There's some harsh comments towards the harem genre here. While I generally don't favor it all that much either, it's unfair to lash at it so much. Just because one does it doesn't mean everyone does. While a large portion of the harem anime to come out are based around sexual undertones with little else going for it, there are several very good exceptions to this. To name a few, you have stuff like Clannad and Haganai. Neither can be considered very sexualized shows, which for some reason removes their Harem-tag as well, despite both the shows quite obviously being harems.
I actually enjoy Clannad and Haganai both, but Clannad to me is more like a romance between a boy and a girl where other girls float around on the periphery. If your definition of a harem is just a bunch of characters of a gender attractive to the MC's preference hanging around them, I guess it fits that definition. But I didn't get the feeling when watching it that anyone but the destined girl was going to have a relationship with MC.
Haganai is more of a harem either way but it feels to me like it's self-aware about that and kind of milks it for comedic effect rather than just making a romcom with a bunch of people involved. Also, the MC is not the typical dense type either, so there's that. I feel like there's a story involved there.
Another thing to note is that a lot of harem-adaptations come from Visual Novels. VNs are tricky to adapt since they have several character routes, and to avoid disappointing people, a general approach is most common, trying to give at least the more popular routes a fair bit of screen-time and cutting out bits and pieces from the routes to make it, what should I say, pleasing. This also kind of justifies the bland main characters, seeing that it's very much so the norm for VNs since it's meant to be a self-insert type ordeal.
Yeah, you got me there. I should have taken this into account because I'm aware of the fact that harem is typically the answer to adapting these kinds of deals, to the point where "harem ending" = nobody gets together.
Of course, not every harem anime produced can be protected by such, you have stuff like HotD which was a manga, and Highschool DxD which as far as I'm aware was a light novel, again just to name a few.
Overall though, all I can say is that it's just a genre for those who are interested in what it has to offer. Whipping at it is just stupid. It's a genre just like everything else, to put those who like it in a shamed position is really unnecessary. It's a genre just like all other genres. I don't like shoujo anime, but I don't go around shaming it for that reason. You kind of just have to accept that some people like what it has to offer and move on.
I don't know if you were addressing what I wrote, but I think shaming and whipping are a bit beyond what I intended to get across. I think the harem genre could be improved if more stories within it focused on the story and not so much on fanservice. I have seen some really interesting ones, and they tend to stand out because they do things differently than the norm. I basically would like to see more of them do that and change the norm for the genre.
Maybe I should just accept that it's unlikely it will, though, for some of the reasons I outlined in a previous post.