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

So I decided to read some to see how I’d cope with it and ended up reading half the book. Oops.


I got the first volume of the ebook free on Amazon, thought I might try and learn a bit more about sake. Considering the amount of reading I have for bookclubs at the moment I don’t think I’ll get to read it for a while.

レンタルおにいちゃん tempted me with it’s nice artwork, it’s the first ebook manga I bought. I love having the actual books but, shipping prices and bookshelf space…


You get to help answer questions =D

If I had the money for it, I’d almost consider buying this set physical, just to own. I started transitioning from physical to digital back when I was renting and all my things needed to fit into a single room. Now I own a condo, but I’m trying to be picky on what I own physical.


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how Japanese often leaves unspoken any words known from context. This seems like a big change from English, until you realize we do the same (to a lesser extent) by using pronouns in place of words known by context.

A few days ago, I mentioned another difference between the languages: “Japanese is topic-prominent versus subject-prominence in English.”

What does prominence in language mean?

In a subject-prominent language, “almost all sentences must have a subject, even if there is nothing for the subject to refer to.” (Source)

A topic-prominent language “organizes its syntax into a topic–comment structure.” (Source)

English prefers the subject-predicate structure. Japanese prefers the topic-comment structure. For native speakers of English and similar languages, this is a very different way to comprehend sentences.

How does a subject differ between English and Japanese?

In English, a subject is defined as “the part of the sentence that names whom or what the sentence is about.”

In Japanese, a subject is the part of the sentence either being defined (as a noun), being qualified (by an adjective), or performing an action (a verb).

What is a topic?

A topic is what is being talked about.

In English, this sounds similar to the definition of the subject. In fact, it’s often true in English that the subject is also the topic. There are exceptions:

Sentence Topic Subject
John threw a ball at Mary. John John
Mary was hit in the face by the ball. Mary Mary
As for John, Mary’s big brother Frank beat him up later. John Frank

In Japanese, on the other hand, the topic and subject are defined very differently. This allows for sentences such as:

Sentence Topic Subject
(ぞう)は  (はな)が  (なが)い。 (ぞう) (はな)
As for elephant, nose is long. elephant nose
(わたし)は  りんごが  ()きだ。 (わたし) りんご
As for me, apples are likable. me apples
ネコバスは  ネコが  モデルだ ネコバス モデル
As for Catbus, cat is model. Catbus cat
レンタルは  お(かね)が  かかる。 レンタル (かね)
As for rental, money is expended. rental money

Whereas in English, we would make the elephant the subject and say the elephant has a long nose, Japanese makes the elephant the topic, and then makes a comment on it, saying the nose is long.

In English, we would state ourself as the subject that likes apples. In Japanese, we would state ourself as the topic, about which we’re making the comment that apples are likable.

We would make Studio Ghibli’s Catbus the subject by saying the Catbus was modeled after a cat. Japanese makes the Catbus the topic, and the comment is that a cat was used as the model.

And in English, we would make a rental the subject, saying that the rental costs money. In Japanese, the rental is the topic, and the comment on it is that money is consumed.


Ok, cheesiness alert ahead!

I don’t know how to express how much your words have inspired and motivated me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one here who feels that way. The way you described first reading Sailormoon is almost my exact same experience. It’s reassuring to know that I’m most likely not a lost cause. :slight_smile:

Understanding grammar points (much like understanding kanji) is going to feel so rewarding! I’m actually playing Animal Crossing in Japanese. Although I do sometimes get impatient and gloss over some of the longer text, I think it’s good practice so that when I’m able to recognise newer grammar points the reading will come more naturally. It’s contributions like yours that will undoubtedly be key to helping me along that journey!

I guess what I’m trying to say is thanks for being an awesome community member and you’ve also got me on the long haul for this book. :smiley:


Up through the end of 2017, I definitely felt like a lost cause when it came to Japanese. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to read manga, let alone novels, in Japanese. (Still working on the novel thing.)

But in 2018, I worked my way through four panels a day of a manga, some days spending hours on it, until I completed reading my first volume.

If I tried to read Sailormoon immediately after that, you can probably guess what the result would have been: I would likely have failed miserably, and maybe would have given up for a few more years.

I’m so glad WaniKani has book clubs!


I tried getting into ebooks years ago (my old kindle I think is a 4th generation, with page turning buttons but no keyboard) but I only ever really used it on holidays. I’m the sort of person who goes on holiday and takes 20 books with me in my hand luggage, partly in case I run out of reading material and partly so I can have some choice.

