Harems have become such an integral part of anime that now there is not a single season where there isn’t at least one new one. Most of these follow the same basic formula: average guy + special circumstances = 3 to 30 girls wanting to get in average guy’s pants. The special circumstances can range from something as simple as a childhood promises to something more extraordinary like obtaining special powers. In any case, the male lead always seems to suddenly gain the ability to make the opposite gender go crazy over him. After watching several harem anime, most people begin to lose interest since they recycle most of the material, but there are some that have a little extra something that makes them stand out from the rest. Here, I’ve made a list of 10 harem anime that are more than just T&A.
The first thing you’ll notice about the characters in Bakemonogatari is that none of them are your typical harem types. Half of the girls in the series have either threatened the main male lead’s (Koyomi Araragi’s) life or put him in a situation where he might’ve died. The most unique character is probably Hitagi Senjougahara. At first she seems like your token tsundere character, but she’s actually a violent dominatrix, something you normally don’t expect in a harem. There’s also Tsubasa Hanekawa, who at first appears to be your typical genius girl, but is secretly so in love with Koyomi that she’d even kill to have him. By putting a spin on stereotypical anime characters and throwing in a lot of supernatural elements, Bakemonogatari sets itself apart from other harem anime.
Most people would probably describe Clannad as a drama/romance anime, but when you think about it, it really is a harem anime (it was based off a dating simulator after all). It’s precisely because of the drama/romance feel that Clannad gives off that makes it one of the better harem anime out there. While the male lead, Tomoya Okazaki, does spend some time with each of the other girls, it’s implied throughout the anime that he has his eyes set on the main heroine, Nagisa Furukawa. While other harem anime have gone with this type of male lead before, they usually don’t take the relationship beyond a few dates and maybe a kiss. Clannad takes the relationship between Tomoya and Nagisa all the way from high school romance to starting a new family. With such a heavy emphasis on relationships, it’s easy to see why Clannad isn’t like your average harem anime.
Hayate the Combat Butler!
Hayate the Combat Butler has one of the most interesting settings when it comes to harem anime. The main character, Hayate Ayasaki, is a butler for a super-rich girl named Nagi Sanzennin. As part of the job, Hayate ends up fighting off killer robots, kidnappers, and evil spirits. In addition to that, Hayate must deal with whatever Nagi requests of him, which usually involves him going on a dangerous quest (although that could be something as simple as picking up some Pocky).Hayate’s ability to practically do anything in any situation no matter how outrageous provides the comic relief that most harem anime lack
Those of you who have watched Love Hina might wonder why I added it to this list. After all, it fits the description of your stereotypical harem anime: an average guy moves in with a bunch of hot girls and they eventually fall for him (and lets not forget all the fanservice). What’s great about Love Hina are all of the wacky things that happen in the series. Who doesn’t love seeing Keitaro get blasted into outer space with Naru’s super punch after “accidently” walking in on her naked or changing. Then there are characters like Su who add to the comedy with her inventions like Mecha Tama-chan, a giant robot turtle that flies and is also armed with various military weaponry. So while Love Hina does fit the harem anime stereotype, it’s the comedy rather than the fanservice that makes it good.
Seitokai no Ichizon
The classy girl, sporty girl, otaku girl, and the loli are the stereotypical harem members that you’ll find in Seitokai no Ichizon. So what’s so special about this anime? Simply put, if it were not for the male lead, Ken Sugisaki, Seitokai no Ichizon would not have much going for it. Almost every male lead in harem anime is a well-meaning guy who really only wants to help people, but Ken is not like every other male lead. Ken is the vice-president of his school’s student council, but he’s also a perverted eroge (erotic game) player who on the first episode announces that the other members of the student council are part of his harem. Throughout the series, Ken teases the girls to the point of sexual harassment, but they usually fight back and end up having some hilarious arguments.
If you have any other suggestions for good harem anime that rely on more than hot girls, feel free to share.