Predictable and a little underwhelming, We Never Learn by Taishi Tsutsui is a lighthearted manga that reads very similar to other titles within the same genre. The leading ladies fall a little flat in terms of personality and character, and are stereotyped in the way that most shonen manga tends to do. Although the art is crisp and clean, without too much clutter, there seems to be something else missing.
Nariyuki Yuiga, is a poor student who is eager to earn a scholarship to his preferred college before he graduates. His principal agrees to help him in this endeavor on one condition: he must tutor three of the most talented girls in the school so that they make it into their target schools as well. Seems easy right? Except these three young women have decided to study the subjects they happen to be the worst at: Rizu is a whiz at science, but wants to study liberal arts, Fumino excels at literature but is horrible at math, and Uruka is a swimming champion with no apparent school skills.
As he begins to tutor them he finds out it’s going to be more of a challenge than he thought, having to figure out how each young woman will be able to study the best. He is also struggling with the awkward situations he keeps finding himself in. Especially when Rizu and Fumino show up at his house and cause some chaos among his siblings. At the end of the first volume the girls are all heading into their first exams and the true test is whether Nariyuki’s teachings have helped or not.
In volume 2, Nariyuki is back at the principal’s office being told that Rizu, Fumino, and Uruka must score above average in their exams or else he must convince them to give up their target schools. Determined, both Nariyuki and the girls work hard and manage to surpass the target goal. The girl’s former tutor looks on unhappily because she feels the girls should be focusing on their talents. The girls all have bonding moments with Nariyuki, along with some of the fathers wanting Nariyuki to marry their daughters.
As the group heads off to a school retreat for a few days. Nariyuki and Rizu share a kiss. After Nariyuki gets caught in the girls sauna, Rizu and Fumino’s former tutor decides to intervene, questioning Nariyuki’s motives for helping them. When the they come to his defense, the tutor finally stops her questioning. However, she makes a promise that she will not stop trying to convince them to changing their school choice. The volume ends with a bonus scene of the group at the beach.
Starting with the positives: the story is funny at times, it’s definitely lighthearted, and makes for a quick read. Nariyuki’s relationship with his siblings is caring and it would be good to see more of his backstory—I think that would help readers become more connected with the characters. Unfortunately, there are quite a few things that felt off while I was reading this manga, mostly with how the girls are portrayed. They fall into typical “smart but dumb” girl tropes, with several scenes where they are in various states of undress that create “funny but awkward” situations. They also seems to have very flat personalities, like there wasn’t as much care taken with the character development of the girls as opposed to Nariyuki. Though this book isn’t intended to be taken seriously, it was uncomfortable to read at times.
The art is very clean and the translation is very well done. Although some of the scenes were uncomfortable, the 16+ older teen rating is accurate. There is no explicit nudity or foul language throughout the book. However, there are a few scenes with the girls scantily dressed or nearly naked. This probably wouldn’t be a good addition to a school library collection, but would make a good addition for a large established collection of manga. If harem manga circulates really well, then this would make a decent addition to the collection. Not sure if I’ll read any more of this series but others might enjoy it immensely.
We Never Learn
By Taishi Tsutsui
vol 1 ISBN: 9781974703029
vol 2 ISBN: 9781974703012
Viz Media, 2019
Publisher Age Rating: 16+