Harem is one of the most common genres of not only anime but light novels, manga and video games in modern days. A harem anime presents a fictional story casting a spot light on a male protagonist with multiple heroines or side girl characters who are romantically interested in him. On the other hand, a reverse harem anime centers on a female main character surrounded by several boys who are actively involved in her.
Harem anime series and movies have been much popular worldwide for the attractive heroines coming in one after another. They have a wide variety of appearances and personalities including cool tsundere Senpai, cute loli Kohai, fantastical elves and fairies and so on.
Many people choose harem anime as a beginning title or gate to explore Japanese anime deeper. Today, I’d like to introduce 10 best harem anime series for both anime newbies and experienced watchers. This list ranges from the classic masterpieces to the latest franchises.
Let’s step into the alluring world of harem anime!
1. The Quintessential Quintuplets
A lot of modern anime fans have liked a romantic comedy and harem anime titled The Quintessential Quintuplets (五等分の花嫁) since it started airing in 2019. Based on the same-titled manga series that was completed with 14 volumes in 2020, there are two seasons including 24 episodes in the anime series. It was concluded with the first and final anime movie released in May, 2022.
An academic high school student Futaro Uesugi decides to accept a job as a home tutor for identical quintuplets of the Nakano family to earn money for his poor family. He faces a variety of problems getting involved in each of the quintuplet sister with abundant individualities: The service-minded oldest sister Ichika, the strong-minded cynic Nino, the taciturn girl Miku, the cheerful and vital character Yotsuba and the steady foodie Itsuki. At the beginning of the story, it signals a future for Futaro to marry one of the five girls.
Aired: 2019 (Season 1)/2021 (Season 2)
Episodes: 12 (Season 1)/12 (Season 2)
Clannad, categorizes as romantic comedy, slice of life, harem and drama, is looked on as one of the best moving anime series of all time hitting a large number of anime lovers in their mind. It was first developed as a romance visual novel game by Key in 2004, which was made into the two-season anime series from 2007 to 2009 by Kyoto Animation.
Clannad centers on a delinquent high schooler Tomoya Okazaki, who gets involved in several girls in the school. At first, he meets a sickly but bright girl Nagisa Furukawa and helps her vitalize the abolished school drama club. It also depicts his relationships with the purple-haired Fujibayashi twins Kyou and Ryou, the academical genius Kotomi Ichinose, the athletic honor student Tomoyo Sakagami, the cute and stubborn girl Fuko Ibuki. Clannad After Story presents their stories until adulthood.
Aired: 2007-2008 (Season 1)/2008-2009 (Season 2)
Episodes: 23 (Season 1)/24 (Season 2)
Rent-A-Girlfriend (彼女、お借りします) is a popular modern harem anime series in the early 2020s. It has been made by TMS Entertainment, based on Reiji Miyajima’s manga series serialized on Weekly Shonen Magazine since 2017. The first season aired with 12 episodes in 2020 and the second season with 12 episodes in 2022.
Rent-A-Girlfriend introduces a unique dating service inspired by the one in the real world. The harem anime follows an ordinal 20-year-old university student Kazuya Kinoshita, who starts using the service to rent a temporary girlfriend and meets a beautiful smart rental girlfriend Chizuru Mizuhara after he is abandoned by his black-hearted ex-girlfriend Mami Nanami. There are also other attractive renal girlfriends including Ruka Sarashina and Sumi Sakurasawa, who get closer to Kazuya.
Aired: 2020 (Season 1)/2022 (Season 2)
Episodes: 12 (Season 1)/12 (Season 2)
4. Monogatari Series
Monogatari Series (〈物語〉シリーズ), which is also known as its first part’s title Bakemonogatari (化物語), is one of the masterpieces in the modern harem anime, also categorized as fantasy, mystery, romance and comedy. Adapted from Nisio Isin’s light novel series published since 2006, the anime series has been made into the outstanding anime series by Shaft since 2009. The entire anime series consists of 14 parts from Bakemonogatari to Zoku Owarimonogatari so far.
Set in Naoetsu Private High School in a Japanese rural town, Monogatari Series casts a spotlight on a protagonist Koyomi Araragi, who is transformed into a relation of the vampire heroine Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade. After that, he encounters a variety of apparitions caused around several heroines: his classmate Hitagi Senjogahara, the lost elementary schooler Mayoi Hachikuji, the talented basketball player Suruga Kanbaru, his little sister’s friend Nadeko Sengoku and the president of his class Tsubasa Hanekawa. More unique female characters color the anime throughout the story.
Aired: 2009-2012 (Season 1)/2013-2014 (Season 2)/2014-2019 (Season 3)
Episodes: 30 (Season 1)/28 (Season 2)/42 (Season 3)
5. Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody
Lots of known harem anime are categorized as Naro-kei, based on light novels serialized on an online user-generated publishing platform named Shosetsuka ni Naro. Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (デスマーチからはじまる異世界狂想曲) is one of the most famous Naro-kei anime, adapted from Hiro Ainana’s light novel series starting on Shosetsuka ni Naro in 2013 and finishing in 2020. The anime series consisting of 12 episodes made by Silver Link and Connect was first broadcast in 2018.
Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody centers on the strongest protagonist Satou Pendragon, who a 29-year-old programmer is reincarnated as in a different gaming world. While traveling the world with a variety of outstanding abilities, he meets several heroines: A noble magic soldier Zena, a innocent dog demi-human and slave girl Pochi, an easygoing cat demi-human and slave girl Tama, a grown-up lizard demi-human Liza, a former princess Arisa and Arisa’s reserved sister Lulu.
