Easy to read manga for Japanese beginners Vol. 05

japanese beginner manga with furigana
Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

I initially wanted to end the series with the fourth entry but discovered so many great manga which are very suitable for Japanese beginners over the last couple of months that it would be a shame not to continue with another volume. Personally I haven’t been following to0 many ongoing manga lately. I keep up with Billy Bat and Assassination Classroom but dropped the latter one now. The story became a little repetitive and lost its initial spark that got me interested. Or maybe it just wasn’t very good from the beginning. I’m still following What did you eat yesterday with their English releases and Monster as well but not so much on the Japanese front. When my semester break started I finally had the time and leisure to really dig into all the Japanese manga I bought over the last couple of months.

Especially Dj Tonkatsu Agetaro was one of the titles I was really keen to read. And it’s really a great one. It’s difficult to find beginner friendly manga in Japanese that are not typical 少年 manga with endless fights and little boys who want to become the strongest. To each his own but I just can’t stand this stuff anymore. Never really liked it in the beginning but Dragon Ball got me a little more interested in the whole genre. My recommendation still contains a lot of 少年 titles but I only pick the ones I really enjoyed myself. But now, let’s finally start with a another volume of easy to read manga for Japanese beginners.

If you’re just getting started with learning Japanese make sure to check my guide.

1.) Tonkatsu Dj Agetaro – とんかつDJアゲ太郎

I love Japanese cooking and was playing records publicly for several years. Around 2004 I started to get really into House music and was digging my way through the classics. When I started studying dentistry I completely stopped to do any gigs but am still buying new records from time to time. So the story of Dj Agetaro really appealed to me from the beginning. Formerly a net-manga Jump picked it up and released the first tankobon a couple of weeks ago. Great title and well worth it for everyone who is enjoying a story in the “real world”. On a side note. Finally picked up that Soichi Terada compilation, yay.

Buy Tonkatsu Dj Agetaro from CDjapan

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dj tonkatsu agetaro japanese manga

2.) Sweets Penguin – 甘党ペンギン

The iBooks App on my iPad coupled with the Japanese online story makes it a perfect way to search for new and interesting manga. Their 立ち読む feature which gives you a little glimpse inside the book is awesome. I discovered Sweet penguin there and instantly ordered my copy. The story about a pretty cute penguin who becomes a frequent (and annoying) customer at a small café is just too charming. The story is pretty light and easy to understand which makes it a perfect manga for beginners. Plus it’s funny, very funny. If you want a good step up from Chi’s sweet home. One of the most funny and original manga I read in a long time.

Buy Sweets Penguin from CDjapan

sweets penguin japanese manga

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3.) The mangaka and his assistants – マンガ家さんとアシスタントさんと

Shorts stories about a mangaka who has a little weakness for the typical otaku clichés. Panties, big boobs and of course he isn’t too smooth with women. Everything contains furigana and the each story is pretty short which makes it a manageable feast if reading Japanese is still a rather painful exercise. But now on to the story which is funny and not without self-irony.

Buy The mangaka and his assistants from CDjapan

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the mangaka and his assistant japanese manga

4.) Inuyasha

A true classic among girls manga. I have written about it and Ranma 1/2 before but jut had to include it in this list. They re-published the entire series in a perfect edition which is called 完全版 in Japanese.I usually try to get these if something like this available because it makes reading much more comfortable due to the bigger format and cleaner print. You probably remember the oversized editions of Dragon Ball, Slam Dunk and Hikaru no go. All 完全版 published by Jump who are doing a pretty incredible job with these. The complete (or perfect) edition of Inuyasha is not in such a big format but it’s still a pretty well made one. Especially if you have them alined on your bookshelf the back is nicely printed with the same gold letters which are also present on the front. The Japanese used is pretty straight forward and apart from some of the “fantasy slang” you won’t have any problems. If you’re a fan of the series you can get this without hesitation. Looks great, clean print and the manga itself is above questioning.

Buy Inuyasha from CDjapan

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5.) Dragon Ball SD

I know the newly-told Toriyama classic already got it’s very own specific post but like Inuyasha it just belongs into this list. The chibi style characters may not be to everyones liking but the story is definitely a little more approachable in it’s compressed version. There are currently three volumes out, each one printed with full color pages. And each one looks great. If you’re a Dragon Ball fan who is learning Japanese these are a no brainer.

Buy Dragon Ball SD from CDjapan

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These couple of manga should keep you busy for a little while. I’m currently in a rut with learning Japanese and missing some motivation to keep me going. Maybe it’s just a general problem that I’m having at the moment but you probably know times like these yourself. Hopefully I’ll finally be back on track with everything in a couple of days and be more active over here at the same time.

