[[quoteright:307:[[LightNovel/InfiniteStratos http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/infinitestratos02_1028.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:307: From Left: The [[MysticalWhiteHair White-Haired]] [[GermanicEfficiency German]] SuperSoldier, The [[BritishStuffiness English]] {{Ojou}}, the {{Tsundere}} [[PatientChildhoodLoveInterest Childhood Friend]], the {{Yandere}} [[AnimeChineseGirl Chinese Girl]], and the Ex-{{Bifauxnen}} [[EveryoneLooksSexierIfFrench French Cutie]]. [[Series/{{Banzai}} PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!]]]]-]

A Subtrope of the HaremAnime genre, a RomanticComedy with one male protagonist, and a bunch of girls who are all in love with him, and equally close to him. The plot intentionally tries to balance out the relationship, with equal amounts of screen time, fanservice, and plot relevance for the girls.

In these stories, the bigger emphasis is usually on the "comedy" part of RomanticComedy, if there is any relationship building, it will happen with all the girls one after another, [[StatusQuoIsGod or it will be reverted by the end of the episode.]]

In some cases, if some of the girls are still in different levels of prominence, they are organized in "tiers" of 2-3 main love interests, whose prominance is still balanced compared to each other, and a larger number of "minor" harem characters, who are also balanced out compared to each other.

This plot type is common in {{Light Novel}} series and their adaptations, probably because of the low production costs, and the lack of hostile market competition, that allows writers to lengthen a plot for dozens of volumes.

Compare to MarryThemAll, an EndingTrope that is using a similar logic. A show can have a BalancedHarem plot earlier in the story, and still avert MarryThemAll by choosing a girl in the end, or avert BalancedHarem by having a main heroine in the plot, and still end up with a MarryThemAll.

Contrast with SupportingHarem, where one of the girls was always "in the lead".

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!!!Examples:

* As pictured, the [[EnsembleCast Ensemble]] BattleHarem of ''LightNovel/InfiniteStratos''. This is because protagonist [[CluelessChickMagnet Ichika is so dense]]. Note that although his main harem consists of the five girls pictured, only three of them are expected to actually have a shot--[[DefrostingIceQueen Laura]][[labelnote:*]]For having [[ForcefulKiss kissed him in front of the entire class]], and later declaring him as ''[[WackyMarriageProposal her wife]]'';[[/labelnote]] (far left), [[PatientChildhoodLoveInterest Hou]][[{{Tsundere}} ki]][[labelnote:*]]For being his ChildhoodFriend, and being one of the few girls to have a greater focus in story[[/labelnote]] (middle), and [[SweetPollyOliver Charles/Charlotte]][[labelnote:*]]For being one of the series' [[EnsembleDarkhorse fan favorites]] upon her [[ShowerOfAwkward embarrassing, fanservice-laden reveal]], and the fact that she's the first to get her own spin-off story[[/labelnote]] (far right).
** Season 2 now adds two more girls into the mix with the introduction of [[spoiler:the [[StudentCouncilPresident Sara]][[ShrinkingViolet shiki]] [[SiblingRivalry Sisters]].]] Although one of them just forced herself into the harem on a whim.
* ''LightNovel/IchibanUshiroNoDaiMaou'' even made sure to show the girls for the same amounts of times, in the same situations in the opening and ending credits.
** Mildly subverted later on as the plot decides to [[RailRoading railroad]] Akuto with [[FirstGirlWins Junko]], not that neither wants.
** Well, railroaded in the anime. In both the manga and the Light Novel original, [[MarryThemAll he marries every girl in his harem]]. Which girls are in it change slightly based on the version.
* ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'', the quintessential HaremAnime, does this, to the point that [[NoRomanticResolution you aren't really sure at the end ''who'' Tenchi is supposed to be with]] and leaves you with the thought that [[MarryThemAll polygamy is more than on the table.]]
** Ditto for ''Anime/ParallelTroubleAdventureDual'' by the same creators.
* {{Subverted}} by the ''VisualNovel/SchoolDays'' anime. The protagonist [[spoiler:has sex with every single girl from the original game, and even more, but there is no StatusQuoIsGod to fall back to, so they are pissed.]]
* ''LightNovel/{{MM}}'' has a two-tier format, with an abusive {{Tsundere}} and an [[DoesNotLikeMen androphobic girl]] as actual love interests, and a trio of tag-along girls for gags and {{Fanservice}}. However, it's clear Mio is more main than Arashiko, but, [[AuthorExistenceFailure well]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Amagami}} SS'' takes this to its logical conclusion, being adapted in an omnibus format, with a ResetButton after each arc allowing each girl to "win", one after another.
* ''VisualNovel/YosugaNoSora'' followed the format of ''VideoGame/{{Amagami}} SS'', with keeping all the MultipleEndings.
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' has no serious romantic plots with either of the main girls, but all the girls get {{fanservice}}, and have a crush on the protagonist. A compelling fan theory is that the main character is faking being ObliviousToLove, since he knows the rest of the harem will kill him if he picks one.
* ''Manga/SayonaraZetsubouSensei'' includes a dozen students with feelings for Nozomu, but as the series progressed only three- [[{{Hikikomori}} Komori,]] [[StalkerWithACrush Matoi,]] and [[{{Yandere}} Chiri]]- remained consistantly amorous toward him. The others got days in the limelight, but it never lasted.
* ''Manga/TheWorldGodOnlyKnows'': It seemed to start out averting the harem tropes, but thanks to a major arc it became an actual harem with Keima (unwillingly) pursuing 5 girls at the same time, in cooperation with another one of his harem members, all at the urging of yet another one of his harem members (the one who at first it seemed might be the lead harem girl). It all makes sense in story, but at this point it's completely confusing who Keima could possibly end up with. Well... unless you count [[CargoShip Yokkyun]].
** The thing is Keima is aware that he has a harem and manipulates them by acting like he has feelings for them occasionally so he can move along his plan to [[spoiler:catch the bad guys and save the goddesses]]. The part after [[spoiler: Diana asks him to kiss her makes this extremely evident.]] It's not that he doesn't care about what happens to them, it's just that he has not shown any romantic affection of sorts for them... [[spoiler: Until the penultimate chapter where he eventually chooses [[IJustWantToBeSpecial Chihiro]], both because he wants everyone else in the harem to move on and cease pining for his affection, and because the girl he chose was [[ILoveYouBecauseICantControlYou the only person whom he cannot shoehorn]] into ''any'' DatingSim stereotype.]]
* ''VisualNovel/{{Kanon}}'' could be seen as an example of this - it's not a case of MarryThemAll in the end, but it does strive to give all five girls roughly equal time and make them all plausible choices for Yuichi.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Shuffle}}'''s anime doesn't originally seem like it's very balanced with Kaede seeming to have a huge head start, but it actually juggles all the girls fairly evenly apart from [[TokenMiniMoe Primula]], who has her love interest role downplayed. [[spoiler:And the eventual "winner" is ''not'' Kaede.]] As for the original Visual Novel, there is no real favored girl at all. In fact, there are multiple sequels. All of them happen to follow different endings such as Tick? Tack! following Nerine and Really? Really! following Kaede.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' started as a standard case of SupportingHarem, but later the story is more or less equally divided between the "lesser" girls as well. It is not totally balanced but a good number of the girls have a good spotlight.
* ''Manga/UmiNoMisaki'' has a male lead who genuinely cares for all the girls in his harem and takes all three of them out on dates, occasionally at the same time.
* ''Manga/{{Sekirei}}'' is very cleverly balanced, cause Minato has specifically stated that he likes all his girls equally, and wants to return ALL their feelings. Initially there was a disproportionate emphasis on [[FirstGirlWins Musubi]], but over time Musubi lost her camera time edge and was often paired off with Tsukiumi during any scenes showing her, allowing other the other girls their chance to shine. This has helped the balance greatly.
* ''LightNovel/AsobiNiIkuYo'': Kio has been kissed by all of his harem ladies, and still hasn't managed to budge a little bit as far as who he likes the most.
* ''Manga/AsuNoYoichi'': All of the girls who like Yoichi are in the same level, probably because he is so dense, he doesn't even realize any girls like him.
