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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 6/19/16
1. There's either the bland, plain-looking self-insert MC with no redeemable qualities other than the fact that he's nice from the slice of life harems, or the Gary Stu, better-than-everyone-else self-insert MC from the visual novel harems. Both have no personalities beyond their arc-types and are simply created so the average Japanese teenage boy can project himself vicariously through his life.

2. Cast of flavour-of-the-week, candy-of-your-choice, female characters with no personalities or purpose outside of their arc-typical roles. Tsundere ojousama, cool girl, genki girl, imouto, girl who hates men but then comes to love MC because he's different, etc. All shallowly fall in love with the MC because he's nice, or because he's cool.

3. All other men are bad guys who either harm and assault women, or try to move in on the MC's territory.

4. No character development outside of adding more girls to the harem making the characters extremely shallow and boring, and thus the series.

5. The extent of comedy falls between accidental groping and accidental nudity.

With a dozen of these type of anime every year and the great amount of suspension of disbelief required, it's no wonder they have a bad rep. They suck, mostly. Same goes for ecchi anime in general. The most enjoyable ecchi anime I've seen in a while which was devoid of bad characters and terribad cliches was Prison School.
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Posted 6/19/16
I often dislike flat characters and bland storylines. Most harem encompass both in abundance, with the bonus of blatant repetitiveness. I hear that the near-constant open endings and "blank slate" MCs are supposed to encourage people to buy the VN games, but, frankly, that is done at the expense of fleshed-out plot and characters. Many people aren't impressed by half-baked stories meant to do little more than advertise games.
I don't dislike harem anime in of itself; I dislike poorly-written anime.
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Posted 6/19/16
I don't see the problem with them. people know what they're going to get when they watch one, so if your not watching it for exactly what its always about then the lie you told youself about this one going to be different is just that, a lie.

besides! in the great wide world of the anime there is plenty more to watch. so don't hack on it if you don't enjoy it, simply don't watch it. peace and happiness for all, abortions and beer for some.
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Posted 6/19/16
The problem with Harem anime is that they don't move from the usual setting. Whether fantastic/sci-fi or slice of life it always the MC surround himself with a lot of girls. Bad anime don't explain why the girls flock to him beside he nice, and just gives us fan service. Even those that do gives a reason seem shallow and force such he the chosen one or something. Good anime has the same problem, even if the story is resolve but the guy won't or can't make a final choice.

I think most of the hate stem from the fact there is good potential for a series, but refuse to do anything then show off pretty girls flocking over a guy. I recall several series that has interesting plot and characters, but has never gotten anywhere. Either harem anime is about a cool MC with little personality that girls like(Tenchi Muyo) or spineless loser that girls take advantage of (Love Hina). I like harem series that the guy chooses girl or make no choice at all they all move on or marry them all. Mecha series by comparison have been in warfare, magical land, space, real setting, super setting deconstructed, reconstructed the next season, and has become a part of set piece. Harem tend to have reputation of being shallow and pretty.
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Posted 6/19/16

SDtheElf wrote:


1. I don't ask for much, but most protagonists in harems are nice guy doormats that go along with everything the haremettes want. Just a few little things like hobbies, world views that conflict with the haremettes, own schedules, not going along every time; just some little stuff that adds up. I don't ask for grand philosophers that can dismantle Adorno and Schopenhauer with ease or stuff like that, just a spine and a life that doesn't revolve around the haremettes.

3. If it's a 1on1 romance being slow, whatever. We are talking harems here, one person and several potential love interests all aware of their competiton. Yet I don't remember many shows where the haremettes acutally tried to get ahead or came to the conclusion to just pursue other people. Most of the time it's just small gestures that the protagonist misinterpreted as just being good friends, hardly any of them going full on assault mode until the protagonist can't deny it any more and going "Yes, that guy/gal is in love with me." It just gets depressing after seeing it time and time again.
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Posted 6/19/16

nichtmalda wrote:


SDtheElf wrote:

.


