Category Archives: Editorials

Happy First Birthday, Anifile: Our Top 5 Posts from 2014!


Ani_firstbirthday

So I was sitting here and realised that today was a special day. Not only because it’s the premiere day of my third show for Anifile, but it marks the first anniversary of AnifileReviews.com. Yeah, on January 11th 2014, I set up this website. A year later and we have three video shows, over four hundred and fifty thousands hits, a committed support network on Patreon and we even got quoted on Animax for their Parasyte marathon promotions. Neat!

So how to celebrate? Well, apart from the cute birthday cake and sketch we got from my friend Dawnrie, I thought it would be a cool idea to list the five most popular posts from our first year. It’s a varied mix but here I’ll list them all and post links [so they can get even more popular!]

Before we begin, I do wish to thank you all for sticking with Anifile and enjoying our content. Without you guys, there wouldn’t be anything here, so I give you thanks from the heart of my bottom. Right, let’s begin!

#5 – Our Top Ten Page [as of September 2014]

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Anifile’s top ten page generated over four thousands hits in the past year. It chronicles my favourite ten anime of all time and has generated a fair range of debate while it’s been online. One of the first pages I created for the site, it’s updated semi-regularly. It depends if an anime has made a big enough impact or whether an anime has fallen from grace. I’m looking at you, Attack on Titan.

#4 – No Game, No Life REVIEW

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One of the first reviews I wrote for the Spring 2014 season proved to be one of the most popular. Over five thousand hits for this one. Despite the fanservice, the colour palette of this anime has proved to be a massive hit and I’m even now seeing the manga getting an English release after barely a year. In any case, this is one of the most iconic anime of the year and one of the most relatable.

#3 – Knights of Sidonia REVIEW

sidonia_1
Six thousand hits later and this show is just raking in the kudos on this website! The review was a little reserved at first but after I’d watched more for my video review, the praise skyrocketed! It is the most popular single anime review on the website for 2014.

#2 – Bad Fanfiction Theatre: Fusion vs Fusion VIDEO

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Now we stretch out to eight thousand hits for the most popular Bad Fanfiction Theatre entry. Naturally since it’s Dragonball Z and has Broly in it. Yeah. Plus PurpleEyesWTF’s excellent cameo. He’s a cool guy and this was a funny fanfiction to read and this got a lot of hilarious comments.

#1 – Our Top 5 Anime of Winter 2014

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Wow. This single article got OVER THREE TIMES more posts than the number two post! Over twenty eight thousands visits to this page. Granted this was posted back in March but it got a lot of traffic from a lot of interested readers. Since this was my first list for the website for current anime, I had a lot of pressure to make it good yet fair but it looks like it worked! Yay!

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So what does 2015 have in store for Anifile? Well, we have Googledegook getting off the ground and a second season of Bad Fanfiction Theatre plus the return of Anifile video reviews and articles. So we do have varied content for you guys for the year ahead. We shall be here to help you choose cool new anime to watch as well as be your anime internet pal.

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Anifile’s Top 10 Anime of 2014


So the end of 2014 has come and all the anime are wrapping up for a Christmas break before another year of anime begins in 2015. I apologise immensely for not getting out my reviews for the Fall season…

[this video explains why in more detail]

In short, professional work took precedent and TeamFourStar content ate up the rest of the time. HOWEVER – I have been able to catch up on some of the anime and tabulate them into this list. Two make the cut! The Top Ten Anime of 2014 according to Anifile. Let’s waste any more time and get on with the show starting at number ten.

#10 – I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying

husbandissaying_0FULL REVIEW

Despite this anime being only four minutes in length per episode, it is a sweet story of two people who marry for convenience and their mutual feelings of futility which quickly becomes a genuine fondness for one another. It’s short, sharp and mostly funny despite the cultural divide between East and West. If this had been a full length show, maybe it would be higher up this list; or maybe not. Its brevity makes its potent. It’s four panel comic origins have been sustained and indeed improved upon. Definitely give this anime a watch, the whole series will barely take up an hour of your time. Especially if you love otaku gags!

