Category Archives: Harem

Amnesia

Type: Huh? What am I doing here?

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Synopsis: Wait, this seems…familiar. I feel like, like I’m suppose to make some sort of comment on an anime that only vaguely connects to the actual source material. It’s meant to be, funny? No, that’s not right. Nothing seems that funny here. Let me think! Ugh, I feel like a college girl who lost her memories and keeps bouncing around parallel worlds that have me dating different pretty boys in Kingdom Heart cosplay.

Pros: Amnesia, the anime, is based on Amnesia, the dating sim, which is based on Amnesia, the mental condition. While I’ve never played the game, the anime looks like it follows the framework of a visual novel game very well. I could actually see where the game would make you make decision, reach checkpoints, and start over. My particular favorite aspect was the premise. The protagonist (no name ever given) has lost her memories, and keeps waking up in different worlds where her love interest changes. What I liked about this was that this is the perfect justification for the “route” set up in visual novels, where you choose to be romantic with one character. In the anime, this manifest in 1-2 episodes where the heroine “dates” each of the male love interests. I love this, because one of the things I’ve always wanted to see from a harem show, and this is a harem show, is seeing how the protagonist and a love interest would interact as a couple. You get exactly that in this anime, and because the protagonist is always sent to another world, you get to decide which paring you liked the most. The anime does what it should, it makes you feel like your playing a visual novel dating sim without having to actually play it. And the characters are all out of high school, which helps. (P.s. I liked the running joke of the manager changing personality every quantum leap).

Cons: Oh, my, god, what are these boys wearing!? Seriously, the look liked rejected Kingdom Hearts character designs. Is that dude wearing a chocker!? What’s with that guy’s multitude of useless straps!? Is that…is that just the bad guy from Pokemon Black and White!?But seriously, there outfits were very distracting. Not only that, but I think this show also stole a music clip from Kingdom Hearts, specifically from “Dearly Beloved.” Seriously, you compare. Outside of possible plagiarism, the fact that I could tell some of the story points makes the anime a bit predictable. I feel that the fairy subplot was too much, but only towards the end. Oberon’s inclusion in the first 3 episodes was a great way to ease into the premise, and he does disappear for most of the show, only popping in here and there. Which is good, because he gives horrible advise (why not just go to the hospital? What possible negatives could there be?). In terms of characters, the show is meant to make you pick which character you would like the protagonist to be with. I liked Kent because he seemed invested in putting effort into the relationship, as well as keep communication open. But you can like who you like (except that the anime said that Kent is the best, so he’s the best, #OTP, I was right–no, you shut up!). The protagonist herself is an interesting case. On the one hand, she can come off as very passive, and mostly lets other people, usually the men, tell her what to do. On the other hand, having lost her memory and being sent to other worlds, she came off as more observant to me. Like she was simply adapting to her surroundings, getting as much information as she could about her new situation. But maybe that’s just me. That being said, and OVA about the “original” protagonist would have been interesting.

Watch it?: Good pacing. Interesting story. And a killer English dub. (4/5)

MVP: Kent

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Best Husbando

Best Episode: Ep. 7 “VII” (literally the only guy who would listen to her story. Again, best Husbando)

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And you thought there is never a girl online?

Type: Actually, about 50% of Gamers are Female

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Synopsis: A group of high schoolers manage to convince their teachers that creating a club for the sole purpose of playing a MMO RPG is a good and worthwhile idea. They do so by exploiting the fact that one of their club members, Ako, suffers from a mental condition wherein she cannot discern the game from reality. They say that the club is an “incentive” for Ako to come to school, but really, there just slacking off. (P.s. I wish I could come up with a tie-in joke to GamerGate, but they’re a  joke already).

Pros: This anime is in the online-game anime subgenre. Sort of. Basically, the character interactions in the game are all presented with regular character models. The game itself look’s fairly 2D. No one is stuck in the game. Except probably Ako, the female protagonist. She’s addicted to online gaming, to the point where she’s having difficulties separating games from reality. But luckily she has help in the “Ally Cat” Guild, made up of her classmates and friends who try to help keep a foot in reality. Notably, she has Hideki, or “Rusian,” her online husband, who she love IRL. The depiction and treatment of Ako makes her the most fascinating and complex character, her bouncy character model not withstanding. Ako has low self-esteem, as years of failing in school made her withdraw inwards. Her only solace is the gaming world (even though she’s not that good at that either). To the story’s credit, Ako’s issues aren’t solved quick and neatly, and the first half of the anime revolves around weening Ako from the game, and getting her to attend school (a nice touch of realism). But while Ako represents the old stereotype of the basement dwelling gamer, her club mates break convention. Rusian takes separating games and reality quite seriously. Akane’s a popular girl who want’s her gaming hobby to be a secret, and Kyo’s the pretty student body president. But don’t get me wrong, the anime is not a heavy handed character drama on geek or Otoku life (cough NHK cough). It’s actually a pretty light hearted comedy with subtle fan service (a bounce here, pose there, half the cast has large breasts, etc). And the English Dubb is choke full of game references, from Zelda to WOW quotes.

