I’m certain that in my previous life I was a King of the most prosperous kingdom and had all the bitches suck on my nipples. Shut up. A man can dream.
Anyway, in case you didn’t realize it from the title, today I’ll be discussing yet another genre in anime. It’s been a while since my first discussion, which you can check out here, if you for some reason want to.
Do you know what is harem? You must know what’s harem man. It’s like every virgin’s dream. Having a one-dimensional overflow of pretty bitches foam over your oversized dick that’s a replacement for your terrible and non-existent personality. As harsh as it may sound, a large deal of harems are exactly that – they’re about a generic and bland dude getting all the babes for no other reason but because the babes are fucking insane. Whether you admit it or not, very few harem anime were able to handle the subject matter well enough for me not to bang my head against the wall in vain attempts to forget I ever watched the damn thing. With all that said, let’s start discussing this thing.
The harem genre is somewhat of a staple in anime industry as of late; every single season there are at least 4-5 of them, each as bland as the next one, and, usually, they sell the best out of all others. Why? Because they pamper to B-rate pussies that have no actual clue how exhausting would it be to have harem of bishoujos. I may come off as a hater of genre, but, in reality, I’m really not. A lot can be done if the subject matter is treated well (The World God Only Knows being the most popular example), and a lot can be done if the writer has no clue of the subject matter (uhm … nearly every harem ever?). If you’ve watched a decent number of anime, there’s a high chance you’ve came across at least a dozen of harems. Usually the genre is coupled with others (action, fantasy, comedy, romance, etc.) because it kind of has no substance to stand on its own. The entire premise of harem is having a bunch of girls/guys fall in love with our main character, and this can only be done in so many ways. Usually, though, what happens is that our MC will “save” the girls, one after another, and somehow warrant their undying attention and love.
Shows like Date A Live, High School DxD, High School of the Dead, Sky Wizards Academy and so on take this premise and drill it to the wench’s core, so deep as the matter of fact that it can never be dug out again. The main problem with this premise lies in our MC, which is in 99% of the cases one of the two things: he’s the nice guy OR he’s a generic, bland nobody. Watching characters like him win over a sweet array of hot boo—I mean girls is kind of … insulting. One of the better examples is Hagure Yuusha no Aesthetica where, FINALLY, MC looks, sounds and acts like someone deserving of a harem. Basically, he still carries the trope of the nice and good guy, but those traits are backed up with his laid-back and sarcastic personality as well as badassery. He has both the brains and brawls that would warrant the attention of all differently hair-colored ladies. Because, let’s face it, most girls in harems are literally pretty faces with a preset of already established “personalities”: tsundere, shy, awkward, overly-attached, bookworm, childhood friend, imouto …
Another greatly diminishing part of the harems in anime is, yet again, MC’s inadequacy in a sense of his indecisiveness – meaning, in a huge percentage of the shows MC is unable to pick either a single girl, or just go to town with all of them. This panders heavily towards the length of the source material because, the moment all the bullshit has been resolved and MC has chosen his girl, most writers have no fucking clue what to write about. We’ll see him pay more attention to one girl than ANY other, yet, when push comes to a shove, he’ll always be sidetracked by some other bigger-boobed chick that has as much personality as my shittray. Look at an anime called Zero no Tsukaima; episode after episode, we see Saito be more and more drawn towards Louise (for no reason, because she’s literally the embodiment of the worst possible girl ever), yet, after each development between the two we see, he’ll be chasing off random girls with boobs (not that I blame him) but it’s stupid because it merely prolongs and stretches already boring shit. And this is the case with nearly them all. Look at Nisekoi. I have no clue why people read/watch this. Comedy gets repetitive after about 20 chapters because, in about 95% of the cases it relies on some retarded misunderstanding, and romance goes as far as I’ve gone with Emma Watson.
However, the greatest problem with harems is definitely one-fold: in nearly all cases, MC simply does nothing to warrant so much attention of the girls. Look at Date A Live. The generic guy says “I’ll never reject you” and the hot chick’s pussy wets itself faster than the beach during a massive tsunami. If girls were THAT easy to swoon in real life there would literally be no single guys out there. Again, if you need some showcase, compare your everyday generic harem anime (Zero no Tsukaima, Date a Live, Shonin Sample, Freezing, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk and so on) and compare it to a few good ones, the most popular being The World Only God Knows. What makes TWOGK better than the rest? Most girls are kind of the same as in others, so it’s not that. Premise as well is kind of ridiculous and on par with the rest. World and underlying story isn’t that much interesting either. So what it is? It’s main character. And it’s the development of all girls towards the very end. But primarily MC. He actually puts EFFORT (yeah, EFFORT) into getting the girls to like him, and he is forced to make heartbreaking decisions along the way because of the role he puts into. He genuinely cares for all girls and treats them equally, yet does something to warrant their care back. It’s mind-blowing how much can be done with harems if you simply have a decent main character who can carry the show on his back.
Another example is Akatsuki no Yona, despite it being reverse harem, while not TECHNICALLY harem (it’s fucking harem, just admit it). Even if Yona starts out as a whiny brat and the only reason why most characters are initially drawn to her is because of their innate program to obey her, throughout their travels they all start accepting her as Yona, not as some random dragon dude.
It’s the MAIN CHARACTER that makes harem, not the girls – that’s the biggest problem I have with harems. You don’t have to get that creative with girl’s designs, or even personalities. However, if you’d put at least half the effort into writing main character as you do in designing boob physics, more people would actually like and enjoy this bland and over-saturated genre.
That about sums up my feelings about today’s anime harems. Not too overly fond of them, but occasionally you’ll find a gem that’ll remind you that harems can actually be done well if writer puts a speck of thought into the shit he’s writing.