One guy and a plethora of women typically equals a harem. That has been the formula since the Tenchi Muyou! days. You usually find that each of the main female cast members has their own quirk or personality, and of course, there’s the variety of their builds. If you’ve watched enough anime, you’re familiar with such tropes as the busty onee-san, shy senpai, and tsundere loli.
Let’s not forget the all too dense harem MC either. He’s typically good for nothing, timid, and all around someone who would never have the guts to approach a woman, let alone a group of them. This dichotomy spells some hilarity at times, but some harem anime do it far better than others. Today we’re counting down our updated Top
10. Outbreak Company
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2013 - Dec. 2013
Poor, poor Kanou Shinichi. His childhood friend brutally rejected him, he can’t find a job, and he’s been an otaku shut-in for the past few years. That all changes when he responds to a suspicious job ad asking for someone exactly like him. He finds himself becoming a type of otaku evangelist for a parallel fantasy world of the Eldant Empire. There, he finds that elves, magic, and dragons are all commonplace. He also finds himself in the midst of something of a growing harem all to himself.
Thrust between his half-elf maid, the loli Empress of the empire, an indentured beast girl artist, and his own handler/bodyguard, Shinchi has come to appreciate his life just a bit more than back in Japan. The show has a heavy dose of comedy, and while light on the romance elements typical to the genre, it definitely hits all the expected tropes while making light of them with its parodies. A classic of recent years for those looking to enjoy a new show.
9. Mahou Sensei Negima! (Negima)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Jan. 2005 - June 2005
Negi Springfield is quite the precocious go getter. This teacher is a kid and he’s got his whole class after him! He’s also a wizard -the magical kind. In order to pass his final test and become a Master Wizard, Negi Springfield must prove he can survive undetected in the human world, and as an English teacher no less. It doesn’t take long before the girls realize something smells fishy about their new 10-year-old teacher, and not just because he’s a little short. A longstanding harem comedy, Negima is full of laughs and misunderstandings that audiences can enjoy.
8. Tenchi Muyou!
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr. 1995 - Sep. 1995
Living in a rural prefecture in Japan, Masaki Tenchi thought his life would remain the same forever. However, the arrival of a space pirate by the name of Ryouko changes his fate. Thrust into a huge mess between the Jurai Empire, galactic space police, and a whole host of intergalactic tomfoolery, simple Tenchi can only ask “Why me?” One thing does remain a constant throughout his ordeals: the ladies are definitely taking notice of Tenchi. One of the most iconic harem anime ever, Tenchi Muyou! is worth a watch even now.
7. Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou (Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul. 2015 - Sep. 2015
People like girls, right? And some people like monsters, sure. So why not put them together? That makes some sense, but why they’re all invading Kurusu Kimihito’s house is another question altogether. A lazy agent from the interspecies exchange program decides to drop off a lamia named Miia at Kimihito’s house on a whim, telling him he’s now her new host family.
Miia quickly falls in love with him, and due to the success, the agent decides to send several more to live at his house as well! Also, there are talks of marriage to smooth things over politically?! Say what you want about harem anime, but when they go for it, they go all out. You’ll find just about every flavor of monster girl you can imagine in this one, and all have it out for “Darling”. This is a funny, ecchi-filled everyday life harem anime for your enjoyment.
6. Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru (Oreshura)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jan. 2013 - Mar. 2013
Why is it always the MCs that want nothing to do with love that end up with a harem? That’s the case for Kidou Eita at least. He believes love is fake and wants nothing to do with romance, but when the most beautiful girl in school blackmails him into pretending to date her, he can’t avoid it. Suddenly, his new, fake relationship causes the girls around Eita to treat him differently. They’re all trying to win over his affection, meanwhile, he’s just trying to survive being the number one guy with a target on his back thanks to his evil new girlfriend. A harem comedy with a lot of romances all spelling disaster, Oreshura is a very enjoyable watch.
5. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (Haganai: I don't have many friends)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2011 - Dec. 2011
Forget having a girlfriend, Hasegawa Kodaka’s goal is just to have one single solitary friend in general. Given his dad’s work, his family has moved around constantly, not allowing him to socialize much. Not to mention he looks like a delinquent despite being a normal teenager. However, after joining the Neighbor’s Club at his new school, he’s surrounded by socially outcast girls all hoping to make friends. It’s lucky for him that they’re unperturbed by his awkwardness, and Kodaka is quickly on his way to getting a girlfriend far before he makes his first real friend. If you want to see how one lucky guy gets a harem overnight, give Haganai a watch.
