One tool that’s useful for any blogger is My Anime List, pretty much the best online database of all anime series and films in existence, with lots of images and character data and information on the staff that created each show. Since I’ve been writing a lot about harem anime on this blog recently, I’ve been on the site a lot doing my research. I realized it was possible to sort shows by genre, then by ranking based on each show’s score after thousands of fans had voted, giving us a way to quantitatively rank the 10 best harem anime, and the 10 worst harem anime, according to the site’s hundreds of thousands of users. Let’s try it today!
The list will basically sort all series based on score then filter out the duplicate series to come up with what might be considered the best and worst harem anime shows according to all MAL users. I’ll omit certain entries, such as shows that have low ratings because they haven’t started airing yet, or ones that are so minor none of us will have heard of them. Note that some newer shows will not have time to be rated as much as older shows, so it’s somewhat biased towards shows that have been around for 5-10 years. And since I’m only choosing ten shows from the top and bottom, a lot of quality series like Kiss x Sis or Haganai or Bokuben aren’t included because they fell slightly below the top ten ranking cutoff.
Also, I’m only doing traditional harem shows, not “reverse harems,” so apologies in advance to Ouran High School Host Club fans!
The Ten Best Harem Anime According to MAL
The World God Only Knows
A genius series about Keima Katsuragi, a god when it comes to winning any girl’s heart…as long as it’s inside a dating-sim game. Keima is tasked with helping a demon named Elsie capture spirits who have escaped from hell by expertly acting out romantic scenes with girls in the 3D world. Very well-executed, it’s one of the best anime shows I can think of.
The Grisaia Series
I really enjoyed the Grisaia anime series, about a transfer student who just wants to live a normal life…and who happens to be a well-trained hitman. The waifus who surrounds himself at his new school are all top-notch characters, and the story a real joy.
Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata
Another gem, How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend is gorgeously animated and has outstanding characters. It’s the story of Tomoya, a high school teenager who encounters a girl named Megumi who is beautiful but also has a hard-to-notice personality, making her the titular “boring girlfriend.” Tomoya decides to make a visual novel based on Megumi, and asks artist Eriri and scenario writer Utaha-senpai to help realize his dream. It’s one of the most “self-aware” harem anime series ever.
Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar
A spin-off in the Tenchi Muyo! series, I blame this show for giving me a lifelong fetish for dark elves. Which we conveniently have in stock on the site!
Hayate the Combat Buttler!
A fresh and unique love comedy that’s filled with fourth-wall-breaking jokes with great characters we all love. Being a Kugimiya fan, my favorite girl is Nagi.
Nisekoi: False Love
A well-loved series from Shaft that provided lots of entertainment to fans, and endless wars between #TeamOnodera and #TeamChitoge.
The To Love-Ru Series
If I ever meet To Love-Ru creator Kentaro Yabuki, I’m going to buy him the biggest beer I can find, to thank him for providing all the sexy gifs that I post to the J-List Twitter account. To Love-Ru is an endless parade of sexy situations involving
Ataru Rito, a high school boy who ends up with an alien fiancee named Lum Lala Satalin Deviluke.
Great moments in Sora no Otoshimono: Heaven’s Lost Property: the flying panty scene. pic.twitter.com/mpLQKDn7Nv
— Peter Payne (@JListPeter) August 7, 2020
Sora no Otoshimono: Heaven’s Lost Property
Another genius show that provided fans with lots of fun times, it’s the story of Tomoki, a perverted teenage boy who ends up with an angel servant named Ikaros, who fulfills his every command, for example, that time he asked for panties.
Another fun harem anime involving five quintuplets who will all flunk out of school unless the main character Fuutaro can tutor them and help get their grades up. It was a great show, and we all had fun picking a favorite waifu. The show featured top-name voice actresses, and sometimes the animation budget suffering because of this.
Zero no Tsukaima
One of the best of the Golden Age of Kugimiya Rie tsundere series, it was an isekai about a Japanese boy who’s summoned to a magical world where he’s surrounded by girls who love him. This was one of the best-executed anime series I can think of, with four seasons separated by 1-2 years, the perfect time for fans to remain actively into the show, and provide for lots of figures to be made. I’d say the number of Familiar of Zero figures released was second only to an unceasing number of figures of Kazami from Please Teacher.
