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Not to be confused with Harem Series, a genre of Japanese media that sometimes heavily relies on this trope.
This is about a certain common reaction of men when a Harem plot begins, and women start fighting for the attention -- He might either think like a Celibate Hero, that the gratuitous amounts of boobs he is forced to see every day are just a bother, Comically Missing the Point that he is in an enviable situation, or as an obstacle between him and the girl he truly likes.
The more likely reasoning plot wise, is the fact that the male lead cannot reciprocate all the girls feelings without seeming to the audience to be cruel, manipulative, and giving false leads to the many beautiful girls. So the far easier solution is to make him oblivious to their affection or Cursed with Awesome.
Even if he does like one or more of the girls, the young man won't or can't admit it. Besides, until the point comes where one of the girls is in danger, the young man would rather have his nice quiet life back. May or may not involve Innocent Cohabitation.
While this is, as might be gathered, usually a male trope, gender-reversed versions of The Unwanted Harem have recently begun to appear.
As shown by poor Tsukune in the above picture, the most common and immediate consequences of said Harems is the hilarious (if incredibly painful to watch) Lover Tug of War.
When criticism is raised against a harem show it's usually due to an overdose of this trope, unfortunately when played straight this trope is almost always overdosed. While often criticized for blatant Wish Fulfillment most criticism is leveled against the tendency to portray the female cast very negatively often having little personality, or having their character largely overshadowed by their dependency on the male protagonist and/or irrational tendencies towards violence.
Contrast Harem Seeker, where the "unwanted" part is left out.
Resolutions to such a situation are varied
1. Someone wins
2. Everyone wins
3. The Harem loses
4. No one wins
Anime and Manga Edit
- The best known example of The Unwanted Harem and the OG is seen in the various versions of Tenchi Muyo!! (Especially the one where the girls use Applied Phlebotinum to turn his bathroom into a literal harem.) Some consider it the Trope Codifier.
- Ranma ½
- Ranma has two unwanted harems, one for his male form, and one for his female. In the manga, with the exception of one persistent lunatic (his lunacy is not related to his persistence), all of them are oneshot characters who usually either only want something very specific from Ranma (for example, the astral projection of a Dirty Old Man who wants a date to be reminded of his young wife) or lose interest in disgust when they find out they've been "tricked". The one persistent example won't give up only because he's apparently too dumb to realise that "she" isn't quite what she seems...
- Akane also has an unwanted harem: Ranma, Ryoga, Kuno, Shinnosuke...
- Ukyo's situation is not so much that of a harem as an unwanted emotional conflict between her engagement to and love for Ranma, and later love interest Konatsu. In some interpretations her sometime ally Ryoga further complicates things.
- Sasuke from Naruto and his following of insane fangirls (both within the series and in real life!)
- Likewise for Kaede Rukawa, Sasuke's probable manga ancestor from Slam Dunk.
- Mahou Sensei Negima has an unusual one in that the male lead is 10 years old, and all the girls are well above his age (although still too young), so the romance is mostly played for laughs.
- Hell, Mahou Sensei Negima plays it straight... for about 2 volumes, then subverts it, averts it, lampshades it, and turns it upside down before playing it straight AGAIN. Maybe. Would you like a side of trope with that?
- We stress "mostly". The ones who have had serious romantic moments are Nodoka, Yue, Ako (in love with his aged-up alter-ego), Makie, Chachamaru (a robot) and Asuna (Maybe).
- Although there has yet to be actual romance between the two (Negi accidentally groping her doesn't count), there have been hints of Chisame/Negi. A good example is when he was allowed to take three companions with him to meet with a bad guy. He chose Nodoka (because she can read minds), Asakura (because she can relay the information back to the others)...and Chisame.
Chisame: Wait, I get those two, but why me?
Negi: Huh? I just want you to be by my side all the time, that's all.
Chisame: ...don't say that kind of thing with a straight face. I swear, a girl's gonna stab you one of these days...
- By chapter 340, Negi has to deal with all of the above, plus Shiori, Akira, Anya, Ku Fei, Ayaka, and Fate - and these are just the ones who can be described as having a serious crush. For the non-serious: Konoka mentioned that Negi would be attractive when he got older in an early volume, Setsuna had a pretty shipteasy moment that Chamo noted sounded 'like a love confession' during the Tournament arc (though it turned into a KonoSetsu moment pretty quickly), and Misa proposed the Reverse Hikaru Genji plan, noting that if they waited five years it would be much more normal for the girls to go out with him and later also got a crush on his older counterpart. Overall, that's 11 or 12 that have a definite interest in him, and 3 more that have expressed at least a small attraction. Negima Zig-Zagged this trope a lot at the beginning, but it's certainly playing straight the harem aspect now. (Though it's very probable this is less an unwanted harem so much as an Oblivious Harem...)
- Twentyfifth Baam has the Tomboy Princess Yuri Zahard, the Empathic Weapon Black March, the cynical princess Androssi Zahard as well as the the Guide Hwa Ryun and the noblewoman Yeon in his harem (the last ones are up for debate, though). He doesn't care about that, though, since he is focused on finding Rachel.
- Irresponsible Captain Tylor. AVERTED and wrapped up in a single episode where Tylor manages to blow off confessions of his harem. Whether this was on purpose or just bad timing is up to interpretations, like everything about Tylor.
- Another all male harem is in Kyou Kara Maou
- Nagasarete Airantou. Not only is it an Unwanted Harem, it's also on a deserted island.
- Well as deserted as an island filled with women and talking animals can be.
- Martian Successor Nadesico could be described as the wacky, bipolar love child of Tenchi Muyo! and Mobile Suit Gundam. There's a lot of women on that ship, and much to the chagrin of the male crew, almost all of them (or at least the one's with screen time and names) insist on fighting over the Unlucky Everydude who has enough problems of his own. Lampshaded in one scene where one of them points out it's a popular anime trope.