#9 – Gugure! Kokkuri-san

One of two anime from this season that I didn’t get to review fully but I did keep an eye on it and I’m so glad that I did. It’s a hilariously dark comedy which is also a four-panel comic in origin; but it works in a full-fat episode. Cleverly pacing its comedic elements with endearing touches which have quickly become an internet smash and one that Sentai Filmworks shall spread further. There’s the whole gamut of comedy here – from slapstick to wordplay to one-liners to seriously macabre skits. If you’re looking for something different, then the tale of a hermit-like elementary school who summons a fox spirit after playing a game of Kokkuri and their journey together shall satisfy you a lot!

#8 – Majimoji Rurumo

majimoji_1FULL REVIEW

I think this year has seen anime which start to buck the trend of their respective genres and instead choose to satirise them or bring new life into them. Indeed, the fallen witch Rurumo is a prime candidate for this notion. You think that when she comes into Kato’s life, she’ll be the typical transfer student; nope! She works in the school cafeteria. Unexpected! There are lots of moments in this series which don’t follow the traditional route of harem anime [although it DOES come close at times] but it staves off convention enough to present something truly unique which can only be good! I recommend this to anyone wanting a light-hearted magical comedy that wants something new!

#7 – One Week Friends

oneweek_1FULL REVIEW

One Week Friends is one of those shows which makes me proud to be an anime fan. It’s an example of how the medium can tackle a serious issue like mental trauma and turn it into a tale which is laced with positivity and love. Brains Base has produced an animated gem along with Matcha Hazuki’s brilliant premise. It might not be as action-packed or filled with gut-busting comedy to satisfy most slice-of-life fans, but it’s a touching and pragmatic story. It marks what true friendship really is; stand by your friend and help them through their woes, be there for them in their darkest hour and in their moments of happiness. I was blown away with how well this whole package came together and this is definitely a candidate for my top five list for this season.

#6 – When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace

What an interesting concept. Instead of making people with superpowers a rarity, why not make them common and those without powers the figures of interest or derision. Jurai, our main guy, has to deal with something worse; a lame power. A pithy fire…blob. This series may be unpredictable, but perhaps that’s what we need in a show these days; something we don’t expect. One episode could be action-packed, the other quite relaxed. You don’t know for sure! There is a smattering of character development but this anime is clearly meant to poke fun at the likes of Haruhi Suzumiya, D-Frag and all other school club anime be they imbued with superpowers or not. I can dig it!

#5 – Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun

nozaki_1FULL REVIEW

Ah, yes. This had to be on this list. It’s such an adorable show with an amazing soundtrack; so peppy! An adventure into the world of manga with a team of quirky individuals who work together to produce an acclaimed creation free of any awkward suggestiveness or nuances of sex. It’s simply a joy to watch and will generate a smile and leave audience members pleased to have dedicated their time to it. I was so glad that I got to see this and by the huge amount of requests I got to review it. I was not disappointed in the slightest. Tsubaki’s four-panel work has easily generated a four-star anime. Perhaps five stars for some. A must-see; it’s easy to pick up and understand and requires little background knowledge to fully appreciate.

#4 – Nobunagun

Nobunagun_1FULL REVIEW

This anime is absolutely bonkers. Despite the alien threat, there are ridiculous heroes with absurd names and powers which creates an aura of epicness which is hard to emulate anywhere else; you can’t explain it, you have to see it to believe it. I may not be a gun aficionado, but I like some farcical action from time to time and the way that Shio [a gun fanatic] conducts herself both in and out of action means that I want to get behind her as she is not a whiny wimp or a callous prude; she’s a scared little girl who has felt out of place in the world and now she has found her calling. It’s wonderful to see her so happy, blasting aliens into itty bitty pieces. How sweet.

