And now for the other show I decided to cover, this season! Been a while since I did a Harem Comedy for the site.
So. I missed out on Quintessential Quintuplets, last season. Just wasn’t overly in the mood for a Harem Comedy, at the time. But after hearing the buzz about it, and about how similar the two are, I’m very interested in looking back at that one, eventually. Because I’ve already been having quite a bit of fun with this one. We Never Learn also happens to be another Shounen Jump serialization. Which means I’m 2-for-2, this season! (Technically 3, if we count Black Clover… I guess)
As mentioned, it’s evidently rather similar in premise to Quintessential Quintuplets. A guy finds himself in a position of having to tutor a bunch of girls. That’s the part that matters. The difference, of course, is that the girls in this scenario aren’t quintuplets. They’re just geniuses. And there’s no mysterious hook about how, in the future, he winds up marrying one of them. Frankly, I just doubt they’ll take things there. That being said, that’ll be the end of the comparisons because, as I said, I’ve not seen the other show. So that’s where my knowledge of it basically ends.
You can check out my First Impression of the show, HERE. But the long and short of it is that it’s a show with a lot of heart behind what’s fairly standard humor. And the second episode just further cements this. The characters are surprisingly well-realized and the connections between them are very organically established. The chemistry between them lends well to the humor, to be certain. But the thing that makes it all come together is the lead. Many Harem protagonists have a bit of a thing going where they lack any real character of their own. They may have the basis of a personality, but they just kind of exist as their unique circumstance causes things to happen to them. Few Harem Leads actually have any kind of actual drive or motivation of their own. They lack ambitions. Thankfully, Nariyuki isn’t one of those.
While the legality of the setup is… dubious, I appreciate that Nariyuki is A) Motivated, and B) Proactive. He has a background and his life circumstances inform his character. You get why he does the things he does beyond just a simplistic “Oh, he’s nice” type thing. He sympathizes with the Harem Girls because he gets it. And that’s something I deeply enjoyed seeing. And we’re only two episodes in.
Speaking of the Girls, the two we meet in the first episode are similarly driven. Their status as geniuses actually has a natural balance to it that was really nice. Fumino is a genius when it comes to liberal arts because of the flowery personality she developed while dreaming of her late mother. But her desire to excel in a completely unrelated field is ironically driven by the very thing that makes her so good at that. By contrast, Rizu’s status as a mathematical genius makes her more like a sentient computer. She has feelings, but she doesn’t ‘get’ them. And she’s missed out on making many friends, because of this. Her desire to get better at liberal arts comes as a result of her genius status, rather than being the result of something else. That we know, so far, anyway. I expect we’ll get more hidden depths with both of them, soon.
Then there’s our resident Genki Girl, Uruka. Who is the only one in the Harem (that we know of) who already likes Nariyuki… or at least is aware that she likes him. But she can’t spit it out because… well… duh. There’d probably be less of a story there, anyway. I like her. She’s a fun character and, frankly, one who completely caught me off guard. At first I pegged her as just sort of irresponsible, but clever. I was half right. The girl’s actually about as blunt as a stone and subtle as a firecracker. So expecting her to be “up to something,” only to be proven utterly wrong was a nice surprise. I will say that we don’t really get quite as much into her character’s deeper motivations and whatnot as the other two, though (beyond liking Nariyuki). But she’s a nice addition to the cast, all things considered.
I did have one really minor gripe about the second episode, that being that Nariyuki kind of oversimplified the sheer concept of having fun with studying. I know what they were going for. The hardline “Studying isn’t fun until you do it a lot” not being treated as wrong just kinda made me wince. Hardly anyone likes to study for fun. The way he was envisioning it, I sure as hell don’t. Most people like the result of having studied. That feeling of having “leveled up” and whatnot. That can be addictive. It’s the same with any kind of hard work. And that’s the point of what they were trying to say. The hard work part isn’t fun (for everyone, at least), but the result – the achievement of the objective – undeniably feels good.
The issue is just that the example he provided, while displaying that point, was worded in a misleading way. So while it basically said all that for me by having her point out that she didn’t enjoy it at first, but came to like shattering her records and whatnot, it was worded as if he was saying “You’ll come to enjoy studying if you just do it enough.” Which is objectively incorrect because not everyone works that way. Myself included. It’s made all the more jarring since, without really being challenged on it at all, he’s the one who comes up with the idea that ultimately gets them through the issue and everything works out just fine.
Better off just saying that she enjoyed swimming already, but didn’t like to do it competitively because it created pressure since she lost a lot. Her doing it repeatedly because she enjoyed it helped her improve and thus she took to doing it competitively. This is further reinforced when he essentially throws out the entirety of what he’d said by adapting some sort of way to tie her studying in with her love of swimming, thus making studying fun for her and flying in the face of everything he’d been saying, up to that point. It had absolutely nothing to do with pure repetition. He just figured out what kind of intelligence she has and applied it to a study routine that helped her out of a jam.
But despite my talking about that, at length, it was really the only issue I actually had with the episode and otherwise enjoyed it a lot. I’m especially looking forward to seeing how the girls all interact with one another, going forward. They’re already off to a pretty fun start! I’d say these two episodes were surprisingly Super Effective. A solid pickup for the season!
What’d you guys think of We Never Learn? Let me know, down below! And Stayed Toon’d because the upcoming Weekly Anime Redux is going to touch on a few more of the season’s shows, including Fruits Basket, Carole & Tuesday, and Hitoribocchi. Also, be sure to check out my coverage on my first pickup of the season, Kimetsu no Yaiba! Thanks, as always, for reading. Keep up the Awesome!