A new Harem genre...


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[post:314#2833]
Xenoknight

09/07/2008 05:49 PM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

Should, could, and how do I invent a name for harem titles that have no final choice in the end because I feel it should stand as its own genre or sub-genre. I've had my fill of animes that work up a brilliant story just to leave it unfinished in the end. If there is a fan base for this type of ending then it will work out better for us than the real harem seekers being upset with any particular anime that has no final choice. Do you know what I mean?

The main lead of an anime should choose one girl and the story could show the romance between them. Not an open ending where he doesn't find love at all!!!! I think this is an excellent idea to start a branch off sub-genre within harem animes. What do you think or am I overthinking this matter?

[post:314#2835]
Devil Doll

09/07/2008 07:03 PM

Reviews: 347
Posts: 1569

Ichigo 100% has a wonderful resolution at the end of the manga.

It's just a pity that less than the first half of it (and the less serious one) has ever been animated.

[post:314#2836]
Xenoknight

09/07/2008 07:17 PM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

Its a shame I agree. Its not only Ichigo 100% that has done this. Ichigo was just the last straw for me!

[post:314#2837]
Jan-Chan

09/07/2008 07:30 PM

Reviews: 599
Posts: 593

if you suggest a 'xeno's-favorite-harem-stories' category, then I will have to wack you (HARD)!!!

And see my comments in my review of Gantz about how they cheapen the ending of most anime series. The problem they have is just how do they tie everything off, but still keep the story open for multiple OVAs (like in Ichigo) or a never-ending sequence of sequels (as in the Da Capo series).

Edited on 09/07/2008 07:35 PM.

[post:314#2838]
Xenoknight

09/07/2008 08:08 PM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

'xeno's-favorite-harem-sto­ries' category - not a bad idea... Just joking. LOL

Da Capo can do what it wants because greatness only begets greatness.

As for everything else, It just depends on the writers because not every anime gets an OVA sequel (not even the most deserving titles get one). Therefor, it just forces them to finish the story once and for all and leave it closed. If they want an opening for continuation, then they need to give closure or eliminate some factors of the show leaving the focus on what they want to be the ultimate ending. For example, how in Ichigo they reduced all the chaos into two primary girls (though Nishino kept rearing her ugly face here and there). During all those OVAs, the fact that he still didn't choose one of them is ridiculous. Almost every girl had at least one OVA dedicated to them (closure element) but he still can't make a decision by the last OVA. This is unforgivable. The way it is now suggests more Ichigo later in the future as nothing is finished and all the characters are pretty much at square one! Like how Nishino and Yui went to a different school, they could've have done something a little drastic to "postpone the story" if you will and let the main lead choose a girl while still leaving it open for a sequel. The new couple could have an argument or one was found cheating or something and break up like the main couple form Boys Be leaving it possible for him to find someone else and letting the story progress. There is infinite ways to continue a story if the proper steps are taken beforehand.

Edited on 09/07/2008 08:19 PM.

[post:314#2839]
Forbin

09/07/2008 08:58 PM

Reviews: 478
Posts: 532

Isn't that basically giving away the end of the manga? Category - Harem that just exists and never resolves anything ending - ?

Sounds like we should call it - Negima Ending.

Edited on 09/07/2008 08:59 PM.

[post:314#2840]
Xenoknight

09/07/2008 09:16 PM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

That only depends on if your a manga reader or not. I don't read any manga so the never ending story (if thats what the writers want) can be as long as they can write it and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. I see it as a another way to keep the story alive like how they handle Bleach and Naruto. The manga and anime are like two different stories. My friends and I argue all the time about which one is the true experience - the manga or the anime. The manga finishes and can't expand on the story due to how their written while the anime can grow indefinetly if the situation presents itself.

If you watch Naruto (same with Bleach) the anime and read the manga, you can clearly see they expanded the details a bit and added stories to keep it alive and fresh. I enjoy this form of story telling as oppose to just pictures and text. The anime is 1000 times better and can branch off anyway they see fit as long as they don't kill any characters off or something of that drastic nature.

To watch the anime, its better to forget the manga and just focus on whats in front of you. My friends are always comparing the two and hate the anime because of it. Its one or the other or you can keep an open mind and pretend the manga doesn't exist. Thats how I feel.

