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Faceman
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:08 pm Reply with quote
Good discussion. I was waiting for you to go a bit more into reverse harems.

I'd have to say the difference between any (reverse) harem and a love story is if there are multiple parties interested in the protagonist. Like you said, AMG isn't really one, as Belldandy is the only one interested in him for a long period of time (the sister's aren't really, and occasionally someone will pop up for a story arc to cause drama). Love Hina, on the other hand, I'd have to disagree with, as Naru, Motoko and later Kanako are all interested in him.

I don't know if you'd consider it the same, and I've only really seen Ouran personally, but wouldn't being rich and powerful be kind of the male-steroetype of reverse harem? You have harems with the home-body women cleaning and baking, but from what I can tell in reverse-harems the men all seem incredibly handsome, rich, and influential, in one way or another. Would anyone agree it seems to be a commonality?

How many reverse harems showcase the skills of the men? "I'm not rich, but I'll paint you a picture." "I'm not powerful, but I'll fix your car." "I'm not unbelievably handsome, but I can isolate a specific gene in the human genome..." Ok, that last one was a stretch, but you get where I'm going at.
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Cait
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:35 pm Reply with quote
If you want to determine whether Tenchi is a harem show or not, you have to consider which of the various series you're talking about. In the original OVAs, it is very clearly implied that all the girls that fall into Tenchi's life also fall in love with him. Ayeka and Ryoko are the top two contenders, but all of them have a thing for the kid. However, in the other series (Universe, for example) it is really only the two women vying for Tenchi's affections, with the other women acting as supporting cast, sort of the same way that Belldandy in AMG is really the only one among the women in love with the protagonist. I'm not sure this fact discounts a series as a harem, show, though, because as the Chicks have implied, romance isn't necessarily the important aspect of the relationship, but moreso that all of these other characters' lives virtually revolve around the protagonist. That's why I would argue that a series like Fruits Basket really would constitute a reverse harem, or maybe even a plain old harem, since not only is it the men of the Sohma family that latch onto Tohru, but all of the female characters in the story as well.

As for "Customer" shows, I really do think they have become more popular, and not just in anime/manga. Wasn't Happy Boys a "host" type show that came out a few years ago (got turned into a manga by Makoto Tateno)? [/i]
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zanarkand princess



Joined: 27 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:40 pm Reply with quote
This was a good topic. I a big reverse harem fan (they're just so fun!) often see other reverse harem fans get called out on hypocrisy when talking about guys fan service but you guys laid out why it's notthe same pretty well.
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neocloud9



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:14 pm Reply with quote
Ooh, great discussion tonight. I like the new "customer" genre. It makes a lot of sense...
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pparker



Joined: 13 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:32 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
"Oh boy, I hope all these women take off their shirts, then make out with each other, while they feed me steak!" versus "I can't wait for them to bring me breakfast in bed, and then cuddle with me while I talk about school."

LOL. Game over, no need to study harem shows beyond this. I finally have a clear, simple reply when St. Peter asks how I want to spend eternity. I guess it's his problem finding enough girls whose view of heaven reverse-matches mine Wink.

Not a big reverse harem fan myself, duh, mostly because I am a guy, but quality transcends genre. Loved Ouran Host Club, and Fruits Basket is one of my favorites, which I do consider a reverse harem if only because Tohru is the focus of affection, if not true romance, from all the guys.

The customer thing... I agree with it being a separate category because delivering service to sometimes multiple customers isn't the same as having romantic feelings or sexual attraction--a requirement for a harem. I never finished Ristorante Paradiso, but will. Bamboo's classic preview of Miracle Train was enough to guarantee I will avoid it.


A bit off the topic, but made me realize there seems to be one glaring difference between harem and reverse harem shows, which is the protagonist's deserving of romantic intentions. The majority of harem shows feature an asshole (DearS) or an otherwise real loser (Girls Bravo). The reverse versions seem to always feature the opposite, even an ideal. In Fruits Basket, Tohru really has no negative characteristics (other than "endearing" ones). Love Hina is an exception on the male side. As mentioned, and IIRC, nearly all the females eventually develop romantic feelings toward Keitarou. To the story's credit, the attraction is eventually earned for once. But overall, nearly all male harem leads are unlikeable people. Seems like discrimination to me... or maybe an attempt at drawing a male audience to reverse harem shows?

