The Fall 2018 Manga Guide
We Never Learn

What's It About? 

Nariyuki Yuiga is a hard-working, diligent student attending the prestigious Ichinose Academy. He makes consistently high marks in all his classes, and seems to be all but set to claim the school's ultimate academic achievement: the Special VIP Recommendation, a full-ride scholarship to a college of his choice. There's only one problem. For all his effort, he is completely outclassed by the natural talents of two students: Rizu Ogata in science, and Fumino Furuhasi in literature. But as luck would have it, on the day of the interview, Nariyuki is offered the scholarship…with one caveat. He has to tutor the school's two star students so they may pass their final exams.

Easy enough, Nariyuki assumes, given their genius-level skills, but there's a small hiccup: Rizu wants to go to a liberal arts college, while Fumino wants to study science. And in spite of all their talent, Nariyuki finds they are completely out of their depth with any subject that does not come naturally to them. Though it will be an uphill battle, Nariyuki agrees to tutor them, seeing the passion, drive and struggle that lies underneath their ineptitude. But further complications arise when the school's star athlete, Uruka Takemoto, joins their tutoring sessions; a friend of Nariyuki's from middle school with absolutely no interest in studying. To make matters even more stressful, Nariyuki's kindness seems to be fostering feelings amongst the girls…romantic feelings. The final semester is moving to a close, and as the days dwindle, will Nariyuki be able to get the girls to a place where they can achieve their dreams? Or will he buckle under the pressure and give up?

We Never Learn is an original manga series by Taishi Tsutsui. It is published by Viz Media and it will be released in December for $9.99 physically.

Is It Worth Reading?

Rebecca Silverman

Rating: 3

I really feel badly for the protagonist of this romantic comedy. Yuiga has a lot on his plate already when the story opens: his father died a few years ago, leaving the rest of the family (mom and three younger siblings) destitute, so Yuiga works his butt off to try and get a special recommendation offered by his school in order to get a full scholarship to college. That, regretfully, comes with a caveat on the part of his jerk principal: Yuiga's scholarship is only going to happen if he tutors the school's two one-sided geniuses in their worst subjects, with a third athletic genius (who has zero academic smarts) thrown in mid-book for good measure. My thoughts about this principal's principles are not publishable.

Thus commences a story where Yuiga ends up with far more on his plate than he really ought to be expected to handle. The initial two girls, who both get cutesy fairy tale nicknames, are brilliant at exactly one subject each but utterly unskilled in the areas they're actually interested in, which makes Yuiga's job worse, but is an interesting plot device. Both of them do have good reasons for wanting to go outside their areas of expertise, and I really appreciate the moment when one snaps that she's tired of being forced into a subject just because she's naturally good at it. That's a good point, and a very valid one for a lot of kids (and heck, adults) trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives. Just because you're good at something doesn't mean that you enjoy it, and that's a reality that Yuiga, who doesn't seem to be aware of his own strengths and likes, needs to have his eyes opened to.

This message does get a little garbled when the third girl comes in, because she's really more interested in Yuiga than in perfecting her English scores. In fact, her entry on the scene is where the book feels like it begins to shift tracks from a light sort-of romance (with more comedy focus) to a full-bore harem rom-com, complete with the tired gags of the genre. Yuiga's developmental trajectory is frankly more interesting than any of Uruka's romantic hijinks, so it's a shame that it gets usurped by the encroaching tropes of the romance plot.

Despite this, there is potential here, and if the story can balance itself out a bit more in subsequent volumes, this could be a good match for fans of (early) Nisekoi or Kaguya-sama: Love is War. It's worth keeping an eye on, especially of shounen romances are your thing.

Amy McNulty

Rating: 4

We Never Learn never strays far from its core concept, yet it manages to keep things entertainingly fresh even within the confines of its singular gimmick. Nariyuki is a likeable protagonist, a hard worker and pragmatist who nonetheless doesn't look down on people for their weaknesses or get overly jealous of their strengths. It would have been so easy to place a judgmental, rude hero at the center of this harem, as other manga have done before. He's not milquetoast and dull, either. He's the ideal mix of naïve, practical, kind, and stern, a must as the girls' tutor. The girls are less rounded as characters but nonetheless mesh together perfectly, and it's nice to see they're supportive of one another. Even Takemoto, the only one of the three who knows resolutely that she has a crush on Nariyuki, gets slightly jealous of any alone time he has with the other girls but does her best to grab his attention without bringing his other pupils down.

Backgrounds are minimal in Tsutsui's art and perhaps reliant too much on screentones and blank spaces. However, as this is a character-focused manga, it doesn't detract from the readability. The character designs aren't particularly unique, but they each suit the characters' personalities to a tee and are pleasant to look at.

We Never Learn volume 1 is an ideally-balanced harem manga with just the right amount of fanservice, conflict, and character depth. Every character is likeable, every situation seems probable, and there's a dash of comedy to keep the reader chuckling along the way.

Teresa Navarro

Rating: 2.5

For high school third year, Nariyuki Yuiga, nothing or nobody will stop him when it comes to getting a college scholarship. Constantly working to be at the top of his class, Nariyuki is only bested by two girls. Fumino Furuhashi, a master at literature, and prodigy in math and science, Rizu Ogata are always stopping him from being the best in his class. When interviewed for a full ride scholarship, Nariyuki is told he can have the scholarship as long as he tutors his two rivals in the opposite subjects they're strong at. Now with only one thing in his way to reaching his dreams, Nariyuki must tutor these cute girls in their respective subjects in We Never Learn.

We Never Learn has a cute concept: students helping students get better at their passion; however, it's totally a harem manga. At first, Nariyuki is just tutoring Fumino and Rizu, however, as time goes by, it's obvious that every girl he's in contact has a crush on him. Though Fumino and Rizu start off not having one, after seeing how he treats the rest of family and how hard he works on tutoring the two, they are overcome with feelings. Later in the first volume, Nariyuki gains a third pupil and she's had an interest in him since middle school.

All of the girls have cute designs but overall, their sudden interest in Nariyuki feels shallow, and bland at best. Of course, it's a harem manga and that's how it always works to appeal to average boys, but it was still kind of boring, and lacked substance once that became the obvious plot. I can't help but wonder how many crushes and pupils Nariyuki will rack up by the end of the manga. Alone, at the end of volume one, we're at three.

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