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei has this with how the girls randomly fall in love with the teacher Itoshiki, when he promises to "take them with him" when he commits suicide. Unfortunately for Sensei, most of the characters fall square in the Yandere type...
- Tokyo Mew Mew, sort of (and gender-reversed). Ichigo, whose official love interest is the Neutral Male (who has his own Unwanted Harem of fangirls), has to deal with a bunch of other guys having feelings for her -- Mission Control, Stalker with a Crush and Mysterious Protector. It doesn't help that the latter turned out to be said "Neutral" Male.
- Shinji Ikari of Neon Genesis Evangelion has Rei, Asuka, Misato, Kaworu, possibly Mari and countless unnamed fangirls from his school running after him, with the videogames adding Mayumi and Mana to the list. But while Shinji has the qualities to merit their attention, he is not any better at dealing with matters of the heart than a realistic emotionally troubled 14-year old would be and the ladies each have various issues of their own, so it never goes anywhere.
- Tsukune of Rosario to Vampire (pictured) accidentally enrolls in a monster school and acquires -- mostly through conquest -- a vampire, a succubus, two witches, and a snow woman.
A Tenchi Solution is ruled right out, due to the harem's tendency to spontaneously break out into superpowered free-for-alls both over and against him during bouts of jealousy, though the loli witch does repeatedly ask for a threesome with the vampire. Even harem aside, their unique... quirks... would make a relationship with any rather hazardous (though Ruby is a pretty safe option, if you Whip It Good like Tsukune).
- Notable in that he's already clearly picked his favorite, which the others notice.
- Don't forget when a guy comes in to recruit Tsukune for the monster mafia. He suggests he can just bring all the girls with him, using polygamy to solve the problem. The Official Couple disagrees...but everyone else thinks its a great idea.
- Some later issues deconstruct the trope by showing emotional effects on the girls who know they have already lost out to Moka but are still hopelessly in love with Tsukune, in more realistic, non-comedic, non-I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy ways rather than a typical use of the trope. Kurumu in particular has had a few heartbreaking scenes of unrequited love.
- To make things more complicated, he is in love with one of the heroine's split personalities -- the other one just kind of scares him. Even worse, the girl he loves isn't even real. She is an artificial persona based on the heroine's mother created by her rosary to protect the "real" girl.
- While that was true at first, Tsukune later confesses to loving both Mokas, each in their own way. This is possibly due to the prolonged amount of time he spent with the "Inner" Moka (the real one) in the second season. And "Outer" Moka approves of this (reluctantly in the anime), encouraging "Inner" Moka to accept her feelings for Tsukune.
- Nagisa from Strawberry Panic has her share of unwanted admirers. Since she lives at the dorms of an all-girl high school, you know what that means. Hikari also boasts her fair share of unwanted admirers, making Strawberry Panic a series that has two sets of unwanted harems.
- Transformers Super God Masterforce has a gender-flipped and G-rated version -- each of the boys has a crush on Minerva. Minerva herself just seems to think they're being childish.
- Happy Lesson has a school full of hot teachers who all decide to play mom for the socially withdrawn Chitose, who doesn't really grow to appreciate this sudden forced invasion of personal space until well into the series, and even then he still blows his top when he thinks they go too far.
- In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, way back in the begining of the series, remember all the fangirls in the school dying to give Gokudera and Yamamoto chocolates? Gokudera, of course, considered it an example of this, and told them to "Stop following [him] around!"
- Sahashi Minato of Sekirei unknowingly/unwillingly becomes an Ashikabi and starts what can only be described as a Battle Harem after one act of kindness, and proceedes to add two more girls to his harem, largely unwillingly (they surprised him with a kiss). Then it is subverted, as he actively pursues his next member, at his Sekirei's encouragement, directly asks if the next one wants to join (she does) and then finally chases down another.
- In Omamori Himari, Amakawa Yuuto has an Unwanted Harem comprising two Unlucky Childhood Friends and at least twice that number of Cute Monster Girls.
- Gokujou Drops uses a Girls Love version of this trope with a Seme harem and an Uke harem lead.
- Ninin ga Shinobuden parodies this in episode 11 when Sasuke takes over the show. He promptly makes all the female cast members (including Kaede's mom) fall in love with him.
- Kurogane Pukapuka Tai is a Girls Love version of this, in which Oblivious To Lesbianism Commander Kuki is the center of a harem of women after her: violently protective but shy XO Mamiya, (mostly) Chivalrous Pervert U-Boat captain Nina, and aggressively womanizing Royal Navy Captain Ann. Much violence (but little blood) ensues, naturally.
- Maiku from Onegai Twins reluctantly starts harboring a pair of girls the same age as him; both of them (a) think they may be his twin sister and (b) are in love with him. There are two other harem members at his school (one of each gender), but it turns out that they're only pursuing Maiku to avoid facing their feelings for each other.
- UFO Princess Valkyrie is this, in the classic line of Tenchi Muyo!. Alien princess crash lands into a bath house, severely injuring the (young Bishounen) owner in the process. Princess ends up indebted to him and stays on earth, several of her alien sisters (and her head maid) follow. Hilarity Ensues.
- Tenshi na Konamaiki has another female main character with a male harem although there are some gender issues.
- The World God Only Knows is a rare example of the lead character working for his harem. It's still unwanted though: he's only doing it because he has an Explosive Leash forcing him to.
- Said harem technically 'does not exist' due to a Laser-Guided Amnesia effect. Although they still remember him subconsciously, they do not actively pursue him and may be followed up with someone else. In any case the male lead is pretty much free to do as he pleases... unless his childhood friend approaches. And then... some of the girls do keep their memories and stay in love with him later in the story
- This seems to be the situation in Tona Gura, til you scratch the surface. While nearly all the cast is female, very few are interested in Yuuji; the one who seriously is reels from how he apparently changed from a sweet boy to a 'pervert'.
- Kämpfer: Everybody seems to be interested in Natsuru.
