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Harem for Men?
The Wise Wizard
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Posted 6/4/12

swordstyle wrote:
And believe me, I was once a clueless teenager myself. I look back on many situations and kick myself in the ass. But there were other situations no matter how clueless I was, there was no misreading. When a girl takes her clothes off, lays on the bed, and says "I want you. Let's do it" you're not going to think she's teasing or just being nice. You're also not going to spring a bloody nose and demand that she put her clothes back on.

You underestimate me.

Also, despite reality, I think anime (aside from hentai) still likes to perpetuate the belief that you only have sex with the person you are going to marry.


I'm not suggesting that all characters go all hentai and bang anything that moves. But once, just once, I would like to see an anime where the main character behaves like an actual person. Not a total perv, but open the advances of the beautiful girl that he's in love with. I'm also not suggesting they show anything explicit. Off camera is good enough. Even anime that is intended for adults displays male characters in one of two ways. The perv who goes after anything, gets nothing, and springs a bloody nose at the sight of a girls bra. Or the pansy who is essentially asexual and not interested in contact with women at all, yet still springs a bloody nose at the sight of a girls bra.

The problem with having a character that actually acts without settling on a choice first is that it is very difficult to not end up with School Days.

One issue I have with harem anime is that usually all the girls are very nice. They rarely resort to underhanded tricks to try and get the guy. Sure, in a comedy they may resort to blatantly try seducing the guy, but you get the idea even they don't expect it is going to work. Frankly, Shuffle deserves another mention here, since Kaede did become violent with her rival, and actual crawled into bed naked with the object of her affection and essentially offered to do whatever he desired. The only problem was that it was also clear to the viewer she was mentally unhinged at that point. Still, it was a nice change from the norm, and believable, as any guy with a crazy stalker and/or ex-girlfriend could tell you.

In my mind, the best harem-like anime was ToraDora. You don't have a bevy of girls falling all over the guy early on, but in the end,
Frankly, a lot of harem anime could learn a thing or two by using it as a playbook.

The question is, would it really still be "harem" at that point? Harem anime is all about a guy having a bevy of choices, and the (often comedic) situations that arise from that.

Another good harem anime, IMO, was Ai Yori Aoshi, because you had a reason for the guy not choosing someone (as he actually already had) as well as not telling the others, "Sorry, but there is someone else I love". Yes, the reason may have been contrived, but at least it meant not having a main character that was clueless or indecisive.
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Posted 6/4/12

TheAncientOne wrote:



Also, despite reality, I think anime (aside from hentai) still likes to perpetuate the belief that you only have sex with the person you are going to marry.

That's the problem, not a justifiable excuse. This isn't the 1950's. We as a society, have evolved since then. Sure, there are still people with old fashioned beliefs. Er, at least I think there probably are. I've never actually met one younger than 65 myself. I know a religious fanatic 16 year old who won't pass up an opportunity to tell you how much Jesus loves you. And he has sex with his girlfriend, or "fiance" as he claims. He isn't a deviant pervert. He's a good kid. He's just in love with a girl who loves him back and they express it in the way that any normal people would.

And as far as it being difficult for an anime to not have a "School days" ending. It wouldn't even be remotely difficult. They can simply not write that in to ending. It's not like we're discussing real life events. Anything you see in an anime is the product of someone's imagination. Something he chose put there, not an event that actually happened. And considering how much you have to stretch to believe a harem anime plot anyway, would having a happy ending really be so hard to accept?

Also, I'm not suggesting the character plow away at the whole harem. He can make a choice and be loyal to one girl. Being faithful in the face of so much temptation makes for a more interesting plot, and a more likeable character if you ask me.
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Posted 6/4/12 , edited 6/4/12


^This X1,000,000

They could also be older and not so casual about sex which would be nice.

Or even then delve into the complexity of a sexual situation without going overboard and hentai. It's what draws me back to Mysterious Girlfriend X every time. So many anime have guy meets girl - goes through process of getting girl - gets girl - THE END ... really? it just ends there? what about all the relationship problems that come after?

I guess I have turned this into a anime in general discussion instead of a harem one.

VEdited to make it clearer since it didn't make a whole lot of sense before ... really a total mess after looking at it

As for harem anime and the two posts above this one - when the main love interestg basically lies on the bed and says "do me" and the guy doesn't I don't have a problem with that since maybe they should wait till the relationship progresses to a more serious level. but why doesn't he get annoyed when every single girl does it? Why not be a little more serious about it and try and think of the main female characters feelings? I guess I would just like to see something like Gintoki and Sa-chan without the extremism or comedy. He doesn't have to throw the other girls out or be a total ass but it would be nice if the character was a little bit more "real". Which could go both ways - do her (and suffer the consequences) - or tell her how you actually feel about casual sex with someone you're not interested in.
As for a relationship with the main character, just "man up" and tell her how you feel about the whole situation instead of standing there blubbering at boobs and getting a nosebleed .... which can be comical but it gets old after a while.

I do enjoy the occasional harem anime for the entertainment value but they can be very one dimensional and boring.

Edit: I think I have made my position confusing - basically you don't need to be married but what is wrong with sex with a person you love and care about and know portrayed in anime? It happens enough in real life so why not there? Can't there be a nice middle ground between "casual sex for sex" and "gotta be married to have it"?
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Posted 6/4/12 , edited 6/4/12
The whole point of Harem, fanservice, or ecchi is for those men to see the impossible. Unless you work for a pron industry, you'll have a normal life with your wife. In an anime, basically it's polygamy, to the extent that all the girls like you or have a crush on you. And regardless of who you end up liking, they'll still love you. Like Shuffle! for Ex. But even then, it's just a fantasy that men indulge in, cause unless you live in Arizona, polygamy isn't a thing. (I'm sure there are many places with polygamy, but don't know)

I have a girlfriend, and she knows I love watching Fanservice, harem, ecchi anime. I mostly love it cause the main characters are either perverts, oblivious to the fact people like/love him, or scared when confronted by aggressive women... although they all have kind hearts to an extent.

I don't have many Ex. but the ones that come to mind are

Pervert: Highschool DxD. (In the manga all the girls develop feelings for him, even Phoenix Ravel.)
Oblvious to the fact people love him: I.S. & To Heart 2...
Scared when confront by agressive women: Kanokon & To-Love-Ru

It'd probably be pretty dry if the main character in a harem anime was all pimp. So probably why the characters are like that. I like it for the comedy and the fantasy. But meh, it's an anime. Regardless of what you see on TV, when the ED plays or when it's the last episode. It's over. Or when the last chapter is released. Real Life Cont.

To get back to the main question, Harem for boys/men is swimsuits, cleavage, and blahblah innuendos. For me, I'd add voices <3 but that's just me
For girls and women, this is all just my perspective, don't go all apeshit on me.
It may be all stereotype but it's about the perfect guy. If you've ever heard of Starry * Sky. You should look it up, one of the best leading Otome PSP games out there. I don't watch Otome anime, so I can't list any per se. I know there are a few, but a lot of girls like Bishounen, if not Otome. Ironically, Bishounen males are the men you choose for in Otome games mostly. They're depicted to look and seem perfect. I can't exactly list the qualities of perfect for every single women/girl out there, but that's how most Otome anime/games depict the guys. Sweet, kind, loving, prince-like-qualities, in other words perfect. And as we all know no one is perfect. So it's all a fantasy for all of us. Each to allow our inner fantasy ripen.

To end all of my ranting, I don't think harem for men are just for those who are perverted and lonely single otakus that may or not be fat & and anti-social. It's for all men/boys of all ages appropriate/mature to watch.

Same with women/girls to watch their harem.

Although I do find it ironic, how harem for women is showing many ideal men they'd like to marry versus, when the harem for men is just showing them a main character that is basically a pimp, but either doesn't know it, scared to accept it, or so excited they've come to love a certain heroine.

Although in the end, a man just wants someone to be there for them just as woman would want the same. Or maybe that's just me.
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Posted 6/4/12

funnyginsan wrote:
Can't there be a nice middle ground between "casual sex for sex" and "gotta be married to have it"?
I have made that exact point on this board several times. There is never a middle ground. It's always one extreme or the other. Neither of which is believable, in my opinion. Although I disagree about your bed comment. I will only find that acceptable if he's trying to be faithful to the girl he loves. If it is the girl he loves, there is just no way in hell that nothing would come of that in the real world. Maybe it wouldn't end in intercourse, but it wouldn't end in him kicking her out or getting annoyed either. There would at least be something going on there. Like I said, I don't need to see it. I just need to know that this character can behave like an actual person



mifune23 wrote:

The whole point of Harem, fanservice, or ecchi is for those men to see the impossible. Unless you work for a pron industry, you'll have a normal life with your wife. In an anime, basically it's polygamy, to the extent that all the girls like you or have a crush on you. And regardless of who you end up liking, they'll still love you. Like Shuffle! for Ex. But even then, it's just a fantasy that men indulge in, cause unless you live in Arizona, polygamy isn't a thing. (I'm sure there are many places with polygamy, but don't know)
Yeah, except the impossible isn't what you're making it out to be. There is no polygamy involved in any of these harem animes. Since the main character just springs bloody nose and demands that they put their clothes back on. Polygamy is the act of taking multiple wives or partners. So unless you're talking about hentai, there is none of that going on. These characters don't even take on one partner until the final episode which ends in nothing more than a kiss.
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Posted 6/4/12
Oh and apparently I've derailed this thread, so I'm done. I've said my peace. So hopefully no one quotes me or I will be compelled to reply.
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Posted 6/4/12
I was single for most of my time until now and I also used to watch lots of harem anime, but now I've got enough of that. Sometimes I watch one just to have an anime with absolutely no tension
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Posted 6/4/12 , edited 6/4/12
I finally found one!!!! An anime with a believable male lead!! It's crazy since I've been complaining about this for a while, and even voiced my complaints in this thread just an hour ago. But I finally found an anime with a main character who's nose doesn't bleed at the sight of a naked woman. And once they declare their love for each other, they get down to business. It doesn't even show anything explicit, but that's okay. And the best part, it's not even the final episode. It seems like their relationship is going to play a role in the rest of the series. Assuming she doesn't die. If she does, I'm done. I will seriously give up on anime. I get a feeling this is only going to last around 13 episodes, since that's just my luck and ep10 should be airing later today.

Oh, and I guess to stay with the topic of this thread I should mention it's kinda like a harem anime (not really) since the main character has his girlfriend, and there is an other girl who is also in love with him. The only reason I'm mentioning this here in this thread is because anyone who read my above posts can understand why this is such a big deal for me. Anyway, it sucks that CR never picked up this show since I remember reading a news article here about how it would be airing in the spring. But seriously, if you haven't already, I highly recommend you start watching ZETMAN asap!

P.S. Sorry for derailing the thread again
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Posted 6/4/12

swordstyle wrote:

I have made that exact point on this board several times. There is never a middle ground. It's always one extreme or the other. Neither of which is believable, in my opinion. Although I disagree about your bed comment. I will only find that acceptable if he's trying to be faithful to the girl he loves. If it is the girl he loves, there is just no way in hell that nothing would come of that in the real world. Maybe it wouldn't end in intercourse, but it wouldn't end in him kicking her out or getting annoyed either. There would at least be something going on there. Like I said, I don't need to see it. I just need to know that this character can behave like an actual person

I was speaking more for the multiple love interest. Like, if you like a girl and want to be faithful to her (if any harem male ever actually stops getting nosebleeds, figures himself out and makes an actual choice somewhere in the middle of the anime instead of at the end ) wouldn't it be like "Hey I don't like you, I would rather not piss off my girlfriend, please put your clothes on." Just something along those lines would be nice instead of "But but but this is wrong!" *springs nosebleed*. Just anything more realistic and a bit more mature. Like I said, I agree with just about everything you have been posting tbh. Thought I was mostly alone in this way of thinking or expecting too much of anime.

The counter-point to this would be "Its made for kids to watch" or at least horny teenagers ... something along those lines. Then you could always take a gamble and do a Direct to video or put it on late at night IDK - not as knowledgeable about the anime industry as I would like.


swordstyle wrote:

mifune23 wrote:

The whole point of Harem, fanservice, or ecchi is for those men to see the impossible. Unless you work for a pron industry, you'll have a normal life with your wife. In an anime, basically it's polygamy, to the extent that all the girls like you or have a crush on you. And regardless of who you end up liking, they'll still love you. Like Shuffle! for Ex. But even then, it's just a fantasy that men indulge in, cause unless you live in Arizona, polygamy isn't a thing. (I'm sure there are many places with polygamy, but don't know)
Yeah, except the impossible isn't what you're making it out to be. There is no polygamy involved in any of these harem animes. Since the main character just springs bloody nose and demands that they put their clothes back on. Polygamy is the act of taking multiple wives or partners. So unless you're talking about hentai, there is none of that going on. These characters don't even take on one partner until the final episode which ends in nothing more than a kiss.


^This again.
Yeah it is unrealistic to have 5 girls dropping their panties and showing you their bras/boobs every episode but multiple girls liking one guy? Happens a lot actually and in harem anime he almost always picks one girl to be with.
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most harems are ecchi and etc but is it weird that I usually like these types of anime's not because panty shots or cleavage or w/e but I like the reaction the main guy has to the stuff like nose bleeds, getting his ass kicked by the girls when he ends up in a ecchi situation xD I am a guy sure some ecchi stuff is ok but I mainly like the comedy in the shows, if its a ecchi harem and has no comededy I would not watch it unless the storyline is just amazing.
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Posted 6/4/12
While Tenchi set the standards for the various tropes of harem anime, the first "one girl multiple girls" would have to be 1989's Ranma 1/2 and 1981's Urusei Yatsura.
The Wise Wizard
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Posted 6/4/12 , edited 6/4/12

swordstyle wrote:
That's the problem, not a justifiable excuse. This isn't the 1950's. We as a society, have evolved since then. Sure, there are still people with old fashioned beliefs. Er, at least I think there probably are. I've never actually met one younger than 65 myself. I know a religious fanatic 16 year old who won't pass up an opportunity to tell you how much Jesus loves you. And he has sex with his girlfriend, or "fiance" as he claims. He isn't a deviant pervert. He's a good kid. He's just in love with a girl who loves him back and they express it in the way that any normal people would.

You're equating real world behavior with beliefs. It isn't that uncommon for there to be a mismatch between the two.

Take for example a roommate I once had. It seemed like it was his mission in life to screw a different woman every week, but he proclaimed more than once that any woman he married would have to be a virgin. Hopefully most people in the U.S. have moved on since then (that was 25 years ago), but Japan also isn't the United States.

Frankly, if you look at the core otaku audience for harem anime in Japan, there apple doesn't seem to fall far from this tree. A girl can be a cocktease, but woe be unto her (or more accurately the author), if she actually follows through.

Someone else's take on the issue:
http://behind-the.nihonreview.com/20100516/the-purity-fixation/



And as far as it being difficult for an anime to not have a "School days" ending. It wouldn't even be remotely difficult. They can simply not write that in to ending. It's not like we're discussing real life events. Anything you see in an anime is the product of someone's imagination. Something he chose put there, not an event that actually happened. And considering how much you have to stretch to believe a harem anime plot anyway, would having a happy ending really be so hard to accept?

You can write anything, but that doesn't make it believable, and isn't that your primary objection to most existing harem anime? That aside, perhaps most important such a deviation may not make it marketable to the target audience (which isn't those of us outside Japan). Anime (especially post-boom) tends to simply copy and paste success, which should tell you the current tired method succeeds more often than not.


Also, I'm not suggesting the character plow away at the whole harem. He can make a choice and be loyal to one girl. Being faithful in the face of so much temptation makes for a more interesting plot, and a more likeable character if you ask me.

Rather much the situation in Ai Yori Aoshi, and for that matter Zero no Tsukaima. The problem with the latter is that in reality most guys would either tell the other girls they need to back off, or his love interest would demand that it do so or the relationship is over. The former at least had a reason he couldn't do that.



swordstyle wrote:
Yeah, except the impossible isn't what you're making it out to be. There is no polygamy involved in any of these harem animes. Since the main character just springs bloody nose and demands that they put their clothes back on. Polygamy is the act of taking multiple wives or partners. So unless you're talking about hentai, there is none of that going on. These characters don't even take on one partner until the final episode which ends in nothing more than a kiss.

Regarding "no polygamy involved", Asobi Ni Iku Yo! and Tenchi Muyo GXP say hello.

The former implies polygamy will be happening, while in the latter it actually does. It helps when you don't have to obey those pesky Earth laws.

Frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing a 26 episode harem anime where around episode 13 the main character ends up in a polygamous marriage and it follows his misadventures in dealing with a bevy of wives (it could easily be done with no explicit scenes), but I doubt the audiences in Japan would be as interested. After all, it is rather rare to have an anime where the main couple are married almost from the outset (Godannar being a prime example of that, which despite that, had some harem-like aspects for the main male character).


If there is one aspect I think could use a bit of tweaking, it is that all too rarely do any of the girls in the harem have divided interests, or someone else that is seriously pursuing them. You don't see any of the girls in the harem that might be aware they are attracted to another guy, but because their is competition for the harem lead, he seems more attractive at the moment, and also clearly isn't going to be around like the other guy. We also may see a girl in an anime harem that has a legion of fans, but rarely are any of them anything more than background characters, much less serious contenders.

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You keep attempting to explain and justify when none of that matters. That's like saying "Yeah, that guy ran over and killed a little girl, but that's only because he was late for work and in a hurry". The "why" is irrelevant. The end result is all that matters. You can explain and justify until you're blue in the face. The bottom line is, that vast majority of anime characters don't behave like actual people. And there is no excuse in the world to justify that. I'm not trying to change it, or even foolish enough to believe that I could. Because it never will. The point I have been making this entire time, is that it bothers me. Nothing more, nothing less

Oh and as far "You can write anything, but that doesn't make it believable" being my primary objection, a harem anime is already not believable to begin with. Having a happy ending can't diminish something that isn't there. I have no doubt there are a few anime to think outside the box. But most don't. And that's my problem
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Sturgeon's Law - 90% of everything is crap
Arthouse is pretentious, Science fiction is full of BS, Fantasy is all elves and magic, etc. While shows that fall in to the harem genre often use terrible cliches, it's not as if this isn't the case for all genres. There's no genre of anime where the "Good" shows aren't completely outnumbered by the cliche trash.

I would like to mention Clannad and Bakemonogatari/Nisemonogatari which are two of the most popular harem shows ever and yet either subvert or dismiss the cliches associated with the Harem genre. Given how much better they fair than their generic counterparts, it seems more likely that anime viewers dislike the self-insert Main characters, 1-dimensional females and overused slapstick that is often associated with the genre.
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