Top 5: Harem Leads – Do these guys stand out from the crowd?

Tuesday's Top 5

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that harem leads are almost always an empty shell designed only for self-insert purposes. And yet every now and then we’ll come across a lead character in one of these shows that actually has something resembling a personality. As always, this list is entirely my own opinion and I’d love to know what you would have included on your list so please comment below and get the conversation going.

Who are your favourite harem leads in anime?

Number 5: Hayate from Hayate the Combat Butler

Now Hayate’s main personality trait is that he’s bascially a nice person, however he shows enough moments of actual self-interest and responds reasonably human like to the antics of the girls around him which is why he gained a spot on the list. Also, it is hard to see him as a strictly self-insert character when he has a serious need to clean.

Number 4: Kodaka from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukinai

The guy with the two toned hair and a seriously bad reputation (totally undeserved of course) seldom comes over as personalityless. He does come across as easily lead and fairly apathetic about most things but he has enough moments of actual human interaction that you can see there’s an actual character in this lead. My favourite moment was when he told Sena off at the pool. He did do the cliche male lead thing and saved her from the punks but then he called her on her rubbish. Go Kodaka. Unfortunately that just got him yet another admirer.


Number 3: Ayumu from Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka

Alright, Ayumu is a zombie and can also transform into a magical girl who shares his house with a necromancer, an ex-magical girl, and a vampire ninja.

That in and of itself makes him kind of interesting though Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka isn’t really asking you to take him all that seriously. Ayumu is on the list because unlike so many other protagonists, he has a goal. He wants to find the person who killed him. Admittedly, this gets lost at times amongst the usual harem/comedy antics but he is at least working toward something and not just kind of existing for the sake of the girls fawning over him.

Number 2: Tigrevurmud (Tigre) Vorn from Lord Marksman and Vanadis

Tigre from Lord Marksman and Vanadis gets a place here because unlike so many other male harem leads, he actually knows how to take advantage of the situation (not that way). Even after being taken prisoner, due his skill with the bow he wins his captor’s approval and then convinces her through some plot contrivance to lend him her army for a little bit.

There is a fair exchange for that service however with Tigre essentially surrenduring his territory to her but given the options he’s got its a fairly solid move. That’s probably why I like him as a character. His choices are always restricted by the circumstances he finds himself in and yet he finds logical ways to approach each conflict and in the process he wins quite a few admirers.

Number 1: Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club

Yeah, I get its a she and this is technically a reverse harem, but to be honest Haruhi is probably my favourite character from any harem style anime ever so I had to give her the top spot. Ouran High School Host Club is just plain fun.

What I like about Haruhi is she’s just so straight forward about her approach to everything. No horrible moments of paralysed indecision or being dragged along without complaint. That isn’t to say she has no weaknesses (typical female fear of thunder coming through as well as just generally being naive at times) but she’s a great deal of fun to watch.

Over to you. Which harem lead would you have on your list.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

27 thoughts on “Top 5: Harem Leads – Do these guys stand out from the crowd?

  1. I’m only familiar with Haruhi on the list, and I agree with your points on her. Would also like to add that she isn’t dramatic for the sake of plot or comedic purposes which adds a layer of realism to her character

  2. Yes! Haruhi definitely should be number one. I loved Ouran high school host club and I feel it was one of the few harem anime that had a great ending. I would also put on the list Catarina from My next life as a villainess. Okay, that series is more comedy than romance, but it’s still a great harem.

    1. I am enjoying My Next Life as a Villainess but I think I like the harem more than I like Catarina at this point. Maybe I need a list of great harems.

  3. Very interesting list. I’m surprised Tenchi wasn’t on there since at least he has a personality and the stuff I’ve seen from Tenchi Muyo was actually entertaining (mainly the old-school Tenchi works since I haven’t seen Ryo-Ohki, GXP, etc.).

      1. That’s fine. Granted, it has been a while since I’ve seen anything from that series, but I remember enjoying it when it was on Toonami back in the day. I certainly found Tenchi Muyo to be way more interesting than a ton of the harem shows that flooded the anime scene in the 00s.

        1. I think the only Tenchi series I watched all the way through was War on Gemini and while it was watchable it still didn’t leave much impression. Other series from Tenchi I just never finished.

          1. I never saw that one. That was one of the series where Tenchi wasn’t the main character. I was just curious about what things you’ve seen from that series.

  4. Haruhi was unexpected, but an excellent choice! I always liked Tenchi from Tenchi Muyo growing up, but he probably doesn’t stand up to this list.

    1. He seems a popular choice. I didn’t actually finish watching the original Tenchi Muyo all the way through so don’t really know about how he’d stand against the others on the list, but at least people seem to remember him so he must have something going on other than bland.

  5. I say Tenchi from the Tenchi Muyo series. He is basically a progenitor of modern harem anime. He actually does have a personality. He is kind of the normal kid who is swept up in outrageous adventure. Plus like the Karate Kid his everyday chores were actually effective combat training when the time came to use his skills. He also isn’t a pervert unlike a lot of modern harem anime and has more of a heroic nature to him. His life honestly looks exhausting with all the women who do chase him. It’s hilarious to witness. To be fair he did spawn a few clones that were less original then he was. How many legendary heroes does one franchise need?

    As for which series I’d say the Tenchi OVA was a great start but it was only 12 episodes. Tenchi Universe was awesome and very complete. Plus we got to meet Mihoshi’s partner Kiyone. There were definitely some Yuri vibes there but nothing overt. Still They were comedy gold.

    1. He is an interesting character but I’ve never been overly sold on his show. Still, good mention for the list given you really can’t call his personality bland.

  6. I don’t have a lot of experience with harem anime but I did watch and read Ouran High School Host Club and I loved Haruhi! I’ll habe to check out some of these other ones one day since you give them your stamp of approval!

  7. I’ve watched Hayate and liked it well enough and numbers 1-3 are on my watchlist. I’m generally leery of harem shows though so it’s good to hear that these have promising protagonists rather than empty shells.

    1. I don’t mind the occasional harem but it isn’t exactly a genre I seek out and a lot of them just leave me bored as self-insert protag gets surrounded by standard harem girls.

      1. The thing that bugs me is that the girls in the harem continue to pursue the bland guy even though he clearly doesn’t like any of them or he would have already made a choice.

        1. Thats another good point. Seeing as how harems typically rely on their chracters to drive their story, you would think they would have better characterization.

  8. Oh great list!! Didn’t see Haruhi coming!! Fantastic choice for the top spot!!! I had started with one episode for Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka but now I really want to finish it based on this list! I haven’t heard of a few others…I definitely want to add Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukinai…just because…I’m partial to blonde leads. lol!

  9. Haruhi! fantastic choice for number 1, but to be honest I’m not too familiar with the rest. Maybe that’s a good thing that I’m not well versed in harem anime?

    My sort of a joke but not really if you think about it choice: Kousei Arima.

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