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[[quoteright:350:[[LightNovel/{{Oreshura}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/e5e8055d5ae3cb142e0a3445d6e7551d.png]]]]

->''"…serials about awkward young men very pointedly NOT having sex with a selection of eager women."''
-->-- ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation'', ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry 4''

Harem is a genre/plot frame that is mostly present in the Japanese media of {{anime}}, {{manga}}, LightNovels, {{Visual Novel}}s, and VideoGames.

It typically features a HighSchool–aged male lead with at least two (usually at least three and often a lot more) available girls who may be actively interested in him but at the very least are bound by circumstances to be close to him. {{Gender Inverted|Trope}}, [[QueerAsTropes LGBTQ]], and IfItsYouItsOkay examples exist, as do age-adjusted renditions for younger audiences. Typically [[TasteTheRainbow each harem member has markedly contrasting personality]], often personifying a single classic characterization archetype while (usually) the opposite applies to the [[VanillaProtagonist protagonist]].

The protagonist may take it as an UnwantedHarem, react as a HaremSeeker, or be ObliviousToLove; but he almost ''never'' [[WillTheyOrWontThey actually enters a consummated romantic relationship]] with any of them, except perhaps [[TheyDo as the grand finale]]. Particularly pure examples of the set-up, where the plot is designed to keep the "race" for the male protagonist's heart in a perpetual dead heat, are known as the BalancedHarem subgenre. Other possible dynamics include the "Harem Route", where the girls choose to share the lead character amicably rather than risk losing him and their friends completely, or the "Shuraba" ("Bloodbath") route, where ThereCanBeOnlyOne and the contenders ruthlessly sabotage each other to secure mastery. There is also the hybrid option where the harem is "led" by a female lead in a conventional OfficialCouple relationship with the MC and "backed" by a SupportingHarem. In such cases, the work usually indicates only one or two girls as the main characters, in contrast to the standard harem works.

Not surprisingly, Harems frequently go hand-in-hand with the {{Ecchi}} genre and gratuitous {{Fanservice}}. That said, outright {{Hentai}} harems are rarely seen and often poorly exemplify a genre where WantingIsBetterThanHaving and UnresolvedSexualTension is a primary source of dramatic interest.

Contrast RoyalHarem, which is about the literal, traditional sort of harem as found in a royal palace. See our [[SoYouWantTo/WriteAHaremAnime handy-dandy guide]] if you want to write one of your own.

!! {{Harem}} genre tropes:
* AccidentalPervert
* AllergicToLove
* AllWomenAreLustful
* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove
* ArrangedMarriage
* AudienceSurrogate
* BalancedHarem
* BattleHarem
* BeachEpisode
* BeAWhoreToGetYourMan
* BecauseYouWereNiceToMe
* BelligerentSexualTension
* BettyAndVeronica
* BigBrotherAttraction
* BromanticFoil
* CannotSpitItOut
* ChasteTeens
* ChickMagnet
** CluelessChickMagnet
* ChildhoodFriendRomance
* ChildhoodMarriagePromise
* CrashIntoHello
* CrashingThroughTheHarem
* DistressedDude
* DoubleStandardAbuseFemaleOnMale
* DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale
* EscapistCharacter
* ExpectationLowerer
* FirstGirlWins
* FirstKiss
** AlmostKiss
* HaremNanny
* HaremPowered
* HaremSeeker
* HopelessSuitor
* HotspringsEpisode
* InnocentCohabitation
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy
* LastGirlWins
* LoserProtagonist
** UselessProtagonist
* LoveDodecahedron
* LoverTugOfWar
* MagneticGirlfriend
* MasterOfTheMixedMessage
* MenAreGenericWomenAreSpecial
* MomentKiller
* NoRomanticResolution
* NotBloodSiblings
* NotWhatItLooksLike
* ObliviousToLove
* OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent
* PervertRevengeMode
* {{Polyamory}}
** MarryThemAll
* PrettyFreeloaders
* SingleTargetSexuality
* SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan
* StalkingIsFunnyIfItIsFemaleAfterMale
* SuggestiveCollision
* SupportingHarem
* ThanksForTheMammary
* ThemedHarem
* ThoseTwoGuys
* TopWife
* TheUnfairSex
* UnluckyEverydude
* UnprovokedPervertPayback
* UnwantedHarem
* VanillaProtagonist
* WhatDoesSheSeeInHim
* WillTheyOrWontThey
* WouldntHitAGirl

!!Common character types for the {{Harem}} members:

* TheAce -- almost always applies to one of the heroines, very often overlaps with SchoolIdol.
* ActionGirl
* ACupAngst -- usually applies to [[{{tsundere}} the tsundere]].
* AloofDarkHairedGirl
* {{Bokukko}}
* BrokenBird
* ButtMonkey -- almost always applies to the protagonist.
** DesignatedMonkey -- many of them eventually fall into this.
* CatGirl
* ChasteHero -- usually applies to the male lead.
* ChildhoodFriend -- the female lead usually fills this spot.
** UnluckyChildhoodFriend
* ClingyJealousGirl -- in order to perpetuate [[LoveTriangle the triangle]] and [[WillTheyOrWontThey romantic tension.]]
* CoolBigSis -- usually she keeps order in the harem, but, she can also portray a more experienced girl as LoveInterest.
* CuteClumsyGirl
* CuteGhostGirl
* DefrostingIceQueen -- often, an EmotionlessGirl or {{Tsundere}} will be this.
* TheDitherer -- The lead is very often one of these.
* EmotionlessGirl
* ExtremeDoormat -- usually applies to the male lead.
* GenkiGirl
* GirlNextDoor -- usually the protagonist's childhood friend.
* HardDrinkingPartyGirl
* IllGirl
* LittleSisterHeroine -- Almost always complete with NotBloodSiblings or KissingCousins, if she wins or will be treated as a legitimate part of LoveTriangle. Nevertheless, you can meet the real BrotherSisterIncest but only as a play for laugh or drama.
* {{Kawaiiko}}
* MagicalGirlfriend
* ManicPixieDreamGirl
* {{Meganekko}}
* {{Meido}}
* {{Moe}}
* MysteriousWaif -- usually a strong contender to be [[OfficialCouple the lucky girl]], since their intrigue enhances their appeal and draws the protagonist to them.
* NiceGuy -- which is usually why they're all drawn to him
* NoRespectGuy -- when the story makes the protagonist as the only NiceGuy while his peers are [[GreenEyedMonster envious]] {{Jerkass}}.
* NonActionGuy -- as a contrast to the ActionGirl to make the protagonist an ExpectationLowerer.
* {{Ojou}} -- A rich girl, who can often have a mixed European-Japanese background. Traditionally portrayed as {{Foil}} to YamatoNadeshiko as a European ideal of beauty.
* OtakuSurrogate -- Usually, either the GenreSavvy heroine, whose remarks and behavior make up for everything that the protagonist can not do for censorship reasons, or WrongGenreSavvy character as the male lead's best friend.
* PatientChildhoodLoveInterest -- as a rule, the main LoveInterest of protagonist, which he however, does not notice.
* PeerlessLoveInterest -- almost always overlaps with TheOjou.
* PetitePride
* PsychoLesbian -- As a {{foil}} and rival to the guy with the Harem over one of the Haremettes.
** BiTheWay -- Usually become this as the series goes on or [[CureYourGays stops being lesbian]].
* RidiculouslyAverageGuy
* SchoolIdol -- almost always applies to one of the heroines, very often overlaps with TheAce.
* ShrinkingViolet -- no harem is complete without one.
* StalkerWithACrush
* SugarAndIcePersonality
* TokenMiniMoe
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl -- usually the main two competing haremettes.
* {{Tsundere}} -- a girl who switches between affection and aloofness/hostility; usually either the main female, or the main competing haremette.
* YamatoNadeshiko -- The traditional Japanese ideal of femininity. It has appeals to different kinds of fans and can provide a contrast to a {{Tsundere}}.
* {{Yandere}} -- The inversion of the {{Tsundere}}, [[IfICantHaveYou just keep a close eye]] [[MurderTheHypotenuse on her tendencies]].


!! Examples of works in the {{Harem}} genre:

* HaremGenre/AnimeAndManga


[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/BreakYourHeart'': Unlike most harem works, ''Break Your Heart'' is a {{Yuri}} fic that is PlayedForDrama as a {{Deconstruction}}. Rainbow finds the whole experience difficult and heartbreaking and everyone involved endures a great deal of {{Gayngst}}.
* The adult fic ''Wandering Pilot'' puts [[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion Shinji Ikari]] into the ''Anime/QueensBlade'' world. He [[AccidentalPervert doesn't mean to act perverted]] and clearly states "IJustWantMyBelovedToBeHappy". Yet his [[WhiteMagicianGirl new powers]] ([[spoiler:given by a staff as the contained version of Unit-01)]], [[FragileFlower personality]] counter to the majority of the males on the Continent, and [[DysfunctionJunction shared insecurities]] make him an extremely powerful ChickMagnet. Not that it doesn't [[BurnTheWitch cause]] [[HumanResources a significant]] [[{{Yandere}} amount]] [[ClingyJealousGirl of problems.]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfiction "FanFic/TheUnexpectedLoveLifeOfDuskShine" is basically the show re-imagined as a harem comedy, with Dusk (a GenderFlipped Twilight Sparkle) ending up as the object of affection for the Mane 5, Luna and Trixie.
* Parodied in [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5247813/75/You-Got-HaruhiRolled Chapter 75]] of ''FanFic/YouGotHaruhiRolled''.
* Parodied again in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5746741/1/Fairly-Odd-Parents-Harem-Scarem Fairly Odd Parents: Harem Scarem]]'', when [[WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents Timmy]] wishes that he was the protagonist of a harem anime. Naturally, HilarityEnsues.
* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic ''[[FanFic/PoniesOfOlympus Atlas Strongest Tournament]]'' has shades of this, at least in regards to Spike's relationships with the various females with feelings for him.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6117094/1/Ghoul-Instructor-Naruto Ghoul Instructor Naruto]]'', Anime/{{Naruto}} becomes the target of affection for the [[WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooAndTheGhoulSchool the Grimwood Academy girls]] and Miss Grimwood's [[OriginalCharacter niece]] [[CuteWitch Gem]].
* In ''FanFic/RosarioToKiva'', [[Series/KamenRiderKiva a teenage Wataru]] enrolls in [[Manga/RosarioToVampire Youkai Academy]], and replaces Tsukune as the one who wins Moka's heart (and that of the other girls).
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11634797/1/Killing-Your-Dark-Future Killing Your Dark Future]]'', [[Anime/AkameGaKill Tatsumi]] TookALevelInBadass after receiving horrible visions of the future, and as a result has now gained a harem comprised of Akame, Leone and Mine.
* ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'' plays it straight [[JustifiedTrope and even gives a bit of in-universe justification]]. The story features bloodliners (essentially humans with Pokémon-related powers), which for unknown reasons tend to be more predominantly female. Due to a large amount of FantasticRacism, female bloodliners have rather limited options for a romantic relationship, which leads many to be willing to share a bloodliner love interest or at least be more open to the idea than normal people.

* ''Literature/TanteiTeamKZJikenNote'': While {{downplayed|trope}} due to this being a series about and primarily aimed at tweens, there's no escaping the fact that it's one girl surrounded by boys that she and everyone around her consider to be cool and good-looking, and she even develops some feelings towards some of them. While not as strong as older Reverse Harem series, it still has the same effect.
* In ''Literature/TairenSoul'', Ellie is surrounded by handsome men who swear they'll die to do her bidding. They (officially) don't want to be together or sleep with her, however.
* In ''Literature/BladeArc'', Yuuto has an elf, a thief, a female ogre, a swordwoman, a princess, a crew of female warriors, and Death herself in love with him.
* In ''Literature/EightCousins'', Rose Campbell goes to live with her Uncle Alec, and becomes the target of affection to her seven handsome male cousins.

* ''VideoGame/AgarestSenki'' requires you to pick one girl out of three in each generation after you've spent some time with them. The system works similarly to ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarIII'''s system. Rex, the final hero, however, can end up with one of ''any'' girl you've gotten in your party so far of the maximum number of ''nine'' in the GoldenEnding.
* ''[[VideoGame/ExaPico Ar tonelico]]'' series is a RPG hybrid with VisualNovel element in the form of Cosmos Sphere, focusing on romance developments between TheHero and two (later three) heroines. EnsembleDarkhorse Cocona not included.
* Any game created by ''Bioware'' has romance side-plots reguarding the player character. Most of the time it's just a love triangle, but the ammount of people your male/female Shepard can become interested by someone in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' pretty much borderlines a harem.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Bully}}'', the main character amasses himself a nice harem.
* ''VideoGame/RivieraThePromisedLand'' pits you with [[FourGirlEnsemble 4 girls,]] each with their own ending, and the game provides another special ending [[GuideDangIt that's really hard to get.]] Since this is a linear RPG, romance paths aren't really obvious.
* ''VideoGame/RPGShooterStarwish'' is a hybrid RPG shooter where the harem consists of [[spoiler:5]] girls [[spoiler:(only [[FourGirlEnsemble 4]] are available at a time)]] and [[HeterosexualLifePartners 2 guys]], with a special ending if you can get all of the individual endings [[spoiler:(and another one -- featuring a fifth girl who was not previously in the story except for a few lines at the beginning, which the protagonist assumed was AllJustADream -- if you don't)]].
* RPG Maker 2000 game ''VideoGame/RomancingWalker'' features a pretty boy hero and his six love interests.
* In ''Scarface: The World is Yours'' Tony Montana can obtain a large collection of trophy girlfriends.
* Hakuoro of ''VideoGame/{{Utawarerumono}}'' sleeps with six women throughout the game, five of whom love him. Kuuya, empress of the bunnypeople, also seems to love him and offers her best friend as a concubine without knowing quite what that means. Mikoto and possibly Mutsumi in the back story. Yet he's entirely oblivious of how most of them feel until the very end of the game, thinking of them as mostly friends/retainers and of the sex as being rather casual.
** Considering that he's the king, who also comes from modern society, where sex IS casual, and they live in a world which still has EMPERORS… it makes sense.
* In the ''VideoGame/SakuraWars'' games, both Ichiro and [[VideoGame/SakuraWarsSoLongMyLove Shinjiro]] can end up attracting the affections of all of their female teammates (and even some of the support staff); in fact, your party's combat stats are in large part determined by how well the heroes can build up their relationships with the ladies during the DatingSim sections.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
''Many visual novel plots revolve around this, especially in eroge, but this trope isn't eroge exclusive.''

