What are your Beginner Fantasy Reading Recommendations?

I’m currently at WK level 23 and I’m looking for your fantasy light novel or manga recommendations that might be accessible at my level.

It’s not fantasy per say but I’ve been reading Zetman lately and that’s about the level of challenge that I’m looking for. I’m also wondering, am I realistically just limited to manga at this point? I’ve tried reading the light novel of 魔法科高校の劣等生 because I liked the anime but I can only understand bits and pieces.

Some fantasy manga or anime that I’ve read/watched in in English and enjoyed include:
That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime, Berserk, Goblin Slayer, Grimgar Ashes and Illusions. The Irregular at Magic High. Anything like that is what I’m looking for.

If you think any of those are in reach for me or have other recommendations, please let me know!

Thank you in advance!


Shadows House is very beginner friendly. In fact, the beginner book club is currently reading it, if you’re interested in catching up.

Aria the Masterpiece has some sci-fi and fantasy elements, but it’s more slice of life than anything else. Also very beginner friendly.

Tongari Boushi no Atelier has strong fantasy elements, but is a little harder. I would not describe this as beginner friendly, but you could certainly give it a shot if you want.

That’s pretty much all I got. I don’t read much fantasy manga, and I can’t recommend any novels or light novels that are suitable for beginners.


I write illustrated fantasy stories in easy Japanese (~N4) which I hope can help people at your level have a nice time practicing their reading skills. You can check the first one out here if you’re interested.

Screenshot :


As far as I know, LNs barely have furigana. Assuming your current WK level is indicative of your kanji knowledge, you’re gonna need a LOT of patience to get through those. Even at level 37 I encounter about 5 to 15 unknown kanji per page. And it’s not just kanji, but any novel will also be way more challenging grammatically. I don’t know how good your grammar and your vocabulary is, so I’m going to give this advice purely based on my perspective, but if you’re still struggling to get through manga with furigana, I feel like it’s better to hold off on the LNs for now and to really focus on understanding those first, accumulating tons of new vocabulary and input while simultaneously leveling up on WK. I believe this will make the transition to LNs just that much more smooth and enjoyable. But you have to decide for yourself how bad you want it. Nobody is going to stop you from doing it at any level.

Personally, I’ve read about 50 volumes of manga in Japanese starting level 27, I’ve had a blast doing it and made tremendous progress. So if it’s manga recommendations, I might be able to help you. I’m currently reading The Promised Neverland and it’s super addicting. It has furigana, but language-wise the most challenging out of the ones I’ve read so far. If you find yourself having a hard time with the language, reading the English version alongside can help you clear up all the ambiguities right away, and then reading the Japanese version again afterwards can help you check if that new knowledge stuck.

Other than that, of course shounen power fantasy manga like One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, Demon Slayer, MHA, Yu Yu Hakusho, will all have furigana as well and not be as difficult as Neverland from a language viewpoint. Claymore is a dark fantasy like Berserk and also has furigana. Shadow House is a really good fantasy manga that also has a book club. Sousou no Frieren is an incredibly hyped fantasy manga right now, of course also with furigana. Then there’s isekai manga like Jobless Reincarnation and Re:Zero, which are however lacking of furigana.


Thanks for all the suggestions! I’m definitely going to stick with manga for now. Those illustrated stories look pretty cool too! Shadow House sounds interesting and I might join the book club.

I forgot to mention that I’ve finished Genki I and II as well as a fair chunk of Tobira Gateway to advanced Japanese

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Crystal Hunters is a manga that teaches Japanese. They have Japanese and Natural Japanese. Natural Japanese is the harder version so you can try that first and if too hard then just read the Japanese version.

Under their free stuff there are guides. The Japanese version guide has vocabulary and grammar explanations while the Natural Japanese version only lists the vocabulary being used and has no grammar explanations.

There are different kinds of creatures and talk of magic. Currently there are 5 volumes out right now which you can read thought Amazon kindle.

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Given that OP has made decent progress on grammar and kanji, I don’t think they need manga made specifically for learners. They should be able to jump into easier native manga, especially if it has furigana.

@rounin The beginner book club will also be starting a new manga in early November if you’re interested in joining. I believe the new book will have some sci-fi or fantasy elements.

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you can try this one I think (I could only recommend the manga, I don’t touch the LN because novels are too much for me). and as far as I read, got no headache politics and the plot is rather fluffy.



This could be a good suggestion for an absolute beginner trying to get their feet wet with fantasy, thanks!

I should also clarify that I am looking for an approachable challenge since I could just turn to Tobira if I want something more accessible to my level. With that said, most manga are a challenge anyway.

@seanblue those proposals all look pretty good, I’ll keep my eyes peeled!

Yes the Japanese version is for absolutely beginners, but the Natural Japanese is N5-N3 range so if you are upper beginner/intermediate that version may be good for you though they don’t have grammar explanations for the Natural Japanese guide so it may be a good way to challenge yourself.

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You can also take a look through past book club picks on the main book clubs threads and see if any appeal to you (for many of them, the club already put together vocab lists, which can help a lot):

I’m currently in a book club reading 暁のヨナ which I’d recommend as a very nice fantasy manga (as long as you don’t mind that it’s still ongoing): 暁のヨナ (Akatsuki no Yona) Book Club Home Thread. The book club is currently on volume 16, but even if you didn’t want to join the club for read-aloud sessions you can always just use the vocab lists. Bonus, this series also has an official English translation, so you could also try buying the first volume in both languages and reading the Japanese side-by-side with the English or referring to the English if you have trouble understanding something.


Kiki’s Delivery Service is technically a fantasy light novel.

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Well, it’s technically a fantasy children’s book. But indeed, still fantasy.


Thanks, I’ve just gotten my hands on the first couple volumes of Shadow House since it’s active in the book club and so far I’m having a bit of trouble with it and it’s not quite my cup of tea but oh well. I can understand the allure, but it feels kinda mundane to me.

On the other hand, I just finished the first volume of ヴァニタスの手記 and I enjoyed it a lot. The level feels pretty low, and I understood nearly everything in it. I’m only 1 volume in, but I highly recommend it to anyone who stumbles across this in the future

I took a look at ヴァニタスの手記 vol 1 on Bookwalker and if you can read that, you can definitely read Yona. I would say ヴァニタスの手記 has more made up fantasy words and 暁のヨナ has more dated/period words (like 皇女 = imperial princess). So if period fantasy appeals, it would definitely be readable for you.

とんがり帽子のアトリエ(1) (English title “Witch Hat Atelier”) might also appeal if you liked ヴァニタスの手記. I read volume 1 and loved the world but a lot of the characters were child-like (to be fair, a lot of them are children) and also I really didn’t like how they just glossed over what happened to the mother, like of course it’s not traumatizing at all and so wasn’t really interested in more, but it’s pretty popular.

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Oh, believe me it is anything but mundane. The first volume or so is very slice of life / comedy in nature, and if that’s not your thing I can understand why you might find it boring. But after the coming of age challenge (volume 3 spoiler) the story really opens up. I enjoyed the series from the beginning (I do like slice of life), but the last several volumes have been amazing.

My ratings for each volume for those curious

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I actually read the first chapter of 暁のヨナ albeit in English and it’s definitely interesting content wise. I think I’ll give it a try in 日本語. Thanks for the suggestions


Those are a lot of high ratings, maybe I’ll try to push through the first three volumes before I judge it too harshly. The word choice did feel more challenging to me than some of the other mangas so I may hold off on this one until I ascend another level or two