I don’t know if it’s common knowledge or not, but I will leave it here anyway for people starting learning Japanese. Opinions from advance learners whether my assertions are correct or not are welcome.
The most annoying thing at the beginning of learning Japanese in my opinion is finding something good to read. Reading stories for babies is not for everybody and they tend to ignore kanji with is big no-no for me (how I will get familiar with kanji if I don’t see them being used in material i read?). Normal books on the other hand can be too hard to process since they often use elaborated grammar structures (I started with Harry Potter it is painful experience).
Surprisingly there is a solution to that problem
Let me introduce you to Clannad visual novel and see why it is good first read in Japanese.
Clannad as most visual novels use first person perspective ( which means the narration is basically what main character thinks at the moment) and has a lot of dialogues. This helps a lot: people don’t usually think or speak page-long sentences. Additionally most of the dialogues are voice over and you got visual clues about what is going on.
Clannad specifically has some other advantages: it doesn’t use polite speech pretty much at all which helps at the beginning. Casual Japanese is hard enough, no need to add 敬語 from the beginning. And most importantly you can change the language from Japanese to English with just one click so if are not sure if you got it right you can see how it was translated into English (at least on Nintendo Switch it is working this way).
The only little problem I see is that i don’t know if you can toggle furigana. I personally don’t mind it since i prefer to read without it anyway.
I personally write down each sentence in my Clannad.txt on and use yomichan extension to auto add words I don’t have yet in my anki. I learn as well each and every single one kanji i meet. It seems like a hassle but I am very happy with the pace after my battle with Harry Potter…
Here you have a few sample sentences from the very beginning of the story.