#3 – Sabagebu (Survival Game Club)

sagegabu_1FULL REVIEW

This comedy is amazing. It wrong-foots you every step of the way; what you think is going to happen doesn’t and instead you’re left with hilarity. Sabagebu is one of those shows that you simply have to see. I was sold after only a minute when I witnessed in admiration Momoka effectively giving the bird to tradition and carving her own path in the narrative. Girls packing heat! Not only that but it’s more accessible than most anime as most of its tropes and quirks are framed around Hollywood action movies and as such feels familiar to American audiences.

#2 – Kiseijuu (Parasyte)

Parasyte_0FULL REVIEW

Parasyte. THE standout anime of the second-half of 2014. A twisted and graphic romp which doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to detailing the sheerly horrifying idea of a parasite infecting humanity and turning them into terrifying abominations [If you watch episode one, then you might want to cover your eyes when a dog gets infected. Yeah].The package is mostly perfect; a right balance of horror, intelligent plot devices, emotional capacity and even a little bit of comedy here and there. Despite the iffy soundtrack in some places, the feeling of tension is spot-on. The buddy act of Shinichi and Migi quickly turns into a formidable team from what was a bumbling one-sided duo. It’s a manga from the late eighties which has now had its chance to shine and it shall now cements its place in the pantheon of manga and anime.

#1 – Knights of Sidonia

sidonia_1FULL REVIEW

Yes. Despite the constant takedowns of my reviews praising this show [Thanks, Molebeat.] I will stand by this fantastic series and celebrate the fact it’s spearheaded Netflix’s recent sojourn into anime on its streaming platform. A ‘Netflix Original’, the story of Tanikaze answering the call to protect humanity from the evil Gauna menace is an accomplished tale using cutting-edge technology to present a wholly 3D anime experience in a polished way. I’ve exhausted all I can say about this anime as I’ll be repeating myself; check out my main review for all of what I love about the show.

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So there we have it. Anifile’s top ten anime of the year. You might be wondering what were my worst anime of the year. Well…hold on and you’ll find out soon enough.

I once again apologise for the lack of reviews from this season but I’ll work on rectifying that in the new year, ready for our first anniversary! Stay tuned!

The November Update


It’s the twenty-fifth of November and things have been quiet here recently. I assure you all that there is a reason for this silence. Allow me to brief you in in this short little update – there is a fair bit of good news to be had in this post!
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First off, the lack of reviews. I know that my lack of reviews has been a disappointment for this season and this can be attributed to a combination of things. I took a full-time contract at a holiday company making videos five days a week which is very intensive when it comes to producing content; as well as commute two hours a day. By the time I get home I then have work on either TeamFourStar related content or the next Bad Fanfiction Theatre to complete which limits my time to simply sit down and watch anime. I’ve had to interrupt my watching of Shirobako [which will be the next one] many times to complete work. May I point out that I am not complaining about all this; I’ve longed to be busy with work, paid work at that. It’s just that things take a hit and until my contract ends [middle of December as of writing] then reviews will be limited. I have content for Anifile coming out shortly though which is the following:

– Lootcrate Unboxings [October and November Double Bill]
– Bad Fanfiction Theatre [Episodes 8 and 9]
– Masako Tries Japanese Candy

That last one is new and something I can properly announce.

141648662011252Starting December, Anifile will be showcasing the latest products from the store, Japan Sweets. It’s pretty simple really; I try new Japanese sweets and delicacies that are available from the British-based outfit…including some pretty weird stuff! As for a title for the show, I have yet to come up with one so if you have any ideas, tweet me at @MasakoX and I’ll consider them. This is a big deal for Anifile as it marks our biggest affiliation to date. In return, I will be writing a short blog to go with the video over on their website. Exciting and tasty times!

I also apologise to my Patrons if content has been lacking but I do my best to provide my videos to you twenty four hours before general release. Don’t hesitate to speak over there, we’re a friendly bunch. If you want to join us then go to http://www.patreon.com/MasakoX and sign up – every little helps.

