Cheeky Kid has been watching anime and reading manga for as long as he can remember. Doing so takes him to different worlds.
What Is Harem Anime?
Harem (HRM) is an anime genre where there’s usually one main character who’s surrounded by multiple characters of the opposite sex (who are usually all potential love interests). As particular as it is and given the fact that it can lead to all sorts of predictable situations (awkward or not), this genre is often mixed in with romance, comedy, and ecchi.
The main character is usually male. If the protagonist is female with multiple male suitors, then the anime is referred to as a reverse harem (reverse HRM).
Since this genre is a fairly popular these days (amassing a huge fan base and producing a lot of titles), I decided to make a top 10 list of the best harem anime you can watch and enjoy. Have fun!
By the way, if you’re also interested in the gender reversal of this genre, check out the top 10 best reverse harem anime.
The Top Ten Harem Anime
- To Love-Ru
- Date A Live
- The World God Only Knows
- Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (Haganai)
- Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (Saekano)
- Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko (The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat)
- Grisaia no Kajitsu
- Trinity Seven
- Nagasarete Airantou
10. Nagasarete Airantou
Nagasarete Airantou is about one guy and a deserted island full of girls. On top of that, all the girls are obsessively curious about the guy (because they’ve never seen one before). So, they try to chase him every minute of every single day. Being chased by a lot of girls might be a dream come true for most guys, but for Ikuto Touhouin, it’s a horrible nightmare. Withholding that fact, this show is legitimately a star of this genre.
The show follows the story of Ikuto Touhouin, a 14-year-old boy who’s at the peak of his youth. After getting into a fight with his father, he decides to run away and go on vacation by boarding a ship. However, it never crossed his mind that his simple vacation would turn into a one-of-a-kind experience. When a storm hits the ship, he gets thrown into the ocean only to wake up on a peculiar island with its population entirely made up of, well, girls.
9. Trinity Seven
It’s one special guy with a cast of several equally special gals. But, that’s not all there is to this series. What marks this anime as special is the main character's unique quality that separates him from other protagonists in the genre. Arata Kasuga gets along smoothly with his entire all-girl troupe, like a conforming wave in the vast ocean. He's not dense at all and is totally aware of everything.
When a black sun shows up in the sky bringing forth a phenomenon called the Collapse Phenomenon, Arata Kasuga realizes that something’s terribly off with the world—his cousin Hijiri Kasuga goes missing and a mysterious magician is after him. After realizing what is happening, and taking the grimoire into his possession, Arata decides to enroll in a mage academy to look for his cousin. There, he meets the best-of-the-best when it comes to magic and skills—the Trinity Seven!
Recommended Ecchi Anime
The word ecchi comes from how Japanese speakers pronounce the letter H. The H refers to the word hentai, although ecchi refers to a different genre. Ecchi anime typically features fanservice and suggestive themes, although it is still generally suitable for television. Ecchi and harem anime often go together, so here are some recommendations of the genre.
- B Gata H Kei
- Heaven's Lost Property
- High School of the Dead
- High School DxD
- Ikki Tousen
Read More From Reelrundown
8. Grisaia no Kajitsu
It doesn't get any more unique than this! Grisaia no Kaijutsu isn’t your standard HRM anime with all the regular tropes and usual elements. For one, this anime is in the psychological genre (a rarity for HRM). Also, it's packed with thrills, serious developments, and a ton of suspense—all qualities that make this one exceptional and different from others. It manages to both contain some of the essential elements of a HRM show and a psychological thriller. It's marvelously tied together.
The story takes place at a special school that’s dedicated to reforming students who are bad apples. There, we'll meet five female students with lives each holding terrible and regrettable secrets. Up until now, everyone attending the school was female. But then, one day, a male student comes in to join the class with them. Despite everyone having dark secrets of their own, the new student Kazami Yuuji might just have the most controversial secret and darkest past of them all.
7. Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko (The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat)
If you think that this is another senseless HRM show with overused clichés and whatnot, then you’re actually right . . . and also wrong! You’re in for a big surprise! Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko might seem pretty average in terms of story and consistency. However, the characters (especially the main character) make up for this, resulting in an above-average HRM. Harem? Check. A bit of ecchi? Check. Comedy? Check. Romance? Check. Cuteness/adorability (Moe factor)? Gazillions of check marks!
After learning about the existence of a stony cat that grants wishes, Youto Yokodera decides to give it a try in order to bring out his true self and show his perverted nature to the world. After always being considered pure and innocent, he’s had enough of not being able to truly represent and express his true self. However, he’ll soon be faced with unpredictable complications in his new life, as well as the new ties he has made with a fellow wisher.
6. Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (Saekano)
This is one of the newest anime series in the HRM genre. Even though it's just a few episodes in so far, I'm already struck by the brilliance of this show. So much that I’ve included it on this list—and at number six nonetheless!
Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata shimmers with respect to its plot and comical nature. Yes, it’s a standard HRM show, but that’s what actually makes it interesting. I was hooked from the first episode and still am. Every episode so far has been excellent. For a fresh HRM anime show, I must say this has gigantic potential!
The biggest otaku of the school, Aki Tomoyo, stumbles upon a rare moment with what seemed to be his perfect girl. His heart suddenly flutters, causing him to want to create a game based on that special moment (even though he doesn’t know who the girl is). Dead serious about his new project at this point, he enlists two of the most popular students of his school, Eriri Spencer Sawamura and Utaha Kasumigaoka, to help him. Later on that day, he crosses paths again with this seemingly perfect girl. Only this time, to his surprise, she’s not actually who he thought she was.
Nisekoi is HRM done right. Yes, done right! It has all the essentials and it even thrives while using all the usual clichés you'll see from the genre. This is because it manages to carry itself in a way that's incredibly effective, so much so that you stop seeing it as just another HRM series. Proper execution and making the most out of the classic tropes are key here, and Nisekoi has succeeded in both.
When he was a child, Raku Ichijou made a promise to a certain girl that when they finally reunited someday, they would marry. Up to this day, he holds on to the pendant that the girl gave to him. Years later, when in high school, he has a crush on a girl named Kosaki Onodera. Due to his family being the yakuza group known as the Shuei-gumi and the fact that he’s the only heir, he is forced to go along with a made-up relationship with a girl named Chitoge Kirisaki, who’s the heir of another group called the Bee Hive Gangsters. Now he has to deal with juggling the made-up relationship and his true feelings towards Kosaki at school.
4. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (Haganai)
What makes Boku Tomodachi ga Sukunai stand out the most is the fact that it’s using an interesting premise alongside familiar settings—school and clubs. Also, it delivers so many jokes that it’ll make you laugh out loud every moment you watch it. Believe it or not, the guy-surrounded-by-girls theme works great with this one. All the awkward moments are hilarious. Combine that hilarity with its perfect blend of themes and we have an instant classic.
Kodaka Hasegawa has always been treated as a delinquent because of the color of his hair. In high school, he meets a girl who seems to be talking to nobody, while claiming that it was her friend. He realizes that she also has no friends, which prompted them both to establish a Neighbor Club with the mission of making new friends. As the club jumpstarts, a few other awkward people tag along, joining in on the club activities of what they think friends should be doing together.
3. The World God Only Knows
If the girls in The World God Only Knows remember everything they’ve gone through, Keima would have the biggest harem ever! However, that's not the case. This anime is about Keima, the number of girls he's conquered (making this a true HRM anime), and how they forget everything after he conquers them.
If it’s anything that concerns games (especially dating games), nothing can’t be conquered by Katsuragi Keima. That's all he's prided himself on his whole life—playing games. Then, one day, a demon girl by the name of Elucia seeks him out in order to get him to help her capture escaped souls that now reside in the void of girls’ hearts. So, much like he does with his dating games, Keima only has to make the girls fall in love with him in order to manifest the souls and capture them in the process—all in real life!