- Shugo Chara, wherein the main character, Hinamori Amu, has her choice of Hotori Tadase, Tsukiyomi Ikuto, Soma Kuukai, Sanjo Kairi, or Fujisaki Nagihiko. The manga and anime both had pretty open endings, so there's not much evidence to say this is who she chose.
- Nyan Koi is all about Junpei Kosaka doing favors for cats. That doesn't mean his harem is non existent. Kaede Mizuno, Kanako Sumiyoshi, Nagi Ichinose (probably), Akari Kirishima, Kotone Kirishima, and if you want to add her Chizuru Mochizuki all love cats, and putting two and two together, you get one harem based on cats. Of course, the cats take more of a priority over his harem.
- In a technical sense, Seto no Hanayome would count, as San, Lunar, the Class Representative, Mawari, and possibly Akeno all have feelings for Nagasumi. Of course, it goes nowhere, as it's clear from the outset that Nagasumi is dedicated to San.
- Since there are only two people in it I am not sure Kanokon counts as a harem but considering that both of them are centuries old demons that constantly attempt to rape the protagonist it is definitely unwanted for him. At the end he gets the Tenchi Solution and he doesn't have any say in the matter.
- Guardian Hearts - a harem of Magical Girls. Specifically: a "guardian heart", the protector of the peace and well-being of Earth (basically a Magical Girl Warrior); a princess from a Magic World; a runaway ninja; a Human Alien Cosplay Otaku Girl; a Human Alien Miko; and a Shapeshifting bird with a human form.
- To Aru Majutsu no Index: Kamijo Touma, through a combination of Rescue Romance and Chick Magnetism, has gathered a harem with a number powerful mages and espers consisting of Index, Misaka Mikoto, Komoe Tsukuyomi, Aisa Himegami, Kanzaki Kaori, Misaka Imouto and from the later novels Ursula Aquinas, Anieze Sanctis, Seiri Fukiyose, Itsuwa, and possibly Lessar. Of course his admitted type isn't very well represented in it.
- An early-series assassination attempt - before a large part of the harem even meets Touma - makes this a Canon plot point.
- School Days is known for being one of the most brutal deconstructions this trope has ever known, especially in the anime and several endings of the visual novel. It seems like your average unwanted Harem Series at first, where the main character has an Ojou (Kotonoha), a Shorttank (Sekai), a Token Mini-Moe (Setsuna - in looks, anyway), an Alpha Bitch who doubles as the Unlucky Childhood Friend (Otome), a Girl Next Door with Anime Hair (Hikari), and the Alpha Bitch's Girl Posse (Natsumi, Kumi and Minami) after him. In the case of the anime itself, Makoto became as one of the biggest jerks of any male lead in the history of Unwanted Harem stories, starting off more or less okay but soon beginning to screw any girl he can get and, unlike most of the above anime and mangas, we see the consequences of this situation happening. And then go beyond it.
- Hiatari Ryoukou features an unwanted reverse-harem involving high school students living in the same boarding house.
- An unusual case is Leicester Maycraft of Shukufuku no Campanella, who doesn't seem to be too bothered by the attention from the main girls around him, including his Hot Shounen Mom Shelly. He seems to just laugh it off even when it happens in public.
- Anri Sonohara from Durarara! has a reverse harem with three guys: Kida, Mikado, and Nasujima-sensei. However, due to her terrible past, the poor girl is very uncomfortable with the deal.
- Although one of these men is in an rather official couple thus far
- Girls Saurus thoroughly establishes the "unwanted" part, as the male protagonist suffers from extreme gynophobia after being violated and brutalised by a gonkish admirer. This does nothing deter a very determined main cast of girls (including his own sister!) as well as several minor hopefuls. At one point he states how their shriveled hag of a teacher is his "ideal woman" (no threatening sex appeal) which causes her to have a womanly awakening overnight, become hot and young-looking, and try to woo him very directly. He does not approve.
- Horribly subverted in the second season of Detective Conan. A Rich Bitch named Reika Yotsui seems to have four young men (Nikaido, Mifune, Ichieda and Gojou) as her all-male harem... but Ichieda actually liked the granddaughter of the family's Old Retainer, Yaeko. Whom Reika and Nikaido killed years ago. And so, Ichieda poses as a member of the "harem"... and then he kills Reika and Nikaido.
- Inverted in Urusei Yatsura. Ataru is a self-proclaimed "ladies man" that is trying to build up a harem...it's just that no girl but Lum is willing.
- Not quite deconstructed, but certainly not done straight in Bakemonogatari. The male protagonist (who is not quite an Unlucky Everydude) gets various sorts of attention from the six girls, at least some of which he would rather do without. What is unusual is that he is paired off before any rivals appear, the focus on one girl at a time makes it play out more like a succession of love triangles, and by some analyses the lead is a commentary on the typical audience of a harem series. None of this stops the series from being watchable as a straight entry, since the audience sees all the girls' flirting from his point of view.
- Fujimura-kun from Fujimura-kun Mates, consisting of a Cloudcuckoolander, a School Idol, and the Student Council President. Three adorable girls who are all deeply in love with him. And they are willing to share, too!
- It is a merciless parody however, as Fujimura is in no way happy with the attention he gets at all, and all of the girls are more or less complete morons with Fujimura being the Only Sane Man.
- The Sohma family, Yuki in particular, have their own fangirls. Yuki has his own club, and he doesn't seem too fond of them.
- Completely inverted with Ouran High School Host Club. The Harem is what keeps them in business, and they don't discriminate based on gender or age. Although there was that one Stalker with a Crush...
- Soul Eater: It's never explicitly stated how many partner offers Soul gets, though Maka does state that he was always popular, but gets more after he becomes a death scythe. He isn't exactly resentful, but he doesn't seem the least bit impressed. That and his answer to Blair's offer was to kill her and eat her soul because "cool men don't cheat". It doesn't work on Blair, but it's the thought that counts.
