What Level Should I Reach Before Using Manga to Help Me Learn?

 Hi everyone! I first wanted to express how much fun and enjoyment I've gotten from using this platform and say that I've really enjoyed my time on this site. Furthermore, I believe that this community is by far one of the best out there, as everyone here is incredibly helpful and welcoming.
 I would like to use manga to help me learn kanji and Japanese in general. There's one series that I rather like (and have not finished in English yet, so no spoilers :D) called ニセコイ and I want to buy it in Japanese to supplement my learning process. I believe that it has the furigana for every kanji, and the subject matter and scope of the story is something that caters to a beginner (I think), as it's a Rom-Com that takes place largely in a high school and throughout the city of Tokyo.
 What level do you think I should reach before I attempt this? I could see myself jumping in now at level 4, but I imagine that having to stop to look up every word that I don't know (which is currently a lot of words) makes the process painful and less fun. Does it?
 Any advice? What do you guys think I should aim for before attempting this? Are there any more simple stepping stones that I should try before going straight for the raw manga? Thanks for the help![quote="LunaticGinger, post:1, topic:52569, full:true"]

Hi everyone! I first wanted to express how much fun and enjoyment I’ve gotten from using this platform and say that I’ve really enjoyed my time on this site. Furthermore, I believe that this community is by far one of the best out there, as everyone here is incredibly helpful and welcoming.
I would like to use manga to help me learn kanji and Japanese in general. There’s one series that I rather like (and have not finished in English yet, so no spoilers :D) called ニセコイ and I want to buy it in Japanese to supplement my learning process. I believe that it has the furigana for every kanji, and the subject matter and scope of the story is something that caters to a beginner (I think), as it’s a Rom-Com that takes place largely in a high school and throughout the city of Tokyo.
What level do you think I should reach before I attempt this? I could see myself jumping in now at level 4, but I imagine that having to stop to look up every word that I don’t know (which is currently a lot of words) makes the process painful and less fun. Does it?
Any advice? What do you guys think I should aim for before attempting this? Are there any more simple stepping stones that I should try before going straight for the raw manga? Thanks for the help!

Edits: formatting
More editing:
I just wanted to thank everyone that’s already responded and going to respond after this edit for all the helpful advice, support, and resources that you’ve offered. I’m blown away by the sheer amount of new tools I have to check out and resources I should definitely utilize. You guys are truly the best community that I’ve been a part of!

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Buy it and try it! (≧▽≦)

I bought the Demon Slayer and Dragon Ball manga before I was “ready”. It’s painful in the beginning but it’s very helpful and fun once you get into it.

If you really feel like you’re struggling, put the book down and study more, come back. I’ve done that with several manga series and I’m doing that right now with Oyasumi Pun Pun. I will read it someday but right now it’s a bit too difficult to be enjoyable.

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How is your grammar knowledge? That’s the first question.

ニセコイ can be a bit dense on text. Check the preview on this page (it’s the grey button marked 無料立ち読み).

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very true…have things I bought that I wanted to read but couldn’t…picking them up now and I can read them…just takes time

absolutely…get all your N5 and a big chunk of N4 and you should be ok getting into beginner stuff…after that the frustrating thing for me right now is not having enough N3…right now have about 20% and overall seems to be (for me) getting closer to a sweet spot for reading more comfortably…but it’s not impossible.

If it’s something you really want to read and don’t mind spending considerable time working something out…you can get through anything if you put your mind to it…(but it tends to be miserable)…kills motivation.

you probably already know but the book clubs are a great place to start…especially the ones that are already complete. Won’t help with 鬼滅の刃 but lots of others with fully populated vocab lists and what not. Also https://koohi.cafe/ does have this manga… so you can use this resource if you like.

The original thread is here:
Library (koohi.cafe)

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Not where it needs to be, to be honest. However, I think that what I’ll try to do is something like one page a day and use the frequent times spent looking stuff up as opportunities to bridge the gap in my knowledge and build. I’d love to get better and better with the grammar and have the manga become progressively easier to read volume by volume, but maybe I’m just being idealistic…
Thanks for the tip! Do you have any recommendations for places to practice/learn grammar online?
edit: formatting

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Are there any good resources online where I could see the list of the official grammar requirements/what I need to know before considering myself knowledgeable in the N5/N4 grammar?

I didn’t actually know this; this looks really cool! I’ll definitely use it.
Thanks for the help!
edit: wording

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I think I’m just gonna go for it - ニセコイ was my favorite anime of all time and I think that having the tangible goal of reading its original manga, however many times I have to just put it down and wait, is something that will keep me motivated.
Thanks for the advice!
edit: formatting

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Don’t know if there’s an easy way to answer this… If you finish Genki 1…consider that N5…finish Genki II consider that N4… lots of us use bunpro.jp which gives a fancy graph…If you never started Genki I or any equivalent knowledge …be prepared to crash into a concrete wall at high speed.

