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Japanese in Mangaland: Learning The Basics

  • 001 4  I've never had much luck with Foreign Languages . I'm an intuitive writer to begin with , and so generally build my writing structure by ear . What sounds like it could be spoken naturally is the way I construct a sentence . Because of this , I virtually wasted three years in High School French . The net result of which gave me very little knowledge of the language , save a few remembered words . Now I've spent the last six years collecting anime ( in both dubbed and subbed versions ) , and a little translated manga . An appreciation of the Japanese culture derived from watching and reading , inspired me to want to learn some of the language . Still , it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks without some sort of gimmick that makes it seem easy . I tried the special tapes and courses that were supposed to be so great , but for the most part , they were boring . I listened , heck , I even tried sleep-learning with the audio CD's , still when the track ended , and I hardly learned a thing . Then I saw a book coming out on TheRightStuf anime site , so I thought I'd check it out on Amazon . It hadn't been released yet , so I found this one instead . Pretty good reviews , so I thought I'd give it a try . I was pleasantly surprised with the results , after the first few lessons , I'm beginning to recall not only the spoken word , but the hiragana characters that write it in Japanese ! What's typical of most gimmick type books are that they focus only on the gimmick , and beyond that are not very good . They are often not written by very knowledgeable people on the subject , just someone with a unique point of view . Often after a good start , they degrade into a boring reference . Those of you who've read those . . . Dummies books know what I mean . The real dummy is someone who thinks a reading a thousand-page book , is learning something the easy way ! This book is not like that . While still a basic book on Japanese , it covers the subject very well . It manages to maintain interest with not only the manga hook or gimmick , but with well-written , well-supported examples . In addition , it gives the history of the Japanese language , how it's taught in Japan , and displays each phrase covered in five or more different equivalents . One of the most important but often missed in other texts is the literal English translation and the suggested proper translation . Too often , I've seen the suggested translation , and could not relate it back to the written Japanese characters , because the translated words are now out of order ! Just that little detail helped me to start learning some written Japanese characters . For a relatively small book , they go the extra mile . A guide for how to construct the written characters is included within the lessons . Each new lesson has interesting information on the Japanese culture as it relates to the language , and illustrated examples using manga . While I know you won't get a very comprehensive view of this complex language , I believe the foundation ; will enable you to build on what you have . This will enable you to do well with more intermediate and advanced texts . On the book itself , an exceptional bargain is to be had . The book is soft covered , but bound like hardbound books . The paper is smooth , likely acid free to last a long time without yellowing , much like the pages in an expensive college text . The graphics and print are easy to read with appropriate breaks and use of bolding , italics , and different fonts and sizes to accentuate the learning experience . I rarely see this quality of book in print these days . It was printed in Spain , they must have some very good print shops there .
    • 002 4  I've been studying Japanese for several years , completing 3 years of Japanese in college and even studying and taking the JLPT ( Japanese Language Proficiency Tests ) . However , in most Japanese Language textbooks , you learn formal Japanese which is fine if you are going to be using it for business . If you want to watch Japanese TV programs , anime , read manga or talk to your Japanese friends , you are in for a rude awakening , because they don't speak the same Japanese you just learned out of a textbook . Thank you , thank you for Japanese in Mangaland . Even though I've studied many Japanese textbooks , with this book I was finally able to learn some of the missing pieces of the puzzle of understanding informal or conversational Japanese . I don't mean rude or vulger slang that some other gimmicky books might teach you , but real Japanese that the everyday person might use . However , I don't recommend this book as your primary text . Other textbooks like Genki or Japanese for Busy People have good exercises and audio tapes that go along with the text . Japanese in Mangaland is an excellent suppliment because of it's explanation of informal Japanese . Get it , it is worth every penny .
