Top 5 best things you read in Japanese in 2022?

Starting to get off topic here...

…but speaking of color pages, they are currently releasing a premium edition of ご注文はうさぎですか called ご注文はうさぎですか Complete Blend. If you think those color pages from 恋愛ロボ are good, the ones from Complete Blend will blow you away. I don’t know how many color pages there are in 恋愛ロボ (as it depends on how it’s printed in the original magazine which itself depends on the popularity of a series), but since ご注文はうさぎですか is among Kirara’s most popular series, nearly every chapter starts with two full color pages.

I have the print versions and they are really beautiful, but I’m sure the digital version is nice too if that’s your preference.


I’ve never explored into what that series was about. Seems it has an anime, have you watched it? Thinking of trying that first, and if I enjoy it, I can go with the manga.

  1. 容疑者Xの献身 - this was my first big-boy novel in Japanese and it was a great read. And my slow reading speed really helped amp up the tension towards the end :slight_smile:.

  2. 陰陽師 - I talked about this in the Extensive Reading thread.

  3. Triangle Strategy for the Nintendo Switch - a little wordy, but I liked it ¯\(ツ)

  4. My fiance’s Zojirushi water bottle - the label on the bottom only has like 15-20 words, and won’t be winning the Akutagawa prize anytime soon - but it stands out as possibly the first complete thing I’ve read where I understood absolutely 100% of the Japanese. Meanings, readings, grammar, everything.

  5. Everything else


I like the manga more than the anime, but the anime is good too and gives a good indication of what the manga is like.

  1. SPY×FAMILY 1 | L28

    • I like the comedy here.
    • Mixture of educated speak and all-Kana child speak.
  2. はたらく細胞 1 | L29 (Cells at Work)

    • A series that turns out to be better than I think.
    • Biology and cellular workings, with gore and tropes.
  3. ハピネス 1 | L17 (Happiness)

    • I like the suspense and anticipation / guessing ahead.
  4. かがみの孤城 | L28

    • I also listened to audiobook from
    • Good fantasy and unexpected settings; and with dangers and hopes.
  5. うたわれるもの

    • Turn-based strategy game + Trilogy
    • I can rewind and replay speeches. (But no backlog.)
    • A good thing about VN, always, is BGM.
    • Lots of fan service, but I like it enough to keep playing. Also many other military males.

Honorable mentions

  1. ブラックジャックによろしく 1 | L24?? (Give My Regards to Black Jack)

    • Realism of paid medical system. Made from a real and still-living person.
  2. ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 1 | L31 (Part 1 + Part 2)

    • Probably Part 3 forward is more popular, and Part 1 is at least somewhat popular; but I like less-mentioned Part 2 a lot.
    • Travelling around Europe and America.

I have trouble ranking things so this won’t necessarily be in order, but:

  1. The 2.43 清陰高校男子バレー部 light novel series by 壁井ユカコ. Considering it’s one of my special interests and periodic hyperfixation, yeah, it definitely gets the top spot. It’s a volleyball sports drama and one of our protagonists is autistic and the other is ADHD, so it’s pretty much right up my alley. (The only thing that would make it more so, probably, is if it were queer-queer and not just your usual sportsani-brand of queer subtext.) I love it so much, and the novels are so much better than the anime.

  2. 僕らの食卓, a single-volume BL manga by 三田 織. I absolutely love the warm, soft vibes that this has. It feels like a bowl of freshly cooked rice, which is fitting, because the two main characters were brought together over an onigiri! The naming theme also fits (and contributes to) the feeling. It’s similar to that brand of BL where a guy falls for a single father, except in this case, instead of a guy with his young kid, it’s a guy with his kid brother.

  3. クールドジ男子, a manga series by 那多ここね. It’s just so freaking funny. They’re all idiots and I love them. It’s also in full color, which is nice, and both the coloring and art style are so pretty. It’s one of the few series I’m collecting in both English and Japanese. Five volumes are out so far, but I still haven’t read the fifth yet.

  4. 晴れのち四季部, a (mostly 4-koma) BL manga series by ひのた. It’s three volumes so far, and I kind of think of it as a gayer 月刊少女野崎くん. Instead of chapter 1 starting with a confession that gets mistaken for wanting to join his after-school activities (making manga), it ends with a declaration of wanting to join his after-school activities (the four seasons club) that gets mistaken for also being a confession. Everyone’s also idiot4idiot and it is very adorable and very funny. Also in beautiful full color. The transitions between the wide 4-koma format that most of it is written in and the regular manga format are very well done, too.