If that happens and you can’t keep the motivation…don’t worry really…put it down and come back later.
Recently I just picked up a couple of things I bought well over a year ago I wanted to read was way too hard and super demotivating, however now it’s manageable. Best thing you can do is just push through and read…as long as it doesn’t demotivate you and/or impossible… you can do it!!!

The more you read the easier it gets. One other silly hint…sometimes read it outloud…(even in your head)…you’ll read something and not realize you know what it means … feeling really stupid when you realize it’s something you just didn’t recognize right off.

Note the % values on the bars are script base (not default BP).

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I’m actually really glad that you said that because I’m working through Genki 1 now! I’m making slow but steady progress and fully intend on buying Genki 2 after completing the current book.

Thank you! I’m really grateful for the advice and I’ll be sure to check out the bunpro tool.

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Any level
You can read it multiple times and see how much you have improved over the years

Still having to look up most words while doing my game play

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That’s what I think I’ll do. Shouldn’t be a problem, as I really enjoy the english translated manga :D.
Thanks for the tip!
edit: grammar

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I’m slightly further in both Genki and WK than you, and working on (what I think is) an easier manga, so I just want to say, be prepared to probably slam into a wall! And that doesn’t mean don’t do it! In fact, the earlier the better that you start attempting, probably. Just know that if you’re anything like me, every panel is going to be a struggle, and most will hover somewhere between getting the general gist of topics (by looking up nouns and verbs) and throwing your hands up and running off to look at the cool pictures.

The good news is even on week 2 of doing this, I feel myself getting better bit by bit at figuring out WHAT to look up, as parsing the Japanese is in itself a skill to work on. And I’ve already seen some new grammar come up in Genki that I could immediately apply in the manga, which is super cool and will probably help you stick with the textbook.

Just make sure you’re ready for this (likely?) possibility and ready to use that as motivation and a way to recognize what you need to learn, rather than demotivation and shock at how much there is still to go.

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you forgot at high speed hehe… it will happen…

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be prepared to crash into a concrete wall at high speed

I only now realized, after reading through the topic earlier, my brain subconsciously copied your phrasing haha. Perfect visual aid.

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I don’t know that manga, but since it’s a Rom-com it may be more dialogue heavy than say a shonen manga with lots of fight scenes, which is what I would suggest for a first manga. But since you have already read some of it in English and are familiar with the characters and story, that info going into the Japanese is going to help you out. That said, prepare yourself for a challenge, and don’t be discouraged if you are looking up words constantly. Maybe set a modest daily goal of reading a page or two and make sure you keep studying grammar and vocab.

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Often times, you can take the wording you’re unfamiliar with, type it into a web search engine, include the word “grammar” after it, and get some useful results. It’s something you get better with over time.

Starting with something you’ve read in English helps (as is your case with ニセコイ). If you still own the comic in English, you can use that as a reference to confirm your understanding. But beware that this is a useful crutch and that translations intended for an English-speaking audience are not always going to accurate to what’s going on in the Japanese. (I used this reference method for the first two volumes of 俺物語!! before I was able to start referring to the English release less and less.)

My first-ever manga that I actually read more than three pages of was one that (at the time) didn’t have an English release, but I’d seen the English-subtitled anime adaptation of the material. That means I had a general idea of what to expect. It was a text-dense manga (ご注文はうさぎですか?), and I was translating four panels per day. I spent over half a year working my way through it, and often wasn’t sure of my understanding. The important point is that I forced myself to get through four panels per day, no matter what (except for when my computer died and I had no way to continue for a while).

What I found helped me make the most progress early on was to join the Absolute Beginner Book Club. This allowed me to read along with others at an enforced pace, and I was able to ask questions and get informed answers from more experienced learners who were reading along.

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This is the part that excites me the most - once I power through the initial “concrete wall,” I hope to find some usable phrases and vocab for future reading/use.
I’m glad someone in a situation much like mine is doing something similar; thanks for the advice!

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After reading everyone’s responses, I think this is the direction that I’ll take. Nothing too crazy, just a page or two a day.

That’s what I was hoping, I just didn’t know if the English translation was going to be incredibly skewed for the Western audience.
Great info, thanks for the help!

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The nice thing about getting over the concrete wall is it makes it easier to see the next wall after it (the one with barbed wire on top). Make it over that one, and you’ll be able to climb the Dunning-Kruger wall that comes next. Careful, it’s a really big drop down the other side of that one. But once you’re on the other side, rather than a wall you’ll be scaling a mountain. This is all normal and required, so make sure you have fun with it!

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I’ve been told that ニセコイ is also a rather text-dense tome, as it is a rom-com. Alas, I’m gonna try to mirror that goal - thus is the general consensus from a large part of the replies. Gradual progress, daily buildup, and if combined with the routine WK, grammar practice, and genki work, should yield progress - at least, that’s the dream.

Absolute Beginner Book Club, you say… That sounds like something right at my speed! Thanks for the heads-up!
Great advice, and much appreciated. Thanks!

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