We Never Learn: Bokuben – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

They’re not quintuplets. 0/10.

Tell me it isn’t a little funny that we have a new tutor harem anime right after The Quintessential Quintuplets finished airing. Oh, it’s most likely a coincidence but wow, what a coincidence that still is. And if it actually is deliberate timing then someone in marketing clearly knows what they’re doing. Whatever the case may be, we’re having this type of harem twice in a row and I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think this second go-round is also quite good. Do I have a soft spot for this kind of harem anime and I just didn’t know about it until now?

It’s too early to say which anime does it better overall. What I can say with confidence however is We Never Learn: Bokuben does get off the ground running more than its contemporary did. The main advantage is obvious: there’s only two love interests in introduced first. On top of that, it’s more readily apparent how all the pieces align. Fumino (Haruka Shiraishi) is great at literature and arts. Rizu (Miyu tomita) is great at mathematics and science. Each girl struggles with each other’s expertise but that’s the field they actually want to pursue. Their personalities also contrast with Fumino exhibiting low self esteem when she struggles while Rizu is more outwardly frustrated. I like Quintuplets, certainly way more than I thought I would, but that show’s premiere did need to introduce its entire harem all at once and there’s only so much you can accomplish in just half an hour. It’s when the show started to explore each girl one by one and then set up conflict did it start grow on me. At least as far as first episodes are concerned, I’d say We Never Learn did a better job establishing its harem from the get go.

I’m also just liking the We Never Learn‘s protagonist, Nariyuki (Ryouta Ousaka). Perhaps a bit more ordinary looking as far as harem protagonist designs go but I find the actual personality quite likable. Like Quintuplets‘ Futaro, Nariyuki is initially in the tutoring gig for a specific benefit. In his case, it’s a really good scholarship (legality of which I will admit I question…). How he grows to genuinely care about tutoring is what I enjoyed most about this episode. He almost gives up but he then realizes Fumino and Rizu’s struggles are no different from how he started his academic career at rock bottom. To give up would be to go against his as well as his late father’s belief about growth. From there, he rethinks his approach to tutoring a bit and the effort he puts on creates a natural path for the girls to trust him (and much more than that, obviously).

The one issue I have with the overall set-up is how Nariyuki becomes a tutor. I get that the principal hired him…but why though? Because the principal cares? Or because he’s embarrassed that his top two students are flunking in subjects they actually want to pursue? The former interpretation would be admirable but thin while the latter is deplorable and also thin. That’s one thing Quintuplets still does better: that show simply said the girls are dumb and so naturally, their father would get them a tutor. Maybe We Never Learn is hiding something but it’d have to a really creative explanation.

We Never Learn has made a strong first impression but a small part of me does wonder if it just got lucky. I dig the developing love triangle between Nariyuki, Fumino, and Rizu but there are apparently more girls that’ll get added to harem. I know tons of love interests is the name of the game with harem but I do worry that expanding the roster might make We Never Learn more unfocused and uneven. I suppose time will tell and right now, I am willing to give the time. One tutor harem anime has been surprisingly good, why not have another?

OP: “Seishun Seminar” by Study

ED: “Never Give It Up!!” by Study


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5 thoughts on “We Never Learn: Bokuben – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

  1. I never actually got around to watching QQ, last season (though I’ve obviously heard good things about it). But this one was already on my radar anyway and I was likewise pleased with the first episode. If anything, though, it made me want to check out QQ even more, as well. It *is* funny that they’re coming out, back-to-back, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did think at the back of my mind that “We Never Learn” is a more traditional harem anime. Quintuplets does feel much more unique with, well, the quintuplets angle. It wouldn’t surprise me if that show comes out as the more popular one of the two.

      Like

  2. Just like you say the girl’s personalities match their subject of expertise, I’m hoping that the character development mirrors their bettering grades through poetic irony. Second episode sort of had this buuuuuuut, I’m hoping for more!

    Like

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