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Post Reply Why are Harem style Anime normally frowned upon or looked at in bad taste?
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Posted 6/18/16 , edited 6/18/16

Shishiosa wrote:

My guess is that it's much like the Three Stooges, a form of slapstick silliness that is usually enjoyed more by males than females. Then add in the mental state that rampages now that everyone has to dislike and like only the exact same things, you get people bad mouthing a subgenre because others are doing it and need to fit in. Plus there's this bizarre dislike of anything "old," and since Tenchi Muyo! was one of the big 90's anime imports and one of the best harems ever made*, that automatically in some minds means harem = old which then equals "bad." I don't get it, but then again I'm old and therefore bad.


I can explain why the Stooges are funny and why Tenchi was funny.

But as to why every fan lumps harems into one big genre and hates it--and then blames "indecisive" Tenchi for it--that's really a bit of framing on the part of popular Date-Sim games turned into anime just based on their name recognition. (Tenchi wasn't, it was based on a tragic love triangle.)
In Date-Sim, there's a slim concept that throws the hero into the middle of several girls, the girls are all identifiable by their cliche' trope (shy, athletic, tsundere, school-council hardass), and there's no one outcome to the plot--The player has to date his choice or juggle two or three, he's not going to be rejected by any of them unless they find out, and there's no actual commitment until the end of the game.
That's hard to make a narrative out of, beyond just the comfortable time passing between comic crises, but it usually ends, like the game, with the hero leaning toward one. Leaning, mind you, not committed.
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Posted 6/18/16

PhantomGundam wrote:


dwilson2000 wrote:

No. When there three or more girls in love with one guy and that's the main focus then it's a harem. Which is not the case for SAO...Kirito has a harem yes. But SAO itself is not a harem. The same can be said for Fate/stay night. It's only known for that because people are stupid and need to learn the actual definition of a harem.


You mean Kirito's relationship with a different girl almost every arc wasn't the main focus?


Exactly. All of the arcs are about virtual video games. None of the arcs focus on the girls (and most definitely not all of them at once as a real harem would) hence why most of them become irrelevant after a couple of episodes.

Proof:

In 2022, a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online (SAO) is released. With the NerveGear, a helmet that stimulates the user's five senses via their brain, players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds. On November 6, 10,000 players log into the SAO's mainframe cyberspace for the first time and discover that they are unable to log-out. They quickly discover from Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of SAO and NerveGear, they must reach the 100th floor of the game's castle and defeat the final boss if they wish to be free. Those who suffer in-game destruction or remove the NerveGear out-of-game will result in their real-life deaths.
Literally nowhere in there does it say anything about girls or character relationships with them...Aincrad was about finding a way to leave it, Alfheim was about rescuing Asuna, Phantom Bullet was about figuring out who Death Gun was and what he was doing, etc. etc. That's not a harem. That's an action/adventure...

Compared to the summary of an actual harem:

Akikan (”Empty Can”) is the unlikely story of high school boy Kakeru Daichi, whose can of melon soda magically transforms into a human girl. More "akikan" girls begin appearing, each of them needing to be infused with carbon dioxide from their respective drink types to survive. The akikans were created as part of the 'Akikan Elect' to determine whether steel cans or aluminium cans are superior. The akikans must battle each other until only the strongest type is left standing.


See, that's what a harem really is.
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Posted 6/19/16

dwilson2000 wrote:

Exactly. All of the arcs are about virtual video games. None of the arcs focus on the girls (and most definitely not all of them at once as a real harem would) hence why most of them become irrelevant after a couple of episodes.

Proof:

In 2022, a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online (SAO) is released. With the NerveGear, a helmet that stimulates the user's five senses via their brain, players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds. On November 6, 10,000 players log into the SAO's mainframe cyberspace for the first time and discover that they are unable to log-out. They quickly discover from Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of SAO and NerveGear, they must reach the 100th floor of the game's castle and defeat the final boss if they wish to be free. Those who suffer in-game destruction or remove the NerveGear out-of-game will result in their real-life deaths.
Literally nowhere in there does it say anything about girls or character relationships with them...Aincrad was about finding a way to leave it, Alfheim was about rescuing Asuna, Phantom Bullet was about figuring out who Death Gun was and what he was doing, etc. etc. That's not a harem. That's an action/adventure...

Compared to the summary of an actual harem:

Akikan (”Empty Can”) is the unlikely story of high school boy Kakeru Daichi, whose can of melon soda magically transforms into a human girl. More "akikan" girls begin appearing, each of them needing to be infused with carbon dioxide from their respective drink types to survive. The akikans were created as part of the 'Akikan Elect' to determine whether steel cans or aluminium cans are superior. The akikans must battle each other until only the strongest type is left standing.


See, that's what a harem really is.


