First Impression: We Never Learn (BokuBen)

One girl is an absolute genius at math and science, capable of solving hard math problems instantly in her head. Another girl is a literary mastermind, capable of writing a moving essay in ten minutes. One of these two girls wants to go to a science-focused university, and the other wants to go to a liberal arts university. If life were that easy we wouldn’t have an anime, so the catch is that naturally, it’s the science genius that wants to go to a liberal arts university and the literary genius that wants to go to a science university. And, of course, they are both absolutely terrible in their non-specialist subjects. This is the dilemma of Ogata Rizu, the “Thumbelina Supercomputer”, and Furuhashi Fumino, the “Sleeping Beauty of the Literary Forest”, and the school has already gone through several tutors that have given up on their mismatched goals. Enter Yuiga Nariyuki, a boy who studies hard and gets good grades across the board, all for the sake of getting the school’s VIP recommendation to get into college tuition-free to help his poor family. The headmaster gives him an offer: he’ll grant Nariyuki the VIP recommendation if he can get Rizu and Fumino into their desired schools.

With the quintuplets behind us, it’s time for another harem comedy about a guy trying to tutor some academically-challenged girls. We Never Learn (Japanese title: Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga DekinaiBokuBen for short) is the latest Shonen Jump title to get an anime adaptation, and it looks to be a really fun one. Both Rizu and Fumino have fun personalities (and are almost certain to inspire best girl debates), and there’s some good comedy, both on the romantic and non-romantic fronts. What I really liked about this first episode, though, was the underlying themes of these two genius girls, why they want to study something other than their genius subjects, and the idea of defying what people expect you to do based on your known strengths. There’s definitely some heart to this show, with Nariyuki’s own history with studying to overcome failure and how he comes to understand the girls’ motivations and struggles, and it also makes it easier to cheer on the girls on the romantic side. Whether the show can keep up with this blend of good comedy and good heart remains to be seen, especially as more girls inevitably get added into the mix, but for now I will definitely keep following this show.

We Never Learn is streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu, and FunimationNow.


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