de Ask MDL, Mar�o 21, 2020

This time we picked the tag "Harem" and "Reverse Harem" this year's topics will focus on Tags rather than genres.

So what exactly are these tags? Well, taken from Manga and Anime, it is the Main Character surrounded by a supporting cast of the opposite sex (or plays the role of the opposite sex), that are at least friends but may also vie for the love interest position of the main character.

"The more, the merrier" rule is followed in dramas and movies of this type. In the best ones, the viewer remains confused to the end as to whom to ship together. There can be strong cases of second or even third lead syndrome. The same old clichés gain novelty when done by different leads because there are those subtle differences which reveal which one will be the ultimate pairing. Thus, there is room for multiple first kisses, persons falling in arms, epic saves, frustrating misunderstandings, and brooding gazes. Trust us when we say that harems and reverse harems are some of the most entertaining of all romances.

Not every country has these; so, for example for the Philippines, we had to use "Love Triangle" as it was the closest we could come to fit the tag.

We hope you enjoy our picks! Oh, and the pictures this year were done by hideyourheart - Arigatou, ne!

Michima Shin is a 30-years-old lonely and unpopular novelist who lives alone in a big house. Shin's father is a convicted murderer, awaiting capital punishment, who killed 3 people, including his wife, Shin's mother. One day, five mysterious women showed up at Shin's house saying that they received an invitation to live with him in exchange of paying 1 million yen a month in rent. They set up rules for Shin such as no asking questions and no entering the women's rooms.

Natsumi loves lunch. By chance she starts working for "Kitchen Macaroni", posing as the fiance of the owner's eldest son, Kenichiro. Kenichiro's father Kenzo and his three younger brothers - Yujiro, Junzaburo, and Koshiro - run the restaurant, famous for its omelette. Also working at the restaurant are Mamoru, a chef, and Minoru, a live-in apprentice cook. Not everyone has a liking to Natsumi at first, but over time they will surely fall in love with her.

 Ikemen Desu Ne
Miko is a 20-year-old girl. She is pure but prone to make mistakes. Since her father, who was a composer, died, she stayed at an orphanage with her twin brother Mio Sakuraba. Now she is at a convent dreaming of becoming a nun. But, one day, a strange man named Mabuchi asks her to join a famous band called A*N*Jell, due to her brother being out of the country. Once she agrees, something bigger than a love triangle starts to evolve, along with other people intertwined to this story.
Hana Yori Dango
Tsundere lonely rich boy falls in love with the spunky poor girl.  But how much does he have to change to keep her and do they have the fortitude to stand against his all-powerful mother? Is their fate intertwined?

Dramas: 5-ji Kara 9-ji Made, Asuko March!, Atashinchi no Danshi, Hana Yori Dango 2, Hachimitsu to Clover, Ikemen Desu Ne, Ito-kun A to E, Ouran High School Host Club, Shitsuren Chocolatier, Stand Up!!, Mei-chan no Shitsuji.

Movies: Call Boy (18+),  Hana Yori Dango: Final, Hanazakari no Kimitachi e, Honey and Clover, Ooku, Ouran High School Host Club The Movie.

On the Wings of Love 

A romantic comedy that centers around two very different people - Leah, a simple girl with an American dream; and Clark, a boy living his American life - who are forced to marry to legally stay and continue working in the United States.
Senior engineering student Vince has a crush on go-getter and fellow engineering student Kath. Just as when he's about to confess his feelings for her, his cousin and basketball varsity player James begs to build him up on Kath by pretending to be the secret admirer 'Var' through text message. As he becomes James' secret wingman, Vince struggles to restrain his own feelings for Kath. However, as Kath gets to know Vince during the internship, she increasingly feels the genuine connection with him -- the same connection she had felt with 'Var'. In this young love triangle filled with filters, will the three of them ever find genuine love they deserve?

They were out to get their husbands' secret "women" when they found out that their husbands were the women they were looking for. Yup, their husbands were in a relationship.

Vincent is keeping a secret from his wife; it is also a secret he has kept from everyone else since he was young. Vincent is a closeted bisexual man who never came out for fear that it'll destroy his family. However, everything changed when he once again crosses paths with Eric - his greatest love. Unlike Vincent, Eric is openly gay. But, just like Vincent, he is still in love with him.