- Subverted and most likely Played for Laughs in the last Axis Powers Hetalia manga volume. When he gets to meet the Gender Flip versions of the Allies (plus female!Japan and female!North Italy), all of them fitting at least the basics traits of a prospect harem... Estonia pretty much has a meltdown.
- Nitori from Wandering Son has a harem of sorts, both with girls and boys, though it comes off as a Deconstruction of a harem. So far Chiba has liked him, he's had a very close friendship with Takatsuki (who Nitori says he had a onesided crush on at one time), Doi is unusually into him, Seya fell for him, his friend Mako has a crush on him, and he has an (ex?) girlfriend called Anna who still likes him from the looks of it. He doesn't seem to really like the attention.
- Kurumi Akino from Haou Airen has a reverse harem with Hakuron, Huo Long, Di Long and Kaafai after her, each in their own ways. Considering how melodramatic this manga is as well as Hakuron's Bastard Boyfriend nature, the trope is very much not Played for Laughs.
- Subverted in Hana no Ko Lunlun's Netherlands arc. Lunlun befriends three handsome brothers... but the three fall for her after a "pep talk" from Togenishia and propose to her at the same time. Lunlun runs away as soon as she can to continue her mission, much to the three's dismay, and An Aesop about shallowness is delivered by Serge.
- Girls Bravo: Four girls have feelings for Yukinari, one is a bully who has beaten him up almost every day for years, another is an insane Yandere Dark Magical Girl who tries to abduct and rape him, the third one is a kind and sweet girl who does not set off his woman allergy, the fourth one is the Big Bad another Yandere Dark Magical Girl.
- Hanaukyo Maid Tai. Hanaukyo Taro inherited his grandfather's fortune and, with that, hundreds of maids willing to serve him. In each season he has three personal maids who constantly try to seduce him. The problem: he's only a child.
- Rappi Rangai
- Half Prince: Both male and female for Prince.
- Yura of Honey Hunt has three guys after her.
- Otaru of Saber Marionette J has three marionette's and one guy after him.
- Kyou Kara Maou: Yuuri has an all male one.
- Mayo Chiki.
- Asu no Yoichi - Yoichi doesn't even realise he even has a harem.
- Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu - Yoshii has 6 people in love with him: Hazuki, Akira, Toshimitsu, Minami, Mizuki, and as of the recent Light Novel, Hideyoshi.
- Gintama eventually turns into this. Some fans speculate that Gintoki's lack of interest in anyone could mean he's asexual, especially after recanting his crush on the weather girl & claiming he was just a fan.
- Played for laughs in one storyline where the female characters (including old lady Otose) and ...MADAO convince Gin that he had a one-night stand with them (on the same night) and now has to take responsibility. It's a ploy to get him to stop drinking so much.
- Hibiki ends up with one in Vandread. Naturally, since he's a member of a One-Gender Race, he has absolutely no knowledge of love whatsoever.
- The main character of Shina Dark, aka. Satan Exoda, has a thousand females sent as a sacrifice , to discourage him from destroying the world. They were sent because of a newly-added clause in the book of legends, which described his supposed pervertedness, and all he wants is to be left alone. Seeing as none of them can return home after being sent to the island of Satan (because others think that they now carry his children), they have no way but to live on his island, and weird things happen.
- Exaggerated in One Piece - After Luffy does the gorgon sisters one of the biggest favours they could ever ask for, he ends up with an entire ISLAND of Amazons immediately taking a liking to him.
- In Kemeko Deluxe, Sanpeita ends up with MM, Izumi, Vanilla, Miura and a Miko after him.
- Happens to Muneakira in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls.
- Takumi gains one in Mayoi Neko Overrun.
- Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu - Yuuto has a small one.
- Seitokai Yakuindomo - Takatoshi is just attending the only-just-recently co-ed school because it's closest to his home, yet the girls are convinced he's there to get a harem.
- And he does.
- Tubame Syndrome.
- Black Cat: Train has three women pining after him. And one man.
- Jiro of Hajimete no Aku has 4 girls all vying for his affections.
- In Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!, Yamato confesses his feelings to Momoyo, but she rejects him, wanting to remain friends. The other four girls then decide they want a shot at taking him.
- Kiniro no Corda has a reverse harem surrounding Hino.
- Princess Lucia.
- Hozuki-san Chi no Aneki There's one developing around Gorou with Misaki, Mizuno, and Kyou - it's unwanted because he's too smitten with his stepsister Haru to consider any of them as a love interest.
- Bleach: This trope doesn't exist in the manga. However, it didn't stop the anime trying to create it by using the following females: Rukia, Orihime, Yoruichi, Ririn, Senna, Nel and Riruka. To prevent things getting too far away from the manga, the anime naturally makes Ichigo Oblivious to Love to maintain the status quo.
- Utsumi in GE - Good Ending develops one at one point.
- In Shojokyuu ~Kurige no Shiofuki Shoujotachi~, Akiho, Chinatsu, and Yuki all harbor feelings for Haruna.
- Next to Tenchi, Love Hina is one of the most well know examples.
- Final Approach.
- This Legion of Super-Heroes comic panel. Though it's a subversion, as the girls actually trying to make Jimmy Olsen's girlfriend jealous.
- Subverted in Y: The Last Man where just about every woman Yorick comes across is either trying to kill him or capture him as a bargaining chip.
Fan Fiction Edit
- Deconstructed Trope and then Reconstructed Trope with the Higurashi cast backstory in Kyon: Big Damn Hero. Also, Kyon's harem has grown by at least three.
- Exactly fits with Avarian from 'The God of Death' (Warhammer-Warcraft crossover), a Space Marine (with a Space Marine character) who picked up a nightelf, a bloodelf, a highelf, two human females and even a forsaken (undead) elf, almost all bearing romantic feelings towards him, without Avarian noticing ANYTHING (being a Space Marine, he just picked them up because he thought they would be useful on his quest, he himself is totally unaware of the emotion called 'love' and, much unlike his companions think, does not bear the 'male weak-minded crave-for-female-flesh'-lust) This is going to be fun.
