Girls, Girls and More Girls!
The harem genre is one of the most developed and widely used themes in anime. Having a legion of different women (or men in reverse-harem) attracted or even falling in love with the story’s main character has a “fantasy” appeal that anime fans dream about.
Harem anime took off in the latter parts of the 2000s but is actually older than most viewers know. There are hundreds of anime in this genre, most with polarizing reviews going from horrible to refreshingly awesome.
If you’re looking for the best harem anime, look no further. This list will reveal to you the 10 best harem anime of all time.
10. Trinity Seven
In a world filled with magic, the main character, Arata Kasuga, is a demon lord who can warp his own reality. Even with these abilities, Arata is a harem hero who is a little lacking in common sense.
Arata Kasuga embraces his slightly perverted ways and does his best to make sure he’s deserving of his demon lord candidate status. This is the plot to the highly entertaining Trinity Seven anime.
Trinity Seven is an excellent example of a battle harem themed anime. Filled with strong girls who can hold their own in a no holds barred magic war, Arata needs to step up his game to make sure that he fulfills his potential as a demon lord level magic-user. He goes to a special academy to hone his craft, all while trying to find a way to save his childhood friend (who’s also his cousin).
This anime is full of action and fun, with fast-paced battles being staples of each episode. Both the dark humor and lighthearted scenes have a good balance that makes it fun to watch. It’s an anime that you can easily go through all of the episodes on a lazy day at home.
Check out the trailer here:
The DVD is now available on Amazon. You can check it out here: Trinity Seven [Blu-ray]
9. Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou (Everyday Life with Monster Girls)
If one day, half-human, half-monster girls became real, could you love them? What if a bunch of them fall in love with you?
This is exactly what Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou, or Monmusu, is all about.
Kimihito Kurusu, your everyday nice guy who lives alone, is given the responsibility to take care of a lamia (a half monster, half beautiful woman) named Miia. This is due to the sudden discovery of demi-humans and the creation of laws that allow them to have host families in Japan as part of cultural exchange. More demi-human girls appear and hilarity ensues.
Though it can be classified as your typical “nice guy” type of anime, Monmusu is a refreshing take on the tried and tested harem theme.
Hilarious slapstick comedy, funny takes on the romantic problems of trying to set up interspecies relationships and cute monster girls, it’s a feel good anime you can watch over and over again.
If you love funny love stories with cute girls, Monmusu is happiness in a DVD.
Here’s a trailer for this series:
Unfortunately, it’s hard to get a version with English dubbing. If you can understand Japanese, you can get Vol. 1 on DVD at Amazon: Monster Musume No Iru Nichijo (Everyday Life With Monster Girls) Vol.1
8. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (I Don’t Have Many Friends) AKA Haganai
Kodaka Hasegawa is your typical Japanese delinquent. Dirty blond hair, odd fashion and sharp piercing eyes, you wouldn’t think that all he wants are friends.
We see the daily school life of Kodaka and his erratic involvement with an anti-social girl called Yozora, and a social elitist named Sena. They establish a club where they can make more friends.
A very strong cast of girls with very distinctly drawn-out personalities, Haganai focuses on their misadventures, their interactions with each other and of course, different girls fighting for Kodaka’s attention.
Funny, relatable and lovable, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai plays on the genre subtly enough that you will never be bored, even if the story leaves a little to be desired at times.
The interactions between the characters play important roles in their development as friends, their self-discovery and by extension, their feelings for Kodaka.
Watch the trailer here:
The DVD is now available on Amazon and has tons of special features. You can check it out here: Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai) (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
7. Tenchi Muyo! (No Need for Tenchi!)
One of two classic harem anime on this list, Tenchi Muyo is widely considered the series that solidified the harem genre as mainstream anime.
It follows the adventures of Tenchi, the grandson of a Shinto shrine priest that accidentally reanimates the space pirate Ryoko, who has been in a deep slumber for 700 years.
He eventually discovers his hidden lineage while adding more and more alien women in his life, much to his chagrin. This finally causes a domino effect of cosmic events to occur.
The grandfather of sci-fi action-adventure with a touch of rom-com (romantic comedy), the story just sucks you in. I mean, the plot is about a guy being dragged by beautiful women (who he doesn’t want to get involved with) into a crazy life of fighting space pirates. How can you beat that?
This is a good harem anime for people who love adventure mixed with romance. Though the animation is a bit dated due to its status as a 90s classic, Tenchi Muyo is story-driven harem anime with depth, and is recommended even for beginners of the genre.
Check out a preview here:
While the older, original version is available on Amazon, we recommend you get the updated collection here: Tenchi Muyo: OVA Series [Blu-ray]. It’s more complete than the original, and is easier to watch.
6. Nisekoi (Fake Love)
Sometimes you have to keep secrets to prevent something bad from happening.
Raku Ichijo, the son of a yakuza boss, must keep the biggest secret of his life to prevent an all-out war with a rival gang.
Raku made a promise to his childhood friend that he will marry her when they grow up. To remember this promise, she gave Raku a locket and kept the key. Even if they didn’t recognize one another in the future, Raku would just have to find the girl who has the key to his locket.
10 years later, he meets Chitoge Kirisaki in an unfortunate accident where he loses this valued pendant.
After hefty disagreements, he discovers that he is arranged to be in a relationship with Chitoge, whom he finds is the daughter of a rival gang.
They need to keep their fake relationship a secret, or risk a war between their families.
