9-nine-そらいろそらうたそらのおと 9️⃣ Week 8 [END] (Visual Novel Book Club, offshoot)

This is being read as an offshoot continuing Episode 1, which was previously read as part of the Visual Novel Book Club.

Home Thread Here!

9-nine- ep2

Current week start date: May 12, 2023
Previous Week (Week 7)


We’re aiming to read approximately 22.5 - 25k characters per week! A suitable enough end point will be selected each week and posted within the thread.

This week's endpoint: 13k

Finish the VN.

Scene transitions and character count (Steam version)
Location Character Count
Kakeru’s home (Beginning of 5/13) 23
School (Beginning of 5/14) 6 903
Street + Kakeru’s home 8 045
Ending movie 12 140
??? 12 153
Kakeru’s home (Beginning of 5/17) 12 452
The End 12 960

Discussion Guidelines

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current chapter(s) and any content in future chapters.
  • When asking for help, do your best to provide context. Pasted text, screenshots, descriptions, etc. Unlike book clubs we can’t flip to relevant pages, so we may need a little help identifying exactly what is being discussed.
  • Feel totally at ease to ask questions or give your thoughts, any time! Clubs live and die by participation, and asking whatever question you have, no matter how silly it may seem, helps others who are reading it and even the answerer themselves.
  • Have fun, and do your best to interpret anything said with as much good faith as possible :slightly_smiling_face:


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  • I have finished this part
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0 voters
Episode 2 conclusion thoughts

First of all, good job you all, yet another one under our belt :3

I have to say I’ve probably enjoyed episode 2 overall more than episode 1, though I guess part of that is because the setup was already structured and we got more character development instead. I liked the summary we got at the beginning. I have to be completely honest, even now I’m not sure I understand the history of the town much, I feel like there were too many details presented too fast and they touched on it but at the same time not really and I’m not sure who is who or who did what… or I might have been sleepy or tired when reading and I simply just didn’t catch it. In any case I hope they expand on that in the next episodes if it ends up being very important or something.

I like that characters that had very little development now have shone a little bit more, like Satsuki with the history expertise, the interactions outside of school and whatnot, and Yoichi having some more personality other than being constantly horny… I didn’t like him much in episode 1, episode 2 has been bearable or even funny at times, so for that alone I’m grateful. I liked that we saw a little bit more about Kousaka and her real personality, all the scenes with her and the chibis and whatnot were pretty enjoyable, and the お嬢さま personality was also more tolerable than episode 1 for me. She was initially a character that was pretty meh for me and now it became a character I like, with her showing interest and care for the team, so I’m looking forward to episode 3. Sora was already great but this episode was awesome with her being the focus, I kinda don’t want her to go back to a more secondary role ;-; I want to keep her around constantly, we’ll see now that she doesn’t have powers anymore. And lastly Yuuki was pretty cool this time too, I feel like they’ve improved every character this time, I can’t complain. The only thing probably characters wise that I can say is that while I was curious about Rig Vega initially and I thought they were pretty cool, especially Ghost, I have to say neither Ghost nor Takamine ended up being super memorable to me tbh. I liked Ghost’s speech patterns initially but then they went super shonen villain with her and she got kinda boring for me fast. Takamine also I didn’t care about at all, they didn’t really give him a role much at all either, both of them have been underwhelming.

In terms of the story now with Ghost gone, I guess we’re finally leaning into 異世界 territory. I’m still trying to make sense of what Takamine meant with all the “omggg what have you done, do you realise the severity of your actions!?” thingy, but I guess we’ll find out soon or he was just simply being chuuni. I guess everyone’s suspicions about Sophie are confirmed now, huh :joy: . Well I guess she’s up to no good, either the real villain or she’s member of the revolutionary side of Sephirot she talked about. Or none, and she’s going to pull the “I joined the bad peeps and looked like a bad peep only for us to beat them in the end” card. Judging by the closing scene it seems like she definitely knows the other person though, and they talking about everything going according to keikaku… Sophie, smh…

In conclusion, I feel like the story doesn’t seem to fully speak to me, but it’s still good to discover where it leads over time. It’s not something I love or something that I feel is super engaging in a way that makes me feel like I can’t wait to know more about, but at the same time it’s entertaining enough, and the character interactions are really nice and probably my favourite thing in this game so far. I can’t say I’m very thrilled to have Yoichi now as the antagonist, I would’ve preferred some new characters instead of recycling the very few characters that the VN has, but we’ll see how that goes.

