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A genre of anime series, where one boy finds himself living with a number (3 or more) of attractive women, normally unintentionally or through no fault of his own.  The setting naturally lends itself to comedy, romantic situations (although rarely acknowledged, stable going-out relationships), and the guy in question being hugely embarrassed.

Apparently the first one, and thus responsible for starting the genre.  Someone add description here
Keitaro goes to stay with his grandmother, and accidentally becomes live-in manager of an all-girls hot springs dormitory.
Tenchi gets attacked by demon-girl Ryoko, requested to marry Princess Ayeka, investigated by space detective Mihoshi, adopted as an older brother by Sasami, experimented on by super-genius Washu and forced to feed the cat/rabbit RyoOhki.  All these females end up living with him.
Keiichi wishes for a girl to stay with him forever. He gets the goddess Belldandy. But he hadn't bargained on also getting her two goddess sisters Skuld and Urd.
Kazuya accidentally orders a RobotGirl (the Cyberdoll hand maid May) to clean up his house. This leads to a variety of futher women or Cyberdolls arriving and deciding to stay with him.
Ranma lives with the three Tendo sisters, and gets betrothed to one of them, as well as any number of other people.  He's cursed to change into a girl occasionally, so just imagine the love graph that creates!
Add further examples here

Spoofed rather effectively by the WebComic Strange Candy (Okashina Okashi) - see [here] for example: three easy-to-identify references.

Also, FruitsBasket - which is probably an inverse HaremAnime. Sort of.
Not really IMO, but I can't quite put my finger on why - SunKitten
Near-complete lack of Ecchi, despite naked bishonen - and what feels like a completely different approach (or just viewpoint) to a situation which fits pretty much any definition of a HaremAnime you care to produce? I agree, anyway. -- TI
From above, "The setting naturally lends itself to comedy, romantic situations (although rarely acknowledged, stable going-out relationships), and the guy in question being hugely embarrassed." In FruitsBasket, the comedy is (most of the time) not gender-interaction-related, very few of the romantic situations that such settings naturally lend themselves to actually take place, and the main character does not make anywhere near as much fuss when she sees naked males as is generally made in analogous situations by main characters in series listed above. Oh, and whatever she sees, the audience rarely get to see it, whereas in most HaremAnime nudity and/or underwear shots are something of a fetish. - MoonShadow
There are so romantic situations in FruitsBasket.  About 25% of most episodes is building romantic tension.  (ok, ok, it's arguable, I'd admit.  Maybe I'm just seeing it that way cos I'm expecting it.  But it certainly seems to not disappoint if romance were what you're after.)  And even in LoveHina, Keitaro's interactions with Suu, Haruka, Sara, and mostly Motoko are pretty minimal in romance (usually maximal in terror or attempts to kill one way or the other, but that's a different issue!)  And it seems to be just as often the girls who make the fuss when the HaremAnime's bloke sees them near-naked ;)  However.  I do agree the approach feels totally different somehow.  And I suspect FruitsBasket would appeal to a load of people whom most HaremAnime wouldn't appeal to.  But IMNSHO it still definitely fits the category.  --AlexChurchill, battening down the hatches :)
I would describe a HaremAnime as one where the main character is surrounded by a supporting cast all or mostly all of whom are romatically attracted to the main character, or to whom the main character is romantically attracted. FruitsBasket's main character is Honda Tohru, whose only romantic attraction to anyone is a slight crush on Yuki. Of all the characters that surround her (and there are a lot of them), only two have a possible crush on her. Most of the humour is arranged round the scatter-brained antics of the supporting cast rather than romantic situations, and the character development is generally of the type: 'Tohru meets another neurotic Zodiac shape-changer and really likes them (whatever they do to her)', rather than 'someone new is introduced and falls for Tohru/ Tohru meets someone new and falls for him/her'. So I don't think FruitsBasket is a HaremAnime, despite having superficial similarity - SunKitten
I was about to say it's the inverse - the typical is one character being fought over by many (with the humour / dramatic tension being that the character should be the luckiest person on earth, but actually is rather badly put upon)  Whereas this is one person running around putting a crush on everybody.  But then I remembered that LoveHina is rather like that too, so I'm a bit confused as to why this is different.  Perhaps it's an inverse HaremAnime that jut didn't come out very haremmy.  --Vitenka

SunKitten raises an interesting point. I'm not going to keep arguing the FruitsBasketCase?, mostly because I think I pretty much agree with those I'm arguing with - it's sufficiently different from most HaremAnime.  However, the point about all or most of the supporting cast having romantic attraction one way or the other to the main character is fun.  I can see where the inclination to say that comes form, but I don't think it actually tends to be the case.  On the other hand, just the mere presence of all these females is enough to set up the comedy and embarrassment that characterise the genre.  One option is to get nitpicky about it and say it's often not so much whether there's attraction between them, as whether someone *else* in the house can (mis)interpret something they see as suggesting there's attraction between them!  Alternatively, you can throw the net wider to include general "issues and comedy" caused by having lots of people living in the same house, usually with appropriate extreme personalities and/or personality clashes.  The HaremAnime *tends* to have those "issues and comedy" having a romantic connection, but far from always.  --AlexChurchill, who finds it odd that he just wrote the above paragraph given he's normally accused of seeing romance in anime wherever possible
My argument against this being a harem anime, or anti-harem, is that, depite the large numbers of people Tohru (isn't that usually a boy's name?) could become romantically involved with, there are only two that I feel are really remotely possible, since they are given the most scenes of depth and feeling.  I've read pretty much up to her getting close in some way to one of them, and the other getting a bit depressed, but no one else seems terribly affected by it.  Oh, and there's the fact that Tohru, at least, is utterly clueless about these matters, and apparently has no idea how anyone else feels, despite her being the epitome of a 'good and selfless person'.  --FR
By way of counterargument I point you at LoveHina. It's blatantly obvious right from the start which character is the one he's actually going to end up with. Although KenAkamatsu? does a reasonable job of building up a potential alternative, almost all the girls aren't actually even interested in him romantically. In fact, SeeAlso the rest of the above examples - TenchiMuyo, AhMyGoddess, HandMaidMay. In all cases the majority of the girls aren't ever plausible romantic pairings for the SociallyIneptMaleMainCharacter, just one or two of them; there may be occasional one-sided crushes in one direction or the other, but the rest of them are there to provide humour and depth rather than necessarily alternate romantic interests. So it is (gender-reversed) with FruitsBasket. --AC (who still wouldn't actually claim that FruitsBasket is a HaremAnime, just that it has notable similarities to one)

Another webcomic I'm afraid: Ex Co Ko comics on www.tsunamichannel.com are very much like this, but people might not like all the H references.  --FR


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