三ツ星カラーズ Volume 1 (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

I’ve added a poll to the week four thread, so we can get a feel for it.

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I just wanted to say that I hear you.
I struggled through my first manga, experiencing exactly what you are saying.
Your experience is (sadly) absolutely the norm and I think how everyone has to start out with native material pretty much no matter their WK or vocab level.

My manga reading experience

My first manga was からかい上手の高木さん with the ABBC in April and it was a real struggle.
I hadn’t finished genki as I found it too tedious, I didn’t understand much grammar at all, and had never seen informal or contracted forms or helper verbs.
Often it would take everything I had to figure out a single damn speech bubble!
I didn’t keep up with the schedule, the 2 pages a day was just a lot.
But eventually, a month late, I finished my first manga.

Each manga since has still been hard, but that is a huge improvement from “impossible”. Each time I see improvement. I have finished 4 manga and am 2/3 of the way through volume 2 of Demon Slayer which I’m reading without a book club.
Now I can generally get a few pages a day in before bed without it killing me. On good days I can somehow get through 15-30 pages (helped a lot by fight scenes!).
I still have to use a dictionary a lot, but less, and best of all manga reading is now fun!

Honestly, reading with the ABBC was the best thing I’ve ever done for my Japanese.

It won’t be easy, but the more you stick with it the easier it will get, even if very slowly.

It has been amazing seeing the other members of the からかい上手の高木さん ABBC in other parts of the forum - seeing everyone’s growth has been amazing.

+1.
For a long time I delayed reading manga thinking it was way beyond me (and it was).
I would create Anki vocab decks formed from the vocab sheets for past book clubs to try cram the vocab, but whenever I tried to dip my toes into “easy manga” (yotsuba) I’d just bounce right off it understanding nothing.

Pushing through it with the ABBC changed this.

Now on the other side of this, I just think back to what Cure Dolly said, the way you get better at something (after the very initial learning at least) is by doing it.

thoughts on prelearning

Now I think that prelearning beyond the absolute basics (hiragana, very basic sentence structure, very basic verb cunjugation*) quickly gives diminishing returns.

I do think my Anki time before reading did help, but the vocab needed to read a series without lookup is absolutely massive and pretty much noway I’ll get all of that in my head even with Anki.
The biggest benefit was likely improving my hiragana reading speed and helping me ever so slightly figure out possible word boundaries.

Since starting reading, Anki has become way more valuable, things stick much more easily as I have the context in my head.

Huge +1 to this, this is my story.

+1,000,000
My biggest problem when starting with the ABBC was that 2 pages per day was A LOT.
I had to squeeze in every moment of time with the manga that I could into my schedule, and it was a real struggle - and I still finished a month late.

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I had the same experience with よつばと some time ago. Him saying すげー in place of すごい annoyed me (unnecessarily) and I struggled with the whole book’s casual language style. Now I think I use すげー as an exclamation a lot in daily life. (despite knowing it’s a bit childish)

It’s a good metaphor for my whole experience tbh. Verb conjugation felt like an insane thing to have to learn - so I drilled it for an hour a day for months until it now just flows. Potential forms seemed insane and unnecessary and now its natural (80% of the time…). etc. etc.

I wish I’d committed to these book clubs / forums more a year ago - I think I’d be stronger reader and speaker.

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Week five is up. As per discussion on pacing this, chapter is split across two weeks.

I’ll update the schedule to adjust for two weeks per chapter, keeping in mind that we can always opt to convert to one week per chapter later down the line.

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I just noticed: after revising the schedule to spread one chapter over two weeks, the dates don’t reflect that. We now have two weeks starting at the same day for a few weeks.

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Oops, I should have known I’d miss something. Thanks for letting me know! I’ll get that fixed right now.

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I just want to thank all the people who answer questions in this book club. This is probably the fifth or sixth time I have tried to read native material, but I always did it on my own and gave up after a couple of pages.

I managed to make it through five pages of Chapter 3 before turning to the forums for help this week. It is because the kind people who can read and understand better than I, but take the time to post here. It is greatly appreciated.

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@ChristopherFritz - the sudden (but inevitable) appearance of Omicron means work has got me pinned down at the moment, so I’m running a little (a lot) behind. Hope I can catch up with the rest of you soon.

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The good news about playing catch-up is all the existing discussion, so if you get stuck on a line, chances it’s already been talked about and you can keep going =D

That reminds me, I’ve gotta go get caught up on a couple of book clubs…

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Speaking of other book clubs, I found this link that you posted in another book club: Japanese Slang 101 That Will Make You Sound Like a Local - Kawa Kawa Learning Studio to be super helpful for me in this one as well. It talks about a lot of the contractions or changing of vowel sounds that occur in everyday speech (so they are common in manga dialogue).

