Japanese Recommendation Exchange: 2015 Compilation — 151 Comments

  1. Watching:
    フェアリーテイル (Fairy Tail) ☆☆; I love this one because there’s so little struggle in watching it with no subs. Just fun with an easy to follow story.
    デスノート (Death Note) ☆☆☆ or ☆☆☆☆; I’m conflicted on this one since it’s probably the best anime I’ve come across, but only if I can understand it. So yeah, I’m crouching in the subtitle corner 90% of the time.
    ワンピース (One Piece) ☆☆☆; I only just started this (it’ll take a long time to catch up). Seems like another fun series though. Gomu Gomu no Rocket!

    よつばと (Yotsuba&!) ☆ or ☆☆; One day I will finish this!

    ゼルダの伝説 ふしぎのぼうし (Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap) ☆☆☆; It was a smart move switch to a game I had played in English before. It’s one of my favorite Zelda games, I’d recommend it to any Zelda fan. There’s a lot of repeating words and I’m kind of shocked at the amount of vocab I’m learning.

    松任谷 由実 (Yumi Matsutoya) She’s got a really majestic voice.
    さよならポニーテール (Sayonara Ponytail) They’ve got cute voices that harmonize together to transcend time and space. (I don’t know how to describe music)

    • Fairy Tail is an amazing series! I don’t know how far you are into it but I’m current with the anime and while the first 50 episodes are definitely 2 star I think from that point the show picks up on plot and requires a higher understanding so probably a 3 for the majority of the show.

  2. Watching:
    Strike the blood ストライク・ザ・ブラッド 3 stars. It’s a few years old but I recently discovered it. Who doesn’t like shows with vampires babes and battles?
    未来日記 future diary, I’ve watched this series before but liking it much better now that I can watch the Japanese version. 3 star
    キルらキル kill la kill, many people know of this but there’s not a star rating, I’d give it a three.
    未来日記 the manga 3 star. Probably my favorite show/ series.
    Persona 4 the golden, 2 star. If you’re anywhere around level 20-40 I strongly recommend this game because you can go through each scence and get the full dialogue by pressing select and have the characters re say the dialogue it’s amazing.

  3. Reading
    Shonen Jump, Ultra Jump
    Specifically ハイキュー‼︎ and One Piece and 学級法廷 from shonen
    ジョジョ and ユンボル from ultra

    Seriously if you aren’t reading haikyuu yet what is wrong with you. For dudes it’s got bro moments, great action, and great art. For girls it’s got dudes in short shorts jumping around. For everyone it’s got one of the best stories going on right now. Currently at a little over 140 chapters it’s a great time to catch up and keep up every week is exciting.

    I’m catching up on 闇金ウシジマくん cause I just found out season 2 just came out. Got my wife to watch Eva with me too so we just started watching that.

    One Piece 超グランドバトルX and Pokemon remake for 3DS. If you’re an OP fan the 3ds fighter is amazing and has everyone up through Dress Rosa arc.

    Whatever podcasts I snag off jp iTunes some about video games some about anime/manga. Also a lot of radio dramas for random japanese (be warned I had no idea what BLack ment before a radio dramas name. Turns out it’s not black it’s boys love lol)

    • Whoops forgot levels
      One piece☆☆.5
      Gakkyuu houtei☆☆☆ (some advanced law language however it does have full furigana; if you can play Phoenix wright this would be easy)

      Yamikin ushijima☆☆☆

      One piece super grand battle x☆

  4. 1. What are you watching?
    スイッチガール Switch Girl! ☆ to ☆☆ Very easy going romance, comedy, silly thing about the most popular girl in school who has an alternate scruffy side which no one may know of.
    Re-watching some The man who can’t get married 結婚できない男 ☆☆☆. Great drama about an elitist architect who has some interpersonal problems, to say the least.
    Have watched two episodes of Metal Samurai メタル侍 ☆ to ☆☆ Extremely stupid show about a samurai in the olden days who can transform into a heavy metal hero when fighting to finish off his enemies. Also the samurai is a westerner who has to use a dictionary whenever he want’s to say something.
    Have watched one episode of プロポーズ大作戦 (Operation Love) ☆☆ and it was pretty okay. Description available in the guide section here on JALUP.
    Starting over on GTO ジーティーオー (Great Teacher Onizuka) ☆ Good stuff!
    2. What are you reading?
    Manga: The Drifting Classroom (漂流教室 Hyōryū Kyōshitsu) ☆ to ☆☆ by 楳図 かずお Umezu Kazuo. Suspenseful and horrifying manga about a school that get’s transported from present reality and the people (mostly kids) who tries to make sense of the situation. I would recommend any horror fan to read the authors other works as well.
    デッドマン・ワンダーランド 2 (DEADMAN WONDERLAND) ☆ to ☆☆. A young boy witnesses the slaughter of his entire classroom of friends and takes the fall for it. He ends up in Deadman Wonderland, a futuristic, private, Tokyo prison where prisoners have to take part in various games to survive. In this setting he searches for the mysterious “Red man” who killed his friends and at the same time discovers the hidden powers that lie within him.
    Novel: Finally finishing 悪夢のエレベーター (The Nightmare Elevator) ☆☆, already covered here on JALUP.
    3. What are you playing?
    Fallout 3(フォールアウト3)PS3, ☆ to ☆☆☆ depending on how deep you wanna go. Post-apocalyptic action/RPG with lots of sandboxing (literally, in sand sometimes, yay!)
    4. What are you listening to?
    The above J-dramas audio rips. OST for The Fountain.

  5. Anime:

    Summer Wars

    It’s not new (from 2009), but I think it’s great; it has an interesting mix of animation styles, parallel conflicts and themes, and is fairly easy to understand without subs.

    TV Drama:

    私が恋愛できない理由 (The Reason I Can’t Find My Love)

    Again, not that new (2012ish), but new to me, entertaining, highly rewatchable, seems to have a good mix of polite, casual, and slang, and pretty easy to understand. I got a cheap copy on eBay a while back, and was pleasantly surprised that it appears to have exact Japanese subtitles! But if you’re looking for that, definitely check with the seller first—it looks like mine is a bootlegged, all region version.

    • Whoops, I forgot to add the star ratings!

      Summer Wars: ☆

      私が恋愛できない理由 (The Reason I Can’t Find My Love): ☆☆

  6. Reading: random manga in an app.

    Listening to: scandals Temptation Box and Hello World albums and YUI’s Green Garden Pop album which I got for Xmas. Great albums particularly Temptation box which is great beginning to end.

    Watching:mother jdrama (2stars), akame ga kill anime (3stars) and random vomics and Scandal interviews (2stars generally) as always

    Playing: persona 3 portable (3stars). Addicted to the music and the enjoyabilty the visual novel type dialogue scenes bring to reading.

  7. Watching the following anime:
    ☆ 日本の昔ばなし (Folktales from Japan)
    See title. A bit dull with bare-bones animation. However, there aren’t many conversations. Nearly everything is animated out, making the stories extremely easy to follow.

    ☆☆? 凪のあすから (A Lull in the Sea)
    The lives of a group of children who live underwater and their interactions with the land-dwellers. Pretty visuals, especially in the underwater scenes, with a slow-motion melodramatic plot.

    ☆☆? デュラララ (Durarara)
    I have no idea what’s going on, but the jazzy soundtrack and madcap randomness drew me in.

    Listening to Audio Dramas. Company sponsored extra material that’s tries to be enjoyable to listen to – what’s not to like?

    • Durarara is insane I had no idea what was going on even with subtitles. I can’t even bear to watch it now I’m not allowing subs.

  8. I guess this falls under reading. There’s been some sort of controversy on 2ch. A group of users fled the site and set up shop at:

    Difficulty varies wildly. And because it’s Reddit, there are some English posts, but the vast majority seems to be natives posting in Japanese.

  9. Watching:
    I have been watching a few episodes of the anime Clannad Afterstory ☆☆. So far it has been a fine anime, and I plan to watch the rest.

    I have read a lot of visual novels this month. First of all i have read the first route of Fate/Stay night ☆☆☆. It was really good and i wholeheartedly recommend it. Second of all, I’ve read most of one of the routes of Katahane ☆☆. The Japanesse in this one was, as far as i think, quite simple and easy to understand. It also has voice acting, so if you are at a lower level, this might be for you. Last, but not least, I’ve read Muv-Luv Extra ☆☆☆, Muv-Luv Ultimate ☆☆☆☆ and i am reading Muv-Luv Alternative ☆☆☆☆-☆☆☆☆☆. Extra was kinda boring, Ultimate was interesting and Alternative has so far been amazing. The reason for the increasing difficulty of the Japaneses in Muv-luv, is that it gets more and more military/political/sci-fi-ish. Don’t let the difficulty discourage you if you want to read Muv-Luv though, as it is totally worth reading, even if you don’t understand how the mechs works/how one says PTSD in Japanese.

