Fall 2014 Harem Hill, Week 1: A lot more blood than usual

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I know, I know. Some harem anime haven’t aired yet. Most notably Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai, Trinity Seven, and the simply-named Girlfriend. We’ll catch those shows when they actually air. But since we will have five shows to vote for this season, I’ll do that thing where the first place show gets five points, the second place show gets four points, so on and so forth. Then by the end of the season, we can add up all the points and crown one show as the absolute shittiest harem of the season. For now, however, let’s focus on the two shows1 we do have and… well, you didn’t actually think these harem anime would be any good, did you?


Grisaia no Kaijitsu Ep. 1

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— An apple descends from the sky as images of the various haremettes flash before us. This looks pretentious as fuck already.

— Oh right, this is the anime where the girls all stay at some prison-like academy. Our haremettes are each fucked up in their own special, little ways, and the harem lead is here to heal them (probably with his dick or something).

— The harem lead of our story? Yuuji Kazama. Yeah, he looks like every other boring male protagonist. And yeah, he’s here to enroll at said prison-like academy. He also has no parents, no siblings, and no relatives. Y’know, just another run-of-the-mill harem lead.

— This lady here is Chizuru, and she is the principal of our prison-like academy. She may look young, but she’s actually 30. And according to Wikipedia. she’s totally a virgin! Why yes, of course you needed to know that!

— This giant school only has six students and that includes the harem lead. Yeah, we’ve taken it one step further and removed the other students completely. This is distilled harem, son. And despite the fact that it only has six students — five of which are girls — the school comes complete with high walls and surveillance cameras; it may as well be The Panopticon. Keeping such a large campus clean, well-maintained, and well-lit just for six students seems like a colossal waste of time and money to me. Who even built this ridiculous place? Chizuru insists, however, that this is an ordinary school. Uh-huh. And I just love harem anime.

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— B-but what about the obligatory best friend who often doubles as the resident pervert?! We don’t have one. Deal with it.

— This is Sachi, a first-year student who also moonlights as a maid for the entire school of six people. I like how everything has been simplified. There are no students, no boys for the harem lead to compete with, no male best friend, and of course, the maid is also one of the six students attending this “ordinary” school. If we’re going to go this far, we should’ve made one of the other girls the obligatory perverted male best friend as well. A girl and a male best friend? Sure! Why not both!

— Why is Sachi a maid? Well, she’s always helping people out, so people said, “You’re like a maid.” Yep, that’s it. They then made her put on a maid’s uniform, and she just sort of accepted it, I guess. I’m going to bet Sachi ain’t too bright in the head.

— Sachi sees Yuuji to his room. The guy turns on the faucet in the kitchen, then comes to the conclusion that the place is well-maintained. Hm, hm, yes… the plumbing appears to be working.

— God, her eyes look so fucking empty and soulless. I can’t even tell if she’s looking at him.

— Uh…

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…I’ve never seen such a rectangular ass in my life. How hard to do you suppose the harem lead is clenching his butt cheeks right about now? Not shown in this screenshot are all the scars on his back. Apparently, our harem lead’s been in a fight or two.

— That cereal box sure looks familiar. During this entire time, the harem lead drones on and on about his former master. Apparently, she gave him a complex towards “‘sizable’ women,” whatever that means.

— Time to introduce the rest of the haremettes. Meet Amane Suou, who not only trips the first time she sees the harem lead, but flashes her panties at him as well. Don’t you just love harem conventions?

— And this girl over here is Makina Irisu, and she appears to have a sizable bulge to match Yuuji’s rock-hard ass of doom. She’s our resident pettanko. Every harem anime needs a pettanko.

— Aaaaaand our harem anime has gone bullet time.

— Every time Amane moves her body, her boobs must bounce in unison. Must be annoying to deal with.

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— For some reason, Amane is a bit taken aback when she hears Yuuji’s name. Childhood friend? Former family friend? Must be something lame like that.

— Meet Michiru Matsushima, our fourth haremette. I’m guessing she’s a tsunderekko. C’mon, she’s got blonde hair, twintails, and one fang sticks out when she talks. She’s a dead ringer for a tsunderekko if I’ve ever seen one.

— These girls’ half-black, half-blue uniforms look dumb as hell.

— Oh, my bad. She’s not a real tsunderekko. She’s just a girl who wants to be tsundere. Big difference, you guys. Big, big difference. Anyway, now that Yuuji has uncovered the truth about the girl, she’s terribly embarrassed. I’m also terribly bored, because all we’re doing is going through the motions of introducing the characters one-by-one. Is there a point to this mess?

