After watching a shit ton of harem and ecchi animes over the past year and a half, I think I have a good idea on what makes certain shows work, and other shows fail, and it’s quite simple. Harem and Ecchi are at their best when they combine good fanservice, with strong storytelling. You cannot have one without the other and enjoy the level of success and fan reception that several shows have had.
Honestly, it is because we live in the age of the internet, where some of the raunchiest and sexiest porn and adult content is a few google clicks away. If you want your dose of fanservice or just straight up porn, then you are more than sated thanks to the internet. With most ecchi harem comedies often taking a light touch compared to what else there is, there is little need for viewers to stick with a show that just has fanservice and nothing else. Once has an ecchi show has delivered “the goods” or you’ve watched enough shows to get used to said “goods’ appearing in your anime, it doesn’t do much to keep a viewer coming back. What does keep people coming back to those shows however is the characters and stories.
High School DxD may have found initial success with it’s no holds barred embrace of the titty but did that alone carry it to four whole seasons? No, it was the great characters, amazing music, and solid storytelling that led the series to strength after strength. Did How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord become last years unexpected hit simply because of its well done ecchi? Perhaps, but it was also its good characterization, spot on humor, and mirror-shine polish of its isekai story that carried it through. Shows like Shomin Sample, Majikoi, Shimoneta, and Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple all found success BECAUSE they remembered they also had to tell a story and didn’t slack off in that department.
This is why so many other ecchi/harem shows often fail to maintain viewer interest. This year’s Senran Kagura was just BORING when it had to just depend on its weak characters and run of the mill plotline. Another World with my Smartphone didn’t even have any real fanservice to offset its abysmal female cast and Master of Ragnarok sucked even more. And yes it is probably the main reason why just watching a complication of all the fanservice scenes in Shinmai Maou No Testament is better than having to subject yourself to its worthless story and main characters. Shows like these never put the effort into having both story AND fanservice, and they all suffered for it.
I say all of this because a few weeks ago I came across a manga series that reminded me how much ecchi/harem shows can work when you put in enough effort for the story. So after the cut let’s take a shallow dive into Lynn Okamoto’s Parallel Paradise.
(NSFW IMAGES RIGHT UP AHEAD, PLEASE READ WITH DISCRETION)