  5. ボーイミーツマリア by PEYO. It’s a single-volume BL manga that also deals wonderfully with gender issues, the deuteragonist likely being some flavor of genderqueer but not knowing what, not helped by his past trauma, being amab but having been forced to grow up as a girl by his mother and having his interests dictated by her, and being sexually assaulted by one of his teachers in elementary school. In turns funny and heartrending, it’s a beautiful and respectfully done manga, but definitely not one for everyone. I read it in English first and probably would not have given it a chance had I known what happens in Arima’s backstory chapter, but I’m glad I did read it, and it’s among my favorite manga.


I believe all of these books have been part of the WK book club. Since I only seriously started reading this year, I am so glad that I chose these and will continue to rave about them until I find better ones to count as my “favorites”:

1.かがみの孤城 | L28
I teared up a few times and audibly laughed more than I would have liked while reading it in public. It’s a fairy tale inspired by fairy tales and works through delicate subjects like mental health, social anxiety, bullying, and family problems.

2.また、同じ夢を見ていた| L25
I had difficulty putting this book down because I was just charmed by the plot and the way it was written. It is thoughtful and moving with a well-deserved uplifting end.

3.キッチン | L31
Places focus on loss, grief, the ensuing loneliness, and what gets you through. Beautiful, sad, and comforting at the same time.

4.木曜日にはココアを| L29
A collection of heartwarming and interconnected short stories told from the perspective of different ordinary yet relatable characters. Think of it as a series of short films, with each episode building on each other for a cheesy yet feel-good finale.

5.世界から猫が消えたなら| L27
A postman dying from a brain tumor deals with the devil to erase things from the world to prolong his life a day at a time. The writing style is straightforward and will make you feel like a reader.


Participants of the Read Every Day Challenge will probably recognize these :joy: But I will never miss a chance to promote my cute manga :eyes:

  1. 夜の名前を呼んで Vol 1 and 2 - I freaking love this manga so much. The premise of the story is that there’s this little girl, Mira, who turns everything into night when she gets anxious. She’s been sent away to live with a magician doctor, Rei, who is trying to help her with this condition. It gets a bit dark and serious at some points, but there are plenty of cute, light chapters too. The art is beautiful, and the main characters are lovely I literally cannot put into words how much I love Rei, he’s the sweetest, most adorable gentleman and his relationship with Mira is so precious >< There are currently 3 volumes published (I still need to read the third volume).
  2. クマとカラス - I CRIED :sob: A very sweet but melancholic manga about a friendship between a bear and a crow. I picked it up because the art was cute and I got a whole bunch of emotions that I didn’t sign up for :joy: A single-volume story.
  3. 異刻メモワール Vol 1 - This manga is sort of “slice-of-life meets the spirit world.” The premise of the story is that a boy named Tomo runs into this…boy-shaped being named Ritsu on his way home from school. Ritsu accidentally takes Tomo back “home” with him to the spirit world, and they can’t figure out how to get him back, so Tomo’s pretty much just hanging out with Ritsu in this weird spirit realm xD I really loved the vibe and art style of this manga - it’s weird and lovely and mystical and beautiful. I’ve only read the first volume so far, but a second volume recently came out :eyes:
  4. おでかけ子ザメ Vol 1 - smol shark goes on smol adventures :pleading_face: Literally the cutest shark manga you will ever find, and there isn’t a lot of text so it’s a quick, fluffy, light-hearted read. I’ve only read the first volume, but a second volume was recently published.
  5. 猫のようなナニカ Vol 1 - boy meets adorable yet mildly terrifying cat-creature and takes it home to be his friend xD This is a fun, light-hearted manga and the language isn’t too complex so it’s a pretty easy read. Highly recommend if you have an interest in soft void kitties. Two volumes currently published (I still need to read the second volume).

Honorable mention: 猫には猫の猫ごはん - sweetheart of a man finds a tiny kitten in the snow and brings it home. The guy has zero cat ownership experience, but watching him earnestly try and learn how to care for this cat is very sweet and endearing. I’ve only read the first volume, but there are 6 (soon to be 7) volumes published.


Eh, eh? :eyes::joy:

Omg, my heart. I just read the preview. :pleading_face:


Well, I’m currently reading a 21 (?) volume long light novel series, so that’s what I’m reading! XD So for best reading in Japanese in 2022, it’s Flesh & Blood! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: (I’m currently on volume 7! woot)

It’s a roller-coaster type of story, with light-heartedness and bro- and romance, mixed with frightening seriousness. Lots of historical realism and real personas, but these books manage to avoid getting too bogged down by it. Natsuki Matsuoka paves her own path with these ingredients, creating a compelling historical drama, with a big focus on political intrigue and the big conflict between Christian faiths in Europe at this time, protestantism/catholicism - with a side serving of life on the sea! XD


I just realized i forgot to answer this part! Did not mean to ignore you, think i got a bit excited to talk about the other series that it slipped my mind.

