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Old 2013-01-02, 10:27   Link #141
Qilin
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Just to add, there's also a widespread preconception regarding the harem genre as "wish fulfillment" in fiction. After all, it is a shared fantasy by a lot of men to be loved and surrounded by women. These sorts of stories cater to that desire. Main characters for these sorts of shows are made as bland as possible to make it easier for viewers to insert themselves in the place of the main character.

This is quite the cynical view, I admit, but I'm convinced that there is some truth to this notion. Whatever the case, it's this popular notion that adds a sort of stigma to the harem genre. The very idea of "wish fulfillment" in fiction is then perceived to be negative, and therefore derogatory. And by extension, this negative association carries over to the types of main characters you'd find in these sorts of works: the bland, featureless, and uninteresting ones.

If you have doubts, let's think back to how the label "Mary Sue" came to become negative to begin with. "Mary Sue" today is used to describe characters that are unreasonably good at everything, who all other characters fawn over for no apparent reason. However, the label was used to refer to author self-inserts in fanfiction. All the talent and attention is just a way for the author to live out his/her fantasies. Just from this, there's definitely something about inserting one's self into a work that is strongly reviled and condemned by society.
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Old 2013-01-02, 10:49   Link #142
judasmartel
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Yeah, it's so hard to sell a story without alienating the viewers. Give the MC NO personality and the viewers will start to hate him. Give the MC personality and it becomes easier or harder to relate to him depending on the viewer.

Okay, I keep on hearing this, and I may I have pointed it out before but could have missed it, but what exactly makes harem MC's interesting? Is it the "special" thing I have mentioned above?
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Old 2013-01-02, 10:50   Link #143
Kanon
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Originally Posted by judasmartel View Post
What do guys mean by dense? Sorry to sound like an idiot, but I still don't know what that means, and I'm not in the mood to consult Mr. Google atm.
Dense as in thickheaded, clueless, oblivious to all the hints. A girl could rub herself on them and all they'd think is that she must be itchy.
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Old 2013-01-02, 10:55   Link #144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by judasmartel View Post
Yeah, it's so hard to sell a story without alienating the viewers. Give the MC NO personality and the viewers will start to hate him. Give the MC personality and it becomes easier or harder to relate to him depending on the viewer.

Okay, I keep on hearing this, and I may I have pointed it out before but could have missed it, but what exactly makes harem MC's interesting? Is it the "special" thing I have mentioned above?
What I personally like to see in the harem MC is there be something about him that believably draws the female characters to him. He can be completely normal aside from that one characteristic.

Hypothetical example - The harem MC is a young, talented mangaka. One of the girls who likes him is a big manga fan. Another likes artwork in general. A third girl is a big fan of an anime that is based on one of the harem MC's manga works. There you go - Instantly, you have a very believable reason for all these girls liking the harem MC, who may be completely normal aside from his mangaka talent.
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Old 2013-01-02, 11:20   Link #145
ReaperxKingx
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Quite the interesting thread here, I see why people dislike harem main characters who are thickheaded and have very little positive attributes than being kind. I am currently reading a few light novels and manga that are harems. I agree with others that if a harem main character figures out that he has a harem and decides to pursue them, the series would be over.

Arguably the most well known harem series is Infinite Stratos, that main character set the bar to compare other harem main characters actually (well I do it).

judasmartel I am getting the feeling that you want to read a harem series with an actual good to great harem protagonist.

If you are the extremist on overpowered harem main character Hagure Yuusha no Aesthetica, he is pretty unique as a harem main character, though he is quite the pervert which himself knows. The Light Novel haven't got translated yet, but the anime is out. The anime is not well detailed as the light novel, but by the first episode you generally get what type of character he is.

If you are looking for a smart harem main character than that would be The World God Only Knows. He is pretty interesting, he knows that he is making girls fall in love with him. The pretty unique thing about him is that he doesn't pursue them and loves playing dating sims.

If you are looking for a harem protagonist who has multiple girls in love with him, but the protagonist has his heart set on one girl then that would be Monogatari Series (well known as Bakemonogatari). The anime really didn't showcase the romance harem aspect of it, but the light novel shows the main character is well aware of the feelings of the other female protagonists. Though he rejects their advances due to his loyalty to his love and girlfriend.

There are plenty more, I can name some more if you want.
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Old 2013-01-02, 11:54   Link #146
Insane
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several common traits of harem male leads :

Plain : The author doesn't want to make him the real star of the show, it's the girls instead
Indecisive : stupid excuse from the author to prolong his work to obscene length as he wants, since his very life depends on his works
No guts : It'd be hilarious if a slice of life, common schoolboy suddenly pull out karate kungfu out of nowhere.
Lazy, only wants to live a normal life : Whaddaya expect from him? suddenly piloting gundam mecha out of thin air and fighting dozen of androids?
stupid : For the sake of joke and humor. since he's stupid, it'd be very easy for him to create comedy by being ridiculed by his circumtances

Meh, not like i care very much about it. Harem in general is a ridiculous way of wish-fulfillment, and it's unrealistic no matter how alpha the MC is.