    Sidenote: Remember to download ITH(integrated text hooker) and maybe also translation aggregator if you plan to read a visual novel, it will make sentence mining and looking up words that much easier.

    Been listening to the detroit metal city soundtrack and Sound Horizon’s Moira.

  10. Radio drama ラジドラ
    沢山の青春アドベンチャーがある Levels vary. some examples 世界でたったひとりの子, 南の島のティオ,
    Use to download for immersion on Ipodetc.

    超面白いのラジドラですよ first 15min a bit difficult. But on the whole found it manageble. Adopted from a manga.

    NPO Tadoku Supporters
    Recorded graded readers. I listened to foe: 悪魔の散歩, 天狗の鼻, 一房のぶどう they were a bit easier than モヨリの森

    fei CHANNEL
    Farcry 4. Dragon Age Inquisiton 実況。

    Program that visits Japanese wifes around the globe, how they live and how they got there. Difficulty is not to bad.

    How its made in japanese
    quite difficult but interesting to watch.

    Some easy listening could be this 女性から告白
    some comments: “こんな風に女性から告白をされたいね ” “あ、耳と頭がお花畑~ ひゃほ~い”

    • Those radio dramas are a lot of fun, thanks! I get burned out on podcasts and youtube videos of people just kinda… chattering. I like a story. And it works better when it’s designed to be listened to, rather than just ripped audio of a show or something similar.

      Anyway, thanks again!

  11. Watching:
    狼と香辛料 (Spice and Wolf) ☆☆☆; This anime’s pretty laid back and it’s main draw is the relationship between Holo and Lawrence. It kind of loses me with all the merchant talk though.
    ワンピース (One Piece) ☆☆☆; 25 episodes in, it seems to be a pretty fun show that can also be serious when it needs to. My biggest complaint is that they spend way too much time in one place. Got to fill 680+ episodes somehow.
    天元突破グレンラガン (Gurren Laggan) ☆☆☆☆; Not sure about it being 4 stars, but that’s what it said on the difficulty guide. Pacing, world-build, and characters are all pretty much great, I only wonder what it leads to.

    進撃の巨人 vol. 1 ☆☆☆ or ☆☆☆☆; Lots of military words and stuff but it’s very engaging. Pretty much like the anime so far, can’t be sure which is better yet. Fun fact: this is the ONLY manga at my university’s book store. I actually went in today and compared it with the Japanese version. “Hmm… it comes in English too. Silly.”

    ゼルダの伝説 ふしぎのぼうし (Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap) ☆☆☆; Still just as fun as ever.

    Ehh… um: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu; I’ve seen her a lot in Japanese commercials and only just found out who she is. Her songs are alright, but it’s those music videos you have to check out.

    • Gurren Lagann is totally insane — in the best possible way. You’ll think it can’t get any more nuts, and then, well… you’ll see!

      It’s good.

  12. Watching
    I have discovered that I can watch and subscribe to Japanese Hulu while in the U.S., so naturally I got a subscription, and it’s pretty awesome so far. I’ve been watching House, M.D., called Dr. HOUSE in Japanese. It’s really fun to watch because I’ve seen House, M.D. many times in English, so I’ve been able to pick up key vocabulary while watching it in Japanese. It’s a bit difficult to follow because of House’s sarcasm and such, and because of the medical terminology, so I’d give it ☆☆☆☆.
    I’ve also been watching 孤独のグルメ as per the recommendation from a recent post here. It’s so amazing and will keep me eternally hungry. ☆.

    進撃の巨人! I love this series so much. I bought all 15 volumes (all that’s currently out so far) from YesAsia, and I’m on the fourth volume. I’ve never been able to tear through volumes of manga this fast before, and it’s quite difficult because of the military and specialized vocabulary, but for the first time, I’ve been able to pick up vocabulary through context, something I had always been bad at. This has enabled me to keep reading without getting to hung up on not knowing a word. If a word is really bothering me, I’ll write it down for later look-up and continue on reading. I’m about to go on to volume five, and I only started the series a week ago. ☆☆☆(☆).

    Kingdom Hearts 1.5! Specifically, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix from the disc. I bought this and Kingdom Hearts 2.5 also from YesAsia, and when I have a break from homework and work, I’m playing this game. At first, it was really weird to hear Sora in Japanese (and don’t even get me started on Donald and Goofy), since I had only ever heard him in English. Quite different between the two. Because I know the story, I am able to follow it better, but it feels like I’m playing Kingdom Hearts for the first time all over again because now I’m experiencing it in Japanese. Definitely getting a lot of reading practice in, both with the speech bubbles and with the Japanese subtitles during cut-scenes; it’s actually making me rely on my hearing more because I usually can’t keep up with the subtitles (I read too slowly). ☆☆☆ (Trying to understand what the hell Donald and Goofy are saying alone is feels like a freaking ☆☆☆☆☆).
    Also playing Pokemon Alpha Sapphire in Japanese. It’s super fun to be playing a game from my childhood in Japanese. ☆☆.

    進撃の巨人 ripped audio! I’m so in love with this series it’s ridiculous. I’ve also been listening to Dr. HOUSE by leaving on and playing while I do other things like homework or sleeping.
    Music-wise, I’ve been listening to Dir en grey, SPYAIR, BABYMETAL, and Uverworld.

      • No, I’m not using a proxy. I simply typed into the bar, made an account, and started watching shows. I think it should work for you, too, if you are in the U.S. I’m not sure about Australia, though. Doesn’t hurt to try, I suppose.

    • その日、人類は思い出した

  13. Watched and recommend the following anime:

    ☆☆ 月刊少女野崎くん (Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun)
    High-school boy is a young girls’ manga artist. Don’t understand much of it, but the sudden mood whiplashes are very funny.

    ☆☆☆ 時をかける少女 (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)
    See title. Watched movie in English way back when. High school light-ish drama.

    Both of these are already on the Difficulty guide, by the way.

  14. What are you watching? Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger (The original Japanese version of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) on DVD, 1-2 stars I believe.

    2. What are you reading? Dragon Ball. 2 stars

    3. What are you playing? Ryu Ga Gotoku series (Yakuza in the West). 3-4 I think. Biohazard (Resident Evil) with Japanese subtitles and muted audio (Most of the games) or dubbed (REMake PS3 version, RE Revelations). 3-4 star as well I believe.

    4. What are you listening to? Luna Sea and X-Japan.

  15. Watching:

    Watched a little GTO (in guide) and some Bitter Blood ☆☆, a detective drama about an estranged father and son forced to work together when the son starts working at Ginza police station without knowing that his father worked there. They bicker comically a lot which was funny but the villian made me retch. Just the way he moved and facial expressions, ugh.

    Also watched some Nichijou (in guide), which is super fun and easy.


    Er… some NHK News Easy and some random manga from apps.


    Persona 3 Portable ☆☆☆

    Ace Attorney ☆☆☆


    Drama audio
    Japanese pod 101 intermediate

    music – SHISHAMO, Scandal.


    Hunter x Hunter (2011) — It starts pretty “basic” — young (Goku-like?) kid sets off for adventure, to find his dad, to get stronger. Gotta say, though: right from the beginning it was way more imaginative that any other shounen I’ve watched. And once you get past the first arc or so, it gets way darker, way crazier. I definitely recommend it, especially if you’re looking for a shounen that isn’t 9 billion episodes long. A mere 150 (ish) is nothing, comparatively! Level: ☆☆?

    Monogatari — Tore through Bakemonogatari, finishing up Nisemonogatari now. Love these, can’t get enough. I don’t think I’d be able to get through them without subs at this point, though :'( Level: probably at least ☆☆☆☆.

    Also dabbled in Naruto and One Piece before deciding I’d rather binge on Hunter x Hunter if I was going to binge on a shounen. It grabbed me way more. Might be coming back to these once I finish HxH though, time permitting.


    鋼の錬金術師 (Fullmetal Alchemist) — Absolutely love this one. I wound up tossing aside Attack on Titan (and any English-language books I happened to be reading) so I could just devour this as much as possible. I’m not sure the level — ☆☆☆? — but I definitely recommend it. The art is fantastic, it’s hilarious, the characters are well-developed, it’s exciting, etc. etc etc. My favorite shounen manga I’ve come across so far, I think.

    I also picked up the first volume of Yotsuba, and it was wonderful. I was afraid it would be a bit too cutesy for me, but that wasn’t the case at all. If you’re on the fence about it, you should probably shouldn’t be. It’s hilarious and actually kinda brilliant. Like a Japanese spiritual successor to Calvin and Hobbes, or something.


    Right now I’m listening to the radio dramas recommended in this very post:

    They’re a lot of fun! Though I admittedly only have a vague idea of what’s going on at any given point…

  17. 1. What are you watching?
    東京ラブストーリー (Tokyo Love Story) ☆☆☆☆
    Pretty engaging and funny drama based off the novel of the same name.

    ママレード・ボーイ (Marmalade Boy) ☆☆
    Slice of life high school romance anime. Lots of funny moments and easy to follow.