In other news, I am addressing the lack of VIDEO audio reviews over on our YouTube channel. This is down to my channel receiving two strikes because of my Sidonia and Locodol reviews; two more and the channel goes down for good. I’d rather that not happen and so to limit the chances of that happening, those items will be curtailed. If it helps, it means that reviews are quicker to produce so that once I do find time I can get two reviews out a day potentially. I will make a video to elaborate this over on the YouTube channel [Almost at twenty five thousand subscribers which is neat. :) ]

Finally, we got over four hundred thousand hits last week which is a brilliant achievement. Thank you all for visiting and stick around for more to come. Happy Holidays!

– Masako

Welcome to Anime! Which Series Should I Watch?


[Titlecard courtesy of Frobman ]

Hello! Welcome to anime! You’ve probably been curious about anime ever since you curiously watched that one episode of Naruto or Sailor Moon and thought it was pretty neat; or you saw some cosplayers milling about your hometown during a convention and wondered what the hell was going on…or you might have watched some random stuff that your one friend linked you to. Either way, anime has gotten you curious in some shape or form.

Since the start of this year, I’ve watched over seventy different anime series; some that will stick with me and others that will fade from memory…and some that I wish would. It’s made me think about which series someone new to the medium should get interested in; to help build up their interest further and keep them keen. There’s a lot of debating and everyone is perfectly entitled to their opinion but here is a list of the shows I recommend to anyone getting started. Please note I am not including shows like Naruto, Bleach, Dragonball Z because they have managed to breach the mainstream to some extent. This list comprises twenty series that we fans hold in high regard and wish to shout their praises from the rooftops. Let’s get started!

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Akira: The game changing movie from the 1980s which broke cover thanks to a plucky US distributor. Since then, the dystopian setting of Neo Tokyo has generated a strong interest in anime outside of Japan. There had been nothing else like it before then when it came to animation and it set the trend spectacularly.

Azumanga Daioh: This little comedy is a perfect example of the slice-of-life genre with a lot of comedy thrown in. It might seem a little bizarre, but it’s perfect at demonstrating to newcomers that anime can be weird and surreal whilst also tugging at the heartstrings at the same time.

Berserk: Most newcomers to anime had probably seen Akira and were captivated by the shocking visuals and epic plot. Berserk takes that and puts it into a medieval setting with a lot of sadistic and twisted imagery which has endured for nearly a quarter of a century in some form of media. If you like knights and warriors killing each other gruesomely with an undertone framed around the theme of witchcraft and devilry then you’ll love this!

Cardcaptor Sakura: We’re not talking Cardcaptors; we’re talking about the original cut. There’s a lot more to this series than the initial English release portrayed. If you felt something was off, there was. You need to go the original source and find out what you missed. Not to mention it’s probably one of the best magical girl series of the nineties.

Code Geass: More giant robots! I think why there are loads of mech shows on this list is because it’s something that all boys and men can get behind; it’s machines and these machines are blowing up other machines! Not to mention it manages to sustain drama in more sophisticated ways too meaning it’s accessible to anybody in some manner!

Cowboy Bebop: This has to be here out of sheer coolness. A western-themed space opera with action and spaceships and adult themes. It’s a very mature series that can also be quite quirky as well. Spike and friends collect bounties in an unforgettably gritty drama which has become ubiquitous in anime circles.

Death Note: In 2006, anime upped the ante. This series was at the forefront of that movement. A story about a guy who is bestowed the gift of death for those who he has deemed worthy of such a fate. Everybody has a moment where they wish they had that kind of power and Light Yagami [our lead] gets it; doesn’t mean it’s an easy ride. A superb art style, a kille soundtrack and one of the most iconic stories out there.

FLCL [FuriKuri]: This anime is quite polarising. Some love it because it’s rather avant-garde and surreal, especially for the early noughties. Others hate it because Haruko [the leading lady] who can be very grating and causes heaps of trouble for our lead male Naoto. Although the characters and premise are strange at times, this short six-episode series is worth a look because it pushes the boat out narratively speaking and isn’t afraid of that.