Also, can someone explain to me. Is that so-called "genre savvy Harem lead" a subjective or objective term?
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Old 2013-01-02, 11:56   Link #147
judasmartel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReaperxKingx View Post
Quite the interesting thread here, I see why people dislike harem main characters who are thickheaded and have very little positive attributes than being kind. I am currently reading a few light novels and manga that are harems. I agree with others that if a harem main character figures out that he has a harem and decides to pursue them, the series would be over.

Arguably the most well known harem series is Infinite Stratos, that main character set the bar to compare other harem main characters actually (well I do it).

judasmartel I am getting the feeling that you want to read a harem series with an actual good to great harem protagonist.

If you are the extremist on overpowered harem main character Hagure Yuusha no Aesthetica, he is pretty unique as a harem main character, though he is quite the pervert which himself knows. The Light Novel haven't got translated yet, but the anime is out. The anime is not well detailed as the light novel, but by the first episode you generally get what type of character he is.

If you are looking for a smart harem main character than that would be The World God Only Knows. He is pretty interesting, he knows that he is making girls fall in love with him. The pretty unique thing about him is that he doesn't pursue them and loves playing dating sims.

If you are looking for a harem protagonist who has multiple girls in love with him, but the protagonist has his heart set on one girl then that would be Monogatari Series (well known as Bakemonogatari). The anime really didn't showcase the romance harem aspect of it, but the light novel shows the main character is well aware of the feelings of the other female protagonists. Though he rejects their advances due to his loyalty to his love and girlfriend.

There are plenty more, I can name some more if you want.
OP MCs are not my cup of tea. There's a reason why I hate Kirito's guts, but let's not talk about that.

TWGOK is more of my cup of tea. If there's one thing TWGOK proved to me, it's that the tactics used by VN gamers to get the girls actually work in real life, but with slight variations.

RL girls don't necessarily follow the usual anime archetypes down to the letter. But as a VN gamer like Keima, you see the usual patterns that the archetype gives off, then you compare those with the patterns that RL girls exhibit. If they match, your strategy will work. If your strategy didn't work the first time, that's okay, you'll just have to change it a little bit to make it work.

"If all else fails, then it's time to quit, brother, you just suck at the pick-up game. You will definitely need some help from the Tiger Dojo."

To quote from TVTropes, "Keima is basically Lelouch or Light if they were into scoring chicks."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Insane View Post
The author doesn't want to make him the real star of the show, it's the girls instead
And part of the problem arises when we assume that the male lead SHOULD be the star of the show. Because he's the lead male character, right? Right? But no, he isn't.

So basically, if I'm going to look for a show where girls are the stars of the story, I would actually prefer moe-moe K-On than any harem show with that kind of male lead.
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Old 2013-01-02, 12:06   Link #148
Insane
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Originally Posted by judasmartel View Post
And part of the problem arises when we assume that the male lead SHOULD be the star of the show. Because he's the lead male character, right? Right? But no, he isn't.

So basically, if I'm going to look for a show where girls are the stars of the story, I would actually prefer moe-moe K-On than any harem show with that kind of male lead.
Umm yeah. K-On definitely fits one of my descriptions above (Girls as the real star), unfortunately it misses the "wish-fulfillment" part which can be found in any harem series.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReaperxKingx View Post
If you are the extremist on overpowered harem main character Hagure Yuusha no Aesthetica, he is pretty unique as a harem main character, though he is quite the pervert which himself knows. The Light Novel haven't got translated yet, but the anime is out. The anime is not well detailed as the light novel, but by the first episode you generally get what type of character he is.
I'd say that this example of yours feel kinda extreme. The MC in this series can be compared ekually with Rance in the sense that he can have the way with his harem whatever he want not giving any crap (seriously, how many times in the series he can sexually harass the girls and get away from it?)
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Old 2013-01-02, 12:10   Link #149
judasmartel
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There's a reason why I find the "wish-fulfillment" concept so meh. Sure, I want to be surrounded by hot girls, but I want to earn them my own way. Through that, I would be able to understand what it takes to successfully handle relationships.

This, and I don't really look at girls from the outside, though outside looks are a plus but not required for me.

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-snip-
Rance was so funny it's ridiculous.

Last edited by judasmartel; 2013-01-02 at 12:21.
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Old 2013-01-02, 12:20   Link #150
Insane
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Why "wish-fulfillment"? Because it's the otaku's liking, which comprises a large part of anime consumers in Japan. Otaku are basically insecure people who gain nothing incredible in their life, that's why loser/meh/underdog MC makes it easier for them to project themselves into the story, no matter how ridiculous it is.
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Old 2013-01-02, 12:23   Link #151
Qilin
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Originally Posted by judasmartel View Post
There's a reason why I find the "wish-fulfillment" concept so meh. Sure, I want to be surrounded by hot girls, but I want to earn them my own way. Through that, I would be able to understand what it takes to successfully handle relationships.
But looking at it generally, it's hard to deny that a handful of shows in the genre are marketed as such. This then results in a sort of backlash and prejudice towards the genre as a whole.
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Old 2013-01-02, 12:24   Link #152
hyl
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Originally Posted by Insane View Post
Otaku are basically insecure people who gain nothing incredible in their life, that's why loser/meh/underdog MC makes it easier for them to project themselves into the story, no matter how ridiculous it is.
>_>
Wow that statement could be really used against you
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Old 2013-01-02, 12:24   Link #153
judasmartel
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See, we can't just tell them to go out and score RL chicks. They have problems (and RL girls suck for choosing the wrong guys). But those problems are theirs to sort out. We have no right to judge them because we don't have the exact same problems they have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyl View Post
>_>
Wow that statement could be really used against you
Chill, man. He's just speaking in general. We know not every anime fan is a loser. Nothing to worry about.