— Like everyone else, Michiru flashes her panties at the guy too. It just took longer with her, but since it’s all in slow-motion and shit, it’s probably ten times as special or something.

— Good lord, you may as well call this show Panty Flash the Animation, because every goddamn scene has one. How is this shit supposed to work, anyway? Is it somehow fun to see crudely-drawn panties? Doesn’t Japan have a thriving porno industry that caters to both 3-D and 2-D lovers? Why then would you want to watch shitty harem for a few brief glimpses of shitty panties?

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— Finally, we meet the Yumiko Sakaki, the last haremette. She’s sitting down though, so I don’t know how we’re going to see her panties. Anyway, when our harem lead tries to talk to Yumiko, she immediately thrusts a box cutter at his throat. Welp, at least one of these girls deserve to be here. On the bright side, we don’t see her panties… yet.

— Man, the animation isn’t good here either.

— Just like that, the credits start rolling. And during the credits, Yuuji speculates that the girls must be masturbating in their rooms, because homework wasn’t assigned today. Smart guy.

— But when he enters his room, he finds a half-dressed Amane. What’s she doing there? She claims she’s too lazy to climb another floor to get to her room. As such, it only makes sense that she change out of her clothes in the harem lead’s room.

— Apparently, Amane knew Yuuji’s sister. Apparently, she can pick locks. And apparently, she was involved in an accident where a school bus full of children had flipped over and a bunch of them died. After that flashback, which lasted all of like… five seconds, the girl says, “Found you.” Okay then.

— Elsewhere, the wannabe tsunderekko sits alone atop some windy cliffs while a cat sleeps in her lap. Then we see Makina stare at some apple before curling up on her side and sleeping with it. That’s for eating, lady.

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— What’s our maid doing? Is she making a bomb? Yo, what’s the point of keeping these girls in a prison if you’re going to give them access to contraband? I like how Sachi changed back into her maid uniform for this, too.

— Last but not least, Yumiko has her box cutter. After all that we’ve seen of the other girls, this is just boring. Step your game up, girl.

— A JB calls Yuuji, and tells him that there’s work to do. He thus pulls out a fucking sniper rifle from beneath his bed. Hilarious. Basically, after twenty-plus minutes of constant panty flashes, all of the potentially interesting character development is squeezed into the last four minutes of the episode. Pure genius storytelling, you guys.


Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete Ep. 1

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— Episode kicks off with something peculiar occurring at a lab of some sort. Aw, how cute. The harem anime wants to have a compelling story. Someone else can translate the French in the screenshot above. I don’t particularly care to.

— Childhood friend, check. Absentee parents, check. Our harem lead is staying at his childhood friend’s house, ’cause his parents work overseas. Don’t you just love terrible parenting in anime? I also love how very haremette’s mother is willing to house a young, teenage boy at the drop of the hat for an indefinite amount of time. Maybe she wants to bang him too.

— The clumsy harem lead can’t even receive a cup of coffee properly, thereby spilling its contents all over the table. But please, don’t get up! I, the childhood friend, will attend to your every need. This only serves to please her mother, because a young girl willing to clean up someone else’s mess means she’s becoming a dependable young lady. And of course, the mother goes to brew a new cup of coffee. Yo, let the spoiled fucker do it. Shit, he can make his own damn coffee.

— I guess we should learn these assholes’ names. Sou is the harem lead. He looks boring like every other harem lead. His childhood friend’s name is Kaori. I hope she goes yandere.

— Desk by the window, check. The window is always to the guy’s left, check. Conversation about whether or not the childhood friend likes anyone, check. Obviously, we need to establish right off the bat that she’s available. Otherwise, I’d have no clue whether or not she’s an actual haremette!

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— Friend: “You get to be right there when she’s in the bath and stuff, right?” Incredibly stupid friend, check.

— Friend: “Go photograph Sasaki-san in the bath.” Perverted friend suggests that the harem lead commit a crime, check.

— Just how strong are Kaori’s moral convictions? She won’t let the harem lead see her homework just because he gave her strawberries, but ah, a strawberry shortcake will do the trick. Just how spoiled is this fucker?

— Childhood friend is in love with the harem lead, check. C’mon, as if there was any fucking doubt.

