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A fellow anime nerd once asked me to go about a strange and interesting task. I was to assemble a group of 5 anime females that I would want in a hypothetical and fantastical harem. These women could be selected for any reason, though he stressed that I should give some thought to harem balance and personality compatibility. I thought it was an interesting idea, so I set to work and, within a few minutes, I had my initial list. This modern list has changed very little since (I swapped out Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing, as she is simply a less interesting version of her replacement.) I thought you, the denizens of the webbar-netz, might be interested in those five girls. Because He Who Shows Favorites risks death in a harem, I’m going to present them in alphabetical order.

Girl One:

“Hot Ice” Hilda from Outlaw Star

“Hot Ice” Hilda was a badass, no two ways about it. She was an outlaw who stole from pirates, laughed at the Space Federation and lived life at her own pace. She had many friends and was greatly respected in the Outlaw world as a “saver of asses”. Despite keeping everyone she knew at a good arm’s length, no one who knew her ever seemed to hesitate when she called in a favor. When I first saw Outlaw Star, she rocketed quickly to the place of my favorite character. There was just something about Hilda that screamed “This is an interesting character with a boatload of backstory.” How did she lose her eye? Why does she fly alone? Why doesn’t she take partners? Why is she willing to open up physically to Gene but not emotionally?

Those were all questions that I never got answers to. She died, as she lived… like a badass. There are some anime characters that panic with impending mortality weighing them down. Not Hilda. Her ship is sinking into the gravity well of a sun? Fine. Abandon ship. We are now in a dropship. Less mass, more thrust. We are fine. What, dropship isn’t going to make it? Fine, throw over a cable, I can climb my way. Cable severed and I’m going to slowly drift into this star? Fine, I WILL SET OFF THE NUKE HIDDEN IN A FALSE TOOTH TO KILL THIS PIRATE NEXT TO ME! “Remember this, Gene… outlaws don’t go down easy.”

In a group with the other members, I would see her as a sort of straight man. The person who delivers the ego crippling jabs and realistic common sense answers. This the woman who combines resourceful, spur of the moment thinking and freedom with careful planning and preparedness. Emotionally, she maintains distance while staying sociable. She isn’t known for flying off the handle or leaping to conclusions, both of which are ESSENTIAL traits for at least ONE member of any harem!

Girl Two:

Kino Makoto from Sailor Moon

Makoto is a paradox. She is simultaneously the most masculine and feminine character on her show (yes, I count the men.) This girl is the ass-kicking, responsibility-taking tough girl of the series! She is introduced beating up bullies! Yet, at the same time, she is amazingly skilled at cooking and cleaning, reads romance novels and dreams of owning a Cake and Flower Shop. Seriously, can you get more girly than a store that sells both cake and flowers?!

Throughout the series, she is a solid and reliable rock for her team. She didn’t always have the answers, but she was willing to ask the questions. Her never-say-die spirit and can-do attitude are really attractive traits and some of her key strong points. The only real “weak point” she has is her dependency issues. She is an orphan (curse you, cold uncaring anime universe! WHY MUST THEY ALL BE ORPHANED?!) and since shes been alone for so long, shes built up an emotional wall. She is self-sufficient. She is so self-sufficient that she has overflow, she has spare sufficiency if you need some! The problem with this is that she has trouble letting others in. She doesn’t keep them away actively, rather she passively evades intimacy. She had a boyfriend at one point who she let past her wall and he broke her heart. Since then, shes been in an awkward place of wishing for closeness and fearing emotional pain.

Within the group, she would be the responsible one. Beds would be made, food would be cooked, clothes would be washed. Now, you might initially think that this would make her the group’s bitch, but my friend how wrong you would be. Makoto has the power of the ultimate 50s housewife. She is so BELOVED for her care-giving abilities that no one seeks to displease her, lest they be forced to wash their own undergarments! After so many meals of her perfectly selected and executed menu, we CAN’T go back to ramen! Now, this doesn’t mean that less considerate members of the group would go out of their way to do NICE things for her, but certainly, no one would ever be mean to Makoto.

Girl Three:

Nico Robin of One Piece

Now here is a girl that exudes quiet badassery. She treads quietly and speaks softly and politely. A pirate since she was like 8, she was fallen in with the worst sorts of people and, in the end, they always betray her. Why is she still alive? Raw badassery. This girl has some serious fire power at her command with her devil fruit power. She can sprout parts of her body off or any surface within a certain range. Mostly she uses it to grab just out of reach items and hand them to herself, properly wash the center of her back, turn pages in a book while drinking tea and taking notes on what shes reading. Sometimes she uses it to BREAK A MAN IN HALF! I once saw her use it to fly… well, glide really and it hurt pretty badly, but that is a story for another time.

In the One Piece crew, she was an outsider for the longest time. She didn’t make any attempt to get into her crewmates’ hearts, probably because she figured they would betray her eventually. Likewise, members of her crew didn’t trust her for a second, seeing as she had been their enemy until she signed up. Then, when Nico Robin was about to be sent away for life, they came and rescued her… it was the only time I’ve seen her cry.  (Here, watch the clip. It is great stuff.)

