Today’s easy manga recommendation for Japanese learners is Yuzu’s Medical Records of Animals/ Yuzu no Doubutsu Karute (ゆずのどうぶつカルテ), a manga series created by Mingo Ito.
Full title: ゆずのどうぶつカルテ〜こちらわんニャンどうぶつ病〜
Author: Mingo Ito (伊藤みんご)
Genre: Comedy, slice of life
No. of volumes: 7
Recommended for: JLPT N4/ upper beginner
Anime/ drama/ film adaptations?: No
Yuzu Morino is a young girl who has to move in with her uncle, Akihito after her mother is hospitalised. Akihito is a veterinarian who runs the town’s animal practice. Yuzu is not really a fan of animals and so doesn’t enjoy staying with Akihito at first. But her experiences of helping at pets (and their owners) soon begins to have a positive effect on her.
Why do I recommend the manga?
This is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a shoujo manga, but I don’t mean this in a negative way. Together with the art style, this makes for a nice enjoyable read which is well suited for Japanese learners.
There’s a good balance of drama and comedy: both Yuzu and her uncle have their comedic moments. However, even from the very beginning, the manga doesn’t shy away from more serious topics like bullying, illness, and loss.
The volumes are split into four separate stories, each focusing on the story of a pet and their owner who visit the veterinary practice. Whilst all pets get a diagnosis and appropriate treatment, the manga is more focused on the relationship between animals and humans. It’s interesting to see what Yuzu learns from her various encounters as the manga progresses.
Recommended Japanese language level
I would probably recommend this to someone about JLPT N4 or upper beginner level.
There are some animal and medical terms that you may need to check in a dictionary, (but the vast majority of it gets explained). Fortunately, you have furigana over the kanji so looking up any word should be straightforward. Overall this manga is easy to follow. Yuzu is only in her first year of middle school so whilst there is some slang used, grammar tends to be pretty simple.
Side note: カルテ is a loanword from German (Karte) meaning medical record or patient chart – always a useful word to know!
This manga is pretty recent (the first volume was released back in June this year), but I think it’s worth a read. There is also a novel version of the story if you prefer that format.
You can read a sample of this manga on the EbookJapan website by clicking the blue ‘無料立ち読み’ button – at the time of writing, the first volume is available for free!
If you do try reading any of the 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 🙂