- Alt. Name
- Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai
- Release Date
- Spring 2019
- No. of Episodes
- Arvo Animation
We Never Learn: BOKUBEN is a 2019 Harem Romantic Comedy anime series created by two newer Japanese animation studios, Silver and Arvo Animation. While neither studio has obtained any following yet, that doesn’t mean teaming up with another newbie isn’t a terrible idea. Can a series about learning with multiple love triangles succeed and become entertaining? Those two objectives are sometimes a big mountain to climb, and if done correctly, that still doesn’t equate to success, which is why a vast majority of harem anime series seem to fail. Although with two studios that have yet to create a name for themselves provides a rather interesting and somewhat inept assertion that if some of the major studios can’t perfect it, why not start with it?
Nariyuki Yuiga is an impoverished third-year high school student, works tirelessly to receive the VIP nomination, a scholarship that would cover all of his college tuition fees. In recognition of his hard work, the headmaster awards him an outstanding scholarship on one condition. He must tutor the school’s geniuses in their weakest subjects! Joining his new brigade of pupils is the master of math, Rizu Ogata, who wants to study humanities. The literature legend Fumino Furuhashi intends to study science; finally, there’s Yuiga’s sports-savvy childhood friend, Uruka Takemoto, whose hopelessness at everything that doesn’t involve breaking a sweat.
High school can be a troubling time for anyone, no matter what, but it’s even more complicated when outside alien pressures keep arising. Through the neverending turmoil, the four of them stick together and help whenever they can – even though they sometimes may be the ones making it worse. Can these students pass their classes as the university application deadlines rapidly approach them, or will Nariyuki fail at tutoring them much like all the ones before him?
While on paper, this story may seem somewhat generic and rudimentary when one erases the tutoring aspect. Though that’s this story’s most significant benefit and its greatest weakness, it shows more than what one would expect. The pacing is adequate for a harem series, but it seemed rather requisite when it needed to be when it came to the romantic-comedy aspect. The story is separated into two different arcs: the entire groups’ relationship and individual one-on-one relationships. Having a series narrative that’s split and merge again has its advantages to world-building and character development. At the very least, it creates a firmer hold on the characters and why the audience should be emotionally attached to them.
However, having a story that separates and comes back together has its drawbacks as well, and We Never Learn unfortunately didn’t help with them. The biggest drawback is that one character gets too much story told, and the audience doesn’t learn anything about the other main characters, which this series felt like it, unfortunately, aced at times. Another negative aspect of the story is that the pacing was somehow a tad askew with the generic story. Some episode arcs seemed to be more critical than others, but the info learned from the events never gets repurposed. The word filter doesn’t even do it justice because the creators had a clear idea of what they were planning on doing, but the end seemed like a forgotten area within the series. Overall, these flaws were moderately troublesome and rarely had, but that’s no excuse for these to happen.
Usually, when a series is done by more than one studio, sometimes one central part of the series is lacking, and it’s often the art style. Thankfully this series was created and crafted by Masakatsu Sasaki, who created other character designs for handfuls of different series. However, with a series that revolves around female characters, usually, the art style subjects itself with an overt moe approach, and thank the stars, this series overcame that stereotype. The art style is clean and crisp but doesn’t give off that gendered atmosphere towards a specific audience, which is nice to have. While the clear two-dimensional art style may turn some viewers off, this is a clear benefit with the bright colors. This series doesn’t mislead its viewers with exaggerated and overproduced character designs.
Much like the artistic style, the animation production within We Never Learn is impressive. The opening animation is beautiful and paired well with “Seishun Seminar,” and the ending animation sequence is arguably better than the opener. Even without the rememberable theme appropriately titled “Never Give It Up!” the group Study surprisingly performs both. While some viewers may not particularly enjoy the sudden cuts from the animation styles, this, unfortunately, happens throughout the series. This reduced production is a shame because some of the side animations are of lesser quality and slowly downgrades the art and the animation production that was superior within the series.
With a series delving deep into high school bordering college entrances, this series seems to be lacking any side characters or anyone outside of the group’s central circle of acquaintances. Some may think this is an advantage, but most of the time, it’s a severe drawback. For instance, Nariyuki Yuiga is the series main male character; he’s a third-year student, and to provide for his low-income family, he sets out to obtain the school’s VIP nomination. While he is very book smart, he is exceptionally oblivious to the romantic interest the other girls who’ve developed towards him. For the only male consistent in the series, not much is left to his person outside of him being a caring sibling and friend.
When it comes to the three main girls, these three are a little more developed, but not by much, throughout the series. Fumino Furuhashi is a third-year student and a genius in arts and literature. Though she is very gifted in those areas, she is fascinated with the stars and wishes to pursue a degree in astronomy, despite her terrible mathematics skills. She’s the one that Nariyuki confides in the most when dealing with problems, especially when it comes to the females in his life, even calling her his master at times.
Rizu Ogata is a third-year student and a genius in mathematics and science. Though she finds understanding others’ emotions difficult, it initially inspired her to pursue a psychology degree to overcome her weakness. She is genuinely passionate about board and card games but isn’t very good at them. Outside of Uruka, she’s the main rival to win Nariyuki’s heart.
Though the other ladies haven’t been in Nariyuki’s life for as long as Uruka Takemoto’s, she’s not letting that slow her down in this challenge. Being a third-year student and a swimming prodigy, she dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete and seeks to earn an athletic scholarship. However, since she has abysmal grades, she is placed under Nariyuki’s tutelage to improve her English skills and become a more well-rounded student. Though he is blatantly unaware of her feelings, Uruka has had a crush on Nariyuki since middle school.
Outside of these three characters, two others are seldomly seen – unless it’s for comedic purposes only. First is Mafuyu Kirisu, a teacher at Ichinose Academy and Rizu and Fumino’s first tutor. Though she openly disagrees with their goals to study anything outside of their genius, she is the precise, strong educator type of character that one would assume from first looking at her. Which is just a persona within her work; in reality, she’s a clumsy unorganized person. The last character is Asumi Kominami, the only character that the viewers may feel like they should’ve given her more screentime. She’s an alumna of Ichinose Academy and is often mistaken for an elementary student. Her goal is to attend the national medical university, despite her lackluster grades in science.
Throughout this series, multiple viewings, the viewer may continuously change their opinions on We Never Learn. Although the series has a decent amount of character clashes and chemistry, the series rarely puts everyone together, even though most of the series is based around school. One may find this series rather enjoyable outside of the apparent flaws and genre tropes within this series. However, when it’s stripped-down, the series is not the most interesting, nor is it anything the viewer hasn’t potentially seen in other series. Overall, this series is somewhat dull, with some impressive parts where they could have done something but chose not to commit to anything.
This series is more focused on neither the harem nor the romantic-comedy genres as a whole. Mainly due to the series unable to focus enough on one against one when dealing with each other’s feelings – over eighty percent of the series is based around Uruka’s crush. When it comes to the Romantic-comedy side of the series, there were some laughs, but no romance. This is partly due to all the characters being ignorant or unable to understand their feelings. Other series have indeed done this, and they surely won’t be the last, but they chose to do the bare minimum and decided to call it a day.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.