His late father always said that a useless man should strive to be useful, so to that end, third-year high school student Nariyuki Yuiga dedicated himself to becoming a high-achieving student in his school, despite his history of poor grades. In order to give his destitute family a better life, his ultimate goal is to obtain the special VIP nomination, a prestigious scholarship covering all future university tuition fees. Although Nariyuki could feasibly be a shoe-in for the nomination, he is constantly overshadowed by classmates Rizu Ogata and Fumino Furuhashi in mathematics and literature, respectively.
To his delight, Nariyuki receives the nomination, but there's a catch: he has to tutor his two star classmates, who are each hopelessly mediocre at the other’s subject of expertise! To make matters worse, the subjects they are horrible at are the same subjects they want to pursue for their future. As the time to submit university applications draws nearer, Nariyuki must find an effective tutoring method for the girls before it's too late.
With the ever growing list of rom-coms coming out every season, Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai (We Never Learn) honestly isn’t anything home to write about. We just had a similar show called “5-toubun no Hanayome” that aired a few months ago. That show came together as a teenage rom-com with harem content. Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai tries to be something on its own but ends up being a fallout of stupidity.
On the plus side, I do applaud that the manga has been running as long as it is right now. Too many shounen jump series ends being victims of the dreaded axe yet
this one managed to evade that. Trust me, I do want to see a shounen jump show succeed with romantic elements. The anime offers a 13-episode adaptation although from what’s shown, it’s far from a complete adaptation. For what’s worth, the anime is more of an advertisement of the manga that touches the main story with its cast of characters. But if you are actually expecting your mind to be blown with some masterful storytelling, then I’m afraid I got some bad news.
The English title is translated as “We Never Learn” and spells out the story for itself. A straightforward premise like this is the way to go considering we have a set of goofball characters. To get the boring part out of the way, we got 3rd year Nariyuki Yuiga, the hardworking guy with a dense and dull personality. I can’t fandom how such a guy can be so oblivious when it comes to the feelings of certain people but alas, he’s our male protagonist. Not long after, we are introduced to Fumino, Rizu, and Uruka. All of them are talented in certain subjects but needs help in other areas. It shouldn’t take long for viewers to realize that some of these girls have feelings towards Yuiga. Unfortunately, the show loves to dance around the thought of building a relationship between Nariyuki and these girls. What ends up happening is little to no development with a senseless form of romance, if you can even call it that.
Now, I do want to mention that We Never Learn’s storytelling feels more like skits with an intention to humor. It seems that every chance it gets, the show pokes fun of the idea of studying and the way characters interact with each other. Even Mafuyu Kirisu (the teacher of Ichinose academy) gets dragged into certain shenanigans despite her more mature personality and older age. Taking a look back at the trio of students though, there’s not really much special about any of them. In fact, they fit under archetype characters that you can find in just about any rom-com shows these days. For instance, Fumino is the sensitive girl with few friends. Rizu is the serious genius type who has trouble interacting with others. And finally, Uraka is the energetic girl who easily makes friends with others. With this character roster, it’s easy to distinguish each one of them but the show itself lacks concrete characterization. Sure, we see a good degree of their character traits and even some background storytelling. However, the show doesn’t make an impact to make these characters truly stand out. Forget Nariyuki. The girls only attracts my attention when they interact with certain circumstances. They never draw more on their own. On the other hand, I do find myself invested in some of the other supporting characters. Name such as Kominami Asumi and Sawako Sekijou managed to capture my attention more than the main cast.
On the other hand, I do give praise to making the story entertaining on occasions. School can be a boring setting but the author is able to take advantage of the setting to make humorous drama. It’s one of the perks of being a romantic comedy where the author can stretch their imaginations. For a rom-com harem, I believe the show stands out the best when it seeks to entertain. If the characters were better written, this would have easily stood out as a solid show. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
With a collaboration between studio Silver and Arvo Animation, this pretty much stands out as an average looking show. To be honest, A-1 Pictures would have been my first guess considering the license. Nonetheless, the animation quality lacks impact with its uncharismatic character designs. Nariyuki has a punchable face while the main girls lacks any distinctive features. I will say this though, the anime likes fan service. It’s slightly tamer compared to the manga but in later episodes, it’s more and more fleshed out. Uraka is the big target eye candy for this for her status in the swim team and well-toned body. However, Fumino and the other are vulnerable too. Considering that this is a rom-com, you should expect a lot of shenanigans coming your way. The character expressions also speaks for itself when you see them react in ridiculous manners.
Should I be surprised that We Never Learn ended up being no more than a mediocre show? Not really. As a manga reader, I kept my expectations in check. This anime lacks a bold story with a weak cast and borderlined forced comedy. It may draw out a few laughs on occasions but once you realize what you’re in for, there’s really much more to see. If you want to give the manga a shot, then be my guest. Just know that We Never Learn dropped the ball and there’s much better rom-coms out there.
