In a popular post of mine, My Love Affair With Reverse Harem Series, I talked about my delight in watching/reading gyaku harem series. The main draw of reverse harem for me is of course the hot, hot, HOT bishounen. I consider myself to be an analytical anime watcher, but reverse harem series can make me into a shallow fangirl. Not that I’m ashamed of it. No, not at all.
I encounter quite a lot of anime fans who claim that reverse harem series are their “guilty” pleasures. Why feel “guilty”? It seems that most of them feel ashamed of enjoying “shallow” and “crappy” reverse harem shows. As a gyaku harem fan, I’ll be the first to admit that most series in this genre have horribly crappy stories. Yes, the guys are always smoking HOT and their voices can usually strum you as deeply as the strings of your ovaries, but the reverse harem genre as a whole is not known for ground-breaking or oh-my-freaking-gosh-that’s-so-awesome type of stories.
But this is not always the case. There are hidden gems in this often-stigmatized genre that have a harem of delicious hot guys PLUS beautiful AND meaningful stories. Yes, you read that right. These series that I compiled are nothing like those crappy yet still doki-doki-inducing Diabolik Lovers & Amnesia. I compiled this list for those who want to watch reverse harem series without shame and at the same time enjoy mentally-stimulating stories that they’ll remember long after watching the series. So here we go:
6 Must-Watch Reverse Harem Anime With Beautiful & Meaningful Stories
6. Harukanaru Toki no Naka de (遙かなる時空の中で)
One of the most overlooked series in this genre. Not many people know about this show. The premise is very similar to Fushigi Yuugi, so much so that it may feel like a total rip-off. But don’t ignore it! It’s totally worth watching. Although the story is not as solid or as complicated as Fushigi Yuugi, I personally like the heroine Akane in this series better than Miaka. Akane is more emotionally-stable and less annoying. I also like that she knows how to use her powers and uses it to save herself and the people around her, instead of always relying on the gorgeous men surrounding her. Overall, it’s an enjoyable series with a fairly strong heroine and, of course, a harem of hot guys.
5. Hakuouki (薄桜鬼)
The art and character designs in this series are BEAUTIFUL!!! The men are so attractive! Anyway, this is probably the darkest and most depressing reverse harem series that I’ve ever watched. So many losses in battle and so many (cries) deaths. So much blood, blood, and more blood everywhere. But even if my heart felt like it was being squeezed to death, I couldn’t stop watching this series because the story itself absorbed me. It combines (fairly accurate) historical facts with fantastical elements, creating a very, very, very serious story that is atypical of most shallow reverse harem series. I also like that the romance between the heroine Yukimura and the main hero Hijikata is gradual. The romance makes sense and feels refreshingly innocent compared to the I’m-so-hot-so-I’ll-tease-and-seduce-you type of romantic developments in other reverse harem series. P.S. The love triangle is awesome!
4. Akatsuki no Yona (暁のヨナ)
lt was only recently that I got hooked by this series. I read chapter 1 of the manga some years ago but dropped it because I hated the spoiled, selfish, and stupid Yona. However, I took it up again recently and I’ve been kicking myself ever since. Yes, it was annoying at first but it gradually became more and more awesome. What I love the most about this series is the character development. It’s very gradual, and you feel like you’re growing alongside Yona as she becomes stronger and braver. I argue that this series has the strongest character development in all the reverse harem series I’ve ever watched. The story is engaging, and it’s very easy to imagine yourself living inside its world. The motivations of each character are clearly presented that it’s sometimes hard to hate the “villains” because they’ve been effectively humanized. It’s still ongoing, so I can’t deliver a final verdict until I know the ending. But so far it’s now included in my all-time favourite reverse harem series. I also hope that they make season 2 of the anime and adapt the rest of the manga. Crossing my fingers.
3. Fushigi Yuugi (ふしぎ遊戯)
Ah, the corruptor of my childhood innocence. This is a staple of every reverse harem fans. You can’t call yourself an official reverse harem fan if you haven’t watched or at least heard of Fushigi Yuugi. This classic is my first taste into the delicious world of gyaku harem. Still can’t believe my parents let me watch this anime as a little kid, but I’m not complaining. This is not a cutesy-cute-I-like-you-do-you-like-me-too type of romance. This is adult love with seductions, sex, and heartbreaks. It’s not perfect; far from it. Miaka is one annoying heroine, but the strength is in the story. Not to mention the dynamic harem! It’s complicated enough to pull your interest in the long run, but not too complicated to confuse you. I absolutely recommend this series!
2. Hanasakeru Seishounen (花咲ける青少年)
Oh, my gosh. Just thinking about this series is enough to make me swoon. Beautiful, just beautiful. Everything about this series is beautiful. I would say that this is the most original and the most romantic reverse harem anime that I’ve ever watched. Kajika is my ideal heroine. She’s confident and most importantly, she’s mentally and emotionally strong. She doesn’t take sh*t from anyone—unlike most heroines in this genre—and she’s not afraid to fight back. I love re-watching this series because it’s just so beautiful, and I fall in love all over again every time I watch it. The ending was such an intense climax that it brought me to tears and laughter at the same time. Beautiful! Definitely a must-watch!
1. Saiunkoku Monogatari (彩雲国物語)
This series is #1 on my reverse harem list because it has the most intelligent story that I’ve ever watched in any gyaku harem series. It engages my analytical mind, while at the same time satisfies my inner romantic reverse harem fangirl. The political aspect of the story is well-executed; it surprisingly doesn’t bog the story down. The heroine, Shuurei, is mentally and emotionally strong. She’s not as bad-ass compared to Kajika (Hanasakeru Seishounen), but she’s definitely an admirable character. By the second season, my inner feminist is cheering for her as she fights and finally achieves her ambition of holding a government position; thus becoming the first woman ever in history to do so. There are also action-packed battles in this series, but the majority of conflicts are on the mental and emotional level. Some of you may find the political and historical aspects boring, but I argue that they enhance the overall story and of course the romance as well. It’s #1 on my list because even if it doesn’t have the most beautiful story—that belongs to Hanasakeru Seishounen—Saiunkoku Monogatari has the most MEANINGFUL story that I’ve ever watched in any reverse harem series. I hope that you’ll think the same way, too, when you get the chance to watch it.
And that’s it for my list of 6 Must-Watch Reverse Harem Anime With Beautiful & Meaningful Stories. If you haven’t done so yet, don’t forget to check out my popular post My Love Affair With Reverse Harem Series for my other recommended reverse harem titles.
Of course, there are still other reverse harem series that I haven’t watched yet. I haven’t watched Uta no Prince-sama and Akagami no Shirayuki-hime yet, so I can’t really say much about them for now. If you know other reverse harem anime and of course manga that you think I haven’t watched/read yet, please by all means share them with me. I would be delighted to hear about your recommendations.
Enjoy watching the series on this list! Have fun. And of course keep on ogling hot guys. Cheers!
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