So Many Loves, So Little Time: Harem Manga

By Amanda Pagan, Children's Librarian
May 18, 2021
Urusei Yatsura

Are you a fan of love triangles? Do you get a kick out of watching characters get caught in salacious shenanigans and ridiculous antics? If you’re looking to get lost in a story about an average person who suddenly finds themselves surrounded by a bunch of attractive people vying for their attention, then you’re looking for harem manga. 

Harem manga refers to any story where the main character suddenly finds themselves surrounded by a group of people who are sexually or romantically attracted to them. If the main character is surrounded by females, then it is referred to as a regular harem. If the main character is surrounded by males, then it is reverse harem. The number of love interests can be anywhere between two to five or even more people.

This genre is often paired with romantic comedy, but recently there has been a boom in fantasy harems, especially in the isekai genre. The main protagonist is usually a stand-in for the reader while the romantic interests are wish fulfillment fantasies.

These stories revolve around the protagonist struggling to choose which of the possible romantic partners they want to end up with. The series will end up in one of two ways: 1. They make a decision and end up with one person, or 2. They choose none of them. Sometimes a polyamorous ending can happen, but this is not common. 

Ouran High School Host Club

Most of the comedy and drama come from the protagonist dealing with the different personalities and temperaments of their love interests. Each series varies with the amount of fan service or sexual content, so make sure to check the rating before reading. 

Rumiko Takahashi’sUrusei Yatsura is a classic and much beloved harem manga that helped popularize the genre upon its release in 1978. However, most manga (and anime) fans consider Bisco Hatori’s Ouran High School Host Clubone of the best harem and best romantic comedy manga ever produced. 

This genre is extremely popular and unlikely to ever die out, so dive right into the chaos yourself to see what all the fuss is about!

For more romance manga, check out Hot, Steamy, and Extra Dreamy: Romance Manga.

Note: These titles vary in terms of how sexual their content may be, so please double check their rating before giving them to young readers. The titles listed here are intended for older teens and adults. 

Harem Manga:

Certain Magical Index

A Certain Magical Index original story by Kazuma Kamachi; character design by Kiyotaka Haimura; art byChuya Kogino; translation by Andrew Prowse; lettering by Brndn Blakeslee and Lys Blakeslee

Genre: Fantasy, Action

Volumes: 25 (ongoing)

Touma Kamijou just can't catch a break. He might live in Academy City, a place full of more super powered students than you can shake a stick at, but his only superpower is his supernatural lack of luck. He wants nothing more than to keep a low profile, but when a girl named Index comes into his life, it gets more complicated and dangerous than ever!

Demon Prince of Momochi House

The Demon Prince of Momochi House story and art by Aya Shouoto

Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural

Volumes: 16

On her sixteenth birthday, orphan Himari Momochi inherits her ancestral estate that she's never seen. Momochi House exists on the barrier between the human and spiritual realms, and Himari is meant to act as guardian between the two worlds. But on the day she moves in, she finds three handsome squatters already living in the house, and one seems to have already taken over her role!


Fushigi Yugi

Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play, story and art by Yuu Watase; English adaptation by Yuji Oniki; touch-up art and lettering by Andy Ristaino

Genre: Fantasy, Isekai

Volumes: 18 (Collected into omnibus)

Fifteen-year-old Miaka Yuki is transported into an ancient Chinese kingdom by an old book, "The universe of the four gods." Following the legend in the story, Miaka becomes the Priestess of Suzaku and must find her seven Celestial Warriors before she can save the kingdom and return home.

Hybrid X Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia

Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxi original story by Masamune Kuji; art, Riku Ayakawa; translation, Caleb Cook ; lettering, Phil Christie.

Genre: Science Fiction, M for Mature, Harem

Volumes: 4

Invaders from another world are attacking the Earth, and humanity's only hope lies in special armors called Hybrid Heart Gears, or HHGs. Hida Kizuna might seem unexceptional, but he has a skill that can turn the tide of battle--by getting female HHG users hot and bothered, he can replenish their energy!