Thank you very much for the response. That actually makes a lot of sense for both the points you mentioned. I never actually thought of the 1. point like that before with the character having something else to them. And for 3. YES!!! Seeing some competition is normally great in the series. A lot of the Harems I have liked when I stopped and think about it at some point in the series the women all try to be the first one the guy goes with. Some even continue even after the guy has picked who he wants to be with. So I do think that would be a pretty good point for a successful harem. Course in a few of them it takes a little bit to reach that point.
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Posted 6/19/16

PhantomGundam wrote:


dwilson2000 wrote:



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.


Fine. Proof number two then. Look at the genre labels for them then. Hummingbird and MAL both refer to it as "action, fantasy, game, and romance." And Wikipedia just uses "action, adventure, and science fiction. While all of the previously mentioned sites specially refer to Asterisk as a harem (and other genres of course) but the harem label is still there whereas in SAO it is absent. All of the things you described are closer to romance than anything. I will rest my case with that.

I didn't word that right. I don't mean focus like character arc focus. I mean all of them being around the MC at once. That hardly happens with SAO. It happens, but not as often as it does in harems.

It's name is Akikan. Best part of the show is yuri kiss girl.


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Posted 6/19/16

Okocha119 wrote:


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.


You'd be right if SAO wasn't about a guy who magically makes girls fall in love with him throughout nearly the entire series. It's not like we're talking about Kirito meeting Liz, Liz gets a crush on him, and every episode afterwards is just Kirito defeating monsters & players without having anything to do with girls in love anymore. There are hardly any episodes that don't involve Kirito's relationship with a girl or put his harem on display. The only few episodes that don't involve Kirito's love life are the first episode and the episodes in Mother's Rosario, and that's only because Kirito barely exists in that arc.


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.


That argument only works if you're under the assumption that all harems have to be exactly the same in order to qualify as harems. Date A Live is a fighting series with magic powers and crazy technology. Nisekoi is more of a slice of life. That doesn't change the fact that they both heavily focus on the harem part of their shows. Just like any genre, harems can be found merged together with other genres. The only thing SAO has in common with all these shows we've mentioned is the harem. I'm not denying that SAO is an action fantasy about video games. All I'm saying is that it doesn't make sense to say that SAO doesn't have another genre that is clearly present throughout the whole story.


dwilson2000 wrote:

Fine. Proof number two then. Look at the genre labels for them then. Hummingbird and MAL both refer to it as "action, fantasy, game, and romance." And Wikipedia just uses "action, adventure, and science fiction. While all of the previously mentioned sites specially refer to Asterisk as a harem (and other genres of course) but the harem label is still there whereas in SAO it is absent.


Labels aren't always accurate. MAL has Hundred labeled as a mecha for some reason. If you have to do a lot of work to try to prove SAO isn't a harem, what does that tell you?


All of the things you described are closer to romance than anything. I will rest my case with that.


Wait, but a romance between a guy and 3+ girls is exactly what a harem means...


I didn't word that right. I don't mean focus like character arc focus. I mean all of them being around the MC at once. That hardly happens with SAO. It happens, but not as often as it does in harems.


I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Whether or not all the girls are together all the time is irrelevant. In Monogatari, you rarely see more than 2 girls at the same place at the same time. Some of them have never even seen each other. Does that mean Monogatari isn't a harem?


It's name is Akikan. Best part of the show is yuri kiss girl.


Thanks. I don't think I'll watch it but I was curious about what this soda can show was. Funny enough, MAL has it labeled as a romance instead of a harem, just like SAO.
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Posted 6/19/16 , edited 6/19/16
I don't have a problem with them at all, but there are ones that definitely shine more than others. That said, I can get plenty of enjoyment out of generic, average harems especially if it has ecchi in it. I guess you can say the tropes and generic designs are right up my alley. Add a good story on top of that, and it's anime gold in my eyes.
Posted 6/19/16

PhantomGundam wrote:

You'd be right if SAO wasn't about a guy who magically makes girls fall in love with him throughout nearly the entire series. It's not like we're talking about Kirito meeting Liz, Liz gets a crush on him, and every episode afterwards is just Kirito defeating monsters & players without having anything to do with girls in love anymore. There are hardly any episodes that don't involve Kirito's relationship with a girl or put his harem on display. The only few episodes that don't involve Kirito's love life are the first episode and the episodes in Mother's Rosario, and that's only because Kirito barely exists in that arc.