Cons: OK, here’s the thing, I can’t really think of any negatives that detract from what the show is trying to be. It’s a comedy about online gaming, with pretty girls as the main characters. I mean, from an outsider’s perspective, Ako is a “male-fantasy” character, a curvy anime girl who plays video games and is obsessed with being your wife. And yes, I thought Kyo’s skimpy mage outfit wore out it’s novelty after 2 episodes. But none of these make the show bad. It all works in context and doesn’t betray the spirit of the show. From a structure stand point, Ako’s story arc lasts between ep.1 to ep. 8. Every else doesn’t have the same weight, and feels more like fun filler. As a gamer myself, the show did legitimedly scare me at two points: when Ako was going to meet an online stranger in real life, and when Ako’s game chat was hacked by an online creeper. These types of situations are all too real, so they did make me nervous for the character (which is more of a positive from a story perspective). (P.s. This anime is kinda a harem, but in that there’s one male character and 4 females character. But only 1 real romantic connection exists).

Watch it?: I had a blast! (4/5)

MVP: Ako

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A real rarity: a buxom character with an emotional arc not based on a love interest

Best Episode: Ep.7-8 The Summer Vacation Arc (you made my wife cry!!!)

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Negima!?

Type: A remake, who knew?

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Synopsis: In what I’m pretty sure is just a Harry Potter rip-off, a young wizard from England takes a teaching job at an all-girl’s school. While there, he makes semi-romantic pacts with his students and makes them do various favors for him. In a good way.

Pros: Negima!? is an alternate remake of Maho Sensei Negima! a manga and anime about a young wizard and his class of school girls. The manga was actually made by Ken Akamatsu, creator of Love Hina! As such, both series have a similar brand of goofy humor and love comedy. You have a girl with crazy pink tales and obsession with Chupacabras, a robot and vampire, a Blond girl who keeps calling another girl a failure, a samurai whose way too in love with her charge, it’s great! This particular version, however, was also made by SHAFT and director Akuyuki Shinbo, who worked on such anime as Medoka Magica and Nisemonogatari. So like a lot of SHAFT and Shinbo work, Negima!? is full of easter eggs (The Black Rose Baron), ranging art styles, match-cuts, short skits, etc. Just think Monogatari, or even Zetsubou-Sensei. In fact, the only reason I know about Negima!?’s production background is because it reminded so much of Zetsunou-Sensei that I had to double check. So while I was expecting a very generic looking love-comedy/harem, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the show.

Cons: Let me put it this way, having SHAFT and Akuyuki Shinbo saved the show. At its core, Negima!? is still a fairly generic harem anime. Its actually kinda weirder because he protagonist is a 10 year old boy, and all his love interests are about 14-15 years old. And the fact that all the girls have to kiss the child doesn’t help in the gross factor. Just imagine if it was a 10 year old girl and 14-15 year old boys. Ewwwwwww. But SHAFT and Shinbo’s style makes it sort of work. Now, its not perfect. The story arcs aren’t really that interesting. A lot of the early episodes are repetitive, with all the problems being resolved with Negima kissing a girl. Sometimes the animation and story don’t mesh, and the opening intro doesn’t really match the tone of the show. The central plot revolving around the “Star Crystals” and “The Darkness” are mediocre at best, but the gags and character interactions surrounding it are great. These two elements manage to balance each other out, and you’ll end up remembering the good over the bad.

Watch it!?: It takes a bit, but you’ll get into it (4/5)

MVP: Asuna’s Pink-Tails

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Officially the only anime girl I like with Pink-Tails

Best Episode: Ep.14 “‘Frankly speaking, in the face of magic, scientific theory might as well be nonexistent.’ by Hakase” (I just love that falling out of the sky scene)

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High School DxD BorN

Type: Capitalization ErrORS

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Synopsis: In a series that has survived way longer than anyone thought it would, we see Issei Hyodo continuing to live the good life. He’s got a dragon armor powers, he’s attached to a very powerful demon family, and every girl he knows are smokin’ hot babes that like to sleep with him naked. This season, he gets a power boost, a fight with the god Loki, goes a little aggro, and gets another kiss from his demon king. All in all, par for the course.

