AnimeSuki Forums

Register Forum Rules FAQ Members List Social Groups Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   AnimeSuki Forum > Anime Related Topics > General Anime

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2009-09-05, 23:05   Link #1
daeyeth
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Main characters in harem anime are all jerks?

When you think about it...aren't all protagonists of harem anime fundamentally flawed in his morals? Even though he's portrayed as honest and kind hearted or something, make no mistake...he's definitely a two-timing bastard.

Suuuuure he'll be thinking "Oh I like her...but I don't to hurt to other girl!" But he's using that as an excuse to string all of them along at the same time. All he's gotta do is choose one girl and there, problems solved. By not choosing anyone, all the girls think they have a chance.

Well, sometimes when the guy makes it clear who his choice is and other girls still pursue him. But if that's the case, then he would reject them if was actually a decent guy! Suuuure he'll be thinking "Nooo don't hug me, I have a girlfriend!"....then push her away and reject her you wuss!

Harem 101, the guy will never reject physical affection even if he's thinking don't do it.


Obviously harem anime require a suspension of disbelief, since if they weren't morally ambiguous, that'd be the end of the story lol. This is just a discussion for fun
daeyeth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 02:50   Link #2
Ichihara Asako
Horoist
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Yes and no. Your points are valid, I suppose, however it really depends on the harem. Some have been executed better than others, where a clear choice is made and others respect it, though still continue being friends with the protagonist (perhaps a little too touchy-feely still, though...) for example Shuffle, Ah My Goddess and Ai Yori Aoshi. I think the way they went is fine, really.

As you say, they do require a degree of suspension of disbelief. The premises are usually absurd to begin with, and all the girls flocking to guys who are usually mediocre at best is just... yeah. However they still make for amusing scenarios, particularly when a choice is made and the other girls continue their nonsense as if it doesn't matter. I would like to see series where solid choices are made and the other girls are firmly rejected, and more bad ends... not enough bad ends to be had these days.

I wouldn't go so far as to say they're jerks, though. Most harem protagonists are generally nice people, who are pushed around easily by girls who are fairly strong and independent, sans of course the quiet shy type all harems have, who just sit back and wait to get their chance. You can question their morality for being so ambiguous and leading the gaggle of girls on, but only so far, since the premise of pretty much every harem story is total nonsense from the start.
Ichihara Asako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 06:11   Link #3
Triple_R
Center Attraction
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Age: 33
Send a message via AIM to Triple_R
Quote:
Originally Posted by daeyeth View Post
When you think about it...aren't all protagonists of harem anime fundamentally flawed in his morals? Even though he's portrayed as honest and kind hearted or something, make no mistake...he's definitely a two-timing bastard.

Suuuuure he'll be thinking "Oh I like her...but I don't to hurt to other girl!" But he's using that as an excuse to string all of them along at the same time. All he's gotta do is choose one girl and there, problems solved. By not choosing anyone, all the girls think they have a chance.

Well, sometimes when the guy makes it clear who his choice is and other girls still pursue him. But if that's the case, then he would reject them if was actually a decent guy! Suuuure he'll be thinking "Nooo don't hug me, I have a girlfriend!"....then push her away and reject her you wuss!

Harem 101, the guy will never reject physical affection even if he's thinking don't do it.


Obviously harem anime require a suspension of disbelief, since if they weren't morally ambiguous, that'd be the end of the story lol. This is just a discussion for fun

I tend to see harem anime leads as gutless and indecisive (and frequently doormats as well), but I don't really get the sense that they're stringing the girls along to take advantage of them. They just generally don't have it in them to tell either of the girls "Sorry, I'm not interested in you".

So, basically, harem anime leads are cowards, but they're not callous people; in fact, if anything, they're too nice and softhearted.
__________________
Triple_R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 06:39   Link #4
Shinoto
Rollin' Like A Boss
 
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Think of it this way, if a Harem lead wasn't an irritable brat, indecisive twat, or just plain slow. It would be a Hentai.
__________________
Shinoto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 08:12   Link #5
Nukerjsr
Baka Inu~
 
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Send a message via AIM to Nukerjsr
It is very dependent on the harem, the show, and how serious the show in question is. I would not call all of them jerks, because if a harem lead is not something, it's mean or testy. I think there are many other qualities that they follow. The words "ignorant" or "feminine" to me would work better.

