Like the graphic jprspereira posted implies, part of the reason WaniKani has levels is to try to help people pace themselves. I’m only level 13 at the moment and I generally have ~100 reviews every day. I can at least get this down to 0 each day. At higher levels, people have ~200-400 reviews every day, and can only knock out about 100 or so, and then new reviews get added each day, so zeroing your number of reviews becomes exceedingly difficult (see the 0/0 Streak Challenge).
WaniKani teaches you 2000 kanji and 6000 vocabulary words, and it does this in such a way that you should know every one of them fairly well by the time you’re finished (almost everything burned).
Without the level up pacing, you now:
- Have to figure out all the pacing yourself, instead of someone doing it for you.
- Will probably end up going too quickly and find yourself overwhelmed with hundreds of reviews too early on.
- May end up getting discouraged and or burnt out by the sheer number of reviews you have to do every day. People have gotten far into WaniKani (level 20+) and have restarted (gone back to level 1) because they couldn’t handle the sheer number of reviews they had. Remember, this is with WaniKani’s pacing.
But you know you. There are Anki decks that are all WaniKani radicals, kanji and vocabulary and then you can basically do WaniKani at your own speed via Anki. But again, if you don’t carefully pace yourself, you may burn yourself out a few months down the road. I personally think $9 a month to have that pacing, ordering and structure is worth it.