The harem comedy series has long been a staple of anime.
Take a typical romantic love triangle, add more characters, and the result is often comedy gold.
Of course, not all harem comedies are worth watching. Here are some of the better ones.
List of the Best Harem Anime Series
- Tenchi Muyo!
- Love Hina
- My Next Life as a Villainess
- Ouran High School Host Club
- The Quintessential Quintuplets
- The World God Only Knows
- Kanojo mo Kanojo (Girlfriend, Girlfriend)
- Hayate the Combat Butler
1. Tenchi Muyo!
You can’t have a harem series list without this science-fiction romantic comedy franchise. The best version of Tenchi is either the Tenchi Universe TV series; or the first part of the original Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA.
Both tell how hapless Earth boy Tenchi met tsundere space princess Ayeka, and mischievous demon/ space pirate Ryoko. These polar opposite rivals are joined by bubbly airhead space policewoman Mihoshi, Ayeka’s cute little sister Sasami, and the mad scientist Washu.
Funimation has Tenchi Universe. You may need a VPN to watch Tenchi Muyo! in your region. See below for details.
2. Love Hina
Love Hina is another genre-defining classic. Struggling student Keitaro hopes to be accepted at the University of Tokyo. Years ago, he promised a girl that they would enter together. But now he can’t remember her name.
Keitaro becomes the manager of a girls dormitory/ former hot springs ryokan. One of the lodgers, Naru, looks like she might be his promise girl. But Naru is an easily-angered tsundere. And Keitaro is frequently mistaken for a pervert.
Sadly, this series is currently hard to find. The DVD is out of stock at Funimation, but you may find it elsewhere.
3. My Next Life as a Villainess
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! is both a reverse harem and an isekai series.
Catarina Claes knows that she’s trapped as the villain of a romantic visual novel video game. To avoid her “doom flags,” she becomes kind, lovable, and even something of a dork.
Unbeknownst to her, all of her thoughtful, friendly actions accidentally created a harem. (Hence the fan nickname, “Bakarina.”) In fact, pretty much every major character falls for her, from the princes to her rival girlfriends.
4. Ouran High School Host Club
This goofy, funny reverse harem series stands out as a parody of harem series and romantic comedies. The titular club entertains young ladies at a prestigious school for the super-rich.
Ordinary schoolgirl Haruhi (not that Haruhi) joins the club in order to pay off a debt. She (typically in disguise as a boy) very quickly becomes a major part of the club’s flirty shenanigans.
5. The Quintessential Quintuplets
The Quintessential Quintuplets starts with a seemingly impossible task — Futaro has to tutor the Nakano quintuplets, none of whom are interested in studying.
Although the sisters get along pretty well, the series does feature some sibling pranks and rivalries. With five identical sisters, mistaken identity subplots also pop up. (In the anime, the sisters look less obviously similar than they do in the manga, but they still manage to fool people.)
Interestingly, the series reveals early on that Futaro will marry one of the five girls. We just don’t find out for certain which one until the end of the manga.
6. The World God Only Knows
Keima Katsuragi is known as “the God of Conquest” in this supernatural harem comedy. But, he’s only a god at winning “gal game” dating simulators. In real life, he’s a giant otaku nerd.
Because of his online reputation, a demon, Elsie, asks him to help her capture souls. The souls have possessed various girls, and capturing them requires “conquering” the girls. Keima applies video game logic to this demonic task, which works better than you might expect.
The World God Only Knows doesn’t quite fit the typical harem definition. His relationships with the girls are serial, rather than all at once. Nonetheless, some of the girls do stick around, or at least remember Keima after he’s finished with them.
As a series about an otaku, it has plenty of otaku references as well.
7. Kanojo mo Kanojo (Girlfriend, Girlfriend)
High school student Naoya finds himself with two girlfriends in this wild, weird comedy. Unlike many romantic comedies, Saki and Nagisa seem mostly OK with sharing one boy (at least for now). Instead, complications arise from trying to keep their relationship secret from others.
Just to make things even stranger, two other girls eventually join in as potential third and fourth girlfriends.
The series hilariously deconstructs what would happen if you carried a typical harem situation to its logical conclusion. Admittedly, the characters sometimes act really dumb. But the resulting antics are priceless.
8. Hayate the Combat Butler
This series provides a combination of shonen action, romantic comedy, fourth wall jokes, and pop culture references.
The titular protagonist starts out as a poor boy who serves as a butler to Nagi, a rich young heiress. Nagi has a huge crush on Hayate. However, Hayate is more interested in Nagi’s maid, Maria. At least, that’s the situation at the beginning of the series.
As the series progresses, Hayate fights to protect Nagi numerous times, and the two grow closer. What really makes this a harem series is how many of Hayate’s classmates and Nagi’s friends are attracted to him.
Mahoraba is an odd sort of “harem,” as most of the girls aren’t romantically interested in Ryushi.
But apartment manager Kozue is a harem all by herself. She has multiple personalities, which emerge when she’s embarrassed, flustered, or confused.
The series features plenty of comedic misunderstandings, as Ryushi deals with his eccentric, obnoxious, and manipulative neighbors.
Nisekoi borrows a plot from Romeo and Juliet — teen lovers are members of opposing gangs. The real play even shows up in the school festival episode.
But it adds a comedic twist — their relationship is completely fake. Raku and Chitoge have to maintain the illusion in order to prevent an all-out gang war.
The situation is complicated by Kosaki, a girl that Raku actually likes, and various other would-be lovers.
(Crunchyroll) / (Hulu)/ (Funimation)
If you’re trying to watch these anime on Netflix or any other streaming platform that geo-locks certain anime titles, you can get around these restrictions by using a VPN.
How to Watch Anime in Geo-Restricted Countries via VPN
This method works on both desktop PCs and mobile phones or tablets.
- Purchase (or start a free trial) of a VPN. NordVPN works for this purpose.
- In the settings, choose the country that you know has the title you want to watch as your location.
- Fire up the VPN
- Once you’re connected, navigate to Netflix (or whatever streaming app you’re using)
- Search the anime name in the search bar and you should see it pop up.
Enjoy! Please note that if your Netflix library doesn’t update to reflect the country you selected in your VPN, you may have to clear the Netflix cache first and try again. This may be the same for other streaming platforms as well.
To to do this, go to settings -> apps -> Netflix -> clear cache.