According to Wikipedia:
Many people suppose that the best selling female Manga author Rumiko Takahashi, wrote the first harem anime with her hit series Ranma 1/2. The anime was really popular, first airing in 1989 and ending in 1992. Also in 1992, another very popular anime Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA premiered.
During the time Final Fantasy V began development, Ranma 1/2 was ongoing series. Seems like Square Enix would capitalize on a popular trend. So what do we see in Final Fantasy V that’s common to Harem Anime tropes? The characters are the biggest commonality. First, we have Bartz, a somewhat nondescript main character. Brown hair, brown eyes, male. As for his personality?
Bartz is described as “a simple wanderer.” He starts his adventure with no further ambitions than exploration as that is what his father wanted
Yeah. Bartz as a character is about as interesting as the Warrior of Light, which may as well be the point. However, the parallels between Bartz and the main character of a harem anime may have also influenced his creation.
Final Fantasy V is the first game were females outnumber the male party members in 3:2 ratio. As usual in Final Fantasy, each of the main female characters fit the Three Faces of Eve archetypes. But each of the girls’ personalities also fit character tropes found in the harem genre.
- Lenna is essentially the “girl next door” type. She’s a bit nondescript herself, aside from her hair.
- Faris is the cool big sister type, both to Lenna and Bartz. She’s also a literal tomboy with a passionate side.
- Krile is the obligatory kawaiiko little sister, the moe girl of the Final Fantasy V.
Of course, I say Final Fantasy V is *like* a harem anime; some elements are missing. Usually, an anime harem ends with the main protagonist falling in love with either one or none of the characters. Bartz falls in love with no one at the end of the game. None of the female characters fight over Bartz. They like him enough to adventure with him, but no one flatters him. They don’t seek his approval or a head pat, or are jealous of what the other females think of him. The game has several moments of ecchi humor (Galuf and Bartz undressing Faris), but no romance subplot. Weirdly enough, this is one thing Final Fantasy V subverts. But then, can it still be a harem anime?
Or maybe it was never really like a harem anime after all? What do you think?