[post:314#2841]
Forbin

09/07/2008 09:28 PM

Reviews: 478
Posts: 532

But what relation does it have to actually TELLING the anime watcher that the ending is open?

[post:314#2842]
Xenoknight

09/07/2008 10:14 PM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

I see what your saying. If they had to continue then the only way is just to show the main lead still seriously thinking about other girls and/or his feelings drifting away from his current choice. Remember, it doesn't have to always be open. Its up to the viewer to interpret the last episode with incomplete elements and determine that the anime could/should have stopped the main lead from drifting. You will automatically know if an anime is over or not depending on if you see the main lead with a smile on his face from ear to ear. If he is undeniably happy with with his choice, you'll know its over like with (please forgive me but it was the first example that came to mind) Koi Kaze. How the main lead threw everything away to be with his "choice". He was happy as hell to be with his love by the last episode. Even in that story, its still open for continuation because they just started their life together and the writers could have added a little of that persecution the main lead was talking about to stir the couple up and cause a little regret and uncertainty. There really is no way to completely close a story unless someone dies if you ask me because I always see it as being open. There is always a way to tweak the story for continuation purposes. Sorry I couldn't clearly show my point here.

Edited on 09/07/2008 10:19 PM.

[post:314#2843]
Devil Doll

09/07/2008 11:21 PM

Reviews: 347
Posts: 1569

Ichigo 100% TV is not exactly "never resolving anything". It's just that the story continues for several more years (Manaka has to significantly grow as character to be an appropriate partner for any of those four girls). But like all good romances, it will end with that indecisive whimp finally making a choice about his most important girl at the very end of volume 19. It's far from being a silly-funny school romance at this stage, and during most of the second half as well. Ichigo 100% is the romance anime with the biggest discrepancy in mood between manga and anime that I've seen so far.

It's pure chance how much of a romance manga will end up being animated. Ichigo 100% got considerably damaged by animating just the silly 50% of the manga; Love Hina was animated for about two thirds of the manga and quite a few issues after the end of the anime would still be on their way. Suzuka was animated 50% and ends at a similar milestone as Love Hina does; Koi Kaze covers the whole story (because it was animated before the manga was even complete, but the endings in both works are similar - the manga plays the final stage a bit slower but doesn't go beyond the anime storywise) but that's a special case because this series isn't really a "romance" story, it's more a story about making a choice against all odds. Ai Yori Aoshi feels quite incomplete - the first series doesn't provide any significant results, the second one is mostly filler, and about 40% of the story is still missing (the end of manga volume 9 of about 17 or so is close to the the end of the anime sequel). The most "elegant" romance manga adaptation into an anime that I know is Video Girl Ai (despite covering a mere 3 of 15 manga volumes) by slightly rewriting the ending of volume 3 so that it provides a conclusion which isn't really there at this stage of the original story... but as always, the manga is way more serious and provides a wonderful story with enough character growth.
Perhaps Maison Ikkoku would be what you're looking for with its 96 anime episodes... note that the Maison Ikkoku manga has only 15 volumes, four less than Ichigo 100%! And it's a romance between adults, not between school kids, it has a large love polygon and every single character growing over time (and providing several marriages in the process). This will be the first anime of these dimensions that I'm going to watch. Then again, this isn't exactly a harem story (well, if you'd ask Kyoko about that she might actually disagree with me... ;-).

Most romance mangas will continue until the lead couple have married (or the mangaka dies, which I'm afraid will happen first for Aa! Megami-sama! TV where the couple hasn't really gone anywhere on more than 6000 manga pages...). Many animes stop already when it's clear that the couple has found each other, skipping the (IMHO even more interesting) trials and tribulations of actually having a relation because 13 or 26 episodes is what the TV schedule will allow them to bring on air. That's why I attempt to read the manga of every romance anime I like - it may be the inferior medium (albeit the better visualization may sometime tempt the animation maker to add more fan service... then again, in the case of REC the exact opposite is the case) but it always provides a more complete story with better character development. And that's also why I like Shuffle! so much... because when the lead makes his choice there the real story has only just begun.

Edited on 09/07/2008 11:27 PM.

