Masuda Miri’s series すーちゃん is perfect to start reading something challenging but not to difficult in Japanese. Challenging because there are some difficult parts which (at least in my case) required the use of all my little grey cells (yes, I love Hercule Poirot). On the same time, it is not that difficult because it’s a yonkoma manga, a manga with four cells from top to bottom.
The first manga of the series is one of the first book I have read and finished in Japanese. Even though I didn’t understand everything the first time I read it, I enjoyed the story and the characters. In a very simple way, すーちゃん is a book about who we are and who we would like to be, how we try to be better, and so on. I think it has a lot of success because it describes everyday life situations that most people experiment and the way the characters of Masuda Miri reflect about their own life and feelings is certainly not far from the way the reader sees himself too.
Anyway, it is perfect for the apprenti japanese reader. First it is a manga, so the drawings help to understand but there is not much action so looking only at the pictures would not make sense. Second, it deals with everyday life situations, conversations and therefore vocabulary. Third, you will encounter every type of language levels. Finally, one book consists of several short chapters which makes it easier to study.
If you are looking for something to read in japanese but not ready yet for a novel, I really thing this manga series is a good choice.
My reading notes for すーちゃん, the first book of the series.