Isekai Meikyuu de Harem wo, or Harem in the Labyrinth of Another World, is probably the most contentious anime I’ve seen in quite a while. Most of the commentary I’ve seen on this has been fairly negative, with a variety of complaints. Because of that, I figured I’d share my thoughts.
For starters, I’ll say that I actually enjoyed it. While airing, it was a series I looked forward to every week. I’ve been reading the manga as well, and it continues to be one I really like for its slower pacing. And yes, I know it’s borderline hentai (I hesitate to say “borderline” here…), but that’s part of its appeal to a degenerate like myself.
So, with my position on the matter established, let’s see what complaints I’ve seen.
I feel like this is the most overused complaint, for any anime, not just this one. Frankly, I get tired of hearing this one. It can be said about nearly any adaptation: manga to anime, light novel to manga, novel to movie or TV series. You get the picture.
Fact is, it’s rare to have a perfect adaptation, if one is even possible. Most often, there’s not even enough time or episodes given to the video medium. A western example is Order of the Phoenix, from the Harry Potter series. One of the longest books in the series was given the same time constraints that the shorter books had, resulting in a rushed mess of a movie. Not every series is going to get the Fullmetal Alchemist treatment, having a plethora of episodes to adapt the manga as closely as possible.
Additionally, a lot of developments are internal. This isn’t easy to adapt to a visual medium, and is something that makes written works unique. Adapting from a manga is a bit easier than from a light novel for this exact reason.
For Isekai Meikyuu, I admit that it’s not a great adaptation, missing out on a lot of the smaller interactions, but it’s just one of those things you learn to roll with. If you don’t, you’re just going to be bitter about every adaptation. Focus on the parts they did adapt well, like some of the comedic moments (or, more often here, the sexy moments).
Story Doesn’t Go Anywhere
I started this post saying that I enjoyed the slower pace of the series. A big criticism of mine often is them rushing the pace of a story, making it feel half-assed. So, the fact that it didn’t rush here is a plus in my book.
The story here is more about the characters and the world, rather than any major plot. There is no demon lord for him to defeat, no looming threat. Michio is just a person in this world, and he’s living in it. Honestly, one comment I ran into on social media was the series felt more like a slice-of-life isekai. Pretty accurate, honestly. I’ll comment more on this point in the next section, which is…
Too Much Fanservice
If you didn’t read my post on Summertime Render, I commented that one thing that disappointed me was that it wasn’t quite what I expected, genre-wise. If you didn’t know the level of perversion in this series, or how the series wasn’t plot-focused but character-focused, you failed to do your research. Not sure what else to tell you.
I, for one, was drawn to this series because of the fanservice (I’m a degenerate, what can I say?). Just because you weren’t a fan doesn’t inherently make it a bad series.
That being said, depending on where you watched it, there wasn’t ENOUGH fanservice. During simulcast, Crunchyroll had the heavily censored version, and let me tell you, it may be the most comically censored series I’ve ever seen. Not because it was funny, per se, but because of how ridiculously heavy-handed it was. See screenshot. This might go down as the most extreme case of censorship I’ve ever seen (can it even get MORE censored than that?). I’m glad there’s uncensored versions of it at least.
This one’s a bit tough. Bit heavy of a subject to chat about, but I guess I’ll give my opinion on its use here. Honestly, this one point can be a whole post on its own, so I’ll try to avoid being too long-winded.
While I’m opposed to slavery (and let’s be clear, I absolutely do NOT support it), I’m also not ignorant enough to think it never existed. In a fictional world, especially one designed to seem less advanced socially, it’s completely believable that they’d still have such systems. If it bothers you, even after separating yourself and the real world from the fiction itself, then all I can say is it’s not the series for you.
If I’m entirely honest, I think Michio’s decision to acquire slaves is actually pretty sound. More than most isekai protagonists who just blindly trust people. While being opposed to slavery, I don’t know what I would have done had I found myself in the same situation. I will say, his clear lust you could call into question, but what were you expecting from this genre?
The way I look at it is the girls being slaves is less important than their treatment, or how the story progresses from there. The fact that he treats them well (aside from that first night, which bothered me quite a bit too, so I’m with you on that one), as equals, is more important to me than their status. I feel like there was similar complaints with Rising of the Shield Hero with Raphtalia.
For both of these series, the slavery aspect is basically used as a vehicle to bring in a given character. There’s no deeper meaning or theme going on here. If the complaint was that its use was lazy writing, I’d be inclined to agree.
I think that’s enough for this topic. We could get into the way slavery functions in the world of Isekai Meikyuu, but we’d be treading a dangerous line, bordering getting political. As such, wrapping this up is the safe play.
Despite all the criticisms I’ve seen for this series, I still really enjoyed it. The manga is better, of course (and I’m sure the LN is as well), but when is that not the case? You just don’t get any of the little bits of info you do in the written mediums, so things feel incomplete.
The comedic moments are worth a chuckle. There’s some nods to moments in the manga with how they deliver the comedy. The action isn’t bad, despite it not being heavily focused on. You do get some diatribes with the explanation of world systems, but it’s part of the genre. The characters are the main focus, however.
Michio is a pretty reasonable protagonist (even if he is ruled by his lust), and really does care about each of the girls. Roxanne is not only hot, but a straight badass. You don’t get a lot of time with Sherry in this season, but she’s a sweet girl too. It was a bit strange seeing the other girls he adds to his harem before they’re even mentioned, but it wasn’t jarring enough to matter.
If you know what you’re getting into, and it’s what you’re looking for or enjoy, it’s a good series. In short, Isekai Meikyuu de Harem wo is an ecchi-heavy harem, with some slice-of-life isekai going on. If you want that, I’d check it out.
While I hope for a second season, I’d be curious if we get one, especially after they montaged the other girls at the end. Well, I can hope. Okay, that’s it, catch you in the next one.