[post:314#2844]
Xenoknight

09/07/2008 11:56 PM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

I would like to stay away from the comparison of manga to anime but now that you bring it up, everything DD said is right on the money. I didn't know Love Hina and Ai Yori Aoshi were like that at all. That shows how much I know. Ai Yori Aoshi is still the best example for true love as the lead couple found and started loving each other extremely early in the series but that title's problem was the lead couple wasn't allowed to show their love. I don't get what you said about Aa! Megami-sama! TV though. Who is the mangaka? And are you saying that there will be more to Ichigo?

Edited on 09/08/2008 10:11 PM.

[post:314#2850]
Devil Doll

09/08/2008 10:05 PM

Reviews: 347
Posts: 1569

No, I don't think there will be more Ichigo because the later manga chapters are so completely different from the earlier ones; those who expect silly/ecchi stuff would be disappointed by them.

Aa! Megami-sama isn't a romance story in my eyes. The couple simply never gets anywhere, and you learn that quite early on. The best parts of Megami-sama for me are when characters develop (none of the leads does that, but look at the sidekicks such as Hasegawa Sora... of course those two manga chapters weren't ever animated, sigh...) or when there's some high-fantasy action between gods and demons (mostly with Urd shining, thus she became my favourite character in the anime version).

Today I read another interesting example of a harem anime based on a manga: DearS. As you might expect, the anime covers exactly the first 4 of 8 manga volumes, and the second half has less comedy, less ecchiness, more romance and more SciFi. Once again the anime makers decided to take the silly-funny stuff and ignore the (serious) actual story there.

Edited on 09/10/2008 08:42 AM.

[post:314#2851]
Xenoknight

09/08/2008 10:15 PM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

Its old news but your right, I should've used the spoiler tag. Everything is new to me in terms of anime titles but old to most people on this site so I didn't give it much thought. My bad. Regular visitors wouldn't read this far anyway.

Edited on 09/08/2008 10:18 PM.

[post:314#2853]
Xenoknight

09/08/2008 10:20 PM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

No need. I didn't say much in there anyway.

this forum has gotten way off topic.

Edited on 09/08/2008 10:28 PM.

[post:314#2858]
Xenoknight

09/09/2008 09:28 AM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

Personal or not, a harem with no final decision is "unfinished". I don't think anyone will disagree with this statement. Even if tha anime leaves it open and the viewer can choose for themselves, unless it shows on the screen who the main lead likes the most, it will remain incomplete. After 13-26 episodes of pain and confusion, the viewer probably already has a choice for the main lead. The whole story revolves around him making a choice of who to fall in love with or who to dedicate all his time to and in the end he squeezes his way out the last episode with no preference?!?! That is "unfinished" and incomplete. Even in a half-done and pathetic ending like Tokimeki Memorial - Only Love, the main lead made a final decision that the viewer could believe and have some closure. That is the key. "CLOSURE"

Edited on 09/09/2008 09:36 AM.

[post:314#2861]
Devil Doll

09/09/2008 04:52 PM

Reviews: 347
Posts: 1569

Can you name at least five Harem animes where the male lead doesn't make up his mind about his favourite girl? Just that Ichigo 100% wasn't animated up to this point (which would mean it had to be animated completely, given the course of the manga) doesn't seem to justify a separate genre.

What's more, putting animes into this genre might be a huge spoiler, similar to tagging all romances without a happy ending into one category "romance failures" or all animes where a lead character dies into "lead character gets killed". So instead of doing that you might rather give Ichigo 100% a very low rating and explain it in your review by the "unsatisfying ending for a Harem story" (well, actually rather "aborted the story halfway and never came even close to any closure", that might be closer to the truth... had they released twice as many episodes you might possibly even like this series) and provide links to other Harem stories that would do better in this aspect.

What about making a step back, ignoring the "Harem" aspect of the issue for a moment and looking at the case from a broader angle? It might make sense to add a new category stating "incomplete adaptation of the original work". Then again, this might be true for 80+% of all animes...
But if we limit this to "anime has been aborted somewhere in the middle not even ending with a milestone of the story, or consists of a random selection of unrelated parts of the original story, leaving most of the important questions and character relations unresolved" this might in fact be an interesting new category, sending out a warning to people who can't stand this kind of "story fragment". Would we get at least ten animes of this kind? My suggestions for this would be: Ichigo 100% TV, Kareshi Kanojo no Jijoo, From I's, Hanaukyo Maid Tai, Boku no Chikyuu o Mamotte, RG Veda, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, Alien Nine and perhaps even Silent Mobius. If we label this group with the keyword "fragmentary" and explain its meaning in the FAQ, would that be what you want?