Pros: Yet another season of High School DxD is upon us, and I’m OK with that. As stated before, I’m a fan of this series. It’s a perfectly harmless boob-comedy. This entry continues the series tradition of breast centric humor, some demon fighting, and generic melodrama. The season is divided into about 4 story arcs. The first is a training arc, where Akeno and Koneko get more backstory. This results in Koneko becoming yet another member of the “We love Issei” club. The second story arc involves fighting the god Loki. The third story arc involves Asia getting kidnapped and Issei going a little crazy. And the last story arc involves Rias. Each arc is serviceble, and I did get emotionally invested in the third and fourth arc, since they involved arguably the two main heroines. I watched the English Dub, and by this point, you can tell they’ve given up any semblance of seriousness, its amazing. As for characters, well, the only real standout moment was when Issei noted that he know the girls all liked him, but he’s still afraid of getting close to anyone after the events of Episode 1, Season 1. I thought that was a nice touch, and is something that’s stayed consistent throughout the series.

Cons: The thing about High School DxD is that it doesn’t get any better or worse. It must be popular, because it got an English Dub the same year it was released. The boob jokes are still front and center, the pacing is still wonky, and the show simply has too many characters to explore properly. I honestly forget some of their names. This season adds more characters, which doesn’t help. It also adds the norse mythology into the plot, which I’m sure won’t muddle anything. Story wise, my one real complaint would be the Koneko arc. Mostly because she falls for Issei way too fast. She goes from relative annoyance to undying love like someone flipped a switch or something. I feel that the series is drawing dangerously close to crossing the harem threshold of “girls chasing the main character” to “sister wives.” For me, that’s when most harems go from campy fun to problematic.

Watch it?: I wonder if they’ll be a fourth season? (3/5)

MVP: Rias

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I keep misspelling it “Rise”

Best Episode: Ep.7-9 The Asia Kipnapped Arc (Gotta save the Demon Nun!)

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Infinite Stratos 2

Type: Mecha Girl’s School continues

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Synopsis: So apparently, the totally unique anime about a battle school full of girls and the one guy they all like got another season. Did not see that coming. This time, the waifu allies spend most of their time competing over their boy and are joined by two Russian sisters. There’s also this subplot involving an evil organization, but they aren’t that important. There’s fan service to be had!

Pros: I find myself still liking this show. Now, it’s been a minute since I’ve seen the last one, but I feel that the fan service was ramped up a little. With all the main players already introduced, I think there was more time for sexy gags and what not. This season is about 80% love comedy, and 20% action, so the whole thing has a light tone.  I watched the english dub this time and loved the use of accents, expect for Charlotte, who sounded more swedish than french. The season introduces two new love interests in the Sarashiki sisters, and they get a pretty solid arc around mid way through the season. Story wise, a new villain group called Phantom Task are introduced. They usually attack the group during some sort of activity, like a play or trip. While their story is not concluded, they are presented as a viable threat to the main characters. The actions scenes are good, and the series has blended 3D models very well in their fights. I also forgot that this is the rare light novel battle school anime where the male protagonist isn’t a powerhouse mary sue character, which was refreshing. I mean, he’s still kinda generic, but still.

Cons: The entire season sort of felt like a nothing season. It’s not that nothing didn’t happen, its that it didn’t happen enough. There was no real pay off at the end of the season. Three important things were introduced this season. One, the Sarashiki sisters, which was the only plot point with a beginning, middle, and end. They are introduced, their core drama is explained, and their story is resolved. Hell, the conflict wasn’t even about the male character! (It was about a sibling rivalry) though I do feel he got off super easy considering what transpired. The second was adding Phantom Task as antagonists, whose story ends in a “you should probably read the light novel” kind a way. And the third is about Ichika’s training, which is dropped half way through. Character wise, too many are present to explore properly, especially with the new additions.

Watch it?: Good fun, lackluster story (4/5)

MVP: Charlotte

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No waifu, no laifu

Best Episode: Ep. 7-9 The Kanzashi Arc (good conflict. I also recommend Ep. 5 for silly fan service)

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Love Hina

Type: One Conversation would literally fix everything

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Synopsis: 5 girls, 1 guy, and a Hot Springs Hotel in the longest “Self-Doubt” Arc I’ve every encountered.