    神秘の世界エルハザード (El-Hazard: The Magnificent World) ☆☆☆
    There are several OVA and anime versions, but I recommend the original OVA series first. Magnificent show with likeable characters and nice plot.

    空の境界 (The Garden of Sinners) ☆☆☆☆
    I haven’t watched much of this yet, but pretty engaging from what I’ve seen so far. Requires pretty good Japanese to follow what’s going on.

    2. What are you reading?
    犬と私の10の約束 (10 promises between my dog and I) ☆☆
    Book I picked up used locally because it had an adorable cover. Basically about a young girl who gets a dog and covers the progress of their relationship until the dog dies.

    死ぬかと思った (I thought I’d die) ☆☆☆
    Only skimmed this so far, and from what I gathered it’s a compilation of embarrassing/stupid experiences that people should never get themselves into.

    3. What are you Playing?
    ファイナルファンタジーXIII (Final Fantasy 13) ☆☆☆☆
    One of my favorite PS3 games and FF games. Gets a lot of criticism for being linear but that’s only for like 40% of the game. If you want to really enjoy the game you’ll need pretty good Japanese (probably level 50+) to understand it because of the language they use and how intricate and deep the story gets.

    4. What are you listening to?
    Lately a lot of M-Flo, back from when Lisa was still around and the “loves” era. To those who don’t know, m-flo made some of the best Japanese hip-hop, though tons of their songs I can’t even categorize into a genre, they’re just so unique. I recommend “How you like me now” “Come again” and “Miss you” to begin with. Though for the past 2 or so years they’ve been really bimyou.

    • That’s awesome. I feel like I’m in the minority as far as people who really enjoyed FF13, so I’m always glad to find others. I will say though the plot was crazy complex – getting through it in Japanese would surely be an impressive feat. Have fun! =)

      • Thanks!
        Yeah, I first bought this game a little under 4 years ago, only just after I started sentences, and it was my first playthrough ever as well, so pretty much everything went over me. It was a pretty bittersweet moment since the game was fun to play but barely understanding what was happening was pretty frustrating.
        Fast forward to now though, I’m currently 25 hours of gameplay in, and I’ve understood essentially every single thing in the game. Being able to follow complex plots precisely in Japanese is pretty awesome. :P

      • I feel the same way! Everyone I talk to says they didn’t like FFXIII, but it was my first FF game so it’s my favorite. It’s gotta feel great to go back and play something that you’ve tried before and didn’t really get anything. I felt the same way when I first watched Akame ga kill and rewatching it now. Are you planning on getting FFXIII-2 and lightning returns in Japanese as well? Those were great games too. Except for that crazy cliffhanger at the end of 13-2

  18. 2. What are you reading?

    日本人のちょっとヘンな英語 ☆☆
    Really easy-to-read manga about Japanese making mistakes while speaking English

  19. Reading-

    「とある科学の超電磁砲」- “A Certain Scientific Railgun” (Manga)
    ~4 Stars

    Story about students at a special school for people with unique “powers” (like teleportation, or controlling electricity), the city in which they live, and the bad guys they beat the crap out of. Witty banter. HUGE explosions. There’s a fair bit of challenging science-y language, but for the most part it won’t hinder your ability to understand the plot. I’m enjoying it quite a bit so far.


    「超次次元ゲームネプテューヌ Re;Birth 1」- “Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1” (PSVita)
    ~2 Stars

    This is a remake of the original Hyperdimension Neptunia, which met with lukewarm reviews. This version is said to be greatly improved, and so far I’m having a lot more fun with it than I expected. The biggest selling point is the silly dialogue. The entire world is a parody of the Japanese game industry, with countries ruled by goddesses who represent major video game consoles. It’s loaded with anime and video game jokes and references, and the wacky character quirks are charming too. Especially Compa and her gratuitous overuse of “です”. The gameplay is decent, if a bit repetitive at times. Overall would recommend if you like geeky inside-jokes and don’t mind playing a game that doesn’t take itself even the slightest bit seriously.

    • Railgun is amazing, would recommend checking out the anime as well, especially Railgun S, one of the best I’ve seen.

  20. I’ve been waiting impatiently for this post as I’ve been wanting to share one of the funniest manga I’ve read in a while. It’s a one-shot manga called コンビニの清水 and it’s just fantastic. I laughed out loud many times throughout the comic and have been recommending it ever since. So far every one has laughed and wished they could read more. A must read! (And only about 3 stars in difficulty)

    I’ve also been reading 村上さんのところ, which is the advice column that the author Haruki Murakami has been working on. Every day he replies to about 15 emails from readers and they range from quirky to funny to just plain interesting. Great way to practice your Japanese as it’s barely a 3 star difficulty.

    Website here:

    Those are my MUST-RECOMMEND as I doubt someone else will be reading those two things. Otherwise I’ve been reading the soccer manga ホイッスル!(2 stars) and 僕だけがいない街(3 stars).

    However, despite living in Japan I am neither watching tv nor listening to any new music so no recommendations in those categories.

      • I’m glad you like it! I really wanted to be part of top comments (but I was asleep in Japan time while this was posted) so more people would notice this recommendation so I’m happy you saw it!

  21. Anime:

    Aチャンネル – A-Channel – ☆☆ – Feels like it’s about the same level as K-On.

    げんしけん – Genshiken – ☆☆☆ at least – Definitely above my level, but I still enjoyed watching.

  22. Watching:
    ワンピース (One Piece) ☆☆☆; 50 episodes in, now I’m starting to see a great anime emerge. It’s so fun and you care about the characters.
    天元突破グレンラガン (Gurren Laggan) ☆☆☆☆; Really nice style and energy still coming from this show.
    リバウンド; Rebound ☆; My first J-Drama. It’s actually kind of weird seeing real people acting and speaking Japanese. This show is funny in how over dramatic they make being slightly fat.

    I’m not Reading or Playing anything new right now.

    I finally tried passive listening that isn’t music. I sort of assumed I had no time for passive listening, but now I realize I can do it while I walk around my campus.

    フェアリーテイル (Fairy Tail) ☆☆; It’s really fun listening to this again. I didn’t realize all the crazy noises that are made in this show. If the people around me could hear it, they’d probably think, “What the heck is he listening to?”
    エンジェルビーツ (Angel Beats) ☆☆☆; This is a pretty good show for lots of dialogue. I really like the story, so I actually get excited to hear it again.

  23. Did nothing but reading this month:
    ホイッスル (1-2 stars for difficulty)
    – an older Jump soccer series from the 90s that is super nostalgic and happy go lucky

    僕だけがいない街 (2-3 stars)
    – recommended by this site about a guy who ends up jumping back in time to try and save the life of a person dear to him

    アイアムアヒーロー (3 stars)
    – zombie attack!; also recommended by this site; fun stuff and great art

    In terms of difficulty, 僕だけがいない街 has more difficult and eclectic vocabulary, but the main character’s way of speaking in アイアムアヒーロー is much more difficult to understand, while the vocabulary is nothing out of the ordinary. (And for those who still need furigana, アイアムアヒーロー has none, although it’d be a great series to ease into the non-furigana world.)

    • “(And for those who still need furigana, アイアムアヒーロー has none, although it’d be a great series to ease into the non-furigana world.)”

      I was just considering making the jump into being furigana-free. I was also just considering reading アイアムアヒーロー. Thanks for the tip — sounds like it’s meant to be!

      • I find that whether a manga has furigana or not doesnt really have anything to do with the difficuty. I recently read k-on and nazo no kanojo x which both have no furigana (except for some characters names) and are aimed towards older teens/ young adults and breezed through them understanding around 95%. After that i read baby love which has furigana and is meant for younger kids but yet i struggled to understand the dialogue and follow the story

        • Exactly, whether something has furigana or not is not an indication of difficulty. But a lot of people are still a little hesitant to step out of the furigana comfort level which is why I recommend reading アイアムアヒーロー as a good first step.

          • The main problem with ditching furigana is that it’s harder to learn new words in context, or look up unknown words without it. In that sense it makes material more approachable for learners, independent of the actual difficulty of the material.

            Of course most material won’t have it, so you do have to make the jump at some point, but it’s pretty intimidating at first XD

            • Goddammit girls! Read ebooks and you won’t want furigana!

  24. Playing:
    アルノサージュ (Ar Nosurge)
    [4 Stars – Sci-fi/Fantasy setting with lots of Science/Technology language]

    This game is the mega boss that I’ve been working toward for nearly a year now. Finally got to a point where I felt comfortable diving in, and while still tough it’s been very enjoyable so far =)

    Battle system is somewhat vague and balance is a bit wonky
    Heavy use of made-up words. You can get a definition using the 用語 option in-game, but the reading can be hard to figure out until they’re used in voiced dialogue.
    The story is tied closely to the events of the previous game (Ciel Nosurge), so it’ll be harder to follow if you haven’t played that.

