.

The tsundere is popular as the lead female, but it is also quite common to have a girl-next-door type female as the lead. As long as she is not also the childhood friend who has always been there, she has an excellent chance of winning the main character's affections. Some examples include:

Ai Yori Aoshi, one of the more famous harem anime. The title makes it clear that Kaoru will end with Aoi, but there is sufficient romantic tension between him and the other girls that a harem designation is appropriate. Aoi has very much a yamato nadeshiko personality, and she's a childhood friend to boot--though of the long lost variety.

Rosario and Vampire cheats somewhat. The default outer Moka is a nice person with a girl-next-door personality. Inner Moka is a violent tsundere. I am not sure how the anime handles the two personalities, but outer Moka is the lead girl in the manga version. Like Negima, Rosario and Vampire veers into battle shounen territory--at least in the manga. I have heard criticism that the anime did not do that.


Last edited by Raftina on Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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Yamstarch



Joined: 02 Mar 2015
Posts: 62
Location: Virginia USA
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:23 pm Reply with quote
Animeking1108 wrote:
Would you date somebody like that in real life?

{Changed title from "Harem anime that are actually good?" ~nobahn}


I was going to try and come up with something witty, but I will just say yes I would and yes I have. Now neither time was to the extremes that are often displayed in Anime. A lot more goes into it as far as i am concerned.

The first Harem I have watched that comes to mind that might fill the need is Heaven's Lost Property, but unless you watch the movies it doens't really have an endgame.

There is also Rosario Vampire as well as Sekerei, but they don't have an ending either unless you read the manga I think. I only just recently watched those on Netflix.
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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
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Location: Windsor Ontario
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:57 pm Reply with quote
I take issue with Animeking1108's attitude. He's acting like those problems are only unique to harem anime and aren't just bad writing in general.

It's no secret I watch a ton of harem shows, maybe more than anyone else on this forum. I could give you a long list of good harem shows, because there are very few I think are actually bad. So for now I'll just go with this one show that when I finished it I felt it had a lot going for it when it initially looked like standard fare.

Nakaimo - My Little Sister Is Among Them: The "which girl is my sister" thing adds a more substantial plot while also explaining why the main character doesn't do anything with any of the girls (and one time he was reeeeeeeeeally tempted). The girls are all nice enough and there's an actual ending to it. spoiler[He picks the nice girl, too, and you can see them growing close gradually over the course of the show so it feels natural and not forced.]
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Key
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:25 am Reply with quote
Raftina wrote:
Ai Yori Aoishi, one of the more famous harem anime. The title makes it clear that Kaoru will end with Aoi, but there is sufficient romantic tension between him and the other girls that a harem designation is appropriate. Aoi has very much a yamato nadeshiko personality, and she's a childhood friend to boot--though of the long lost variety.

Actually you're misspelling the the title, as it's Aoshi instead, and the title has nothing to do with the lead female character's name. (What it does have to do with isn't revealed until the manga's final volume: spoiler[it concerns the kimono Aoi usually wears and the way its color can gradually change from its original indigo to a bluer color with wear over a long period of time. As Aoi uses the reference, it's symbolic of a lifetime of comfortable commitment.] So yeah, it's probably one of the most complicated, loaded-with-meaning names you'll ever see for an anime series.) But that aside, I'd absolutely endorse that one as one of the finest examples of harem series out there, especially its first four episodes.

Will have more recommendations later, as I can probably rival Vaisaga on the number of harem series watched over time.
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Tony K.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:49 am Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:
I take issue with Animeking1108's attitude. He's acting like those problems are only unique to harem anime and aren't just bad writing in general.

That's because his "thing" is to make threads that somehow trivialize, belittle, or rant on certain topics and/or trends to create controversy, because controversy = more views and replies, like:

- Things you don't like about anime you enjoy.
- The worst parents in anime.
- Least favorite arcs.
- Biggest plot holes.
- Characters you think are over-rated.
- And everyone's favorite Unpopular anime opinions.

Originally, the thread was called "Harem anime that are actually good," which implied his general dislike for most shows in the genre. But I guess nobahn thought it more constructive to just turn it into something positive like a harem recommendation thread, and not leave it as another soapboxing stage with a hidden stash of gasoline underneath it for Animeking1108 to use and watch us dance to his random flames/rants.
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Animeking1108



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:44 am Reply with quote
Geez, sorry that I feel like a genre has too many overused clichés.
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Yamstarch



Joined: 02 Mar 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:52 am Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:
I take issue with Animeking1108's attitude. He's acting like those problems are only unique to harem anime and aren't just bad writing in general.

