I would recommend this book to Japanese students of every level–it’s really simple and easy to read, but also really fun. Chii is adorable and hilarious and gets into lots of trouble. Chii also uses a kind of baby-talk that is honestly pretty adorable to read. There is some continuity between the stories within each volume, and across the series as a whole, but honestly you could probably pick up book 6 and have no trouble following what’s going on. The stories come across as short, connected vignettes rather than chapters in a long-running series.
I would recommend this book to third and fourth year students, and possibly ambitious second-year students as well. There’s a lot of vocabulary that we don’t learn in class, but there are also helpful foot/side-notes that explain some of the vocabulary and historical references. The art style in the book is pretty nice, and that makes it fun to read, as well as the fact that the stories are pretty interesting.
This is a very interesting book, but it is really incredibly hard to read. It’s full of court intrigues, 敬語, complex court etiquette, and there’s a good dose of international politics at the beginning. It’s all simplified for the manga, of course, but for language learners, it’s going to be really hard to follow. There’s so much vocabulary in here that we’ve never encountered before because for obvious reasons we’re not learning about 18th century France. Some things I was able to figure out based on historical knowledge of the time period–for example, I had no idea what 「天然痘」was, but from the context of how horrified everyone was that Louis XV had contracted it, I correctly guessed it was smallpox. But I had to look up most of the titles for the nobility because I just had no idea what they were–I could tell they were titles, but I couldn’t tell which ones were more highly ranked than the others from the kanji, which meant I wasn’t always understanding the court intrigue. Usually I was able to understand the gist of what was going on, but sometimes I honestly wasn’t even getting that. Overall, I probably understood 50% of this book.
I would recommend this book if you’re looking for some mysterious stories, or something with a little bit of a fantasy bent. But if you’re looking for something actually scary, keep on looking. It’s not that I expected these stories to leave me with nightmares, but I was hoping for a disquieting thought or two and for the most part they disappointed. In terms of readability, I’d recommend this book to second and third year Japanese students.