Harem (genre)

Harem (ハーレムもの hāremumono, "harem works") is a subgenre of Japanese light novels, manga, anime, and video games focused on polygynous/polyandrous relationships, where a protagonist is surrounded by three or more love interests or sexual partners. A male-heterosexual or yuri harem series is informally referred to as a female harem or seraglios, while a female-heterosexual or yaoi harem series is informally referred to as a male harem, reverse harem, or gyaku hāremu (ハーレム).


The word derives from Harem, which was a term used to refer to the most private rooms of a household in the middle eastern culture, especially among the upper class where only women and close relatives were permitted inside.


Because romance is rarely the main focus of an entire series,[a] a harem structure is ambiguous. The most distinguishable trait is the group of polyamorous females or males who accompany the protagonist and, in some instances, cohabitate with the protagonist. While intimacy is just about customary, it is never necessary. When it is present, it is always a minimum of three supporting characters who express sexual orientation or the romantic orientation interest in the protagonist.


Sociosexuality amongst each individual participants range from restricted to unrestricted. Some characters are portrayed as asexual, prudish or otherwise less willing to engage in casual sex. Some characters prefer greater love, commitment and emotional closeness before having sex with romantic partner(s). Some characters are inherently monogamous cuckolds/cuckqueans, and either accepts or encourages their partner's infidelity in having other intimates as well. Some characters are portrayed as pansexuals being comfortable engaging in sex as a recreational activity.


Although traditionally the harem is considered to be one of the most heterosexual genres of anime and manga, this condition is not mandatory, and work in the genre can contain characters of very different LGBT gender identities and sexuality, or even concentrate fully on characters of the one gender. Thus, harem work in the genres of boys love or girls love is not something impossible, although they are much less common than the classic heterosexual examples.[1] In addition, recently there has also been a tendency to add futanari, bisexual or androgynous-looking crossdresser characters to the genre, allowing the use of queer content, while technically remaining within the boundaries of heterosexual romance.


The protagonist can be diverse. Because of different situations and plot devices in the story the protagonist normally end up discovering hidden aspects which make females and males within the "harem" more attractive while highlighting interesting aspects of their personalities, usually because of said protagonist's kindness, courage and the will to protect or support their friends or the world.

These protagonists usually end up with a harem accidentally, because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time due to some unforeseeable circumstance or random chance. Most protagonists don't even want the harems they start, as they mostly only have one main love interest and all other members of their harem simply fall in love with him or her because they deeply admire some part of their personality, and the protagonist can't bring themselves to tell them to leave.

Harem ending

Harem endings typically follow two different routes;[2]

  1. The person of desire ends up with one of the characters who fall in love with them.
  2. The person of desire winds up with none of these characters.

Other series have a route where the story concludes with a multi-marriage ending.

Harem series

These lists display stories according to the role harem plays in them.

Male harem as a central element

This list shows series in which interpersonal attraction between Male-centric harems and the androphilic protagonist(s) – regardless of cited sex, gender, orientation, etc. – play a central role in their genre or storylines. Such elements are labeled by publishers as harem.

Female harem as a central element

This list shows series in which interpersonal attraction between Female-centric harems and the gynephilic protagonist(s) – regardless of cited sex, gender, orientation, etc. – play a central role in their genre or storylines. Such elements are labeled by publishers as harem.


  1. ^ Oppliger, John (April 17, 2009). "Ask John: What Distinguishes Harem Anime?". Anime Nation. Archived from the original on November 16, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  2. ^ Matthew Alexander (March 19, 2015). "Omamori Himari Vol. #12 Manga Review (Series Finale)". Fandom Post. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  3. ^ "Iono the Fanatics" (in Japanese). MooNPhase. Archived from the original on 2008-01-05. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  4. ^ http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2017/12/13/high-school-girl-acquires-yuri-harem-in-love-to-lie-angle-tv-anime

Further reading

  • Brenner, Robin E. (2007). Understanding Manga and Anime. Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited. pp. 82, 89, 112, 297. ISBN 978-1-59158-332-5. OCLC 85898238.
  • Drummond-Mathews, Angela (2010) "What Boys Will Be: A Study of Shonen Manga" in Johnson-Woods, Toni (e.d.) Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives Continuum International Publishing Group pp. 69–70. ISBN 978-0-8264-2938-4
Angel/Dust Neo

Angel/Dust Neo (エンジェル/ダスト neo, Enjyeru/Dasuto neo), the sequel to Angel/Dust, is a manga created by Aoi Nanase. In this manga Aoi Nanase revisits the elements of her earlier manga to craft a new story of the harem genre. It was originally serialized in Newtype, and the collected volume was released on November 1, 2003. ADV Manga has licensed this manga for publication in English. It was also serialized in Newtype USA and the English version of the collected volume was released in January 2007.