I would actually say that in recent years, we haven't had too many cases where the harem lead was hesitant around other girls, because he was devoted to one. Most of them wouldn't notice about it, or would have all the girls on an equal level. The only harem anime I can think of that really did that was Tenchi Muyo. I think many of it is just due to the way that Japanese people view romance in public in the first place. They are mostly against it unless the couple is married. And by today's standards, women are becoming more and more independent when it comes to these things when men are acting less empowered

The only time I really hate harem leads, is when they are so incredibly ashamed of their own gender or punishment. The kind who believe that if they touch they're penis that they will explode under God's Wrath. Not to mention, that the girl who they choose in the end does somewhat speaks for their character.

And while some of them are just terrible, others are really good. Some good examples I can think of are Okazaki Tomoya from Clannad or Kyon from the Haruhi Series. (Who is a harem lead in the end)
Nukerjsr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 11:59   Link #6
relentlessflame
 
*Administrator
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Age: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shinoto View Post
Think of it this way, if a Harem lead wasn't an irritable brat, indecisive twat, or just plain slow. It would be a Hentai.
Well, I'm not sure if it'd be a hentai exactly... but it'd certainly be a different type of show.

The whole premise of shounen romance anime is to string the status quo for as long as possible, because this allows the audience to cheer for their favourite heroine and have some reasonable expectation about their continued role in the story. If the lead character were decisive and quick to reject those with whom he sees no romantic future, as the OP points out, there'd be no show. Besides that, in many cases the lead will continue seeing these other heroines on a regular basis, so he doesn't want to poison the relationship entirely.

I want to also say that the logic of "I have to make my feelings clear or else I'll keep hurting people" is not necessarily so obvious when you're in the middle of that situation. Usually it becomes obvious at a certain point when things start coming to a head, and that's when the lead realizes they need to clear the air. But typically the leads in these shows have a strange blend of fortune and misfortune that causes them, through no explicit fault of their own, to be placed in situations that cause misunderstandings. And while it's certainly exaggerated at the hands of the author for our benefit as viewers, there are certainly some grains of truth to some of the concepts shown. In all cases, if they knew "then" what they realize by the end of the show, they might have done things differently, but that requires a lot of emotional intelligence on their part (if you imagine their characters as real people, of course).

And last I want to say that there's often a bit of a strange dichotomy going on in many of the "chosen heroines" in these shows as well. Quite often the very thing that they find themselves attracted to is the same thing that causes them heartache and trouble. Typically they want things to be on their terms. For example, oftentimes the protagonist gets in trouble because they're too kind to others, but if they ever stop being kind to one of the lead heroine's friends, then the heroine gets mad because the protagonist is being a jerk. If he gets too friendly, the lead heroine gets mad because he's not lavishing all his attention on her. But if he lavishes too much attention on her, or is too forward, she gets embarrassed and may also get mad. Really, the root cause of all of this is insecurity, which comes down to the main issue -- the relationship status not being clearly-defined or perceived to be in jeopardy. But again, that's easier for us to see as "on-lookers" then it would be if you imagined yourself in the protagonist's shoes (especially if you remember that most of these protagonists are supposed to be high school students). Sometimes there's a bit of a "I just can't win!" hopelessness to it all, which is of course the author's way of "punishing" the protagonist for their luck (so he doesn't come across as too suave -- he has to be more of an every-man to stay relate-able).

So I think it's really a combination of those three things: it's necessary to maintain the status quo, the viewer is supposed to have more insight than the protagonist, and the heroines (with their mixed messages) don't always help the situation. I think most people were jerks at some point or another in high school, whether they intended to be or not. That's sort of the point of growing up -- so you can learn how your actions (or inaction) can impact others, and (ostensibly) become a better person as a result of those lessons learned. To the extent that these stories do have a "point" to them, it's usually about learning these life lessons.
relentlessflame is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 13:08   Link #7
roriconfan
Banned
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Thessaloniki - Greece
Send a message via MSN to roriconfan
Harem and ecchi anime are basically aiming for teenage boys without girlfriends who can identify and sympathize with them. Making them gutless and kind hearted are two elements most of the target group feels that it is, so no wonder they make them like this.