Is This a Zombie

Is This a Zombie?  by Sacchi; original Shinichi Kimura; character design by Kobuichi, Muririn; translation by Chiristine Dashiell

Genre: Dark comedy, Supernatural

Volumes: 19

Life—or undeath?—isn’t easy for Ayumu Aikawa. A seemingly normal high schooler, he is in fact a zombie serving as bodyguard to an introverted necromancer. This already-complicated existence becomes even more outlandish when he accidentally steals the powers of a magical girl, transforming into one himself—complete with frilly dress and pink chainsaw!! How’s a reanimated corpse supposed to keep his head on his shoulders with roommates like these girls around the house?

Kiss Him, Not Me

Kiss Him, Not Me by Junko; translated by David Rhie; lettering by Hiroko Mizuno

Genre: Romantic Comedy, School Life

Volumes: 14

Hi there! My name is Serinuma Kae. I’m the kind of girl who loves checking out boys and fantasizing about them getting friendly (and more) with each other—I’m what you might call a fujoshi. One day, my beloved (yes, he’s an anime character) died, and the shock of it all was more than I could have ever prepared for! My grief over his passing resulted in some ridiculous weight loss! And you won’t believe what happened next! Soon after my change, the four most divinely gorgeous boys in my school asked me out on dates! I accepted them all, and you’d think I’d be happy with my sudden popularity, but the truth is, my heart only yearns for a prince to be next to his prince. Ahh, yes, boys, I’d much prefer that you turn your affections elsewhere and kiss him, not me!

Kiss of the Rose Princess

Kiss of the Rose Princess story and art by Aya Shouoto; translation by Tetsuiehiro Miyaki

Genre: Supernatural

Volumes: 9 

Anise Yamamoto has been told that if she ever removes the rose choker given to her by her father, a terrible punishment will befall her. Unfortunately she loses that choker when a bat-like being named Ninufa falls from the sky and hits her. Ninufa gives Anise four cards representing four knights whom she can summon with a kiss. But now that she has these gorgeous men at her beck and call, what exactly is her quest?!

My Monster Secret

My Monster Secret: Actually I Am story and art by Eiji Masuda; translation by Alethea and Athena Nibley; adaptation by Lianne Sentar

Genre: Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Supernatural

Volumes: 22 

High school student Kuromine Asahi is the kind of guy who literally cannot tell a lie.Whether it’s trying to maintain a poker face in a simple game of cards, or keeping scurrilous gossip to himself, Asahi is a total failure when it comes to the art of deception. So what happens when he stumbles upon the most shocking secret of his life? When Asahi learns that Shiragami Youko, a beautiful girl of few words, is actually a vampire. Can Asahi possibly keep his lips sealed?

My Next Life As a Villainess

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! story by Satoru Yamaguchi; art by Nami Hidaka

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Isekai

Volumes: 5 (Ongoing)

A high school girl is stunned to find herself reincarnated as the conniving villainess from her favorite dating sim game, Fortune Lover. Now, as Catarina Claes, the impossibly rich and spoiled daughter of a Duke, her new life seems to perfectly sync up with the world of the game. This means big trouble! No matter how the game turned out, there were only two fates for Catarina: exile or death!

Nisekoi False Love

Nisekoi: False Love story and art by Naoshi Komi; translation by Camellia Nieh; touch-up art and lettering by Stephen Dutro

Genre: Romantic comedy

Volumes: 25

Raku, still searching for his childhood sweetheart whose name and face he cannot remember, is upset when his gangster father arranges a love match between Raku and a rival gang leader's daughter.

Ouran High School Host Club

Ouran High School Host Club story and art by Bisco Hatori; English adaptation by Gary Leach; translation by Kenichiro Yagi

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Volumes: 18

One day, Haruhi Fujioka, a scholarship student at exclusive Ouran High School, breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to the "Host Club," a mysterious school club consisting of six super-rich (and gorgeous) guys. To pay back the damages, she is forced to work for the club as their seventh member, and hide the fact that she's really a girl from the rest of the student body! 