Fullmetal Alchemist…Brotherhood: Although this and the original 2004 series are both great, the re-imagining of the story of the Elric brothers gets the nod for this list on the grounds that it is a more faithful adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa’s vision. If you love supernatural powers mixed with tons of guns and brotherly love, this is a good start!

Gurren Lagann: How could I not have this here? Gurren Lagann takes the giant robot concept and goes nuts with it. The level of style, detail, uniqueness and technical mastery at play makes this a grand candidate for this list. It is also rather accessible as it isn’t modelled on a particular country; it’s a post-apocalyptic wasteland populated by original characters and amazingly dazzling robots!

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure [and the manga]: If you’re bored of what’s on TV and in the cinemas, then look no further. JoJo is crazy good fun which is recently going through another surge in popularity. If you’re not sure what it’s about, I’ll try to sum it up in one sentence. Men being fabulous and kicking each other’s asses mixed with TONS of references to Western rock music! Need I say more?

Kanon: I choose this over its sister anime Clannad [which I like too] because it’s the more rounded and simplistic story from the Japanese game studio Key [which made the original source material for both shows]. Both have a strong cast of girls to choose from but Kanon takes the cake simply because of the sheer drama and empathy that I felt whilst watching.

Lupin III: One of the longest running franchises in anime. Over forty years old and still going strong, Lupin III is one of the world’s greatest criminal minds as well as being one of the most likeable, ingenious and hilarious. You don’t care he’s stealing millions of dollars’ worth of jewellery, you love the guy! He also has the best team behind him and the most inept detective chasing after them which leads to a timeless formula where the bad guys come out on top and you’re OK with that.

Martian Successor Nadesico: My FAVOURITE anime. If you are looking for some satire when it comes to giant robots then this show is your best bet. I recommend this over Neon Genesis Evangelion because it does the whiny robot pilot gimmick a lot better and also I’ve not seen all of Evangelion so I cannot recommend it nor do I particularly want to! A colourful cast, a great looking ship and robot coupled with a serious message about bureaucracy overriding humanity and people putting a stop to it. A masterclass at balancing comedy and drama. Skip the movie though.

Mobile Suit Gundam: You thought Transformers was awesome? Wait until you see Gundam. This put the giant robot squarely in the minds of boys everywhere since 1979. Dozens of series owe Gundam a huge favour and it’s not hard to see why. It set the standard of what a series about mechanical warriors requires: killer robot designs, super powers, SWORDS and tons of weaponry. Noteworthy series from the Gundam universe include the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Gundam Wing, Turn A Gundam, Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam.

Outlaw Star: It is a fantastic sci-fi tale with tons of action and comedy but it’s a lot more light-hearted and doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you find Cowboy Bebop a little heavy, this show is the way to go!

Ranma 1/2: If you want to get a good understanding about what Japan is and some of its cultural traditions whilst being entertained, then this series is your best bet. Made by Rumiko Takahashi, this romantic comedy is a classic which should not be ignored. Plus it’s got PANDAS!

Steins;Gate: I’ve not seen this series come up often on recommended lists; that surprised me. This epic sci-fi tale explores the intricacies of cause and effect and other aspects of time travel whilst impeccably sustaining high drama. It also knows when to have a laugh every now and again to relieve the stress levels a little bit. A masterpiece of the modern era which is a little more cerebral than most would expect.

Studio Ghibli Films:  Hayao Miyazaki is often described as the Japanese Walt Disney and with good reason. He and his team formed a studio which has made some of the most iconic, emotional and inspirational films in the past thirty years and acted as a global ambassador for anime and why it’s so great. Most of their movies are worth a watch but the five I recommend to watch right now are Spirited Away, Grave of the Fireflies, Laputa, Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke.

