So Jason, over at Anime on My Mind decided a month ago to challenge his viewers to put together their very own animé harem. Just in case you’re not familiar with the genre, an anime harem involves 2 or more girls (usually 3-5) all chasing after the same guy. Often he’s hapless and hopless, and he usually can’t (or won’t) make up his mind between them, or something prevents him from doing so. Competition between the girls is often fierce, and provides about half the entertainment; the other half being the frequency with which the girls lose articles of clothing.
For the selection, the rules were: six girls, plus one maid to kind of keep the place in order. No two girls could be from the same series, unless they were twins/triplets, in which case the sisters would count as a single “girl.” Pretty simple, and quite generous. The thread is still going, so I chimed in with my contribution. Just for fun, I decided to cross-post here, since I can add the pictures and show my choices, not to mention discuss my reasons at greater length.
Many of the posters developed “themes” with their choices, and as I sifted through my collection mentally, I found one developing with my picks. Once I identified it, I ran with the idea, although it did change my choices slightly. I chose to restrict myself to anime that I owned or had seen on TV; if I’m picking my favorites, I can’t claim a girl as a favorite if I haven’t seen her series. So a lot of worthy candidates got eliminated from the outset: CBD Kei, CBD May, the original Nuku Nuku, Lum, and so on.
The theme I ran with was flexibility.
Get your mind out of the gutter. Yes, I mean you. I’m not talking about that kind of flexibility, I’m talking about the ability to handle multiple roles/jobs. After all, as Robert A. Heinlein said, “Specialization is for insects.”
Given that, were I to star in my very own harem animé series, this is who I’d like the girls in it to be:
1. Kanamé Chidori (Full Metal Panic)
Kanamé holds down the “assertive ass-kicking babe” spot. She’s not a combat specialist or anything; for the most part she’s just a typical teenaged girl who can handle herself in a pinch. She takes the spot based on attitude alone. She’s a bit of a bitch, but that’s because she has high standards, and frankly, most people don’t measure up to them. However, she’s also one of the the Whispered, with minor psychic powers and an intrinsic understanding of the advanced technology inherent in the combat suits of her world. Thus she could be a backup robot pilot (with training) and can use telepathic projection of both image and thought under the right circumstances. Life with Kanamé might be difficult at times, but it wouldn’t be boring.
2. Lemon, Melon, and Marron (Hanaukyo Maid Team, La Verite)
These triplets are the exception to the rule for cross-training. Theyve got one job, and one job only: rumpus room! And damn, they’re gonna be good at it. Rumpus! Rumpus! Rumpus! Well, I suppose, since they’re from the Hanaukyo Maid-Team Personal Staff, they probably know a bit about making guy look good, so I could put them in charge of the wardrobe and assisting the maid with housekeeping.
3. Kuriko Kazetsubake (Maburaho)
Kuriko fullfils the “magical girl” slot for the harem. She’s sexy and open-minded, but also a bit of a bitch herself. That’s good, because she and Kanamé will balance each other out, and not spend all their time making the triplets miserable as a result. I look forward to refereeing many mud-wrestling grudge matches between the two of them. From up close, of course. Hands-on, even. Given that Kuriko is also filthy rich and an executive in her family business empire, she also gets the duties of handling the budget and bringing home the bacon. Hey, I work for the city, it’s not like I’m going to be making enough to support nine women!
4. Shizaru (Godannar)
Strong, yet vulnerable, this quietly (well, most of the time) smoldering beauty gets the den mother slot over all the young babes making up the rest of the harem. She’s also a top-notch robot pilot, has a taste for the finer things in life, and can handle small arms as well. On top of that, she gets bonus mystic points for having come back from the dead. And that’s who the hell I think she is.
5. Ren (DearS)
Ren gets the nod for the ‘alien girl’ slot, as well as ‘green-haired beauty.’. She’s also got super-powers (flight and gravity control, at least) and a near-unlimited learning capacity for languages. Her very best feature is that she considers her man to be her owner. Can’t argue with a chick that thinks she belongs to you, after all. (Since KanamÃ© is a modern liberated girl, I figure such an attitude will make her mad a lot of the time. That is a definate plus, because she’s cute when angry.) Ren’s also got the cosplay (costume dress-up) job.
6. Ruri Hoshino (Martian Successor Nadesico)
Just because there’s got to be a sarcastic genius to keep me on my toes. The 12-year old version from the TV series (shown here) is a bit too young, though the later movie version has three times the cleavage with no loss of attitude. As such, she holds down the spaceship pilot/captain/computer operator slot, with a bit of cosplay tossed in.
Maid: Mikuru Asahina (Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
There can be only one–and the adult version of her from episode 10 is it. Maturity, sexiness, no bra, and plenty of experience doing the maid thing. Cosplay and time travel are bonuses.
Shizuru (Daphne): Cute meganneko, could also do combat, but she’s terribly naive and a cat person. I don’t trust cat people, I think they’re secretly plotting with their four-footed masters to take over the world.
Illa (Rune Soldier): Rich, cute, meganneko, magic girl. Loses because her series was sub-par, and she wasn’t distinctive enough.
Lafiel (Crest/Banner of the Stars): Tough on the outside, tender on the inside, owns her own solar system–and might end up owning a whole empire. Intersteller ship captain to boot. However, I don’t know if you noticed, but she’s a little light up top compared to the competition.
Ryoko (Martian Sucessor Nadesico) I like her, but not that much, and the 1 per series locks her out too.
Kuyou Senjou (Yumeria): I almost gave her the green-haired babe slot because I really like her spunky attitude, but that would have left me without an alien. Also, she’s fairly one-dimensional, as she’s only a priestess, and lacks super-powers in the waking world.
Update: Oh, how could I have forgotten LOL FANG-TAN (that’s her nickname) from Melancholy? Granted, she’s just a minor character, but still…
Motoko Kusanangi (GITS): Could have been the android chick & combat specialist, but I decided she was just too cold and scary. Has she ever laughed?
Haruhi Suzumiya (Melancholy): No. Hell no. I could not run far or fast enough to avoid such a fate. I like women with a bit of an edge, but absolute egocentric mania is too much! She’d be down on me “like a bad spell” if I glanced at any of the other girls, and would just erase Shizaru.
Gloria (Daphne): Considered, but rejected for the ass-kicking slot. Sure, she’s stacked like the proverbial brick house. But she’d blow the damn thing up for laughs (or if someone offered her ten yen to do so).
Yu Park (Daphne): Also rejected for the ass-kicking slot. She’s a lot better alternative than Gloria, but she’s just a little too quiet and scary. Come on, this is a woman that can shatter reinforced concrete with her bare hands. I can see it now:
“Hey babe, how about a back rub?”
“GAAAAAAH!!!! TEN THOUSAND YEARS OF PAAAIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!”
Belldandy (Ah My Goddess): Yes, thats right, the original perfect girlfriend, one of the most powerful goddesses in existance, incredibly cute, super sweet, and I’d turn her down for my harem. Why? Hellooooooo? Are you crazy? The least bit of jealousy and she’d level my ‘Fortress of Rumpus-tude!’
Little Washu (Tenchi Muyo): Yes, she’s a genius, but I didn’t find her that attractive, and frankly, I’m not into older women.*
Okay, so there you have it, The Harem of Ubu Roi.
* (Before every woman over 30 writes me irate letters, you should know that she’s well over two hundred.
Centuries, that is.)