- In Flight: AND HOW! Lets break it down. In Flight is a crossover between Sekerei and Fate/Stay Night. You see where this is going? Shirou has Rin and Saber who he has been going steady with for 2 years now back in London. Akitsu joins and quickly develops radical levels of devotion to him. Then Musubi, Then Matsu, then Tsukiumi. On top of this if the author continues as he has been there will be Kazehana still to come. On top of THIS it is possible that Yukari is also interested. Added up to the fact that none of them have any idea as to his status as a Mage or the nature of Saber and Rin, regarding them as a old pair of exes that he broke up with. In short Shirou has got himself into an inescapable position. At this point in the fic there is no way out without breaking somebody's heart.
- There's Something About Mary subjects the title character to three (four if you count her boyfriend Ted who hires one of her love-/lust-smitten stalkers, and five if you count Brett Favre) amorous suitors.
- Didier, the French exchange student in Son of Rambow, was so androgynously beautiful that he had two harems; one for girls, and one for boys.
- When in Rome has the protagonist relentlessly pursued by several men after activating a magic fountain.
- In White Sun of the Desert, Sukhov gets stuck with an actual harem, formerly belonging to Abdullah, the leader of Basmachi guerrillas. While the women consider him to be their protector, they do not actually try to jump him (this being a Soviet film and all).
- The title character in Kull The Conqueror inherits a literal unwanted harem from the previous king. At the end of the movie, Kull officially disbands the harem, proclaiming that "the king commands no one's affection".
- This trope was the entire plot to the Australian film Alvin Purple.
- The Emperors New Groove features a different kind of Unwanted Harem. Kuzco rejects all the women because he thinks nobody is good enough for him.
- Harry Potter ends up with a large number of admirers in the sixth book.
- He also suffers from this trope in the fourth book, due to his status as a Tri-Wizard champion. Viktor Krum also, both because he's his school's champion and an internationally famous quidditch seeker.
- The Odyssey: dozens of foreign nobles seek Penelope's hand in marriage after her husband is presumed dead. He returns and kills them all.
- Bella from Twilight is a female example of this with a total of five guys in love with her, two of them supernatural. And she didn't have any boyfriends before moving to Forks.
- Of course, Robert Pattinson gets this in real life, to his bewilderment. He claims he gets out of dates with random girls by acting like Edward. His idea of Edward.
- The author insists that this was based on her successful love life in college after she wasn't looked at twice in high school. In one quote, she mentioned that she was dating three guys at the same time (which none of them knew about).
- In the Jane Moore novel Fourplay, main character Jo ends up with four very different men staking their claim on her (one of whom happens to be her ex-husband).
- Anita Blake, the eponymous heroine of Laurell K. Hamilton's monster hunting series, although as the harem gets bigger it seems to be less and less unwanted. When it was just a vampire and a werewolf she was stressing over it.
- Sookie in The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries has been romantically/sexually persued by Bill, Sam, Eric, JB, Alcide, Calvin, and Quinn, at least. She is inexperienced with relationships, both sexually and socially, because her telepathy means that any human she dates will drive her crazy with unwanted eavesdropping. Combine with supernatural politics and the rarity of telepaths, and her love life becomes quite unmanageable. As of All Together Dead she has dated four of them (one at a time) and her exes are still hovering hoping to kiss and make up.
- Slightly justified in that she has fairy blood, which for vampires (and maybe other supernaturals) is like cat nip.
- In The House of Night series, heroine Zoey Redbird has three admirers/boyfriends: Heath, her human ex-boyfriend and quarterback of the football team, Erik Night, the hottest guy in the vampyre high school, and Loren Blake, a teacher and poet. Loren leaves the harem later on when he's revealed to be evil and then dies, only to be replaced by Stark.
- In In the Net of Dreams various events result in Riplakish traveling alone with seven beautiful women. To be fair, only five of them are attracted to him at the time.
- In The Wheel of Time series, each of the main three male characters (Rand, Mat and Perrin) all end up with multiple women pursuing them, sometimes even teaming up against the man.
- Deconstructing the original Dracula, Saberhagen's The Dracula Tape portrays the Count as being pestered by his trio of vampire brides. Their interminable nagging is implied to be one of the reasons he leaves Transylvania for England.
- Henry James' Portrait Of A Lady: The lady in question, Isabel Archer, has quite the unwanted harem.
- In the Rex Stout short story "Murder is Corny", Susan MacLeod is a young, naive, spectacularly beautiful country girl whose recent success as a model has given her an Unwanted Harem, one of whom is a particularly odious Stalker with a Crush. She can't quite figure out why guys keep proposing to her on the first date.
- In Saki (H.H Munro)'s play, The Watched Pot (written in collaboration with Charles Maude), Trevor Bavvel, the local heir to the manor, is pursued by four different young women. In Saki's "The Elk," Bertie Thropplestance is in much the same position, pursued by every woman whom he rescues from the eponymous dangerous quadruped.
- The Dresden Files tend to lampshade the fact that Harry has a ton of attractive (and often supernaturally hot) women angling to get into his pants from time to time. These range from his apprentice to Faerie Queens to his Police officer best friend and attractive reporter girlfriend. Being a semi-quasi-Chaste Hero with abandonment issues who doesn't want to get involved without emotion backing it up, much of this attention (apart from said reporter girlfriend) is unwanted. A lot of the rest is unwanted because the lady in question is trying to bed him in order to enslave/devour/corrupt him or those close to him. Yeah... he has a complicated love life.
- Don't forget the demons, the sucubi (plural), and his mind controlled boss. And that's the women.
- In the Disgaea novels Laharl gets a whole bunch of girls after him, including Flonne and Etna, Gordon and Jennifer’s daughter Jane and Flonne’s little sister Ozonne, and more, to Laharl’s mayor dismay.