    • 003 4  I love manga , and I wanted to read manga in japanese , because there's far less manga in any other language than there is in japanese . So I started looking for good self-study books , because I didn't have not the time , nor the money to go to japanese classes ( I'm a university student , not much free time ) . I decided to buy this one , Japanese in Mangaland , and I'm glad I did . This book is fun , easy to study with , and it works ! I really have learned the basics : verbs , grammar , expressions , 160 basic kanji ( with 5 kanji compounds for each kanji , that's really useful ! ) , particles . . . There is no need to know any japanese before studying this book : it starts from the real basics , how to read and write hiragana and katakana . The good thing about this book is that if you study it , you don't learn the standard japanese spoken and learned in class , not too useful when you read manga : you learn real japanese , just the way they really speak and write , with real japanese manga example sentences . So , after studying this book , and using a good dictionary , you can even read and understand easy manga such as Shinchan . I was so happy when I saw that I was able to understand what they were saying . . . I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn japanese , or anyone looking for something new , amazingly interesting . . . I'm a japanophile now : ) Marc Bernabe , the author , lives and works both in Japan and in Spain , and he's well known and loved here because of his great job as a manga translator : thanks to him , we've read in spanish wonderful manga such as Karekano , Blame ! , Saikano , Say hello to Black Jack , Crayon ShinChan and so on . He's translated and adapted Remembering Kanji ( James W Heisig ) to spanish , too . I recommend this book for the basics ( grammar , verbs , vocabulary and so on ) along with Remembering Kanji ( James W . Heisig ) for learning the writing and meaning of the 2000 basic kanji ( if you already understand and know how to write the 2000 basic kanji , it will be far easier for you to understand any text , because everything written in japanese is filled with kanji ! ! ! ) . For exercises and more practical japanese language learning , Minna no Nihongo is one of the best . Practical , perfect also for self-study , but as the textbook is only in japanese , don't forget to get the translation and grammatical explanation book too ! Japanese in Mangaland is the english version of a Spanish book , Japones en Vinetas , ( also by Marc Bernabe , of course ) which has been such a success in Spain , that has just been released the 4th edition ! And has just been released its second part too , Japones en Vinetas 2 , with lessons 31 to 60 . Studying both books , you're ready for the Noken levels 4 and 3 . I'm sure that you will soon have Japanese in Mangaland 2 in english . If you know spanish , it would be great to visit the author's website , , it's very interesting . It speaks about japanese culture , books , movies . . . And sorry if there's any mistake , I'm just a student of english and japanese , my mother tongue are basque and spanish . But , after everything Marc Bernabe has done for all of us who love Japan in Spain , I had to review this book : ) It has been so useful for me . . . You won't be dissapointed , I promise . Japanese in Mangaland + Minna no Nihongo + Remembering Kanji = winning trio . ganbatte , tomodachi !
    • 004 4  Learning Japanese through the medium of manga is a no-brainer . Many Japanese learners first interest in the language originally stems from an interest in anime and manga , and want the ability to go beyond English-translated merchandise and be able to pick and choose from the massive ocean of material that is untranslated in Japan . Japanese in Mangaland : Basic Japanese Course using Manga accepts this , and builds a solid learning system based on usage and mis-usage in Japanese comics . Originally written in Spanish for Spanish learners of Japanese , it was so successful that the book was re-formatted for English learners , and it works just as well . The book follows the format of introducing a grammar point , then following it up with manga examples taken from real Japanese comics . A serious study aid , it begins with learning the kana , both hiragana and katakana as well as basic kanji , then begins vocabulary building with repetition and increasing difficulty . Each section then concludes with a quiz to test yourself on what you learned . There are also cultural lessons in each chapter that give the necessary background to understand some of the subtleties of Japanese . This approach has been tried before in Mangajin's Basic Japanese Through Comics , but that book lacked a structured approach to language learning and instead focused on cool phrases and was unsuitable for beginners . Japanese in Mangaland is much more of an actual study course . The only drawbacks to Japanese in Mangaland is that the manga used are not particularly famous , and will probably be unfamiliar to Western audiences . It may not even be their idea of manga , ' as generally only one style is imported to the US . Also , although the emphasis is on kana , romaji is used throughout and it may have been more challenging to slowly eliminate it as the course progressed . As with all language learning , this should not be your only course , as speaking and listening practice is irreplaceable . But , as a fun supplement , it is an excellent book that still managed to teach me a thing or two even after several years of Japanese study .
    • 005 4  This series of language books is the best I own . I have university textbooks for both Italian and Japanese . As usual they are comprehensive , but dry and impossible to use for self study . I purchased the Japanese for Busy People books , but found them also to be dry and difficult for self study . But the Japanese in Mangaland series is amazingly entertaining . I have found that my motivation to study and comprehension of the language have both increased since buying these books . The main reason this series succeeds where others fail is that it is truly geared toward the self studier . The grammar is presented in simple stages along with plenty of examples . Vocabulary in introduced slowly and in line with the grammar . But , the most compelling aspect is the examples are all drawn : ) from manga . This gives a visual context in which to understand and remember the language principle's being presented . I don't , however , give Learning the Basics a 5 star rating . It makes one mistake by using romaji for the entirety of the book . If as intended this is for the learner of Japanese who is motivated to read and understand manga then I believe there is really no place for allowing the student the crutch of romaji past the 3rd or 4th lesson . The series however redeems itself in parts 2 and 3 by using exclusively kana and kanji ( except in a few places where typos have crept in ) .