** In the manga, only one of the girls even realizes that she likes the guy at first, the second is given less screentime after her inital appearance and a few chapters and the others are unsure or unwilling to pursue him and fall into the story quite a bit later. A secondary one-sided relationship is also brought in.
* [[{{Deconstruction}} Deconstructed]] near the end of ''[[Anime/SaberMarionetteJ Saber Marionette J to X]]''. For the whole season, Otaru deliberately ''tries'' to treat the trio of girls equally and not favour any one over the others - even working overtime to afford extra tickets for a vacation, so that he won't have to pick just one of them as a guest. Another guy falls in love with Bloodberry, but [[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy is content to let her be with Otaru]]. He then learns that Otaru actually has this trope and is ''not happy'', [[WhatTheHellHero accusing Otaru]] of leading all 3 girls on just to spare his own feelings. Otaru eventually agrees that each girl deserves someone who will treat her as his "number one" instead of as one-third of a whole, and resolves to upset the balance, permitting the marionettes he doesn't choose to live their own lives.
* ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler'' is pretty good at balancing the screentime of the main girls, with three or four getting more attention than the rest.
* ''Manga/ToLoveRu'' has this as well. Many of the girls do eventually become attracted to Rito, making the LoveTriangle between him, Haruna and Lala morph into a LoveDodecahedron and pretty much all of them have balanced screentime. In fact, the sequel ''Manga/ToLoveRu Darkness'', is aiming for the MarryThemAll (or at least, one of the harem members is actively trying to make it happen) and Lala and Haruna have been OutOfFocus, aside from ADayInTheLimelight stories.
* ''VisualNovel/HoshizoraEKakaruHashi'' keeps the screentime, importance and FanService well balanced across the six girls. [[MisaimedFandom Not that it matters since fans only care for]] [[CheerfulChild the main character's younger brother]].
* Gender-inverted with ''Manga/ShugoChara'', with a two-tier format: Tadase and Ikuto being Amu's clear love interests and the other guys just being along for variety and such.
* ''VisualNovel/MashiroIroSymphony'' is a fairly standard example of this, Sakuno and Airi get a little more screentime but not much so it still counts as balanced. And at the end, ''[[spoiler:Miu won]]''.
* ''LightNovel/BokuWaTomodachiGaSukunai'' is a little weird about this. The screentime is somewhat balanced, but it is done by having the entire cast be together almost all the time. However, closer examination reveals a two-tier format, with Yozora and Sena being the main girls, and making the others a [[GenreSavvy mixed-bag of genre]] tag-alongs.
** And in the end the winner is [[spoiler:actually Sena]] [[LeftHanging Maybe.]] Kodaka says he's going to go give her "an answer" but we never actually find out in either the anime or the novels what he actually says or whether or not he accepts her.
*** In book 8, [[spoiler:he admits his love for Sena, but - in a bizarre yet passionate scene - begs her to let him ''not'' go out with her. This is because if Kodaka were to act on his real affection for Sena, it might destabilize the relationships the Neighbors' Club are slowly forming, and he doesn't want that. The man does desperately want friends, after all, and he realizes - thanks in no small part to Rika - that he's not the only one.]]
* ''Manga/HeavensLostProperty'' is this position. Tomoki has massive ShipTease with the core trio: [[EmotionlessGirl Ikaros]], [[TokenMiniMoe Nymph]] and [[PatientChildhoodLoveInterest Sohara]], but he's also got [[DumbBlonde Astraea]] and [[LoveFreak Chaos]] as candidates, and the anime's GeckoEnding [[spoiler: went with NoRomanticResolution]]. As for the final result for the manga, [[spoiler:there is no real resolution either, besides a really vague MaybeEverAfter for Ikaros in a final bonus chapter.]]
* ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya''. Okay, so one of the haremettes is the title character and the driving force behind the plot. However, Mikuru and Yuki also want Kyon and vice versa, and Itsuki invokes HomoeroticSubtext for him (though [[UnreliableNarrator he claims]] he's just acting gay for Kyon [[GenreSavvy so that Haruhi doesn't]] ''[[GenreSavvy make]]'' [[GenreSavvy him gay for Kyon]]). Adding to this, the LoveDodecahedron will almost certainly [[NoRomanticResolution never be resolved]], because if Kyon actually picks one girl, [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the world will end]].
* ''LightNovel/HighSchoolDXD'' is an interesting take on this. The main character Issei Hyoudou is a [[AllMenArePerverts unashamed pervert]] and a HaremSeeker. Sounds pretty standard so far, right? However, he is also a BadAss ChivalrousPervert who [[YouAreWorthHell literally goes through hell]] for the girls. The girls decide fairly early on that they are [[MarryThemAll ALL going to get with him]], and instead of fighting over him, they fight over who he pays the most attention to.
** With one notable exception. [[HeroesWantRedheads Rias]] is the legal wife. Attempting to dispute this will lead to violent retribution.... from the ''other girls''. When a misunderstanding caused Rias to distance herself from Ise temporarily, they didn't move in, they got '''pissed'''. They called him out on his insensitivity and as a direct result of their lecture, Ise and Rias are an OfficialCouple at the end of the volume. The other girls happily congratulate them... and immediately begin competing to see who gets to be his first mistress.[[CrowningMomentOfFunny Rias is okay with this.]]
* ''LightNovel/OreNoKanojoToOsananajimiGaShurabaSugiru'' is shaping up to be this. Eita's ChildhoodFriend, Chiwa, is obviously in love with him but CannotSpitItOut, and Eita is [[ObliviousToLove too oblivious to notice]]. Masuzu blackmailed him into being her fake boyfriend, and they claim to dislike each other, but [[AwLooktheyReallydoLoveEachOther there's clearly more to it than that]]. Himeka thinks she's Eita's girlfriend from an alternate reality, having apparently experienced LoveAtFirstSight, and quickly becomes as close to the male lead as the other two.
* ''Manga/HachiIchi'''s whole premise: Shinichirou's grandfather sticks him in a house with eight girls he's never met before for a year and tells him he has to marry one.
* ''LightNovel/KanojoGaFlagOOraretara'': Most if not all of the girls (and one guy) usually appear in every chapter and get equal amount of interaction with Souta because they all live under the same roof. They also share equal amounts of fanservice and it's possible for any of them to win Souta over.
** This deserves special mention, being the most loving and supporting harem ever written. The girls will constantly help each other get closer to Souta, then act confused when outsiders suggest this might be detrimental to their own feelings. [[LoveFreak Akane]] and [[CoolBigSis Okiku]] in particular are absolutely delighted whenever a new girl pops up.
* ''Manga/{{Nisekoi}}'' is probably the king of this trope. Each major arch that involves the main plot will always feature all the girls, other major plots will get hit with the reset button or only the girl will have changed any. Between major archs each girl will get their own mini archs that last one or two chapters, the mini archs will last until each major female character has had a turn.

