What is Harem anime?

Harem is an entertainment-related trope which is characterized by three or more characters, normally female, who for some reason are in the presence and under the influence of one character, generally male, according to a few genre-defining guidelines; here it will be assumed, for simplicity of language, that the harem lead is a male character and the members are female characters. Though that is the rule, there are exceptions; a story in which there is one female character and several male characters is normally called a "reverse harem", or sometimes also "male harem". Aside from the swapping of the characters' genders, the trope's details are mostly the same, with the majority of the changes relating to the differences in behavior between men and women of the characters' age range. It is also possible to create harems with homosexual relationships, again with very few changes to the main antics themselves. The harem may not have more than only one lead, as that would be a love polygon, or less than three members, as one would form a couple and two would make a love triangle. As a defining rule of harem, the interactions between the lead and each of the individual members are filled with romantically or sexually loaded content, either implicitly, through innuendo or subtext, or explicitly, through text or actions, and those actions are a key plot element. Generally, the female characters' looks and personalities will vary a lot among the ones present in one single series, but quite rarely will they actually differ from the common stock archetypes, which are known, well-defined, and easy to copy; for this reason, the genre as a whole is often considered repetitive. Usually, the characters involved directly in this trope are in the late teenager to young adult age range, but that is not mandatory. Sexually charged behavior on the lead's part pretty much can't be avoided, and it's typical to see him stamped as a pervert by some or all of the members, regardless of whether he is one; the sexual tones also applies to the depiction of the harem members, often leading the genre to labeled sexist. The lead will often suffer very violent retribution for his behavior, which has attracted criticism of gratuitous violence as well. Most of the harem members will be romantically or sometimes sexually interested in the one male character, and in him alone; that, however, is not an absolute rule, and indeed sometimes none of the female characters are really interested at first, so the protagonist has to build relationships with them from scratch. That idea comes in large part from visual novels; it is quite common for visual novels to revolve around controlling the male lead and have him build relationships with either as many female characters as possible or with one of them, the latter being more common for visual novels with branched story paths; a large portion of those visual novels also feature erotic content, which may be hard to adapt to TV series. It may be also possible that the harem is only a support to the existing or predictable relationship between the lead and the most important member; additionally, the lead may end up in relationships with most or all of the harem members, with the agreement of all, in a setting normally called "harem ending".

Trending Harem Anime You might like

Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken

(That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime)

8.22

Description:

Corporate worker Mikami Satoru is stabbed by a random killer, and is reborn to an alternate world. But he turns out to be reborn a slime! Thrown into this new world with the name Rimuru, he begins his quest to create a world that’s welcoming to all races. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Type

TV

Episodes

24

Ep.Length

23 Min

Rating

Teens 13 or older

Status

finished

Aired

2018-10-02

Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu

(Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation)

8.22

Description:

When a 34-year-old underachiever gets run over by a bus, his story doesn't end there. Reincarnated in a new world as an infant, Rudy will seize every opportunity to live the life he's always wanted. Armed with new friends, some freshly acquired magical abilities, and the courage to do the things he's always dreamed of, he's embarking on an epic adventure—with all of his past experience intact! (Source: Crunchyroll)
Type

TV

Episodes

11

Ep.Length

24 Min

Rating

17+ (violence & profanity)

Status

finished

Aired

2021-01-10

Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute!

(The Eminence in Shadow)

8.22

Description:

Some people just aren’t suited to playing the part of the flashy, in-your-face hero or the dastardly, mustache-twirling villain with larger-than-life panache. Instead, they operate in the shadows and pull the strings of society through wit and cleverness. That’s the role Cid wants to play when he’s transported to another world. Cid spins a yarn or three and becomes the unlikely leader of the underground Shadow Garden organization that fights against a menacing cult (which he totally made up). However, there’s a catch even his wild imagination didn’t see coming: the cult he concocted actually exists, and they’re beyond displeased that his power fantasy just got in the way of their evil plans! (Source: HIDIVE)
Type

TV

Episodes

20

Ep.Length

24 Min

Status

finished

Aired

2022-10-05

Ouran High School Host Club

(Ouran High School Host Club)

8.21

Description:

