One inherent problem with the harem genre is the ending. Everyone will pick their favorite and root exclusively for them. But only one can win. Which means that only one side of the fandom will be satisfied with the ending. It can be tricky to execute an ending that won’t upset a majority of the readers/watchers.
But not impossible.
A long while back, we had a look at the anime version of We Never Learn. It was a show that had its moments, but overall didn’t impress me. Still, I don’t consider it to have been a waste of my time.
One night, out of curiosity and a bit of boredom, I decided to check out the manga. See if it was any better than the anime version. Give me something to do to kill an afternoon or two.
The plot is simple. Our studious protagonist, Yuiga Nariyuki, is determined to get a recommendation for a good college. In order to get one, he’s set on the task of tutoring two super geniuses (later on three), Ogata Rizu and Fumino Furuhashi, in their prefered subjects. Turns out, both are complete morons in said subjects! Now Nariyuki must find a way to get through to his thick-headed genius students. Comedy, drama, and romance ensue.
For the most part, it was just about the same experience as the anime. The characters are likable enough, with decent personalities and excellent designs. All the artwork in general is really nice. And all the romance is cute and engaging. In terms of a harem love story, it’s far from the worst.
It’s still far from perfect, though. Plenty of fanservice scenes that just feel gross to read for anyone above the age of 16. Panels that are just two chibi heads of the characters talking over a background (or over nothing at all). Certain issues from the anime version were lifted directly from the source material.
It also feels really cramped sometimes. The panel structure can get pretty small and the dialogue is often so extensive that it gets cramped in there. Plus, there are little extra lines outside of the word bubbles that are so small that they’re often difficult or even impossible to read. If I have to squint and lean in to catch a word in a comic, I get annoyed.
But there was one thing here that surprised me. Something that shocked me so much that I had to write this article about it.
The ending. Or in this case: endings.
We Never Learn doesn’t have one final concluding story arc where Nariyuki chooses his preferred waifu. Instead, there are five separate story arcs, in which each girl manages to win his heart, he confesses his love, and they get together. Not single chapters; actual whole story arcs, multiple chapters long each. For every. Single. Character.
The author legit thought ‘I can’t choose one and I don’t want to make the funs upset, so I’ll just write five whole alternate endings so that everyone can be happy’ and I respect that level of dedication.
It’s still far from the best rom-com manga out there. But if you want a romantic tale where you know that your pick, along with all the others, or just a quick dose of something cute, it’s a good pick.