    In my personal opinion, the best music of any game series. At the very least, there’s nothing else quite like it
    Richly developed world with a fascinating mythos
    Gorgeous environment and character designs
    Interesting characters with plenty of depth (though again, playing the prequel helps)
    Punny Items – Badly made sukiyaki? “Kiraiyaki”. Cha-han with double meat? “Cha-zen”.
    Despite the overall dark plot, there are plenty of lighthearted moments as well. The “Tsundere Translator” scene had me in tears from laughing so hard.
    The dialogue system allows you to bring up a log and review the entirety of the current conversation, as well as replay the voice-over if applicable. Suuuper handy.

    I’m admittedly a little biased because I’m a huge fan of the entire series, but it’d be great to see more people get into it ^_^

  25. Reading:
    mostly news,
    FNN news site, NHK.
    Kokia, moumoon, mongol 800.
    Line chats with people I met in the mixxer,

  26. New to this blog :3 Hello!


    Read Real Japanese Fiction

    I finished 山椒大夫. Some of the vocabulary was a challenge but on the whole Mori Ogai’s style was quite readable. Finished the first story in Read Real Japanese Fiction which was a breeze. And then there’s Harry Potter… It’s cool someone has created a vocabulary list on Memrise, makes the reading quite comfortable :)

    • Ah, forgot the difficulty levels.

      Hungry! ☆☆
      山椒大夫 ☆☆☆
      Read Real Japanese Fiction ☆☆☆

      I can’t judge ハリー・ポッターと賢者の石 yet.

  27. Full metal alchemist brother hood 4(3) Stars. Watching on Netflix.
    I have watched there original with English subs a long time ago. I’ve been meaning to watch this version for w long time because if how renowned it it. I wanted to watch it in Japanese, and because of the nuanced plot I held off till I felt my level would be high enough. I’m happy to say i believe that time has come. I am up to episode 17 right now and it’s a lot better than the original in most ways.

    The reason I gave it 4 stars is because the discussions and explanations of the science behind alchemyc military and politics are very difficult even for high level learners, in my opinion. However, if you take away those elements the general dialogue can range from 2 to 3 stars. It’s definitely easier if you’ve seen the original because you might remember a few of the harder terms from there. Good luck if you haven’t seen it read anything about it though.
    I’m really enjoying and getting a substantial part of the plot. Highly recommended so far

    I’ve been rewatching kiseiju, by far my favourite show of this year. I’ve been watching with Japanese subtitles.
    I’d give it 3 (4)stars on average. It’s just like full metal with the science and philosophical discussions which use highly technical terminology. However, it takes place in a high school so the general dialogue is very easy to comprehend, though difficult to shadow because of all the slang and colloquialisms. I highly recommend both shows to anyone

    Spice and wolf (novel) 3 stars. Ugh I don’t even want to review I’m not even enjoying it. It’s a short book and I’m 3/4 through. I don’t recommend it personally. I think it is catered to a different demographic to my own. It’s whole moe garbage thing going on but I read because I heard it was easy. That’s not a good reason to read something, I quickly learned.

    I just purchased the clover book that is featured on Jalup and will begin that soon, impressions next month. I’m really looking forward to the horse story in particular. But for some reason, my reading comprehension is quite terrible still, despite being ‘advanced’ level. Probably don’t read enough books. Trying to fix that in the oncoming weeks because all of my other skills have sky rocketed (minus writing). I figured I’ll tackle writing when I’m finished the infamous 10000 words. Though I plan to fully complete the one deck, plus a but extra for my own vocab.

    • I felt the same way when I started reading books. With 一リットルの涙, my first novel I noticed that I knew a lot of words and grammar, but I wasn’t really getting what was said. After a few books I think it starts to get a lot better. Something just clicks like many other aspects of language learning. I think it just takes a bit to get used to it, but with your level I’m sure it’ll be quick, hang in there!

      • ugh thanks for the kind words. I really hope you’re right! I’ve been reading for a while now, but it seems to be novels that have been giving me the most trouble. I get sentences quite often but the overarching story is nearly totally lost on me. I think without visual context/sound and a completely different style of language to that in anime/manga/movies/conversation, novels are very much their own beast. But I am more intrigued by their benefits at the moment rather than enjoying them. Hopefully I’m like you and I can start enjoying them soon. Doesn’t help that every book I’ve read has been either a) too easy, b) too hard, c) too boring. I guess it’s my fault, but I hate ditching books because I’ve paid for them and I feel like I shouldn’t waste my money so I make sure to finish a book before I buy a new one. I had that problem with video games and now I have the most disgusting backlog that I’ve all but abandoned.

        I think this book I’m about to embark on is the ‘one’ so to speak. I think it’s the first one that I’m actually interested in that isn’t impossibly hard to read (I tried all you need is kill and attack on titan novel). I thought attack on titan would be easy because the manga isn’t too bad, I was wrong :(
        I read the first few pages and I think this clover book is the ticket.

        The real problem is dividing my study time. It seems to be engulfed by anki, after conversation and anime, I don’t have much time for novels. I guess I could cut back on anime, but it’s done more for my speaking than I could ever ask (shadowing is king). I refuse to cut back on these things at all because they are really really enjoyable, but instead I’ll try and increase my study time so that reading there is a bigger place for reading (maybe 2 hours instead of 45-1 hour). I don’t feel the frequency and quantity are enough with me. This month I’ve been a lot better, so I think if what you’re saying is going to happen with my novel reading, this next month has to be it. I can almost sense it coming!

  28. Watching 一リットルの涙、猟奇的な彼女、tokyo tribe
    Cant rate the difficulty in stars cos i just dont know

  29. Watching:

    さくら荘のペットな彼女 (The Pet Girl of Sakurasou) ☆☆☆ at least – Above my level, but I’m getting more and more out of it as I go since I started Intermediate 1K.

  30. Manga wise, I’m reading through Cardcaptor Sakura and Wandering Son at the moment. Both are great reads. I’d probably give them both 2 stars for difficulty. I’ve also just started reading Tokyo Ghoul, and it’s awesome, but it’s too early to say the difficulty level. I’ll report back next month.

    For anime, I’m watching a fair few, but I’ll just mention a couple I can give star ratings to. First, Ore Monogatari, which seems like an interesting story so far. I’d probably give it a 2 star difficulty rating. Also Assassination Classroom, which I’d probably give a 3 star difficulty cos there are a lot of assassination related vocab.

  31. I’ve been watching ワンピース and らんま1/2. I probably don’t need to say much about ワンピース. らんま1/2 is a bit older (though many people may likely know of it) and I’ve really enjoyed it thus far. It’s pretty silly most of the time, and pretty good for laughs.

    I’d give らんま1/2(Ranma 1/2) a ☆☆ difficulty rating.

  32. What are you watching?
    GOLDEN BOY さすらいのお勉強野郎
    Difficulty: ***
    Very short anime, based off the manga. I find it extremely hilarious, though others may find the humor distasteful. Relatively perverted, but it’s where a lot of the humor comes from and I’d say it’s a masterpiece.

    涼宮ハルヒちゃんの憂鬱 The melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan
    Difficulty: ** to ***
    Spin off series of the original. Some moments are funny, but from what I’ve watched so far it’s an average series.

    ママレード・ボーイ Marmalade Boy
    Difficulty: ***
    A typical 90s Highschool Romance Shoujo anime. I love it though, though I’ve been busy lately so I haven’t had much time to watch it.

    What are you playing?
    Super Monkey Ball 2
    Difficulty: *
    Pretty much everybody has had to play this game. Very unique game, very simple Japanese all in hiragana.

    Romancing Saga
    Difficulty: ***
    A 90s Square RPG. The character sprites look identical to the style of FFV as well. Just played a little so far, but a different experience from the FF games of the era.

    Difficulty: **
    A fun and quirky adventure RPG game for the gameboy. Lots of moments that I find humorous. It’s probably like a mix between Zelda and Ys.

    Difficulty: *
    Puyopuyo, before it got that stupid aesthetic. Very clean and simple puzzle game. Tons of replay value. And very difficult. On a side note, even though I’m around level 65, I still can’t understand those god awful (and very annoying when you are doing badly) digitized voices.

    What are you listening to?
    M-flo, 山本領平, 松下優也, and I never thought I’d say it, but Japanese versions of some Super Junior songs.

  33. 1. What are you watching?
    Mayuyu and Yuria are in it, so it’s a must watch for me <3
    Level: ** to *** depending on episode and scene

    2. What are you reading?
    I'm on Volume 2 but I'm re-reading 1 quite a bit.
    Level: * to **

    3. What are you listening to?
    Perfume – Pick me up
    It's just so catchy, I listen to it before I go to work to get in a good mood <3

  34. 1. What are you watching?
    Naruto :D its on netflix
    Level * to ***
    2. What are you reading?
    Level *
    I use to read these when I was a kid they are a great read. Also I just found out you can use rikaisama(firefox add on) to add new cards to an anki deck you can even use a Japanese dictionary!! I hope this helps kick my reading up a notice
    3. What are you playing?
    yokai watch LEVEL *
    pokemon Alpha Sapphire LEVEL *
    tales of vesperia(PS3) LEVEL ** to ***

  35. 1. What are you watching?

