Harem Anime: An exploration of Anime Sexual Cooperatives in 20th Century Social Consciousness [6 Year Anniversary]

Reverse Harems: The fairer genre

Before I start, I’d like to preface by stating two things: First, my knowledge of reverse harems is not nearly as extensiveness at that of “traditional” harems. And second, it was surprisingly difficult to find reverse harems. The site I normally use for manga did not even have a reverse harem tag. I had to wade through every harem to find reverse harem manga. Which brings me to my first actual point. There are disproportionately fewer reserve harems than traditional harems. By a lot. Which may say something about the sexual mentality of men vs. women. Not being a women, I can’t really say what that is.

Speaking of which, what’s notable about reverse harems vs. traditional harems is the lack of sex jokes. Most traditional harems are full of the female harem is sexy poses and suggestive positions. Even simple hugs are framed as the girl’s breasts pushing into the protagonist chest or back. But reverse harem’s not really have that kind of story. Sure, there may be some jokes implying a gay relationship between two or more of the male harem members, but that’s about it. A lot of reverse harems revolve around the personal issues of the characters, some of which have nothing to do with the female protagonist.

In most reverse harems, the basic elements are still there. Multiple love interests, one obvious front runner, a possible love rival, and a central setting. But the initial set up can differ. In traditional harems, the story starts with a girl dropping into the male protagonists life, sometimes literally. In reverse harems, the story starts with the female protagonist being taken in by a fully formed male harem. In Fruit Baskets, the protagonist is take in due to homelessness. In Ouran Host Club, the protagonist is more or less blackmailed into joining the club. Because the story revolves around a female surrounded by males, the dynamics are very different. For example, the harem aren’t really trying to have sex with the protagonist in reverse harems. These shows tend to focus more on romance than lust. Some of the harem may not even be romantically interested in the protagonist, viewing her more as a good friend than anything. The comedy’s still there, just in a different way.

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