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

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


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.


you forgot at high speed hehe… it will happen…


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


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!


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!


Ah, yes. I’m sure that one’s a fun one to scale and descend, haha.

I’ll be sure to keep this in mind as I ascend “the mountain.” :smiley:

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Just wanted to point out that there is a fix for the NAN you can paste in List of Scripts - #230 by Saimin - Bunpro - Bunpro Community

@LunaticGinger I’m in that halfway point between N5-N4 grammar and I do feel like it’s difficult, but manageable to read material. I’m mostly sticking to graded readers right now, but I got about twenty pages or so into Flying Witch with my major problems being Vocab/Kanji. The old book clubs are filled with great stuff, there are also a lot of options on https://learnnatively.com/ that you might find helpful.

Also, Bunpro has started a “Grammar in the Wild” Twitter Series that posts a manga snippet with a point to learn each day and a translated version the next day. We’ve got a small group that’s been sharing our thoughts and helping each other out with discussions on their forums as wel. It might be worth checking out as a way to test the waters or keep it small at first, but I do feel like many of the posts they used were more difficult than what I’ve seen in absolute beginner level material.


This looks really cool - thanks!

This seems pretty cool too, although I’ve never really used twitter. Might have to make an exception for this though…
Thanks for the resources and the advice!


I would say level 25+ + >5000 vocab learned + N3 level grammar

People learn diffrently. You might find it toraleble in the early stage of learning and help you make Japanese fun and interesting. However, for me personally, it’s jut a waste of time trying to decipher reading material when I’m not ready. I found it work better for me to read manga and whatnot when I have enough Japanese skills.


That’s what I did while learning French (waiting to read native material until proficiency), so I can totally understand that viewpoint. I suppose I can always try it, and if it sucks I’ll put it down and wait until I’m more advanced. Thanks for the advice!

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The problem for me with Japanese is Kanji. When I was learning English I could just read the words that I don’t know their meaning and move on. However, in Japanese it’s like “Good XXXXing my xxxx is Kimura. IXX XXX XXX city. Coud XXXX heXX with XXXX.”

It would be a good milestone though. Just come back to the same reading material once in a while and you would notice your progress, which help motivating you to keep studying.


Wow, I hadn’t thought of it like that. Yeah, I think I’ll just keep coming back to the same volumes as my kanji library increases to track progress, etc.
Thanks for the tip!


That’s something I really struggle with when reading novels.

Whenever I see unknown words that either use kanji I recognise or are hiragana/katakana only, I feel comfortable looking them up and feel like I’m learning as I go.
But coming across tens if not hundreds of unknown kanji that won’t stick no matter how many times I look them up can be quite frustrating.


Yeah, I noticed that if I know the kanji I would memorize the vocab with ease. It makes encounter unknown vocab a much better learning experience if I have enough learned kanji in my memory pool.


What helped me close the gap for the Kanji issue was using material that was or could be shoved into a reader. I’m using Kitsun, but this is pretty much what Satori and Japanese io (maybe, I haven’t tried that platform) do as well*.

It doesn’t help at all with the manga issue like OP would have, but for something like NHK Easy, lyrics, twitter, webnovels, ect… It makes bridging the vocabulary gap much easier and reduces how much I need to shove into flashcards/srs. Especially for people that have been getting Japanese from other media sources I think the generated furigana options are super helpful. That said, there’s limits to how well these things handle tokenizing so I really wouldn’t recommend it for beginners super behind on their grammar studies.

* Similarly, there browser extensions like Rikaikun or Yomichan(?) that do the click define for free. I just prefer some of the other benefits found on the paid platforms.