    • 006 4  . . . is the main goal of this book . To the Western ear , Japanese could be Martian , for all its complexity and strange rules about grammar and pronunciation ( you might know that there is no L sound in Japanese , but did you know they don't have a V sound , either ? ) . Mark Bernabe does his best to help the average , non-collegiate person understand this complicated-yet-simple language by incorporating black-and-white images from various Japanese comics ( such as Phan and Lost Youth ) into the lessons in a fun and engaging way . First comes the basic ideas , then the image examples ( coupled with English pronunciation and Japanese writing ) , followed by the ways in which the expressions are used , and at the end of each lesson he concludes with one-page self-tests , using word balloons as answer lines . The most amusing section ( to me , anyway ) is the lesson regarding profanity , which is widely used in anime and manga but avoided in the rest of the ultra-polite Japanese society ; while you could use chikusho ! or kuso ! in writing comics , it just might get you kicked out of the local restaurant . A good book to start you on your linguistic journey .
    • 008 4  So when I ordered this book , I thought it would be another run down of limited japanese phrases , limited kanji descriptions , and a whole lot of romanji . Lucky for me though , it wasnt like that at all . The stylish excerpts from japanese manga seires novels helped not only to transistion my brain from one language to another , but also aided my grammatical sense . ( Seeing as how kanji can be spoken in either Onyomi or Kunyomi depending on its structure . ) They only reason I didnt give it a five was because after reading 20 chapters , with 10 more to go , I have to admit it got kind of boring . It read more like a text book than a witty how to book . Hopefully they can improve on that .
    • 009 4  Hi , I don't usually write reviews too often unless I feel the need to let someone know whether or not they're about to make a purchasing mistake . This review is mostly going to be tailored to people ( like myself ) who are obsessed with anime and dream that , one day , they too will be able to watch an anime without subtitles and understand everything , among other things . With that in mind , this book is by far THE best beginners ' Japanese course I have ever found . I have purchased many of the popular titles you may have already heard of . . . ( ex : Japanese for Busy People ) and I was so frustrated at myself for never sticking past the first chapter . . . blaming myself for my lack of discipline . Now it is no longer a mystery to me - - it wasn't my fault ! These books are extremely dull and boring to anime fans . Where is the train station ? Thank you , Tanaka-san , for the rice . Would you like to sit down ? Okay . Nice to meet you . Thank you very much ! What time does your train leave ? etc etc . . . Not only that , but you never learn anything interesting / in style , and you are pretty much reduced to learning Watashi and Anata as the only way to address I and you , respectively . Jeez , what were they thinking ? Doing that completely takes the fun out of Japanese learning and gives me the mistaken impression my hopes of Japanese as a cool language were simply pipe-dreams . This book takes care of all that . You will learn how to say You bastard ! ! ! like you hear so often in Anime . You will see examples of beautiful anime girls asking if they can bathe with guys they like . You will so cute cartoons express themselves in silly ways . But that's not all ! It is a beginner's book too , so you will learn how to say days of the week , calendar days , seasons , how to count and the different systems , etc . . . all the critical stuff . Even a few swear words ! You will learn how to read and write Hiragana and Katakana right off the bat ( you do not need to purchase anything else for this either , as it is all succinctly explained in 2 chapters , even stroke order . . etc ) . You also may be wondering how they teach this information . 1 . Charts . 2 . Explanations . . . and 3 . . . Real manga examples ! What better way to learn casual day to day conversation-style that's so apparent in Anime and everyday life ? I can't think of a better way . I really don't want to learn Japanese from a hoity-toity course and speak like those geeks wearing lawyer outfits you see around town with their the Queen's Japanese . No , none of that , though you will be able to speak like that if you choose to . To illustrate , I was even saying some of the things in this book to Japanese waitresses with excited and happy results , such as : You speak exactly like a Japanese man ! ! ! Oh my God ! Where did you learn ? . Nowhere , no formal education , just many hours of anime , this course , and a sincere desire to be able to speak it fluently . There is one complaint about the book . . . ( another reviewer was correct in pointing this out ) . There is no stroke order to draw / write the kanji . I do find this quite irritating , as I'd like to go along with the book and learn these simple kanji without developing bad habits . ( hence the 4 - star rating ) . Thankfully though , all hope is not lost , and it's not that big of a deal . Get Heisig's Remembering the Kanji set which will teach you 2042 Kanji and their readings , stroke order , etc etc . Book 3 of 3 has another thousand or so ) . In conclusion , if you love Anime / manga , and haven't purchased any other books looking for a beginner's Japanese course to do on your own , then this it . Look no further . I am extremely grateful to the author for deciding to use this radical yet effective method of teaching me Japanese . Thank you .