Meant to BeOne of the BaesFamily Jewels (Pamilya Roces), Forevermore, The Promise, Marimar

Movies: Can't Help Falling in Love, Must Be... Love

Shan Cai, whose parents are far from wealthy, attends Ying De University, the private school established exclusively for rich students. Besides being looked down by rich classmates, she has angered the leader of F4, Dao Ming Si. F4 comprises of Dao Ming Si, Hua Ze Lei, Xi Men, and Mei Zuo, who are the heirs to the four richest families. Their families are the founder of the school, and nobody dares to cross them. Shan Cai isn't afraid to stand up to DMS, an act that nobody has done before, and sparks Dao Ming Si's interest in her. However, his constant torture has made her miserable while she falls in love with the gentle Hua Ze Lei, who comes to her rescue. Can Dao Ming Si win her love despite his cold and cruel exterior? What happens when his mother decides to use every trick there is to keep them apart? Can they adjust to each other's differences due to their vastly incompatible social status?

The story revolves around a fictional boy band named A.N.JELL. The management company of the idol group A.N.JELL insisted on adding a new singer to the group as the lead vocal, Tai Jing's voice was hurting. However, the new member, Mei Nan, had to go to the States to repair a botched eye job just before signing the contract. His agent came up with the idea of having his twin sister, Gao Mei Nu a nun-in-training, to pose as her twin brother and take his place in the group. The two of them grew up in an orphanage and Mei Nu, who was all set to become a nun, agreed to this charade as she didn't want to spoil her brother's chance of fame which would make it easier to look for their mother.

The day Ming Xiao Xi transferred to her new school, she got herself into a fight with the most popular kids in school, who also happened to be the most arrogant, devilish pretty boys in school. Before she knew it, she became public enemy number 1. But, nothing can defeat this outgoing martial artist. She can handle any punches coming her way.


Emily is an assistant in a law firm that specializes in divorce cases. Although she has the help of her best friend photographer, Dou Ru, life hasn't been easy. Her boyfriend treats her more like a servant than a lover, she hasn't talked to her father in years, and she is bullied at work.  One day she finds a letter in a bottle with a list of things that Emily has been avoiding.  After her discovery, bizarre events keep occurring around her, which leads her to believe that the bottle is actually cursed. Could it be that the only way to break the curse is to follow the list of things Emily has been avoiding the most? 

Dramas:  JOJO's World

When her boyfriend decides to take a break, Ja finds herself back in the dating world as a thirty-year-old. It turns into an adventure as she is courted by younger guys.

Riam, a woman who has given up on love after several failed relationships, is diagnosed with Chocolate Cyst. The cure for the disease is either a difficult surgery or to have a baby. To beat the disease, she decides to go husband-hunting.

Neerappa is broken-hearted when she finds her boyfriend is in love with a best friend. Meanwhile, Tor, who has always been in love with her, decides to pursue her now that she is single.

Type is a homophobic college freshman who ends up sharing a room with a handsome gay music freshman. The story revolves around his hatred towards Tharn and how their room-sharing would change their relationship.
(It's a guilty pleasure recommendation, and the reason is qualified here is because of Tharn's harem - Type, P San, Tar and he who should not be named).