Overall I’d say it was fun and had a good time :slight_smile: . Just for the interactions between the characters I’d say it’s worth it, and I like both Kousaka and Yuuki so regardless of how the story turns out in the end I’m looking forward to reading the last episodes with you all.

Also sorry that I was pretty absent this time, just had a period where taking the time to post seemed like a big deal and didn’t have much energy to spare. Occasionally I get these “posting burnout” phases I guess, I haven’t participated in the read every day challenge for a couple months either (though to be fair I was doing those very consistently for one year and a half, I did really need a break huh). But anyways I feel a bit better now, I hope I can start episode 3 just as normally again.

We did it!

I pretty much find myself agreeing with @rikaiwisdom on most everything; they kinda took the words out of my mouth. This episode was definitely better than the first, but my interest weighted so much more heavily in Sora’s disappearance than the Ghost fight. It’s amusing to me because I really don’t read that many character-focused, really plot light type VNs, but there are a lot out there. This VN isn’t exactly that, but it’s appealing to me as if it was one. Like, the highlight of the reading today was some of Sora’s goofy antics much moreso than the cliffhanger. I’m not really bored when I’m reading, but I’m not super compelled either. Seems like a very clear example of a “fairly good” work. It has its strengths that are going to push me to see it all the way through, but it’s not truly fascinating or like a piece of art that’s likely to really touch me by the end. That’s ok; it’s been good for learning and I’m having fun here.

Thanks for keeping this going @rikaiwisdom , and thanks to everyone else for making reading it weekly more enjoyable. Glad you’re all here.

I just want to add, on a personal level, I’m really happy with my progress. Feels like I’ve been seeing more clear improvement and cementing some things that I couldn’t before my little break. Thus far I’m convinced continuing to just read a lot without picking Anki back up is working well for me. I looked today and I read somewhere over 7000 characters in an hour, which is a very clear pace improvement. It’s nearing 2 years that I’ve been doing this, and I really think I have to super pleased with where I am.

On to part 3!

Off-topic: language learning

hehe c:likewise!

I’m genuinely amazed you have been doing this for relatively such a short time, you’ve been doing great. I’ve been learning for much longer, officially started in 2014, though now knowing the real importance of immersion and actually using the language and pushing oneself to keep improving one could say my actual journey didn’t start until I started consuming things in Japanese like around two years ago as well, when I had just finished WaniKani. With that and all, I already had years of previous study, with varying degrees of commitment and motivation. It’s now after some time immersing and using the language pretty much everyday that I’ve understood that learning a language is such a massive (but fun) commitment, and that if I want to learn it in a reasonable time frame 10 minutes a day is not going to cut it. It’s now that I understand that even if I immerse consistently for many hours every day it’s still going to take several years until I get where I want to be, because the more I learn the more I’m realising how vast languages actually are (still do in Spanish and English), how big of an undertaking it is to push them to a genuinely proficient, near-native stage, especially one like Japanese for us. And now that I am actually putting the hours in most days, the more I’ve been able to increase the commitment the more I’ve been enjoying doing it because things have become more accessible and fun, it’s not a burden at all. I can probably say I’ve done significantly more these last two years, especially this year, than all the other previous years combined since I started, and I’m happy about that too. That’s why I’m really amazed and glad that you’ve been able to get there in such a short time with so much less time for experimentation, it tells you’ve worked pretty hard and what you did certainly worked, so good job.

I’m going the “just read” way now as well, I guess I got so terribly bored of SRS at some point that I’ve been winging it and hoping for the best these last couple of months, but I suppose it’s working and I’m relieved. I do feel like I keep learning this way, I don’t actually know to be honest :joy: but my reading speed has gone up significantly from episode 1 to episode 2 apparently; was at around 5000-5500 before, finished 7700 now, but I’m sure part of it is the familiarity with the series. I mentioned it the other day, but Zero Escape seems to be around 6600 as well. I don’t plan to go back to SRS anytime soon if I can seriously avoid it. My plan going forward is just to keep throwing hours and hours of things I enjoy and hope that it all sticks in the end. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been learning for, in the end what dictates progress is the amount of hours you put in and how effectively you use them, how much you push yourself to overcome your current limits.

I want to start production at some point, especially written, and maybe spoken? But time will tell when and how, for now I’m happy about how things currently are progressing in my studies. With that all said, I still feel like I have such a long way to go I still can’t call myself an advanced learner at all :joy: . Still many lookups, and I still trip myself over basic words or grammar constructions occasionally, but the difficulty of the content I tackle has gone up so that must be a good sign. We’ll surely get there.

I’m pretty happy about our little group here, to be honest, you all are doing great c: . At this point I only use this community for very select spots, and this is one I really enjoy.

Language learning

Thank you so much! It’s worth mentioning I did have a failed attempt at learning the language once years ago. It feels like a ton of people do before they come back and figure their stuff out, haha. It wasn’t really much time wasted in my case though because I kind of just decided I was going to do it, started learning hiragana and katakana while looking into kanji and the like… and never fully finished getting those all in my memory despite dragging out half doing it for a bit. Oops. I was a lot younger. That experience kind of made me want to take the time to make sure I was really certain I wanted to do it this time and hard commit when I did. So prior to anything there was a decent bit of reading on how to learn this language. The information people have compiled out there is really helpful.

It definitely seems to me like you’re doing well, and I feel much the same. Anki feels like it would be a tiresome obligation at this point. It might speed things up, but I have the time to read so much and since I already like to read long form things, I get a good amount of repetition.

You know, I’m starting to inch that way myself. No interest in handwriting ever, but I wouldn’t mind some output at some point now that I kinda get it. Mentioned it briefly in my study log but I even thought I could potentially see myself speaking sometime because I’m starting to feel like I understand listening well enough. I miss a lot, but it’s less hazy than before. I don’t think I’ll do it any time soon because the initial wall is going to be painful and I’ll be pointlessly anxious and etc, but I’ve only now crossed the point where it doesn’t feel like a distant future hypothetical. It’s something I could do now if I wanted, I think?

Advanced is relative! I have all the same struggles you mentioned, but we (all of us here) are so far beyond the point where most give up and, even if it’s with some tools, are using the language pretty extensively. From several potential points of view it’s quite advanced I think, but yeah, it’s not where I want to stop for sure. VNs are definitely niche so we lose some book club regulars and the like, but I do think it’s true about the club being relatively small that it also simply filters a lot of people out through difficulty and speed. And I want all of you in here (whether you’ve kept up or not, especially since that’s been due to life circumstances and/or other projects) to feel good about the fact that you CAN be.

Also very happy about our whole group as well. I’m glad there was enough interest to make this a reality and sustain it thus far. While we’re looking back, I suppose I need to thank @AzusaChan for the initial push to make this real :grin:

Ep2 overall thoughts

Well, that ending was a little unexpected. I have to admit as soon as I heard Yoichi’s voice in the teaser part, I laughed a bit. The fact that he is apparently the main villain just seems too silly to me :joy: I’m sure we’ll get an explanation in the next ep, but I feel like they could have done some foreshadowing to make this better. Or maybe there was some and I just completely missed it.

Also is that roof they’re on supposed to be like their secret hideout? I think it was the same location as the ep 1 teaser. Which reminds me, that ep 1 teaser seems kind of weird now since it showed Ghost up there on the roof but then this game was a completely different branch and whatever was happening in that teaser was irrelevant here. Maybe that teaser will be relevant in ep 3. I assume the next ep will be a different branch again (not sure where the divergence will be in that), so I think ghost will be back but probably in a lesser role while Yoichi will be the main focus?

Anyways, outside of that, I thought ep2 was an improvement over ep1. I feel like a lot of these series suffer from a weaker ep1 since they have to set up all the baseline plot stuff, character introductions, etc. Some parts of the story were a bit too chuuni and shounen-esque for my tastes but I think this game has some really good slice of life moments. Like everyone else said already, it’s not something that I’m like super excited to read but I don’t think it’s bad or anything either. Discussing it and reading everyone’s thoughts here definitely helps make it a lot more fun too.

Sora in particular carried this episode. It’s gonna be weird when she is back to a side character role in ep 3. I did like her and Kakeru’s scene before the end movie played, I thought that was one of the highlights of this ep.

I’m looking forward to seeing what ep 3 is like but I’m still iffy on Kousaka. Usually I love お嬢さま characters but that part of her personality feels kind of over the top so far. I think this series so far has done a good job of developing the main heroine in each title though so it’ll be interesting to see how she is in that one.

I definitely have that issue too :joy: Thankfully they seem to bring it up/review that stuff every now and again but I swear my brain just white noises all that info when they talk about it

Language learning stuff

I can definitely relate to that. I think I was here on WK learning jp for a few months back in 2015, took a break from jp, came back for a year in 2017, quit again and then came back again in January of last year. This time I’ve actually been putting the language to use and reading daily though so no more quitting :joy:

I’m glad your learning is going well for both of you too! I still use Anki myself but I’m pretty lazy with it. I do my reviews daily but I really only mine new words when I feel like it so sometimes I’ll go a week or two without adding anything new while doing my reviews in there. I also have the benefit of working from home so while I can’t really read while working, it is easy to fit in reviews throughout the day so its less of a chore for me.