    • 010 4  This series is the best I've found after floundering off and on for years . I am a visual learner and the best way to learn for me is to read , but reading Japanese has always been presented as something difficult and fearful . Traditional courses put it off as long as possible and you are always taught polite language first . However , most of us who want to learn the language are used to hearing the extremely colloquial language found in our favorite anime and / or reading manga . This course , focused as it is on manga reading , does just the opposite . Polite language is not ignored , but colloquialisms that would only be taught to advanced students elsewhere are brought up right from the first . More importantly , this course hits reading head on from the first page . While it's true that they hang on to romaji throughout the first book , it is eliminated in the two that follow . As the author warns in the preface to Vol . 2 , it's time to strap on a headband and get to work after you've made it through the introductory first volume . I've now finished the second volume and have begun tackling the third in preparation for the JLPT in December . The author claims that you should be ready for the level 3 after Vol . 3 , and I intend to put that to the test . . . literally . Frankly , I would like to see this series repackaged for college use with more workbooks like that accompanying the first volume ( and the answers only found in the teacher's edition ! ) . This series is that good ( even with the occasional typos and the one hacer they forgot to take out . . . remember that it was translated from Spanish ) and most college course books that I've seen are that BAD . ( Don't even get me started on the dense , dry style and confusing romaji in Japanese : The Spoken Language . It's horrible , and is yet one of the more commonly used series . * sigh * ) The format changes slightly after the first volume , with in depth work with those evil particles and verb conjugations . But to get to the heavy hitting work , you first must make it through the first volume . My suggestion is to buy all 3 and the workbook for volume one and give yourself the goal of passing the level 3 JLPT ( there are 4 levels with 4 being the easiest and 1 the hardest ) . With a definite goal and a once a year testing schedule with a definite date that YOU have no control over , it's much easier to buckle down and study . It's working well for me , anyway . I've already noticed myself automatically reading the signs in pictures I took on vacation in Japan a few years ago . . and not just the ones in English or kana !
    • 011 4  The idea of learning japanese by reading manga is really great . Manga is , after all , one of the reasons that make many people want to learn the language in the first place . So this book looks promising , but it's actually just somewhat less boring than traditional textbooks . The book's content originated from a column about the japanese language that was featured in a spanish magazine about manga . It's reasonable to suppose that its aims were quite unambitious at first : help manga fans learn a few words and set expressions that were used very often in the comics . The format of the lessons were : here are some words and expressions , memorize them along with very superficial explanations and examples from a few manga panels . This format is adequate for a magazine , with its space restrictions , but really not optimal for a book . Unfortunately , the lessons were not improved when collected to make a book . One can say they were actually worsened , by replacing real manga panels with some generic manga drawn especially for the book . It is quite boring to try to memorize a lot of vocabulary in each lesson , the explanations rarely do more than scratch the surface , and the examples and exercises are very few and unenlightening . In most examples , there are a lot of words and parts of the sentence you don't understand , and the book doesn't explain anything beyond what's the topic of the current lesson . I'd be very surprised if I'd manage to really learn some japanese from this book , aside from some words and set expressions , after a lot of boring memorization work . Now , it's not all bad . I've been learning japanese for more than a year now , and in this time I've used this book mostly as a reference . The short lessons make it easy to locate some specific word or expression , and the examples help to put them in context . I'd recommend it mostly as a supplement , not as a main book in any way . You'll finish the first volume , with 30 lessons in all , knowing very little japanese , and will have to resort to other books , like the other volumes of the same collection , with the same problems . If you want a learn japanese with manga book really well-done , try Japanese The Manga Way : An Illustrated Guide To Grammar And Structure , it's a complete , organized japanese course illustrated with real manga , well explained and with all examples completely analyzed . I can't praise it enough . If you have some money to spare , buy this book for additional content , like the lesson on curses and swearing , but don't expect too much from it . It may be good for getting some words memorized , but to get a real sense of the japanese language you'll have to go somewhere else . Again , Japanese The Manga Way : An Illustrated Guide To Grammar And Structure is a good suggestion .