I don't see how that would make Sword Art Online a harem. One of the most important, if not the most important, elements of the Harem genre is that it has multiple people of one gender (three or more) competing over the affection of a person of the opposite gender (yes, there are Yaoi/Yuri harems, but you know what I mean) as the focal point of the show. SAO does not have that or at least not as an important theme. Yes, Kirito's love life is a constant topic, but that does not make it a Harem. If anything you could probably classify it as Romance.
As for your example: Kirito meeting Liz is basically filler from a story standpoint. She serves no purpose to the series whatsoever and hardly shows up afterwards. Her appearance has no relevance to the events after that, probably because she didn't even exist by the time they were written. Yes, Kirito's romantic relationships are focussed on in the following episodes, but said focus in on his monogamous relationship with Asuna, not on a harem type scenario. Sure, the romantic filler characters make some brief reappearances later on in the story, but they have no relevance then, except for maybe a "Kirito sure is popular" gag here and there. They don't interfere in his relationship with Asuna or try to win his affection. Hell, I don't remember it ever being made clear that the loli girl had strong romantic feelings for Kirito in the first place. I mean she seemed cool when she learned about his relationship with Asuna. Same goes for Sinon.
Sword Art Online may be qualified as Romance (though I'd say that it's maybe a subgenre at best), but a Harem it is definitely not.


PhantomGundam wrote:

That argument only works if you're under the assumption that all harems have to be exactly the same in order to qualify as harems.


What? No. Where did you even get that?

Genres are based on similarities, not complete equality. There are things associated with a genre, certain themes, characters and events that every individual one stands for. Let's assume for example that you have a friend who asks you to recommend a Harem. If you told him to go see SAO in response to that, he would probably be very disappointed.

And not (only) because Sword Art Online is shit.


PhantomGundam wrote:

If you have to do a lot of work to try to prove SAO isn't a harem, what does that tell you?


I don't know why dwilson is even trying to prove anything. After all, you're the one making the positive claim so the burden lies with you
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Posted 6/19/16 , edited 6/19/16

demecowen wrote:

The problem with Harem anime is that they don't move from the usual setting. Whether fantastic/sci-fi or slice of life it always the MC surround himself with a lot of girls. Bad anime don't explain why the girls flock to him beside he nice, and just gives us fan service. Even those that do gives a reason seem shallow and force such he the chosen one or something. Good anime has the same problem, even if the story is resolve but the guy won't or can't make a final choice.

I think most of the hate stem from the fact there is good potential for a series, but refuse to do anything then show off pretty girls flocking over a guy. I recall several series that has interesting plot and characters, but has never gotten anywhere. Either harem anime is about a cool MC with little personality that girls like(Tenchi Muyo) or spineless loser that girls take advantage of (Love Hina). I like harem series that the guy chooses girl or make no choice at all they all move on or marry them all. Mecha series by comparison have been in warfare, magical land, space, real setting, super setting deconstructed, reconstructed the next season, and has become a part of set piece. Harem tend to have reputation of being shallow and pretty.


"Harem" has been reduced to a catchall term for "Any anime that puts stupid girls around some dumb guy who doesn't even deserve it, ick!"
Which is one step away from the inevitable buzzword for "Any anime I don't like".

But like Love Hina or private-school comedies, the pure Harem series has to have one thing a real harem has: A Seraglio.
There has to be a PLACE, like a boarding house, or an island, or an enclosed private school, or a marriage contract or other "stuck" arrangement in a big house or shared apartment, or some-such, where the "wimpy" guy can't escape the girls.