Edited on 09/11/2008 02:30 AM.

[post:314#2863]
Xenoknight

09/09/2008 07:00 PM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

WOW! I love how Ichigo keeps getting mentioned after what I said in A new Harem genre... (Post #2836).

Anyways, you want 5 titles, I haven't seen as many as you so I'm at a disadvantage but I can still give you 3: Ichigo 100% TV with all the OVAs, Guardian Hearts and the power up sequel, and I can easily bet To LOVE-Ru will pull something off as well.

As for spoiled categories, I don't know about most people but if I look for a harem, I want to see pain, confusion, torn hearts, the fighting that gets the story all riled up in the first place, and most importantly - A FINAL DECISION! For a title to not have a final choice almost makes it not a harem if it wasn't for the harem "elements" - hence the girls fighting over the main lead. When you say "lead character gets killed", isn't that what the tragedy genre is for? Isn't that a spoiler already and it makes people want to watch it to see just how tragic it is? That is what the tragedy genre represents, right? Does it not have its own fan-base? Am I wrong? When you say "romance failures", isn't that dependent on the story? If the couple breaks up due to cheating, its still a romance because the viewer can see and interpret for themselves who is in the right to be angry or if the cheater regrets their decision. If the couple seperates due to one of them moving away, its still a romance because the viewer can see long-distance relationships, or them saving themselves for when they finally meet again, or one following the other as a sign of their love. Its up to the viewer to determine if the romance was a "failure". If the reasons are believable, then it isn't a failure.

If harems had a sub-genre stating that there is no final choice or the main lead never finds love at all, then i'm sure a fan-base would develop because the stroy would have to offer something else to fill that gap. Some people like the open ending as they can discuss with their friends and peers who they would've chosen and who had no chance at all or if the main lead would've been happy if he did find love. I know even you have a favorite choice after watching any harem as its only natural. I hear it all the time, so why can't we tell fans outright that a particular title has no choice so they can decide for themselves. They would enjoy looking for this genre as others enjoy looking for the tragedy genre.

Edit: the fragmentary idea is a start. Thats what I was asking about in the first post in here. It took this long to get an answer. WOW

Edited on 09/09/2008 07:17 PM.

[post:314#2864]
Jan-Chan

09/09/2008 07:28 PM

Reviews: 599
Posts: 593

Try choosing a 'keyword' that conveys as complete an understanding as possible in one or two words...

I might want to suggest keywords such as - incomplete adaptation - or perhaps - unresolved romance - or even - wimpy lead character -.

Personally, I think that keywords serve to help one zoom in and focus on titles that might interest someone. Flagging a title as being an unresolved romance might be giving away the ending and could be considered a spoiler.

Harem stories are harem stories, no matter how complete a story they tell. Some of them are good and some of them are not, that is why we have a comments area to permit a reviewer to offer a more detailed summary about a series.

Edited on 09/09/2008 07:30 PM.

[post:314#2865]
Xenoknight

09/09/2008 07:44 PM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

It won't give the ending away. The tragedy genre doesn't give the story away. It only gives some interest into watching it as the viewer knows something bad has to happen - "anticipation" if you will. Without watching the anime and seeing the reasons why the story is the way it is, it won't ruin anything. For me, if someone tells me that someone is going to die at the end of a particular movie, most people would get angry and not watch it anymore because its spoiled but I wouldn't care because I don't know why or how they died. If I don't know those details, the person dying won't matter.

[post:314#2869]
Becca

09/09/2008 11:31 PM

Reviews: 23
Posts: 642

I do find it interesting that the IMDB is redacting (just like the spoiler tags here) their keyword lists now.