!!!Non-anime examples:
* HBO's drama ''Series/BigLove'', about a Mormon Fundamentalist and his three wives, is arguably a non-anime example of this.
* ''Sister Wives'', a reality show on TLC that is essentially the non-fiction equivalent of ''Big Love'', is another example.
* ''Fanfic/KyonBigDamnHero'' has two harems that (sort of) {{Invoke|dTrope}} this: one with Kyon and [[spoiler:Haruhi, Mikuru, Yuki, Tsuruya and Kanae]], another with [[spoiler:Keiichi, Mion, Rena, Rika and Satoko]].
* ''Series/TheBachelor'', whose entire premise is based on this (one man choosing from twenty-five women).
* ''VideoGame/MemoryDays,'' an {{Animesque}} DatingSim on [=deviantArt=], has the protagonist, Ai, and three potential love interests (Haru, Daichi, and Kai) that she has equal amounts of cut-scenes, interaction, and chemistry with. The same also goes for the other {{Dating Sim}}s the creator, Pacthesis, has made (''Kingdom Days'', ''VideoGame/ChronoDays'', ''Wonderland Days'', ''VideoGame/LunarDays'', ''VideoGame/NumberDays'', etc.), though not always with just three love interests (some even include a GayOption).
* The ''VisualNovel/LittleBusters'' visual novel comes across as this in the way it makes [[spoiler:all the girls' routes canon]], has the ending route more based around friendship than Riki's love for Rin, and has a scene at the very end where Rin asks Riki who he likes, offering up all the girls as potential choices, but having him refuse to answer. Even [[GayOption one of his guy friends]] is, while not dateable, a totally canon-compatible (and, depending on who you ask, canon-supported) ending possibility. This is in complete contrast to ''VisualNovel/{{CLANNAD}}'', which couldn't have made it more obvious that Nagisa was the winning girl, and the ''VisualNovel/LittleBusters'' anime, which removed almost all the romance altogether.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsJudgement'', the male protagonist, Touya Shun, has three girls vying for him, who also double as his co-pilots. Players then can choose who gets first place but if players keep rotating on who's the [[GirlOfTheWeek co-pilot of the stage]], then the MidSeasonUpgrade of the mech Touya uses won't obtain its final attack. This option also [[spoiler: ''saves'' TheDragon who decides to [[EleventhHourRanger join you in the final battle]] ''including all of the boss stats that he had in the previous stage.'']]
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