That's one of the conventions brought over from 3/4 of most all harem anime coming from Date-Sim games.
Games take place in a set location, as the "playing field", and the simple direct game-play of "Say the right thing" is in a strictly controlled environment.
If Kirito on SAO has girls chasing him (which he really doesn't) as he travels all over the game kingdom...it's not a Harem anime, now, is it?
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Posted 6/19/16

Sogno- wrote:

i only like harems with men


Agreed as well but seems the only way to get that fix is by reading fan-fiction or other written material.
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Posted 6/19/16

Okocha119 wrote:

I don't see how that would make Sword Art Online a harem. One of the most important, if not the most important, elements of the Harem genre is that it has multiple people of one gender (three or more) competing over the affection of a person of the opposite gender (yes, there are Yaoi/Yuri harems, but you know what I mean) as the focal point of the show. SAO does not have that or at least not as an important theme. Yes, Kirito's love life is a constant topic, but that does not make it a Harem. If anything you could probably classify it as Romance.
As for your example: Kirito meeting Liz is basically filler from a story standpoint. She serves no purpose to the series whatsoever and hardly shows up afterwards. Her appearance has no relevance to the events after that, probably because she didn't even exist by the time they were written. Yes, Kirito's romantic relationships are focussed on in the following episodes, but said focus in on his monogamous relationship with Asuna, not on a harem type scenario. Sure, the romantic filler characters make some brief reappearances later on in the story, but they have no relevance then, except for maybe a "Kirito sure is popular" gag here and there. They don't interfere in his relationship with Asuna or try to win his affection. Hell, I don't remember it ever being made clear that the loli girl had strong romantic feelings for Kirito in the first place. I mean she seemed cool when she learned about his relationship with Asuna. Same goes for Sinon.
Sword Art Online may be qualified as Romance (though I'd say that it's maybe a subgenre at best), but a Harem it is definitely not.


If being a constant topic doesn't make something a harem, then what does? That's like saying "Yes, the military is a constant topic, but that does not make Gundam a franchise about war. If anything you could probably classify it as politics."

If SAO ended with just the Aincrad arc, I could understand calling it just a romance (a poor one) since all the other girls Kirito met never showed up again after their one-episode introductions. As the show continued, all those other girls came back (and yes, I know their presence was rather minor) and more girls kept getting introduced to fall in love with Kirito, some of whom were given tons of focus. Some of them were even in the spotlight more than Asuna was in Aincrad. Most of the next arc was about Kirito's own cousin being in love with him! It wasn't just some side plot that ended in one episode and was never touched on again. It was nearly a dozen episodes.

Sinon is probably the only questionable character bordering between being in his harem and not being in his harem. Towards the end of GGO she started gravitating towards him once she became a weak princess waiting for her knight to rescue her. She's even the only girl who tries to make a move right in front of his girlfriend, who is the reason none of the other girls actively pursue him even though they want him.



What? No. Where did you even get that?


You were saying that SAO wasn't same as those battle harems we keep seeing all the time. All I said was that harems don't have to be the same and that the only thing SAO has in common with shows like that is the harem part, which is the only thing we're discussing in the first place.


Genres are based on similarities, not complete equality. There are things associated with a genre, certain themes, characters and events that every individual one stands for. Let's assume for example that you have a friend who asks you to recommend a Harem. If you told him to go see SAO in response to that, he would probably be very disappointed.

And not (only) because Sword Art Online is shit.


And? If a friend wanted me to recommend an action series, I could tell them to watch Psycho-Pass. I doubt it would be the type of action most people would be looking for when they ask about a genre as broad as that, but that suggestion wouldn't be invalid. It doesn't matter what genre it is. There will be always be some shows that are part of certain genres despite not being the first thing most people think of when they hear that genre.



I don't know why dwilson is even trying to prove anything. After all, you're the one making the positive claim so the burden lies with you


If someone says a show that spends a significant amount of time focusing on one guy's relationships with many women isn't a harem, usually the burden lies with them to try to prove it. And the proof he has tried to show isn't even reliable or consistent...

Besides, I also noticed in another thread that while dwilson doesn't believe SAO is a harem, he thinks Netoge is a harem despite there being only 1 girl in love. His criteria for harem shows looks a little backwards to me...

No offense dwilson.
Posted 6/19/16 , edited 6/19/16

PhantomGundam wrote:

If being a constant topic doesn't make something a harem, then what does?


But it isn't a constant topic I can not see how you would be able to argue that it is. And you have not. All you've said is that Kirito has a following of girls that one could technically call his harem when going with the definition that is usually used when talking about Japanese media.

This is dumb.


PhantomGundam wrote:

Most of the next arc was about Kirito's own cousin being in love with him! It wasn't just some side plot that ended in one episode and was never touched on again. It was nearly a dozen episodes.