4. To LOVE-Ru Darkness
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2012 - Dec. 2012
Yuuki Rito, aka the undisputable “god of fall”. How many women have met their undoing by merely stepping into his path, only for him to slip and grope them mercilessly? Despite having a natural aversion to girls, his alien fiancee Lala’s younger sister Momo has her heart set on making him a harem. Rito, who still only has real affection towards his classmate Haruna, is troubled by this. What’s more, bounty hunter Darkness has growing feelings for him, and her little sister Mea arrives as well. Not good for the gynophobic MC.
To LOVE-Ru Darkness is one of the wildest, lewdest, and most completely out of control harem shows in existence. Despite being the very definition of the spineless, cowardly MC, Rito has a charm to him that only he could pull off. The situations he finds himself in are just too comical. Definitely worth a watch for harem fans.
3. Grisaia no Kajitsu (The Fruit of Grisaia)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2014 - Dec. 2014
To put it simply, Kazama Yuuji is a human weapon. After successfully completing so many secret ops for the Japanese government, his only desire is to experience life as a normal high school student. Easier said than done, but his wish is granted with his transfer to Mihama Academy. However, the environment is anything but normal. The only other students there are a group of girls of mixed ages. One of them even tries to kill him on his first day, while another confesses her love. What’s going on?
Fruit of Grisaia is anything but your typical harem anime. It’s a drama that shows the dark side of human nature in a way that very few series try to explore. After coming into contact with the girls, their circumstances become clear and their hearts open. After enough time, Yuuji’s opens as well. Can a boy who only knows how to kill and be betrayed truly become a harem MC? Watch to find out.
2. Trinity Seven
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2014 - Dec. 2014
Can you think of another MC who would casually find himself in bed with two girls, only to be interrupted by a third and invite her to join them? The answer is no. Kasuga Arata is a man’s man’s man. He has no shyness, hesitation or cowardice when dealing with his harem, even when they often threaten to kill him.
After the life he knew crumbles around him due to a magical phenomenon, Arata heads to Royal Biblia Academy to discover the truth. There, he learns that the only way to return to normalcy is to seek the aid of the Trinity Seven, the most powerful girls at the school. Some seek to help him, while others feel his presence puts them all at risk. In any case, the adventure Arata finds himself in is hilarious, exhilarating, and above all, sexy. You can’t ask for more from a harem anime.
1. Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2015 - Mar. 2015
There are weak and timid harem protagonists, and then there’s Tomoya Aki. He’s not afraid of women so much as he wants nothing -and I mean nothing- to do with them. He believes that 2D girls are pure and worthy of devotion, and anything less is an affront to his goddesses. Despite his overwhelming otaku nature, this doesn’t stop him from being well-known at school.
One day, after he encounters a mysterious beauty, he is awestruck. His life’s passion has turned to making an erotic dating sim that depicts her beauty. However, it turns out she’s merely his plain classmate Megumi Kato. Thus begins Aki’s quest to turn Kato from a normal girl into the ultimate waifu.
Saekano most notably turned the harem genre on its head by having the usual vacation bathing scene in its very first episode. From then on, it proceeded to both ridicule and utilize every trope in the harem book with sharp and witty dialogue. It’s certainly nothing new, but it did what very few harem anime have done in the past, and that is give the characters a compelling reason to be interested in each other. Each of the girls is there despite knowing Tomoya has no desire for them as women, but their pasts connect them deeply. It’s also incredibly humorous seeing the lengths one man can go to avoid getting laid, to some hilariously insane levels.
Long live the harem. It’s arguably the trashiest genre in anime, but as long as there are us feasting raccoons, we can enjoy our dumpster delights in peace. What were some of your favorite harem anime? Did you feel we left any out? Let us know in the comments!
Top 10 Harem Anime
Love them or hate them, harem anime are here to stay. While there is some debate over which anime was truly the first (it really all depends on your definition), some of the earliest examples include Tenchi Muyo, Ranma 1/2 and Urusei Yatsura.
Since those early examples though, many popular series throughout the years have taken the harem trope and run with it much further than anyone in history may have thought it would have ever gone. In this article, we take a look at some of the best examples of harem series from the last couple of decades and try to determine which is truly the best of the best.
10. Girls Bravo
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Jul. 2004 – Sept. 2004
Much like another entry found a bit further down on this list, one could make a pretty compelling argument towards mentioning this series and the word 'classic' in the same sentence.
Yukinari is a small guy with a big problem: he's allergic to girls. Even when his best friend approaches him he breaks out into hives. One day though, he is magically transported to a new world where he meets Miharu, the only girl that he's ever met that doesn't trigger his allergic reaction.
