How to Build a Harem


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    @steelblaidd I'm gonna have to disagree with you there. I know people really like their snu snu but personally I think the focus on sex and the physical relationship can become too much of a crutch that hides what is actually a badly-written relationship. Likewise I am against the idea that a fictional romance cannot be compelling without a physical relationship.

    For me, the more important part is actual character writing. This can be standard development: the character having flaws and issues they must overcome, and how their relationships affect that. If that is there, I'm not going to care much if there's no real physical relationship within the main story (though it would be nice). There's other ways to write good characters that can make up for a lack of physical intimacy, though that's a big subject in its own right.

    At any rate, the real issue is that Smartphone simply doesn't have good character writing, which of course makes the lack of physical intimacy even more glaring, though even if it were there it'd be pretty hollow to me.

    And on the actual Enneagram side, it's worth noting that sexual desire is not really tied to any of the nine types in particular; instead, each type can further be associated with one of three "instincts": self-preservation, one-on-one relationships, and group relationships. The one-on-one relationship instinct is mostly connected with physical intimacy; the others, not as much.


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    I have to say I really don't know where I come down on the harems, in general.

    Realist Hero, each relationship started with "need". Liscia, because there needed to be a tie to the royal bloodline (even though timelines complicate that). Aisha needed to show her loyalty to Souma. Souma needed Juna's talent to pull the nation together. Roroa needed to protect her people. Naden and Souma were a "set" before they even knew it.

    You could say that others in his group had the same things happen to them, such as Ruby getting added to Hal's family because they needed each other.

    Smartphone actually seems to play on the harem primarily for comedy, more than anything else. The relationship with Linze was fairly normal, and headed down the girlfriend route, until Yumina came along and added marriage to the equation, and dragged Elze and Yae along.

    Arifureta... The harem builds because he's got a bunch of crazy people around him. :)


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    @stardf29 I agree that far too often sex is substituted for relationships, both in fiction and real life, I just find it odd that given a deliberate choice to explore different personality types that they all seam to respond in the same way to his putting off what everyone else in the world considers the natural progression of his engagements.


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    @raitoiro said in How to Build a Harem:

    What do we define as harem tho?
    Because If we decide that a story just need multiple character to be in love with the MC then a lot of series can be categorized as Harem even stuff like "Grimgar", "The faraway Paladin" or "Infinite Dendrogram".
    But if we limit it to story where the MC is clearly in an open relationship with multiple characters then series like "Infinite Stratos", "I save too many girl" and "Lazy Dungeon master" wouldn't qualify.

    That’s a fake harem... a true harem is where there is at least FTB intimate relations between them.

    I think the largest problem is the market, most of the Japanese fans want their waifu’s to be pure untouched... so it doesn’t affect the popularity of a series.


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    @thomask said in How to Build a Harem:

    FTB

    Front to Back?


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    @thomask I have heard of the untouched bs concerning idole fan but I'm not sure it's as much of a problem in LN.
    Some LN fans likely do want the girls to be pure virgin and all that bs when they are introduced, but I thinks most wouldn't care if the MC has his way with them, especially since most of the series aims at that demographic have self-insert MC.


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    @raitoiro said in How to Build a Harem:

    especially since most of the series aims at that demographic have self-insert MC.

    I'm not sure where the line is, but at some point in the past LN's had rating systems (for age) and if an author/publisher wanted to sell the the perceived target demographic, (11-16 year old boys) they had to keep the naughty stuff out, or risk the book not being on display in the section of the store where it was likely to sell best. (I'm going back in time here, think 1980's-90's)

    More recently, I believe the rating system is somewhat different and stories can be somewhat more mature /realistic (relationship wise) and not risk 18+ tags (some of this was self censorship by publishers, I don't know why heroes had to be chaste, and holding hands was such a big deal, but at least with Anime, the realities of teenager/high schooler sex are addressed more frankly in recent years - 2 examples that come to mind (that have nothing to do with each other, other than accepting that sex among teenagers is a 'given' : Domestic Girlfriend and School Days) Ironically it seems that self play/ 'using' pornography is more frankly accepted in a wider number of titles (It seems a common trope that a boy must hide his 'treasures' before someone comes to visit)

