A year ago, numerous Anime fans jumped on the Anime Harem bandwagon, myself included. All one needed to do was to select 8 of one’s all time favorite Anime characters, female or male depending on your gender or persuasion, and post them for the entire population of depraved Otaku fiends to feast their eyes on. (^.^)
One year of mind-numbing, reality-escaping Anime later, I wonder how my harem has changed… Do be warned that there might be minor plot spoilers to the various shows that the characters come from in the various discussion segments.
First of all, let me erect the boundaries, no awkward usage of verbs intended, of the word ‘Harem’. According to an online dictionary that you wouldn’t trust your final term paper on, Harem is defined as such:
1. A house or a section of a house reserved for women members of a Muslim household.
2. The wives, concubines, female relatives, and servants occupying such a place.
3. A group of women sexual partners for one man.
Leaving out the first definition, because I do not want to get caught up in any scriptural debates, a Harem seems to denote a collection of females that one would preferably like to have sexual relations with. Since we are keeping this entire exercise completely platonic, and to avoid the crafty eyes of people from ‘Equality Now’, I’ll be leaving out the part about sexual relations… (Or will I…*evil grin*). Instead, I’ll be choosing 2D girls that I would actually like as a possible girlfriend in real life… and I just reminded myself how ronery I am…
Oh, another added rule is that you can only choose one character per series… This will really make you wreck your brains and think who you value more as a character overall.
That out of the way, let’s take a look at last year’s Anime Harem:
Kallen, Fate, Otoha, Ogiue, Nodoka, Mikoto, Misaki and Anita. A charming list, if I do say so myself. You can clearly see that the type of girl that I’m more inclined to gravitate to are the friendly, talkative, cute and sometimes tom-boyish type.
Now it’s time for the main event! Let me present you with with my updated Anime Harem for (mid) 2010!
In no particular order:
1. Fate Testarossa (Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s)
2. Chika Ogiue (Genshiken)
3. Sakurano Otoha (Sky Girls)
4. Nakahara Misaki (N.H.K Ni Yokoso!)
5. Miyazaki Nodoka (Negima!)
6. Kawazoe Tamaki (Bamboo Blade)
7. Hirasawa Yui (K-On!)
8. Eve (Black Cat)
Let’s give a big hand to these eight awesome girls! Pachi~Pachi~Pachi~ Now, let’s take a moment to analyze the list as a whole and character by character. Hm… Thinking about things to say about each character without sounding repetitive will be an arduous task…
– Fate Testarossa (Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s) CV: Mizuki Nana (Rina/White Album Yui/Ichigo 100%)
Fate Testarossa is docile and cute when in schoolgirl mode, but ready to lay waste to any enemy that stands in her way once she dons her menacing barrier jacket. Her Intelligent Device, Bardiche, is the perfect accessory to complete one of the most awesome magical girl looks, after all, there is no cooler weapon than the Scythe. In the first season of the series, Fate does undergo some pretty traumatic experiences both physically and emotionally. Thankfully, instead of breaking down completely, Fate was able to rise up to the challenge and realize what she needed to do at the very end. One can see the her character mature in the first and second seasons (the third season doesn’t exist) from a mindless ‘slave’, to a strong and courageous friend that will go to any lengths to protect the ones that she loves.
– Chika Ogiue (Genshiken) CV: Mizuhashi Kaori (Yuno/Nanoha Laharl/Disgaea Minami/Baka Test)
I admit that Yaoi loving Ogiue is a pretty strange choice when it comes to Anime Harems. Still, I can’t help but be enthralled by her. Under her tough outer shell, created by past events that I won’t elaborate on, beats the heart of a true Otaku that is willing to go above and beyond to help her friends out as demonstrated during the time when Genshiken was preparing for Comiket. Unlike most modern day Tsunderes that are Tsundere for the sake of being Tsundere, Ogiue has a reason for building a wall around her to close off her emotions from the world. The instances of her two personalities fighting it out are much more comical and fun to watch than the regular Tsundere archetype. During the course of the series (which continued with the Manga), her relationship between Sasahara and her time spent with the club allows her to emerge from her shell. Ogiue is the kind of tom-boyish girl that I would want in my Otaku club anyday. Paint brush hair style FTW!! Come to think of it, Ruki also has a paint bush hair style…
– Sakurano Otoha (Sky Girls) CV: Kawasumi Ayako (Saber/FSN, Mahoro/Mahoromatic)
I don’t know what it is about Otoha. I’m not a big fan of Strike Witches at all. Bizarrely enough, a similar Mecha Musume show, Sky Girls, really appealed to me for some reason …even though I won’t consider the show to be a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. Otoha, being a Master Sergeant at the tender age of 16 (Sigh, Anime…), stands out from the rest of the dreary Military types and even her fellow Sonic Diver pilots with her cheery smile, perky attitude and fun loving nature. Personally, on principle, I like those who follow their dreams. Her resolution to follow her dream of flying and zest for life is truly admirable. Don’t underestimate her though. Otoha is a master of the sword. When she gets serious, expect to be eviscerated by her MV Sword!