This is when Raku also finds out that the childhood friend is in his school, but he has completely forgotten what she looks like now.
Nisekoi is among the more well-known anime in this list, with beautiful pacing, art direction, and dynamics between each character.
As with most harem anime, the story is not one of its strengths, but it can reel in almost any audience due to its strong, multifaceted female cast. It is a good entry level anime that almost anyone can enjoy.
Check out a trailer here:
You can check out the DVD on Amazon here: Nisekoi: False Love Blu-ray 1
5. Date A Live
The world is in peril as it has been bombarded by domes of energy explosions called space quakes for the past 30 years, and gigantic monsters come about wreaking havoc.
Humanity is on the brink of destruction, and its existence rests on the shoulders of one ordinary high school student named Shido Itsuka.
How does he save the world? Is he a karate master? Does he have special powers? Or does he control a powerful robot?
He takes the giant monsters, who turns out to be girls, out on dates!
Date A Live is a rom-com (romantic comedy) parody of the usual giant robots, kaiju (monsters) and everything in between by letting the main character curb the monsters’ violent tendencies through dates while they are in their female form.
Its primary source of comedy is how Shido is pushed to work out events with the girls in the style of visual novels, much to his dislike.
With the usual “nice guy to all the girls” theme being played, it stands out with its terrific art and unconventional use of the romance genre clichés to its advantage.
Its satire of the mecha (robot/machine themed) genre is played well, and has the right balance of sweet romantic quips, comedy and interaction between its girls.
Here’s a preview of this series:
You can purchase this DVD on Amazon here: Date a Live: Season 1 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
4. High school DXD
All Hyodo Issei wants is a bunch of women in his life. He loves his oppai (breasts) and dreams of having girls drooling over him.
His luck improves when he was asked out on a date by a very cute girl.
However, on their first date, his happiness becomes despair when he discovers his new girlfriend is a fallen angel and he is just another one of her victims.
Issei dies by her hand, but is given a second chance at life when Rias Gremory, a beautiful red haired demon girl, resurrects him to be her demon servant.
High school DXD has been a very popular anime over the last few years, and is synonymous with the term “harem” itself.
Full of colorful characters, fast-paced fantasy elements similar to action-shonen anime, comedic twists and a harem seeking main character that’s lecherous to the bones, High school DXD doesn’t just play the harem card; it is the harem card.
It pushes past the limits of other harem anime and is in its own class. Fan service (giving the fans what they want) has never been as good as this, and it sets the standard of what a fan engaging harem anime is.
Check it out here:
The DVD can be found on Amazon here: High School DxD: The Series [Blu-ray]
3. Saber Marionette J
Imagine a world where there are only genetically cloned males in your newly colonized planet (I don’t want to).
Now imagine that the only women in it are mechanical dolls called marionettes and have a life of their own. This is the unique anime Saber Marionette J.
One of the oldest sci-fi harem anime, Saber Marionette J follows fish peddler Otaru Mamiya and his everyday life taking care of Lime, Cherry and Bloodberry – the only three fully sentient marionettes in their new world.
A strong sci-fi comedy with a continuously developing story, this 90s anime was ahead of its time.
Its strong depiction of women in the world that is dominated by men makes this harem anime an all-time classic with every frame.
It defined what a good harem anime is, and it still holds up to scrutiny after all these years.
Check out a small preview here:
If you’re really a fan, you can purchase the whole DVD collection (Saber Marionette J, Saber Marionette J Again, and Saber Marionette J to X) from Amazon here: Saber Marionette J (Ultimate Collection Box)
2. Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches
In your typical high school where nothing much happens except for a few unconfirmed rumors, Ryu Yamada is your average, bored delinquent.
One day, he accidentally falls from a flight of stairs and accidentally kisses top student Urara Shiraishi, only to find out that he swapped bodies with her.
This leads to the events where Yamada is faced with the mysteries of his school and how he must solve them by assembling the 7 witches of the school.
Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches rests on its beautiful story, well-developed characters, and intriguing mystery, making it a modern classic within the harem genre.
Shallow and weak storylines are usually a problem with harem themed anime. However, the story for Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches flows every smoothly, and elegantly introduces each character at the perfect time. The plot also adds depth to each of the characters and allows shine.
Check it out here:
Check out the DVD on Amazon here: Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches TV1-12+2 OVA / Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo / English Subtitle
1. The World God Only Knows
In the top spot of the best harem anime of all time is a playful subversion of the genre.
Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai, aka Kami Nomi, or The World God Only Knows, follows Keima Katsuragi, a game specialist who is known as the “God of Conquests” for being able to make any video game girl fall in love with him.
One day he receives a contract through an email that asks him to “conquer” girls. He assumes that it’s a challenge for a gal game (game centered around anime girls).
Little did he know that the challenge would be in real life with 3D girls. Unfortunately for Keima, he’s an antisocial otaku (anime/manga nerd or geek).
Kami Nomi is a combination of all good harem anime movies. It has a well-informed, main character with a good head on this shoulders.
The different female characters who give Keima a hard time and eventually fall for him also adds to the strength of this anime. The plot is very thorough and “smart,” which is something you can’t find in many of the anime in this genre.
It touches on the harem theme indirectly at first but then twists it into something unpredictable that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Definitely check this anime out if you are even remotely interested in the harem genre.
Check out a trailer of this series here:
Season 1 can be purchased on Amazon here: The World God Only Knows: Season 1 [Blu-ray]
Did we miss any anime you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below.