MANGA REVIEW | "We Never Learn" - Volume Sixteen
A journey’s end can be quite satisfying. Although We Never Learn still has a couple more volumes to go, Volume Sixteen gets a major plot thread all sewed tightly into its narrative. As the clock winds down, the months of preparation for the students’ big finals comes to a head. Of course, it wouldn’t be We Never Learn without Murphy’s Law causing some wacky fun along the way!
With the main college exams out of the way, Nariyuki and the gang now must conquer the mountain that the secondary exams have placed in their path. But first, Nariyuki gets trapped in a storage locker with Kirisu-sensei, while New Year’s brings about two unexpected oni demons to tease the tutor. Meanwhile, Uruka, Ogata, and Fumino work their butts off to make Valentine’s Day chocolates, all the while keeping their true feelings for Nariyuki quiet. Finally, the big day arrives, as the students face their biggest challenge yet!
Author Taishi Tsutsui has this talent of making even the most perverted comedy look dorky rather than naughty. It adds a layer of silliness that brings big laughs to readers in ways that distracts them from the potential sexiness of the situation. A great example of this occurs when two nosey maids cause some chaos for Nariyuki and Asumi, all the while the girl’s dad watches via phone in approval. The same can be said when Kirisu-sensei and Nariyuki hide behind a pommel horse, trapped by three gossiping high schoolers. Although their reasons for being there are innocent as can be, the comedy of misunderstandings certainly lingers if they were to be caught.
But in this particular volume of We Never Learn, it’s the sweeter things that stand out more than the funny parts. There’s a level of care placed in the girls’ feelings for Nariyuki, as evident by how they do their best to make him Valentine’s Day chocolates. But it’s the tutor that delivers the sweetest gesture of all, by means of one final notebook of tips to help the girls pass the final part of their exams. This moment — alongside Uruka’s explanation of the notebook during her final — encapsulates everything that this series has been pushing toward, all presented in a narrative that can only be described as “beautiful”.
Although one thread’s finished spinning, there’s just one final one to deal with in We Never Learn. With a certain someone relaying a special message to Nariyuki in the final moments, one can easily guess who will be able to steal his heart first. Whatever happens next in We Never Learn, it will no doubt unfold in a way that’s both hilarious and heartfelt. For now though, let these kids have their moment to proudly hold their heads up high.
Promotional consideration provided by Gabrielle Dyer of VIZ Media