レンタルおにいちゃん Volume 1 (Absolute Beginner Book Club) - Finished!

Welcome to レンタルおにいちゃん - Big Brother Rental - Volume 1!

We read volume 1 of this manga in the Absolute Beginner Book Club between August and November 2020.

To see what the club is reading next visit the Absolute Beginner Book Club Home Thread.

To get involved with reading more volumes of this manga, visit the レンタルおにいちゃん Reading Club Home Thread.

The next Absolute Beginner book is 10分で読める伝記 (2年生), starting November 7th 2020.

For an idea of the difficulty, click on this link to view the first chapter free on Pixiv. As a club we’ll be putting together a vocabulary list as we go and answering each other’s questions. We’ll plan to read this at a relatively slow pace so that those who are new to reading native Japanese books can keep up.

If you want to take part… just buy the book and join in the discussion! There’s a membership poll further down.

Book Summary

Little Kanami has lost the warmth of family at home, following first the death of her parents, and second her once-kind big brother becoming distant and abusive. She lacks the warmth of friendship at school, where classmates either bully or ignore her. When things seem to be at their worst, Kanami meets Makoto, a young man whose kindness is exactly what’s missing from her life. Makoto, seeing a reflection of his own childhood in Kanami, offers a proposition: any time she’s feeling down, she can rent time with him as a big brother.

You can read the original nomination post for this book here.

Please be aware the story involves some moments of verbal, psychological, and slight physical abuse which might make some readers uneasy.

Schedule & Discussion Thread Links

Week Start Date Pages No. of pages Chapter
Wk 1 Aug 8th 3-12 10 pages Chapter 1 part 1
Wk 2 Aug 15th 13-22 10 pages Chapter 1 part 2
Wk 3 Aug 22th 23-32 10 pages Chapter 1 part 3
Wk 4 Aug 29th 35-46 12 pages Chapter 2 part 1
Wk 5 Sep 5th 47-58 12 pages Chapter 2 part 2
Wk 6 Sep 12th 59-72 14 pages Chapter 2 part 3
Wk 7 Sep 19th 75-88 14 pages Chapter 3 part 1
Wk 8 Sep 26th 89-101 13 pages Chapter 3 part 2
Wk 9 Oct 3rd 103-116 14 pages Chapter 4 part 1
Wk 10 Oct 10th 117-130 14 pages Chapter 4 part 2
Wk 11 Oct 17th 133-147 15 pages Chapter 5 part 1
Wk 12 Oct 24th 148-160 13 pages Chapter 5 part 2
Wk 13 Oct 31st 161-173 13 pages Chapter 5 part 3
Just a note on page numbers for ebook readers.

The page numbers quoted by the ebook reader often don’t match the paper version of the book. On Bookwalker this is usually because it counts the front cover and inside front cover as pages 1 and 2.

However, if you look at the bottom of the pages some of the pages should have a number on which is the original numbering from the paper book. In my Bookwalker edition I can see page numbers on pages 3, 5 and 6 for example. These are the page numbers we will be using. The first proper page of the manga (starting with the text bubble - おにいちゃん) is page 3.

Vocabulary Sheet

Many thanks to @ChristopherFritz for creating this fantastic vocab sheet!

Book Club Members

  • I want to take part in this book club
  • I’m skipping this one

0 voters

If you’ve read it before but will join in the discussion, please select ‘yes’!

Buying the Book

Physical: Amazon | CDJapan

Digital: Pixiv | BookLive! | BOOK☆WALKER | ebookjapan | Kobo


Yay, I’m happy this book got selected. I read some of the preview pages and it looks cute. This is my first time in a book club so I’m very excited.


Regarding a start date - I was thinking we give 5-6 weeks for people to join in and get hold of the book and aim to start on August 8th. What do people think? I’m aware that those ordering a physical copy might take longer to receive their copy than normal due to everything that’s going on in the world. Having said that the first chapter (which will likely be the first two weeks reading) is available for free on Pixiv for any books that are taking a bit longer to arrive. So…

When should we start?