Also, the leads are spiness in order for the girls to take the lead and make the fans pick their favorite. And if nothing seems to ever be happening other than fan sercice, well, if there was progress the story would lead to a conclusion or get serious. These are two things such shows try to avoid as it means less money to make out of a perpetual on going series.
roriconfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 14:02   Link #8
Joe4evr
(Ex-)Seitenkan VN coder
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Slightly south-west of the exact center of this country's X and Y axes.
I haven't seen a lot of harem anime, but it's not accurate to call all harem leads jerks. Keitaro from Love Hina, for example, isn't a jerk, he just has the worst luck and gets into misunderstandings all the time.

Yuichi (Kanon) and Okazaki (CLANNAD) aren't that much of jerks either, at least, not in the way of "Oh, I'm gonna try to find a way to get all of these girls at once." (I don't know about AIR, but it's likely the same.)
__________________

↑Click for MAL.↑
Joe4evr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 14:44   Link #9
Haak
Forever Alone...
 
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: UK
Age: 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by daeyeth View Post
Well, sometimes when the guy makes it clear who his choice is and other girls still pursue him. But if that's the case, then he would reject them if was actually a decent guy! Suuuure he'll be thinking "Nooo don't hug me, I have a girlfriend!"....then push her away and reject her you wuss!
There was a harem anime where that happened...
He ended up getting stabbed to death...
__________________
Haak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 14:59   Link #10
Nukerjsr
Baka Inu~
 
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Send a message via AIM to Nukerjsr
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haak View Post
There was a harem anime where that happened...
He ended up getting stabbed to death...
It may of happened in that animes, but there are a couple of animes where the couples just do not make that much sense but they stay together anyway. I mean, sure, if the girl loves you, she loves you. But if she assaults you for having impure or distracting thoughts, that relationship is NOT going to work.

That would be a fun anime in fact. A happily-ever-after harem relationship that ends after 6 months after very unflattering sex or the male realizing "This bitch is crazy..." In fact, the only time I think we have ever seen a couple evolve past that first kiss was Tomoya and Nagisa from Clannad.

I think the whole "pathetic" and "kind-hearted" aspect of most of the ecchi leads today are to just cater to the otaku who don't socialize. They are to act as a surrogate. (Though I have no idea WHY you would want to think any of those characters are you) I mean, if you look at ANY ecchi series, you will notice that all of the advertisement focuses on the girls or all the boobs or the strange pieces of merchandise that's made. If an ecchi series does not focus on any appeal that male might give, the male lead is probably gonna be unlikeable.
Nukerjsr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 15:03   Link #11
Marisa Kirisame
Previously cicido
 
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haak View Post
There was a harem anime where that happened...
He ended up getting stabbed to death...




It's nigh impossible to find any harem protagonists who are decisive. Reason being, the point for these anime is for the targeted viewer to project themselves onto the main character and to have your favourite girl fall in love with you. However, if the male lead was to reject all girls but one, chances are that the majority of the viewers will be offended because they cannot pretend to have a relationship with their favourites anymore. And let's be honest here, the people producing these shows would much rather keep the fanbase that they have.
__________________

Even the girls want her...
Marisa Kirisame is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 15:12   Link #12
Kafriel
Senior Guest
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Athens (GMT+2)
Age: 25
I'd say....they're definitely all high-class perverts, although that part of their character is usually necessary for fanservice ("accidents" are getting old). At any rate, they're not seriously morally flawed, because they are usually the ones who deny every girl's feelings and pass on the friendship message instead, and when they decide to date a particular girl out of the harem, they don't go around seeing others...at least not what I know of :P
__________________
Kafriel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 17:49   Link #13
relentlessflame
 
*Administrator
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Age: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marisa Kirisame View Post
It's nigh impossible to find any harem protagonists who are decisive. Reason being, the point for these anime is for the targeted viewer to project themselves onto the main character and to have your favourite girl fall in love with you. However, if the male lead was to reject all girls but one, chances are that the majority of the viewers will be offended because they cannot pretend to have a relationship with their favourites anymore. And let's be honest here, the people producing these shows would much rather keep the fanbase that they have.
I don't think I can fully agree with this argument, though it's one I see expressed extremely often (especially by people who don't enjoy the genre). I don't think it's the case that the viewer is necessarily supposed to pretend that they are the protagonist, or imagine themselves in their shoes exactly. In fact, even a lot of avid viewers of this genre of show dislike the protagonists, disagree with their actions and decisions, and end up hating them by the end of the respective shows. So, if the viewer is supposed to see himself in the protagonist, then a) shows don't do a good job of this, and b) it's near impossible anyway, because everyone is different. Rather, I would suggest that that the role of the protagonist is twofold: first, to perpetuate situations with as many heroines as possible for as long as possible (i.e. to string things along), and second, to cause the viewer to imagine that they could do a better job than the protagonist is doing. This is why the protagonist is often fatally flawed in some way that most viewers will not be.