Well that thread there, aside from that, the jokes that they use are very telling, i wont spoil any, and i also often saw tweets after an episode where the staff would talk about certain gags and the process. It was clear they were really enjoying their work on it.

  • このあたりの人たち
    Interesting collection of short stories (like 4 pages each) by 川上 弘美 (かわかみ ひろみ). Most of the stories center on a person and their peculiarities, and a lot of them re-appear in other short stories to create a sense of a community in which these characters all exist.

  • The 新潮文庫 version included two other short stories that were connected to each other but not to 穴 and honestly these were also really good. 穴 has a slightly abrupt end that leaves the reader to wonder about the somewhat surreal events of the story.
  • 殺人出産
    My third novel by 村田 沙耶香 (むらた さやか) but one of the more enjoyable reads (all the novels by her I’ve read feature profoundly unlikeable characters and dark themes that make for an uncomfortable read, looking at you 地球星人). What I feel she does very well in her novels is flipping social convention on its head and making what is “normal” feel strange and abnormal.
  • 海辺のカフカ〈上〉
    I only recently started this (I’m about 200 pages in) but more than anything I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how accessible this is for someone at my level. It’s a bit slow (and I have faint memories of reading it in English god knows how long ago, although my memory of the events is nonexistent luckily).
  • きまぐれロボット
    Albeit a book primarily for kids I have to shout this out as my gateway to reading. These are all short stories by 星 新一 (ほし しんいち), usually with some sort of sci-fi / supernatural element and a clever twist at the end (although its about 50/50 if the twist is actually clever or just stupid in my opinion).


Are these kids the inspiration for 博士 in 日常? :thinking:


The author of 日常 did the cover art :wink: (it says right there on the left :eyes:)


I’m just going to list things I read from the start this year and ignore stuff like new volumes of series I’m already reading just to make it easier to choose (I guess I can give those an honorable mention at the end). In no particular order:

  • ぼっち・ざ・ろっく!

A 4koma manga. I especially like the extremely socially anxious protagonist of this a lot, along with the general band dynamics and some of the jokes. There was a part I personally found slightly weaker at one point in the more recent volumes, but it got better again afterwards. The anime is also a really nice adaption in case anyone wants to check that out — overall there’s maybe two small parts or so I liked better in the manga (one for changing things in a way I felt made less sense than in the manga version, the other for just not being nearly as cool as the manga made me expect). However, it makes up for it by doing some very creative stuff in many other places.

  • RPG不動産

A 4koma manga that had a start that I thought was rather weak because of the jokes not really landing much and some weird fanservicey stuff (not just because of the presence of it but also just because of how it’s done). That said, I personally found the manga a lot more interesting after it tones down some of the attempts at comedy and becomes more of a normal fantasy story somewhere around partway through volume 2 (the joke density being lower also means that the jokes that are there also generally work better, in my opinion). Funnily enough this is the second fantasy 4koma manga serialised in Kirara Carat I’ve read that starts of very slice of lifey but gradually gets more serious.

  • AI: The Somnium Files

The solutions to the mysteries presented in this visual novel are just very satisfying, and there was also some nice character stuff. I feel like this description is underselling it a lot but I’m also not sure what else to say.

  • 私の初恋相手がキスしてた

A yuri light novel series about a girl’s first love, but things get a lot messier than she expected. Very far from the fluffier books I’ve otherwise read from the same author in tone, but it was still a pretty nice read. It is finished but all three volumes were released this year so it fits the theme of the thread! I haven’t finished the third volume myself yet though, so I can’t say how good or bad the ending is.

  • さよならすべてのブルー

A fairly short yuri romcom? about an idol girl falling in love with someone and finding stuff to care about in life outside of school and work. It doesn’t really do anything super unique but I still liked it a lot. It also has a great cover.

Stuff I’ve read more of this year and still like includes:

  • 安達としまむら

Very slow burn yuri romance, though it does up the pace a bit around volume 4-5 or so and volume 5 and onwards is easily the best part.

  • 本好きの下剋上

I don’t even think I need to describe this

  • Chaos;Head Noah

First visual novel in the same series as Steins;gate, this one takes some inspiration from horror stuff and has an even weirder protagonist but is otherwise kind of similar-ish in terms of how it’s written. I started it late last year but finished the last few chapters this year.

  • 百合の間に挟まれたわたしが、勢いで二股してしまった話

A high school girl who isn’t exactly the brightest somehow accidentally ends up cheating on her best friends by dating both of them, though things generally work out a lot better than you’d think and it’s mostly just a fairly fluffy and extremely silly romcom. The writing style and some of the plot is very light-novely though, just so people are aware of that. This series is in some ways basically the exact opposite of 私の初恋相手がキスしてた which I mentioned a bit further up.