You know a harem anime can focus on multiple things at the same time... Right? And a lot of the time the harem part isn't even mentioned in the synopsis. Look at Asterisk War:


Invertia… an unprecedented disaster that struck the world during the 20th century. Because of this disaster, numerous cities around the world were destroyed. However, within the meteor, an unknown element called mana was discovered, which allowed human technology to make rapid strides. This also gave rise to a new species of human born with unique skills – the Star Pulse Generation. The setting for the world’s greatest comprehensive battle spectacle, the Festas, is an academy city above the water surrounded by six academies called Rikka also commonly known as Asterisk.


If you didn't already know it's a harem, you would think it's just some show about schools fighting with advanced technology. It doesn't mention the girls at all even though they're glued together to Ayato.

SAO was predominantly about Kirito's relationships with girls everywhere he went. The only thing that changed was the names of the games he played. The Aincrad arc alone took up a lot of time showing us Kirito starting a family and going on a honeymoon! The first half was Kirito meeting girls every week. ALO was mostly Suguha drama with the plot about saving Asuna pushed to the side until the last few episodes. If SAO was supposed to be about nothing but the games, Kawahara did a poor job.

Also, harems don't have to focus on all girls at once. In fact, the general formula for harems these days appears to be to focus on one girl at a time. The only recent harem I can think of that doesn't do this is Nisekoi.

Btw, what's the name of that soda can harem anime? This is the second time I've heard of that.
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Posted 6/19/16 , edited 6/19/16
Because people take sex so seriously that they villify anything that has to do with anything to do with fanservice/girls throwing themselves at guys/etc.

If its a good story, I'm in.


PhantomGundam wrote:

Btw, what's the name of that soda can harem anime? This is the second time I've heard of that.

Didn't read anything else you wrote (not much time), but this caught my eye.

Akikan maybe? First thing that pops to mind. Well.. only thing I would refer to as a soda can anime.. zD
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Posted 6/19/16
I don't have a problem with the basic concept. Where I drop off is from a lot of animes turning really powerful characters into little girls that are short of being considered developmentally disabled.

It's bizarre, and a real let down. Un-actualized potential is not much different than death.
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Posted 6/19/16
When you say, "I like mecha because there are big robots" nobody cares, but when you say "I like harems because I like girls" you are auto tagged as a loser. Generally speaking there are bad mech shows and bad harems shows as well as good ones. People just shit on what they don't like. The reason why we have both tho is because fans tend to have a checklist of sorts, for harems is X, and for whatever it is Y. Harem tends to be niche too so that is a reason I guess. Trends constantly come and go. Why is every adventure anime some kid trapped in some sort of fantasy world, because it is a trend and people have that on their checklist.

since you guys are talking about sao I guess I'll add, it isn't really a true harem but it has harem elements in it for sure.
Posted 6/19/16 , edited 6/22/16

Okocha119 wrote:

It's mostly that people don't bother to try and understand the genre (yes, it is a genre), looking down at it as a "lower form of entertainment". As a genre it is similarly repetitive as others, but the focus is put on other aspects, which seems to bother a lot of viewers.


I honestly think you're overestimating people not "understanding" the genre. That and most genres are hardly as trope heavy as harems. Most people who hate harem are fairly aware of the concepts and the tropes that go into the series. They usually cite that many harems are basically a carbon copy of one another and this is fairly accurate. That implies they've seen and understood the basic concepts of harem anime. I don't think that many people view it as a "lower form entertainment" per say, but more that they're tired of the same tropes being presented over and over again. For some people they dig that. For others it gets boring and repetitive.


Okocha119 wrote:
But the bottom line is that you shouldn't let today's crowd of selfappointed critics, who seem to think that something has to be "intelligent" (whatever that even means) or original to be worth your while, keep you from enjoying a genre you like.


Some people like to think critically about what they watch while others enjoy simply turning their mind off for a half hour and taking in stuff at face value. There's no "wrong" way to enjoy media and there's nothing wrong with someone enjoying different genres than you. Some people like works with less tropes and more originality, others like stuff filled with narrative, and then some like the cheesy, whatever anime that comes out. How it goes and there's no need to try to be condescending about what people enjoy because they like something with more thought put into its presentation/story.

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Posted 6/19/16
I just don't like harems because I feel that they often focus on the "plot" rather than the actual plot way too often. Watching quite a few of those types of harems have deterred me from being interested in anything harem related at all. Though, I won't deny that there are anime harems that are actually good, or the "plot" relates directly to the actual plot, (ie: Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend).