- Derek of the web-novel Domina has at last count Akane, Ling, and maybe Laura interested in him--that's three out of the five female characters. Lily claims he never notices, mostly because he's only interested in Lizzy. She, in turn, doesn't notice.
- Suleiman-bin-Daoud of the Just So Stories has nine hundred and ninety nine wives. He's not very happy about it.
- Miriam, the elder sister of Jonathan in The Roman Mysteries, has one.
Live Action TV Edit
- The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" features Xander trying to do a love spell on Cordelia, only for the spell to go wrong and every woman in Sunnydale (including Buffy, Buffy's mother, Drusilla and witch Amy) to fall head over heels for him. The only person who seems unaffected is Cordelia (due to the miscasting of the spell), but it transpires that she was already in love with him, she was just pretending not to be.
- Another Buffy episode, "Him", has Buffy, Willow (who by this time has come out as a lesbian), demon Anya and teenaged Dawn falling for a high school boy, to the point where they are each trying to kill perceived rivals (or in Willow's case, work a spell to turn him into a girl) for his affections. The boys manage to work out that the boy is unwittingly wearing an enchanted letterman jacket which causes women to fall madly in love with the wearer.
- Ned's Unwanted Harem on the live action but Animesque Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide call themselves "Club Ned" (but are referred to by Ned and his friends as The Huge Crew). They may be a tough, intimidating, leather-and-bandanna-wearing gang, but on the bright side, they don't see any other girls who like Ned as competition, but invite them to join the club!
- Justin Russo, from Wizards of Waverly Place. He's a nerd, but he had at least eight girlfriends. Plus Harper, who has a huge crush on him, bordering on obsession (it is mentioned that she watched him, while he was sleeping).
- Seth Cohen in The OC spends years as the Dateless Nerd before finding himself pursued by both Summer and Anna.
- Dr Temperance "Bones" Brennan has often been pursued and flirted with by several guys. There was one early episode when she went to a small town and most of the guys there were all trying to get her attention at a local bar, until Booth stepped in and grabbed her for a dance. However, she's not a Chaste Hero, as she does date several men, two at the same time at one point.
- Played straight and parodied on Glee. Played straight with Will in how everytime you turn around since the new season starts he seems to have gotten a new love interest. (though it might have come to head with Bad Reputation. Parodied in Bad Reputation as, Rachel attempts to make it look like Finn, Puck and Jessie are her unwanted haram in her music video of Run Joey Run so she'll get a higher ranking on the Glist (a ranking of hotness by member). Of course since this is Rachel, it doesn't go well for her....
- Constable Benton Fraser of Due South tends to instantly inspire crushes in every American woman he comes across. It only really sticks with Ray Vecchio's sister, though she's definitely enough.
- The one-season Scott Bakula sitcom Eisenhower And Lutz. Bakula played Bud Lutz, a shady lawyer who was juggling two girlfriends, a waitress played by DeLane Matthews and a much more successful lawyer played by Patricia Richardson. In the final episode, an enemy of Bud's vowed to make his life miserable. He did so by sending both women engagement rings in Bud's name!
- The Doctor, thanks to his penchant for traveling with good-looking young companions. See this picture.
- Bertram Wooster (the Wooster bit of Jeeves and Wooster) has a gang of girls who all feel that they have an open invitation to attach themselves to him whenever their current relationship has gone south. All of the women in question are attractive but they all have issues with their personalities. There's Madeline Bassett (a Love Freak prone to extreme sentimentality), Florence Craye (a pretentious ball buster), and Honoria Glossop (who is probably a closet lesbian who wants to "mould" him). He has also expressed terror at the prospect of marrying Pauline Stocker, Bobby Wickham, and Stiffy Byng, even though none of them really want to. His terror of matrimony also has a lot to do with Bertie's wish to preserve his cosy bachelor establishment with Jeeves.
- Jimmy Reed had a song about it. "But I Ain't Got You".
- The Duane Elms song "Who Do You Love?", where the protagonist feels he must choose just one of them.
You think it's easy, maybe you would,
to have more choices than one man should.
There is such a thing as too much good.
- The Warren Zevon song "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" is a masterpiece mixture of this and complete obliviousness.
- The Carl Perkins song "Everybody's Trying to be my Baby"
- The Eagles song "Take It Easy," as seen in the page quote.
- Gilbert and Sullivan seem to be fond of this trope: 9 of their 14 operas have some version of it.
- In Iolanthe, The Lord Chancellor, the Earls of Mountararat and Tololler, and the entire Chorus of Peers are all in love with Phyllis, who wants none of them.
- At the start of Ruddigore, there have been no weddings in the village of Rederring for six months, because practically every bachelor is in love with Rose Maybud, but none of them can pass her standards of ettiquette (except Robin, who is too shy to declare himself).
- In The Gondoliers, the entire female chorus is in love with the same two brothers, who feel it "indelicate" to show a bias towards any particular girl.
- In The Grand Duke, Ludwig is all set to marry Lisa, but through various plot contrivances, finds himself forced to marry Julia Jellicoe, the Baroness von Krakenfeldt, and the Princess of Monte Carlo.
- Played straight and subverted in Patience: At the start of the opera, the whole chorus of Rapturous Maidens are in love with the poet Bunthorne; when a handsomer poet, Grosvenor, appears on the scene, all the women transfer their affection to him. But while Grosvenor genuinely ignores the Maidens as much as he can, Bunthorne only pretends to — he only dons Aesthetic clothing and writes poetry so he can be followed around by an adoring harem.
- Played with in in HMS Pinafore: Sir Joseph enters "accompanied by the admiring crowd of female relatives who follow him wherever he goes" ("relative" is a euphemism here). Sir Joseph obviously enjoys the attention, but doesn't actually want to marry any of them. On the other hand, Hebe is the only "relative" actively pursuing him.