Haruhi Fujioka is a bright scholarship candidate with no rank or title to speak of—a rare species at Ouran High School, an elite academy for students of high pedigree. When she opens the door to Music Room #3 hoping to find a quiet place to study, Haruhi unexpectedly stumbles upon the Host Club. Led by the princely Tamaki, the club—whose other members include the "Shadow King" Kyouya, the mischievous Hitachiin twins, and the childlike Haninozuka "Honey" and his strong protector Mori—is where handsome boys with too much time on their hands entertain the girls in the academy. In a frantic attempt to remove herself from the hosts, Haruhi ends up breaking a vase worth eight million yen and is forced into becoming the eccentric group's general errand boy to repay her enormous debt. However, thanks to her convincingly masculine appearance, her naturally genial disposition toward girls, and fascinating commoner status, she is soon promoted to full-time male host and plunged headlong into a glitzy whirlwind of elaborate cosplays, rich food, and exciting shenanigans that only the immensely wealthy Ouran Host Club can pull off. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Type

TV

Episodes

26

Ep.Length

24 Min

Rating

Teens 13 or older

Status

finished

Aired

2006-04-05

Bakemonogatari

(Bakemonogatari)

8.21

Description:

Koyomi Araragi, a third-year high school student, manages to survive a vampire attack with the help of Meme Oshino, a strange man residing in an abandoned building. Though being saved from vampirism and now a human again, several side effects such as superhuman healing abilities and enhanced vision still remain. Regardless, Araragi tries to live the life of a normal student, with the help of his friend and the class president, Tsubasa Hanekawa. When fellow classmate Hitagi Senjougahara falls down the stairs and is caught by Araragi, the boy realizes that the girl is unnaturally weightless. Despite Senjougahara's protests, Araragi insists he help her, deciding to enlist the aid of Oshino, the very man who had once helped him with his own predicament. Through several tales involving demons and gods, Bakemonogatari follows Araragi as he attempts to help those who suffer from supernatural maladies. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Type

TV

Episodes

15

Ep.Length

24 Min

Rating

17+ (violence & profanity)

Status

finished

Aired

2009-07-03

Monogatari Series: Second Season

(Monogatari Series: Second Season)

8.2

Description:

Apparitions, oddities, and gods continue to manifest around Koyomi Araragi and his close-knit group of friends: Tsubasa Hanekawa, the group's modest genius; Shinobu Oshino, the resident doughnut-loving vampire; athletic deviant Suruga Kanbaru; bite-happy spirit Mayoi Hachikuji; Koyomi's cutesy stalker Nadeko Sengoku; and Hitagi Senjogahara, the poignant tsundere. Monogatari Series: Second Season revolves around these individuals and their struggle to overcome the darkness that is rapidly approaching. A new semester has begun and with graduation looming over Koyomi, he must quickly decide the paths he will walk, as well as the relationships and friends that he'll save. But as strange events begin to unfold, Koyomi is nowhere to be found, and a vicious tiger apparition has appeared in his absence. Tsubasa Hanekawa has become its target, and she must fend for herself—or bow to the creature's perspective on the feebleness of humanity. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Type

TV

Episodes

26

Ep.Length

24 Min

Rating

17+ (violence & profanity)

Status

finished

Aired

2013-07-07

5-toubun no Hanayome∽

(The Quintessential Quintuplets~)

7.87

Description:

A new anime adaptation called Gotoubun no Hanayome∽. It will adapt stories from the manga that weren't adapted in the original anime series. Note: The anime was pre-screened in Japan theatrically for 3 weeks on July 14, 2023.
Type

special

Episodes

1

Status

finished

Aired

2023-07-14

5-toubun no Hanayome ∬

(The Quintessential Quintuplets 2)

8.12

Description:

Second season of 5-Toubun no Hanayome.
Type

TV

Episodes

12

Rating

Teens 13 or older

Status

finished

Aired

2021-01-08

Nisemonogatari

(Nisemonogatari)

8.13

Description:

If Koyomi Araragi thought his life couldn't get any more complicated after meeting Hitagi Senjogahara, Mayoi Hachikuji, and Suruga Kanbaru, he's sorely mistaken. Without any knowledge of how it came to be, Koyomi finds himself in an unknown place as a prisoner. The reason for and answer to his predicament seem to lay in Hitagi's past and the con artist Kaiki Deishuu, but it becomes clear that there's much more to it than that, and it will threaten the well-being of those Koyomi holds dear. The second story arc of Nisemonogatari focuses on Koyomi's sister Tsukihi. When Koyomi meets a pair of enigmatic women who know suspiciously too much about him and his friends, he couldn't have anticipated the ramifications of their presence. Now Tsukihi's life may very well be at risk, and the cause behind it will shake the foundation of everything Koyomi knows about his sisters.
Type