Harem (Arabic: حريم‎ ḥarīm, "a sacred inviolable place; harem; female members of the family"), also known as zenana in the Indian subcontinent, properly refers to domestic spaces that are reserved for the women of the house in a Muslim family. This private space has been traditionally understood as serving the purposes of maintaining the modesty, privilege, and protection of women. A harem may house a man's wife — or wives and concubines, as in royal harems of the past — their pre-pubescent male children, unmarried daughters, female domestic workers, and other unmarried female relatives. In former times some harems were guarded by eunuchs who were allowed inside. The structure of the harem and the extent of monogamy or polygamy has varied depending on the family's personalities, socio-economic status, and local customs. Similar institutions have been common in other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilizations, especially among royal and upper-class families, and the term is sometimes used in other contexts.Although the institution has experienced a sharp decline in the modern era due to a rise in education and economic opportunities for women, as well as Western influences, seclusion of women is still practiced in some parts of the world, such as rural Afghanistan and conservative states of the Gulf region.In the West, Orientalist imaginary conceptions of the harem as a hidden world of sexual subjugation where numerous women lounged in suggestive poses have influenced many paintings, stage productions, films and literary works. Some earlier European Renaissance paintings dating to the 16th century portray the women of the Ottoman harem as individuals of status and political significance. In many periods of Islamic history, women in the harem exercised various degrees of political power, such as the Sultanate of Women in the Ottoman Empire.

Harem (TV series)

Harem was a Norwegian reality TV series that aired on TV3, hosted by Mia Gundersen. The production company was Strix Televisjon AS. Four women got to choose between 18 men. The men who didn't get chosen, had to go home. The series was shot in the Maldives. The series premiered on 4 October 2001 and had only one season. There was also a Danish version and a Swedish version.

Harem (disambiguation)

Harem refers to domestic spaces that are reserved for the women of the house in a Muslim family.

Harem may also refer to:

Harem (zoology), an animal group consisting of one or two males, a number of females, and their offspring

Haruhi Fujioka

Haruhi Fujioka (藤岡 ハルヒ, Fujioka Haruhi) is a fictional character from the manga series Ouran High School Host Club, which was created by Bisco Hatori. In the manga and its adaptations, Haruhi takes on the role of male host with a comical tsukkomi-archetype, despite being of female sex; keeping her sex secret from the host club's female clients. Haruhi's character was positively received, both because of her fluid gender and her down-to-earth personality.

He Is My Master

He Is My Master (これが私の御主人様, Kore ga Watashi no Goshujin-sama) is a gag comedy manga which ran in Monthly Shōnen Gangan, later spun off into a television anime series in the harem genre with a lolicon aspect. The manga is authored by two individuals: Mattsu (まっつー) who does the story and his ex-wife Asu Tsubaki (椿あす) who does the artwork. Because of their acrimonious split, the manga will probably be drawn by someone else soon.Seven Seas Entertainment announced on November 27, 2006 they now have licensed the right to the English translation of He Is My Master and has begun to release the series July 2007.Sentai Filmworks has licensed the anime and released the complete collection on October 10, 2009; with distribution handled by Section23 Films.

Higurashi When They Cry

Higurashi: When They Cry (ひぐらしのなく頃に, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, lit. When the Evening Cicadas Cry), known simply as When They Cry for the North American release of the anime adaptation, is a Japanese murder mystery dōjin soft visual novel series produced by 07th Expansion. The games are built on the NScripter game engine and are playable on the Windows operating system. The first game in the series, Onikakushi-hen, was released on August 10, 2002, and the eighth and final game in the original PC series, Matsuribayashi-hen, was released on August 13, 2006. While the first four games carried the overall title Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, the next four games were produced under the title Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai. A bonus fan disc called Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei was released on December 31, 2006. In addition to the original series, new story arcs were created in manga form and in video games for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS in order to expand upon the story. The original eight PC releases were released in English by MangaGamer in 2009 and 2010. The series focuses on a group of young friends living in the rural village of Hinamizawa and the strange events that occur in 1983.

Two sets of drama CDs were produced, one by Wayuta and the other by Frontier Works. Novelizations of the game series were released by Kodansha Box between August 2007 and March 2009. A manga series adapted from the games began with eight different manga artists working separately on one to three of the multiple story arcs and were published by Square Enix and Kadokawa Shoten. The manga was licensed for release in English in North America by Yen Press under the title Higurashi: When They Cry and the first volume was released in November 2008. Following the manga's release in Japan, two anime television series were produced by Studio Deen in 2006 and 2007; a third anime adaptation was released as an original video animation (OVA) series in 2009. The first anime series was licensed by Geneon Entertainment in English, but the license expired in 2011. Sentai Filmworks has since licensed both anime seasons and the Rei OVAs. A live-action film adaptation of the series, directed by Ataru Oikawa, premiered in Japanese theaters in May 2008, with a sequel released in May 2009. A six-episode live-action television series adaptation premiered in Japan in May 2016, and a four-episode sequel premiered in November 2016.

List of harem (genre) anime and manga

These lists display stories according to the role harem plays in them.


Maburaho (Japanese: まぶらほ) is a romantic school comedy light novel series written by Toshihiko Tsukiji, illustrated by Eiji Komatsu and serialized in Gekkan Dragon Magazine. The light novel was adapted into a manga illustrated by Miki Miyashita and later developed into a 24 episode anime series produced by J.C.Staff and broadcast by WOWOW in Japan.

The series is about the story of Kazuki Shikimori, a second year student of the prestigious magic school, Aoi Academy. Unlike ordinary people who can use magic fewer than a hundred times and several of his classmates, who can use magic several thousand times, Kazuki can only use his magic eight times before he turns to ash. His life changes when it is revealed that Kazuki is descended from a line of world-famous magicians and he has the potential to father the most powerful magician in the world. Suddenly three girls, Yuna Miyama, Kuriko Kazetsubaki and Rin Kamishiro, enter Kazuki's life in order to obtain his valuable genes.

A.D. Vision (ADV) acquired the English language distribution rights of the anime series in March 2004 and released it under its ADV Films division. Later the same year, ADV acquired the English language rights to the manga, which is released under the ADV Manga division.

Magical girlfriend

A magical girlfriend, exotic girlfriend, supernatural lover, monster girlfriend, or nonhuman woman, is a female (or male, in rare cases) stock character often associated with romantic comedy anime and manga series, and is sometimes considered a genre of its own, or as the leading lady of the "fantastic romance" genre, which combines the fantasy and romance genres.As Thomas LaMarre states, "Anime fans become familiar with a whole range of female

figures that are either not really human (robots, aliens, deities, animals), or that possess extra-human powers of some kind or another (from cyborg enhancements to magical or psychic abilities), which take them beyond the merely human woman."Magical girlfriends can be one or many in a single series (always attached to the male lead). Because of the tendency for rivals to appear even when there is one female lead and because of the unnatural gender balance among the cast, magical girlfriend comedies are often conflated with harem comedies. A good example of this conflation is Oh My Goddess! which is "one of the prototypical 'harem' titles" despite the short-lived nature of most of the romantic rivalries.

Nakaimo - My Sister Is Among Them!

Nakaimo - My Sister Is Among Them! (この中に1人、妹がいる!, Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru!) is a Japanese light novel series by Hajime Taguchi. It was adapted into an anime television series by Studio Gokumi. The anime was aired between July 6 and September 28, 2012. The anime series is licensed by Sentai Filmworks and streamed on Crunchyroll and Anime Network.


Rizelmine (りぜるまいん, Rizerumain) is a manga series written and illustrated by Yukiru Sugisaki. The manga was originally serialized for six chapters in the Kadokawa Shoten magazine Ace Next from November 2001 to April 2002 with a single tankōbon collection released on March 22, 2002. The manga was translated into English and published in the North America by Tokyopop on August 9, 2005. An anime adaptation co-produced by m.o.e, Imagin, and Madhouse aired on Japan's Kids Station in 2002, but has not been licensed in English. Rizelmine was split into two seasons, both containing 12 episodes each. The first season aired April 2, 2002 through June 18, 2002. The second season, titled Rizelmine II, aired October 5, 2002 through December 21, 2002.


Shuffle! (シャッフル!, Shaffuru!) is a Japanese visual novel developed by Navel. It was originally released as an adult game for Windows on January 30, 2004. It was subsequently followed by an all-ages release for the PlayStation 2 (PS2) and an expanded adult release for Windows. The Windows version was localized in English by MangaGamer in 2009, and the PS2 version was localized in English by YumeHaven in 2016 on Steam. The gameplay in Shuffle! follows a branching plot line which offers pre-determined scenarios and courses of interaction and focuses on the appeal of the female main characters. Shuffle! has been re-made into an expanded version called Shuffle! Essence+. It has expanded routes for the original five main heroines as well as new routes for six other characters. Shuffle! also has three spin-off sequels: Tick! Tack!, Really? Really! and Shuffle! Love Rainbow.

Shuffle! has made several transitions to other media. There have been two manga series based on the visual novel. The first was serialized in Kadokawa Shoten's magazine Comptiq between December 2003 and 2006. The second was a comic anthology published by Kadokawa Shoten between July 2004 and December 2005. Two anime adaptations were produced by the animation studio Asread. The first anime was twenty-four episodes in length and was broadcast in Japan between July 2005 and January 2006. The second series was a twelve-episode readaptation and was broadcast between January and March 2007. Seven light novels, two fanbooks, nine drama CDs, and seven radio drama CDs adaptations have also been produced.

The visual novel was well received whereas the first anime adaptation received mixed reviews. Across the national semi-monthly ranking of bishōjo games in amount sold in Japan, the limited edition of Shuffle! premiered in second place at the time of its release and remained in the top 50 for an additional three and a half-months. The normal edition premiered in ninth place at the time of its release and remained in the top 50 for an additional three half-months. Critics of the anime series were divided between whether or not the anime series set itself apart from other series in the harem genre and as to the quality of its audio and visual aspects.

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