    俺物語!! Level: ☆

    It is so cute!

    2. What are you reading?

    花君と恋する私 Level: ☆

    I read the first volume for free from Yahoo BookStore, and bought the next volume while in Japan.

    3. What are you playing?

    ポケモン アルファサファイア Level: ☆

    Soooo addicting.Come check out my super hidden base here!

    4. What are you listening to?

    Nothing new.

  36. 1. Watching

    結城友奈[ゆうき・ゆうな]は勇者である Level: **

    A quite entertaining slice of life/magical girl anime. Great music too. Outside of some more technical explanations and Togo’s history ramblings, the language is rather simple.

    2. Reading

    Just finished vol 4 of よつばと!
    Still reading ハリーポッターと賢者の石 (Level: ***). I will finish it.. eventually.

    3. Playing

    テイルズオブヴェスペリア Level: ****

    This one is quite an experience. Most of the script is voice-acted, that’s a definite plus!

  37. 2. What are you reading?

    ☆☆ 小林さんちのメイドラゴン (Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon)(manga)
    ☆☆ 実は私は (Jitsu wa Watashi wa | My Monster Secret)(manga)
    ☆☆ 干物妹!うまるちゃん (Himouto! Umaru-chan)(manga)

    実は私は and うまるちゃん are both hilarious. 実は私は had me constantly laughing out loud, especially the scenes with the devil girl. うまるちゃん is a really cute comedy that sort of reminds me of よつばと.

    3. What are you playing?

    ☆☆☆ ゼノブレイドクロス (Xenoblade X)(Wii U)

  38. I have noticed that Disney Dubbed kids movies (or songs) are absolutely the BEST for beginners like me. And the songs are dubbed in easy to understand Japanese.

    -> [Disney]Up or Mr. Carl’s Flying House[Dubbed] – ☆
    -> [Disney]Frozen [Dubbed] ☆☆
    …you get the idea.

    ->[Disney] Can you feel the love tonight
    -> Servant of Evil
    -> Servant of Part time Job?[Parody]
    -> [DIsney] Frozen – Let it Go ☆. Just watch the whole movie in Japanese. It never exceeds ☆☆ and is generally ☆.
    -> Son of Man [Tarzan]
    -> Paradichlorobenzene ☆☆
    -> How to World Domination ☆☆
    -> Collection of Great songs, ranging from ☆ to ☆☆

  39. I agree, watching dubbed disney movies is awesome! I love getting the lyrics and singing along too

  40. Code geass r1: three stars
    quite entertaining

    berserk: 3 stars
    also very entertaining

    Wish granting elephant (2-3 stars): still don’t enjoy books much because my Japanese isn’t good enough. Still forcing myself to read fully fledged novels at this stage. Doesn’t stop me wanting to read, just makes it really hard to stop binging on anime and games.

    Final Fantasy X (3 stars):
    finally gave into Matt V’s ‘encouragement’ and started playing an RPG. Having a good time though I have to passive immerse between cutscenes as there is a lot of wasted time otherwise.

    listening: FUll metal alchemist brotherhood, parasyte the maxim (audio rips for both).

    • Y’know, I’m starting to think you’re not even half as lazy as you claim to be =P

      Glad you’re enjoying it!

      • One way to get it would be to search “code geass thora” on and download the 2 blue torrents (S1 & S2) and then you can just turn off the subs (or use mkvmergeGUI, uncheck subs, and then mux it get rid of them).

  41. –Watching–
    のんのんびより (Non Non Biyori) – 1.5 Stars
    Easy to understand (even w/o subs). Dangerous levels of adorable. I take no responsibility if, like me, you end up changing your phone’s 通知音 to 「にゃんぱすー!」 >_>

    英雄伝説:閃の軌跡 (Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki) – 3.5 Stars – PSVita/PS3
    I played my first 英雄伝説 game in English and loved the heck out of it. Now trying one out in Japanese. So far I’m enjoying it, but there’s a lot of complex/obscure language and a fair bit of original 用語 even for important game systems. The setting is interesting and the combat is strategically complex and fun. My only major gripe is that on some screens (such as the 拡大マップ) much of the Kanji is too small to be legible. Also, make sure you download the latest patch before playing, or you’ll have to deal with some insane load times.

    Still working through アルノサージュ on the PS3 side, but I’ve had trouble getting big enough blocks of free time to sit down and play a home console game lately. Hopefully I can get back into it in earnest soon. I’m really excited to see what happens next XD

    • Glad to see another playing 閃の軌跡! Couple things real quick: Every game takes place in the same world (if you didn’t already know) so there are lots of events, characters, and references that will appear and you’ll have no idea what they’re talking about. The second thing is that the 1st 閃の軌跡 game is mostly setting up for the 2nd game so it has a lot of boring stuff. If the 1st game is 90% boring and 10% awesome, then the 2nd game is 10% boring and 90% awesome!

      • Yeah I’ve heard as much, though sadly I don’t know when or if I’ll get around to playing the whole collection. At the moment I’ve only played 空FC and now this one, so hopefully that’s enough to get by =)

        I do have 閃 #2 as well, so will look forward to that once I finish the first one!

  42. Virtue’s Last Reward, about 2-3 stars. There is some scientific vocabulary and made up terms, but has a LOT of item words (because of the hidden object puzzles)…so good for learning Vocab.

  43. 1. 視聴中

    2. 読書中

    3. 挑戦中のゲーム

    4. 最近よく愛聴する曲

      • 子供の頃、確かポケットモンスター銀をよくやったものです。仮名を読めても日本語の分からない子供の私が、ポケモン全員の名前を日本語で覚えられてしまいました。閑話休題、それ以外RPG系や謎解きのゲームが特に興味深いです。Matt V. さんはどうですか。宜しければ、ご推薦の方をお願いします。

        • RPGなら、「英雄伝説」というシーリズを特にお勧めします。最高な戦闘システムで凄く楽しいです。僕は今「英雄伝説:閃の軌跡」をPSVitaで遊んでて軍隊用語をいっぱい習ってます XD

          特徴のあるゲームが好きであれば、「シェルノサージュ」と「アルノサージュ」もお勧めしたいのです。もっとも優れてる部分は天使的な歌ですから、Youtubeで聞いてみてください (^^)

          • うわあ!みな面白そうですね。でもやっぱり私は「シェルノサージュ」が一番好ましいです。声優の声を聴いて、ばっと引かれてしまいました。一見、ストーリーもアートも半端ないと思います。もう少し時間が空いたら、やってみようかと思っています。ご推薦、ありがとうございました!

  44. Gonna skip the rankings, don’t feel I’m good enough to rank properly yet.

    1. What are you watching?
    妄想彼女。It’s a very short drama at only 4 eps, but it’s pretty good, a rare drama for guys <3

    2. What are you reading?
    よつばと Vol 3. The adventures continue <3

    3. What are you playing?
    Nothing atm.

    4. What are you listening to?
    カモネギックス / NMB48 <3 (in fact, I'm gonna go listen to it right now).

  45. 1. What are you watching?

    This month, Netflix has a ton of new anime out, so I have been watching…

    鋼の錬金術師 ☆☆☆
    NANA ☆☆
    DEATH NOTE ☆☆☆
    PSYCHO PASS ☆☆☆☆
    桜蘭高校ホスト部 ☆☆

    I’ve seen all of them before except for NANA and PSYCHO PASS, but for most of them, it’s the first time I’m watching them in Japanese.

    2. What are you reading?

    Light novels:

    キノの旅 1 ☆☆
    僕のゲイ恋日記 ☆☆
    進撃の巨人 BEFORE THE FALL ☆☆☆

    If anyone knows of any good Japanese LGBT literature, let me know! Not necessarily BL/Yaoi/Yuri stuff; I can find that easy. I want more realistic stories, something based on experiences of real Japanese LGBT people, perhaps.


    進撃の巨人 ☆☆☆

    3. What are you playing?

    キングダム ハーツ HD 1.5 リミックス, particularly KH Re: Chain of Memories ☆☆
    キングダム ハーツ 358/2 Days ☆☆☆

    I love KH so much.

    4. What are you listening to?

    HIKAKIN on YouTube as I do housework, homework… work. Usually I’m listening to videos I’ve watched before.

