Recently, Cactus Matt over on Anime Q and A created the Build a Harem tag, which I participated in and very much enjoyed. But I got thinking, as I tend to, and I noticed something. For being a tag about harems, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone choose any actual harem characters. As in, no characters from the harem anime titles which inspired the tag in the first place.
As I myself was selecting my personal harem, I ended up dismissing all the harem girls simply to cut down on the competition a bit, but I found myself with an idea.
Most anime fans know at least a few harem and/or reverse-harem titles, and I know I have girls in these harems which, were I the lead character, I would pick them over the others. Of course, they usually don’t have said lead character make any such choice at all, because that would end the harem, but we, the audience, are not limited by that, are we? We all have our favorites, I think.
So, my little tag, in echo of Build a Harem, is:
Pick Your Harem Favorites.
The idea, and the rules, are simple:
1) Thank whoever tags you.
2) Pick 3 – 5 anime with existing harems, or reverse-harems, in them.
3) Choose your favorite, the one you would choose if you were the lead character. Explain why, as much as you want to.
4) Tag around 5 friends.
Obviously, I’m starting things off, so I’ll just thank Cactus Matt for the inspiration. 🙂
And as for my five picks from anime harems:
Tenchi Muyo: Ryoko Hakubi
This was my very first introduction to the idea of harems in anime. It was thankfully much more subtle about it than most of today’s anime, mostly being a love triangle between Tenchi, Ayeka, and Ryoko, but it definitely indicated that most of the other girls in the show were also interested in Tenchi at one point or another. Out of them all, Ryoko was easily my favorite, and certainly my preferred choice over Princess Ayeka.
Where her chief competition was a spoiled, shallow, vain, selfish princess, Ryoko the space pirate was a truly strong woman, with an emotional depth that belied her tough exterior. She was truly sincere in her words and actions and especially her feelings for Tenchi. She may have caused quite a bit of mischief, but she also protected the others, even going so far as to help Tenchi rescue Ayeka, fighting ferociously despite her own grievous injuries.
Hands down, Ryoko is my favorite among Tenchi’s girls.
Haganai: Sena Kashiwazaki
Pretty much all the characters in Haganai have serious psychological problems. Sena is no exception. Though she’s popular and vain, she’s still very insecure and naïve about the world, and she doesn’t really have any friends – the girls envy her and the guys relentlessly ogle her – until she joins the club that becomes the central harem of the show. So, yes, she has issues.
She is still heads-and-shoulders above the rest. While she may put on airs, she is still quite genuine and sincere in her behavior and opinions. She may be a bit ditzy and trusting, but that’s because she doesn’t have a malignant or manipulative bone in her curvaceous body. Contrast that with the other female lead, Yozora, who routinely insults others, lies, deceives, sabotages, and cruelly manipulates (or tries to), not to mention frequently creating scenarios in her head where Sena is getting raped – which I really don’t find amusing at all.
Oh, yeah, Kodaka. Easy choice here. Sena can grow, mature, become a bit more grounded through life, but that arranged engagement your parents did with hers is probably the best thing ever to happen to you. Get over your friendship issues and get with this girl!
Campione: Ena Seishuuin
Out of four girls (I am not counting Athena) in Godou’s harem, Ena is the one we meet last, and don’t know her for very long before the show ends. (I hate unfinished stories…) She’s also easily my favorite.
Erica Blandelli of the “celestial figure” and yada-yada-yada is far too manipulative for my tastes. The other two girls, Yuri and Liliana, are firmly under Erica’s sway, easily manipulated or dominated, so I’ve no real interest in them either, whatever their pros vs cons are. But Ena – who, I note, is the only one with a figure to match or exceed Erica’s – is easily Erica’s equal, if not her superior in certain ways, and not a girl to be cowed by the queen bee. That is easily what I like most about her: she doesn’t just take Erica’s crap. This curvy girl can fight on par with the strongest people in the world. What does she care what little barbs Blondie might throw her way? She lacks subtlety, but she’s forthright and honest, and she genuinely cares about her relationship with Godou.
So, sincere, trustworthy, powerful, and curvy? Ena would definitely be my choice.
To Love-Ru: Momo Belia Deviluke
This is one of those titles where pretty much every girl just kind of falls for the male lead, Rito, mostly just because. I counted them once, and I think I got to a dozen or more females who’d be in his harem. While their interest in him was pretty much the same across the board, I did like how diverse the girls themselves were without just being a collection of polar opposites and tropes, ya know? Which is strange to say, considering how stereotypical and… ah, overtly sexualized this anime is.
Still, easily my personal favorite was Momo, the younger sister of the alien Princess Lala. After her big sister meets and falls for Rito, Momo and her twin, Nana, descend on Earth, and on Rito’s head, in the show’s second season, as I recall. Momo has a clear interest in Rito from the start, and it’s her brain that hatches the harem plan, so she can have Rito without any hearts, like both of her sisters’ (or hers), getting broken in the process. They can all be happy together.
Momo is certainly the most mischievous of the entire bunch, with one or two arguable exceptions, but she’s really quite honest about what she wants, and she actually has the spine to go for it. She’s ruthless and clever, both in a fight and in everyday life, but she cares about what everyone wants, and she wants everyone to be happy. And while she, quite bluntly, wants to have sex with Rito, she wants to do it right, with the proper consent of all parties involved.
There’s something endearing about that duality of traits. She’s bold and pushes things, but doesn’t resort to extremes.
Rito may have over a dozen hotties wanting him, but Momo is clearly the best, in my opinion.
The Familiar of Zero: Kirche von Anhalt Zerbst
Full name: Kirche Augusta Frederica von Anhalt Zerbst.
Nickname: Kirche the Fever (and small wonder how she got that nickname).
If there is one chief complaint I have about this anime, it’s how the pairing between Saito and Louise 1) came out of nowhere and 2) make no sense whatsoever! I mean, this bratty, shallow, entitled girl treats Saito so horribly, as if he were less than an actual person and her favorite punching bag. It’s a seriously abusive relationship. Louise would not get the time of day from me.
Kirche, on the other hand… while others among Saito’s harem are variously flawed and variously better than Louise, Kirche stands as the obvious choice. True, she’s flirty and teasing and rather insistent in her sexual desires, but she’s far more genuine and caring than Louise. She’s also the only one to move on from her fascination with Saito (to an older man, a professor at the university she attends), which speaks volumes about how strong and stable she is. She knows what she wants and she goes after it, and sometimes she’s a bit overbearing about it, but she’s a true friend and comes to treat others far more respectfully than Louise does.
Seriously, Saito, what were you thinking in refusing this voluptuous vixen who would have treated you better?!
Are you noticing a pattern about sincerity, here? 😉
So, that’s five favorite harem picks from me. How about you? Who are your favorites among all those harems out there? I’m asking everyone generally, but, as this is a tag, I am specifically asking:
Cactus Matt (I hope I did not disappoint 😉 )
(since y’all managed to get tagged with the last tag before I could tag you, mwahahah! 😉 )
Pick Your Harem Favorites!
I look forward to your answers! 🙂