I realize that the official English title is We Never Learn, but I reject that because I was actually able to read this Japanese title, and it translates to We Can’t Study, not We Never Learn. This irritates me because We Can’t Study sounds better, and is more correct. Despite this, I’m actually going to call the anime BokuBen from here on out, as that is it’s short-form name.
Our protagonist, Yuiga Nariyuki, is a student from a poor family who is absolutely dedicated to studying in order to get a scholarship for University. And the school just happens to offer a great scholarship, which, after a turn of events, is offered to Nariyuki on one condition: that he tutors and helps raise the grades of the school’s geniuses: Fumino Furuhashi (literary arts genius, hopeless at math), Rizu Ogata (math / science genius, hopeless at literary arts), and Uruka Takemoto (athletic prodigy, hopeless at English).
His goal is to help these three get into the school of their choice. The kicker though, is that Furuhashi wants to go to school for math, and Ogata wants to go to school for the literary arts. Takemoto is just hopeless at English.
And so begins the daily life of Nariyuki as he tries his best to tutor these three, in addition to running into a couple other interesting characters!
Wait A Minute…
I know what you’re thinking. “This sounds exactly like the premise for The Quintessential Quintuplets! What a scam! Yomu, you can’t possibly review this anime without at least mentioning this!”.
Well, there you have it. I’ve mentioned it.
And with that, I’ve done my due diligence.
Let’s move on with the review.
A Dynamic Cast of Characters
BokuBen features a great cast of characters, which are the cornerstone to any great slice of life anime. Nariyuki himself is a great character who acts reasonably and helps to create many fun situations. Furuhashi, Ogata, Takemoto, and others are also all great characters that not only provide us with a wide variety of hair colours (which I love), but personalities as well.
It’s hard to put into words, but they all just fit together perfectly, like a puzzle. Ogata is very calculating, but has this super cute side that also gives us many super cute pouts, one of my weaknesses. Furuhashi is very warm and understanding, but easily embarrassed, often on someone else’s behalf. And Takemoto is very confident and outgoing, except when it comes to Nariyuki…
Plus there are a few other characters that were awesome, that I suppose are technically main characters as well but they aren’t introduced until later, and aren’t a part of Nariyuki’s core tutoring group, so they feel sort of in-between the role of main and side characters. I won’t spoil them though, you can watch and see for yourself!
Studying Slice of Life
Is this going to become a new off-shoot of the slice of life genre? Sort of like what isekai is for fantasy anime… Maybe!
It certainly makes sense, because tutoring is the perfect way to put a boy and girl together on a regular basis in a school environment. Just like school club anime, only I’d say that tutoring puts the girl and boy even closer together as they have to sit next to each other, look over each other’s work, et cetera.
Which makes this genre more suited to romantic comedy, which is what we get here with BokuBen. Girls spend a lot of time with the dependable and respectable Nariyuki, and surprise surprise, we get a lot of scenes where one or more characters end up incredibly embarrassed for some reason or another.
It’s more cutesy than a purely comedic slice of life, and I’ll admit I’m a bigger fan of straight comedic slice of life anime. That said, I found BokuBen filled with fun moments – each episode was enjoyable in itself.
Comparisons To A Similar Anime
Now that I’ve given you an idea of what BokuBen is about, I’m going to come back to that initial point of BokuBen being very similar to The Quintessential Quintuplets.
I know many people are going to simply write this anime off as a copycat of The Quintessential Quintuplets. The fact is that both of these anime were based off of manga, and according to Wikipedia, BokuBen ran 6 months prior to The Quintessential Quintuplets. Mind you, I don’t know too much about manga so I can’t confirm 100% which idea came first.
But it doesn’t really matter, because both of these anime, despite sharing many aspects, are very different.
Quintuplets was a lot more about mystery, the girls falling in love with their tutor, and sentimental moments – with some comedy mixed in. Yes, there was tutoring in there, but much, much more time was spent in other situations, like a festival, skiing, et cetera. The focus was more on the romance / mystery, of the girls falling in love but not knowing which one the main character would end up with.
BokuBen is much more heavily focused on what I suppose you could call “teenage love comedy”, featuring awkward situations between girl and boy. Embarrassed faces, weird situations, et cetera. BokuBen still has romance, but the tone is much more casual. And that makes the anime more comedy focused, in my eyes.
Now that I’ve explained how BokuBen is different from Quintuplets, I can get into my final rating of this anime.
I rate Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai a 8.5 / 10.
Something about this anime just worked, perfectly, for me. Much more so than Quintuplets, which is why I’ve given it a higher rating. I think that this studying slice of life genre just works better in a more casual and comedic tone. BokuBen to me was a very fun and vibrant anime to watch – one that is also filled with a diverse cast of super cute girls!
I’ll also give BokuBen the Cute, Comedic, Colourful award, for possessing all three of these qualities!
Until next time,
Thanks for reading!