[post:314#2871]
Devil Doll

09/10/2008 02:00 AM

Reviews: 347
Posts: 1569

"tragedy" may be a spoilerish tag in case the tragedy is meant to be a surprise to the audience and as such revealed only later in the show; there are some mystery-like animes (Kanon and the like) where I am not sure "tragedy" is a helpful tag as "drama" and "depression" would provide the message already. Compare that to School Days (TV) or Myself; Yourself where tagging these as "tragedy" indicates you simply shouldn't take the show for what it looks like during the early episodes. But we also have a number of "tragedy" stories that don't have a sad ending - the tragedy itself may even have happened before the actual story started (as in Binbou Shimai Monogatari), during the first episode (as in Aishiteru Ze Baby), or during the second episode (as in Kimi ga Nozomu Eien).
For me, "tragedy" is a tag to show that a tragedy is an important part of the story, and usually the anime will show how the characters are dealing with the consequences of that tragedy (more or less successfully). It's interesting to see that we have 6 animes that are "tragedy" and "slice of life" at the same time, something that looks like a contradiction... but the aforementioned Aishiteru Ze Baby, Binbou Shimai Monogatari, and KGNE are three of these six animes.

"unresolved romance" would make no sense if the romance would ultimately be resolved and as such gives the ending away if it refers to the lead couple-to-be. (If it refers only to side characters then it would have to be a superset of "harem" in the first place as the very idea of harem is that some side characters will fall by the wayside during the competition.)

"wimpy lead character" would be a rather subjective judgment, while probably be true for a very large number of animes and as such not being really helpful.

"incomplete adaption" isn't relevant if the adaption manages to provide some resolution of the story (such as ending with a milestone like Love Hina does). And each season of a multi-season story would qualify for "incomplete adaption" but given that there are enough seasons to finally provide a conclusion that would be misleading.

The fragmentary nature of an anime release (probably often due to lack of commercial success?) would only matter if it applies to a complete franchise, including OVAs, movies and whatnot (and thus forces those who want to know what's actually going on here to resort to secondary media such as game or manga); that's where Ichigo 100% is in fact different from, say, Girls Bravo (whose second season provides the SciFi story) or Kimagure Orange Road (including the movies). Consequently, I would tag each release of the franchise as "fragmentary" to make it clear that the story as a whole will remain incomplete, regardless of how many other animes you watch. (And I would tag an anime as fragmentary no sooner than, say, two years after the latest release of that franchise.)

Any objections to introducing "fragmentary" as a keyword given the criteria I described so far? (I don't know Guardian Hearts but I would rather not tag To LOVE-Ru as such before even the first season has been completed.) Or might "incomplete" be the more precise term here? Any additional suggestions for animes qualifying for being "fragmentary"? I just don't see enough potential entries for "fragmentary harem" but the fragmentary nature of non-harem stories might still be informative enough to justify setting it as category, and 8 entries so far appear to qualify the issue as being significant enough.

Edited on 09/11/2008 12:40 AM.

[post:314#2894]
Forbin

09/11/2008 12:34 PM

Reviews: 478
Posts: 532

Hmm..I don't agree with Fragmentary, I would say 'Original Material' or contains 'Filler' but Fragmentary doesn't mean the same to anyone and that would be a hard category to sell.

To Love Ru is just a bunch of 'Filler' except for 3 episodes I haven't seen anything that moves the story forward. Heck we haven't even seen Lala's sisters yet.

[post:314#2895]
Xenoknight

09/11/2008 01:42 PM

Reviews: 244
Posts: 514

It was my idea in the first place and I said "fragmentary" was a good starting idea for the category but DD ran with it anyway. What can we say except NO COMMENT...

[post:314#2897]
Devil Doll

09/11/2008 02:50 PM

Reviews: 347
Posts: 1569

By this category I explicitly don't mean that a series contains fillers - that would apply to e. g. Love Hina which still provides a reasonable closure (actually even several of these: TV series end, Christmas Special, Spring Special, and OVA end, each of which is a milestone for their relation).

And whatever To Love-Ru turns out to be, it would be inappropriate to judge the series as "fragmentary" as long as we can't be sure whether it will provide a closure, be that in this season or in some other season to come.

[post:314#5436]
Devil Doll

10/24/2011 09:25 PM

Reviews: 347
Posts: 1569

This discussion led to the creation of the category "Fragmentary" in the end. As such it can be labeled as "DONE".

Edited on 10/24/2011 09:26 PM.

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