  46. Reading:
    Finally finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (***), now on to 1 Liter of Tears (**)

    Ni No Kuni on PS3 (**). Just, gorgeous, gorgeous game. It’s one of these games that just make you happy and fuzzy inside as you play them.
    I’m also about to start Tales of Symphonia, but as I haven’t played it yet, I can’t give a rating

    Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (***)
    Okay, this is the fourth time I’m watching this anime. I can’t help it. I love it so much, I never get bored of it. I also wanted to check if it’s any easier to understand than it was a year ago (it is)

  47. I haven’t done much this month on account of being busy traveling in Japan, but there is one thing:
    ソードアート・オンライン-ロソト・ソング-(SAO Lost Song) Got this in Japan and man was it a good buy. If you like the anime you’ll love this. There’s some decent gameplay, but what I really like is the dialogue. Nearly all of it is voice acted, and believe me that’s a lot of dialogue. It’s great because it comes with its own subtitles, only without furigana, but you can listen and figure it out. I’ve learned so much so quickly. It’s also pretty easy to figure out to do even if you don’t understand anything. It seems like you can get by without changing your equipment much as well. Couldn’t recommend it to SAO fans enough.

  48. 1. Watching
    Time taxi (?)

    2. Reading、 seems its mostly chibi characters here from ongoing series. Artwork of both are excellent.
    ハクメイとミコチ (**-***)
    The daily life of the miniature people Hakumei and Mikochi, cooking, talking to animals, fixing 風車 etc.
    メイドインアビス (***)
    Adventures of orphan child in society mostly focused on exploring the dangerous abyss 淵.
    Exploration adventure, notes on wildlife, plants, characters found in the abyss makes it like reading the excerpts from a real life explorer/scientist.
    read free chapters at

    Persona 4 (***)
    RPG, High school life simulator sort of
    possibility of replay of voice acting makes it a bit easier to look up unknown words.
    Rated C from 15 years age.

    Dream Club 0(***)
    Dating game at a hostess club. The conversation topics are often of humourous character.
    You get a lot of emails to read including emojis.Sexual content warning, alcohol and 17 years of age rating

  49. Not language-related, but just as important, I think…

    勉強用のBGM(background music for studying):

    コーヒティビティ(coffeeshop noises):
    ノースリ(noise ambience):
    スタジオジブリの曲(Studio Ghibli instrumentals):

  50. A Game of Thrones 七王国の玉座: 本当英語の名前分からないけど’Throne of the Seven Kingdoms’だろうか 日本語レベル: ☆☆☆☆

    次のおすすめ:色々日本ユーチューブの作者。 まずははじめしゃちょです。日本には最も有名なユーチューブの作者。それにPDRさんとマホトさん。超面白いと思う。 是非見って下さい! 
    日本語レベル: 知らない。だから、ビデオで簡単な日本語をよく使いますから皆さんのため楽しい!^。^

  51. I’m reading Tokyo Mew Mew, which I would say is a) really awesome and b) is understandable as a one-star reader, definitely, because of the abundance of English loan words, but some of the more complicated stuff might be two stars. Currently I’m on page 60, and I just got it last week – it’s really fun to read!

  52. Watching:
    パパとムスメの7日間 (7 days of dad and daughter) ☆☆ / ☆☆☆
    This was my first J-Drama that I’ve been able to get into (though the others I had tried when I was at a bit lower of a Japanese level) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Same concept as Freaky Friday I suppose. (though I’ve never watched that)

    電車男 (Train Man) ☆☆☆
    I see why this is so well-known, and I think it really deserves its exposure. Lots of moments in this drama that I find hilarious. I currently have a few more episodes left to watch on it though.

    サイコパス (Psycho Pass) ☆☆☆
    I’ve yet to finish this anime, but it has been very interesting. It is a bit on the darker (and gorier) side.


    悪魔のクローゼット (Nightmare Closet) ☆☆

    ワンピース (One Piece) ☆☆☆
    ドラゴンボール (Dragon Ball) ☆☆
    よつばと! (Yotsubato!) ☆
    デスノート (Death Note) ☆☆☆ / ☆☆☆☆
    レイヴ (Rave) ☆☆ / ☆☆☆

    ドラゴンクエストIX (Dragon Quest IX) ☆☆
    -Has furigana which is useful for those less familiar words and kanji.

    ポケモンオメガルビー (Pokemon Omega Ruby) ☆☆
    テラリア (Terraria)
    Not really sure what to rate this difficulty wise as you are able to play without knowing any Japanese, but (through a mod) essentially all items, mobs, and dialogue is in Japanese. Also, item names pop up when you pick something up. (Small spurts of reading practice?)

    I’ve always loved YUI’s music, but currently I am re-listening to some of her slower music in particular. I feel that I am able to appreciate it much more now that I understand what she’s saying, which definitely ups my enjoyment of it.

  53. Audio Dramas:
    1/2流星群 (A Half-Meteor Shower) *
    雨の雫 (Raindrops) **
    夜間漂流 (Drifting Through the Night) ** (Script for first episode is freely available online. For some reason, I like this series the most.)
    都市は試験管の (Metropolis in Vitro) ***

    To find more, switch your iTunes region to ‘Japan’ and look in the Podcasts tab.

    太平洋戦争 (The Pacific War) ****
    A documentary about World War II in the Pacific. Does a good job of mentioning more than battles – logistics, technology, politics, etc. Freely available on Nicovideo, with Japanese subtitles to boot.

    Variety Show
    世界の果てまでイッテQ! (InterQ! To the Edge of the World!) *
    Members of the cast explore the world and all of its oddities. Along the way, do strange things. Crazy antics keep the show enjoyable without a high Japanese level.

    のんのんびより (Non Non Biyori) *
    Slice of life show. Cute (but not sexualized) girls doing a whole lot of nothing in the countryside. Very relaxing.
    月刊少女野崎くん (Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun) **
    Parody of shoujo manga. Turns most of the genre and gender tropes on their heads. Extremely funny.

    ファイアーエムブレムif (Fire Emblem: Fates) ***
    Tactical RPG, otherwise known as ‘the series that Marth comes from.’ If you can stand the fanservice, poor story, and paid DLC, you’ll find a good tactics game and good characters.

  54. Reading:
    Hunter X Hunter : ☆☆.

    Listening (The levels vary depending on the song. Check the 歌詞 for best results):
    -Anime openings (Naruto, Detective Conan, Full metal Alchemist Brotherhood)☆☆-☆☆☆
    -EXILE ☆☆-☆☆☆. Ex:
    -Kpop dubbed in Japanese. Some recommendations:
    —Wondergirls ☆
    —2Ne1 ☆☆
    —SHINee ☆☆
    -Youtube Songs (Mostly covers of English ones)
    —Maco ☆-☆☆ (Ex:
    —Henry Kirby ☆-☆☆ (Ex:
    —CreamVision ☆☆ (Ex:
    —Disney Songs dubbed ☆☆ (Ex:

    -Rhythm Heaven: ☆☆ (I am giving this 2 stars because its in Hiragana and understanding instructions for games REQUIRES that level of understanding. The game is pretty simple)
    -Zelda:Ocarina of Time ☆☆
    -Phoenix Wright 1 ☆☆☆. I can understand most of it. Its a very nuance heavy game but since I have played it a million times in English, I can blind-play it whenever I get stuck. One thing I have noticed is that the dialogue is different from the English Version.
    The lack of courtroom vocab poses a bit of a problem (Hoping Expert 6 covers some of it)

    These shows used to air when I was a kid. I am currently riding the “nostalgia” wave (Tip: Use Chinese uploads, because they contain Japanese Subtitles too):
    -クレヨンしんちゃん: ☆☆
    -忍たま乱太郎: ☆☆ sometimes reaches ☆☆☆.
    -ちびまる子ちゃん: ☆
    I started 中二病 but got bored and irritated (lack of vocab) to the point that it took some episodes from Kaiji(my favorite anime btw and is ☆☆) to get motivated again.
    -Watching a lot of コント from 陣内富則(☆) and Unjush(☆☆☆).

  55. 1. What are you watching?

    Still watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood ☆☆☆, and I’m watching RDG レッドデータガール ☆☆☆, a really interesting anime about a really shy girl who destroys any electrical device she comes in contact with. She was raised in a Shrine, and learns she is a vessel for an ancient, powerful goddess.

    I’m also watching 犬夜叉 ☆☆☆.

    2. What are you reading?

    銀の匙 (by Awakawa Hiromu) ☆☆☆ and 犬夜叉 ☆☆☆

    3. What are you playing?

    I’ve been playing スティーブン・ユニバース アタック・ザ・ライト on iOS. Steven Universe is a cartoon on Cartoon Network, and I’ve been watching the few episode I can find in Japanese online. The game is really fun, and it’s really great reading practice. ☆☆

    In the Kingdom Hearts series, I’ve moved on to Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories on the PS3. I’ve always found this game to be the most tedious of the games in the series, but I like the listening and reading practice it provides, and maybe I’ll finally finish and beat the game. ☆☆☆

    4. What are you listening to?

    Besides all the anime I am watching, I’m not really listening to anything. I really need to fill in my time with more passive listening. I do a lot of active listening, which is great, but that’s only for an hour or two a day. So, I definitely need fix that.

  56. READING:

    * Fullmetal Alchemist ☆☆☆ — This is probably the best shounen manga I’ve ever read. (Not that I’ve read THAT much shounen manga, but I’m just sayin’.) It blows my mind on a regular basis. A little more difficult than your average, maybe, but still totally readable. I’m about 14 or 15 volumes in. Can’t wait to watch the show(s)!