* The upcoming ''VisualNovel/ButILoveYou'' is an AffectionateParody and DeconstructorFleet for the genre. The main character, who can be either a boy or a girl, finds themself stranded in a mysterious town when their car breaks down. The player encounters a number of girls, from the childish, passionate Ryanne to the shy, demure Alison, who all try to help them in different ways and can be flirted with. Eventually, though, the girls begin to act clingy, giving off signs of being unhinged, and the player must make a choice: either ignore the warning signs to keep courting the girls or try to escape from the town, which is afflicted with an as-yet unknown curse by a mysterious BigBad. Among its MultipleEndings the player may either successfully complete a romance with one or more of the ladies, escape or be killed.
* ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' initially seems as though it'll be one of these, what with the main character, Keiichi, being in a Games Club consisting of only four girls and himself (later adding two more girls, Shion Sonozaki and [[spoiler:Hanyuu]]), and the first parts of each arc focuses on their shenanigans. Soon, though, it's revealed that this series is about [[ReligiousHorror something]] [[PsychologicalHorror else]] [[MindScrew entirely]]. [[spoiler:Not to mention that in the second half of the series the position of main character shifts to Rika instead of Keiichi.]] It's also worth noting that only Mion and possibly Rena are actually hinted to be in love with Keiichi in the series proper, since Shion is in love with someone else, [[TokenMiniMoe Satoko and Rika]] are too young, and [[spoiler:Hanyuu is a PhysicalGod who was married and had a daughter when she was still human]]. In the end, [[spoiler:none of the girls end up with Keiichi, since the series is ultimately not about romance but ThePowerOfFriendship]].
* ''VisualNovel/KamigamiNoAsobi'' features a harem of [[HotGod gods]] - [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Apollon, Hades]], [[Myth/JapaneseMythology Susano'o(a.k.a. Takeru), Tsukuyomi (a.k.a. Tsukito)]], [[Myth/NorseMythology Loki, and Balder]].
* ''Franchise/MuvLuv''.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}''. Five girls with their own routes plus one without, having been DemotedToExtra. Most of them are quite violent about it too; Akiha flatly hates Ciel (who hates her back) and Arcueid (who doesn't seem to know what hate is) and ''those'' two have a '[[WordOfGod weird friendship]]' that occasionally includes trying to kill each other. Akira is added in the first fandisc, Kagetsu Tohya seems to add Len considering [[spoiler:she expresses a preference for having sex with him when making a contract]] and implies most of his classmates are attracted. VideoGame/MeltyBlood adds Sion.
** Do note that this only applies to the extended Tsukihime-verse in the Nasuverse, where Shiki is actually saddled with all the girls in an UnwantedHarem. In the actual visual novel there is no harem ending (aside of Ciel's good ending, which teases a ThreesomeSubtext with Arcueid as the third prong).
* Creator/KeyVisualArts' ''VisualNovel/{{AIR}}'', ''VisualNovel/{{Kanon}}'', and ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'' feature an ordinary (or not so ordinary) high school student who attracts girls of every {{moe}} and general description type into a long-running harem.
** ''VisualNovel/LittleBusters'' is interesting in that it's both more and less of a harem than the others -- more because [[spoiler:all of the routes happen canonically as different timelines, meaning that all of the girls fall for him within the same reality, rather than in alternate universes as with most Key games where often only one or two girls ever like the protagonist at the same time]] and because the first ending explicitly [[NoRomanticResolution leaves open the question of who he ends up with]], but also less because the anime removes all Riki/girl romance except implications that Kurugaya and Rin might like him, leaving only non-haremette Suginami explicitly, and unrequitedly, in love with him.
* ''VisualNovel/MyHaremHeavenIsYandereHell'' focuses on Yuuya and his three ChildhoodFriends. At first, he and his friends are trying to help save their club, but once he starts getting close to one of them, everything takes a [[{{Yandere}} dark turn]].