I often hear people make arguments like "the protagonists are losers because the audience is made up of losers too". On the contrary, the protagonists are losers because it elevates both the heroines and the viewer! That's why, in fact, I don't suspect the average demographic of people who watch this sort of anime is any different than those who watch most any other sort of anime. The "ronery" stereotype mostly exists because certain people want to distance themselves from certain other more vocal portions of the fanbase for these sorts of shows; it's like how some people have their collection of "cool action/fighting/sports games/anime/etc." for when their friends come over, but secretly enjoy romance/harem stuff and just don't want anyone to know for fear of being "found out". One would think that people who enjoy anime would have gotten over the notion that "wish-fulfillment fiction" is a bad thing, but alas... To be clear, I'm not saying that you specifically were alluding to this particular point, but I often see people take the argument that far.
relentlessflame is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 19:29   Link #14
Slice of Life
eyewitness
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I often hear people make arguments like "the protagonists are losers because the audience is made up of losers too".
Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
the protagonist is often fatally flawed in some way that most viewers will not be.
There is not really a contradiction here. I don't know if the harem fanbase really consists of "losers" but being able to score in a harem situation and any remotely realistic situation are two very different things. Or two put it this way: You can be 10 times as skilled in relationship things as the typical harem protagonist and still die a virgin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
the protagonists are losers because it elevates both the heroines and the viewer!
The viewer, yes. But the heroines? To misquote Obi-Wan: Who is the bigger loser, the loser or the loser who follows him?

Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
That's why, in fact, I don't suspect the average demographic of people who watch this sort of anime is any different than those who watch most any other sort of anime.
I have no valid statistics at hand but I think most harem anime are made for an seinen audience, while "cool action/fighting/sports games/anime" is more likely targeted at shounen. So the average demographic should indeed be different.

But male anime characters that would actually serve as role models are rare in any genre.
__________________
- Any ideas how to fill this space?
Slice of Life is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 21:01   Link #15
chikorita157
ひきこもりアイドル
*IT Support
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: New Jersey, United States
Age: 24
Send a message via Skype™ to chikorita157
Quote:
Yuichi (Kanon) and Okazaki (CLANNAD) aren't that much of jerks either, at least, not in the way of "Oh, I'm gonna try to find a way to get all of these girls at once." (I don't know about AIR, but it's likely the same.)
The problem is, shows like Clannad, Air and Kanon aren't really harems to begin with. Sure there is a few guys and a lot of girls which could make it look like a harem, but in fact not since harems require the male character to already go out with more than one girl. The problem is, the way Clannad, Air, and Kanon animes are constructed, there is no possible way for the lead to have interests with other girls or vice versa, even in the visual novel since they only allow you to go in one of the girl's arc and don't let you go to others at the same time. The more accurate way to categorize these shows is in the comedy-drama genre.
__________________
chikorita157 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 21:06   Link #16
daeyeth
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
I agree with all the points that most harem protagonists aren't really jerks in their intellectual morals BUT that doesn't change their actions. Just because a guy is only stringing the girls along because he's too kind, too shy to do anything about it, that still don't change the fact that he's doing it!

Being a coward sometimes makes a hero just as bad as someone who has less than appropriate thoughts because of that. But yeah, most of the heroes are just unlucky victims of unfortunate circumstances.

It does depend completely on the series entirely of course, they're each different from one another. I mean, don't you think it's unfair to make this stereotype of "ppl who enjoy harem anime"? For one, there are many different types of harem anime; Ranma 1/2 & Ichigo 100% couldn't be any more different from each other yet they're both definitely harem anime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chikorita157 View Post
The problem is, shows like Clannad, Air and Kanon aren't really harems to begin with. Sure there is a few guys and a lot of girls which could make it look like a harem, but in fact not since harems require the male character to already go out with more than one girl. The problem is, the way Clannad, Air, and Kanon animes are constructed, there is no possible way for the lead to have interests with other girls or vice versa, even in the visual novel since they only allow you to go in one of the girl's arc and don't let you go to others at the same time. The more accurate way to categorize these shows is in the comedy-drama genre.
Completely true. People are confusing what a harem anime is.
daeyeth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 21:12   Link #17
Triple_R
Center Attraction
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Age: 33
Send a message via AIM to Triple_R
Quote:
Originally Posted by daeyeth View Post
I agree with all the points that most harem protagonists aren't really jerks in their intellectual morals BUT that doesn't change their actions. Just because a guy is only stringing the girls along because he's too kind, too shy to do anything about it, that still don't change the fact that he's doing it!

