We Never Learn: BOKUBEN – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Nariyuki Yuiga is in his last and most painful year of high school. In order to gain the “special VIP recommendation” which would grant him a full scholarship to college, he must now tutor his classmates as they struggle to prepare for entrance exams. Among his pupils are “the sleeping beauty of the literary forest,” Fumino Furuhashi, and “the Thumbelina supercomputer,” Rizu Ogata–two of the most beautiful super-geniuses at the school! While these two were thought to be academically flawless, it turns out that they’re completely clueless outside of their pet subjects…!?(Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: We Never Learn: Bokuben is based off the Shonen Jump manga of the same name. I actually reviewed We Never Learn when it was first added to the Jump line up two years ago, and largely my thoughts haven’t changed on the series. Our focus is not so much on Yuiga’s efforts to tutor both Fumino and Rizu in their desired subjects, but rather the ever building harem and romance shenanigans. We Never Learn’s premise is thin, mostly existing as a flimsy justification for why our ordinary, every-man, self insert main character ends up with his own harem. Even in anime form I’m still not a fan. That said, We Never Learn’s anime is more than just a straight adaptation. The anime cuts out and rearranges content, making for a more evenly passed experience that not only keeps the story a bit more engaging, but removes some of the male gaze and fan service content that might’ve kept We Never Learn as something purely for the boys.
Linny: Based solely off this first episode, We Never Learn seems like a harem for those who prefer something more chaste and innocent. The credits are a bit more lewd, featuring perky, bouncing breasts but otherwise this first episode itself limits its heart-pounding content to accidental breast grazing and avoids anything more extreme or vulgar. The face planting into people’s nether regions or ample bosoms trope is thankfully absent. Still, the credits make it clear that the main attraction is the plethora of We Never Learn’s female characters, with most of the opening credits run time devoted to shots of the girls and barely showing our male main character.
Tom: Even as something more chaste We Never Learn remains almost entirely male fantasy, putting an extremely average young man in the center of an ever growing harem, which would be many a young man’s absolute dream. The series does contain positives messages, like hard work pays off, never give up on your dreams, and don’t just do what everyone tells you to do. But even with the anime’s eased level of fan service, We Never Learn is still a male fantasy at its heart, as most harem are. I’d still be willing to recommend it as such, but my experience with the manga left me feeling like We Never Learn is a very middle of the road harem and one should temper their expectations accordingly. That said, if harem is your thing, but fan service isn’t. We Never Learn’s more modest anime might be the better experience, especially since it tightens up the manga’s somewhat messy start.
Linny: We Never Learn’s introduction contains some cute humour centered on Fumino and Rizu’s genius skills in one subject and complete idiocy in another. It’s one note and works well enough within this first episode, but doesn’t feel like enough material for the show to draw from for its entire run. At the end of the day, We Never Learn feels like an average harem at best, with its main character literally getting to be the lead because of his general (read average) proficiency in all subjects making him a last resort to help these otherwise genius girls. It’s meant to be a somewhat chaste male fantasy romance for the high school aged male viewer and thus probably best enjoyed by those who fall in that category, offering little to nothing else for any other type of viewer.