— It’s lunch time, but a guy suddenly bursts into the classroom and drags the harem lead away. The harem lead doth protest, but he doesn’t put up a fight. Loser? Yeah. The childhood friend also abandons her food because she must follow the harem lead like a pathetic puppy.

— We rush to the scene of the crime where a girl with pigtails is beating all the boys up. In the process, she flashes her panties at us. Yeah, you might be a tough tomboy, but let’s see some of the goods!

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— The haremettes are coming in hard and fast. Airi’s the one kicking everyone in the chest. Nearby, we have Nagisa. She looks rich. She’s probably rich, huh? Girls with her hairdo are always rich, ’cause anime in general is terribly unoriginal.

— Why was Airi beating everyone up? People were arguing, so she took the initiative to beat them up first. Haha, so quirky!

— But thanks to this incident, the student council president wants the Astronomy Club — yeah, the Astronomy Club — to help keep the peace at the school until the big festival. There’s no one else for the job, I guess.

— Naturally, the Astronomy Club consists of Sou and a bunch of girls. Oh, his best friend is there too, but his best friend actually has a girlfriend (shock!). Step your game up, harem lead. You’re losing to the beta character!

— Nagisa is apparently so amazing that she has her own fan club. Always in anime, some girl has a legion of devoted followers. Who started this shit and why does everyone think it’s so fucking important to include in every story?

— The harem lead says he’s more interested in looking at stars than doing something for the school festival. Airi literally asks him why he’s interested in stargazing. I-I thought you guys were an Astronomy Club. Shouldn’t it be a given that you guys like stargazing?

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— Our harem lead says he likes looking at stars because they might not be there tomorrow. Uh, they might even be there now. Considering how most of these stars are thousands of light years away, you might be looking at a star that’s already dead. C’mon, I’d expect a member of an Astronomy Club to at least know that.

— In the end, however, the harem lead and his girls get to work on making a planetarium for the upcoming festival.

— Holy shit, this animation is terrible. Who’s in charge of this mess? Oh, it’s feel. Yeah, they’re pretty bad at this animating thing.

— Shortly after the harem lead catches a glimpse of Airi’s panties, the childhood friend excuses herself from the clubroom. Way to go, buddy.

— Airi tells him to go after Kaori, but when he does so, she looks sad too–… man, I can’t fucking do this. The animation is so bad.

— The next day, the Astronomy Club has to break up a fight between the Judo and Karate Clubs. One of them shoves Kaori to the ground, and it’s Airi who reacts first (and she flashes her panties again, of course). What does the harem lead do? Nuthin. Airi proceeds to beat the rest of the Judo Club up.

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— This… is just embarrassing. Just quit your day job, feel. You guys are clearly no good at this.

— Do you think the Astronomy Club will get in trouble for this? Hell no. Even though a teacher is trying to scold Airi, Nagisa takes the teacher aside for a private chat. When the teacher returns, Airi’s off the hook. Yep, only in anime. The animation is ugly, the characters are stupid, and the plot is nonexistent. Fucking awesome.

— The next day, Sou is eating at the cafeteria because Kaori’s mom woke up late. Of course he can’t fix something for himself.

— Kaori continues to be pouting about something. When Sou asks about it, she won’t say what she’s mad about. And yet, Airi continually reminds the harem lead to think about Kaori. He should just know! If he really cared, he should just know! We can’t, like, communicate and shit. What’s the point of talking?

— Seriously though, I hate people like that. Just be direct. If you’ve got a problem, open your goddamn mouth. I ain’t a mind reader. If she wants to pout, let her pout.

— Why does Airi care so much anyway? She mutters under her breath that this will help her move on. Our harem lead is both too dense and too deaf to hear what she said.

— We get our obligatory stargazing scene.

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— Oh, what a coincidence! Everyone sees a shooting star. Airi immediately wishes for a Nobel Prize and a billion dollars. Hey, I can’t disagree with that. Our harem lead, however, disagrees: “Why don’t you also wish for bigger boobs?” Duuuuuuuh. What’s a Nobel fucking Prize going to do for you if you have tiny tits? Think, woman, think!

— Nearby, Kaori pouts some more. W-why won’t he objectify me? It’s so unfaaaaaaaair. I want to be treated like a pair of tiny tits too!

— Sou and Kaori’s friends quickly abandon the scene to give those two some quality time together. The latter apologizes for sulking. The former apologizes… but he doesn’t know why he’s apologizing. The scene then fades to black without either of them saying anything else. Cool scene!

