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Levels of Reverse Harem

Reverse Harem titles were very limited when I first started the blog eleven years ago. I was flexible with many titles where it's only one or two guys interested in the female protagonist and other gray areas. But we are now at a point where I can be strict with labeling reverse harem. Let's start with the classification of reverse harem-ness. This is for my sake too if in case I run off course again.


1. Five Flowers - This is literally reverse harem. The heroine has a harem of her own in her inner chamber. And we only have one example for this, manga and drama, Ooku. I'm not sure if this has already been used in Western Fiction though.  I found one but for grownups only. lol


2. Four Flowers -This is the most commonly accepted definition. Three or more guys with romantic interests with the heroine. For example, Angelique in otome games, Akatsuki no Yona in anime and manga and You're Beautiful in Asian Drama. The guys are usually in a group or sometimes the girl is the only denominator, for example, Hot Gimmick. The heroine usually chooses a guy or for some otome-based anime, none at all. Reverse harem has crossed to Western Fiction in books with the heroine having relationships with all the guys.

There are some who undergo gender reversal from male to female for example, Ouji to Majou to Himegimi. There are instances too of bisexual characters in the harem like Nuriko in Fushigi Yugi and Shima in Kiss Him, Not Me.




3. Three Flowers  - This is the gray area. The guys are on different timelines or place or  just hinting interest. For example, Akagami no Shirayuki (manga and anime) and First Girl (manga). May or may not be reverse harem. There are at times too that the reverse harem or romance plays as a secondary theme like in the cases of Code: Breaker and Shugo Chara.

The levels below are no longer reverse harem but for classification sake and for fun we'll include them in the levels. 


4. Two Flowers - These are the girl with flowers boys, the only girl in all-boy school/club/whatever, the only girl in the dorm/home, the girl disguised as a boy in all an-boy school/club etc. It's usually just one or two guys who like the girl. For Example: Fruits Basket, Hana Yori Dango and Hana Kimi. For the longest time, I've been considering them as reverse harem and I love these titles but it's time to set clear boundaries.  I may or may not blog  about it but if I do it will be tagged under Related Reviews. 


4. One Flower -  Heroine? Check. Bevy of Bishonen? Check. Romance? Zilch. These are usually multimedia aimed at women for example Idolish 7 and B-Project. It will be tagged under Related too. 


5. Zero Flower - These are usually otome games turned anime with the heroine left on the chopping block.  For Example, Dynamic Chord and Bakumatsu. I also consider bishonen anime under here like Free and anthropomorphism like Miracle Train. Sorry, I do not watch these type since I still have so much reverse harem backlog in my plate. 

You may or may not agree with some of my points. There is no clear definition that was set in stone that hey this is reverse harem so you must all follow it. This is my attempt of defining reverse harem as the genre evolved on its own. Who knows these levels may be updated again in the future. We'll see. I will be creating tags for the levels soon.

First posted last May 31 on Patreon
Updated 4/18/2020 R18 Five Flowers

UPDATE 2 4/28/2020



Levels of Reverse Harem version 2 (also posted here)


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