This post series really doesn’t need to be as long as it currently is, and in fact you may be able to argue that this is the genre which needs the least parts since it has very little to talk about, but the fact that the genre feels like such an anomaly compared to all of the other genres which have many shows different to each other that makes me want to discuss it so much! Needless to say I’m just continuing this series for fun, getting more in depth, whilst pretty much my entire point has been brought up in the other posts. This time I’ll look at how the most popular harems hook the viewers in and keep them despite the fact that they devolve into genericity very quickly.
The shows mentioned will be sorted by popularity from my anime list and skip any shows I’ve not seen. As well as this a common trait of all the popular shows is that they’re comedic, and obviously a huge appeal for fans of that style of humour, this will focus on the plots (or should I say premises) instead because they also play a massive part in hooking the audience. I don’t even think all of these shows mentioned are bad, just that their good parts compensate for the terrible parts brought up in the show by having a harem.
High School DxD
Whilst most harems use fan service this (Excluding Shinmai Maou No Testament) is the only popular show that really is prepared to go in fully with its fan service. When I used to watch harems frequently the fan service had nothing to with it, not that I hated it but I wouldn’t have minded either way, but the promise of fan service combined with a more perverse main character is an extra appeal worth mentioning.
A lot of viewers can relate to a group of three friends who aren’t getting any luck with women, this gives the main character a relatability which you might be surprised to discover, is shared with a lot of harem protagonists.
Then all of the action and cute girls get introduced and the combination of the mildly relatable, action and fan service make the viewer continue. The harem in this show doesn’t really start straight away so we also aren’t really plagued with clichéd backstory like we usually are which easily ruins the opening episodes.
Ouran High School Host Club
This show feels really out of place doesn’t it? Well that’s because the harem isn’t given much importance whilst the consequences of it is played for laughs constantly. The show gets you engaged with cool looking, hilarious characters who you want to just see. As well as this because it’s a reverse harem and most of its comedy is from places outside of the harem genre it can often not feel like a harem anime at all, which isn’t really a bad thing.
All fans of the harem genre have seen their first harem anime and think that every other show is copying pretty much everything from it. For me this was Nisekoi, a show I felt like everything was copying from before I realised how stupid that notion was.
The way the fans of the show are hooked in is the relationships present. Being forced into a fake relationship whilst you love another person, who also just happens to love you back, can create a fun dynamic of small amounts of tension and a lot of comedy. At the time I didn’t care about the romance and was never involved or didn’t even think about the Onadera vs Chitouge debate so the show was more about the idea and funny situations of the shows premise.
Date A Live
This shows very purpose seems to be to create a harem anime. The main character needs to save the world by seducing a series of aliens who want to destroy the world, this sounds quite difficult to do so the audience is hooked by trying to see how someone with the wrath to try and take over the world could be persuaded against it without simply blowing the main character up.
The situations and methods used seem unnatural and only work because the characters fit the clichés perfectly but I can see how someone might enjoy that despite all the flaws.
I think that’s enough shows to discuss today. The funny thing about these harem shows is that if you’re hooked into them based off of the premise and humour the show technically delivers on it. In all the shows everything established at the opening continues to happen, so it’s not so rare for the people who finished the shows to feel let down. Unless they consider themselves a completionist people who’ve finished these shows don’t tend to go “OH NO, WHAT HAVE I DONE? THIS SHOW WAS TRASH THE ENTIRE TIME!” but instead go “yeah, that was ok”.
So why is this a problem? Well I’ve got ten other parts explaining it so why would I repeat myself now!