* ''VisualNovel/YandereILoveYouSoIWantToKillYou'' is centered in a high school with Subaru and three attractive choices in women. Although, like the previous entry, the word "{{Yandere}}" should be noted.
* ''VisualNovel/PurinoParty'' gives the player his own personal harem. He arrives at his new private school and gets to stay at a house full of girls with unique quirks.
* DatingSim ''VisualNovel/TokimekiMemorial'', which actually revolves around building stats and managing dates on multiple girls at times to get one of [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters loads and loads of girls]] without angering the rest and ruin your game.
* ''VisualNovel/SevenHottiesAllMyHusbands'' features a strange situation where the protagonist has become part of a polygamy with seven men.
* ''VisualNovel/HaremProtagonist'' is [[AffectionateParody a particularly silly and self-aware take on the genre]]. For starters, the protagonist can hear and interact with the game's narrator, who is disappointed that our hero is not some suave high-school Casanova but an ordinary schlub.
* ''VisualNovel/ExtracurricularActivities'' is a Westernized take where cute schoolgirls are replaced by muscular anthropomorphic men, complete with the ChildhoodFriend, TheQuietOne, and more.
* The ''VisualNovel/ShallWeDate'' franchise is a ReverseHarem series - every single game has a female protagonist and the many men who are in love with her.
* ''VisualNovel/EnchantedInTheMoonlight'' is another ReverseHarem - the protagonist is being protected by five ayakashi, and will have to bear one of them a child in exchange for continued protection.
* In ''VisualNovel/StarrySky'', the heroine is the only girl at an [[OneGenderSchool all-boys school]], and starts being courted by twelve young men (although there are only three per game).
* In ''VisualNovel/DiabolikLovers'', the heroine is sent to live in a mysterious mansion, and is courted by six vampire brothers.
* In ''Harem Island ~Otoko'', the hero works part time at a major theme park situated on a deserted island. Among his co-workers happen to be six lovely women who cosplay as various characters (it's a fantasy-themed park). Naturally, he begins courting all the women and begins his own personal harem at the park.
* ''VisualNovel/MagicKyunRenaissance'' appears to be taking this route in the anime, with Kohana meeting and forming relationships with the six main male characters.
* In ''Eji Koi'', the heroine attends school alongside Egyptian gods, and is able to start a romance with any one of them.
* In ''VisualNovel/DreamDaddy'', the protagonist is romanced by seven single fathers.
* In ''VisualNovel/SeduceMeOtome'', the heroine allows five incubi to stay with her, and they end up falling in love with her.
* In ''VisualNovel/StarCrossedMyth'', the heroine is romanced by twelve gods of the [[WesternZodiac Zodiac]].
* In ''VisualNovel/UtaNoPrincesama'', Haruka can be romanced by six {{Idol Singer}}s.

* The HBO show ''Series/BigLove'' (although in this case, the harem is [[JustifiedTrope justified as the characters are fringe Mormons]]).
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/NotQuiteDailyComic'''s [[http://www.truefork.org/Art/comic/cindex.php?170 "Not Quite Harem Anime Arc"]].
* The webcomic ''Webcomic/OwMySanity'' has one made entirely of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s.
* ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent.'' Marten has, over the course of the comic's run, had many female friends who could be potential love interests. [[spoiler:However, only two have actually progressed to that point, and the first relationship ended badly. With the rest, the chances of this happening are slim at best for one reason or another.]]
* The ABC series Series/TheBachelor counts as this. It involves 20 women competing over the course of a few weeks for the affection of one man.
* ''LightNovel/HaremPrince'' deconstructs and parodies a lot of tropes associated in the genre a la Manga/TheWorldGodOnlyKnows and LightNovel/{{Toradora}}.
* ''Series/MillionYenWomen'' which is about a struggling male author made to live five women who are complete strangers to him, while technically a PsychologicalThriller, gets a few elements of this thanks to the living arrangements.
* Hilariously lampshaded by Mother's Basement's [[FauxDocumentary PSA,]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FmtiDbg4xY How to Survive a Harem Anime]]