    • 013 4  This a great book if you already know a little bit of Japanese but I would NOT start learning Japanese with this book . I'm happy to say I started with the Berlitz Basics and then am halfway through the Essentials series for Japanese , which even though are all romaji are better overall in a way this book isn't . The Berlitz was very good at grading or working up from a little bit of Japanese and then building up on that for the next lesson which helped to reinforce what you already learned . This book initially seems to have more of a stand alone approach for lesseons and don't build up on each other too well initially or do as well as Berlitz in explaining WHY I'm saying what I am and forming my own sentences . I think this is because since it is based on manga it's harder to do this , it's not like manga is graded . They have to get a manga panel relevant to a certain specific theme like numbers , or time , or pronouns , or adjectives etc . It's more like here's a chapter on katakana ( phonetic syllables of Japanese ) and you're expected to learn it in one chapter ? Yeah right . So you really could skip around a lot without it affecting you too much , ( though again only at first ) . Now since I rated it four stars what's good you say ? Well , with an already basic knowledge of the kana ( phonetic sound system of Japanese ) I found it very helpful . For one in the manga panels they would write a literal translation followed by the actual chosen translation which may not sound like much but really helped me out . Another thing is that this teaches you all the unpolite language or informal words for things like personal pronouns and swearwords like you would actually find in manga . Something berlitz doesn't or you have to get a SEPARATE book for . Another thing this book has going for it is that the lessons do eventually start to build on each other and the series itself goes up to an intermediate level unlike other learn Japanese with manga books . You also get to see Japanese written right away , but don't put the cart before the horse . What I mean is it's more important to know how to put a sentence together before you learn how to write , which you can always learn later . You have to know WHAT you're writing ! Berlitz is good at this , though you should really learn kana as soon as possible . Hope this helps !
    • 014 4  I thought this book was a great study aid when used with text books . The lessons are very specific to make studying cetain areas you may have trouble easily . The only thing that could have made this a better book is if it included some type of multi-media like a CD-ROM or a DVD .
    • 015 4  The idea and concept behind this book is great , it would be a fun way to learn Japanese in this way . But as it is , the book is badly put together . To start of with the positive aspects of this book : > the book is fun to work with > each chapter is very short and can be completed in just 30 minutes > the grammar is explained with clarity > it includes words and phrases that most Japanese textbooks would ignore An added benefit of using this book has to do with fact that it is part a whole series of books that take you from beginner's level to advanced . This is an important factor to consider if you plan to learn Japanese . But despite having these positive things going for it , the book has significant problems that you need to consider . First of all , for each chapter there is only one page of excercises to do , and these are usually too simplistic to give you any significant training . They exist only to check that you have grasped the basic concept of what the chapter presented . Therefore you will ( ! ) need to buy the workbook that accompanies this book , Japanese in MangaLand : Workbook 1 , if you want to get any sort of training in grammar , vocabulary and reading . But , only the first book in the whole series actually have a workbook to accompany it , the other books in the Mangland series don't have any ! So the question is , what do you do for training once you complete this book and wish to continue with the others in the series ? A second significant problem with this particular book , has to do with the script-reading passages . To begin with , they are far too few to give you a significant reading experience , and they consist mainly of one-liners . But worst of all , they contain Kanji characters that the learner has not yet come across in the previous and current chapter ( s ) . So you end up reading the romanized script anyway ! Finally , all Kanji characters are listed in the end of the book where it is up to the learner to memorize them , as they are not introduced gradually in each chapter . The chapters themselves only contain word-lists , not Kanji lists . Also , to train in these characters you need the extra workbook . Again , the other books in the series don't have workbooks , so you don't get any training in how to read the Kanji . There is therefore no structured way in learning the Kanji with this and the other books ! If you compare this book , and its related series , to that of Japanese For Busy People ( JfBP ) , then it comes across as amateurish and incompetent . Each book in the JfBP-series has its own workbook , and the kanji are taught gradually in each chapter . That is professionalism . Mangland 1 and it's whole series , at the current time , seem more like an undergrads attempt to teach - great conceptualization but poor realization ! I would only recommend this book as a fun complement to more professional textbooks such as JfBP or Genki . See it as a fun side-dish to an otherwise boring meal . [ I use this phrase to emphasize my point , not to imply that learning Japanese is boring nor that the above books are boring ]
    • 017 4  While I can't improve on what Courtland said , I would like to say that I bought this for one of my daughters , a straight-A student of Japanese . At first she didn't like it but she was bored and started to read it and decided that she liked it . This is useful Japanese . It's repetitive . It's how it is spoken . She saw her Japanese teacher the other day while grocery shopping and he immediately started speaking to her and she spoke back , speaking better than she had in his class and he was extremely pleased as she'd not lost anything over the summer . Magna reminds me of comic books in elementary school - - the teachers didn't think they were useful reading material but for kids who weren't into reading and liked the short stories with lots of action , they were good because at least they were reading and getting something out of them . This is really the way to go for learning ebcause you put the language into use immediately .