2. Date A Live
Is this a love quadrangle I smell here? Or is it even more than that? There’s only one thing left for Shido left to do—capture the hearts of those female spirits and get them to love him through sweet talk and charm. Date A Live actually stays true to its name—it’s a date and everyone lives happily because of it. But, the only one left with all the troubles is Shido himself. Then again, he's enjoying it so it's okay.
In a world frequented by space quakes (destructive earthquakes caused by spirits), humanity has suffered countless casualties under the whims of these misunderstood spirits. One day, a plan devised by the anti-spirit organization Ratatosk sets into motion. High school boy Itsuka Shido becomes part of the plan as his sister, Itsuka Kotori, is actually the head of Ratatosk. Now, since brute force isn’t effective, Ratatosk asks Shido to befriend the spirits and win their hearts over with peaceful resolutions.
1. To Love-Ru
Choosing which series to hand the number one spot to was a no-brainer. After all, when one mentions HRM anime, the first thing that comes to mind (for me and for many) is To Love-Ru! Rito Yuuki is the king of HRM. He’s got a lot of girls around him—even alien ones! Most of the time, it leads to very awkward scenarios which sometimes even escalate further to something unexpected. That’s its own flavor of comedy, and I must say—it’s super effective! To Love-Ru easily knocks all of the competitors out of the park to stand out as the anime befitting of the HRM crown of glory!
Rito Yuuki is struggling with his love life. He can't seem to muster up the courage to confess to the girl he likes at school. Then, one day, everything took a much more complicated turn. While bathing, a girl named Lala suddenly manifested in the same bathtub he was in and claimed that she was an alien from the planet of Deviluke. To make matters worse, she’s being chased by mysterious people from her planet. Rito jumps in to protect her not knowing that what he’s doing shall soon cause a big misunderstanding later on.
Harem Girl Archetypes
The girls in a harem anime typically fit an established character mold. Here are some common character types that often appear.
- Tsundere: These characters usually put on a tough exterior to hide their attraction to the main character. Their bickering often brings them together, Chitoge from Nisekoi is a good example of a tsundere.
- Kuudere: These characters are more colder and have little to no emotions. However, they can have caring personalities.
- The Childhood Friend: This character is typically the girl-next-door type. They are often very kind and have known the main character the longest. They may have some frustration over not being noticed by the protagonist.
- The Yamato Nadeshiko: This character often has traits that are related to the traditional ideals of Japanese femininity. They are well-mannered and have a strong elegance about them.
- The Ojou: This character is often rich and haughty. They are kind of a contrast to the Yamato Nadeshiko in that they often carry more European ideals of beauty.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Eliseo Taping on September 09, 2020:
Nice my 2 first anime and favorite was 1st and 2nd
on August 09, 2020:
What about shinmai no testnament
Bruh on July 31, 2020:
Where's monster musume
no. on July 23, 2020:
Zero no Tsukaima isnt on here, therefore this entire list is rendered irrelevant.
cknori95 on July 17, 2020:
Date A Live and To Love-Ru were precisely the first two animes I watched, and they sure did a great job cementing my taste...
Animaniac on July 10, 2020:
I love To Love-Ru more than High school dxd.
Someone on July 09, 2020:
Masou Gakuen HxH is a good harem anime Wink wink.
It is kinda the same as High school DxD
Hestia on June 26, 2020:
Where's danmachi :0
Hi on June 05, 2020:
Why is high school DXD and up there it the best
OnlyFans on May 11, 2020:
All of y’all just watching for them anime titties are fools y’all need to broaden your horizons fr get into the anime and the characters, one of my favorite harem is trinity 7 it’s an awesome anime to love ru is up there as well
YEE on May 09, 2020:
I really don't understand why some ppl say they hate DxD but know the story so well.
I swear those guys are hypocrites.
nekko on May 09, 2020:
dxd is a really good show has some great parts wink wink
U on May 06, 2020:
I think high school dxd should be number one