Recently, I have become aware of some disdain for those cookie-cutter harem series I watch every season. And here I was, under the impression that they were the best things anime had to offer.
The nice thing about harems is that there’s almost always at least one good girl. Granted, the best girl will never ever win – see harem anime rule #7, but at least she’s there. And more and more harem series are ending inconclusively, with one obviously favored heroine, but nothing written in stone, so you can still hope.
One bad thing about all of these girls is that, since coming up with that many unique character designs for every series is a rather lot of work, anime studios have a tendency to just take cliched characters, add a name and change the hair, and poof – completely new character.
In fact, if you took off the hair from every single harem character, I’m not sure you’d be able to differentiate between the similar ones.
This list is not particularly in order, simply, the first five are members of the harem, the sixth is sometimes part of the harem, and the seventh and eight are not part of the harem.
7. Sadistic Ojou-sama
I’m actually seeing this one a bit more lately, but I still haven’t gotten particularly bored of it, and I don’t think I’ve seen a terribly bad example, which normally lowers my opinion of the trope. Also, sadistic may be too strong a word for this.
Apparently there are three kinds of rich girls in the world: sadists, the I have more money and therefore are better than thou type, and the really sickly and delicate type. Not only are a lot of ojou-samas sadists, for some reason the majority of sadist characters are ojou-samas. I guess you have to have money to do that kind of thing.
6. Haughty Ojou-sama
This probably has a slight overlap with a tsundere, but so do about half of the other character stereotypes. The classic case of “I have more money, so I am better than you”. This one kind of makes sense though.
Drill hair is a necessity. Not from an anime, but Karin from Street Fighter is a perfect example.
Nooo. I really didn’t want to have to put this one, because loli tsunderes used to be the best thing that happened to anime. However, I have since moved on to expressionless lolis (Tsutsukakushi of Hentai Ouji, Goemon of Oda Nabuna No Yabou, Koneko of DxD), and so I am now able to put this. Probably one of the most immediately visible stereotypes, if a loli is the main girl, there is a good chance she’s a tsundere. Come to think of it, quite a large portion of main girls are tsundere – maybe I should write a post on it.
The problem with loli tsunderes is that you get kind of tired of them. Especially when they very very rarely show their dere side, and their tsun side is particularly annoying. Also, for some reason a lot of loli tsunderes in particular have a specific catchphrase, unlike tsunderes in general, who are normally just like “Die hentai!”
4. The Childhood Friend That Never, Ever gets the Guy
Harem anime rule # 6 – the childhood friend will never ever win. Ever. It doesn’t matter if this is the girl that has known the MC the longest, or promised to marry him when they were kids, or lives right next to him, she will never win. She will also never be the main character. This one is fairly easy to find examples for, just take every single childhood friend ever.
3. Big Boobs (and nothing else)
This category probably isn’t really fair, but I’m referring to the character’s whose breasts are their most defining features. For example, basically the whole cast of High School of the Dead. The main problem I have with this character type is that
it’s the farthest you can get from a loli it works enough for studios to keep doing it over and over. If harems are the worst example of character development in anime, then walking boobs are the worst example of character development in harems.
Aside from the boobs, the miniscule personality tends to vary. Originally, I had this as just clumsy girls with big boobs, because that’s one of my absolute hated character types, but I decided that big boobs alone was more collective. That being said, big boobs does often go hand in hand with the ditzy type – it’s easier to get in fanservice that way.
3. The Fujoshi
Generally the only female character to offhandedly say perverted things. The base character wears glasses, and likes BL. There may be exceptions, but generally it comes back to that. It’s fairly hard for the fujoshi to be anything other than comic relief, even if she makes it into the harem.
By far the worst person to be in a harem anime. It would seriously suck to have your best friend get a harem, especially if your best friend was like the main character of a harem. Because any character of any sort of depth would soon commit suicide, sidekicks, by design, must be extraordinarily flat. So much so that they can contest with the main character for forgettability. Generally the sidekick takes the role of the comic relief, often perversely.
Normally this one occurs in school harems. Chances are, if the harem protagonist has a friend, the friend will be a pervert.
1. The “Main” Character
Yes, first on this list is harem protagonist #6835. The general opinion of studios is that a strong main character will dilute the heroines, therefore, the majority of main characters are normally very similar. Protagonists tend to be rather average height, average looks, average intelligence, average athletic ability, less than average social skills, and extremely beta.
I would have lots of pictures of example of this kind of main character, but I can’t remember any. They’re that forgettable.
Despite all of my complaining, I do believe that some of these stereotypes are changing. Recently there’ve been a few super-alpha harem leads. Loli tsunderes are slowly dying out. Both of the ojou-sama types I mentioned don’t occur enough to really get on your nerves. Some things show no signs of changing though. Sidekicks and childhood friends still never get any love. And unfortunately, it appears that boobs are here to stay. Pity.