    • 018 4  I have read several ( well started ) several books trying to learn japanese but it is a very forien concept to me as a native english speaker , This book takes a good aproach or explaining and giving examples that helps me understand how the language is sturctured and works . I have not completed the book but from the lessons i have taken in conjunction with the workbook i have been very happy
    • 019 4  Manga's now worldwide popularity makes a Japanese language course like this one inevitable . Kids and adults ( come on , admit it ) drool over those mass paperback sized comic books that open from the back . More than anything , this now global art form has brought Japanese culture to the world stage . And , along with it , a heightened interest in Japanese language . There's more to manga than exploding robots and women's underwear ( though a quick glance at the bookstore shelves will refute this ) . It provides one of the most accessible peepholes into Japan and its beautiful and complex language . Japanese in Mangaland provides a great introduction to Japanese , though it doesn't provide a great introduction to manga . No classic manga such as Tetsuwan Atomu , Akira , Urusei Yatsura , or even Dragon Ball graces the book's pages . All the interior art was created for this series . But manga isn't really the point here . Japanese is . Here the book mostly excels , but of course it's not perfect . The lessons remain clear throughout . Easy . Fun to read . Short . Concise . No pedagogical sprawl mars the chapters . The book provides almost everything : a history of Japanese , complete syllabaries of Hiragana and Katakana , and enough grammar for anyone to read or write simple Japanese . Even Kanji appears ( though maybe a little too early ) . And since the course follows manga usage , as opposed to a formal college course , informal language gets introduced early on . This presents an entirely different dimension . Most courses and books hold off on the informal ( though this is likely changing ) , but its ubiquity in everyday Japanese ( not to mention the internet ) makes this difficult to understand . No problem with that here . There's even a handy Swearwords and Insults chapter so you can start making friends right away . Now for some of the drawbacks . Since the book throws Kanji in almost from the start , some absolute newcomers might have trouble keeping up . Those with some background in Kanji concepts will breeze on through . But some of the manga examples , even some in Chapter One , use complicated Kanji patterns that may make some readers think they've missed something . Fear not . Forge on . So some of these examples remain more helpful than others . Also , the exercises provided at the end of each chapter don't carry much oomph . They won't tax brains too much . People who really want to learn Japanese in pen and mouth will need supplementary workbooks , websites , or ( best yet ) cute Japanese significant others for full mastery . Regardless , this book provides a great framework for learning one of the world's most complex languages ( it does have at least 4 alphabets ) . Just don't rely on it alone . This book also teaches basic vocabulary , but basic verb conjugation , i and na adjectives ( hint : some have tense ) , time telling , particles , family trees , adverbs , those bizarrely voluminous counters , and onomatopoeia ( pyong-pyong ! ) . Seeing that it includes only 160 Kanji , this book alone will not prepare anyone for reading actual Japanese manga . It will get you well along that path , however . The insanely dedicated should continue on with this series ' equally excellent volumes 2 and 3 . And don't forget the workbook ( as of this writing , only 1 accompanying workbook has appeared ) . This will make up for the intellectually dainty exercises in this book . Ultimately , the book's pros outweigh its cons . Anyone looking for a good start or an excellent refresh should look here .
    • 020 4  This review is from : Japanese in Mangaland : Learning The Basics ( Turtleback ) I have started learning Japanese a few months ago and was studying off of language software , the internet , and with the help of some friends . However , this book really jump started my learning . The layout of the material , descriptions , and and the use of illustrations help a lot for you to understand the material . Nothing really matches the ability of this book to deliver results . The turtleback is great , however when it was delivered , I noticed that there was creasing and wrinkling on the back cover . However , that is extremely minuscule compared the overall quality of this amazing book ! I will definitely buy more books from this series .