This is three consecutive seasons where there has been at least one fun romcom harem series. It is pretty difficult to look at Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai (We Never Learn: Bokuben) and not compare it to Gotoubun no Hanayome, which aired this past season. A poor and hardworking student who is tutoring beautiful girls has certainly become a sub-genre in its own right. But here you’ve got both guys tutoring five girls, both guys being dirt poor and needing to make it work for financial reasons. In saying that, the similarities between the two don’t run as deep beside the superficial ones, which are
Adapted from Taishi Tsutsui’s manga of the same name, Bokuben’s story centers around a self-proclaimed “prodigy of the common folk” and third-year student Nariyuki Yuiga, whose main goal is to get a VIP Recommendation to his high school's associated college, which will allow him to skip the entrance exams and not have to pay tuition. To do this, however, he's made to tutor the two "geniuses" of his class—literary prodigy Fumino Furuhashi and mathematical genius Rizu Ogata, who has been passed over by all their previous tutors. This is a deal he and the headmaster of the school agreed to if he can save the reputation of the school, he gets his dream. Nariyuki went as far as discarded hanging out with friends in order to focus on his studies. Due to his family’s poor status, he works hard towards a future where he can support his family. The twist is that both girls want to study the subject the other is excellent at despite the fact that they themselves are terrible at it-and hilarity ensues.
Of course, those two aren’t the only girls of Nariyuki’s harem. We’re introduced to a few more that are just as fun and quirky as the first two. Uraka Takemoto is one of them (a.k.a best girl), who joins Fumino and Rizu as the most reoccurring characters (along with Nariyuki) in this series. Uraka is an exceptional athlete but isn’t the brightest of people. She needs better grades to meet admission requirements for English at Otowa Sports University. It is a simple story, yet engaging that keeps things focused on Nariyuki’s struggle to get the girls to improve academically. I was impressed with the way that this series imparts a strong sense of direction in keeping all of his interactions with each of the sisters in service of this goal. Additionally, the comedy works well around this premise by appropriately providing some college humor, as well as both situational comedy and playing off both Nariyuki’s personality as well as each of the girls.
Each character explains their motivations for aspiring to study the thing they're the worst at. The girls are just not waifu baits, they each have goals and dreams they aspire to and work hard for it. This is also the source of plenty of jokes since they have bad studying habits. Surprisingly, Bokuben has displayed some effective real-world studying philosophies, and the interesting part is seeing how Nariyuki tailors his lessons to each particular girl. A really good example happened in episode 2 with Uruka's diving English lesson. That was very creative with a well-timed punch at the end. Each girl has distinctive personalities and appearances, none look or feels the same. Fumino is an aloof airhead who has a charming innocence. Rizu has a frank, curt attitude and is bad at reading others feelings and emotions. Uraka is active, full of energy, and wears her heart on her sleeve. When you clash all three’s personalities, including Nariyuki’s caring, dull and dense traits, the result is character chemistry.
The last two characters of the harem bring more to the table. Mafuyu Kurisu is a teacher and one of the previous tutors for Rizu and Fumino. She is a messy person and often needs to have her room cleaned. She is also very clumsy, and at times finds herself in undesirable, awkward, and embarrassing situations. Her view is that people should follow their talent and that they shouldn't be swayed by emotions, which put her in conflict with Nariyuki Yuiga from the moment they meet. Asumi Kominami is an alumnus of the school who comes much later into the story. She often likes to tease Nariyuki for fun but doesn’t like being at the end of jokes. Especially ones that make fun of her height. The relationships and interactions that these characters have for one another create lots of opportunities for comedic and heart-warming moments. There are also some romantic beats, with each girl getting a “ship-esque” moment with Nariyuki. It is very innocent in its approach as well.
Studio Silver and Arvo Animation combine to adapt Bokuben. I quite like the characters' designs, they are distinct enough to be memorable and stand out, without feeling overdone for the sake of uniqueness. Their appearances manage to reinforce their personality without feeling forced. Personally, Uraka’s design is like a bottle of Ciroc Mango to me—sweet and smooth. Especially her tan lines, more evidence that she is the best girl. The overall production values for the series aren't the best but does shine in moments. The limited animation injects plenty of personality and life into the characters, but rather flat in other places. The visuals gags are pretty hilarious and well-timed but it can be pretty heavy with the big, floating chibi-head art for a number of sequences. Pretty colors, great voice acting, lively soundtrack—all standard stuff for a romcom harem series. OP "Seishun Seminar” and ED "Never Give It Up!!" are done by Study.
Bokuben isn’t exactly breaking any new ground, but it does well with handling its clichés and tropes, it's also got enough little things good that set apart from shows like Gotoubun no Hanayome and Nisekoi. It also keeps most of the sitcom style shenanigans and comedy fresh, which prevents it from becoming stale. This is the perfect show for lovers of romcom and harem, especially ones that lean more on the comedic side of things. It caters to its audience; it does turn up the raunchiness as episodes progress but knows when to pull back. Lots of laughs, a generous amount of fanservice, and plenty of heart-warming scenes. A sequel is already announced for the upcoming Fall season and I look forward to it.
When I was young and first was getting into anime the harem genre was one of my favorites. It was a pleasure to watch a lot of cute girls do cute and lewd things, as well as have the excitement of seeing who would win and fighting in waifu wars with friends that had objectively inferior taste (unless they happened to pick actual best girl, and in that case they're fine.)
