Manga Talk: We Never Learn

Hello and welcome back to Manga Talk!

Today we are going to be delving a bit into the harem genre, which is probably the genre that I am dislike the most.

Will the manga that I am talking about today be the exception to the rule? I will be taking a look at the first volume of the manga We Never Learn and as usual there will be MASSIVE SPOILERS for this volume.

Let’s get started!

Summary

The story follows a young man named Yuiga Nariyuki, who is working extremely hard to be chosen for the school’s VIP Recommendation.

This recommendation is offered only to the most elite of student’s at the school and provides a full scholarship to college, which would be incredibly beneficial to Yuiga, who’s family is not in the best financial situation.

The interview for the program goes well and he will get the recommendation on one condition…he needs to be the tutor to two students, Furuhashi Fumino and Ogata Rizu.

This puzzles Yuiga because Fumino and Rizu are both natural geniuses, with Fumino being an ace in literature and art and Rizu being a master of math and science.

Yuiga asks what they each want to study and as it turns out Fumino wants to study math and science and Rizu wants to study literature and art.

Yuiga thinks that it would be easy to teach them, but quickly finds out that they are absolutely useless in the fields that they want to study, which proves to be frustrating.

Yuiga doesn’t give up on them though, reading the study books that they left behind after an argument and learning that they are trying to learn, but are having very specific blocks that make it difficult. Having had his own issues studying when he was younger, he makes study plans for the two and they get to studying.

Power pose for dominance

It’s slow, but there is some progress in the studying, as well as Yuiga learning why they want to study fields that they aren’t naturals in.

Fumino wants to study astronomy because it reminds her of her mother who had died when she was young, and Rizu wants to sudy psychology because she wants to understand people better.

One Sunday, Fumino and Rizu go to Yuiga’s house to study, and Yuiga’s siblings all believe that one of them is Yuiga’s girlfriend and spend the time trying to convince one of them to get together with him.

The only exception is Yuiga’s sister, Mizuki, who doesn’t believe that the girls are right for her brother and attempts to test them, which they pass with little effort much to Mizuki’s chagrin.

The next biggest hurdle for Yuiga comes from his childhood friend Takemoto Uruka, who is a swimming ace but needs to pass English class or her athletic scholarship goes away.

Yuiga is assigned to help Uruka as well, and Uruka is a much tougher student to tutor because she lacks motivation to learn. However, she does have a definite crush on Yuiga, so she joins the study group in order to get closer to Yuiga.

After a small side plot involving a guy hitting on Fumino, Rizu needs help with an essay that she absolutely needs to turn in. She goes to Yuiga’s house to get help with the essay, and they are joined by Uruka.

Rizu needs to write an essay on humankind’s relationship with modern technology, but Rizu has an issue formulating an opinion that is not based in pure logic.

After shenanigans involving a blackout, a lighter, a candle, and accidental groping, Rizu figures out a way to write the essay, which shows progress.

Uruka is informed that the swim team is having their athletes prepare for an English exam, which if Uruka fails then she can’t compete.

Try as they might, the other three cannot make the words stick in Uruka’s mind. It isn’t until Yuiga comes up with the idea that since Uruka has intense focus while swimming, that using swimming to help Uruka learn would help.

It turns out to be effective and the volume ends with Uruka acknowledging studying is hard, but it is easier with everyone’s help and gives Yuiga a thank you gift. Unfortunately, she gave him the wrong bag, accidentally giving him her wet bathing suit instead of a pencil case.

A Plus

This being a romantic comedy is helpful because there were plenty of amusing and funny moments, as well as interesting characterizations,

Yuiga, while being the focal point character, is not like most average harem protagonists. While he does suffer a bit from being a cardboard cutout, I will say that he has a lot more drive and motivation than most other harem protagonists that I have seen.

He isn’t the best in academics, but he tries his best to get into a program that will guarantee a full scholarship for college, which he plans to use to support his mother and siblings after his father had passed several years ago.

Yuiga has a good head on his shoulders, which is a lot better than what I can say for most harem protagonists.

Yumino and Rizu are interesting from a storytelling perspective because they want to be better at what the other is naturally talented in. The manga does go into explanation as to why don’t they just help each other, which I do appreciate.

This does set up the fact that even though one might be naturally good at a particular subject in high school, they may not want to pursue that subject if they decide to go through higher education.

While previous tutors wanted the girls to hone their impressive natural talents, the tutors were frustrated with them wanting to do something that they are not that good at. This again shows Yuiga’s character of not giving up while also giving the girls a reason to take interest in him romantically.

Then comes the curveball of Uruka, a childhood friend who already has feelings for Yuiga but runs into the issue of not being able to confess her feelings. That and her disinterest in academia make her unique enough to not feel like a copy of the other two, while also giving the school a reason to tutor her as the school’s swimming ace.

The character design and expressions in this manga are stellar, which is necessary for a romantic comedy to help convey the emotions of the characters, both during times of comedy and times of drama.

Failing Grade

The art, while being very good, also does the one most contentious things that I do not like in manga and anime.

Fanservice.

I understand that there are a plethora of opinions on fanservice, however I am in the camp that unnecessary fanservice can cheapen a story and add a sleazy element that isn’t necessary.

At the end of the first chapter of the story there is a scene where Rizu and Yumino are taking a shower and a bath, which is pretty much there just for fanservice.

Then there is also Uruka, who is on the swimming team so there are ample ways to provide fanservice that way.

It is definitely an issue that I am not alone in, but I also know that there are plenty of people on the other side who don’t mind it.

I will also say that there are plenty of harem and romance tropes that the story uses that make the overall narrative feel stale.

Yuiga’s friends and family thinking that he is in a relationship with one or all of the girls, a childhood friend who has a crush on the main character, characters having dead family members or intense family members that will be developed later in the story, accidental groping, etc.

It can be bothersome when there are plenty of interesting character moments that feel the need to have the standard harem plot points that really hurt the story because there are a lot of interesting things about this story, in my opinion!

In Conclusion

I would recommend this story if you enjoy romance stories, interesting characters, and funny dialogue.

This manga has enough good elements that I will probably pick up the second volume, although I am not in a rush to do so.

Starting Friday, there will be a special surprise. I will be taking next week off because it is my birthday week, so to supplement it, I have an idea.

I will be taking a look at Dragon Ball, but not just the first volume. I will be taking a look at the first THREE volumes of Dragon Ball.

Now I will not be able to get through the first three volumes in one sitting, so Friday and Saturday will be dedicated to a two part Manga Talk about one of the most seminal pieces of Japanese media, and one of my favorite series of all time, Dragon Ball!

It’s going to be a fun ride.

So until then,

Heiwa to sayonara!

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