And I say this again, RL girls suck because they keep on choosing the wrong guys when the right guy is standing right in front of them. This is not sour-graping, it actually happens.
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Old 2013-01-02, 12:31   Link #154
Insane
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Honestly, i don't find any trouble with loser/meh male leads in harems. My only issue is that they usually choose the girl that i dislike at all (sometime i despise), be it annoying/bitchy/overly violent girls.
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Old 2013-01-02, 12:36   Link #155
ReaperxKingx
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Not sure about the Otaku part, but I see harem series as a break from reality. Reading manga, light novels, and anime eases my stress. Well enough about that.

When it comes to Harem main characters, there are many genres in them. I named out three, here some more.

There are rational harem protagonist that knows that he attracted many girls, but doesn't pursue due to rational or normality. One such example is Campione (not the anime, the light novel) the protagonist is approach by several girls. He tends to be dense at times, but what is stopping him is that he wants to be normal. The protagonist happens to be not a normal existence, he uses that as a justification for not the pursuing the girls to retain his normality he previously had. Also, he knows someone who happens to have a harem as well which is his grandfather and he refuses to be compared to him.

Then there is a harem protagonist that has justification for being dense and such. The series High School DXD has the protagonist as a pervert, but a great dude overall. He is dense due to trauma and fear, this constantly stops him from pursuing the girls fearing of being rejected and hated by them. This is hinted heavily, but never explored until later. The girls themselves inadvertently put the fear in him as well due to subtle actions that can be seen as nothing, but often reminding the protagonist of his past.
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Old 2013-01-02, 12:48   Link #156
judasmartel
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Originally Posted by Insane View Post
Honestly, i don't find any trouble with loser/meh male leads in harems. My only issue is that they usually choose the girl that i dislike at all (sometime i despise), be it annoying/bitchy/overly violent girls.
Shipping wars tend to be bloody. I feel you man.

Luckily though, Type A Tsunderes don't exist that much IRL. It's Type B's that exist more. Girls who are nice to everyone but rude (NOT violent) to the guy she likes.
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Old 2013-01-02, 12:57   Link #157
hyl
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Originally Posted by judasmartel View Post
See, we can't just tell them to go out and score RL chicks. They have problems (and RL girls suck for choosing the wrong guys). But those problems are theirs to sort out. We have no right to judge them because we don't have the exact same problems they have.



Chill, man. He's just speaking in general. We know not every anime fan is a loser. Nothing to worry about.

And I say this again, RL girls suck because they keep on choosing the wrong guys when the right guy is standing right in front of them. This is not sour-graping, it actually happens.
So in general people who play FPS games are also people who like to wave around guns in real life
Or people who like roleplaying games in the 80's were also satanists.
>_>
You are aware that certain generalizations can be quite offensive.

Also you seem to have a strong and negative bias towards real life girls due to some kind of frustration.
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Old 2013-01-02, 13:07   Link #158
ReaperxKingx
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I say....................this conversation is heading towards an ugly direction. Hyl example just pointed it out. In general, people have different tastes but it doesn't mean what type of gaming or activities depicts their actual self.
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Old 2013-01-02, 13:09   Link #159
judasmartel
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So in general people who play FPS games are people who like to be waving around guns in real life
Or people who like roleplaying games in the 80's were also satanists.
>_>
You do know that certain generalizations can be quite offensive.

Also you seem to have a bias towards real life girls due to some kind of frustration.
OH SHI-! *explodes*

Well, yeah. Sweeping generalizations can be dangerous.

And frustration. I'm about just as dense as most harem MCs out there, but that's because I tend to think they don't mean it when they say "I love you" the first time. Somebody actually pulled that kind of prank on me before. Never took female cues seriously ever since, assuming I could even freaking notice, which happens in like 1 out of 10 times.

I find it so hard to spell RL girls I stopped looking. I decided to just finish my studies, get a job, enter a decent business, and THEN start looking again.
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Old 2013-01-02, 15:37   Link #160
Xion Valkyrie
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OP: You mean should the author of the harem mangaka be genre savvy right? Although having a genre savvy protagonist could work if you're a good enough writer, but it definitely won't be your typical harem, ie: Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara.

I also agree with the above posters that having a strong passion for a hobby (especially an artistic one) could make it believable that a 'plain' protagonist could attract girls. Although, it doesn't really explain why he attracts only the hottest girls at school. I guess that's just part of the whole 'wish-fulfillment' thing.

Also, I find it kind of silly in manga that girls/guys receive love letters from people they don't even know saying "I love you". Does that really happen in Japan?
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