Pros: Love Hina is considered one of the more influential franchises in Anime. It, along with Fruit Baskets, is often credited for laying the foundation for the love-comedy/Harem genre we know today. The premise is simple enough: a boy named Keitaro is trying to get into Tokyo University because of a promise he made to a girl he can’t remember, and find himself managing a all-girl’s dorm. The comedy derives from the now classic misunderstandings and peep-to-punish jokes, and the occasional cultural reference. Some episodes are even one-offs, like the medieval episode. The conflict comes from Keitaro and Naru’s developing relationship, as they both like each other but can’t admit it due to various circumstances. But still, the anime is very enjoyable in that old school early 2000’s kinda way.

Cons: Without talking about the animation or English voice acting, because this was made in 2000 so take it or leave it, my biggest peeves come from the conceits of the story. Keitaro and Naru are the driving force behind the show’s melodrama. They both like each other, but will not admit it. Keitaro is indecisive and lacks confidence. Naru is unsure of her feelings, but becomes jealous easily. The biggest issue is that this is the central plot, so this doesn’t change throughout the show. What we get is a lot of faffing about, with each character running away at several points after mistakenly feeling rejected. I didn’t like it in the manga, and I don’t like it here. I don’t really feel that every girl got a fair share of the spotlight, as they mostly acted as background characters for Naru and Keitaro. No wonder they always bad mouth him. And the anime doesn’t really get a proper ending until the OVAs, “Love Hina Again.” (PS. I’ve also always found the Tokyo U promise very dumb, because Keitaro made it when he was 3. He, nor anyone he’s with, should take that seriously).

Watch it?: Naru and Keitaro get married at the end (4/5)

MVP: Motoko

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Liked her better in the manga, but still.

Best Episode: “The Case of the Missing Hinata Apartment Money: A Mystery” (A mystery!)

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Monster Musume

Type: This will save Anime!

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Synopsis: It’s exactly what you think.

Pros: This anime is about a group of monster girls living in the same house with a human as part of a cultural exchange between humanity and monsters. According to the premise, Humans and Monsters are allowed to live with one another, as long as they do not harm one another. This premise actually justifies a lot of the classic harem troupes that pop up in the show. The girls all fall for the main character, Kimihito, because he views them as people first, and is neither disgusted nor overly fascinated by them being half-monster. The shows does a great job showcasing some of the discrimination or unwanted gawking these girls get just for being around “regular” humans. Some critics even argue that this is an allegory for people with handicaps, or even immigrants. What I’m saying is that the show is much smarter than people might initially think. The girls all live under the same roof because the government wants to use their house as a control group for a new marriage law they are trying to pass, which also justifies the Kimihito pursuing a relationship with each monster girl. The animation is also astounding, to a surprising degree. I’m guessing that the “Monster Girl Harem” gimmick convinced the studio to sink most money into the budget. Each of the girls move differently due to their unique designs, with particular care going to Miia, the lamia with a very active snake body. And eagled eyed viewers may notice that Kimihito becomes more handsome whenever he does something kinds or generous, almost as if we’re seeing him from the girl’s point of view. The show also condenses a lot in one episode, something using a two-segment model for story telling. The show even managed to make The MON squad interesting (I usually just skip their chapters in the manga).

Cons: This is ECCHI as F!@$. There is no getting around that. Though not as ecchi as the manga, but this may change in the DVD release. This may very well be softcore hentai from a certain perspective. Because each of the girls is a different type of monster, a lot of pervy stuff derives from their unique physiology. For example, Miia the Lamia sheds her skin like a regular snake, which cause her to make…sounds….when she sheds. Papi the Harpie lays eggs, which causes her to make…sounds….when she’s ready to lay. Cerea needs help cleaning her horse body, causing her to make….sounds…when someones scurbs her backside. Are you seeing a pattern yet? Of course, the regular boob centric jokes are here as well. So the show’s biggest obstacle is that it’s totally NSFW. But I still consider it one of the strongest Harem shows in a long while. (p.s. I also don’t think Mera is a particularly good addition to the crew).

Watch it?: A 5/5 in my heart (4/5)

MVP: Cerea

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I like shy knights

Best Episode: “Everyday Life Under Dangerous Circumstances” (Basically the entire show)

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Date A Live

Type: The Inter-Dimensional Dating Game!

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Synopsis: In a world where horrible space quakes destroy cities and ruin families, one man can make a difference. This man is Shido Itsuka, who has the unknown ability of having a kind of good face and adequate breath. With the aid of his manipulative sister and her band of dating masters, Shido will save the world…by creating a harem full of homicidal alien warriors.