However after watching more and more of these, it became clear that while some were well made and had lots of life to them, there were others that were not well made and ended
up being cheap vehicles for a show that they assumed a horny teenage fandom would eat up, and they did. Often the cast wouldn't be fully developed and were either just archetypes with less more going for them, or where way in the background causing one girl to take the center stage and defeating one of the points of a harem. While many seasonal harems ended up disappointing in these ways, We Never Learn, is a return to the good old days.
It doesn't take that much to make a good harem that's a joy to watch. While I do love deep character development and interesting meanings and points that are made in a show, not every show needs to have them, and in particular a good harem isn't defined by having those. In my opinion, the most important parts to a harem are having a varied and likeable cast of girls, and having good fan-service. And Bokuben happens to have both of those.
The main cast is a whole lot of fun. They interact with each other and play off of each other and are very clearly friends with each other. They don't exist just for the sake of the male lead but they have goals of their own and friendships outside of the male lead. They have charming personalities that makes it easy to root for them and very easy to like them. And while they don't have a great amount of development they have enough development that they feel like unique characters and not archetypes. Some of the silly things they can get into are a lot of fun and overall it made me happy to watch this show.
And it fills it's role as a harem very well. There are three main girls and they all have their own charms that are quite distinct. There's an airhead who is much more emotionally connected to everyone but herself, a brainaic who can't understand others or herself, and a tomboy childhood friend who is pretty hyper and excitable. And while the archetypes are certainly there, they're vibrant enough to outshine them, and feel unique. Each of them gets screen time with the main lead, and each of them have a reasonable claim to him. Unlike many harems in the past it actually does feel up in the air who will win and not just a forgone conclusion that was turned into a harem for some reason. They each have their own dynamic relationship with the lead and it's a lot of fun.
Furthermore the show also gives a good deal of fanservice so that we can see the more echiii situations with them and capitalize on their cuteness. And while most of them happen by accident, of course, a staple trope of these harems. The girls are aware enough to not blame him, and if they do blame him it doesn't last longer than 30 seconds. Too many harems like to go off on the blame game for too long which detracts from the show and ruins the vibe they have going. If anything what Bokuben does so well is it allows this vibe to continue throughout the show, and rarely becomes too much of a drag. The art and sound also help with this a lot as the art is pretty high quality and always looks nice. The sound is better jovial and helps accent the more comedic parts of the show. While it may not be impressive on its own it really works in the show.
It may not be the most impressive show, but Bokuben is a good solid harem, and I very much enjoyed watching it. I'd recommended it to all other harem fans.
Sometimes the best things in a romcom are found in the contrasts: Silly jokes, the most stupid series of events, perhaps a clumsy teacher, or a grow up student with the face of a kid, whose actions serve as a booster that helps us to appraise the differences between all the cast. All this nonsense works as a preparation for the future action now that the second season is announced in the last episode with the simple words "tsuzuku" (続くor つづく).
Maybe I shouldn't be praising this series, but the season was too average, and I couldn't find an acceptable series. Although Bokutachi wa
Benkyou ga Dekinai is an unexpected finding with small but potent pleasures that can hook an avid anime enthusiast like you. This silly show has a lot of similarities with “5-toubun no Hanayome” to the point that it could be a copy. The question is: who copied whom?
On the other hand, the plot is delightful because it does not follow the typical harem settings. In this series a guy, Nariyuki Yuiga needs to teach a group of girls that are considered geniuses in some fields and stupid in some other areas of knowledge. However, ironical as it may seem, these "geniuses" want to study a career where their abilities are useless. This setting leads to a series of silly events where we can enjoy the differences between each character, their feelings, and we could smile on the stupid jokes. Sadly, after some episodes, the series can give the impression that something is missing and perhaps you could end dropping it because it is tedious or lacks romance and the storytelling is average. Nonetheless, this first season only works as an introduction that shows the main characters and paves the path for the future season, where I do hope to see relevant plot twists, romance, and new jokes.
The characters are acceptable, they have a big contrast. From my perspective, Yuiga, the ordinary guy, good at studying, poor, hard worker, is a neutral character that understands the girls' decisions but lacks any romance comprehension. This romantic aspect can be complemented with Fumino, who acts like the cupid of the story. I can explain this behavior because she is a literary genius, so her way to understand the human emotions is by far more different than Yuiga and the other girls such us Rizu or Takemoto. On the other hand, as silly as it looks, Rizu is the typical genius stereotype. However, she is a hard worker, and she cannot understand her feelings. And talking about feelings, the story introduces Takemoto, the athlete, full of energy and finds herself in a never-ending dilemma (cliche?).
The other characters, Mafuyu, the silly teacher and Asumi, the sempai, are a healthy complement to the plot because they refresh the story when the author needs to change some repetitive jokes.
The characters design is acceptable. Even if for some persons it looks weird, I want to say it is consistent. The animation follows the graphics from the manga and tries to keep closer to them. Asking more from this kind of design could be wrong.
Mostly, the show is entertaining: For Yuiga to teach these girls, and for the girls to understand their feelings and to experience romance. Together, create an acceptable comedy that is just beginning.