– Nakahara Misaki (N.H.K Ni Yokoso!) CV: Makino Yui (Sakura/Tsubasa Honoka/Sora Kake Girls)
As a number of character analysts have pointed out, the ‘Princess Character’ that appears in the nick of time to help save the depraved Otaku character in shows like N.H.K Ni Yokoso! and Densha Otoko is unlikely to exist in real life. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t stop liking her for what she is. You could say that having a tragic past gives her the slight Moe~ quality. Though, it’s because of her kindness and determination to stick with Sato and to mend his Hikikomori ways that really makes her shine. Throughout the Anime, one can also see her character evolving and maturing, becoming more self confident and ironically, learn not to rely on Sato to prove her self worth.
– Miyazaki Nodoka (Negima!?) CV: Noto Mamiko (Emma/Jigoku Shoujo Kotomi/Clannad)
Winning by a hair in a close battle with Asuna, Nodoka is the only true ‘Moe~’ character to be included on my list, going by the stereotypical definition of ‘Moe~’. Nodoka gets shy and embarrassed easily and truth be told, while I honestly find that character trait really annoying at times, it only adds to Nodoka’s charm and this speaks volumes about Nodoka. Also, unlike many girls of this nature, she isn’t that flustered or indecisive, knowing when to take the initiative when the time calls for it (like when she made her Pactio with Negi). There is a certain sincere quality and an air of innocence and purity that Nodoka possesses that I greatly appreciate. Not to mention, her Artifact’s ability to read the minds of others can come in handy… and she’s really cute …and she’s voiced by Noto Mamiko~
– Kawazoe Tamaki (Bamboo Blaade) CV: Hirohashi Ryo (Alice/Aria Konata/Lucky Star Drama CD)
Tama-chan is the star of the Kendo sports Anime, Bamboo Blade. Hiding behind her small stature and quiet demeanor is a Master Kendo exponent. Beating nearly everyone in Kendo matches from students to Kendo instructors, Tamaki is a living example (wait) of the phrase ‘size doesn’t matter’. She is indeed an inspiration to those of who think that what they can accomplish is limited by their body type. To top the Otaku Cake off, she’s an Otaku herself! I admire her devotion for Kendo, her love for Anime and Tokusatsu and her family and friends. *Fanboy Mode* Let’s not forget that she is adorable! I want to hug her and take her to an Anime convention!
– Hirasawa Yui (K-On!) CV: Toyosaki Aki (Uiharu/Railgun)
Mm… Thinking about it, Yui is the kind of girl that I wouldn’t mind having around me every second of my life. Yui’s ability to instantly brighten up any room that she’s in is certainly a quality that I would like in my potential girlfriend. While not the sharpest of knives in the kitchen cabinet, does it really matter? If I wanted an intellectual discourse on the nuances of molecular bonding between atoms or a debate on the political and socioeconomic implications of the fighting in Iraq, I’d date a University lecturer. Instead, I want someone that I can share my feelings with, enjoy myself in her company and spend my time with her free of worry or stress. Yui is type to do anything to the best of her abilities and that’s enough for me. (^.^)
– Eve (Black Cat) CV: Fukuen Misato (Yin/DtB Yami/To Love Ru)
Finally, the last new character to have the honor to be added to my list is Eve from Black Cat. A pretty good action series in itself, it becomes awesome when you add a girl who can alter any part of her body to a deadly weapon, grow wings on her back or even turn her legs into a mermaid’s tail. Being engineered as a bio-weapon, she doesn’t know much about the outside world at all. Eve’s innocence and her efforts to continuously strive to become more than just an inhuman killing machine, devoid of emotion, makes her even more captivating. She is pretty nonchalant during most of the series, and scenes when she does show any emotion or speak her mind are really, really amusing. Eve is the kind of girl, like Tamaki and Fate, that you find precious enough to hug, but can defend themselves, and you included, when any threat arises. Perhaps it’s that juxtaposition that I so love.