- One of Pinafore's major influences is a poem by Gilbert called "The Bumboat Woman's Story", in which Lt. Belaye, who commands a British gunship, discovers that his entire, unusually well-behaved crew is made up of young women, who dressed up like sailors to continue being around him.
- Played with again in Trial By Jury: As soon as the Plaintiff enters the courtroom, the entire jury falls in love with her. She does not want them, but manipulates them as much as she can to win her case.
- Subverted in a different way in The Pirates of Penzance: Frederic proposes to the entire female chorus, who unanimously turn him down. Averted completely a moment later, when Mabel enters.
- Similarly Subverted in The Sorcerer: Dr. Daly, under the influence of the love potion, proposes to every maiden he meets, but each one refuses. (This happens offstage, but he sings a song about it.)
Video Games Edit
- .hack//G.U.'s Haseo manages to round up a rather large group of potential love interests, including four males, although three of them are essentially zombies. This gives him a grand total of twelve possible characters you can marry in the end of the third game (although the aforementioned zombie characters glomp him instead of marrying him). And that's just characters that you can canonically marry.
- Baldur's Gate only has three options, although due to class and/or alignment you're pretty unlikely to keep them all in the same party...
- The way the dialogue in Neverwinter Nights 2 is written, a male player expressing interest in Elanee is reacting to Neeshka as if this trope is in play.
- The dialogue in question is probably an artifact from when Neeshka was going to be a possible love interest for the male PC.
- In A Dance With Rogues, every male character who joins your party (and one female character) have at least some interest in the Princess.
- Persona 3 plays this trope straight with Akihiko: he has a harem, but he doesn't pay attention to it. He doesn't even know the names of the girls involved.
- In Yggdra Union, there's the lovely Roswell. Mistel, Eudy, Pamela, Ortega, Rosary, Yggdra, and Nessiah all seem to want to get into his pants, but the poor guy isn't interested in any of them. ...except maybe Yggdra. Maybe.
- You'd think Galaxy Angel is like this. Nope, the game enforces a strict Road Cone early on in the game. The sequel even makes the fact about which girl Tact married very obscure until the last minute to keep it in line with your own choice in the previous games.
- From Mass Effect 2, Mordin of all people claims to have had one of these, or at the very least many come-ons from different species, and he is able to rationalize why each species would find him attractive.
- And the reason he even tells you all this is because he thinks you're making a pass at him.
Mordin: Different species react differently to stress. Aware you have come by a great deal. Have had other species become attracted to me before. Awkward. Not interested.
Shepard: You've had members of other species make a pass at you?
Mordin: Constantly. Very awkward. Skin tone apparently attractive by turian standards. Subset of krogan deviants enjoys salarian flexibility. More cartilage than skeletal structure. Asari offers...intriguing, actually. Wonder why. Trans-species pheromones unlikely to work. (inhales) Must be neurochemical.
Shepard: (tongue-in-cheek) I appreciate you letting me down easy.
Mordin: No offense intended. Salarian reproduction different. Very little sex drive. If intended to try human, would try you.
- Shepard also gets this. No matter what species you are, chances are you will want to bang Shepard.
- Best shown in Grunt's loyalty mission, where after defeating a Tresher Maw, on-foot, the first to do so since Wrex over a thousand years previously, EDI calls and informs you;
EDI: There are also several breeding requests for Grunt. And one for Shepard.
- Garlot of Blaze Union. He has childhood friends Siskier and Jenon, along with friends and allies Medoute, Luciana and Aegina, Iita, Sleip, Eudy, Leon, and Nessiah following him around. All of them have at least a little subtext towards him. As Garlot has other things on his mind--like winning the revolution--he views his party rather innocently for the most part. Three years later, in Yggdra Union, he will still have the same harem (with a few members missing), and will still have more important things on his mind than romance. Though Nessiah and the twins appear to be ahead of the rest by then.
- In the non-canonical endings to this game, the harem is also pared down thus: Nessiah, Aegina, and Siskier in the good B ending, Aegina winning in the bad B ending, and Aegina, Luciana, and Siskier in the C ending.
- Yuri from Infinite Space. Let's see, there's his unrelated sister Kira, The Lancer Nia, Katida, Franny, Princess Glorinda, Cico, and Dietrich. On the minor characters' side, there's Melania, and possibly Soneto and Mariana have a crush on him as well.
- Fable has this if you get attractive enough. It will result in you being blocked into your house/shops. It is a Scrappy Mechanic
- Sonic the Hedgehog has one of these, though most of the girls are never shown.
- Occurs in the H-game Artificial Girl 3, where you can have up to five girls in a single savefile.
- In Come See Me Tonight, the main character's parents mysteriously disappear one day, so an old friend of the family offers to let him stay with her. When he arrives, he discovers her 3 beautiful daughters and a Dojikko act as hostesses in the restaurant she owns. He slowly but surely becomes the target of their affections as he helps out in the restaurant.
- The sequel involves the son of a family that runs a shrine famous for its annual harvest festival and accompanying "Dance of the Shrine Maidens" taking over his grandfather's duties as chief priest - which involves helping 3 beautiful maidens-in-training learn the dance, as well as learning his own part, and picking which of the maidens will become his wife.
- Ohgami of Sakura Taisen gains one, and is one of the earliest originators of the Harem Hero subtrope.
- Fate Hollow Ataraxia tends to follow a lot more harem tropes than its predecessor. Shirou is mostly confused, but when the matter comes up, bad things tend to happen -- such as a jealous Saber.
- In Blaz Blue, this is the main point of Rachel's Gag Reel. By slipping the Spectacles of Eros onto Ragna, pretty much every female character in the game falls madly in love with him. Litchi, Noel, Kokonoe, and Makoto turn up and Hilarity Ensues. Thing take a turn for the weirder when Nirvava and Lambda turn up though. And then, there's Jin...
- Takeru gains one in Muv-Luv.