TV

Episodes

11

Ep.Length

24 Min

Rating

17+ (violence & profanity)

Status

finished

Aired

2012-01-08

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata Fine

(Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Fine)

8.09

Description:

After Eriri and Utaha leave Blessing Software, Tomoya and Megumi work alongside Izumi, Michiru, and Hashima in order to create their next game together: "How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend." However, Tomoya is stuck when it comes to writing the main heroine Meguri's route. And to make things even more complicated, Eriri and Utaha are encountering troubles on their own after a series of complications around their work on Fields Chronicle. Can Tomoya maintain his commitments to both Megumi and Blessing Software, as well as Eriri and Utaha? (Source: Anime News Network)
Type

movie

Episodes

1

Rating

Teens 13 or older

Status

finished

Aired

2019-10-26

5-Toubun no Hanayome

(The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie)

8

Description:

A sequel film to 5-Toubun no Hanayome ∬.
Type

movie

Episodes

1

Ep.Length

136 Min

Status

finished

Aired

2022-05-20

The World God Only Knows: Goddesses

(The World God Only Knows: Goddesses)

8.03

Description:

Having freed a myriad of women from the runaway spirits possessing their hearts, the "God of Conquest" Keima Katsuragi is confronted with a new task: find the Jupiter Sisters, the goddesses that sealed Old Hell in the past. Diana, the goddess that resides inside his childhood friend Tenri Ayukawa, explains that they have taken shelter in the hearts of the girls he had assisted previously. Moreover, once Diana and her sisters are reunited, their power can seal the runaway spirits away for good and relieve Keima of his exorcising duties. Though he is initially reluctant to get involved in yet another chore, everything changes when tragedy befalls one of the hosts. Discovering that the goddesses are being targeted by a mysterious organization known as Vintage, Keima is caught in a race against time to reunite the sisters and rescue the girl who has already fallen prey. With deeper resolve than ever before, Keima works together with demons Elsie and Haqua to recapture the hearts of the girls he had charmed in the past. However, the road ahead is a difficult one, as he is soon met with the consequences of his previous conquests. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Type

TV

Episodes

12

Ep.Length

24 Min

Rating

Teens 13 or older

Status

finished

Aired

2013-07-09

Clannad

(Clannad)

8.03

Description:

Tomoya Okazaki is a delinquent who finds life dull and believes he'll never amount to anything. Along with his friend Sunohara, he skips school and plans to waste his high school days away. One day while walking to school, Tomoya passes a young girl muttering quietly to herself. Without warning she exclaims "Anpan!" (a popular Japanese food) which catches Tomoya's attention. He soon discovers the girl's name is Nagisa Furukawa and that she exclaims things she likes in order to motivate herself. Nagisa claims they are now friends, but Tomoya walks away passing the encounter off as nothing. However, Tomoya finds he is noticing Nagisa more and more around school. Eventually he concedes and befriends her. Tomoya learns Nagisa has been held back a year due to a severe illness and that her dream is to revive the school's drama club. Claiming he has nothing better to do, he decides to help her achieve this goal along with the help of four other girls. As Tomoya spends more time with the girls, he learns more about them and their problems. As he attempts to help each girl overcome her respective obstacle, he begins to realize life isn't as dull as he once thought. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Type

TV

Episodes

23

Ep.Length

25 Min

Rating

Teens 13 or older

Status

finished

Aired

2007-10-05

The World God Only Knows II

(The World God Only Knows II)

7.95

Description:

Keima Katsuragi, the "God of Conquest," returns to his quest of expelling runaway spirits that have possessed the hearts of women. Still stuck in his contract with the demon Elsie, he must continue to utilize the knowledge he has gained from mastering multitudes of dating simulators and chase out the phantoms that reside within by capturing the hearts of that which he hates most: three-dimensional girls. However, the God of Conquest has his work cut out for him. From exorcising karate practitioners and student teachers to the arrival of Elsie's best friend from Hell, he is up against a wide array of girls that will test his wit and may even take him by surprise. Though he would much rather stick to the world of 2D, he is trapped in lousy reality, and so Keima must trudge forward in his conquest of love. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Type