I love writing articles and taking pictures for you guys. So far it has been one pleasant experience. Thank you all so much for you comments and taking the time to read the stuff I write. I’m always amazed at how great the Japanese learning community as a whole can be. But to be especially honest I still think the Japanese Tease readers are even a tad more pleasant and great to have around. Just my two cents though.

Have fun with the manga and please let me know what you guys are up to. Like always all CDjapan links are affiliate links. So if you’d like to support this site please use them for your purchases (at no extra cost to you). Thanks a lot for all your support.

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  • Xaromir

    That Dragon Ball looks surprisingly good. Nice white paper. I ordered Chi’s Sweet Home and was a bit shocked, because the paper was very thing and very yellow – aka rubbish, compared to the US version. Oh well.

    • Yeah, the international version of Chis definitely look better, paper wise. I own the first couple of volumes of the French version and it’s superior to the Japanese one as well. only thing we rarely tend to get over here are these neat protective sleeves. Why Germany.

  • Ich muss gestehen, ich hab früher verdammt viele 少年漫画 gelesen x’D Zurzeit hat es allerdings nachgelassen und jetzt bei den Serien die gefühlten 100 Kapitel nachzulesen, die man verpasst hat…da überlegt man sich das doch lieber zwei Mal :’D
    Bei マンガ家さんとアシスタントさんと musste ich an 月刊少女野崎くん (げっかんしょうじょのざきくん) denken! Sind sich zumindest von der Idee her ziemlich ähnlich oder gar identisch :)

    Der Anime zu Inuyasha ist ziemlich empfehlenswert da kriegt man halbwegs ein Gefühl für die ganzen “altertümlichen” Wendungen, wenn man’s mal gehört hat :D
    Nichtsdestotrotz VIEL DANK für den Beitrag und die top geschossenen Aufnahmen! :)
    P.S: Das mit der Motivation zum Japanisch-Lernen wird schon wieder! Gibt ja immer “Up&Downs”, kennt man ja als Student nur zu gut

    • Ich möchte 少年 manga auch wirklich niemandem vermiesen. Persönlich finde ich nur vieles ziemlich bescheiden, gehöre aber auch wirklich nicht mehr zur Zielgruppe. Der Tipp mit Inuyasha ist super, das sollte ich vielleicht noch in den Artikel mit einbauen.

  • Thank you very much for these posts. I’m in Japan at the moment and am trying to work out suitable manga to read to help improve my woeful reading skills. I bought the first three volumes of Space Brothers because I loved the idea (and read a few chapters in English first) but I suspect I’m going to have trouble reading them in much the same way as I stalled horribly with Monster, so Dragonball SD looks both great and hopefully more at my level. I’m also going to buy all of Ranma 1/2, simply because I’ve read most of it in English and I loved it, repetitive jokes and all. :)

    • I tried Space Brothers myself but found the story extremely boring. The two brothers were just a little too “plain” for my taste. On the other hand I’m currently reading Monster myself but in English. What a story. Urasawa really is a genius.

      Dragon Ball SD is surprisingly fun. Especially if you already read the Toriyama original or watched the show. I was a bit hesitant a first because, yeah nobody really needs a compressed version of the Dragon Ball saga. But the language is a little more simple and it’s a rather quick read because you#re stomping through the saga in no time. Which makes it rather rewarding when your reading is still painfully slow in Japanese.

      Have a great time in japan and let me know how you enjoyed the manga!

  • EskimoJo

    It’s like you *want* my bookshelves to break…

  • MarioRash

    New stuff! Greeeat :PP

  • Alena

    Thank you very much for you posts! I’ve got my parcel from cdjapan just couple of days ago. I’ve got Yotsuba &! and Shirokuma Cafe as you advised. Want to get Sweets Penguin now. I will use your link when be ready to order. :)

    • So sorry Alena, complete missed your comment and just discovered it. Awesome stuff you got there and thanks a lot for using my referral link :)
      How did you come along reading the manga? Nice that you picked up two Japanese manga mags as well :) Should get one for myself with my next order.

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  • Cassle

    Just curious, how much is the shipping fee when ordering from cdjapan to US?

    • That really depends on how many books you’re ordering. The weight makes the price. You get a quote on shipping costs directly in your shopping cart if you want to check it out.

  • Gabby

    please please pleeeease continue this! I’ve gotten quite a few of your suggestions and would love to hear about what else you recommend. Plus your writing style and photography make it my favourite recommendations list to come back to.
    In case you don’t have another installation of this planned for the near future (or ever) do you have any manga that you haven’t previously mentioned which you think would be great for practice/study?

    Also, thank you for providing great content like this! :)