Crystal Hunters: A manga designed for people learning Japanese!

What… what’s that supposed to be an abbreviation of?


取れ, surely. Maybe I should have specified that the speaker would be reaching down to the person in danger?


Perhaps. :stuck_out_tongue:

On the subject of verbless sentences, one that commonly appears in the Aria manga is お手をどうぞ = please give me your hand. I kinda think that some of these are expressions, though, and are thus exempt from the usual grammar rules. :slightly_smiling_face:


In my view, you can either think of fixed expressions as being exempt from the rules, or you can think of them as being within the rules, it’s just that those rules are more expansive than we’re usually taught.

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Thank you for sharing. Having a quick glance it seems like nice light reading practice with context and, to be fair, I wouldn’t expect it to read like natural conversation if it wants to achieve what it sets out to do. In this regard it should be perfect (note; saying that before having read it!)

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I’ve seen and heard that a lot, tbf.


The teachers are listed here: ABOUT US – Crystal Hunters Manga One of them also posted it on facebook. I will provide the feedback and see what he says.

The bios are a bit disingenuous.
The one from the second author mentions he is a professor at the university of Tokyo, but his professional page says:

I have been teaching English in Japan since 2007, and I am currently teaching conversation, writing, and content-based classes part-time at Showa Women’s University, Tokyo University of Science, and Nihon University. I am also the Coordinator for the MW SIG.

So not exactly qualified for teaching Japanese…


My gut feeling is that it’s something that appears when you speak because you don’t always know ahead of time exactly what you’re going to say, so you add the subject/object clause as an afterthought because you realize it might not have been clear enough from context… I think that’s how I typically end up saying these things at least.

Like “I see it! The crystal!”, but perhaps more common.

So to me it also seems a bit strange to teach this as correct grammar, rather than one of the many ways the rules get broken in natual speech.

EDIT: Also, unlike the other examples, it totally doesn’t work without the comma sort of making it its own phrase. Otherwise it becomes “(do somethig with) the crystal that I see”. But I’m rapidly getting out of my grammatical depth here so I’ll stop…


(A bit late to the party but heeey)
Speaking of “correct” Japanese, that is definitely NOT a rule and whoever says that is just plain wrong.
I know youre not the one who said its a rule, but i feel the need to defend the CORRECT rules here.
I wouldnt necessarily call an omission a rulebreaker, since japanese does that quite a lot when the meaning is obvious to other natives. This is probably often cause for confusion with learners to whom its NOT obvious what the omission is

The correct rule in this case is more like:
a grammatically complete sentence MUST end in EITHER a Verb, I-adjective or Copula
(could get away with just calling it Verb/Copula due to the nature of I-adjectives)
I know, people obviously dont always speak “correctly” in any language, but theres a strong case to be made for learning the rules before breaking them (especially for non-natives learning japanese).
I agree that set expressions are kind of a weird size in that theres mostly a perfectly good reason for them, But a lot of them are based on old japanese and therefore sometimes built on obsolete rules.

The main problem we face as learners is that there are a lot of false rules for japanese on the internet, as was just demonstrated.
With that said i think its important not to disregard them as guidelines since the rules apply the vast majority of the time (provided you can find the correct ones).

This manga is gonna confuse learners more than it will teach them.


Wow! We feel so honored to have sparked such a lively discussion!

As many of you have noticed, Crystal Hunters is written in “correct” Japanese, but not “natural” Japanese, and this was done on purpose. We are aimed at people who have never learned Japanese, or those who are just starting. Our manga is in only 87 words/particles and only 5 verb conjugations, and we tried really, really hard to get it this low. As many of you know, there is little to nothing to read at this difficulty level, and the few things that are available are not epic shonen mangas. But, in order to make it this easy, we definitely had to stray away from natural Japanese a bit. That said, all of it is 100% correct Japanese. Hiroshi Hatakeyama is our translator, as listed at the bottom of the manga on the pixiv page, and he’s checked everything. He is a native speaker of Japanese and is a professor at a university in Japan. He also writes academic papers in Japanese, so we’re pretty confident in his ability to judge whether or not things are in correct Japanese or not.

But for those of you who want our manga to be more “natural”, we are going to be releasing a “natural” version of Crystal Hunters in the next few weeks. If you’re interested, check our webpage at

Also, feel free to ask us any questions or critique our teaching style if you’d like. We’ll be monitoring this board, and we’ll happily answer anything that’s sent our way.

Happy reading!

Crystal Hunters


is this the og himself?

Haha yes, we are the writers of Crystal Hunters. If you message us on Twitter or Reddit, we’ll confirm.

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interesting! How’d you find this thread?

Someone found one of us on Facebook and messaged us directly.

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I see. Well, looking forward to future updates for a natural japanese version!

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Happy to hear that! We’ll get it out as soon as we can!

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Yes, that’s also how I have learned it. “A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar”, Cure Dolly and basically every resource teaching Japanese grammar I’ve read stated something along the lines of (citation from “A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar”):

An important fact about Japanese word order is that each sentence ends in a verb, an adjective or a form of the copula, and that the order of the other sentence elements is relatively free, except for the topic noun or noun phrase, which normally comes at sentence-initial position.

I personally think that this should be taught as a rule and the contradicting occurrences in speech as intentional/unintentional violations, but it seems opinions differ on what should be taught as correct grammar. In the end, there’s not even much of a difference: you can see phrases like わたし は みる、クリスタル を。 either as an intentionally/accidentally incorrect sentence, or as a correct sentence, but intentionally/accidentally in an uncommon word order. It doesn’t change much. So maybe I was in the wrong, doubting their way of teaching. However, if I were asked, I would change the sentence “All of these versions are grammatically correct.” to “All of these versions will be understood and sometimes used by native speakers - especially in casual speech.”

Another part of the guide that seems a bit suspect to me is, that it implies that は marks the subject and states that “The way が is used in Crystal Hunters is actually more like an object, meaning that it replaces を, but only when paired with certain verbs/adjectives.”

@Crystal_Hunters Even though I disagree with some statements in the guide, I think Crystal Hunters is an interesting attempt to motivate people to learn Japanese.

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Why thank you! We really hope Crystal Hunters motivates more people to study Japanese!

Earlier in the guide, we clarify that が can also be a subject, but that we are actively avoiding this situation because understanding the depths of は/が is ridiculously hard, so we simplified them into easily digestible versions of their true selves. But yes, you are correct, は is most definitely not the only subject marker in Japanese.

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No its actually really simple.
the particle は is always the topic, the particle が is always the subject.
Subject can be omitted if its clear from context.
The topic can sometimes be the same as the subject (as it is in your example). But they are always distinguishable.

I really hope you will reevaluate your stance on that. Because teaching it this way demystifies it from the very start.
They way you put it makes people not know how to tell the difference.