For some one like me really trying to read native material the first time, I am start to pick up of these things as we go through the book, but in the first couple chapters it is really easy to get lost because of how informally people talk in the book vs the more polite speech taught in Genki and the like.

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How are you all liking the manga so far? I’m about to start the final volume of ひとりぼっちの〇〇生活 (one of my favorite manga) by the same author. Part of me wants to think I’d like 三ツ星カラーズ since it’s by the same author, but the previews give a very different vibe, so I’m unsure.

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My unhelpful comparison point of view.

Keeping in mind I’ve only read volume one of ぼっち, I’d say the two series are different enough that being by the same mangaka doesn’t mean anything. Sort of like going from Azumanga Daioh to Yotsuba (if you’ve read those).

ぼっち カラーズ
Characters Larger, varied cast. Smaller, simple cast.
Story (I assume) overall story that steadily moves forward. Random event with no overall plot.
Humor Packed with punchlines (one every four panels). Slow-paced with more childish humor spread out.
Art Simple, basic backgrounds. Ueno, Ueno, and more Ueno

Aside from that, I nominated it, so I’m biased toward it =D

I do think the whole first volume is enough to get a good feel for if you’d like it. I’d say the first three chapters may tell someone is they’re not interested in reading the series, but a few more chapters may be necessary to determine if you are interested.

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Thanks for sharing! I have my own biases as well. Specifically, I really like the 4-koma format for comedy manga, so that’s a point against 三ツ星カラーズ for me!

In case you’re curious, the story does indeed move forward. Though it’s still primarily focused on the comedy.

I definitely noticed the childish humor on the Amazon preview, which is not really my thing. Would you say the majority of the jokes are based on childish humor?

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A lot of the humor is based in the personalities of the main characters, and only one produces childish humor.

Overall, I’d say it comes to…maybe 10 to 20%? But also note that the format doesn’t require two punchlines per page, so the humor is more sparse.

The other two main characters provide dark humor and comedy duo straight man humor.

There’s more to the three of them than that for comedy, but that’s the basics.

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4 panel comic manga?! News to me! Found a filtered listing of 4-こま manga and checked a few previews. Very interested. Thanks for the heads up!

Searching the forum doesn’t immediately reveal any 4-こま books having been elected for book clubs, could be missing it. Unless someone points it out to me I think I’ll just take the opposite approach as @seanblue and branch of into ひとりぼっちの〇〇生活.

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So far I’m not very interested in the story, but I didn’t read all the current content yet. (I guess I’ll try to catch up later.)
I think as was said there is a lot of childish humour in it, which I think is cute, but well it’s just that: cute :slight_smile: Not really anything to keep me hooked or interested.

@liveunderwater I’m currently reading a previous book from this book club which is 結婚しても恋してる. This is a 4 koma style book.
Edit: Ah it’s not really 4 koma but only short story :smiley: remembered it wrong :sweat_smile:

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Ahh, you ninja’d my “wth?”

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We did read One Week Friends in the BBC, but only the first volume. It’s 4こま with “regular” manga portions mixed in. It was too dense for me to continue, especially when I had already read much of it in English not long before, but I may get back to it eventually.

I’d say カラーズ is sort of a “comical slice-of-life”. So, on one hand, you have to like slice-of-life. On the other hand, the comical portions may make it feel not enough like slice-of-life for those who do like the genre. (A double-edged sword?)

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If I remember correctly, 一週間フレンズ is partially 4-koma. And also シメジシミュレーション is. Both of those were read in the beginner book club (though I didn’t read either of them).

In any case, ひとりぼっち is a great choice for a first 4-koma manga. It’s relatively easy (even considering the lack of furigana) and not very dense, but is still really funny and has great characters. I’m not sure how much the lack of kanji would hold back some people, but at level 51 on WaniKani that aspect shouldn’t be a problem for you.


Other than that, most of the 4-koma manga I read are from Manga Time Kirara. Specifically, my favorites are:

  • ご注文はうさぎですか (all time favorite manga)
  • こみっくがーるず
  • ブレンド・S

I’ve tried a few more too. Some I dropped because I didn’t like them. Another only has one volume so far, so not really worth mentioning. Even if some don’t land for me, Manga Time Kirara is the only magazine (really three magazines) that I specifically go to for recommendations.

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