— The next day, Kaori’s back to pouting because she sees the harem lead talk to Airi. Shit seems kind of creepy, man. if you can’t even stand to see your love interest have a platonic conversation with the opposite sex you should probably go get your head checked.

— But later that day, she confesses to the harem lead that she loves him. She also adds, “I don’t want to be just childhood friends anymore. That’s why I was mad at you.” What a great reason.

— All Sou can do is turn beat red and stammer. As Kaori is walking home, she clumsily drops a tiny bear. When she goes to pick it up, a bus runs her over.

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Hilarious. I guess this is the sort of harem anime where they’ll turn back the clock to correct the harem lead’s shitty mistakes. I sure hope he’s been saving his progress! Personally, I wouldn’t let the childhood friend die, but I sure as hell wouldn’t go for her passive-aggressive ass.


Week 1’s Poll

Despite what you see in the last four minutes of Grisaia no Kajitsu’s ending, I felt the episode as a whole was so much, much more boring to watch than Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete’s first episode. But vote however you like. Next week, we’ll have three more harem shows to join the party.


1 What about Madan no Ou to Vanadis, you ask? It didn’t feel harem-like enough. Sure, our main character is surrounded by a bunch of hot girls, but will we see episodes upon episodes of them going after his dick? Does the first episode contain at least two haremettes vying for the harem lead’s affections? To me, that’s the bare minimum, and I don’t think Madan no Ou to Vanadis meets those requirements.

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18 thoughts on “Fall 2014 Harem Hill, Week 1: A lot more blood than usual

  1. andmeuths

    In an another age, Grisaia would have been a sanatorium for “hysterical” young ladies from “respectable” families. The episode (especially the ending scene) makes it transparently clear that everyone is in the loony bin, and don’t have a single marble between any of them. But knowing how badly Japan tends to deal with mental issues, and given the target of VN Audiences. I wouldn’t be surprised if Grisaia’s exploration of insanity would leave it open for parody and mockery.

    The moral of Ushina is poor communications kills. Nothing to see here, move on. I voted for it because of the QUALITY of the animation. It’s interesting to see how quickly you pass over the very early confession and the sudden killing off of one of the cast, but obviously, it’s a bad end. Since the harem show normally ends if one girl wins, the most efficient solution to a victorious confession is to kill off the confessing haremette!

    Reply
  2. E Minor Post author

    It’s interesting to see how quickly you pass over the very early confession and the sudden killing off of one of the cast,

    What?

    Reply
    1. andmeuths

      The confession at the end of the episode was quite unusual – you normally don’t see Episode 1 confessions in harem. Normally, the events of the first episode would be stretched out to one whole Cour, or at least, three episodes. And killing of one of the haremettes is quite unusual too – most discussion of the episode normally revolved around those two developments. So, it’s an interesting change in viewpoints, when you pass by those two developments so quickly.

      Reply
      1. E Minor Post author

        I didn’t pass by them though, unless you expect me to spend more than a paragraph talking about a love confession and a death.

        Reply
  3. marxvolta

    I had more fun watching Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete just because I laughed a ton with the shitty animations. It’s not like Grisaia no Kajitsu has good animation either and in fact I’m baffled by the discussions I’ve seen in reddit calling it “fucking gorgeous” or “top notch”. For me it just feels plastic.

    However I feel like Ushinawareta will turn much more shitty. To be honest by the end of the first episode I thought the show may be a little more interesting with the death of childhoodfriend-chan… But then she’s alive again and it looks like they went back in time or some shit (oh god, please no). Oh and it also appears a misterious naked girl! More ugly-animated-grills, jay!

    Reply
  4. Naota

    Ushinawareta is probably the most horrifying thing I’ve seen in all of the recent seasons pushing none-too-subtle CG visuals. It is its own category of uncanny.

    I’m almost positive what they’ve done is pose and render out some 3D models as outlines, complete with janky two-tone shading, then trace over them and fill them in like traditional anime, in an attempt to get rid of the rigid, lifeless “CG look” you get from low budget/unaccomplished 3D animation studios (the ones responsible for those awful clomping robot crowds in Tokyo ESP and a dozen other series). Yes, you heard that right. They rotoscoped CG.

    Oh, and then they drew just the faces onto the rigidly proportioned 3D models in most scenes too. Badly. So you can have some uncanny valley and also the good old fashioned Meguca derpface at the same time. Just look at this dude! Straight up two mouths on him! He’s got four pairs of lips because the animators didn’t notice those already existed when they traced over the model.

    This is… this is something.

