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Silly question, but how many people do you need at minimum in a love-triangle (or love-polygon, whatever) for something to be classified as a harem manga/anime? If "only" three people are involved, and not even at the same time, would that already be a harem?

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    This is much like asking "how many fight scenes need to be in a movie for it to be classified as an action movie?".
    – senshin
    Dec 20, 2017 at 17:24
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    3 IMHO is not a harem. It's just a simple love triangle. At least 3 female is required in a harem and yuri-harem, 3 male in reverse-harem and yaoi-harem. Also, historically, harem involves hundreds of woman and one man (usually King or Emperor). See, here Dec 21, 2017 at 14:29

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From Wikipedia:

Harem (ハーレムもの hāremumono; "from harem") in anime and manga is an emphasis on polygamous or love triangle relationships characterized by a protagonist surrounded amorously by three or more members of either the same and/or opposing gender, sex, and/or love interests

So three people is enough to be classified as harem

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    Even after reading the referenced article, I'm dissatisfied with the arbitrary number. Surely in the last ten years we've established more than simply conjecture by now.
    – Makoto
    Dec 20, 2017 at 16:02
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Not counting the protagonist …

  • … if it’s one person, it is a simple romance anime.

  • … if it’s two people, it’s a love triangle.

  • … if it’s three people, it can become a love polygon, but calling it a harem is simpler.

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A love triangle is set with 3 people in total. However, one person (1st point of the triangle) is in love with one person (2nd point in the triangle), while the 2nd person is in love with the 3rd person (3rd point in the triangle), and the 3rd person is in love with the 1st person. This is what makes it a love triangle, so it in no way has any relation to a harem.

If one person is in love with 2 people and those 2 people are in love with that one person, then it is a harem.

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  • What you describe as a love triangle is not possible with only heterosexuals. If we are to believe your answer, 3 heterosexuals can only be in a harem. Read Wikipedia and see that it says the exact opposite of your answer.
    – Laurel
    Jul 9, 2023 at 18:49

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