So, after checking out some opinions on them, here's what I want in my next harem anime-
- The Male Lead Has To Get A Grip, Quickly-If there was anything more that I despised in Love Hina, it was that the male lead was little more than a target for jokes-and had to be made immortal so that he doesn't get killed throughout the story, and is contually two steps behind.
I don't mind the male lead being two steps behind, or being banged up-but, I want a protagonist. Not a victim, and most male harem anime leads are victims of circumstance. I want a male lead that keeps trying, gets banged up, dusts himself off, tries again, and occasionally succeeds.
- The Female Leads Have To Be Appealing-One of the things that turned me off of Ranma 1/2 so quickly was that every single female lead annoyed the hell out of me. The only one there that's even remotely appealing is Nabiki, and she's just trying to make money off of the whole thing (I suspect, so she can move as far-and as fast-away as possible).
Tenchi Muyo appealed to me, because I liked the female leads (okay, I freely admit that I have harbored long fantasies of a three-way between Ryoko and Aeka and me...despite the fact that Aeka would be one hell of a pushy top and seeing two dominant women fight without strong enough rope would make things interesting). They aren't pushovers, they make mistakes, they try hard, and there are no sacred-cow/sucessful pairings at the start, which brings me to...
- There Cannot Be A "Sacred Cow" Paring-Ai Yori Aoshi annoyed the hell out of me, because the pairing was already done at the start in the form of Karou/Aoi. Tina, whom I thought was a hell of a lot better human being than Aoi (whom I liked but rubbed me the wrong way) lost, and we saw that she had lost from the start. The entire story is one of the relationship finally working out.
I want human drama, and that anybody can win up to the last "I do" and not even then.
- The Plot Has To Make Sense-Okay, maybe I am asking for too much. This is anime, after all! But, give me a plot in which I can watch it and not wonder "okay, how did the were-penguin get into all of this?". Give me a plot where I can walk through it again, and realize just where the characters fell for each other, or fell out of each other. Gimme a plot where exploding spaceships is safer than talking about you feelings, and give me a plot that lets me see people at their best and worst.
Sort of a sub-category of #4 is..
- The Plot Has To Be Understandable-"Make sense" is entirely possible for anything. I mean, with enough drugs you can understand "Finnegans Wake", but being that far outside of reality has never appealed to me. If I need a map and a detailed synopsis to understand who's screwing whom, with what, and how (kind of a erotic form of Clue) , there's a problem. A flow-chart showing the character relationships is okay...as long as it can fit on a single sheet of paper.
- The Big Bang Theory Must Be Applied-Nothing succeeds like excess. And, the plot has to logically build up to an ending that closes the doors and turns out the lights. And, it has to end in an over-the-top manner that cannot be repeated. Gimme excitement, give me last-minute confessions, give me huge explosions.