Today’s manga recommendation for Japanese learners is Usagi Drop (うさぎドロップ), a manga series created by Yumi Unita.
Author: Yumi Unita (宇仁田ゆみ)
Genre: Slice of life
No. of volumes: 10
Recommended for: JLPT N3/ intermediate
Anime/ drama/ film adaptations?: Yes, anime and live-action film adaptations
The main character is Daikichi Kawachi who, despite not knowing anything about raising a child, becomes the guardian of a 6-year-old girl called Rin. Rin is the illegitimate child of Daikichi’s late grandfather, who he meets for the first time at his grandfather’s funeral. Seeing that his other relatives want nothing to do with Rin, he takes it upon himself to look after her rather than have her adopted.
Why do I recommend Usagi drop for Japanese learners?
I really like this manga as it is packed with both funny and touching moments, and it is particularly heartwarming to watch the relationship between Daikichi and Rin develop. It is also interesting to see how Daikichi copes as a single parent, having to learn (with a bit of help from his friends) what it takes to be responsible for another person.
Not only has the manga has also been serialised in English but there is also an anime and a live action film that was released in 2011, so if you enjoy the story it may be worth checking these out as well.
Recommended Japanese language level
Whilst there is no furigana, the manga is not too difficult in terms of vocabulary used. Being a slice of life manga, the vocabulary is mostly related to everyday activities. It does, however, require knowledge of more casual speech, for example:
そっスカ? = そうですか?
終わんの早エなー = 終わるのが早いな
Aside from the above, I think it is an accessible manga for intermediate or JLPT N3 level learners.
You can read a sample of this manga on the EbookJapan website by clicking the blue ‘無料立ち読み’ button.
If you do try Usagi Drop (or any of my other manga recommendations), please let me know how you get on the comments.
I am always on the hunt for beginner friendly manga, so if you have any suggestions please let me know!