Something to note about Eve is that she appears in To Love Ru as Yami/Golden Darkness. She is the exact same character and is also voiced by Fukuen Misato. No wonder why Golden Darkness felt out of place and was the only awesome thing about that show… All you Golden Darkness fans out there, watch Black Cat! It’s a billion times more epic than To Love Ru. (Yes, I didn’t like To Love Ru)
Misaka Mikoto (To Aru Kagaku no Railgun)
This was a difficult decision to make. Mikoto does have a ton of qualities that I find attractive. Steadfast, strong, tsundere, caring, the ability to fire devastating bolts of electricity, etc… But after watching through the Railgun series, I realized that she has a particular immature streak to her that I was annoyed with. For instance, when she was just so insistent that Komori-senpai stay away from the gang members just because she felt that they were a bad influence on her or something. it’s her tendency to follow justice blindly without considering the various factors.
Kozuki Kallen (Code Geass)
Kallen is still undoubtedly my favorite female character from Code Geass. She got bumped off the list due to the fact that she just lost out to the other characters.
Anita King (Read or Die TV)
Same goes for Anita. It’s just that I could only select 8 females and she didn’t make the cut.
Runner Ups (In no particular order):
The fight was so very, very close. Here are the other leading ladies that were prospective candidates for my Anime Harem:
Kinomoto Sakura (CardCaptor Sakura)
Nagato Yuki (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu)
Kaname Chidori (Full Metal Panic!)
Mylene Flare Jeinus (Macross 7)
Izumi Konata (Lucky Star)
Shimada Minami (Baka to Test to Shokanjuu)
Makino Ruki (Digimon Tamers)
Nana (Elfen Lied)
Tosaka Rin (Fate/Stay Night)
Tenshi (Angel Beats!)
Kino (Kino no Tabi)
Tsuchimiya Kagura (Ga-Rei Zero)
Hito Nami (Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei)
You also have to consider the fact that this time round, it was a far tougher challenge as I really took the time to consider all my favorite characters from all the Anime that I have ever watched. The shows that I took into consideration range from 80s Anime to the Latest Anime, Ecchi Shows to Moe Shows, High Concept Shows to Artistic Movies and beyond. To see the full list of Anime in my Anime repertoire that was under my selection radar, do check out My Anime List that I update pretty regularly.
There were some characters like Konata and Sakura that I would have really loved to have included in my Anime Harem. Sadly, 8 was the (self-imposed) limit (as I’m too lazy to edit the template).
There were a number of interesting trends I noticed when going through the list of characters and shows. Firstly, like the previous year, my tastes slant towards the girls that are overall tom-boyish, determined, caring, always striving to do their best and can kick serious ass on notice. They also fall into one of the following 2 categories: 1. friendly, easy-to-talk to, fun loving and happy-go-lucky or 2. kind, quiet, passive, obliging and go-with-the-flow.
Next, possibly due to personal taste, I’m just not that inclined to mature, saucy, sultry, overly sexy girls. Examples include Sheryl from Macross Frontier, Senjogahara from Bakemonogatari, Rider from FSN/UBW/HF, and C.C. from Code Geass. These characters are exceedingly popular among the rabid fans and honestly, I just can’t get it. Don’t get me wrong… While I do thoroughly enjoy the various shows that the characters come from immensely, understand them and understand their appeal, I just am not attracted to that type of character. Perhaps it’s because I will be the, to randomly bring in some inappropriate Yaoi terms, Uke in these relationships. Not to mention, I particularly dislike the older versions of already established characters as they usually disregard all the things that made the character awesome in the first place, ala Nanoha/Fate/Hayate from StrikerS, Yomako Sensei from Gurren Lagann, Otona Mikuru from Haruhi, etc…
Lastly, while I’m like the “Tsundere” archetype as much as the next Otaku as evidenced for my love for Rin, Ogiue, Kaname and Kagami, I’m kinda tired of one particular kind of Tsundere and that is the 超-bitchy, 超-emo, 超-not being honest with one self type. …and it so happens that most of those characters are voiced by Kugimiya Rie (Shana, Louise, Taiga)… Coincidence? I think not…
So, there you have it. A deep and thoughtful (I hope) insight into my personal likes and dislikes when it comes to female Anime characters and my top 8 leading ladies of (mid) 2010. Will the list change next year? Probably. However, I can be sure of one thing: All the girls mentioned here will definitely still own a piece of property in my heart of their very own no matter where they are placed. (^.^)
Like my choices? Hate them? Have you gained some respect for me or, contrary to that, lost all of it? Do let me know in the comments.
All pictures sourced from Gelbooru and Moe Imouto~