I started writing about harems ever since re-watching school days (which I didn’t like) and it got me thinking about how harems can work. Reflecting on that I realised that most harems shouldn’t work as you see them in anime, after all how many harems have you seen work in real life? I’d guess none. So to me the most realistic harem that I’ve seen appears to be school days (except for the ending bit) as it doesn’t have a dense protagonist, the girls end up hating each other and it has way more extreme drama than any other show in its genre.
To me this seems like what an actual harem should be if it was realistic: Depressing and hard to watch. Yet, I don’t want to see that kind of show. Therefore I found it interesting to look back on other less dramatic harems to see what they did to make the harem somewhat believable whilst not too boring or dramatic.
The first thing (which is probably quite obvious) is the lack of commitment in the characters relationships. Not just with the guy who thinks that their just friends but the commitment with the girl characters trying to win the character over. Most of the time the girl character will just flirt and fight over the MC for a little bit and just expect him to know how she feels. That way she can’t exactly complain if the MC is too dense to realise as she isn’t that committed to try harder. It creates a group of people surrounding the protagonist who want a loving relationship yet are not prepared to go to the lengths to get one. I don’t even remember seeing one of the girls brake away from an already established harem to be the main love interest, unless they weren’t constantly teased as the person the main character would end up with from the beginning.
To me this seems like an interesting concept that should be explored more. I’d find it really interesting to watch a show where one of side girl’s brakes away from the harem so if you know an anime like this, please tells me in the comments. (No SAO recommendation please as Asuna was always teased as the main girl)
As well as this the only commitment that the MC normally has is as friends so he has no reason to go out with just one girl and end the harem. I suppose the dense MC trope benefits this genre but it could just be that he has no interest in the girls. The harem starts to fail when the MC becomes too committed too one girl in general while still trying to maintain a harem. This creates anger and jealousy within the girl characters leading them to move away from the harem or just feel less happy like in school days (school days spoilers by the way) ultimately causing it to fail.
I didn’t like the school days harem so much that I started a YouTube video series talking about how bad it is. I’ve only released part 1 though and it’s a fake, satirical deconstruction of what I wanted the show to be instead of what it actually is. (If you want to find the video it’s only five minutes long and can be found by searching “Rossi64” into YouTube)
With these types of harems then it seems strange that harems can have fan service in them especially if there isn’t any romance going on. That’s why theirs mainly accidental fan service, it can be entertaining for the fan but makes nothing change in their relationship. The only real reason why I find this hard to believe is that eventually, surely, inevitably, due to these fan service scenes at some point, wouldn’t one of the characters would want to confess?
They don’t. They never do. That’s how harems can continue being harems. The characters are just content to not try.
(After Blog Segment)
Thank you for reading. I’m new to this whole blogging business so I was surprised that anyone bothered to read it, never mind leave a like! It’s strange! I started this purely to improve my writing and editing speed yet I recently got one follower which I’m not complaining about. It’s very cool that people would put the effort in to read so thank you! Though getting attention or popularity wasn’t (and still isn’t) my primary objective it’s still very cool to be receiving positive feedback. The one thing that I’d most appreciate though is constructive criticism as improving is much easier with help. Though if you want to keep reading then that’s fine too.