We Never Learn 002-005 – Manga Review
Reviewed by: Tom
Synopsis: Nariyuki Yuiga is a hard working student, aiming for his school’s prize award: Full College Scholarship. The only problem is the two genius level girls in his way: Rizu Ogata, a master at science, and Fumino Furuhashi, amazingly adept at the humanities.
Warning: Spoilers to Follow:
Yuiga is forced to tutor both Fumino and Ogata, who both seek to get into schools’ that focus on subjects they’re bad at. Ogata is bad at humanities, where as Fumino is awful at science. In order for Yuiga to get that Full College Scholarship he’s going to have to help these two achieve their dreams too.
We Never Learn had a solid debut in the Shonen Jump rankings in Japan, but has quickly found itself struggling. I think a large part of that has to do with a lack of conflict, drama and even comedy. We Never Learn seems to offer very little actual content outside of generally high quality art and attractive character designs.
Chapter 002 rehashes much of the first chapter. Again we see the girls working hard and failing at their particular subjects, with perhaps a bit more teasing as to Yuiga’s budding attraction to them.
The chapter tries to do something new by establishing why each girl is so determined on getting into schools that focus on subjects they’re bad at, but ultimately just rehashes the same formula from the previous chapter: Yuiga doesn’t understand their motivation, learns a secret about them, and then realizes how passionate they are.
Outside of playing up the tease of romance, this chapter is borderline boring, with comedy presented in near every other harem manga I’ve read. It’s a poor follow up to what was already a dangerously predictable first chapter. And while Chapter 001 was generally good, it’s bad form to just regurgitate.
Chapter 003 tries to do something new. We’re introduced to Yuiga’s home life again as both Ogata and Fumino come over to study. A big problem We Never Learn makes clear here is that our three leads are all actually super boring together. It’s evidenced by how much more lively this chapter feels once we’ve introduced a slew of new characters: specifically Yuiga’s family.
Unfortunately even with more going on, and boisterous characters into the mix, there’s few new ideas here. We have the assuming mother, a brother complex sister, and two younger siblings that are loud, noisy and blunt. It’s like every anime family combined into one.
The chapter tries to get touching by having Ogata and Fumino realize how hard Yuiga is working to help them improve their grades, but it’s really not enough to make this chapter feel any less generic. Though, in its favor, the influx of more lively characters does make it feel like a better chapter than the second.
Continuing from Chapter 003, Chapter 004 introduces yet another lively character to try and add some much needed spunk to this floundering title. We meet Uruka Takemoto, a sexy dark-skinned swim club babe who also happens to be a dumb dumb at a particular subject needed to get into her college of choice.
The manga almost feels like it’s developing a personality in this chapter with a couple more ‘off color’ jokes. Such as when Yuiga tells the principal he won’t tutor Uruka “Over My Dead Body, Sir!” before revealing that was all in Yuiga’s head. It sticks with a second, slightly less funny joke, but it’s such a shame it didn’t have the drive to redefine Yuiga and offer him up with a stronger personality.
Uruka is clearly meant to be the instigator that gets the group into trouble and keep things frantic. The manga also introduces a potential love angle between her and Yuiga, as she thinks back to when she overheard him defending her to another classmate and explaining why he lends her his notes in the first place.
Chapter 005 gets back to the study sessions and quickly makes use of Uruka’s presence to give us physical ‘sexy’ humor and drive our characters into overhearing Fumino getting asked out by one of the cutest boys in school.
The chapter then shifts gears and focuses on Yuiga’s attempts to help Fumino with her problem, as she’s unable to be more assertive when turning pushy guys down. Yuiga ultimately solves the problem for her by confronting the student when he over hears that this guy only wants to date Fumino because he knows if he is persistent enough she’ll cave to his advances.
The manga tends to hammer home the idea of the “White Knight” with Yuiga solving the situation for Fumino. It’s a bit… I wouldn’t say sexist, but it definitely feels outdated, and it’s disheartening that the manga doesn’t really delve into Fumino’s character all that much here. We don’t even discuss the idea of her perhaps needing to grow her own backbone and instead focus on her budding realization, if you can call it that, that she may have feelings for Yuiga.
Overall with the introduction of Uruka things have picked up. These later chapters feel a little more lively and interesting, but still awfully generic. We Never Learn is merely replicating other works within its genre rather than adding anything new and interesting.
I’ll be sticking with it for a few more chapters, but my current belief is that without an influx of its own, unique elements, We Never Learn is very likely the next causality in the reader rankings run world of Shonen Jump.
That’s it for today. Please let me know what you thought of We Never Learn in the comments below!
We Never Learn can be found in Shonen Jump and its first three chapters are available to read for free at Viz.com.