Japanese reading goals for 2021

I’ll be using this post to keep track of my goals and progress across the upcoming year.

  • 77/52 volumes of manga
  • 12/12 novels
  • 5/5 visual novels or Japanese-language games

Where applicable, I’ll also be updating my Bookmeter and VNDB lists.

My baseline manga goal won’t change from last year; even though I could easily double it, I’d rather set my priorities elsewhere. I enjoy reading manga but I’m not sure there are 52 volumes of anything that I’m anxious to read, so I’ll be pursuing this goal on a more casual level.

With the novel hurdle soundly cleared last year, I’m raising my goal to 12, which should be easily achievable considering my pace by the end of 2020. I was considering whether to include visual novels in this number, but I ultimately decided to keep those in their own category.

I’ve been wanting to get into visual novels for some time now (after all, that’s where I had my first introduction to anything Japanese-related), but I’ve heard that they sit rather high on the difficulty spectrum. Since I plan to play on either my Vita or Switch, the typical tools like text hookers and OCR won’t be available to me, so I wanted to hold off until they were a little more accessible for me to read unaided. This third category is primarily intended for VNs, but I’ll also count games which have a substantial amount of reading involved.

Jan. 21
Well, it’s the third week of the year and I’m already well ahead of schedule regarding manga (current total of 8). With no way to judge how far I am through 大図書館の羊飼い, I must admit I’m a little anxious that I set an unrealistic goal on that front. My current scene completion only shows 5%, and while I know that refers to the entire game (with all routes), it still feels like a pretty low number. Furthermore, I’m definitely behind schedule on my novel goal — I’ve barely cracked a book since the beginning of the year. I feel like I ought to give manga a break until I finish one.

Jan. 30
With the first month nearly over and still no meaningful progress on my novel goal, I’m about to be quite behind schedule. At the beginning of the week I decided to focus on 本好きの下剋上 and read one chapter per day until I finished it. I’m now 25% of the way through and hope to keep a similar pace so as to finish by the third week of February.

Feb. 20
Three weeks later, I finished 本好きの下剋上 vol. 3 exactly according to plan. I’m now no longer behind pace, and assuming I can finish one more novel by the end of the month (which I’m also on track to do), I’ll remain caught-up into March as well. 大図書館の羊飼い has been put back on hold but I’ll be resuming it at the beginning of the month.

Mar. 21
Not sure if I’m just in a slump or what but I’ve had a really hard time focusing on reading for the last two weeks. Decided to cut my daily reading for 雷の季節の終わりに down to 8 pages per day, which feels pretty bad since it’s a lot slower than I’ve read anything for a little while now…BUT once I adjusted my pace I was able to get back to reading it and even went a bit beyond the cutoff point, so maybe I shouldn’t be worrying. My original goal was set with the idea of finishing it by the second week of April, but with this adjusted pace I’m now aiming for the end of April.

May 22
I’ve been really enjoying わたしの幸せな結婚 and was actually expecting to have been finished with it by this point at the pace I was going, but unfortunately my ereader randomly died one morning while I was turning it on. I ordered a replacement right away, but it won’t be here for another few days. In the meantime, I’ve started reading 異世界食堂 (which has been on my backlog for a while now), and I’ll probably continue reading as my book for June since I’m at it.

June 2
Despite the delay caused by my ereader’s untimely death, I managed to finish わたしの幸せな結婚 only one day late. It’s too bad considering I was on track to finish it much more quickly, but not a big deal. I’ve also been playing Nier Replicant, which might actually become my first completed game of the year pretty soon.

June 6
I’ve now finished Nier Replicant ending A, and I’m counting it as my first completed game for this year. If I decide to go through the other main endings I might consider them to collectively count as one additional game, or I might not. Haven’t decided yet, but what I do know for sure is that my first impression of the ending (of the entire second half, really) is that I have no idea why it’s considered to be a classic. Will be writing about that in its own post.

July 6
I started to read 異世界食堂 almost exactly a month ago, and I’ve barely touched it since the first week. I’m behind on my novel goal again, despite being four months ahead on my manga goal, so I’m cutting myself off until I catch up. For the next month my reading will consist entirely of 異世界食堂 and 京都寺町三条のホームズ vol. 2.

July 31
Last night I finally finished 異世界食堂. I probably shouldn’t have picked such a long book when I was trying to get caught up to my schedule, but I believe it’s the last paperback novel I own so it’s nice to clear it off the list. Shifting my focus to 京都寺町三条のホームズ vol. 2 with the goal of finishing it by the middle of August.

August 13
京都寺町三条のホームズ vol. 2 is complete, and up next is vol. 3.

August 27
And finished! I’m caught up again; let’s keep it this way until the end of the year.

September 18
My manga goal is now complete. I deliberately set a low goal (the same number as last year) because I wanted to focus on novels and games as well, which has been…not super successful, but at least I’ve already read more novels this year than I did all of last year. While I doubt that I’ll manage to read double my manga goal this year as well, sometimes it’s nice to simply achieve rather than always trying to overachieve.

September 25
With my manga goal complete and my novel goal seemingly under control, it’s time to get serious about my games/VNs goal. At this point I’ve only completed one, and according to my Moyase chart, I need to finish one per 24 days if I’m to reach the end of the year with all five completed. I’ve started reading Planetarian, with the tentative goal of finishing it by the end of this upcoming week (according to VNDB, it’s quite short). I also have a copy of Monster Hunter Stories 2 due to arrive by October 7th, and Shin Megami Tensei 5 will release mid-november — realistically, I’ll be working on this one for the rest of the year. This brings our number up to four…I’ll have to think of one more to fit in somewhere; perhaps another short VN would be in order, or my copy of 勇者死す that I’ve been sitting on for a little while now. What to do, what to do…

October 6
At long last, I’ve checked one more off on my game/VN list! I finished Planetarian tonight with eleven hours on the clock (not including four hours from my original readthrough back in 2017, which for some reason I paused very close to the end). With this my adjusted pace to finish this goal is one game per 29 days, which puts me in a slightly better position than last time.

November 21
After thinking about it for a while I’ve decided to count the Elden Ring network test as my fourth completed game this year. Obviously it’s not the full game, but in terms of hours logged it’s definitely longer than 鬼滅の刃ヒノカミ血風譚 and I still counted that one. My last game will be SMT5, and if I don’t finish it by the end of the year, well, it is what it is. I’m way ahead of schedule with my last book (プチデビル後輩) so if I can’t finish one more full-length game at this point, I have nobody but myself to blame.

December 15
It was a bit down to the wire, but I just finished my first clear of SMT5 and with that, my games goal is finally complete! Next time maybe I’ll start a little earlier in the year.

December 18
プチデビル後輩 is now complete (almost two weeks ahead of schedule), and with that, my three goals for the year have been accomplished. I originally planned to read this one over the course of almost two months so I could make sure to finish my games goal, but once SMT5 was in the bag it only took a couple of days to polish this one off.

December 31
A little over an hour before midnight, and I just finished up my 77th volume of manga this year, and an average of more than one per day over the last week. I could probably squeeze one more in if I really tried, but I’d rather just relax. 77 is a nice number and I’ll have plenty of time next year, so with that, this will be the last update to this post.