Being a coward sometimes makes a hero just as bad as someone who has less than appropriate thoughts because of that. But yeah, most of the heroes are just unlucky victims of unfortunate circumstances.

It does depend completely on the series entirely of course, they're each different from one another. I mean, don't you think it's unfair to make this stereotype of "ppl who enjoy harem anime"? For one, there are many different types of harem anime; Ranma 1/2 & Ichigo 100% couldn't be any more different from each other yet they're both definitely harem anime.
Yeah, Ranma is a bit of a special case.

Most of his fiance wannabes are, well, rather crazy about it, and Ranma could be risking serious harm to himself if he was to flat-out reject either of them (or, alternatively, clearly pick one of them). Also, Ranma's interest in romance/sex is ironically minimal at best. So it's not like he has much interest in being in a romance to begin with.

His lack of choosing I can roll with, and not really hold it against him. It's frustrating (after watching several seasons of Ranma), but I don't hold it against him at all.
__________________
Triple_R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 21:15   Link #18
Theowne
耳をすませば
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Toronto, Canada
Age: 25
Send a message via Skype™ to Theowne
Quote:
Originally Posted by chikorita157 View Post
but in fact not since harems require the male character to already go out with more than one girl.
And who made this definition? I was under the impression that a harem anime involves a main character surrounded by multiple romantic interest characters. Not that they have to be dating multiple characters, which would reduce the amount of "harem" anime to barely any. Love Hina didn't have Keitarou "dating" anyone until the last few volumes, and then just the one, is it not a harem manga anymore?

I will agree that the AIR anime, at least, is not a good example of a harem as the romantic angle itself is not emphasized to a great degree and the other female characters aren't much more than cameos. Coincidentally it's the only eroge based anime that I really like.
__________________

My Site - Reviews collection, Sheet music, and etc.
Anime reviews/blog, piano arrangements, Studio Ghibli..

Last edited by Theowne; 2009-09-06 at 21:27.
Theowne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 21:46   Link #19
daeyeth
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theowne View Post
And who made this definition? I was under the impression that a harem anime involves a main character surrounded by multiple romantic interest characters. Not that they have to be dating multiple characters, which would reduce the amount of "harem" anime to barely any. Love Hina didn't have Keitarou "dating" anyone until the last few volumes, and then just the one, is it not a harem manga anymore?

I will agree that the AIR anime, at least, is not a good example of a harem as the romantic angle itself is not emphasized to a great degree and the other female characters aren't much more than cameos. Coincidentally it's the only eroge based anime that I really like.
Sure, her definition isn't 100% accurate word for word, but the point she's making is that there are very clear distinctions from Kanon, Clannad, Air (anime that are adaptations from H-games and visual novels), and what used to be traditional harem anime like Tenchi, Ichigo 100%, Love Hina.

Very few of the latter type are made anymore, so the visual novel based anime have pretty much replaced the traditional harem anime.
daeyeth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-09-06, 21:53   Link #20
Triple_R
Center Attraction
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Age: 33
Send a message via AIM to Triple_R
Quote:
Originally Posted by daeyeth View Post
Sure, her definition isn't 100% accurate word for word, but the point she's making is that there are very clear distinctions from Kanon, Clannad, Air (anime that are adaptations from H-games and visual novels), and what used to be traditional harem anime like Tenchi, Ichigo 100%, Love Hina.

Very few of the latter type are made anymore, so the visual novel based anime have pretty much replaced the traditional harem anime.
Agreed.

I think that what Chikorita157 is saying is that in a traditional harem setup, you don't have one central over-riding romance, and simply the presence of a lot of other girls.

In a traditional harem setup, there's a real sense that, at any moment, the male lead could conceivably choose either of the girls, and it wouldn't feel disjointed from the plot. The key with a traditional harem setup is to keep the girls very competitive with each other, and keep the guy's options as open as possible, until almost the very end (if even then).
__________________
Triple_R is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:03.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
We use Silk.