Article: Avoid the Royal Wedding by watching romance anime
Love it or hate it, Love Hina is still arguably the poster child of the so-called "harem" anime series in the west, throwing a solitary (and usually weak-willed and wishy-washy) male into the midst of a bevy of beautiful women with wildly divergent personalities.
Ken Akamatsu's Love Hina wastes no time in doing this, taking wannabe Tokyo University student Keitaro Urashima and dumping him as the manager of a girl's dormitory. There's an over-arching plot about a childhood promise to attend the aforementioned university made by Keitaro to an unknown girl, but this is really of secondary importance to the potential for lots of hijinks concerning our lead male's relationship with the various female characters on show, even if Naru Narusegawa tends to "lead the pack" in this regard.
Perhaps the biggest keys to Love Hina's success is that it doesn't take itself too seriously, frequently indulging in flights of fancy to break up any romantic overtones which surface over the course of the series. That isn't to say that the romance aspect of the show isn't occasionally touching, with the show's Christmas special in particular offering up an entertaining and ultimately rather sweet addition to its tale.
Despite its frustrating lead character and the exploitative fan service aspects of the series, Love Hina is a fun and colourful viewing experience (if those elements aren't complete anathema to you) that sets the bar for numerous other harem series that have appeared in the decade following its Japanese TV debut.
Love Hina is available on Region 2 DVD in the UK from MVM Entertainment.
KimiKiss: Pure Rouge
Another of those visual novel adaptations (well, it's technically a dating sim) we spoke of earlier in our list is KimiKiss: Pure Rouge, an animated adaptation of a PlayStation 2 game given its anime treatment courtesy of JC Staff in late 2007.
Perhaps the most interest facet of this jump from game to anime is the producers' decision to effectively split the story's protagonist into two, with Kouichi Aihara's in-game personality becoming part Kouichi Sanada and Kazuki Aihara for the anime. The TV series also adds a third male character named Eiji Kai, further reducing the outright harem elements of its story in favour of an ever-more tangled series of love triangles, squares and probably even more bizarre shapes as it goes about its business.
Despite this dilution of the traditional harem anime focus of the series, KimiKiss: Pure Rouge is still effectively all about throwing slew of female characters at the viewer to give them an opportunity to pick their favourites and cheer them on the way to love and happiness - something that it does without fuss or any particular innovations, but via some nice character designs and decently realised story-telling.
Sure, KimiKiss isn't the most memorable harem anime series of all time, but the original game also spawned a decent manga spin-off and its still one the better recent attempts within the genre. It also prevents us from running a clean sweep of Ken Akamatsu vehicles in this segment (it was either this or Negima), to add a little variety to things while still offering some solid harem-esque romance.
KimiKiss: Pure Rouge is available on Region 1 DVD from Sentai Filmworks.