Tenchi Muyo: Like Ranma 1/2 but containing a lot more supernatural elements. Plus the cast of characters is more colourful and outlandish. One of the best examples of the harem anime genre.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: This 2006 production was a turning point in anime design and look. Haruhi Suzumiya and her supernatural gang of espers, time travellers, aliens plus the token normal guy put a studio on the map because of its fantastic premise, catchy music and eye-catching visual style. The first season is stunning, the second season is worth watching but be aware of the Endless Eight, that’s all I’ll say.

Urusei Yatsura [AKA Everybody Hates Ataru]: One of the first anime I watched. It’s a very strange show based on space devils, love triangles and comedic storytelling. A good example of explaining the origins of the harem anime.

Usagi Drop: This sweet story about a girl who has recently become an orphan. Daikichi, whose grandfather was the father of this girl [Rin] takes her in after the rest of his family practically disown her on the grounds that Rin’s mother was a mistress and therefore illegitimate. This unlikely move on Daikichi’s part changes the character unequivocally and is the ultimate display of human compassion.

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This list is a starting point for you. From here you will find shows like the ones I mentioned or shows that break the mould I’ve established; in the end, it’s all good! There are more shows I want to recommend but that requires a little more understanding of anime before viewing. This list is here to gently introduce anime and what it is. These shows have things in common with western media and act as a great interim production. In any case, good hunting!

What do you think of this list? Are there shows I missed out or you would recommend yourself? Leave a comment below and let’s spread the word of anime.

EDITORIAL: Screaming for Harems


Anime is a Japanese form of animation and it has its own creative stamp in the world of two dimensional narratives. One of its most prominent tropes is that of the harem. What do I mean by that? Well, let’s take a look at the meaning of the word as according to the Oxford English Dictionary. According to the tome, a harem is a seventeenth century Muslim term for a group of women or maids in an Arabic household. It is derived from the word harama which translates as “be prohibited”. A traditional harem would be formed in private quarters and consist of entirely women. These women would be a mixture of wives, concubines or female servants of a male master. These parts of the house would be strictly private and only those part of a harem and the master himself would be allowed inside. If you wanted in, the master would have to invite you. These rooms would be lavishly decorated and spacious in size so as to denote luxury of the highest order. Harems still exist today but are far less desirable given modern culture.

Source: ReturnofKings.com

So why does anime use the term? Quite simple really. A harem anime is used to describe a show in which a single male character has multiple female interests vying for his affection. The number of women or girls in an anime harem can range from three to upwards of thirty in the infamous series Negima! Magister Negi Magi. A typical harem anime though usually consists of four or maybe five female members. Each character has her own personality to differ one from the other so as not to cause overlap. Typical character archetypes consist of the plain next-door type, the sporty type, the shy type, the brainy type, the aggressive type and the ditzy one. Most manga and anime creators gravitate to one of these girls for the main character with the rest of the cast acting as window dressing or as plot devices to try and win the male lead’s affections away from the intended target; it ultimately is futile though but it gives audiences hope…false hope.

Source: fanpop.com

OK so I know what is, so when did it start? That’s open to debate but the consensus of anime fans agree that the strongest influence on the modern anime harem movement was Rumiko Takahashi, the famous manga artist and anime champion. Some think it was her breakout title Urusei Yatsura [1978] which begun the trend; others argue back that it was her later title Ranma 1/2 [1987] that sparked the traditional harem genre. Both anime make a strong case for the title of grandfather of the anime harem; but I would have to side with Ranma 1/2 on this occasion. As much as I think that Urusei Yatsura ticks some of the boxes but the count of girls vying for Ataru’s love are Lum and Shinobu; others interests are flashes in the pan or not REAL competitors. Ranma 1/2 takes the credit of the first modern harem anime because of the number of female characters after Ranma. There’s the leading lady Akane, her sisters, the Chinese outsider Shampoo and even the sadistic Kodachi; six realistic competitors for Ranma…seven if you count Ranma’s female form I guess! After the show’s success and long life both in anime and manga form, more anime began to spring up using a similar format with Tenchi Muyo [1992] being one of the standout examples from the early nineties. Over the next two and a half decades the genre has become a guaranteed success but because of that immense exposure it has also become a bloated juggernaut . Why though?