Basically, I've encountered a lot of harems that are ecchi (a genre that I'm not fond of), which just gave me a narrow view on harems in general. Sorry!
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Posted 6/19/16
i only like harems with men
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Posted 6/19/16
Harems just don't have a lot of action, generally. All that sexual tension, real or perceived, and it almost never ends up being who you want it to be.
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Posted 6/19/16
There are so many harems it's easy to overlook the better ones and the bad once dominate everyones views. And bad harems have several problems, sometimes at once.
1. The protagonist is unlikeable as hell, no one ever would care about them, yet alone fall in love with them. Most of the time because they have no personality beyond wet cardboard.
2. The characters (and mostly the protagonist) are denser than a black hole and have the stupidest misunderstandings imaginable and are pushing it way too far. (Kissing is just a european greating anyone?)
3. The charactrers (mostly the harem members) lack assertiveness in their romantic persuits, like making it very clear what they want and more importaintly cutting their losses if they don't get it. I only vaguely remember one anime where some of the boys said fuck it and moved onto other girls than the protagonist. I don't remember any shows where the girls did the same.
4. No acutal romance to be had, only the vague promisse of some down the line someday, maybe, if the stars aline right, possibly, eventually, it could happen, potentially, perhabs, no promisses though
What really doesn't help is that plenty of harem anime are adaptations and commiting the sins that come with them, like cutting out the inner monologues that are very frequent and importaint in Light Novels and Visual Novels. Also trying to force multiple routes of early branching VN into one story is just asking for trouble.
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Posted 6/19/16
A lot of the time the main character feels flat and indecisive.
Posted 6/19/16 , edited 6/19/16

PhantomGundam wrote:

When there are 3 or more girls in love with 1 boy, it's a harem.


Well, no. Just because a show has a harem in it doesn't mean that it's part of the Harem genre. Just as having an action scene doesn't automatically turn something into an Action show or throwing in a joke here and there qualifies a series as being a Comedy. All of these things are only elements of a specific show, it's when these elements become the focus that a series ends up being defined by them and thus qualifies as part of a specifc genre. A genre, after, all is what we use to seperate works of fiction based on similarities that they share. And what similarities are there really between a show like Sword Art Online and a Battle Harem like, for example, Absolute Duo or even a more conventional Harem like Love Hina, which pretty much set the standard for the genre? Not a lot I'd say.


PhantomGundam wrote:

If SAO was supposed to be about nothing but the games, Kawahara did a poor job.


Well, I don't think that's in any way disputable He himself admits that much.

Though it should probably be mentioned that the reason that SAO has multiple love interest is because people demanded that Kawahara should write some stories that take place between floor two and seventy and "boy meets girl" was the only thing he could come up with.


Charizam wrote:

Some people like to think critically about what they watch while others enjoy simply turning their mind off for a half hour and taking in stuff at face value. There's no "wrong" way to enjoy media and there's nothing wrong with someone enjoying different genres than you. Some people like works with less tropes and more originality, others like stuff filled with narrative, and then some like the cheesy, whatever anime that comes out. How it goes and there's no need to try to be condescending about what people enjoy because they like something with more thought put into its presentation/story.


I never thought that I would have someone explaining critical thinking to me Maybe I should link you to some of the posts I've done on this platform, I think I stopped counting the amount of times people have told me to get my head out of my ass somewhere around 30.

Hell, my personal favourite Anime are mostly abstract think pieces, I am hardly in need of basic explanations such as "people have different opinions". You have missed my point entirely, maybe you'd like to click on the link I provided if what I posted here doesn't suffice. And if that still isn't enough, then I can explain it to you in detail.
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Posted 6/19/16

nichtmalda wrote:


Some pretty good points over all.

1. Out of curiosity, what exactly constitutes a good personality on someone? I've been trying to figure that out for a while now. People end up saying "Layers" or "Depth" but they rarely ever go past that in explaining it. And then they will say it is "Subjective" and completely ignore having to explain it.

2. I can see some people from other cultures making such mistakes at least once. As how different cultures act can be rather very different from one another. But, yeah. I see your point with this.

3. There are a fair number of people, especially early on in their romantic endervers who do lack assertiveness when it comes to that stuff. I know personally the few romantic partners I have had I was never really assertive with them about it and they were never assertive with me about it. Like one relationship I had never started for 6 months even though we both liked each other, because no one wanted to make the first move because it was uncertain if the other actually felt that way. And if they didn't then it had the chance of ruining a perfectly good friendship.

4. This point can be hit or miss in the bad ones. Cause everyone's idea of romance is different. Though I guess we at least expect a kiss or two from it. But like I have a friend who's romantic life is seeing her BF once a week for like 45 minutes and all they do is just drive around in his car for that time and once in a while at the end of the night might give each other a kiss. or my personal idea of a romantic evening is cuddling up with an SO and just watching a bunch of shows/movies before bed. Just being able to spend time with them is enough for me.
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Posted 6/19/16

southsideodaiba wrote:

A lot of the time the main character feels flat and indecisive.


yes, lol.


"Hi, guyz. Herpaderpaderp. I'm awkwardddd and don't have real opinionz."

Holy crap.
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