Pros: I really dug the character work in this anime. No, not things like character interaction or dialogue. That stuff was generic anime stuff. The cool stuff was the character design and associated power set. Kurumi’s were particularly intense.  Each character felt dangerous, and their powers were cool. Even the little girl character had a crazy ice bunny thing. I also like the premise of a whole group of people advising a guy on what do say on a date. However, Iike the Pixar movie, this would work better if it was all in his head instead of in the sky.

Cons: I hated what happened to Tohka. She starts off as this mysterious silent character, but once she’s won over by the hero, she becomes a child. A child in a very curvy body. She only reverts when she’s pissed. The other love interests are a little girl, “non-blood” sister, and quiet girl with secret kink fantasies…so, yeah. The concept of assembling a harem of fighters through kisses isn’t new, but this anime does have great looking fights. I only wish the ending was better paced, because it just happens abruptly. Hope the second season is out.

Watch it:? Fairly fun (3/5)

MPV: Kotori Itsuka
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Sister or not, she still has cool looking powers

Best episode: Ep.3 “Sword That Splits the Sky” (momentary awesomeness)
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Fruit Baskets

Type: I don’t think I saw a single fruit in this anime

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Synopsis: So the Chinese zodiac is made of twelve animals, instead of the random star shapes we have in the west. The Easter zodiac show up in a lot of things because they are way cooler. Anyway, this is about a girl moving into a houseful full of a psychologically scarred family. Oh! And they also turn into cute animals when you hug them.

Pros: From my understanding, Fruit Baskets is one of the more famous shojo manga. I’ve read it, which is part of the reason why I’m just now watching the anime. The story translates well to anime, with a few minor differences here and there. Mainly towards the ending. The show is a reversed harem, where a kinda air-headed, but kindhearted girl moves into a house with three handsome men, who have equally handsome relatives. There’s a lot of melodrama, usually revolving around trauma, depression, and fear of rejection. Typical shojo stuff.

Cons: Again, the psychological drama in this is a key plot factor. If you’re not into that, then you may not dig the latter half of the show. I could get into the weird fixation the Sohmas have with Akito, because I would have punched him several times over, but we don’t have seven hours. Just remember that every time a new character is introduced, they will have a sad back story, usually about a woman abandoning them. No smiles for the Sohmas. Huh, I just realized that Tohru’s mother also “abandoned” her…On a personal note, I disliked the slightly different events where Tohru needed a pep talk to chase after the Kyo. A lot of the Sohma’s have had women leave them because of the curse, but Tohru is suppose to be different, but in the anime, she isn’t. Left to her own devices, she would have left too. I think that takes a little bit from the character, but again, that’s a personal preference.

Watch it?: Good show, better manga (4/5) 

MPV: Hatori Sohma
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I ship it

Best episode: Ep. 8 “Don’t Cry, For the Snow will Surely Melt” (no guys, I really do ship it)
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High School DXD New

Type: The one with the boobs

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Synopsis: One day, this total loser got killed by this girl with big boobs he thought liked him. However, this turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him. Because right as he was dying, he was turned into a demon by a Demon Princess with even bigger boobs. Then he got dragon powers or whatever, that’s not important. What is important is that now, the loser’s life revolves around boobs. This is just a continuation of his story.

Pros: I remember really liking the first High School DXD. This fan service comedy really struck a cord with me, mostly because of the boob jokes. What can I say, I am a simple man. Now, maybe because I watched the first season censored, but I believe the nudity game was raised this season. Every dang episode has a bare boob in it. This season still deals with Devils, the Church, and Fallen Angels, but these factions become much more defined. We’re also introduced to a new potential love interest in the form of Xenovia (a exorcist), and we get more back story for Kiba and Akeno. It’s on par with the first season, but sometimes all you need is a good boob joke.

Cons: I really feel that the Sacred Gear concept is out of place in this primarily boob driven anime. They felt very shoen to me, almost like the show was trying to sell me a toy. I’m not sure that the mature audience for a show about demon girls smothering their boobs on a guy’s face would buy toys. The season has two arcs, one about the church vs fallen angels, and the other about a new vampire character. It was interesting to see the main character teach someone else, but the show is seriously veering to overflow character status. The main difference in this season was that Rise and Akeno were legitimately starting to fall in love with the protagonist. The harem is forming.

Watch it?: How maybe times did I say “boobs” (3/5)

MVP: Akeno Himejima
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Seriously stepped up her seduction game

Best episode: Ep.10 “Various Three-way Deadlocks!” (lap-pillow!)
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