    • 021 4  I have started learning Japanese a few months ago and was studying off of language software , the internet , and with the help of some friends . However , this book really jump started my learning . The layout of the material , descriptions , and and the use of illustrations help a lot for you to understand the material . Nothing really matches the ability of this book to deliver results . The turtleback is great , however when it was delivered , I noticed that there was creasing and wrinkling on the back cover . However , that is extremely minuscule compared the overall quality of this amazing book ! I will definitely buy more books from this series .
    • 022 4  Pros : The book itself is a gem . I have just about finished reading the entire book over the span of the last couple months ( I have the 2nd and 3rd volume waiting for me on the bookshelf ) . The biggest strength of this book is the grammar lessons in addition to the plethora of information organized into tabular forms . I will state that you need to take your time with the material . Do not attempt to blaze through it if you don't understand the grammar , as future lessons make the assumption your understanding of past material is sound . Another strength of the book is that it doesn't attempt to teach you everything in polite form , but instructs everything from its short form and only ventures off into polite form when the grammatical construct requires such . Cons : Now for a warning to potential buyers . Do not expect this to be a book you crack open to have fun reading manga . For whatever reason , the authors decided to use single panel manga for their examples . More often than not , you're left without enough context for the scene to truly grasp why a character is saying what they're saying . Other times the panel text is simply too redundant , without incorporating more of a story behind the words ( again - context ) . Another glaring issue is the consistent quantity of typos ( I believe I have the 3rd and final edition of this book and there are still plenty ) . Conclusion : This book is loaded with lots of useful grammar forms , mixed with some heavy vocab-based chapters in between , paired with some lacking manga panel examples and typos . If you can handle the fact that you'll have to get your manga fix elsewhere ( which I highly recommend ) and ignore the typos here and there , the book is actually one of the better ones on the market .
    • 023 4  I am returning to Japan for a visit and needed a review of conversational Japanese . This book worked well for that purpose .
    • 024 4  I am absolutely astonished by the quality of this book . When I looked at the cover , I expected this to be a gimmicky book with only a cursory glance at grammar and even worse , entirely in romaji ( Roman letters ) . Fortunately this book does not treat the reader like a moron and expects you to work , and giving you everything you need to achieve your early Japanese language goal . I believe that so far there are only 3 books in the series and they go up to an intermediate level where you will have a solid background in the language , almost enough for the second level on the JLPT . I expected this book to have more manga in it , but only small panels are taken from manga and used as an introduction for the chapter . Some useful material for manga-specific subjects ( onomatopoeias , etc ) are mentioned , but the focus is on the language as a whole . I think the most impressive part of this series is its focus on _ common _ vocabulary and colloquialisms . I studied years ago with the Genki textbook series and its vocabulary was poor , giving you words that you just would not use in everyday life . I recommend this series but I also suggest any Japanese student to purchase another book or use another study system in order to learn the writing system .
    • 025 4  This book made me realize how hard Japanese really is . Its a great book for the interested but don't think that your going know Japanese after just reading this . Combine with the Japanese in MangaLand : Workbook 1 for effective learning . I only got this to familiarize myself of what I'm getting into when I take Japanese in the coming semester at school .
    • 026 4  The Japanese in Mangaland : Basic Japanese Course Using Manga was really good and reliable . I have bought programs and a lot of Japanese self-study books and work books , and this one was the best one I have bought . It explains everything in a well-toned manner and everything is understandable . There are explanations to everything and the author helps the reader / student learn how to write and read Kanji and the other forms of writing , Katakana and Hiragana . The manga examples proved to be a really good method to help learn because instead of just reading countless paragraphs of explanations , you get to look and see how the Japanese authors of manga use the writing and their language in graphic novels in Japan . I think after this book , the next ones should also be bought . This book is money well spent and I am sure you'll enjoy studying the Japanese language and writing just as I have . So buy this book and learn Japanese today !