Also, the fact that a specific romantic coupling is preordained isn't a disqualifier for harems (Toradora!). In fact, seems the only ones that aren't that way are the eroge adaptations that already contain multiple paths to every girl. It doesn't invalidate the harem aspect, as that to me depends on the intentions of the harem members, not the protagonist.

And finally, because I must after long consideration of the benefits to humanity...
Casey wrote:
Degrading depictions of men and degrading pictures of women are not equivalent... [and previously, twice...] Remember that insulting the powerful is not the same as insulting the powerless.

The bruises on my head from the desk are stacking. First, I think she should really look up that word "insult" before using it as the central concept in her mantra. Living a life devoted to harmful intent without provocation or justification against all successful people would make for early wrinkles. I'm waiting to see Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice's reactions to her insults.

As a person who lived through the 60's, I just can't fathom that someone today could be so intolerant and openly hostile toward such a large portion of humanity, i.e., all men and all people with more "power" than her.

So ends my response to the political commentary interjected into the anime discussions.
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Joe Mello



Joined: 31 May 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:33 pm Reply with quote
What's the inverse of a maid show? Hosts? Whatever that is, that is what the genre label should be. It's a bunch of guys whose sole purpose (at least superficially) is to serve the female clientèle.

Ooh, maybe you can call it the clientèle genre. It sounds so much better and more important
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ParagonDoD



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:43 pm Reply with quote
There are in fact romance visual novels and/or dating sims for females. Usually they're called Otome games or GxB games I think, and then of course there's yaoi games like Enzai (a few have even been officially released in English).
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ANN_Bamboo
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:16 am Reply with quote
pparker wrote:
The majority of harem shows feature an not-so-nice-person (DearS) or an otherwise real loser (Girls Bravo). The reverse versions seem to always feature the opposite, even an ideal. In Fruits Basket, Tohru really has no negative characteristics (other than "endearing" ones). Love Hina is an exception on the male side. As mentioned, and IIRC, nearly all the females eventually develop romantic feelings toward Keitarou. To the story's credit, the attraction is eventually earned for once. But overall, nearly all male harem leads are unlikeable people. Seems like discrimination to me... or maybe an attempt at drawing a male audience to reverse harem shows?


I think that's been changing over the years. It used to be that so many male harem leads were milquetoasts, presumably because the creators wanted something that the male (mostly nerdy) viewers/readers would identify with, but I haven't seen that in a while now. All the moe harem shows, at least, have a lead character who is not only competent, but is enough of a "big brother" figure that multiple women depend on him.

Though I suppose that's the difference between identifying with a milquetoast hero-- and idealizing yourself as the dashing big brother.
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pparker



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:58 am Reply with quote
SakechanBD wrote:
Though I suppose that's the difference between identifying with a milquetoast hero-- and idealizing yourself as the dashing big brother.

Yeah, I was kidding about the discrimination part, as I can't see why a female lead would be made truly unlikeable for any reason. Many of the older harem series just seem to have confused truly bad behavior toward women with macho (or maybe it was a truer depiction in Japan). But you're right, it has changed. Toradora!, Clannad and even Rosario+Vampire have new age protagonists. Shuffle was the last one I watched with remaining vestiges of the old badly-behaved stereotypes.

On the milquetoast side, I guess they wore out the concept of identification, or gave it up for making the protagonist someone you could want to be, instead of someone you are. Seems to me anecdotally and from afar that the "herbivore" otaku type is still strong, if not growing, in Japan, so the target demographic hasn't changed.
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Saturn



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:50 am Reply with quote
This is a great discussion-- I think you gals really hit the nail on the head when you delineated the differences between what the girl is looking for in her reverse harem versus what the boy wants from his harem.