I always seem to be the one that airport security want to check though and then have to clear my bag of everything including my stack of books…my mum is always exasperated at me for that :joy:

I’m definitely enjoying the e-reader more this time around partly due to the space and cost saving but also because it’s so much lighter to hold a kindle than some of the big 600+ page books, really hurts my wrists and hands trying to hold them (especially if they’re hardback).


I know the problem. Though :joy: the physical version of this manga is not too heavy! It would easily fit in your hand luggage.

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We are about 2 hours away from starting the reading session, and I’m really exited!
Since it’s my first time in here, I’d like to know about how this whole thing goes… is the discussion in here? is it on Discord server or something among the lines?

I know this question should have been asked a few days ago, but I actually forgot about it :sweat_smile:


@Micki or @ChristopherFritz or some kind soul who knows what they are doing will set up the thread for the first week’s discussion soon!

So please everyone don’t start the discussion here in this thread, but wait till the new thread has been created! Won’t be long!


I can take my lunch break in two hours and put up a thread then, if @Micki doesn’t pop in and get to it before then. (I’m just on a quick morning break right now.)

For first-time book club readers, due to everyone living in different time zones, each week’s thread may appear several hours before or after what you would consider to be the start of the reading week.

In the meantime, I recommend anyone who wants to start reading to write down any questions you may have so you can ask them as soon as the thread goes live. You can use this as an opportunity to also practice writing in Japanese, by writing down the line you have questions on as well =)


I’ll do it shortly. On a call at work still.


And I’d like to add to that if I may.

This is the bookclub I wish we had when I started studying Japanese 3 years ago. I started with Yotsuba and, since then, I’ve kept going with Yotsuba (the bookclub is now on volume 14, still active, and we do weekly live readings too), but this manga here is so much better for learners, like me, just starting out.

The first few days of the club will be pandemonium! There will be loads of posts and keeping up will be a challenge. Don’t worry, it will soon settle down as the club finds its own pace and style. Remember too, that you have a whole week to cover the material and follow the thread.

One thing that makes life easier for everyone is to always, always, always put the page number at the top of your post. I try to make a point of doing that even if I’m replying to someone. Try to make it habit to put the page number at the top of your post.

Page 3


Then things become easier to find. And if you are looking for an answer to a problem, the best way to search the thread is using the page number. Click on the search button top right, click on “search this topic”, and write “page…” for best results!


Here we go! Week one thread is up here.


I’m sorry if this has been asked before, but what
grammar base is necessary for レンタルおにいちゃん? I only started learning it a couple weeks ago and had a long start phase where I didn’t use the right resources/misused the ones I had, so I’m basically still at the very beginning. I’m now using Bunpro and two Grammar books (like DoBJP) alongside it, and this seems to do the trick. Bunpro grammar is divided in the JLPT levels, so my question would be: Does レンタルおにいちゃん require N5 + N4 Grammar to be mostly understood or does N5 Grammar alone suffice?


Considering how much grammar one knows (likewise vocabulary), it comes down to how much you can tolerate encountering things you don’t know and having to look them up.

In general, for very easy manga, mid-way N4 seems to be the point where it begins to be comfortable, where you don’t feel like you’re looking up every other sentence. This is because you’ll know most of the most common grammar patterns.

For someone with little to no grammar background; for someone who doesn’t mind asking questions, absorbing a lot of new information, and just barely following along by translations provided by others; for someone who goes in with the expectation that they’ll encounter the same unknown grammar multiple times before they even begin to grasp it; for someone willing to take notes and dedicate time every day to looking up extra grammar explanations from various sources; for someone in this position, they can still make it. It takes more time and dedication, but you’ll going to have to put time and dedication to learning grammar anyway.

Even if you reach the end of the volume having just learned one bit of grammar each week (and possibly a couple of vocabulary words), it’ll be a positive gain.


Just came across this today. I’ve wanted to start reading a book for some time now. I actually was able to understand the gist of the sample for this book and felt really encouraged by that. Super excited for this!

Kinda bummed that I couldn’t get it on Kindle being in the US even though it’s offered for Amazon JP kindle :confused:


If you are enjoying this book you might want to get involved in picking the next book for the Absolute Beginner Book Club. Clicking here will take you to an explanation of how we go about this, in the Absolute Beginner Book Club Home Thread.

I picked up the ebook today and, ah, ended up finishing it? It made me cry in the first chapter so I really had no choice, and I bought the next volume already…


Will read through the actual thread when I’ve more time tomorrow or something.


So many people are nominating themselves to help answer questions in the weekly threads =D