Thank you and everyone else in the club for organizing it and participating! Our group might be smaller than some of the other clubs but I am glad we’ve been able to sustain it and read multiple things together now. :grinning:

Noooooo Sora don't gooooooooo

Seriously, Sora carried this episode hard - she must have a terrible backache at this point. Sora is a :100: , I love this character. That said, I am having a lot of trouble imagining that I will enjoy ep 3 or 4 as much as I did this one. Gosh, I miss Sora already and I just finished the VN 5 mins ago :smiling_face_with_tear:

I really like how this episode was structured. All the artifact stuff felt quite secondary, but was still used in interesting ways to deepen the relationship between Johnny and Sora. I feel Sora turned a lot more multidimensional that Miyako ever did - she had her silly moments, her sad moments, her serious moments, her weak moments. Her feelings felt complex and confusing, and she struggled sorting them out, just like a real person would.

The decisions she and Kakeru made were not simple clear-cut white & black but actually had a sense of “it had to be done, but I feel terrible about it”, which is more than I can say about many stories I read/watch in manga and anime. I mean, it wasn’t amazingly done, but it was a decent attempt.

Also nice to see quite a bit of development for Kousaka-senpai and Yuuki. This will hopefully make things more smooth and interesting for the next episodes.

Just like in Ep 1, the low point of the VN was the supernatural parts. The confrontation with Ghost was too shounen-like, and sadly Ghost felt like your standard evil, boring antagonist that simply seems to be interested in doing bad things because they enjoy them. I mean, sure, there are some people in this world like that, so I guess it’s not unrealistic, but it’s definitely not entertaining.

Not going to lie, the fact that Yoichi is our new antagonist … kinda lowered my hopes for ep3. Not sure if Sophie is playing double agent here, or simply all the people of the “other world” kinda use the same voice and it’s someone else (unlikely, I think). But we’ll see. Hopefully next episodes can bring some surprising developments to make things more interesting.

I give this VN an 8/10, out of which 8 of those points are just interactions with Sora XD.
Also, what a missed opportunity that this wasn’t the last dialogue of the VN:



Sora is definitely the best character, and IMO she carries not only this episode, but the whole series :slightly_smiling_face:

A few more thoughts

Yeah, thinking more about Yoichi – I dunno, I’m both happy he’s going to be relevant but also wish it wasn’t quite like this. The game is definitely stretching its cast thin. I can appreciate the cost involved in more art, voice actors, etc, but I would’ve really liked to see him get properly developed as an actual friend and not this. I don’t think it totally can’t work, but it’s going to be really hard to not mess it up. Since Ghost never gave me much reason to care about her, I think I might prefer the idea of him over her honestly, but we’ll see what serious Yoichi looks like.

Really glad to hear you all enjoyed Sora so much. I liked her too. Even during the relationship bits that I expected to be pretty uncomfortable (I mean, they’re still awkward but a lot of that is in the context of knowing about the uncensored version and how it’s going for certain audiences), Sora was funny enough about it that I was laughing more than anything. That comment about America, hahaha. Love it.

@2OC3aOdKgwSGlxfz I really appreciate the commitment to the name Johnny.


Finished just in time for round three! Overall thoughts is that I’m fine with the series. It’s not going to be an award winner, but I’m enjoying it enough for what it is and just have to accept that the plot stuff probably won’t be that good moving forward. I think I’ll give this one 7.5/10 Mostly fine, but I wouldn’t really recommend it to someone unless they’re specifically looking for this kind of thing.


I think I had the opposite perspective on VNs, where so many seem to emphasize interpersonal relationships and character stories that I generally don’t have much expectation for the plot. And 9-nine is leaning into that. I don’t actually think the supernatural elements are problem, but the execution of the plot is. For instance the encounters with Rig Veda and the first battle with Ghost lead to a pretty big attitude adjustment in the cast, put bluntly a lot of character development. Things like Sora getting scared, but confronting her fears to save Kakeru and such.