    * One Piece ☆☆ to ☆☆☆ — I’m only five or so volumes in, mostly just reading one when I take a break from FMA. It’s awesome, of course, but I also like what a quick read it is. Really makes me feel like I’ve made progress since I first tried to read volume 1 and it took me months :D

    * The Little Prince ☆☆☆ maybe? — My first non-manga native material! I have a Japanese translation of The Little Prince and it’s pretty amazing (just like the French original and its English translation). For those unfamiliar, it’s a novella that’s somewhat kid-friendly, though most certainly also deep enough for adults. The language is pretty easy and there’s furigana when a compound is first introduced. I have to admit it’s a huge ego-boost to be sitting around in a cafe reading a “real” Japanese book (instead of just manga).

    Re-watching some of my favorites, but un-subbed this time around:

    * Evangelion ☆☆☆☆
    * Cowboy Bebop ☆☆☆
    * Mushishi ☆☆ or ☆☆☆?
    * Revolutionary Girl Utena ☆☆☆-ish

    Most of these are a bit above my head, but since I know the plots almost by heart anyway, it makes for great listening practice!

    * Rajidora youtube channel — just a bunch of radio drama versions of short stories and stuff. Pretty cool; levels vary.

    * Nothing, currently :'(
    I have my sights set on the JP version of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, though…

  57. What I’ve been watching:

    DBZ (Frieza Saga) ★★★
    Naruto ★★
    僕のいた時間 ★★★ or ★★★☆
    All 3 Live Action るろうに剣心 movies. ★★★☆

    Japanese dubs
    Seinfeld ★★★☆
    Courage The Cowardly Dog ★★
    Ed, Edd n Eddy ★★
    1989 Batman and Batman Returns. ★★★ to ★★★☆
    Right now, Daredevil on the new Netflix Japan. ★★★★

    What I’ve been playing
    龍が如く0: 誓いの場所 for PS4. ★★★☆ to ★★★★
    Japanese version of Lego Marvel: Super Heroes The game. ★★☆

    What I’ve been reading
    ドラゴンボール ★★
    進撃の巨人 ★★★
    Articles on ファミ通, and シネマトゥデイ articles may vary on stars

    What I’ve been listening to
    今井麻美のSinger Song Gamer. ★★★☆

    Note: ★ = full ☆ = half

    • Where are you finding Japanese dubs for those amazing shows/movies?!

      (Ed, Edd n Eddy is especially blowing my mind. Haven’t thought about that show in YEARS.)

      • I watched Seinfeld or となりのサインフェルド and Ed, Edd n Eddy or エドエッドエディ through niconico , Courage or おくびょうなカレージくん or Cartoon Network JP’s account, and the 90’s Batman movies from my Blu Ray copy I bought from Walmart

  58. For Netflix users:
    As many of you may know, Netflix Japan just debuted.
    If you have Instant Streaming, pay attention to the caption and audio options!
    For example, I’ve noticed a bunch of Netflix Original TV shows, like the new “Puffin Rock” have Japanese audio, and some have subtitles, too! :D :D :D [I’m hoping this is a permanent option and that more will follow! :D :D :D :D]

    • As an aside, and thanks to Matt, I’ve been using Netflix Japan through a program called tunnel bear. Netflix is amazing :D

      • That’s great. I’ve thought about something like that, but I’m happy with what I have for now. [Note for anyone lurking who might be unfamiliar with VPN services: please be cautious and do your research. Many are unsafe and sketchy, and “free” usually means *you* are the product.]

        At least for US Netflix users, so far, I’ve noticed that these Netflix (TV show) titles have Japanese audio:
        Marco Polo
        Grace & Frankie
        Wet Hot American Summer
        Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
        Puffin Rock

        That ought to keep us busy for a while. ^_^

        Another friendly user tip I’d like to add: if you share your account with others who prefer English (or some other language), make a guest account! You can change the account language while the main account stays in English (or whatever).

        I have a guest account just for me that’s all in Japanese, just for me to stream Japanese shows. :D

  59. Professor Layton Games ** to *** . There are many Japanese-related puzzles (including the famous 字 時 じ) ones.

    Angel Densetsu : ** . This is such an awesome manga and 2-part anime. It’s definitely old, so don’t expect some fancy visuals/art or spot on voice work. It’s about misunderstandings (like Unjash) and deconstructs much of 80s and 90s high school anime/manga tropes. It also sends a strong message: Don’t Judge a book by its cover.

  60. I’ve been swamped this month, with school starting and craziness at work, so I didn’t achieve nearly as much as I wanted to or consume as much media. But I did some, so that counts for something.

    1. What are you watching?

    A friend recommended to me an anime called K, so I watched a few episodes, and I must say it’s really stunning to look at, but for me, the characters and the story kind of falls flat for me, though I think the premise was solid. ☆☆

    Also been watching clips of Gravity Falls in Japanese. ☆☆

    2. What are you reading?

    Still reading 銀の匙!☆☆☆
    Slowly but surely.

    3. What are you playing?

    Haven’t been gaming much lately.

    4. What are you listening to?

    Just different Japanese YouTubers as I do homework and stuff. Like HIKAKIN and マホト (newSASHIMAN).

    Now that I’m settled into my schedule, hopefully I’ll be able to consume more media and stay on top of my goals!

  61. I can’t remember when I watched it, but Date is a fantastic drama. At first I had written it off because I’d never seen Anne star in a drama and I kept forgetting who Hasegawa Hiroki was. And the promo picture was this:

    Nahh, I thought. That’s probably some cheesy, weird romantic comedy I wouldn’t like. Then I saw the people who made Legal High were behind this and turns out, it’s a cheesy, weird romantic comedy I really really like. It’s a perfect combination of smartly written and insanely funny. The two lead characters scoff at the idea of romance, but begin dating to fulfill their own selfish goals. Hijinks ensue, there’s a ghost, and underpants, and some emotional gut punches thrown in that still work because they pulled off that careful balance of dramatized realism.

    In fact, I want to go re-watch it right now.

  62. This month was a good one for me for watching and playing stuff in Japanese.

    I watched all of 進撃の巨人 (Attack on Titan) in the span of 3 days, really good show and I would say its around a ***.

    I also started playing the 進撃の巨人 game for 3DS, and its about the same level of ***.

    I finally finished メダロット Dual, it’s a fun game that is very easy to understand and play.
    it’s around a ** I believe.

    I also started playing 妖怪ウォッチ, I’m not very far into it yet but so far it is fun and seems to not require much Japanese at all to actually play since it always marks where you are supposed to go with a big red arrow, so its probably * just for being able to play and ** for story so far since it also has furigana

  63. Anime:
    *** ソードアート・オンライン II (Sword Art Online II)
    Science fiction. You’ve probably heard of this one. I skipped to episodes 18-24. It stands apart from the rest of Season 2, and the genre shifts away from action.

    Variety Show:
    **世界一受けたい授業 (The Most Useful School in the World)
    Talk show. Three specialists per episode talk about/advertise their work. I found this show engaging because:
    1. The specialists often ask questions that the audience must attempt to answer.
    2. The audience members frequently go on field trips/get to see demonstrations.
    3. Some of the information is actually interesting.
    Don’t be afraid to skip segments that don’t interest you.

    *** 硫黄島からの手紙 (Letters from Iwo Jima)
    Historical fiction. Directed by Clint Eastwood, but with an all-Japanese cast. Depicts the final days of the Japanese garrison at Iwo Jima. The film gets pretty intense at points, both viscerally and emotionally.
    **** 連合艦隊司令長官:山本五十六 (The Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet, Isoroku Yamamoto)
    Historical fiction. Depicts the wartime service of Isoroku Yamamoto, most well known as the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack, in a humanizing way. Very few gratuitous explosions – the Pearl Harbor attack only takes about four minutes. Instead focuses on Yamamoto himself, with some politics on the side.

    Audio Drama:
    ** 文学少年の孤独 (The Literary Boy’s Loneliness)
    Since my listening ability is terrible, this one is my ‘active listening’ piece. I’m not totally sure what’s going on and an only on episode 5/10. Mopey lonely boy meets kind girl? Cliche, but I can’t handle any audio dramas more complicated than that.

  64. JDrama:
    ☆☆☆ 坂の上の雲 (Clouds Above the Hill) – Based off of one of Japan’s most popular contemporary works of literature, a period piece chronicling the lives of three men during the Meiji era.

    ☆ 日本電視台 (Japanese Broadcasting Station) – Allows region-free live streaming of Japanese television channels. Beware time zone differences.

    ☆ ☆ ピートのふしぎなガレージ (Pete’s Mysterious Garage) – Podcast where the characters travel through time to discover the histories of everyday things.

