MANGA REVIEW | "We Never Learn" - Volume Twelve
We Never Learn may always showcase the importance of trying your hardest to achieve your goals, but this is the first time it demonstrates a far greater factor in life. Being happy almost always gets lost in the hustle-and-bustle of the working world, even by those who do their best to accomplish their dreams. With Nariyuki giving up the VIP recommendation in the last volume, readers were left wondering what the tutor was trying to accomplish. In Volume Twelve, not only is this revealed, but its meaning changes the tone (and quite possibly the end game) that We Never Learn was trying to reach.
One of the big storylines in this volume focuses on Nariyuki’s reason behind passing on the recommendation. Not only does the explanation dive deep into the tutor’s own mindset, but it also affects the mentality of Rizu, Fumino, Uruka, and even Kirisu-sensei and Asumi. What was once a pathway towards an overall goal is now an Appalachian Mountain Trail-length journey, with everyone involved now technically at the halfway point. There has been a lot of progress in their studies, alongside progress with the closeness of the girls and Nariyuki.
This is showcased strongly in the other big storyline in the latest We Never Learn. Kirisu-sensei has a brief fleeting moment involving her figure skating past, with her reflecting on her past as both an athlete and her early days as a teacher. Her pondering fills her heart with regret, as she wonders if she’s been doing the right thing all along. But with the aid of Kirisu-sensei’s sister Miharu, Nariyuki opens the teacher’s eyes to what’s truly important: being happy.
Happiness of course plays a big role in rom-coms, but it’s always dealing with love. We Never Learn does focus on this kind of joy, as it’s become the heart of the series. However, finding happiness in one’s career or study path is almost never showcases in the genre, and author Taichi Tsutsui demonstrates this kind of gladness beautifully. There’s no magic wand that comes around to wave some spell to make everything better; it’s these characters realizing what they truly want in life and both working and relaxing their way towards it. (After all, both work and play are important for a good healthy life.)
Of course, this wouldn’t be We Never Learn without some goofy fun. From Uruka discovering a sexy magazine in Nariyuki’s room to Fumino testing out a lipstick look, these little stories are filled with big laughs and silly misunderstandings. Perhaps the funniest (and cutest) one involves Uruka attempting to do a little extreme footsie with her tutor, with her means being more to aid in relaxing him (but, naturally, it just makes things a little more awkward between the two of them).
Volume Twelve of We Never Learn demonstrates the strengths of its heart, funny bone, and spirit all in one go. While the landscape of its pathway may have changed, the end result has aided in making these characters both relatable and endearing. I may not have had high hopes for this series when I first reviewed its first volume, but the way it has evolved since that time has been a beautiful sight to behold. One can only hope that as the series goes on, We Never Learn will continue to adapt and grow in the same way its characters have.
Promotional consideration provided by Gabrielle Dyer of VIZ Media