With a harem that includes the strange girl from another world named Miharu, Miharu’s older sister, the token best friend character, the primary antagonist's little sister and many others you can imagine that there are a number of standard tropes that appear throughout the run of the series and you’d be mostly right in that regard. What makes this series such a rare treat within the harem genre though is that Girls Bravo walks an interesting line between ecchi and not ecchi. It certainly has its fair share of suggestive scenes and moments but it doesn't feel the need to rely on these elements at all times to make you laugh or tell its story.
9. Haganai (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2011 – Dec. 2011
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (also known as Haganai for short) is an interesting harem series in that while the main character is absolutely and obliviously in a harem setting, all he truly wants is to have friends.
Everyone in Kodaka's class thinks that he's a delinquent because of his blonde hair and a series of misunderstandings that occurred on his first day of school. When he is given a chance to join the "Neighbor's Club" and make some new friends, he jumps at the chance only to find out that everyone else who joins is just as socially inept as he is!
Subtle is not a word that you can often use with series that fall into the harem genre but barring a few momentary exceptions, subtle would be an appropriate word to use to describe Haganai. This is a series that doesn’t beat you over the head with the typical tropes. With all of the girls being completely inept at expressing themselves or knowing how to behave around other people, the progression of the romance is slow and steady. While seasoned anime fans will recognize the direction that this series eventually heads toward, those who aren’t as familiar with the harem genre may find the romantic angle that is eventually explored surprising. The humor can certainly be on the nose but the romance is delicately done which really emphasizes the social awkwardness of the female characters.
8. To LOVE-Ru
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2008 – Sept. 2008
In this off the wall comedy, the hero is Rito Yuki. He's in love with a girl at his school named Haruna but before he can confess his feelings to her he finds himself in a compromising situation. A compromising situation that involves an alien princess named Lala. While taking a bath one night, Lala appears and he accidentally gropes her breasts which in her culture means that they are now engaged. This doesn’t sit well with her father but rules are rules so he decrees that he either goes through with the marriage or the Earth will be destroyed!
To Love Ru is a harem series through and through and there is no denying that. Between the alien princess Lala, the schoolmate Haruna, the uptight Yui, the assassin Golden Darkness and the many others who express some kind of sexual desire towards the main character throughout the run of the series; Rito certainly has his hands full (sometimes literally if you catch my meaning). To Love Ru may be heavy on the ecchi elements but that doesn't change the fact that at times it can be comedy gold. Never afraid to dive head first into absurd territory, this is a series that revels in the tropes of the genre.
7. High School DxD
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2012 – Mar. 2012
Lots of people like to think that an anime series can either be ecchi or have a good story, but it can never be both; High School DxD takes that perception and shatters it. You know how in most harem series the hero is a timid guy who doesn't actually want all the attention that is being showered on him by beautiful women? That's not really the case in this series.
Issei is a pervert. He admits it and is seemingly pretty proud of it. Deep inside though all he really wants is a girlfriend... who will let him fondle her breasts whenever he wants. He's a man of simple tastes. One day he finally gets his wish when a beautiful girl asks him out on a date. Things are going great until the end of the date when she attempts to kill him. On the brink of death, Issei is saved by the even more beautiful Rias who brings him back to life as a devil who must now serve her unconditionally. Always looking on the bright side though, Issei figures out that if he works hard he might someday become as powerful and respected as Rias which will allow him to form his very own harem!
Ironically, while Issei spends most of this series working towards forming his own harem, he doesn’t actually need to work that hard as one forms around him without him even realizing it. Rias starts things off but soon she finds herself in competition with other willing females, including one of her subordinates, a former nun, and even possibly a male classmate who sometimes makes Issei uncomfortable with his remarks. Admittedly to read the synopsis you might go into this series not expecting much in terms of plot or humor. That is a mistake though as High School DxD proves to be filled to the brim with clever writing and plot twists that keep the audience entertained throughout its run.
6. Is This A Zombie? (Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2011 – Mar. 2011
It can be hard to do something that is truly classified as unique and different these days but Is This A Zombie? manages to do just that by combining harem and magical girl elements and creating an amazing blend.
Life isn't easy when you're a zombie trying to go to school and hide the fact that a beautiful, mute necromancer is living in your home. Life can be even harder when you come across a magical garment girl, accidentally steal her powers and are forced to take over her job of defeating villains until she can figure out a way to fix the situation. Add in a vampire ninja and you have the makings of one twisted harem.
The thing that you have to love about Is This A Zombie? is how incredibly tongue in cheek it is. It's a harem series that doesn't take itself seriously in the least and goes out of its way to poke fun at the genre making it a series that is worthy of being watched again and again.
5. Date A Live
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2013 – Jun. 2013
Form a harem or the world will come to an end. No pressure or anything.
