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on 18 January 2016
This is quite a fun and slightly less rigid approach to learning Japanese and I've found it a great supplement to my studies and use it along side other books I'm learning from. The books keeps to a simple format with each lesson laid out clearly and interspersed with manga panels showing what has been learned in a practical setting. This is a very visual approach to study. The Japanese you learn here though is quite informal and I wouldn't use this series by itself but as I said a supplement to study it's great.
To get the very most out of this book you will have to buy the work books that run along side these contain a lot of the reading and writing exercises that you don't otherwise get. This can bump the price up if they are all purchased brand new.
I found some of the introduction to kanji a little odd but I think that's because I've been studying a while now. I found it to be a little confusing and at times over complicated with its method of memorising but I understand that not every method works for everyone and this one just doesn't work for me. All that being said this is an informative and fun way of learning Japanese especially if you just want to learn to read it for the manga.
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on 31 October 2005
This is a similar book in scope to the much better 'Japanese the Manga Way'. If you only want one book, buy that one. If you end up with this, you may not be dissapointed, its not all bad!
I found this book confusing from the outset. I'm learning Japanese, and am a beginner. The structure of this book (and the second book in the series) is a little random to me. It also contains information that doesn't match with what is taught in other courses, and by my Japanese language tutor (who is a native speaker). This is worrying, but I don't know enough to say if its a real problem or not: I assume it got through editing, so itsn't. It does mean that if you use this book along with other resources you may get confused, as I did.
The worst thing about the book is that you are left to do so much work yourself. He'll give one page of introduction and then expect you to have absorbed and be able to use the contents. No sense of practicing: of seing the same thing in different ways. Part of the problem here is that there aren't that many manga panels in the book; typically 2-4 per chapter.
The exercises in the book are also weak: they test reading comprehension rather than genuine language ability.
But all is not bad. The course does contain some interesting examples, and as well as manga he illustrates some points with photos of japanese objects and explanations. There are some nice adjective and verb tables in the book, and the layout of the translations from the manga panels is good (borrowed from the defunct Manga-jin magazine, just like 'Japanese the Manga Way').
Overall I found this book dissapointing because I was reading at the same time as Wayne Lammer's book, and it doesn't compare. On its own it is okay, and if you couldn't find the alternative, you wouldn't be too dissapointed, I guess.
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on 27 August 2009
A great book to help you get started with your Japanese. It's easy to use and has simple yet effective explanations. The "learning trough manga" deal provides a new and fun way to learn Japanese better, and is useful not only for those interested in the Japanese comic books, but also for those who are not familiar with it, or just don't really care - everyone can benefit from this! Not only is it a more fun way of learning (having manga to illustrate the things you've just read), but it gives an insight to one of the most popular aspects in the Japanese culture. So go ahead - if you're just interested in trying it out to see what it's all about, or if you're a die-hard fan of the Japanese language and burn to get started, this is a great way to do so. Just remember; you have to work for it, as with all other things, but this is an easy way to get started, and as long as you're having fun with it, it shouldn't be a problem a all :) Good luck!
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on 8 January 2012
I'm using this book in combination with the Japanese in Mangaland workbook. I wouldn't recommend working through this book without it; the workbook gives extensive exercises that will help drive the short explanations in the main book home.

I found this book mostly useful to use to clarify some things I had learnt on Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar site. After working my way through that site, I found there were some things I still didn't quite get. Japanese in Mangaland helped me view those items from a different angle and helped me understand them better.

I think for an absolute beginner the subject matter is quite difficult and you'll work through it much slower than another book, because so much is explained in such a short time. However, with the workbook this is doable and I do find the explanations clear and to the point.

So all in all I do recommend it, just not on its own.
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on 8 January 2009
I am learning Japanese by taking classes of the language. Frankly speaking of you are a beginner than this is not the most appropriate book to buy in my humble understanding. The reason is that it deals with rather informal side of the language, to say that it deals with slang rather than the most appropriate forms to use is somewhat better way of saying it.
If you are a beginner than the Book 'Japanese for Busy People I' is the best choice (preferably the Kana version of the book). If you already know some of the language and consider yourself to have a good foundation its OK to but the book.
The only reason why I don't recomend it for beginners is that you guys may as well get mixed up and confused.
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