THAT Anime Blog, Home of Utopian Philosophy

This past Valentine’s Day, ExecutiveOtaku over at THAT Anime Blog offered a service for all of the single ladies and gentlemen who found themselves alone on February 14th, a “Harem Finder” that would allow you to enter into a Love Hina-esque setting, custom-tailored to your specific wants and passions. Though obviously a joke, the Harem Finder is not without historical precedent, at least in literary terms. In particular, the concept resembles the writings of utopian philosopher Charles Fourier.

Fourier (1772-1837) believed that the denial of passion was the most major problem with the world, and in his utopian writings he proposed a society where everybody would be able to indulge in their passions in a way that would benefit their society. For instance, a man predisposed to death and slaughter would find a job as a butcher. Fourier (somehow) calculated that there are 810 character and personality types to be satisfied. This of course includes sexual passions, so a sadist would be able to meet a masochist, same-sex relationships would be condoned, and so forth.

Priests and priestesses would gather everyone together and initiate extensive tests involving multiple meetings between potential partners, keeping in mind that “love at first sight” does not always happen. And for those dorks who worry about their physical attractiveness, Fourier has them covered too.

In Harmony sheer physical attractiveness will not have the colossal influence that it has in civilization where everyone is transfixed by the sight of a beautiful woman. Of course the Harmonians will not fail to appreciate physical beauty; in fact their judgment will be considerably more discerning than ours. But when it comes to the selection of sympathetic patners their choices will not be determined by physical charm. For their desire for sensual gratification will be satisfied in several different ways.

In a way, the concept of the “harem” in anime and manga is a form of utopia, acting as a very localized, almost self-functioning society where happiness is being surrounded by women (or men) and everything that happens in the world comes from that harem setting. The same idea could be extended to the most slicey slice-of-life shows, especially when you factor in their utility as a form of cathartic escape. These are, after all, “better worlds.”

In a different era, I think Charles Fourier could have very well been an otaku. He would spend every day after work focused on writing about his utopia, and his devotion to passion is well-represented in anime and manga. He also had a thing for lesbians, making it very possible that he’d be a big yuri advocate, and his obsession with precise calculations seemingly pulled out of nowhere (he determined that there are 26,400 men in the world who also enjoy lesbians) would not be that far off with numbers-obsessed mecha or idol fans.

He was also a life-long virgin, but I’ll leave those jokes to you.

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3 thoughts on “THAT Anime Blog, Home of Utopian Philosophy

  1. Even given the populations of the time, I highly doubt that 26,400 fans of lesbians was all there were. :)

    This sort of thing already exists, somewhat. I remember in high school some of us would take a compatibility test, which got zipped through the scantron and matched us up with people who had similar answers. It was silly, but compelling in its way. We all want a better love through science.

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  2. In a way, the concept of the “harem” in anime and manga is a form of utopia, acting as a very localized, almost self-functioning society where happiness is being surrounded by women (or men) and everything that happens in the world comes from that harem setting.

    Happiness for who though? Most harem leads are miserable and unwilling, spoiled with attention they don’t want and faced with a decision that paralyzes them, while the haremettes are all frustrated (both sexually and emotionally) and unsatisfied. I know the idea of the harem is wish-fulfillment, from the abundance of choice (which doesn’t always guarantee happiness), but for some reason, I just can’t see them as a very fun and fulfilling place to be, for anyone.

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  3. Ah, didn’t even know I was unintentionally drawing on Utopia I spent countless hours of literary research in writing that post.

    I see the appeal of the series but I also agree with Sorrow-kun on the harem idea if viewed realistically. Most harem leads don’t appreciate their situations and usually try to stay away from all the girls, though if this is to be viewed realistically on all levels one has to ask what guy would react that way unless he was already in a relationship, was pining for a girl outside the harem, or was gay (reverse gender and sexual orientation as necessary for applicable series.) Though I would say that in several harem series the girls who don’t end up with the harem lead can have fulfilling endings. Martian Successor Nadesico for example had a harem vibe to it but the other girls who were interested in Akito did find either a fulfilling life or another guy.

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