The Ten Worst Harem Anime
Now it’s time to take a look at the ten worst harem anime series, based on their MAL rankings. Some of these shows are truly bad and deserve to be on this list, while others are “bad, but in a good way” or merely didn’t resonate with the users on the platform.
Remember, if your favorite anime happens to be on the list of “worst” harem shows, it’s MAL’s fault, not mine!
Onisuki: Because I Don’t Like My Big Brother At All!!
One of the not-so-good imouto fetish anime series to be part of what I call the “Heisei imouto anime bubble,” it’s about a girl who aggressively wants to sleep with her brother. From a random MAL reviewer: “For what shall it profit an Otaku if he should find the worst anime in the whole world, and lose his own sanity?” – Book of Weaboo 8:36
Lime-Iro no Senkitan
When I think of the worst anime ever, this show is frankly always at the top of my list. It’s just terrible: a low-effort 2003 series based on an ELF game about a guy who has to lead some generic girls who do generic sexy stuff. It’s like Strike Witches, minus everything that’s good about Strike Witches. The only unique innovation was bringing mecha into the 1905 Russo-Japan war.
Val x Love
I was surprised to see this show, a silly fan-service show in which hero Takuma is given a harem of nine daughters of Odin, Lord of Asgard, on a list of terrible harem anime. To train the girls and prove that love can save the world, he’s tasked with doing Date A Live-esque sexy things with them like, er, groping them on trains, and doing sexy medical check-ups on them. After clearing these “love flags,” the girls rise in level. It was pure trash, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Read my blog post about Val x Love here!
The first of the “Science Adventure” games and anime created by Nitroplus and 5pb, Chaos;Head was immediately eclipsed by the smashing popularity of Steins;Gate, and never seemed to get the traction with fans its creators hoped for. The first series was so poorly received that the sequel Chaos;Child had to basically re-animate the entire first show in its first episode to familiarize fans with the story…but then no one watched Chaos;Child, either. I know an anime has missed the mark when I have trouble finding decent images for my blog posts with Google.
In Another World With my Smartphone
Regarded by many fans as the worst isekai series, this anime involves Touya, who accidentally gets struck by lightning and killed, even though it’s not his time to die yet. As an apology, God sends Touya to a magical fantasy world where he can pretty much do whatever he wants, thanks to the magic of his smartphone.
My Girlfriend is a Virgin Bitch
I feel like I’m the only person who watched and enjoyed this series, about a guy who gets a girlfriend who’s a shobitch, or a virgin bitch (slut) who is super interested in sex, yet because she’s inexperienced, she’s also shy. I watched it mainly to hear Madoka’s voice actress Aoi Yuki talk dirty because I’m into that.
Ah, the anime fans love to hate, thanks to the over-the-top violent ending that was inserted into the anime version only — not in the game. Since the anime had to compress a complex game with 21 endings into a single “route,” Makoto has to have sex with all the characters, making him an extra-big dick who is hated by fans. I am pretty sure we can trace the dislike some fans feel for the NTR genre to the School Days anime.
(Remember, the School Days game is much more complex and varied, with only 5-6 “dark” endings, and plenty of happy ones, including well-developed stories with side characters who are barely in the anime. The sequel Shiny Days has no dark endings, and lots of great MILFs to romance.)
My Sister, My Writer
Ore ga Suki nano was Imouto Dakedo Imouto Ja Nai is an anime that was so bad it became quite a hit, and we all had fun mocking it, though the show was enjoyable. Read my post on this “terrible anime” here.
Peter Grill and the Philosopher’s Time
I was looking forward to this show because it literally had my name in its title, but reading the low reviews, I might reconsider.
Finally, the lowest-ranked anime on this list. One day Itsuki’s cute cousin Mahiro tells him she’s pregnant, despite never having had sex. Before they know it, the two of them are whisked off to an isekai where Itsuki is told he must “make babies” with various waifus including his cousin to combat “impurities” that are harming their world, which sadly doesn’t actually involve sexy stuff at any point. It’s based on a PSP game called Conception: Please Give Birth to My Child!, which has to be better than the anime. The game even got an English release, so hunt it down if you’re curious.
What did you think of this list of the best and worst harem anime according to MAL? Give us your thoughts or ask us on Twitter!
We’ve got great news! After months of interruption from recent events, J-List is bringing back our popular J-List Box Snack Boxes, which are filled with tons of delightful snacks hand-picked by our staff for you! The staff has worked super hard to bring you some wonderful offerings this month. Order the August J-List Snack Boxes now!