Being one who loves pretty boys, I'm a fan of reverse harem shows(especially Ouran, for lampooning them while still looking good). But honestly, I think that reverse harems and harems are probably equally insulting to the opposite gender. A reverse harem is made up of amazingly attractive boys who often have ambiguous sexuality, who spend a lot of time half naked, who are willing to do whatever the leading girl needs to be happy (ie. being a good listener); a harem is made up of amazingly attractive girls who may often act suggestively with one another, who spend a lot of time half naked, who are willing to do whatever the leading guy needs to be happy (ie. cleaning his windows while wearing a maid costume).
So yeah, basically the same.
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DCRavenX



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:57 am Reply with quote
I can see the point in naming "customer show" as a sub-genre, but I would wonder how something like Bartender would figure in to it.
It isn't a show with a group serving a customer but a group of customers being served by a person.

Given that do we then need to create a "Reverse-Customer" sub-genre as well.
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Ralifar



Joined: 15 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:52 am Reply with quote
I'd like to start of by saying that I hate the term "reverse harem." It is incredibly stupid. It's an oxymoron. A harem is a harem whether it contains males or females. The reverse of a harem would be one person. With that out of my system I can get to the other points. Razz

It generally seems as if females(or at least the Japanese marketing departments) prefer to have 2 main love interests as opposed to a full harem. There are notable exceptions that have already been mentioned of course, but that generally seems to be the case. Even when there is an entire group of males is focused on the female it still generally seems to be only two of the guys that have a romantic interest.

The magic number for a male harem show seems to be three romantic interests, but can often go up to four.
pparker wrote:

Love Hina is an exception on the male side. As mentioned, and IIRC, nearly all the females eventually develop romantic feelings toward Keitarou. To the story's credit, the attraction is eventually earned for once. But overall, nearly all male harem leads are unlikeable people. Seems like discrimination to me... or maybe an attempt at drawing a male audience to reverse harem shows?


That I'm going to completely disagree with you on. Keitarou doesn't do anything special that isn't done in just about every other male harem show with a "milquetoast" hero. It manages to pull it off a bit better than many others(the manga more-so than the anime), but he really doesn't have very many redeeming qualities. The main one(that he shares with a good portion of harem heroes) is that he's willing to go out of his way to try and help the female characters.



I'm going to go with Joe Mello in calling it the sub-genre of a host show rather than a customer show. Razz
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TAKAVAR



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:45 am Reply with quote
Quote:
I'd like to start of by saying that I hate the term "reverse harem." It is incredibly stupid. It's an oxymoron. A harem is a harem whether it contains males or females. The reverse of a harem would be one person. With that out of my system I can get to the other points.


Harem is not gender neutral, its an Arabic term which by definition means women in a polygynous relationship with a single man ( often Sultans, Shahs and other males high in the social hierarchy ), or it may refer to the place where these women live.
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Ralifar



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:30 am Reply with quote
TAKAVAR wrote:

Harem is not gender neutral...


You're completely right, and I'm completely wrong(I'm not being facetious either).

I was just being stupid. I retract the initial paragraph of my previous statement. Razz

The rest of it still stands though. Wink
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LordPrometheus



Joined: 02 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:36 am Reply with quote
pparker wrote:


And finally, because I must after long consideration of the benefits to humanity...
Casey wrote:
Degrading depictions of men and degrading pictures of women are not equivalent... [and previously, twice...] Remember that insulting the powerful is not the same as insulting the powerless.

The bruises on my head from the desk are stacking. First, I think she should really look up that word "insult" before using it as the central concept in her mantra. Living a life devoted to harmful intent without provocation or justification against all successful people would make for early wrinkles. I'm waiting to see Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice's reactions to her insults.

As a person who lived through the 60's, I just can't fathom that someone today could be so intolerant and openly hostile toward such a large portion of humanity, i.e., all men and all people with more "power" than her.

So ends my response to the political commentary interjected into the anime discussions.


Thank you, pparker. It's nice to see somebody else pick up on this. I've been making it a point to comment on Casey's double standards every time I see them. Seeing a comment like this once might be a misunderstanding, but this is three or four articles in a row where her ridiculous ideas of morality are shining through. Is it too much to ask that we be consistent in our values here, people?

Of course, what do I know. I'm just a racist sexist bigot homophobe, since I'm male and disagree with a woman. Rolling Eyes
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