  • August 8th
  • August 15th
  • Earlier than August 8th
  • Later than August 15th
  • I just like clicking things

0 voters

I want to partake! I had a look, and it seems to be simple enough not to demotivate. I wish the kana was slightly bigger, I might have to get a magnifying glass haha >_>


I’m voting 15th so there’s less crossover time with Doggy Detectives, but I don’t mind starting earlier if that’s the group consensus :woman_shrugging:t3:


There wasn’t a way to reflect this in the poll but August 8th or August 15th are both fine with me.

Looking forward to participating! and to start my first manga in Japanese, after so many years :___) Thank you Micki for organizing it!


Do you think someone who has just started learning and is only on level 3 could feasibly follow along, or should I wait to join till a higher level (level 5-10ish)?


Like with many books / manga in the Absolute Beginner club, usually the most complicated part is not kanji since the books that we read in this club usually have furigana; for that reason, usually your WaniKani level is not such a big factor in whether you could read the book or not.

Usually the biggest problem is grammar. A rule of thumb is to at least be halfway through N4 level grammar before attempting to read with the club. If you are unsure whether you could follow along, it’s probably best to check the sample pages from the first chapter (check the link in the first post of this thread).

Keep in mind that everyone will try to help each other for the more difficult parts, so don’t feel like you have to understand everything on your own, though.


How do I get hold of the book? Where can I buy it?

1 Like

As @2OC3aOdKgwSGlxfz says above, the issue isn’t your WK level, because, to be honest, kanji is the easiest thing about reading a manga that has furigana! You just look it up and away you go!

The problem is the grammar and all those tricky hiragana-only words, all of which just sort of blend into each-other to my (absolute beginner) eye.

Having said that, there are a bunch of tools to help break it all down:

  • Jisho
  • ichi.moe
  • Reverso
  • and, of course, though to be treated with caution - Google Translate
  • but the biggest resource of all will be the word list, and this thread itself

In my experience, the deciding factor isn’t your level, but how much time and determination you have to work through the pages, looking things up, researching the grammar, and asking and answering questions. If you enjoy that process, you’ll be just fine!

But, again to repeat 2OC3, the best way to tell is to take a look at the free sample pages!


There are a bunch of links in the opening post.


I’ve been rather in love with Deepl of late, with the caveat that it sometimes tries too hard to be natural, so it occasionally skips over some of the nuances. It’s far better than Google translate, regardless.


Wow, looking forward to trying that out! Thank you @Belthazar!

New to the book club! The text doesn’t look overly daunting, so I’m gonna give this a try.


After taking a look at the first few pages I think I’m going to give it a go with everyone :smiley:
I’ll do some hard grammar study in the weeks leading up to when we begin and hopefully be able to contribute. Can’t wait to start!


We can be busy bees together. :grin:


Have you ever tried buying from a Japanese online store before? Do you have a debit or credit card able to make international purchases? You may be able to buy it through your country’s Amazon, but shipping will be crazy expensive right now.

If you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to ask. Often you’ll get not only an explanation of the grammar, but enough information to know what to look up for more detail. It may feel like a big crash course in grammar, and it may seem like you end up learning a lot of disconnected things, but the more native material you read, the more it’ll make sense, the more it’ll become familiar, and before you know it, the most common grammar will become second nature.

Welcome! This book is one of the easiest one I’ve encountered so far (me being beginner level, having been reading manga for a little over a year), so hopefully everyone finds it a good absolute beginner title. Even so, there will be nuggets of difficulty here and there, so feel free to question anything you don’t understand as we’re reading through.

And we’re looking forward to your participation =D

After my own experience of having Japanese manga I bought and couldn’t understand for about two decades before finally being able to read it, it’s fun to see people jumping into reading in under two decades from when they started learning Japanese!

Hopefully the furigana won’t be too bad for the most part. Are you generally good at reading hiragana? Have you decided whether you’ll buy a physical copy of the book, or buy a digital copy?


Christopher, I currently live in Japan, so buying in Amazon won’t be a problem. I didn’t notice the stores where to buy the first time I read the post. Thanks for your help btw!


Perfect! I did wonder if you might be living in Japan, but there are so many countries on this planet that I took guess and gave advice for those of us outside of Japan =P