We watch anime for all sorts of reasons. There are sports anime that motivate us to be something bigger than yourself and then there are anime with poignant themes that can even make us cry your heart out. But amongst the vast array of anime genres, Harem is one genre that often makes no sense.
With its simple formulaic approach that revolves around one lucky guy and the plethora of women who crave him, Harem anime shows create a weird dichotomy in context with real-life and that’s what makes them so hilarious. However, though almost all of them have similar setups, some harem shows are far better than the others. Here’s the list of best harem anime shows of 2019 that are certainly worth your time.
10. Nobunaga-sensei no Osanazuma
When it comes to women, Nobunaga, a Middle-school teacher, believes that his soulmate will magically appear before him someday. To his surprise, 14-year-old Kichou appears before him—just like he had dreamed—and claims to be his wife. Turns out that she is actually from the Sengoku era and is under the impression that Nobunaga is Nobunaga Oda. As she keeps urging him to have a child with her, a goofy love-comedy ensues between the two.
‘Nobunaga-sensei no Osanazuma’ is in no way original in context with its storyline, but pretty much all anime of the harem genre lack originality. And for the sake of laughter, anime, in general, has no qualms experimenting with the most taboo themes. Surprisingly, though, ‘Nobunaga-sensei no Osanazuma’ stands out a little and draws some copious moments of laughter by creating stark differences between the “boldness” of the past societies compared to the present world.
9. Val x Love
No one will ever call ‘Val X Love‘ a masterpiece but I’m pretty sure most anime viewers would still watch it when no one’s around. It is no hentai, but it very well defies the boundaries of Ecchi. It follows a typical plot where a high school kid named Akutsu Takuma spends his days in utter loneliness. However, one day, all of this changes when Odin blesses him with the responsibility of saving the world alongside beautiful Valkyries, whose powers are only fueled by intimacy.
8. Kawaikereba Hentai demo Suki ni Natte Kuremasu ka?
Keiki Kiryuu, the main character of ‘Kawaikereba Hentai demo Suki ni Natte Kuremasu ka?‘, dreams of having a girlfriend. Unfortunately for him, he’s a bit too shy to approach any of the girls of his school. But with a twist of fate, he receives a love letter one day from a mysterious girl. With this, he sets on an adventure to find his Cinderella, and along the way, he discovers that almost all the girls of his school are not as innocent as they initially seemed.
At its heart, ‘Kawaikereba Hentai demo Suki ni Natte Kuremasu ka?’ offers everything that you would expect from a typical harem. But what makes it mildly amusing is how it never even makes an attempt to portray realistic relationships and brings in some cringy yet entertaining comedy, which revolves around the perversion of its characters.
7. Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest
‘Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest‘ follows the typical narrative of most Isekai anime where the main protagonist gets magically summoned to a whole new world, along with his classmates. The twist here is that, despite being the main character, he only gets a single subpar transmutation skill unlike the rest of his classmates, who acquire a myriad of new abilities.
What follows is his tale of being ridiculed all over again and his quest for survival in an unforgiving world. And then, of course, though harem is not exactly a core theme of this anime, it proves to be quite a significant part of it later on. At the end of the day, almost like all the other anime on this list, ‘Arifureta’ should not be seen with a critical perspective, and as a viewer, you should just laugh away with all the banal comedy that it offers.
6. Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai
Studying, at times, can indeed be the bane of life, but Nariyuki Yuiga, the main character of ‘We Never Learn’, would disagree. He is the top student of his school and he takes immense pride in his hard work and commitment towards his goals. However, life throws a curveball at him. His high school announces that in order to get a VIP scholarship for college, he’ll have to tutor three other girls from his school who are struggling with some of their own subjects. With this, as he tries to tutor his new students, a harem starts to unfold and his simple life turns into a turmoil he never asked for.
‘We Never Learn‘ isn’t really breaking any new ground in the harem genre and even its plot quite elementary, but its sitcom-style shenanigans and fresh comedy keep you engaged throughout its runtime.
5. Wu Dong Qian Kun
‘Wu Dong Qian Kun’ is unlike any other series on this list. Firstly because it’s a Chinese anime. And secondly because, just like almost all the other better known Chinese anime like ‘Douluo Dalu’ and ‘The Outcast‘, it reflects on the rich historical heritage of the Chinese culture by heavily emphasizing on ancient folklore and martial arts. But apart from all of its action and fantastical elements, it also brings in a little bit of harem here and there.
As an anime viewer, if you’re looking for typical harem shows with high school setups and ridiculous comedy, you might want to skip this one. But if you’re looking for something that sidelines harem and brings in a lot more to the table, give this one a shot.
4. Date A Live III
The only reason why Season 3 of ‘Date A Live’ has made it to this list is because of how it comes in tandem with its brilliantly structured predecessors; but apart from that, there’s very little about Season 3 that deserves to be commended. Based on a Japanese light novel series written by Tachibana Koushi with illustrations by Tsunako, ‘Date A Live’ is the anime industry’s attempt to bring something inventive in the world of harem.
And surprisingly, it works really well; at least for the first two seasons, it does. But apart from its evident portrayal of a harem, it also makes parodical references to popular mecha and sci-fi shows and offers some refreshing comedy. Although its season 3 becomes a victim of lethargy, where the creators fail to offer nothing new compared to its previous installments, it still works better than other harem anime.
3. Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo
Amatsuyu “Jouro” Kisaragi life is full of teenage hijinks and dilemmas, but when he finally starts believing that everything will change for the better, he discovers that two of the girls that he has a crush on are actually in love with his best friend. To make things worse, the one girl he truly despises ends up confessing her feelings for him. High school, now, will probably never be the same for him again.
‘Oresuki‘ initially expects you to be familiar with all the typical archetypes of the romance genre, and then slowly, it deconstructs all of these to create comic situations that actually poke fun at other romantic dramas. At the end of the day, it is what you expect it to be but what makes it worthy of your time is its genuinely hilarious comedy.
2. Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata Fine
‘Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata Fine’, also known as ‘Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend‘, is an alternate movie version of an anime series that goes by the same name. Pretty much like all the other shows on this list, ‘Saekano’ is all about the complicated relationships of a young man with the girls of his school who surround him. But the characters of this series have more depth to them and somehow grow as individuals throughout its runtime. This not only makes their dispositions quite relatable but also makes them stand out from all the other one dimensional characters that are portrayed in other similar shows.
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1. 5-toubun no Hanayome
More often than not, since Harem anime easily tend to attract a certain niche of viewers, creators of these anime barely put in any effort on the plot. But while most of these anime are purely driven by the gimmicks of their characters, ‘The Quintessential Quintuplets‘ stands out because of how balanced it is.
It makes sure that each of its characters gets to be in the spotlight, and at the same time, it also brings in some minor twists and turns in its storyline to keep you engaged as a viewer. To put it simply, like every other Harem on this list, even ‘The Quintessential Quintuplets’ qualifies as “guilty pleasure”; however, it’s “guilty pleasure” at its best.
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