Harems In Anime Need To Go Away

By Nina Phillips | Published

Harems are and have often been a prominent part of anime. With an ever-growing fan base, there are all sorts of anime genres and styles out there now but harem anime seem to creep into almost every storyline. Most of the time, harems added into a story detract from the anime, which is why I feel they need to go away or at least decrease.

Harems And Reverse Harems, It’s All The Same

For those who don’t know the phrase, harems are when a man is surrounded by three or more females or love interests who find the main character attractive and want to date or be with him. There is also reverse harem anime, which is when a female is the main character, and usually, the harem is made up of males, though both genders appear occasionally. Generally, the potential harem members are attractive, have quirky personality traits, and are head-over-heels for the main character despite their flaws.

The Ending Never Reaches Fan Expectations

The main problem with harems is that the ending rarely ever feels satisfying. There are a few ways a harem anime can end, and all are rather lackluster.

The most common seems to be that the harem anime never finishes, leaving viewers to have to read the manga to find out the ending (Ouran High School Host Club, Nisekoi). Or, there is a clear winner, but it’s pretty obvious or there is only one clear winner as to which girl it will be long before the end (Shuffle!, Bakemonogatari).

Romance Anime Does It Right

It’s worth explaining that though I find harem anime stories like the ones above annoying, they aren’t specifically what I think needs to stop. Instead, it’s the anime that claims they aren’t harems but have enough women, or men in some cases, falling over the main character that it slows down and detracts from the plot.

While I think that romances that are harem anime solely are fine, like Quintessential Quintuplets, throwing harems into other genres and stories is often annoying. If I’m watching a show supposedly about fighting or a fun magical system, I don’t want the story focusing on the women, how attractive they are, and the main character almost catching them naked.

Harems Shoved Into Other Types Of Anime

Re:Zero is a good example of a harem anime that isn’t a harem anime. While they’re technically not a harem, and many people will fight me on this definition, it’s a bunch of beautiful women surrounding an overpowered main character. And, sometimes, the beauty of the women or their potential relationship takes away from the actual plot.

Isekai Are Prone To Harems

Sword Art Online is yet another example. Yes, technically, it isn’t a harem anime. But the number of women who fall for Kirito and disrupt the actual story is frustrating. Black Clover, Mushoku Tensei, and World’s Finest Assassin are also prominent examples.

It’s a fact of life that any popular anime genre eventually gets infested with harems and becomes a harem anime genre. At the moment, a lot of Isekais are becoming more harem-related. With an oversaturation of Isekai’s out there, adding a harem doesn’t hurt most of the stories.

Don’t Shove Harems Into An Otherwise Amazing Anime

But it’s frustrating when a story has a lot of potential and interesting mechanics, world-building, and characters and all of that is later pushed to the side to make room for shallow romances and girls in skimpy clothing.

I admit that harem animes are a fun, guilty pleasure, but they shouldn’t dominate the industry. With anime growing in popularity, it’s no longer just young adult men watching them, and companies need to consider this before giving the green light to even more harem-dominated storylines.