Source: fanpop.com

In most harem anime, the plot is laid out thusly: the main character arrives on the scene and meets Girl A. Usually Girl A is the winner in the race for the guy, but then we get Girl B thrown into the mix followed by Girl C and D. Later on, if it wasn’t complicated enough, we get Girl E or maybe F. Each girl has a to-and-fro moment where they get either an episode or a mini-arc that develops their character and makes the lead guy question his love but he ultimately goes for Girl A. One example of this trend is Love Hina [2000]. At first Keitaro loves Naru despite the fact she hates his guts, or at least does on the surface. He starts to doubt himself and starts to fall for the younger Shinobu because she’s more caring. I didn’t like Naru at all when watching; but it was OK because I liked Shinobu and Mitsune, the laid-back older girl. That’s why harem anime exist; if you don’t like the main girl, pick another one and follow her, cheer her on and make a shrine for her on her birthday!! [OK, don’t do that last one.] The point is that there are multiple personalities for anybody to choose from. This applies wholeheartedly to both genders when you factor in the term reverse harem – the same concept but with one girl amongst several guys [Fruits Basket and Ouran High School Host Club being prime examples…Ranma 1/2 too if you want to be analytical about it, there ARE a lot of attractive male characters in there too.] Gender doesn’t matter, the concept stands!

Source: wallpoper.com [Tenchi Muyo]
Despite the appeal of endearing casts, I think there’s more to the harem genre than simply having a pick of a certain litter. Each girl is a sort of adventure for the main character and makes the story more interesting. It’s all part of the quest for the main lead and to discover who it is they truly want. Going back to Love Hina for a moment and the whole Naru-gate. Keitaro is a very nervous guy with a faltering future and little skill when dealing with girls. During the course of the anime he has to tackle his fear head-on with multiple personalities in order to come out a more rounded person. At first he has a crush on Naru and will do anything to be with her. Being exposed to the other cast members, his crush becomes a full-on love after traversing the other members of the Hinata Apartments. More formulaic examples are the series Kanon and Amagami SS. In both shows, the main character gets around two to four episodes with each girl and has some kind of significant plot with each of them so as to give each cast member equal time before picking the true girl for them. It’s like they are trying before they are buying; I’m not sure about it, it seems rather clinical rather than equal. I think I prefer the traditional model, it feels more fluid.

Of course, not all harems are good. School Days, anyone? Yes the infamous story of how one guy begins the story with a crush on one girl and then is corrupted when the harem model starts to make itself known [around episode four or five]. This is where harems could be construed as ‘bad’. Harems promote infidelity to those who are easily suggestible. A typical anime fan would pick one character to follow; as does the normal male lead; not Makoto! He isn’t satisfied with one and instead makes his way through eight female characters before going back to his original choice…even though he ditched her for being boring! To be fair, it was all the fault of Sekai [Makoto’s wing-woman] for spoiling his brain and ultimately losing his head [literally]. I really hate this show, but in this discussion, it’s noteworthy because it completely decimates the traditional harem construct and corrupts it something awful! At least it’s original, I guess – still doesn’t make it like the show any more!

So does the harem genre still hold water today? Yes, it does. There’s demand for it and so long as that remains the case, that’s how it shall remain. My issue with it is that the concept has become rather stale and needs more complex storytelling to keep it relevant and fresh. The recent anime Majimoji Rurumo captures my sentiments perfectly in that it throws out the usual trappings of a harem anime whilst retaining the look and feel of one; sort of like an anti-harem. That’s what writers should do, put some satire into it!

TL;DR – Experiment with your harem anime and add some twists and turns; don’t follow the pack!