6. In Another World with My Smartphone
In Another World with My Smartphone (異世界はスマートフォンとともに。) is a symbol of Naro-kei harem anime series nowadays as well as Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody. The isekai harem fantasy anime was first released with 12 episodes by Production Reed in 2017, followed by the second season made by a different studio J.C.Staff in the spring of 2023. It is based on the same-titled light novel series serialized on Shosetsuka ni Naro since 2013, which has been written by Patora Fuyuhara.
In addition to the versatile protagonist Touya Mochizuki, who is reincarnated with a smartphone in a fantasy isekai world, In Another World with My Smartphone shows a bunch of female characters: A courteous princess Yumina, twin adventurers Elze and Linze, a straight-laced samurai girl Yae, Yumina’s curious cousin Sushie and the chief of the fairy tribe Leen. The second season features more girls surrounding Touya.
Aired: 2017 (Season 1)/2023 (Season 2)
Episodes: 12 (Season 1)/TBA (Season 2)
7. Infinite Stratos
Infinite Stratos (IS〈インフィニット・ストラトス〉) is a popular school-themed harem anime, also categorized as mecha and romantic comedy. Japanese anime studio Eight Bit completed the first season of the harem anime series in 2011 and the second season in 2013, based on Izuru Yumizuru’s light novel series published since 2009.
After the most powerful weapon called Infinite Stratos, which only women can handle, is invented, it is set in the world with predominance of women over men. A protagonist Ichika Orimura, the only man who can activate Infinite Stratos, is enrolled at IS Academy, where female students train to pilot the mecha weapons. He lives the harem school life with several heroines: The tsundere girl Houki Shinonono, the prideful British noble Cecilia Alcott, the frank Chinese student Lingyin Huang, the mild French achiever Charlotte Dunois and the overpowering German lady Laura Bodewig.
Aired: 2011 (Season 1)/2013 (Season 2)
Episodes: 12 (Season 1)/12 (Season 2)
8. Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
As one of the highest quality romantic comedy and harem anime in the recent past, Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend (冴えない彼女の育てかた) has had a high reputation from lots of fans since its first season was released in 2015. It was followed by the second season titled Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Flat in 2017 and the final anime movie Saekano the Movie: Finale in 2019. Based on the light novel series written by Fumiaki Maruto abd illustrated by Kurehito Misaki between 2012 and 2019, the two seasons were made by A-1 Pictures and the theatrical film by CloverWorks.
A second-grade otaku high schooler Tomoya Aki, who loves anime, light novels and visual novel games, decides to make a self-produced visual novel game to sell it at the biggest otaku event Comic Market. He builds a game development team named Blessing Software, which comprises the pretty main heroine Megumi Kato, the tundere illustrator Eriri Spencer Sawamura and the cool aggressive writer Utaha Kasumigaoka.
Aired: 2015 (Season 1)/2017 (Season 2)
Episodes: 13 (Season 1)/11 (Season 2)
9. Yuuna And The Haunted Hot Springs
If you want to find a nice harem anime series, you can’t miss some anime adaptations made from famous Weekly Shonen Jump’s manga series. Yuuna And The Haunted Hot Springs (ゆらぎ荘の幽奈さん) is one of the most popular anime series introducing lots of cute female characters surrounding a protagonist, adapted from Tadahiro Miura’s manga serialized from 2016 to 2020. 12 episodes of the anime adaptation were made by Xebec in 2018.
Yuuna And The Haunted Hot Springs follows a psychic high school boy Kogarashi Fuyuzora, who is susceptible to ghosts. He has met a diversity of ghost girls since he moved to the Yuragi Inn that is inhabited by them. In addition to Kogarashi’s popular schoolmate Chisaki Miyazaki, he is always placed in a harem situation by several girls: the high schooler ghost heroine Yuuna Yunohana, the cool ninja girl Sagiri Ameno, the adult drinker Nonko Arahabaki, the peaceful Zashiki-warashi Chitose Nakai, etc.
10. Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン), one of the greatest isekai anime series, is sometimes categorized as harem as well as action, adventure and fantasy. Based on Reki Kawahara’s light novel series published since 2009, its anime adaptations have released several series and movies ever. The first season aired with 25 episodes in 2012, followed by the second season Sword Art Online II in 2014, the third title Sword Art Online: Alicization in 2018-2019 and the fourth part Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld in 2019-2020. The whole series and anime movies have been produced by the reputable anime studio A-1 Pictures.
Almost all stories of this series are set in virtual worlds like computer games, focusing on a young boy Kazuto Kirigaya (who is mainly called Kirito). He survives the severe virtual reality world with the attractive warrior heroine Asuna Yuuki. Kirito is surrounded by multiple girls in both the real and virtual worlds: his cousin Suguha, the tiny artificial intelligence girl Yui, the cool sniper Sinon and the beatiful knight Alice.
Aired: 2012 (Season 1)/2014 (Season 2)/2018-2019 (Season 3)/2019-2020 (Season 4)
Episodes: 25 (Season 1)/24 (Season 2)/24 (Season 3)/23 (Season 4)
There are actually much more harem anime series I would like to recommend. However, if I have to narrow down the lineup, those titles above should be picked out first. Let’s enjoy the fantastic harem situations in those anime series!
▽Check out the list of best new anime series and movies released in 2022, too!▽
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