- The above mentioned School Days is a bit of an odd example, actually. Yes, it's infamous for tearing apart the concept... but as already said, that mostly happens in the anime and the Bad Endings of the games, alias what made the franchise popular. A player can make Makoto play the trope completely straight, if they so desire and take the decisions leading to such results; i.e, in the original and the Updated Rerelease, Makoto can end up with both Sekai and Kotonoha.
- In addition to her two husbands within two years, Candi Levens of the Ciem Webcomic Series has had to deal with two other men attempting to rape her. In the book, she has been bedded by three men and had to ward off (at least) two would-be rapists that were after her. She even comes to complain about how she appears to be a rape magnet. Making matters worse, her high school's boy population could never remember which of the Flippo girls they'd slept with. So Candi was occasionally flirted with by Marina's old suitors!
- It Got Worse. One of Steve's old friends, being a voyeur, set up hidden cameras to spy on Steve and Miriam. Hence, Miriam's unwanted career as the porn star Mila Fila was born without her knowledge or consent. This led to hundreds of fans, a few living in the Evansville area, mistaking Candi for Miriam and casting awkward glances. Some days, the only escape was to run around rooftops dressed like a centipede. The poor girl's mostly-undeserved reputation could never catch a break!
- Donte eventually gives up trying to defend Candi's honor. Especially after he caves in under his own fears and becomes part of the problem. He finally resigns to the fact that he loves her no matter who else she's been with and regardless how little others think of him for marrying her.
- Marten from Questionable Content, following a series of events between strips 500 and 700, lives with a woman in whom he was once interested, while dating her boss, the owner of a coffee shop with an all-female staff, and spending most of his free time with the obsessive-compulsive neighbor girl, all while working at the Smith College library. Although this doesn't meet the common definition since only two of these women have ever been more than his friends, he once quipped to his mother (before he started dating his roommate's boss) that he wanted to "build a harem of unattainable women," after which his mother takes to calling his female friends his "harem."
- Lampshaded in Tsunami Channel here
- Piro from Megatokyo is a geek and harem anime fan, yet he views his own with an increasing level of bemusement and disbelief, completely unable to communicate his feelings (mostly fear and confusion) to any of them.
- In all fairness, there was only ever a chance of him dating two of the four: One of the others is a robot that Piro clearly doesn't realize has feelings, and the other is underage. Then of the two he might have had a chance with, one was always more interested in his friend, and saw him as pathetic (and not in the good way) from the start.
- In Too Much Information, Ace (despite his name, more of an Unlucky Everydude) has as his primary contenders a stripper/nurse and his boss's granddaughter, a local police officer, a ghost haunting the house, and her great-granddaughter, and Ship Tease moments with his Butch Lesbian roommate, and the one ex-girlfriend who isn't bisexual.
- A rather unusual case in Misfile, boy turned girl Ash has Emily, Missi, Cassiel who is only tempting Ash to get at Rumisiel, Colin the counter guy, Vashiel, and finally James.
- But not Rumisiel, who all but a rare few know as Ash's boyfriend, but who knows that Ash is in reality a straight boy.
- Cassie in The Wotch ends up accidentally building up one of these in her attempts to get Robin to drink a love potion, instead attracting Robin's younger brother Kirk, Xander, and finally a plant. And now it's starting to look like Robin and Cassie might start going out anyway.
- Keith from Two Kinds has a gender-confused wolf-woman, an ex-fiancee, a (gay) general, and a cute lieutennant gunning for him. This would be a good thing except his people can only get off once a year and mate for life.
- Mye of Charby the Vampirate appears to have admirers wherever she goes, although she describes herself as not all that pretty. Eventually this is revealed to be, unknown to her, the effect of a spell that draws men to her.
- David from Ow, My Sanity has one made entirely of Eldritch Abominations who can take the form of Cute Monster Girls and find that Humanity Is Infectious.
- Played with in Dubious Company. Elator is repulsed by most of his harem. Mary has personality issues that he finds grating. Marty is not a Gay Option, so much as he has yet to realize that Elator is a dude that looks like a lady. Tria is a matter of blink and you’ll miss her. Raque'Falicoona is a case of Yandere mixed with why did it have to be raccoons.
- Karate Bears love women, but not one woman inparticular.
- Electric Wonderland had a Valentine's Day Comic in which a random man walks into the protagonists' workplace, and unwittingly becomes an object of attention for Trawn, Shroomy, and Aerynn.
- Homestuck: It seems that all of Jake English's friends secretly harbor romantic feelings for him. This includes Dirk Strider. He is of course mostly oblivious to this.
- In Rain, it appears that every kid in the school with a compatible sexual orientation gets a crush on the titular character. The attention terrifies her.
- Gary of the Not Safe for Work webcomic Ménage à 3 gains one - he wants to focus on Yuki, but Kiley and Sonya both want him. Sonya backs off after realising she loves Zii, but then Didi becomes interested in him. And now that Kiley's backed off, Amber and Senna can be added to the list.
Web Original Edit
- Thunderbird of the Whateley Universe has a harem of five girls (at a minimum), and he's been utterly oblivious that four of them have been pursuing him (in their own quirky ways) for almost a year. Since he's a Superman Expy down to the 'boy scout' behavior and astonishing good looks, it's easy to see why girls want him. Things have come to a head now that Chaka has claimed him as her boyfriend.
- Chaka herself has a lot of people after her. More than a few are female.
- The Impossible Man subverts this trope. Michael Garcia either hires a woman or his mother hires one and he accepts their application to work for his store.
- In this Pokémon the Abridged Series, Gary got his harem by giving up his scholarship to Harvard so they could go receive an education, and they wouldn't stop following him.
- Happens in Sapphire. Admittedly, it's not actually Alec's harem, but he still refuses to fall for their advances.
Western Animation Edit
- A couple of episodes in Adventure Time mention that Finn has one of these.
- In Phineas and Ferb, Baljeet has one composed of Mishti, Wendy and Ginger.
Real Life Edit
- Arguably, Osamu Dazai. Albeit, in his case, it ended badly.