It's no secret I watch a ton of harem shows, maybe more than anyone else on this forum. I could give you a long list of good harem shows, because there are very few I think are actually bad. So for now I'll just go with this one show that when I finished it I felt it had a lot going for it when it initially looked like standard fare.

Nakaimo - My Little Sister Is Among Them: The "which girl is my sister" thing adds a more substantial plot while also explaining why the main character doesn't do anything with any of the girls (and one time he was reeeeeeeeeally tempted). The girls are all nice enough and there's an actual ending to it. spoiler[He picks the nice girl, too, and you can see them growing close gradually over the course of the show so it feels natural and not forced.]


I'll take that list! haha.
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Key
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:05 am Reply with quote
Animeking1108 wrote:
Geez, sorry that I feel like a genre has too many overused clichés.

Nobody's denying that it does, but when you single it out for special treatment - when nearly every genre out there is as cliche-ridden as harem series are - is when there starts to be a problem.
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Animeking1108



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:57 am Reply with quote
I was just trying to see which ones avert the clichés. I have a problem with the harem genre because some of its clichés offend me on a personal level. I look at a spikey-haired shounen protagonist that can shoot fire balls or a shoujo protagonist hoping sempai would notice her, and I just get a minor groan at worst.
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Key
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:46 am Reply with quote
That's understandable, because harem series are definitely not for everyone; in fact, they often make no bones about the fact that they are catering to specific tastes. Even then, and even given how much I tolerate the genre, I could do without some of its seedier elements, like the incest or pseudo-incest elements in some recent ones.

I also think making this into a recommendation thread for harem series is the right move. Since the OP has stated an interest in ones that don't use certain cliches, I ask that people note whether or not those recommendations involve those cliches.
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Drizzy_Dan



Joined: 11 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:00 pm Reply with quote
I'm not huge on ecchi/harems but I have seen my fair share. This may sound very dumb to some but one that I really like is High School DxD. It does follow the cliches of harems but it takes it up a notch by actually mixing with more genres and following through with that. Shows like To LOVE Ru are so basic it hurts. High School DxD actually has a creative action/shounen aspect that makes the characters likable and the show interesting. Most ecchi/harem shows claim they're action/ecchi but really it's just ecchi with a few fight scenes. I feel like High School DxD has a good balance.
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Raftina



Joined: 15 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:04 pm Reply with quote
Not in response to Animeking1108's question, but relates to an observation I read about.

The poster described the childhood friend character as follows: The childhood friend is an easy character to include, because she does not need to be developed much. The main character has always known her, and he is expected to react to her in predictable ways. For this reason, the childhood friend is mundane--and for the same reason, boring. Because she is boring, she is destined to lose to the main heroine.

This does not quite tell the whole story about childhood friend characters. This archetype is common for the childhood friend who has always been with the protagonist, but there's a second archetype: the long-lost childhood friend. This character archetype plays on the distance makes the heart grow fonder trope--a person of the protagonist's fond memories, but one who has been absent for long enough that she does not need to be predictable. Ai Yori Aoshi's Aoi falls under this type. Nisekoi takes it to extremes, with all 3 candidates being long forgotten childhood friends.

Query: Do any harem anime end with the always there childhood friend being the one the protagonist chooses--or at least is the apparent forerunner through the anime's run? The only example that comes to my mind is To Heart. To Heart is a series of pastiches, where the protagonist helps the girl of the arc with her problem. By the end of her arc, she more or less disappears. Akari and Shiho are the only characters who have significant presence in multiple arcs, so it was more of a win by default situation.
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getchman
He started itHe started it


Joined: 07 Apr 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:30 pm Reply with quote
Raftina wrote:

Query: Do any harem anime end with the always there childhood friend being the one the protagonist chooses--or at least is the apparent forerunner through the anime's run?


a few. Amagami SS and Yosuga no Sora have an omnibus format so each heroine gets a chance, but two from each show are childhood friends and they emerge victories in their routes. Maburaho kinda counts. The protagonist ends up with multiple clones due to magical shenanigans at the end of the show and each love interest claims one.


Last edited by getchman on Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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