What Manga/Visual Novels would I be interested in?

I want to start reading digital Manga/Visual Novels for reading practice but I would rather struggle through something I would be interested in than pick a beginners book I have no interest in.

Does anyone have any recommendations for something I would enjoy based on the fact I enjoy JRPGs such as Final Fantasy 7/8/9, Dragon Quest 11, Chrono Trigger and Anime such as Death Note, Steins;Gate.

Also, I would rather not read something that has TONS of words I would never see anywhere else every again. I am guessing old settings, niche subjects or obscure fantasy settings would be the main culprits for this.

Any advice or recommendations would be highly appreciated!

In the time being I am working my way through FF7 and adding any unknown words/phrases to my Anki deck and plan to do the same with reading when I can’t play any video games.

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Just a quick question, but from your list of media above, it seems like you really enjoy media with fantasy settings, so wouldn’t that make fantasy vocabulary probably really useful to you?

Unless your main goal is being conversational, in which case you might not need to know how to talk in detail about castles and magic and etc. :sweat_smile:. But in that case, you might have trouble finding manga or VNs that focus on more everyday language if you’re primarily interested in genre fiction and don’t want to read anything else.

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Haha fantasy yes, I was more thinking very obscure fantasy such as Log Horizon. If there are more common fantasy vocab that I may find in similar books that’s okay but I have heard there are a few bits of media that are one of the only ones to use a large percentage of their Kanji/Vocab just once.

It is a bit tough since it sounds like you want fantasy, but not crazy fantasy. Most of the manga I read is slice of life, so if you’d like to try something like that I can help more.

As for fantasy (or similar), here’s what I’ve read:

  • Tongari Boushi no Atelier - I’m mentioning this for completeness, but the setting is probably too much of an “obscure fantasy” for you. It’s an interesting world, but can be really complicated.
  • Shadows House - the fantasy in this one isn’t too hard to follow. Starts off very slice of life to introduce you to the world and characters. Gets heavier into worldbuilding with volume 3, but I don’t think the fantasy aspects are too complicated.
  • Gakkou Gurashi - largely slice of life, but with other elements as well. If you’ve never heard of this manga, it’s best to read the first chapter blind. But I’m not seeing the entire first chapter available in online previews, so that’s a shame.
  • Aria the Masterpiece (originally Aqua and Aria) - slice of life with light fantasy and sci-fi elements. Very good beginner manga, in case you’re worried about difficulty.
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Steins;Gate was originally a Visual Novel, and Death Note a manga, so maybe go through one of those? I personally liked going through media I already enjoyed, since I wish knew the plot and wouldn’t have to guess about what is happening.

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Steins;Gate is probably too hard, but Death Note might work. It’s a good idea in general. Many of the manga I read at the beginning were anime I’d already seen, and I think it definitely helped with the difficulty.

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And the beginner book club has just started reading Death Note 1.5 weeks ago, so its a great time to give it a go as you have their existing vocab sheets and grammar discussions and there’s still lots of eyes looking at it if you have new questions.

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I’m not sure if you’re that interested in reading manga, either way there is a trade off between reading what you want and what’s close to your level. Whatever native material you’ll end up reading, it’s probably gonna take a while to get used to it. Even the series that are labeled beginner friendly. So why not … start playing games?

Dragon Quest and Pokemon are designed with all ages in mind. So you could just jump in there. I would give my preference to main pokemon games, as they have a contemporary setting with arceus as an exception, although I doubt it will be that much different. Modern setting is a bit easier for beginners. What Arceus does have over the others is furigana on its kanji. Other pokemon games either have kana or kanji modes. Mother and Yokai Watch games might also be a good fit, as it’s contemporary fantasy. Just something to keep in the back of your mind.

If you do wanna dive into manga first, then there’s not a whole lot of stuff that will be both beginner friendly and fantasy adjacent. I’d look at modernish settings with maybe a slight supernatural feel for it. Death Note might be a bit much as a first read, but you can always try it and ask questions in the current bookclub. Just using the vocabulary list might be helpful. That said lots of manga have furigana on most kanji, so even if you pick something way above your level, it’s not gonna be that difficult to either look it up or just read it off and ignore the meaning. Any practice is better than no practice.