MANGA REVIEW | "We Never Learn" - Volume Nine
A good comedy never forgets that it’s okay to be ridiculous once in awhile. Whether it’s in comics, movies, TV, or any form of entertainment, funny for the sake of funny always manages to be a terrific golden standard. It’s this reason that made me enjoy the ninth volume of Taishi Tsutsui’s We Never Learn more than any past volume.
Yuiga and Rizu find a new study area, only to be haunted by a certain curse that lurks within the biology lab. A cleanup day with Asumi has Yuiga bearing witness to one of her greatest weaknesses. Meanwhile, Uruka is offered an opportunity of a lifetime, whereas Fumino is given a birthday gift that’s a bit too bold. Plus, there’s Kirisu-sensei’s problem with the way she cooks.
One of the things that drew me into this volume of We Never Learn was its visual style. While Tsutsui is known for making his characters expressive, this is the first time I’ve noticed him push the more cartoonish boundaries of facial expressions. The way Uruka reacts to two mysterious marks on Yuiga’s neck is so abstractly ridiculous, that you can’t help but laugh your ass off over it. Fumino’s death stare over Yuiga’s first (probable) kiss never gets old, as one can see the loss of any forgiveness in her pupils.
Of course, great comedy needs to be executed well, not just look good. And it’s in moments where Yuiga is trying to keep Rizu from seeing the moving skeleton or Kirisu-sensei failing to make hamburgers one too many times that makes this volume a joy to read. A chapter involving Rizu playing (and failing) at board games at Asumi’s maid cafe demonstrates both the cuteness and silliness that has made this manga a joy to read, with the punchlines hitting hard and the expressions going extreme in the right way.
With all the comedy being thrown around, it’s surprising to see more character growth thrown in to keep the story going. A big change of location may be occurring with Uruka, with an option to study in Australia on the table. However, it brings her to conflict with what’s best for her and what her heart truly desires, as being away from Yuiga might be too hard to bear for her. Thankfully, Uruka takes a shocking mature route regarding this choice, setting up for some possible conflict in the near-future.
We Never Learn has never had a perfect volume of content, but it’s ninth one gets close to that level. It’s funny, warmhearted, and — above all — pushes the story along in a strong manner. Although it’s sad that we may never see some of these chapters adapted in anime form, at the very least they’re presented here with such personality and hilarity. Tsutsui’s We Never Learn is shaping to be one of the best harem rom-coms since Love Hina, and its ninth volume does a fantastic job showcasing why.
Promotional consideration provided by Gabrielle Dyer of VIZ Media