While the romance genre has been one of the most popular in anime ever since it started back in the 1970s, it was the 80s when the harem genre began to take over, and even today harem anime are some of the most exciting and addictive shows that you can watch.
Being one of the most widely used themes in anime also comes with incredible amounts of popularity which means there are now hundreds and even thousands of harem shows to choose from, but which are the best out there right now?
Keep reading to find out.
Strike The Blood
If you like the idea of mixing a western fantasy setting with a whole cast of well-developed and excellently written characters, Strike The Blood has been running since 2013 and features Kojou Akatsuki, a fierce and charismatic vampire lord, forming an uneasy alliance with an elite group of swordswomen to battle the evils surrounding the world and keep the world safe.
The real attraction to this show isn’t just the adorably well-written relationship between the ever-charming Kojou and his growing cast of female companions, but also the incredibly deep and intricate plot that begins with the girls hunting down the vampire lord, only to learn that many of them actually share the same goals.
With mages, castles, and an adorable cast of lovable characters, at just 57 episodes and 2 OVAs to check out, it’s well worth setting aside some time to try out the magical world of Strike the Blood.
What may be the dream for many guys becomes a sheer nightmare for high school student Ikuto Touhouin after he wakes up on a strange island, only to find the entire population is made up of girls.
Furthermore, these aren’t any ordinary girls since they have been on the island for so long, they had no idea men even existed which creates a fun and exciting anime where the girls chase after and fantasize over the youthful Ikuto only for him to remain oblivious to their advances, making for some of the funniest scenes in the harem genre.
Nagasarete Airantou isn’t just known for its comedy however, there are also some downright heartwrenching moments between the main character and his father, but also between the girls as they get to know Ikuto on a much deeper level in this retro-styled anime.
A Couple Of Cuckoos
Released in 2022 and with a lot less fanservice than other harem shows, A Couple of Cuckoos combines absolutely jaw-dropping visuals with one of the most enticing, creative and addictive stories in the genre.
Main protagonist Nagi Umino was supposed to be born into a rich and wealthy family, that is until the hospital he was born in accidentally switched him with another baby at birth.
Once he comes to realize this fact at 16, his intrigue only grows as he meets his real parents, however, rather than giving him much of a warm welcome, all they are concerned about is trying to encourage Nagi to marry the baby he was switched sound with, who just so happens to be a girl now the same age as him.
On top of that, Nagi has a few love interests of his own, making for an extremely funny but also enticing harem show as Nagi must find his way in the world as a regular straight-A student while being surrounded by the pressures of dating and marriage from the wide cast of female characters.
We Never Learn: Bokuben
With just 2 seasons aired and some of the best visuals you will see from a harem anime, We Never Learn is an incredibly easy-to-watch show that follows impoverished student Yuiga who manages to get himself enrolled in one of the countries top-ranked universities.
The catch? In order for Yuiga to be accepted he must tutor each of the universities’ proclaimed ‘geniuses’ in their weakest subjects which, of course, all turn out to be girls.
The female cast really are the stars of the show, when they’re not surrounding Yuiga and probing his brain for as much information as possible on their subjects, there are many scenes that just see them hanging out together whether it’s for school activities, on the beach or even for sleepovers.
With a range of characters bursting with expressive and exciting personalities, We Never Learn is an easy harem anime to watch that is guaranteed to leave you wanting more once you finish it.
Grisaia No Kajitsu
One of the classics in the harem genre, if you haven’t yet tried out Grisaia no Kajitsu, you’re missing out on a hidden gem that puts its own unique spin on the usual harem stories we are so used to seeing, specifically in its tone.
While much harem anime will have a good amount of comedy to balance out the romance, Kajitsu actually takes a much more serious and psychological approach that manages to still remain lighthearted when it needs to, making for a story that is thought-provoking, tense and exciting all at once.
The story follows Kazami Yuuji who gets sent to a special school dedicated to reforming students who have made mistakes in their past, and as you can probably guess, they are all female, until Yuuji is the first male to join the school.
Romantic, enticing, and full of suspense, it’s hard to not blast through the entire series as soon as you meet the charming and expressive cast of female characters that Yuuji runs into.
After it was released in 2021, it was hard for any anime fan to scroll through popular sites such as Crunchyroll and not see Girlfriend, Girlfriend plastered across the front screen, however, that’s certainly not a bad thing as this show manages to take all the common tropes of harem anime, and give them a breath of fresh air thanks to its incredibly memorable cast of characters.
The premise is pretty simple, male protagonist Naoya begins dating his crush after she confesses her love for him, and while he’s over the moon at this revelation, very soon another girl confesses to Naoya, however, rather than being a stand-up gentleman and turning her down, he casually proposes to date both girls at once.
You can see where this is going, as more and more girls start crushing on Naoya and asking him out on dates, the cast expands, hilarious arguments ensue and you get a story that manages to turn what should be a generic plot into an intriguing journey from start to finish that you just can’t take your eyes away from.
The Quintessential Quintuplets
Admittedly, the tutoring direction is one that a lot of harem anime have done countless times, however, while this can often cause a story to struggle with its pacing as it goes on.
Quintessential Quintuplets is one of those shows that manages to spark new life into an overdone trope thanks to its incredibly unique cast of female characters who happen to be, you guessed it, quintuplets.
Our protagonist, Fuutarou Uesugi, manages to get a job tutoring all five girls at once, which not only leaves him earning far more money than he was expecting, but also surrounded by several girls all with their own opinions on him with some falling for him while others come to hate his guts.
As mentioned previously, this anime does follow the whole tutoring gig similar to many of its peers, however, it’s the colorful and contrasting personalities of the 5 sisters that really elevate this show to another level as it allows so many funny, serious, romantic and even scary interactions to take place with Fuutarou that prevents any episode from ever getting stale or predictable.
Finally, we couldn’t make a list of the best harem anime and not mention what many people consider to be the king of the genre, of course we’re talking about To Love-Ru.
Introverted and shy student Rito Yuuki has a fateful encounter with a girl named Lala while bathing, however things take a turn when she confesses that she is actually an alien, and to make things even stranger, there is a mysterious group of people from her home planet trying to chase her down.
What ensues is an epic, dramatic and romantic series that manages to stay compelling for each of its four seasons thanks to the loveable interactions between Rito and the growing cast of female characters he meets along the way.
With a tremendous amount of content to enjoy including several anime seasons, a few OVAs and even several video games, this is a series that every fan of harem anime holds dear to their heart.
With there being so many harem anime out there to enjoy nowadays it can be hard to find which ones are truly worth your time.
Try out a few of these incredible shows that are sure to have you glued to the screen with each and every episode.