How about murdering males that abuse females by creating a harem around those and finally killing the target? This may sound interesting at first sight, however Harem End is fails to portray this miserably through an inconsistent story with very dull and shallow characters, as well as having an excess of gore. This leaves the reader wondering whether the focus of the manga lays in displaying gore or the story itself.
These murders are done by a group of girls called "Harem End" - hence the title. Through an internet website affected females submit the target person whom they want murdered. The group handles these requests
by first investing the client thourougfully, and if conditions are met, the process begins. This is an interesting premise, as in addition there is a mysterious animation company who has ties with one of the assessinated victims from "Harem End". Shame that the author failed to portray this, and the overall story was poorly executed and displayed.
There is a gist to the animation company: it specializes in the use of taxidermied corpses, called "Shitai" anime. However, there is a problem on how the author displays it: the corpses and explanation on how everything is made is too detailed, which makes the impression that the main objective of Harem End was to display "Shitai" anime and gore, and not the story itself.
Going back to the narrative, the different events are somewhat well written, but the continuety was not. Throughout each chapter, sudden jumps in storyline are made, as well as the dialogue of characters not being consistent neither believable in any way. There is neither any explanation on why the members of the organization "Harem End" are so adverse to males. nor any background stories were provided for the cast.
The characters of Harem End are far from desirable as well: very bland and shallow, no real motives behind any of the actions, lacking any type of real motivation behind it, making it neither realistic nor believable. There is also the problem of the clients, whose motives are never displayed neither of the victims, making it impossible to feel any attachment to the characters at all. The women seem to be stereotypical and generic, but even in this aspect it's difficult to distinguish between each of them, as all behave similarly or even nothing is shown.
Harem End's art style is passable as a whole, but the different facial expressions and character movements are very lacking, as it doesn't give any feeling of fluidity. Character designs are very simplistic and generic, being the defining points of characters hairstyle and clothing. Backgrounds suffer from the same problem as well: very simplistic, and a lack of shading. What must be highlighted is the amount of detail put into drawing the different gore scenes, depicting dead corpses, dismembered body parts, skin... In fact, too realistic for my own liking, making me feel sickened throughout the manga.
So is Harem End a recommendable to read? Definetely not. It has an interesting premise, but storywise and characterwise it fails miserably, as well focusing too much on gore with bad plot development of the story and explanation of characters behaviour. Unless you are into gore that is.
I'll admit I'm moderately new to creepy manga as I was just doing a little delve into the category for Halloween, but I feel I can confidently say that "Harem End" is one of the eeriest mangas out there. I say this from the story design, which I see as horrifyingly brilliant and intriguing for the horror genre - especially when having been acquainted with anime/manga prior (which I assume all of you have). I definitely won't be speaking much at all into the elements of the story here as this manga is too much of an ongoing experience that just a mention of an
aspect could ruin a good sum of the response to it's developments. All I can say to the story is that it's smart, while also a bit wild - taking in some common tropes and not exactly deconstructing them in a way one might expect. To the more technical aspects of the manga though, the art is well-proportioned, but takes a bit of a style similar to how rotoscoping appears. The style might not connect to some, but if you want to try this manga out, you best be ready for things you aren't quite comfortable with - so I wouldn't stop just because of that. The characters are all interesting, while I wouldn't exactly say deep and complex. The characters are consistent, however, and are generally coordinated to be smart for the given circumstance.
Recommendations for this manga aren't that open though, and I don't know if I'd recommend traditional horror fans to read this. This manga isn't exactly horror as it's more suspenseful and grotesquely intriguing. I was never scared while reading "Harem End" (while I should point out I don't scare easily), but I was definitely disturbed. It's kinda odd coming out of something disturbing and summing it up to an enjoyable experience as that'll definitely vary, but I do feel this manga hit hard where it meant to and will likely leave a lasting impression on me. There were no pieces of the story I felt out of place or parts that began to bore, taking note of the extra chapters. It all felt very inter-connected and designed. When bringing some smartness to the table, it also managed to be convincing while I couldn't say for sure if what these characters are set up to do checks out with reality. I would recommend "Harem End" to those that are either interested by this write-up or to those who are really open about their experiences and are ready for something quite eerie and odd to change the pace.