    Let’s Play:
    ☆ ☆ ピクミン3を優しく実況プレイ (A Friendly Pikmin 3 Let’s Play)

    ☆ ☆ ☆ 吹雪、がんばります! (Fubuki Will Do Her Best!) – Kancolle comedy 4-koma.

    ☆ ☆ ☆ Order of Battle: Pacific – Hex-based tactical wargame set in the Pacific theater of WWII. An American game, but comes with 95% complete Japanese localization that can be activated with little fuss (instructions are in top-rated Japanese-language review on Steam).
    ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ シヴィライゼーション IV (Civilization IV) – Previous entry in long-running best-setlling 4X series. Now has a Japanese full conversion fan-patch.

    ☆ GoldenDict
    ☆ Rikaisama
    Both of these programs allow J-J dictionaries in the EPWING format to be imported. Rikaisama is a Firefox plugin that allows you to hover over words and have their definitions pop up, while GoldenDict is a stand-alone program that can display definitions from multiple dictionaries simultaniously. J-J dictionaries not included.

  65. I’ll just add some things I don’t think I’ve added in the past.

    進撃の巨人☆☆☆(Attack on Titan)
    Great OP, some really nice action, etc. I’m sure most people reading this have heard of it before though.

    スイッチを押す時☆☆(When I hit the switch)
    I just started reading this, it’s pretty interesting so far. I’m sure it be pretty sad given what I’ve read so far.

    ファイナルファンタジーXIV ☆☆☆? (Final Fantasy 14)
    I’ve put a lot of time into this game lately. I feel like I’ve learned so much from it, it being easy to search words most of the time, some voice acting, and plenty of repetition of words used in quests and such. I’ve also more recently gotten into a Japanese free company (guild) and have really enjoyed chatting and hanging out with Japanese people, even if it’s through a game.

    The vocabulary can definitely be quite specific, but I think it is totally worth any effort it takes to play this game if you’re at all interested in playing an MMO. There’s a lot of different ways to learn here, but I’m sure that holds mostly the same for other MMO’s and video games too. IMO FFXIV is a great game all-around, 絶対おすすめです!

  66. What am I watching
    Gosei Sentai Dairanger (五星戦隊ダイレンジャー)It’s the 17th entry in the Super Sentai Series (Best known in America as Power Rangers) 2-3 Stars

    Tiger and Bunny. A very fun superhero anime to watch. 3 stars

    Zetman. Liking it so far. # stars

    The Hours of My Life (僕のいた時間)A sad J-Drama about a college student suffering from ALS. 3-4 Stars

    What am I reading

    As usual, Articles on Famitsu, Cinema Today, and NHK Web News Easy. Stars are vary for famitsu and Cinema Today, 2-3 stars for NHK Easy

    What am I listening to?

    Recently started listening to 今井麻美のSinger Song Gamer 3-4 Stars and 原由美〇〇〇ラジオ Podcasting. 3-4 as well.

    What am I playing
    The Japanese dub of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection for PS4. 3 stars

    龍が如く0:誓いの場所 for PS4. 4 Stars


    • > As usual, Articles on Famitsu, Cinema Today, and NHK Web News Easy. Stars are vary for famitsu and Cinema Today, 2-3 stars for NHK Easy

      Oh cool, these are great. Particularly “Cinema Today” seems right up my alley. Does Jalup have some kind of list of Japanese-language sites like this anywhere? It’s hard enough finding quality English-language news sites, it’d be cool if there was an article or section in the “Guide” or something that listed resources like this.

  67. I recommend 下町ロケット, a new drama with Abe Hiroshi being aired now in Japan on Sunday nights. It’s a dramatisation of a novel by Ikeido Jun, an author who seems to be on something of a roll at the moment with many of his books being adapted for TV.

    The plot is your classic David vs Goliath story of a small business taking on big corporation. There’s a lot of technology and business language, and Abe Hiroshi’s mumbling doesn’t make things any easier to understand, but all that takes second stage to the whoop-out-loud moments when the bad guys get their comeuppance and are shown up for the crooks they are.

    I don’t normally watch TV dramas, in fact almost never, but I have really been enjoying this one! And so has Japan, with a massive 20% of the viewership tuning in!

  68. Been trying to play Witcher 3 in Japanese but the vocabulary is quite something, therefore I am currently looking for recommendations on books containing european medieval and fantasy settings to boost vocabulary while not playing.

    下町ロケットlooks fun but the law/techno/business lingo was killing me.

    I read all of ZOO 1 by 乙一、 except for the last short story. Some of the stories were a bit sad, some quite bloody. Maybe two to three stars. Must say it feels great to have managed to get through a japanese original work.

    At the moment I am halfway trough 出口のない農場 maybe 3 stars. It’s a translation from english original title Stone Bruises by Simon Becket. Seems to be some kind of mystery novel set at farm, so you get some farming vocab.

  69. Anime
    ☆ ☆ ☆ 涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱 (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
    ☆ ☆ ☆ 東のエデン (Eden of the East)

    Audio Drama
    ☆ ☆ サイレントワールド (Silent World) – Warning: I am 99% sure that this contains rape as drama.

    ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 大空のサムライ (The Sky Samurai) – The memoirs of 坂井三郎 (Sakai Saburou, family name first), an ace pilot during WWII.

    ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ダイヤモンド (Diamond)

    ☆ Twitter Bots – Although Twitter’s search function is pretty bad, look up your favorite character/show/novel/person and add ‘bot.’ You’ll find accounts that periodically tweet a random line from the show, or a random quote from the person.

  70. Well, the only media I read this month that wasn’t mentionned/rated before is Steins Gate 0.

    In ranking I’d say it’s a 3 stars-ish? It’s clearly (and objectively) easier than the first one, for instance there is less monologue (so more voiced text) for easier reading and it is longer, so anyone who managed to read the first one could easily enjoy zero (which is also in my opinion better in almost every aspect).

    • Less monologue? This has a lot of monologue :P, like way more than a standard Visual Novel. Zero left me with a pretty hollow feeling. It just… Ended.

  71. Anime
    ** 猫の恩返し (The Cat Returns)
    ** 極黒のブリュンヒルデ (Brynhildr in the Darkness)
    *** 風立ちぬ (The Wind Rises)

    Audio Dramas
    ** 春風は夕凪の空に、(In the Evening Calm, the Spring Breeze…)
    ** 都市は試験管のなかで (Metropolis in Vitro)
    ** 虹の上を歩いたら (If You Walk on a Rainbow)
    ** 夕暮れシグナル (Evening Signal)
    *** テスカトリポカの幻肢痛 (Tezcatlipoca’s Phantom Pain)

    *** 海上自衛隊の力 (The Maritime Self-Defence Force’s Power) – Also has versions for the Ground (陸上) and Air (航空).
    *** 新・映像の世紀 (The 20th Century in Moving Images, Revisited)

    ***** 日本国憲法 (The Constitution of Japan)
    ***** 世界人権宣言 (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

    ***** ロイター (Reuters)

    Video Game
    * 初音ミク Project mirai でらっくす (Hatsune Miku Project Mirai Deluxe)

    • Hey Hi’iaka Thanks for the audio drama recs! I’ve been looking for something since I wore out the rbproject stuff that’s available a while back.

      • If you want more, a good place to start is here:
        The rankings update frequently (daily?).

        When that tires, type in オーディオドラマ (audio drama), サウンドドラマ (sound drama), or ボイスドラマ (voice drama) into iTunes/the podcast aggregator of choice and hope for the best.

  72. Reading:
    * Kitchen (2-3 stars) & Moonlight Shadow (3 stars), by Yoshimoto Banana. Book one of the novel blast!
    * One Piece Vol. 8 (3 stars?). Palate cleanser between novel blast books :D I feel like I’m finally starting to get into One Piece with this volume. Hadn’t really grabbed me before this one.
    * Hear the Wind Sing, by Murakami Haruki (3 stars?). Pretty much just started this one, though I already like it better than its English translation!

    * Samurai Champloo (3-4 stars?). For some reason I didn’t know this existed? But it does, and is awesome.
    * My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (aka OreGairu) (3 stars?). The English translated title is really unfortunate, ’cause this is a great show.
    * Haibane Renmei (2-3 stars). The tone of this show totally changed midway, really strange and cool.
    * Serial Experiments Lain (3 stars?). Only a few episodes in, already blowing my mind.

    * Zelda, Link to the Past (3 stars?). My favorite Zelda game, which I finally feel okay playing through in Japanese now that I have all the necessary kanji.

  73. I’m not sure if this is the right place or if the methods are deemed acceptable but I personally found something to help ease me in to reading native material.
    If you follow the link below, you’ll find that some fine fellow has turned vol 1 and 2 of YOTSUBATO in to Anki decks. A sentence deck and vocab deck.
    Incorporating these decks in to my daily routine and then attacking YOTSUBATO naturally helped massively.
    It is J-E, a section I’m now (mostly) past but as it covers extensive vocab and some grammar that you probably won’t be familiar with, it’s super helpful.
    You can download the decks for free however a $10 donation is recommended which I personally chose to do.

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