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Harem, broadly speaking, is a loose subgenre of anime and manga characterized by a protagonist surrounded, usually amorously, by three or more members of the opposite sex. The most common and practically tantamount scenario is a male surrounded by a group of females; when this is conversed it is informally referred to as a reverse harem. More recent variants include removing the protaganist's opposing sex to allow for yuri harems and yaoi harems (as with Maria-sama ga Miteru). The term is derived from the Arabic "harem", modernly defined outside its original meaning as "a group of women associated in any way with one man or household".
Because romance is rarely the main focus of an entire series, harem structure is ambiguous. The most distinguishable trait is arguably the group of girls who accompany, and in some instances cohabitate with the boy, and while intimacy is just about customary, it is never necessary; when it is present, there must be a minimum of three girls who express it, otherwise two is a love triangle. Additionally, it is not essential for there to be one exclusive boy; many can exist as long as they are given less attention or the story calls for an unusually obscure sex ratio.
Given the archetypical ratio and content of harems,[a] the genre is often criticized for its almost inviting but unnecessary sexual references, known colloquially as fan service. The unrest has been seen particularly in the United States where a mostly female audience find it a sexist misrepresentation of girls and women.
These lists display stories according to the role harem plays in them. The first list shows series in which attraction between a single male/female and/or numerous male(s)/female(s) harem themes play a central role in their storylines. The second list contains stories in which the same subjects are used mostly for comic relief, as fanservice, or for character development in a larger, sometimes unrelated context.
Harem as a central element
Harem as an additional element
- a. ^ "Series" implies any that are designated as a harem.
- Oppliger, John (April 17, 2009). "Ask John: What Distinguishes Harem Anime?". AnimeNation.net. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
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- "Harem definition". dictionary.com. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- Gerald Rathkolb, Clarissa Graffeo, and Daryl Surat. Anime World Order Show # 6 - Thoughtbird and Other Stories Anime World Order.
- Oppliger, John (May 20, 2005). "Ask John: Why Do Americans Hate Harem Anime?". AnimeNation.net. Retrieved April 25, 2008.