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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Harem, broadly speaking, is a loose subgenre of anime and manga characterized by a protagonist surrounded, usually amorously, by three or more members of the opposite sex that are attracted to the protagonist in some way, shape or form, consciously or not.[1] The most common and practically tantamount scenario is for a male surrounded by a group of females, when there is one female surrounded by males, it is informally referred to as a reverse harem.[2] The term is derived from the Arabic "harem", modernly defined outside its original meaning as "a group of women associated in any way with one man or household".[3]



Daryl Surat, a contributor to Otaku USA, suggests that many harems are built around one primary fetish while the female cast individually satisfy others.[4]

Because romance is rarely the main focus of an entire harem series, harem structure is ambiguous. The most distinguishable trait is arguably the group of girls who accompany, and in some instances cohabitate with the boy, and while intimacy is just about customary, it is never necessary.[1] When intimacy is present, there must be a minimum of three girls who express it, otherwise two is a love triangle.[1] Additionally, it is not essential for there to be one exclusive boy; many can exist as long as they are given less attention or the story calls for an unusually skewed sex ratio.[1]


An early harem series was Urusei Yatsura, with the "completely worthless" Ataru Moroboshi.[5]. Some other examples of harem and reverse harem include: Tenchi Muyo!, Shuffle!, Fruits Basket, The Story of Saiunkoku, Ouran High School Host Club, The Wallflower, Maburaho, Negima, Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun and Ichigo 100%.


Given the archetypical ratio and content of harems, the genre is often criticized for its almost inviting but unnecessary sexual references, known colloquially as fan service. The unrest has been seen particularly in the United States where a mostly female audience find it a sexist misrepresentation of girls and women.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Oppliger, John (April 17, 2009). "Ask John: What Distinguishes Harem Anime?". Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  2. ^ "DarkSeraphim" (December 2006). "Reverse Harem". Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  3. ^ "Harem definition". Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  4. ^ Gerald Rathkolb, Clarissa Graffeo, and Daryl Surat. Anime World Order Show # 6 - Thoughtbird and Other Stories Anime World Order
  5. ^
  6. ^ Oppliger, John (May 20, 2005). "Ask John: Why Do Americans Hate Harem Anime?". Retrieved April 25, 2008. 

Simple English

Harem is a japanese anime where a male character is surrounded by multiple female characters and possible trends relating to this. Suzuka, Love Hina, Ai Yori Aoshi and Rosario + Vampire are just a few examples.[needs proof] In most cases most of the females are romantically interested in the main character. The term "harem" is generally not used by itself, but as an adjective to the medium—such as harem anime or harem manga. The term comes from the Turkish use of the word "harem" meaning "a group of women associated with one man".

Daryl Surat, a contributor to Otaku USA, suggests that many harem anime are built around one core fetish (e.g. meido (Hanaukyo Maid Team), meganekko (G-On Riders), lolicon (Rozen Maiden), nuns (Amaenaideyo), large breasts (Eiken)), with other girls fulfilling sub-fetishes.[1] There are also reverse harem anime in which a female protagonist is surrounded by gorgeous boys: Ouran Host Club and The Wallflower being the best known.

Some recent harem titles have experienced a backlash from some anime fans in the United States, particularly from females, due to recurring usage of female fan service in series with the genre designation, prompting calls of sexism from some viewers. However, this is in spite of portrayals of male sexuality in anime being a fast-growing trend in the US.[2]

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