  • 私を喰べたい、ひとでなし

A manga about a depressed girl who lost her family in the past but starts actually doing various things after a mermaid youkai promises she’ll eat her if she goes along with what she wants, which generally includes doing various fairly normal activities (there’s also a bunch of youkai stuff). I like the art of this manga, especially for some of the youkai.


Here’s my huge extensive list of things I’ve read in Japanese:

  • 大ダーク 1 | L25
    Love the art and humor. It’s been tough read but it being as fun as it is has helped a lot. Can’t say much about it though as I’ve only been reading this 1 volume ;_;

I don’t have much to add here, pretty much everything I’ve been reading has been covered by a WK book club already :sweat_smile: but I’ve gotten plenty of stuff to add to my lists here, so might as well share some back. If you follow the reading challenge thread, these proooobably mostly look familiar

  1. よつばと!L17 (15 volumes) ー it’s yotsuba! what’s not to like! I read the whole series because I couldn’t put it down.
  2. ホリミヤ L22 (16 volumes) ー HS slice of life/romance with a sense of real progression. It never feels tooooo ungrounded melodrama-wise (dabbles a bit here and there), and gives characters outside the main couple a lot of time to shine. I like the manga better than the anime, and it’s definitely a comfort series for me. Currently reading (but have already read in english), on vol 6.
  3. 三月のライオン L27 (16 volumes) ー Seinen slice of life about a young, professional shogi player and his found family. I’m really underselling it here, but idk how to put it into words well. I read about half of the first volume but decided it was too hard for me to reasonably continue with at the time. I loved what I read, and both season of the anime are in my top shows of all time. Definitely on my list to finish in the next year, though. It’s worth struggling through, for me. This series also got me into learning shogi, but that is a whole different thread :joy:
  4. 耳をすませば L20 (1 Volume) ー aaa to be young, stupid, and in love. The movie is a fairly different experience, and I love them both in their own ways. Finished this and literally couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.
  5. 赤い手袋 L20 ー my first foray into reading a short story that was pure text, and I really enjoyed it. Some really vivid imagery, and it just kinda felt really nice to read? idk if that makes sense but I’ll go with it (iirc there’s a WK book club for a collection by this author as well There is!, which is also on my list to check out next year)

i feel like i read a lot this year, but looking back maybe i didn’t :joy: in no particular order:

ハピネス10 volumes - not the first time this has been mentioned in this thread so i’ll keep this short. binged the first three volumes and was so pulled in i (almost) immediately got hold of the next seven. great read, some amazing artwork.

しまなみ誰そ彼 - closeted queer teen stumbles across a queer-accepting hangout spot and starts on the path to self-acceptance. i’ve only read the first volume but i was completely blown away by this, made me cry at the end.

不可解なぼくのすべてを - openly non-binary teen gets a job at a cafe where all of the workers are 男の娘. opening chapter felt a little hand-hold-y, but really picks up after that. didn’t get me on quite the same emotional level as above, but still really really good.

蟲師 and 3月のライオン would be here, cos i know i love them and i have them, but i haven’t had chance to read them yet :sob:

honourable shoutout to 文豪ストレイドッグスBEAST which is hard to read and very violent but i’m having a great time with it


glances over at shelf to see both of these series waiting and begging to be read - 2023 is going to be a very good reading year for us, I think :handshake:


No particular order

Light novel. The main character is a cop in a world similar to ours that “collided” with a fantasy world full of fairies and magic. Partnering with a knight-in-training from the other side, they solve magic-related crimes in the city at the border between both worlds.
Generally, it’s just nice to have characters who are actual adults in a light novel, but the mystery+magic aspect is also pretty nice.

I guess I would just describe it as “drama”. I’m not sure if I would say it’s that great in retrospect, but, after reading so many light novels this year, it was just a refreshing read.

Nice slice of life series about a young man who suddenly shows up at the eponymous hotel in the middle of winter and ends up working there. I have to admit I am mostly reading it because the (mostly) male cast is really good looking :sweat_smile:

ダンジョン飯 (series) | L29 とんがり帽子のアトリエ (series) | L27 some nice fantasy manga.

Wait, that’s 5 already…

Err, well, then I’ll just put 悪食令嬢と狂血公爵 ~その魔物、私が美味しくいただきます!~ (series) | L31 in here as well. A new-ish light novel series with only two volumes, but the world building is very promising so far (as in, it’s a proper fantasy book, rather than yet another isekai). Sadly, it’s been nearly a year and nothing is happening with no further volume announcement. Now that I know that series may get silently dropped if they don’t sell, I am a bit worried :sweat_smile: