Absolute Beginners Book Club // Now Reading: Granny Girl Hinata chan!



Natively level 17

The story revolves around a robotic cat named Doraemon, who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a boy named Nobita. In each episode, Nobita gets himself into a bit of a caper or has some challenge, and Doraemon has just the invention from the future to help him out, or make things worse…


Amazon (paper and digital)

Personal Opinion

This is the first manga I ever read in Japanese. The ideas are fun and creative, and it contains everyday vocabulary and full furigana. It’s imaginative and humorous in a Calvin and Hobbes way- easy light humor for kids but clever enough for adults to enjoy.

The manga is episodic so it’s easy to dip in and out of. Even reading it on my own at an early stage, I thought it was pretty easy and fun.
Since I enjoyed it even before 小さな森のオオカミちゃん, I think it’s a perfect level for ABBC.

The series ran to 45 volumes and has spawned many offshoot products. In the spirit of this being the absolute beginner’s club (and an informal vote), I’m nominating the recent collection aranged by school year starting from grade 1. These are original episodes from the original manga, just ordered by grade and complexity. That’s great for this club, as the first graded volume introduces the most accessible episodes of Doraemon and is noticeably easier than volume 1 episode 1 of the original. Also, the newer version is printed larger, starts in color, and to me it looks like better resolution on the digital samples. The downside is they only show 1st grade kanji (full furigana), increasing coverage by year. The language is so simple I thought it was still easy to read but have a look at the sample pages yourself. Finally, this edition includes some essays (all kanji/full furigana) discussing the episodes from an educational perspective. I haven’t read them yet and suggest voting on whether to read them together at the start of the club.

An offshoot club can ramp up complexity over the course of 6 graded volumes. The most keen Doraemon fans could go on to read all 45 original volumes.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Full furigana
  • Episodic so people can jump ahead if they get behind or join the book club late
  • Simple language
  • light-hearted, funny, creative
  • An accessible entry point to the Doraemon universe, which includes anime, movies, every children’s study material you can think of (dictionary, vocab and kanji trainers), books and merch
  • An offshoot club could read all six graded volumes and complexity would gradually increase


  • No story development, although you do get glimpses of Doraemon’s backstory
  • Lots of kana as they only include grade 1 kanji, see the sample pages. Kanji for each grade are added with furigana in each subsequent book.


First Three Pages of Chapter One

Additional Pages

Difficulty Poll

I’ve left this in as we haven’t voted it out yet.

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Substantial effort
  • So much effort my head might explode :exploding_head:
  • I don’t know
  • I am an experienced reader, so this is not much effort for me
0 voters