MANGA REVIEW | "We Never Learn" - Volume Four
After three volumes of back-and-forth shenanigans, We Never Learn is finally diving deeper into the more romantic aspects of its characters. While Nariyuki has his fair pick of special girls to choose from, it’s somewhat obvious which in his study group harem he could potentially be paired up with. Then again, with what happens in Volume Four, a dark horse might very well steal Nariyuki’s heart!
Rizu, Uruka, and even Kirisu-sensei all get their moments in the spotlight, with Nariyuki aiding them all with studies and even home-cleaning tasks. After Nariyuki discovers that he might be Uruka’s crush, his study tactics & sleep patterns take a nosedive. A day at the movies with Rizu reveals a motive that revisits their accidentally kiss in Volume Two, whereas Kirisu-sensei tackles an unwanted pest in her home that only Nariyuki can seemingly aid with. Meanwhile, a new face appears at Nariyuki’s cram school in the form of Asumi Kominari, who wants to become a doctor despite being — surprise, surprise — terrible at science.
With the addition of Asumi to the mix, one worries that there may be too much to handle for our tutor when it comes to the matters of the heart. Fortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case, as Asumi is more of a foxy tease than anything else. From her snarky persona to introducing Nariyuki to her dad as her boyfriend, her mannerisms are filled with silly-yet-chummy intentions. The icing on her cake is her work at a maid café, where she’s a friendly pixie-sized servant. (And yes, her height results in many a joke, some of which are pretty funny.)
When it comes to the main girls, there’s many a goofy heartfelt moment between Nariyuki and his study troop. He teaches a valuable lesson to Rizu about while a kiss should never be wasted, even if it’s for research. The camaraderie between Uruka and Nariyuki is especially getting stronger, despite her denying any feelings for him. And while Kirisu-sensei shouldn’t be in this running at all, it’s nice to finally show a caring side to the tutor (even if it’s while being intoxicated).
However, once again Fumino really gets the short end of the stick in We Never Learn. Although she has her moments in the spotlight, said moments are fleeting at best. Despite her role as Nariyuki’s sage for womanly advice, it all feels like she’s nothing but wasted potential in what has been a pretty good story thus far. (As someone who has watched the anime, I know her time will come, but it might take a bit to reach that point in manga form.)
The fourth volume of We Never Learn brings together a good dose of storytelling and character development, as well as a welcoming new face to the group. It still has flaws when it comes to dragging a plot device out too long, but at the very least it knows how to coherently wrap up a chapter in a satisfying manner. At the very least, writer Taishi Tsutsui shows a dose of confidence when it comes to building up emotions within his characters, bringing a more realistic take on how feelings for another can grow over time rather than at the snap of one’s fingers. Here’s hoping Volume Five keeps the spirit of We Never Learn strong, especially when it comes to the matters of both the mind & the heart.
Promotional consideration provided by Erik Jansen of MediaLab PR