Ranma 1/2

Ranma 1/2 story and art by Rumiko Takahashi

Genre: Adventure, Romantic Comedy

Volumes: 38 (collected into omnibus)

Years ago, Genma promised his old friend, Soun Tendo, that Ranma would marry one of Soun's three daughters and carry on the family's martial arts school. Except the girl picked to be Ranma's bride doesn't seem to like him, Ranma keeps getting into fights… and did we mention that whole changing-into-a-girl thing?



Sekirei by Gokurakuin Sakurako; translation by Caleb D. Cook; lettering by Phil Christie

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Supernatural

Volumes: 18

Minato Sahashi is a rounin, a two-time loser who's failed his college placement exams. Just as he's contemplating giving up and heading home, though, a chance encounter changes his life forever! Enter Musubi, a girl who literally falls into Minato's life! Musubi is a Sekirei, a modified human caught up in a game in which only one of her kind can be left standing. In order to be victorious in this contest, though, she needs to find her Ashikabi (her fated partner)...and guess who fits the bill?? Caught up in battle he barely understands, can Minato survive 'The Sekirei Project' and emerge victorious? Either way, with his buxom new cohort by his side, his life will certainly never be the same!

Shortcake Cake

Shortcake Cake story and art by Suu Morishita; translation by Emi Louie-Nishikawa; touch-up art and lettering by Inori Fukuda Trant

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Volumes: 12

An unflappable girl and a cast of lovable male roommates at a boarding house create bonds of friendship and romance. When Ten moves out of her parents' home in the mountains to live in a boarding house, she finds herself becoming fast friends with her male roommates. But can love and romance be far behind?

Urusei Yatsura

Urusei Yatsura story and art by Rumiko Takahashi; translation and English adaptation by Camellia Nieh; lettering by Erika Terriquez

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Volumes: 34 (collected in omnibus form)

Beautiful space alien princess Lum invades Earth on her UFO, and unlucky Ataru Moroboshi's world gets turned upside down! Will Lum become Earth's electrifying new leader? Or will Ataru somehow miraculously save Earth from space alien onslaught?

Waiting for Spring

Waiting for Spring by Anashin; translation by Alethea and Athena Nibley; lettering by Sara Linsley

Genre: Romance, School Life, Sports

Volumes: 14 

Mizuki is a shy girl who’s about to enter high school, and vows to open herself up to new friendships. Of course, the four stars of the boys’ basketball team weren’t exactly the friends she had in mind! Yet, when they drop by the café where she works, the five quickly hit it off. Soon she’s been accidentally thrust into the spotlight, targeted by jealous girls. And will she expand her mission to include … love?

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches by Miki Yoshikawa; translated by David Rhie; lettering by Sara Linsely; editing by Ajani Oloye

Genre: Romantic comedy, Supernatural

Volumes: 28

Class troublemaker Ryu Yamada is already having a bad day when he stumbles down a staircase along with star student Urara Shiraishi. When he wakes up, he realizes they have switched bodies--and that Ryu has the power to trade places with anyone just by kissing them! After figuring out the workings behind this new and amazing ability, Ryu and Urara take full advantage of the situation to improve their lives. But with such an oddly amazing power, just how long will Ryu and Urara be able to keep their secret under wraps?

Yona of the Dawn

Yona of the Dawn story and art by Mizuho Kusanagi; English adaptation by Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane; translation by JN Productions

Genre: Fantasy 

Volumes: 34 (ongoing)

Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Soo-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when she witnesses her father's murder! Yona reels from the shock of witnessing a loved ones murder and having to fight for her life. With Hak's help, she flees the palace and struggles to survive while evading her enemy's forces. But where will this displaced princess go when all the paths before her are uncertain?

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