TV

Episodes

12

Ep.Length

23 Min

Rating

Teens 13 or older

Status

finished

Aired

2011-04-12

Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu 2

(Tsukimichi -Moonlit Fantasy- 2)

8.06

Description:

The second season of Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu.
Type

TV

Episodes

25

Ep.Length

24 Min

Rating

Teens 13 or Older

Status

finished

Aired

2024-01-08

Kanon (2006)

(Kanon (2006))

7.91

Description:

As a young child, Aizawa Yuuichi had often visited his cousin in the city; however, something drastic happened to keep him away for seven long years. Now, Yuuichi returns, his memories of those days are simply gone. Settling into the wintry town, Yuuichi comes across several young girls, all of whom are connected to his past. As he befriends them and continues to interact with them, the long forgotten memories from his childhood begin to resurface... [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Type

TV

Episodes

24

Ep.Length

24 Min

Rating

Teens 13 or older

Status

finished

Aired

2006-10-06

Golden Boy

(Golden Boy)

7.88

Description:

Kintarou Ooe is a specialist in part-time work, riding all over the highways and byways of Japan on his trusty steed, the Mikazuki 5, and finding employment wherever he can. His adventures bring him knowledge and experience that can't be taught in a classroom, from political corruption to the delicacy of a young woman's heart. With nothing but the open road before him—not to mention the many beautiful women along the way—Kintarou pursues his spirit of education while attempting to hold down his various odd jobs, however undignified they may be. As he learns from each task he takes on, who knows what could happen? He might even be able to save the world one day. One thing is for sure—this will all be very educational! [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Type

OVA

Episodes

6

Ep.Length

29 Min

Rating

Mild Nudity

Status

finished

Aired

1995-10-27

Grisaia no Rakuen

(The Eden of Grisaia)

7.86

Description:

Grisaia no Rakuen begins right at the end of the previous installment, Grisaia no Meikyuu. Kazami Yuuji is arrested under suspicion for terrorism. A video showing apparently concrete proof that Yuuji committed these acts, and he is held in custody by Ichigaya. Ichigaya knows full well that Yuuji didn't commit the crimes he has been accused of. But he did fail to assassinate Heath Oslo, who is the leader of the terrorist organization with an extremely devastating weapon in their possession. In fact, Ichigaya have their own plans for Yuuji... But all may not be lost for Yuuji. The girls of the Mihama Academy are not about to let Yuuji be used for political gain, and neither may the mysterious new figure which appears before them.
Type

TV

Episodes

10

Ep.Length

24 Min

Rating

Mild Nudity

Status

finished

Aired

2015-04-19

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! OVA

(KONOSUBA -God's Blessings On This Wonderful Choker!)

7.83

Description:

Kazuma finds a choker at Wiz's magic shop said to grant any one wish and decides to put it on. The problem? He'll die in four days from strangulation if the wish isn't granted. And Kazuma can't remember what he wished for, so he has no idea how his party members can help. The girls therefore have no choice but to submit to his every whim if they want to save him.
Type

OVA

Episodes

1

Ep.Length

23 Min

Rating

Teens 13 or older

Status

finished

Aired

2016-06-24

Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari

(Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar)

7.8

Description:

Mysteriously teleported from Earth, Kenshi Masaki finds himself ensnared by a mysterious organization in a world called Geminar, where male mecha pilots are extremely rare. With the promise of returning home, the 15 year-old agrees to pilot a mecha suit called a Sacred Mechanoid and assassinate the ruler of the Shtrayu Empire, Lashara Earth XVIII. However, things do not go according to plan, and Kenshi finds himself prisoner and an object of scrutiny by Lashara and her shipmates. After learning of Kenshi’s plight, Lashara offers him the chance to redeem himself by entering her employ. He will act as her servant, practically a slave, but also have a chance to once more pilot a mecha suit. Kenshi is willing to endure Geminar’s eccentricities if it means he may return home, but will he ever be able to do so? And what of this mysterious organization that brought him to Geminar to try to kill Lashara?
Type

OVA

Episodes

13

Ep.Length

45 Min

Rating

Mild Nudity

Status

finished

Aired

2009-05-22

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