    Thematic Inertia is a thing (I guess) and I still see/read many titles where everyone is chaste, holding hands (or a kiss) is a really big deal (maybe I'm missing cultural allusions/metaphors for something else, because nudity and fondling apparently doesn't count as sexual activity?!)

    regardless - sorry for meandering, my point is that in my opinion, I don't believe that sexual relations is necessary for a harem to be 'real'. If the protagonist dates, is 'more than friends', or is intimate (hello Mixed Bathing) with multiple characters that would potentially be 'partners' in a relationship way. What makes it a harem is the being more than a couple (2) and doing things that couples would do


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    @jon-mitchell said in How to Build a Harem:

    What makes it a harem is the being more than a couple (2) and doing things that couples would do

    I think that makes a good working definition.

    I understand executive order is why Isse in DxD keeps getting shut down.


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    @Jon-Mitchell I agree with @steelblaidd about your definition, but would take the number to greater than 3. I just can't see a "harem" with only 3 people. I would just call that a love triangle.


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    I think you need to add another rule: that the “spokes” are okay with the MC being involved with the others in the harem. That would make it distinct from a true love triangle (where both of the others want the MC to themselves).


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    @hamsterexastris
    I disagree, plenty of situations in LN/anime/manga where the spokes either are unaware of each other’s interest or in competition


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    @jon-mitchell Then that’s not a harem yet, I don’t feel.


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    @hamsterexastris Not a stable end stage one no but as an initial stage i think it counts.

    I agree that a harem needs at least 4 principles.


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    @hamsterexastris said in How to Build a Harem:

    @jon-mitchell Then that’s not a harem yet, I don’t feel.

    Are you suggesting that the use of the harem label is improperly... or maybe too widely, applied to today's LN/anime/manga?


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    Let’s take for example Serei Gensouki (as of today’s progress JNC prepub progress, no spoilers) Miharu knows almost nothing about Cecelia, and absolutely nothing about Flora yet everyone (I think) would agree that this series gets a harem tag, and those 3 girls are part of Rio’s harem. Yes, the “marry them all/ harem ending” is a thing, but many many LN/anime/manga dive into harem tropes w/o that ending. Battle harems, rivalries, unwittingly acquiring harem, first girl wins, last girl wins etc. There are lots of scenarios that have “harem” in common but not a stable “harem ending”


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    @hamsterexastris I also disagree. The spokes being aware of the others is necessary. The spokes being ok with it or not differentiates between a cooperative harem and a battle harem.

    Cooperative: Rokujouma, Realist Hero, Smartphone
    Battle: Little Apocalypse, Infinite Stratos
    Not really a harem: Spirit Chronicles, Greatest Magicmaster


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    @paul-nebeling said in How to Build a Harem:

    Not really a harem: Spirit Chronicles, Greatest Magicmaster

    ...yet


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    @paul-nebeling said in How to Build a Harem:

    Battle: Little Apocalypse, Infinite Stratos

    I think we may be talking past each other here (at least in the way I thought I was using the term)
    of course this is all subject to opinion on how you define your terms - but to me a "battle harem" is a subtrope of the harem genre where the girls are fighters/team with the protagonist in a action oriented way - shield maidens and snipers and whatnot- think High School DxD (rivalries yes, but on same team in tournaments )

    IS still qualifies - but so does Rokojouma! Battle harems may or may not be cooperative!


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    @jon-mitchell I believe we are using the term differently. I use battle harem to refer to one where the spokes are (generally) competing with each other for the central person's affection/attention rather than one where they are just fighting. I honestly can't think of many LN where there isn't some sort of fighting going on. I won't claim to be using the term properly, but to me, the modified regrets to the internal dynamic rather than the external activity.

    Edit to add: I followed the link in your post and immediately cringed because I'm one of those Philistines that does not consider SAO to be a harem.


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    @paul-nebeling SAO is a wannabe harem. Lots of people wannabe in what isn't there. Kind of like Businessman Isekai.