As a member of the group, I think that she would fit into a big-sister sort of role, just like she did on the ship. Nico Robin is always there to give a gentle chuckle at the others folly. Shes always there to help if asked. Yet, she is never obtrusive, aggressive or violent (unless you are destroying historical ruins. Then your ass is being thrown off a cliff and shes going to break all of your bones BEFORE you reach bottom.) Her soft spoken politeness certainly won’t earn enemies. Even if its only Makoto that looks up to her, the others likely wouldn’t have any reason to dislike her. (Though, that in itself might be a reason… they just wouldn’t have an excuse.)

Girl Four:

Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo!

Ah, Ryoko. If ever there were a foil to cold, reliable or calm, it would be this girl! She is a tried and tested harem veteran. For YEARS I’ve defended the (extremely reasonable) claim that she is the only one of the girl on Tenchi who is really open to loving the main character. The second Tenchi movie was like a wink from the creator that I was right. (I don’t see memory-wiped tenchi painting any paintings of Ayeka!) Add onto her wild personality some god-like super powers and priacy IN SPACE and you have one HELL of a free spirit.

Upon reflection, it is interesting that I am interested in Ryoko. She is manipulative, deceitful, selfish, a heavy drinker and prone to childish behavior. 5000 years hasn’t done much to mature her. Yet somehow, all of that plays into her charm. She is almost an elemental force of freedom and a poster child of Chaotic Neutral. Then, she has moments where she gets the most serious looks on her face. I think that a lot of her wildness is nothing but camouflage. Underneath, you have a girl searching for meaning and acceptance in a world devoid of both.

Ryoko’s harem behavior is WELL documented. She will have a fiercely competitive rival (likely Hilda), a younger girl she can push all of her chores off on to in the sweetest voice she can manage (definitely Makoto), a girl she can watch television with despite the fact they have nothing in common personality wise (Robin, why are you Mihoshi?), and the girl she can’t stand and would REALLY like to one-up but only makes herself look worse when she tries. (See below)

Girl Five:

Vladilena aka Balalaika of Black Lagoon

Mmmm, well done, just how I like ’em. Balalaika was the woman who finally knocked Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing off of my  list. In truth, she is a curvier, more feminine, slightly burnt version of Sir Hellsing. She is a former captain in the Russian army, paratrooper in Afghanistan and currently leads a mafia group called Hotel Moscow that she formed out of ex-airborne and Spetsnaz. Her men are fiercely loyal and worry about her, even though she can clearly take care of herself. While the world has shaped her into a bit of a cynic, she is both practical and professional. That being said, she is a hard person to approach. While she is as cold as the Russian winter to her enemies, she seems to warm up the closer you get. She is polite to the Lagoon company and as friendly as she can be to her underlings without undermining her authority. I imagine she would be downright loving to family.

Like Makoto, she has traits that could be called feminine and masculine… but in truth she really simply has female authority-figure traits. She dresses nicely, always in a skirt, often with her military greatcoat. She has long painted fingernails, seen on fingers that often hold either a cigar or a gun. She is an interesting and rounded character that even the stupid characters know instinctively not to mess with.

Balalaika would be the group’s untouchable badass. Indeed, she would be a badass amongst badasses, which is especially interesting considering she is the only member without superpowers or a space ship. Ah, but she DOES have a super power: Leadership. Balalaika exudes an aura of command. Shes can be colder than Hilda and hotter than Ryoko. She tolerates no backtalk and settles things properly. I would envision conflict between her and Ryoko, but unlike Ayeka, Balalaika isn’t the sort to tolerate that. She would answer it with Ryoko’s mortal weakness: A Stern Talking-To. Ryoko would then be forced to attempt to undermine Balalaika through subtle subterfuge… not Ryoko’s strong point.

When that fellow anime fan asked me to form this list, I thought I would use it as a method of reflection. I found myself to be incredibly nerdy for forming the list. Forget about him asking the question, I was kinda surprised I had the answers! Moreover, two of my choices were pirates, one was an outlaw (and that’s really just a pirate-pirate), one was a mafiosa and the last was a sentai! What does that say about my personality? Finally, looking at all these girls, it seems that they all have intimacy issues!

Then again, if I can’t heal their wounded hearts, no man could.

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6 Comments

  1. I’ll have to think about my Anime harem…

  2. Also, 3/5 are older women…

    Thom’s shotacon fantasies are shining through…

    • Actually 4/5s are older. Robin is 28, Hilda is in her early 30s, Balalaika too. Ryoko is OVER FIVE THOUSAAAAAAAAAAND!!!!!!

      And Makoto is 18. Clearly.

  3. Well, I was considering Robin as roughly our age group…

  4. What about your obsession with Chun Li. Wouldn’t she make your harem list?

    • Ah, you are mistaken sir. You seem to be recalling my MORTAL FEAR of Chun Li. The woman scares me… I think its the thighs… the thighs that can end men. Its like that scene from Goldeneye, only James Bond would pop like a grape… *shiver* No, sir. Chun Li is well aware I have a restraining order out on her.


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  1. […] were based on reader questions or reader challenges! I’m talking about the ever-popular Tom’s Anime Harem: The Top 5 Females and Tom’s RPG Party. Both of those articles came out of an interaction with a fellow anime […]

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