Yes, the ALO arc was, from a structural perspective, presented as a love triangle. Now, what does that prove? Again, it has no elements of Harem anywhere in there. The focus is not on a harem type scenario. In fact, the arc doesn't deepen the romantic relationship between the two characters involved, but instead ends with the main character choosing one girl over the other, who (sort of) accepts his choice and tries to move on and no longer pursue him as a consequence. Which stands in direct contrast to what Harem series are usually about.


PhantomGundam wrote:

She's even the only girl who tries to make a move right in front of his girlfriend, who is the reason none of the other girls actively pursue him even though they want him.


1. I personally wouldn't equate some light flirting to the existence of a real romantic relationship, especially when the scene was played more for laughs than anything else. 2. That is your assumption, but really none of the girls show any explicit romantic interest towards him during season two. Loli girl never did, Liz doesn't really seem to care and even his sister is more or less over it after the end of season one.


PhantomGundam wrote:

You were saying that SAO wasn't same as those battle harems we keep seeing all the time. All I said was that harems don't have to be the same and that the only thing SAO has in common with shows like that is the harem part, which is the only thing we're discussing in the first place.


Wait. What? So you are admitting that the only thing that SAO has in common with shows that are usually considered as part of the Harem genre is that it has a relationship structure that could be considered harem-like and that it should thus be considered as part of the genre? Boy, we are really talking brooooooooooooooooaaaaaaad definitions here, aren't we? By that definition, Akame ga Kill, Parasyte, No Game No Life and countless Shounen could be considered part of the genre (attention: rhetorics). Should I take out that joke/comedy example again?
Genres (in this context) are categories of fiction that are characterized by specific things, such as style, content or (most importantly) structure. Two series sharing one specific element doesn't put them in the same genre, that would be ridiculous.


PhantomGundam wrote:

It doesn't matter what genre it is. There will be always be some shows that are part of certain genres despite not being the first thing most people think of when they hear that genre.


I don't think that you've understood what a genre is. I assume that you're making a hyperbolic statement here, but I'm going to take you literally for now, just go with it. No, it does not have to be the first thing people think of. But it has to have the characteristics, the fundamentals that people associate with the genre.
When somebody wants to see a Harem, what does he mean by that? Well, if he has the kind of knowledge about the genre that most people in this thread seem to have, then it's more than a little hazy, but let's just assume that he has seen a lot of these kinds of shows, is a fan of the genre and knows a lot about it. What is the first thing he'll expect to see going into a show that has been described to him as part of the Harem genre? He'll expect to see a guy/girl being constantly surrounded by different kinds of attractive females/males, who are competing for his/her affection. Does Sword Art Online have that? No, it does not.
During the early episodes we have a few stories where a girl has a crush on the main character, which all go nowhere and are hardly if ever brought up again. After that we get a romantic relationship between two people developing. Then during the second half of the first season a love triangle is brought into play. And season two has pretty much no romantic content whatsoever, with the female cast members of the first season mostly being brought up in a way that says "by the way, this guy is so awesome that loads of girls just follow him around" or for the sake of filler or exposition.
Do you get it? At no point, absolutely none, is the focus of the show on developing a harem-type relationship between one guy and multiple girls. Which is by far the most recognizable feature of the Harem genre and what people expect to see above anything else when a show is being advertised as such. Sword Art Online lacks what defines the genre.


PhantomGundam wrote:

If someone says a show that spends a significant amount of time focusing on one guy's relationships with many women isn't a harem, usually the burden lies with them to try to prove it.


Nope. By saying that Sword Art Online should be considered part of the Harem genre you are making a positive statement, which means that you have to deliver proof for your claim. And thus far you have delivered absolutely nothing except for the rather empty statement that it has a harem in it, which is itself debatable.

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They're accurate about 99% of the time. And Akkikan is labeled ecchi so close enough. I don't have to do a lot of work, that's why I just quoted summaries and named sites. You're doing more work than me, silly. There was only romance with Asuna and maybe Sugaha. Everyone else just has a crush on him. Haven't seen Monogatari so can't say anything there. But that is what I was saying, yes.
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