Dramas: War of High School the Series, Bangkok Love Stories: My Weakness

Empress Wu 
Hong Kong television serial based on the biography of Wu Zetian (Cantonese: Mou Zak-tin), the only woman in Chinese history to assume the title of "Empress Regnant", starring Petrina Fung as the title character. The serial was produced by ATV and was first aired in Hong Kong on ATV Home from 6 August to 28 September 1984
An incisive portrait of a businesswoman torn between duty and desire HONG PO KEI's (Sheren Tang) engagement with Wuxi rice baron CHAI KAU (Wayne Lai) broke off many years ago when a natural disaster hit the country. Later, when the country was running out of food supply, her whole family was killed, and she becomes a criminal. Over the years, KEI has never got over KAU. 
The Duke of Mount Deer 
Wai Siu Bo is the son of a prostitute who works in a brothel in Yangzhou. After joining the Heaven and Earth society, he heads to the Capital and gets enrolled into the service of the Grand Eunuchs. There he becomes friends with the young emperor Hong Hei (Wai mistakes the emperor for another young eunuch) and falls in love with the emperor's younger sister, Princess Kin Ning. His adventures in the Forbidden City lead him to discover the empress dowager as an impostor, finding several volumes of the prized 42 Chapters which contain the location of a treasure cave. He helps the emperor kill the baddie courtier, Lord Obai, and sees his position rise from humble eunuch to a grand courtier and confidante of the emperor.
Keung Yung has had a crush on her co-worker Michael Chiu Wai Kan for over ten years, but she is too afraid to confess her feelings. One night, while talking on the phone with her other co-worker Shun Suk Mui, Yung is electrocuted to death because of her bootlegged phone. Regretful of not being able to fulfil her romantic wishes in life, she uses Suk Mui, who is the only person that can see her due to their final phone conversation, to pursue Michael.

Movies: Empress Wu

Meteor Garden

An ordinary girl is admitted to the most prestigious school in the country where she encounters F4, an exclusive group comprised of the four wealthiest and most handsome boys in the school - Dao Ming Si, Hua Ze Lei, Xi Men and Mei Zuo. 

A story revolving around a palace maid with a plucky attitude, street smarts, and a good heart as she maneuvers the dangers in the palace to become a concubine of Emperor Qian Long. 

Xie Xieng joins the army pretending to be her brother, and becomes friends with two young men. While she tries to establish herself in the army and earn the trust of her peers, battle and conspiracies start brewing around her.

Luo Ling accidentally enters the game world where she meets several men who are fellow game characters. Her only way to get back to her world is by finding true love.

Dramas: Princess AgentsThe Whirlwind GirlScarlet Heart

Geum Jan Di comes from a poor family who owns a dry-cleaning shop. One day, she visits Shinhwa High School, a prestigious school for the wealthy, and saves a student who was going to commit suicide because of F4's bullying. Jan Di then receives a swimming scholarship to attend the school for her heroic act. In school, she meets the notorious F4, who is the most popular and powerful group of boys at the school, consisting of Gu Jun Pyo, the leader of F4 and heir to the Shinhwa Group; Yoon Ji Hu, the grandson of a former president of Korea; So Yi Jung, a skilled potter who comes from a family that owns the country's biggest art museum; and Song Woo Bin, whose family runs the country's largest construction company. Her life at school starts out miserable, as she doesn't fit in with other students because of her statues, and later becomes worse when she is labelled as the new bullying target of the F4.

Mr. Sunshine centers on a young boy born into a family of servants. He travels to the United States during the 1871 Shinmiyangyo (U.S. expedition to Korea) and returns to his homeland later as a U.S. marine officer. He meets and falls in love with an aristocrat’s daughter. At the same time, he discovers a plot by foreign forces to colonize Korea.

Kim Yun Hee is a smart, responsible young woman with an independent drive. Since her father passed away, she has worked to support her family, but also managed to do well in her studies. When her younger brother's illness worsens, their family becomes in danger of being evicted from their house for lack of money. In her desperation to support him, Kim Yoon Hee decides to take the men-only national exam under her younger brother's name and disguises herself as a boy. On the day of the exam, Kim Yun Hee meets Lee Seon Joon and becomes friends. Lee Seon Joon comes from a privileged background and possesses good looks. He is also arrogant. They both pass the national exam, and she has to share a room with him at Sungkyunkwan University while hiding her true nature. There, she becomes friends with the playboy Goo Yong Ha and rebellious Moon Jae Shin.

This web drama focuses on a twenty-nine-year-old working woman who has never been lucky in love. But suddenly, her life changes when she draws attention from her supervisor, colleague and her ex-boyfriend, who is now her new boss.

Dramas: EXO Next Door, Cheese in the Trap, Cinderella and the Four Knights, Flower Boy Next Door, To the Beautiful you, Flower boy Ramen Shop, Shut Up Flower Boy BandYou're Beautiful, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

We hope you enjoy our Recs this time around!
What are your favourite Harem/Reverse-Harem Titles?

Cookie (1st editor)