    Reply
  5. memmy

    The french in that screenshot is basically ”In search of lost time – We will pass a lot of today, and we will change the destiny some day”. It sounds wonky in english, it also did in french.

    Reply
  6. Pia

    Yeah I thought the same about Vanadis when I watched it, the hot anime girls are there, the bland (Gary Stuish) harem lead is there, so on and so forth, but overall it doesn’t feel like the whole harem experience, it doesn’t have a lot to make fun of either, thats unfortunate because it has a decent animation.
    Grisaia was bad, I don’t know how i managed to finish it, but I’m glad I did, it has a lot of potential to be unintentionally funny, on the other hand, I couldn’t finish Motomete, it was so boring, I don’t like anime/harems with a “club” setting, they just sit there talking like no tomorrow.

    Reply
  7. RoboMambo

    Grisaia no kajitsu was a tad worse, but I can’t ignore the other ones title being taken from a classic novel. Just how pretentious do they need to be? Also, all that quality.

    Reply
  8. BoyTitan

    Come the fuck on a judo practitioner woulda just threw that girl on her ass and broke her arm. Literally googled the anime to see how bad that shit was.

    Reply
  9. emnesty63

    The french sentence’s syntax is a bit “flench”. It literally says:
    In search of the lost future, we overtake a lot of today, and will change destiny a couple of days.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    The main character in Grisaia has some pretty witty humor. Thank goodness he’s not an average beta male protagonist.

    Reply
  11. IonCaron (@IonCaron)

    “The animation is ugly, the characters are stupid, and the plot is nonexistent. Fucking awesome.”
    HAhaha!! The animation was so bad. I laughed way too hard on that image you posted with that girl scrunched up and the subtitles reading “I’m going to head on home”. It’s like she’s collapsing in on herself! And the other one, which just has “…stop it.” HAha!

    And has it become a thing for harem anime to adopt Steins;Gate’s “save the childhood friend” premise?

    Either way, have you noticed a trend, E Minor? It seems as though these harem shows are getting into the routine of wasting everyone’s time only to slap on some drama at the tail end of the episode/series. It’d be interesting if the whole tone of these shows changed for that new thematic contrast, but as we’ve seen in the past, it likely won’t here.

    I’m casting my vote for Truck Friend, since Boxcutter Jam had better animation. But this was a close call, mate. It could’ve gone either way. I wonder if Truck Friend’s incorporation of a laboratory will tip it into better favor.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      And has it become a thing for harem anime to adopt Steins;Gate’s “save the childhood friend” premise?

      I don’t know if I’d say it’s Steins;Gate’s premise.

      Either way, have you noticed a trend, E Minor? It seems as though these harem shows are getting into the routine of wasting everyone’s time only to slap on some drama at the tail end of the episode/series.

      The truth is, plot twists are usually dumb and a sign of bad/lazy storytelling.

      Reply
      1. IonCaron (@IonCaron)

        “I don’t know if I’d say it’s Steins;Gate’s premise.”
        True, there’s bigger things at play in that story. I should’ve said “sub-plot”.

        “The truth is, plot twists are usually dumb and a sign of bad/lazy storytelling.”
        Haha! Well that’s certainly the case here. I wonder what’s causing this new trend, though. Is it really just that they’re so desperate for their harem animes to stand out from one another that they’ve taken to tacking on these kinds of abrupt twists?
        Kind of like raising your arms in a crowd, and then everyone around you starts raising their arms until you blend in again.

        Reply
  12. @starg09

    I want to disagree on one little thing of your review of the second Harem Anime (not caring enough to even copy-paste the name): you state he says “he likes looking at stars because they might not be there tomorrow”. I don’t know where did you watch it, but at least in the spanish subtitles I’ve seen published (which are prior to your review), he actually explains himself with the argument you said he should have used (About some stars being already dead long ago, which was wat amazed him)…

    Doesn’t change the conclusion of your analysis, which I mostly agreed with, but I felt it wasn’t bad to point this little detail out…

    Reply
  13. andmeuths

    I am amazed. Girlfriend doesn’t appear to be a harem, but yet another “Cute Girls doing Cute Things” Slice of life Moe show. Perhaps the studio got the memo that harems are a dying genre that tend to sell badly, with a few exceptions? Well, I guess you could still put Girlfriend in the Harem hill, if only to mock the similar idiocy and misogynism that infects the portrayal of girls with in many Slice of Life anime, the so called “Moe shows”.

    Reply

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