Were there some proposals not yet added to the list of proposed books in the first post? Are we still keeping in older proposals from people who may no longer be active on the forums (if there are any)?
For a book with furigana (readings beside kanji), the minimum is simply being able to read ひらがな and かたかな. However, the less grammar and vocabulary you know, the more you’ll have to look up (or ask about), and the more learning you’ll have to do.
I don’t have any hard recommendations for progress, but I would recommend knowing all N5 level grammar, and having started working your way through N4. You can get this by reading through Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese (free), or using a textbook such as Genki.
For vocabulary, even if you learn the 2,000 “most common” Japanese words, you may find the comic you read has barely 50% overlap with the words you know. You’ll be learning new words regardless, but the fewer words you already know, the more you’ll be looking up. I’d say having 500 to 1,000 words memorized will put you in the position of feeling you are getting something out of reading, because you’ll see a mix of words you know and words you do not know, versus a page of unknowns.
Check out the graded readers thread. I haven’t looked it over myself, but I believe it consists of texts meant for reading by lower-grade Japanese school students. (Anyone able to confirm if I’m right or wrong?) I think I’ve seen this recommended as pre-Absolute Beginner.
No, those are text aimed at beginner Japanese learner, so way easier than things aimed at natives. Even the simpler text aimed at young kids can contain N1 grammar, since natives do not care about that. On the other hand, graded readers follow the JLPT levels, which tends to match much better the skills of Japanese learners.
I haven’t seen any recommendations yet, so I’ll add one! This is a series I’ve read recently (no longer a beginner atm) but I think it should be good for the absolute beginner thread. Lemme know if it’s not absolute-beginner level, but I think it’s definitely easier than shirokuma.
“Even if we’re married, I want to know more about you. I love you.” A semi-autobiographical story about the daily life of a married couple and their three children.
Another good one (but probably a tad advanced for the absolute beginner club) is ツン甘な彼氏 (comedy about a tsun guy and his girlfriend who puts up with it) or うちの旦那がかわいすぎる件について (more of an art book with words - its gorgeous)
I need more slice of life manga about families / established couples instead of the usual dragged out romance.