    • 027 4  Right now , I'm learning Japanese through manga . The problem for this review is that I'm doing it with another product - Japanese the Manga Way : An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure . Japanese in Mangaland is a decent book , but it's by no means the best , and it's easily lost in a sea of better material . The first and biggest strike against Japanese in Mangaland , is that it doesn't include real manga - all the manga included was drawn for the book . This pretty much violates the entire concept . Compare Japanese in Mangaland side-by-side with Japanese the Manga Way , which uses authentic material , and you'll see that the art used in Mangaland isn't really even close to authentic manga a majority of the time . Japanese in Mangaland mostly looks like western stereotypes of what manga is supposed to look like , and this is largely drawn from the artistic style of popular anime . You'll see lots of big eyes , Sailor Moon style . You won't see any of the extremely simple and often very cheaply printed styles of , for example , Shin-Chan . Aside from violating the whole concept of learning through manga , Japanese in Mangaland isn't a bad book at its core . The best part of the book is that it has plenty of real exercises and practice lessons , which is the one thing that Japanese the Manga Way sorely lacks . Japanese in Mangaland also has multiple volumes and plenty of workbooks , meaning it's overall a more intensive program than Japanese the Manga Way , which is one standalone book with no exercises . However , I really can't suggest Japanese in Mangaland even for its workbooks and exercises . If you've got the motivation to get that far into learning a language , it's time to join in on a real Japanese learning course , or to just pick up some real manga and look up the parts you don't recognize in reference books . A book like Japanese the Manga Way is really meant to be a stepping stone , encouraging you to go buy some real Japanese reading material and immerse yourself . That's a much better way to learn the language . Japanese in Mangaland is just your average workbook disguised by false manga-styled drawings . So I can't recommend purchasing Japanese in Mangaland . If you really want to read manga , pick up Japanese the Manga Way and start reading real manga now . If you're more interested in just reading the language for its own sake , lessons on topics like swearing and onomatopoeia ( words that describe sounds , like zzz . . for sleeping or vrooom for driving ) are best left to later courses while you work on your basics . I'd only recommend Japanese in Mangaland to someone who really can't help falling asleep reading a coursebook unless it has cute pictures in it , or maybe if you're really desperate for a few pages on topics like swearing and onomatopoeia - in which case you might want to pick it up from the library instead .
    • 028 4  This review is from : Japanese in Mangaland : Learning The Basics ( Turtleback ) I was hoping for more manga . A bit heavy on the text . The book is very well done , perfect for an adult . But too heavy for early teen .
    • 029 4  I was hoping for more manga . A bit heavy on the text . The book is very well done , perfect for an adult . But too heavy for early teen .
    • 033 4  this book was not useful to me because i don't think i need to know the phrase ' where are my ninja stars ' . . however i made tons of friends at japanese camp with this book . . though i suppose maybe someone who actually liked manga might find the book more useful . . not worth the money in my opinion . . i donated it to my local library . .
    • 034 4  I've been studying Japanese for 5 months . I've worked through , Japanese for Busy People the Romanji version . It will take about 10 - 12 years of daily study to be able to read Japanese if not write it . . even if you go through this entire series you won't be able to pick up seinen manga and read it with out more vocabulary and kanji memorization . Even shounen with furigana will be difficult . However this series is a great way to introduce ones self to the Manga style of writing . One thing I have noticed is that my other dictionaries and source books on verbs list type 1 verbs as the u dropping variable verbs , while this book lists type one verbs ( it refers to them as group 1 ) as the ru dropping invariable verbs . I'm far from being an expert on written Japanese grammar , however I was confused at first with this ( I'm working my way through several books and dictionaries from cover to cover simultaneously ) . Please correct me if I'm wrong . Thank you , Michael
    • 036 4  This is one of the better guides to learning Japanese . Highly recommended

  • 031 4  The examples that the author provides are not targetted at American readers . For instance , he said that the a in Japanese is pronounced as in cat . The correct pronounciation is closest to Ah . But if you say cat with British accent , then it's pretty close , but cat with American accent is totally off . And he said o in Japanese as in lot . Again in British accent , it's l-Awe-t and correct , but in American accent it's l-Ah-t which is completely wrong . The author is Spainish born in Spain who studied in Japan , and the book is printed in Spain . This is geared toward Europeans who go by British English / accent as the standard English language .
    • 012 4  this is a good reference book for those who are just startin to learn the japanese language . i find the bold way the characters are written is a plus in learning the japanese kanji especially when a single stroke can change the meaning of the whole word .
    • 030 4  My daughter bought this and is learning Japanese faster than when she was getting books from the library . I am impressed . I may spring to pay for the next one .
    • 032 4  This book is a great place to start . Even if you don't like manga , it is very useful for learning the basics . You can learn the characters , basic grammer structure and word usage . I wished I had read this one sooner , since it was full of very useful tips , which has made later Japanese writing and reading study easier . I have high hopes for the second volume , as well . Then on to Genki and Kodansha books !

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