Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: シャドーハウス

That’s why we should only read slice-of-life - because nothing happens in any volume. :stuck_out_tongue:


Eventually that gets boring though. :stuck_out_tongue:

You take that back. :eyes: Yotsuba is never boring.


If you’re tired of slice-of-life, you’re tired of life. :slightly_smiling_face:


I always wanted to watch Fruits Basket but it’s not available to me, so I’d be interested in reading it.


フルーツバスケット(Fruits Basket) - Collector’s Edition


Tooru Honda has always been fascinated by the story of the Chinese Zodiac that her beloved mother told her as a child. However, a sudden family tragedy changes her life, and subsequent circumstances leave her all alone. Tooru is now forced to live in a tent, but little does she know that her temporary home resides on the private property of the esteemed Souma family. Stumbling upon their home one day, she encounters Shigure, an older Souma cousin, and Yuki, the “prince” of her school. Tooru explains that she lives nearby, but the Soumas eventually discover her well-kept secret of being homeless when they see her walking back to her tent one night.

Things start to look up for Tooru as they kindly offer to take her in after hearing about her situation. But soon after, she is caught up in a fight between Yuki and his hot-tempered cousin, Kyou. While trying to stop them, she learns that the Souma family has a well-kept secret of their own: whenever they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex, they transform into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

With this new revelation, Tooru will find that living with the Soumas is an unexpected adventure filled with laughter and romance.


NOTE - This nomination is for the Collector’s Edition, so ebook readers will need the first two volumes!


Volume 1:
Volume 2:

Personal Opinion

This is a nostalgic favorite that I’ve read in English. It has a nice mix of comedy and serious elements. While I have a soft spot in my heart for the romance, the story is ultimately driven by the Souma family’s “ability”, which deeply affects their relationships with each other and the outside world. I think you quickly come to realize that the laughter is simply a mask for more serious struggles. It’s definitely a shoujo classic.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Serious plot and themes undercut by comedy
  • Abundance of kanji with furigana
  • The “animals” are honestly adorable


  • Only the first of a long series (1 of 12 volumes with the Collector’s Edition, 2 of 23 with the original format)


Pages 8-9

Pages 12-13

Pages 20-21

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters


Okay, nobody has yet objected, so I’m going to go ahead and remove Naruto and Dragonball. I’ll take another look directly after the next vote as well.

pssst, @ninjaflautist90, you wrote ‘pages 12-13’ twice

oh, also! I found a hard copy on Amazon of the first volume only (link in the OP). Do you specifically want to nominate the collector’s edition though? Probably depends how long each volume is and how nice the collector’s edition is, but we did that for Aria so it’s not unprecedented (that collector’s edition being nice and big made it easier to read).


Thanks, page numbers updated and link updated!

We could always do collectors edition, but I wasn’t nominating it specifically. :woman_shrugging:


It has such a stereotypical shoujo art style. :sweat_smile:


Fixed it for you. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

It really really does, though. :smile: I’m basically complete trash for anything that looks like it belongs in a decade-old issue of Shoujo Beat. :eyes:


I’ve been watching the new Fruits Basket anime, and it’s pretty painful to look at the manga art to be honest. I’m really glad they updated it to be a more modern style for the anime.

From watching the anime, though, I know it’s a really good story (and I typically don’t go for shoujo in any way, shape or form), so I’d be happy to read the manga. There’s definitely a reason it’s a classic.


I’m trying to remember if the art style shifts as it goes on. :thinking: A lot of longer manga seem to change quite a bit from start to finish.

I think the anime was pretty good, but thought it missed the mark a bit at the very end. Just didn’t quite capture the feeling I had interpreted from the manga. I still wish there was more, though - it only covers maybe the first third of the manga or something like that?

And I didn’t realize that there’s a reboot coming out as we speak! I wonder if that’s the one you’re watching? (cuz I was just thinking about the 2001 version)

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Yeah, I’m watching the new one. I only watched the first episode of the old one, because I thought the new one was going to be a continuation of the old one, so I wanted to get caught up. But then I found out the new one was starting over from the beginning, so I never watched any more.

The new one is supposed to be more faithful to the manga than the old anime. It’s being made at the request of the mangaka because she wasn’t happy with the original anime. She also specifically asked that they update the art style, if I remember correctly.


I wonder if Tonari no Seki-kun would be a good fit for this book club. It doesn’t have furigana, but each chapter is only 8-12 pages long.

Entire first chapter can be sampled here:


I read about the first third of tonari no sekikun at the beginning of the year over the course of a couple months. (!)

While it is a comedic book, it is aimed at high schoolers and pulls no punches in the language department. I found it to be very difficult to get through, although the chapters themselves are only a couple pages each.

What I found most difficult contains some spoilers maybe (not much more than you’d find on the back of the manga, though!).

So each chapter is one unusual and ridiculous thing that 関くん does during class, that for some reason only the girl sitting beside him notices and/or the other students don’t seem to find all that unusual. It’s a classic Japanese comedy setting with the girl as the straight man. (sorry, forgot her name). Since every chapter has a new theme, every chapter uses new terminology, and quite specific one at that. Also, all the Kanji you’d expect for that.

This coupled with the short chapters mean there’s a lot of new words and Kanji introduced on every single page for long stretches of the book. There is none of the ease that comes with prolonged reading at least throughout the first third of the book. Rather it is a bit of a lucky draw depenging on the subject matter of each chapter. Most are quite specific.

At the time I was trying to struggle through this, I was successfully able to read through Kino with the Intermediate BB. That’s why I think this might be too much for the BBB.

Just thought I’d throw my experience with this manga in the pot. I know it looks like it should be easy… I certainly thought so before I started!


That’s interesting. I thought the first chapter was pretty easy, but maybe it was just one of the easier chapters (and I suppose I’m not the best person to judge what’s good for beginners at this point).


Yokoi. :slightly_smiling_face:

The Book Blub?


Yeah, got lazy. :sweat_smile:

Intermediate book club / beginner book club.

Anyway, long story short, since I struggled with this Manga more than the intermediate title at the time, it might not be easier than that. :slight_smile:
(and maybe the beginner book club should be easier than the intermediate)

@seanblue I just had a look again - a lot of the first chapter is setting the scene. It seems pretty manageable, and there are chapters like that later on, too. They’re just not the majority.

If course, I too probably suffer from perception bias. I remember this being a real struggle, and gave up on this where I did not on Kino. Maybe had this been read in a club, it would have been okay. Maybe it’s not as hard as I remember.

Of course, if people want to read it, I’d be interested in a book club’s collective take on it.

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Well I was just mentioning it in case people thought it would fit. I got scolded last time I nominated something so I’ll pass. :laughing:

I think at this point I’ll just wait and vote for 霧の向こうのふしぎな町.



That one’s also getting my vote! :blush:

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