The Harem Handbook

What is eternity doing tonight? has become Mega Megane Moé. For the latest posts, please change your links accordingly.
Not much has been happening round the realm of Eternity. There have been a lot of shows to watch and perhaps blog about recently but nothing really standout-ish that's worth mentioning.

A lot of the summer series are sort of like American TV or sports. You watch it, you like it, and then in two days you've forgotten completely about it. Maybe that's a bit harsh but nothing from the summer season is One For the Ages; there are ones for those who like slice-of-life (Code-E) and magical girl shows (NanaDrops...or Moetan) and drama (School Days) but the biggest thing that we'll come away from the summer season with is something not in-anime per se but some of the events (Nice Jerkassery) and dark clouds that are swirling around anime.

As such there's not a lot to talk about until the School Days finale supposedly airs tommorow, as most of the series I'm following are, well, right in the middle. It's more of a crunch to finish off everything just in time for the fall season (which looks to be a good season for harem/romance/adaptation lovers) than anything else.

And so we get a post that I guess could be called filler but to dress it up, it's scathing commentary on harem show cliches dressed up as something humorish. And, without further adieu, let's get to the funny part already.

Please take note that these may not be 100% factual; it's based on the small sample of about 10 harem or harem-style shows I've followed, with the majority acting as followed

1) Law of Distance ("Osananajimi always loses" rule)
The character that will eventually "win" over the male lead is frequently the one that recieves the second-most screen time with him. While it may be a good bet in theory that the one closest to him- whether because of knowing him for X years, being his cousin, or so on - is the winner, that'd be too easy. Also, because the "lead" heroine frequently isn't the one that knows the lead male the best...

Corollary ("NAYUKI ENDING" rule): Said character with most screen time will often become a fan favorite because of said trait leading them to believe that said haremette "deserves" the win the most.

Corollary of Corollary ("Sad Sacchin" rule): Characters with disproportionately low screen-time and or the least relationship development are also the ones who recieve high amount of audience pity and love, because "nobody cares about them".

2) Harem Allotment Law ("All the usual suspects" rule)
Pick five from the following: childhood friend, energetic/genki (maybe tsundere) girl, school idol, tomboy, shy girl, quiet girl (not to be confused), foriegner, shrine maiden, other childhood friend, girl with magic power (can be combined with others), rich girl, sickly girl, geek girl, loli, completely ordinary girl, third childhood friend.

Corollary ("Sayuri? Who would've guessed." rule): Only the first three types can ever win.

3) Dress Code Law ("Looking familiar" rule)
You will have three (five is right out) outfits: school outfit, relaxation outfit, swimsuit (revealing, unless you're a loli, then school).

If you are the male lead, you will have dark grey/black hair, wear a mildly but not exciting distinctive outfit at school, have no guts but a lot of girls, and be utterly boring and nondescript. (Except for, in eroge, your disproportionately huge genitals)

If you're an adult, you don't exist.

Corollary ("Sugita" rule): If you're a male lead and are sarcastic to boot, fans will love your character forever.

Corollary ("Like a rock" rule):
Clothing doesn't tear, break, or get stained for longer than 2 minutes, and if it does, only in the mildly revealing areas that will prevent your show from becoming R-15.

4) Productivity Law ("We've got all day" rule)
Always spend half your series loafing around and doing nothing. If you're an ecchi show, spend that time jiggling, flashing, or otherwise being perverse. If not, have lighthearted comedy and easily resolvable plots that end in pan ups.

Then, once halfway, hit them with every ridiculous plot twist you've got. If only someone had told you earlier that A's actually deathly ill, B has to go back to the netherworld, and C's actually out to kill everyone.

5) Peaceful Coexistence Law ("Time to find a new eternal love" rule)
With few well-known exceptions, harems always get along. The "winner" girl will be warmly recieved and congratulated with all the girls, as strong-willed as they may be, backing down very easily. Some of the should-be winners may be more distraught and perhaps violent but such resistance won't last for longer than an arc or two, because, they're all friends.

You can't argue against happy endings.

Corollary ("Key" rule): Said girls may also back down because they are dead, turned into foxes, or otherwise incapacitated.

6) Law of Sizes ("Only 5 rules before a dirty joke?!" rule)
Breast size is usually inversely proportional to the feistiness of a character. Thus, a tsundere or tomboy will be the flattest, while shy characters will often be most prone to the back-breaking effects of gravity (and glomps by fellow haremettes).

Also, all girls are really short, compared to the towering harem lead. Frequently, the most tall girls are the quietest ones.

Corollary ("Flat Chest Alliance" rule): Said tomboys with an apparent disadvantage chest-wise will also be the most vocal about what they are lacking, despite the growing loli movement.

7) Law of National Holidays ("What we're missing in America" rule)
Holidays that should be honored by all harem shows include:
* School Trip Day
* Meet the Characters Day
* Let's Go On An Adventure Day
* False Confession Day
* Bring a Mysterious Transfer Student to School Day
* National Go To The Beach In A Two-Piece Day
* Lighthearted Bridge Episode Day
* Interrupt A Romantic Moment Between Two Characters By Bringing the Whole Cast Day
* Oh God Not The Sad Piano Music Day

And always remember the haremette creed: Anyone you can love, I can love better.



Typically, your rule one is better expressed by the First Girl syndrome. The First Girl the harem master meets usually becomes his true love, although it is being subverted more and more.

Poor Nayuki...

Generally when watching a harem anime, I pull up the First Girl Wins page, and continue on from there.

This is not a bad thing, at least for me. I like familiarity.

Saw Days... so much for your happy ending rule.

achariyth / dkellis: First Girl Wins usually is a good place to start but I just haven't really seen it work a lot anymore in harem shows.

I don't know how to say it without spoiling some show or another but I think TokiMemo is the only harem show from the last 5 or so I remember that actually implemented First Girl Wins.

A good thing, for me, because I prefer unpredictability quite a bit . Or at least, a little bit of novel things and not all tried-and-true.

Anonymous: I think School Days breaks a lot of rules. :P