In this reality, there is a new type of disaster called spacequakes. These disasters can hit at any time and cause massive amounts of damage. Thinking that he needs to save his little sister from one of these disasters, Shido runs towards the epicenter of a spacequake and finds... a beautiful sword wielding girl? Soon after he finds out from his little sister (who was safe and is actually the captain of an elite squadron) that this girl and others like her (called Spirits) are the cause of the spacequakes. Along with this he also learns that he must figure out how to make these spirits fall in love with him in order to make the disasters stop.
Date A Live takes the harem genre and does something that not many others do: exploring the consequences of actually trying to date multiple girls at the same time. Sure, it's easy for an anime to say that the main character is going to form a harem with girls who are totally into him. However, what if one (or more) of these girls is the jealous type who wants the main character all to herself? This issue and others like it, are just some of the things explored by the plot of Date A Live.
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jul. 2005 – Jan. 2006
Shuffle! might go down as the harem series with the darkest ending ever.
Rin was living a normal high school life until one day when the king of heaven and the king of the underworld both burst into his classroom. If that weren’t strange enough he is also informed that he has to choose to marry one of their daughters which doesn't sit well with any of the other girls who already had their eye on him.
His childhood friend Kaede and his friend Asa are just two of the many girls in Rin’s life who had their eye on him way before he was presented with two princesses on a platter. While I won't go into specifics on why Shuffle! features one of the darkest endings ever (you'll just have to go watch it to find out what I'm talking about), this series belongs on the list because it's not afraid to go to some dark places and give viewers a satisfying ending that will stick with them for a very long time afterward.
3. Love Hina
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr. 2000 – Sept. 2000
The word classic gets thrown around easily by anime fans. However if there's one entry in the harem genre that truly deserves to have that word attached to it, it would be Love Hina.
Keitaro Urashima made a promise to a girl when he was a kid that they would someday be reunited after they both got into Tokyo University. Unfortunately Keitaro has failed the entrance exam multiple times and his family is getting fed up with his lack of forward progress. Finally they force him to go work for his aunt... who happens to be the manager for a boarding house inhabited entirely by beautiful females of various types and ages. Naturally, pretty much all of them find their own reasons for falling for him. From the crafty older tenant, Mitsune, down to the junior high students, Shinobu and Kaolla (plus a few more friendly females who don’t live in the boarding house). Keitaro is never lacking in attention from the opposite sex (not that he has any idea what to do with it).
Love Hina is a series that has aged gracefully since it first aired. It is true that you can accuse it of relying on jokes that we've come to take for granted or have just plain gotten used to over the last decade or two. This is a series that broke new ground in the genre when it made its debut by giving the audience at the time fresh humor.
- Episodes: 20
- Aired: Jan. 2014 – May. 2014
Based off a long running manga series and first airing in the winter of 2014, Nisekoi is a harem for the modern fan in every sense of the phrase. In this series, the main character is Raku Ichijo and he's poised to become the next leader of a yakuza family (despite not really being cut out for it). As a kid, Raku made a promise to a girl that someday they would be reunited and they would get married. Naturally though he can't really remember much about her including what her name is. Over the course of the series Raku's harem will include: the daughter of a rival gang that he must pretend to be engaged to, his classmate that he actually has a crush on, a girl who wants to kill him in order to end his relationship with Chitoge, the daughter of a police officer, the little sister of his classmate, and more.
If you're a fan of classic harem antics that include an ever increasing cast of characters, and eye catching animation from the same studio that brought you another famous harem that you might have heard of, Bakemonogatari, then you're going to want to check this series out post haste.
1. Hayate the Combat Butler (Hayate no Gotoku!)
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: Apr. 2007 – Mar. 2008
Another word that doesn't get used with harems very often is innocent, but that's exactly the right word to use with Hayate the Combat Butler.
Hayate has the worst luck imaginable. He works as hard as he can while also going to school but one day he comes home to find out that his parents have deserted him. Not only that but they’ve left behind a huge debt that he must pay off. Feeling like he has no choices left, he attempts to kidnap a young girl who mistook his words for a love confession. One thing leads to another and she ends up hiring him as her new butler.
Hayate the Combat Butler is one of the purest and sweetest harem series ever. It never relies on fan service to make a joke and the love that the characters feel for Hayate is pretty chaste. With so many series feeling that ecchi automatically equals funny, it's nice to have a series like this one to fall back on when you just want some clean comedy.
Harem anime can be an acquired taste but to completely ignore the genre because some of them have elements that you dislike is doing yourself a disservice. If you're someone who has written off the genre entirely due to some bad experiences we hope that you've found a couple of new titles here that have piqued your curiosity.