We Never Learn (Initial Impressions) – A Stroke of Genius?

Overview

We Never Learn, a series by Taishi TsuTsui, is the latest in a long line of shonen harem series to receive an anime adaption. The series is centered around Nariyuki Yuiga who, due to his family’s severe poverty, is forced to aim for his school’s special VIP recommendation in order to waive his college tuition fees. Unfortunately, said recommendation comes with the prerequisite condition of ensuring the school’s three geniuses, Fumino, Rizu, and Uruka, pass the entrance exams for their respective colleges of choice. The premise for this series initially bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor Quintessential Quintuplets, but the two series are only superficially similar and quickly diverge past their tutoring connection.

The harem from the deep

Character Design

In all honesty, when I first watched the show, I was not particularly fond of the character’s art style. Initially, I thought that, much like latter episodes of Quintessential Quintuplets, the art/animation was rather lacking; however, upon re-watching the show my opinion has changed slightly. The introduction of Uruka’s character was the main contributing factor towards changing my opinion. She has, in my opinion, the most distinctive character design of the three current heroine. Each character possesses certain aspects which makes them distinct, but the facial features are often similar and at times minimalistic. It’s the character’s overarching designs, emotions, and animations which truly make them unique and it’s where this anime excels.

Animations

Drawn to life

The quality of We Never Learn’s animations becomes readily apparent as soon as one watches its opening and ending (which I initially skipped). The show manages to somehow blend, in its opening, fully animated scenes with stylized scenes that seem as if they were pulled directly from the manga and given life. The ending supersedes even this by animating the characters as moving chalkboard drawings. While re-watching this show, I ended up being thoroughly impressed and surprised with the quality of its animations.

Despair in miniature

As mentioned previously, the character’s animations and expressions are in no part inferior to that of the show’s opening and ending. The character’s facial features and/or design are apt to change rapidly in order to fully express their current emotion. A prime example of this is Rizu whose entire character design will, in no uncertain terms, completely shift in a chibi form in order to express her emotions. With the animation style and subsequently the characters features shifting with every passing emotion, We Never Learn may contain the most expressive characters I’ve seen all season.

A wild harem

Heroines – Initial Impressions

Fumino – In all honesty, I didn’t find Fumino particularly interesting in the first two episodes; however, this wasn’t helped much by the fact that, compared to the other two characters, she had almost no screen time in the second episode. I also found her massive lack of self confidence, as demonstrated in the first episode, more disconcerting than comedic. I don’t particularly ship her with Yuiga either and it’s entirely possible that the author might phase her out and replace he with Uruka who already has a vested interest in Yuiga.

Rizu – I enjoyed how stubborn Rizu became when challenged to something even if she was incapable of, such as with swimming, achieving any sort of success. I also emphasized with her desire to overcome her weaknesses via studying psychology. Unlike Fumino, Rizu maintained a significant presence in episode two; however, unlike Uruka she has yet to develop any feelings for the main character and when coupled with her inability to fully understand emotions/psychology it could possibly put her at a disadvantage.

Uruka – I really enjoyed Uruka’s character design and her personality is really cute, but it’s precisely because she already has feelings for the Yuiga that I’m worried about her chances. Thinking about it, isn’t Uruka pretty much the childhood friend character in this anime? Her straightforward, but shy personality makes me want to cheer for her; however, I would say that she’s currently tied with Rizu for my favorite character/ship.

Conclusion

We Never Learn has been a series which I have had to re-watch in order to understand it’s real value. As previously mentioned, the character designs, animations, and facial emotes are incredibly well done, but the base art style can become slightly mediocre. The characters are likable albeit, as of episode two, currently rather one-dimensional; however, given their subversion of their talents, I have hope that the characters will undergo character development as the series progresses. I would definitely recommend this for fans of the romcom/harem genre who want an interesting take on an old format.

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