The problem I see with it is that the authors are focused too much on those big character moments that everything else is presented as an afterthought. Things like the town lore or even explanations of what’s happening tend to happen either just as or after needed. I complained about it in the last thread about how the gang getting together in the end was weird and unsurprisingly they took the most convenient solution to things:

Which is honestly frustrating, it’s disregarding Chekhov’s gun* in that Sophie explicitly warns that Sora’s powers might not be fully cancelled, things will take time, and people might not get memories back… and what happens? Yuuki mentions the sensations of losing some memories and that’s about it. Everything is happy ending and there’s no consequence.

* This idea is a bit contentious in itself, but the impression I’m getting is that they’re going too far in ignoring setup and cohesive presentation of information to audiences. Whenever information is shown it feels kind of random as whether or not it’s relevant, and it makes the deus ex asspulls feel worse.

Getting back to characters I’m actually happy with Ghost. I’m a bit sad that she couldn’t develop into a more rounded character, but considering she ended up a disposable pawn for an episode it wasn’t bad. She played her part and drove the main cast into action. However, I really hated Takamine in the end. They spent most of the time playing him off as some sort of chuuni idiot, but then he actually becomes a villain at the end trying to get revenge… while muttering what sounds like more chuuni shit. Like, make up your minds writers. What were you trying to do with this character? Maybe something will come up now that Yoichi is apparently getting involved, but at most I feel like it’ll be more in post retconning at best. The kind of crap that’s like “oh he’s been secretly maneuvering this whole time, le gasp~!”

To me it’s just another trope. The really nice friend who always helps out was actually the bad guy all along or whatever they want to call it. Even if they play it well it just feels disappointing and I feel like it’s already undermining my impressions of the Yoichi meeting Rig Veda scenes. Admittingly it’s just wild speculation on my part from a tiny teaser I was pretty exhausted reading, but… I just don’t see this being particularly great even if they handle it well. I like see the cast acting as friends and helping each other, having Yoichi being something else just turns the situation back into a taco party.

I’m a little excited in that she doesn’t seem to be a straight お嬢様 and that exploring her character will probably be reconciling whatever is going on between her personalities and inner/outer thoughts. They’ve done a good job with a lot of the character development so far, so I’m at least a little optimistic that they’ll do something interesting with her.

language stuff

According to steam I spent 37 hours on this one, a little under 4x the average on VNDB. I was a little disappointed at first because it was almost as long as the time spent on Episode 1, but then I realized this was also like 33% longer. Plus I’ve idled a good bit in both.

However, I don’t think my real progress this time was in speed, but in endurance. Initially my sessions were around 5k characters, but with the catch up period I was doing 8-12k without too much issue with my longest single session at 18k immediately followed by 13k lol. Its tiring and time consuming, but doable for me. I can’t say it was healthy to stress myself out doing that, but I have a lot more confidence tackling readings now.

I’ve been a little inconsistent about doing new lessons on JPDB with the medical crap in my life, but progress for this VN ended at

I think this helped me understand some of the arguments I’ve read in the past better. Probably the first and most important point is that the 80/20 rule is in full effect here. Proportionally the amount of vocab needed to get decent coverage is pretty low all things considered. The word list frequency approach also helps as it tends to focus on words that have meaning and not just common words (eg. core nk decks). In the last episode I pointed out 髪飾り and for this one I think I’ll go with 超能力. I’m still able to spot a lot of connections between what I’m studying and reading despite getting to a point where the new words are down to frequency 5. For beginners that want to get into native material like this ASAP I think it’s a much better approach than WK, core decks, etc. but at the same time still has room to integrate with those methods.

Speaking of WK, one of the things that drove me nuts with it was how lessons never seemed relevant to what I was reading. I would see people claim you only need about 800 kanji, with some claims even lower, but using WK I felt like my kanji knowledge was insufficient even when I was breaking 1k and above. For long form content, I can see now that that this kind of targeted study is fine. The kanji have the same problem as vocab where their frequency of usage is exponentially weighted towards the top so especially with a tool like Yomichan it’s much easier to study the actually common stuff first as words with unknown kanji are probably also low frequency words I’d be looking up anyway.

The last thing I think I’d bring up is that there was something of claim that reading sequential works from an author would be easier because of shared writing tendencies, vocab, etc. I’ll just leave this as my anecdote. I could feel it going from Episode 1 to Episode 2, but it’s really obvious looking at the stats for Episode 3.

In contrast here’s the stats for Loopers

It’s not like coverage is everything, but I feel like it’s a pretty good indication of relative ease of reading for beginners.

It all sounds a bit obvious when I write it out like this, but having finished our third VN as a club it’s really sinking in now.


Yeah, that’s true. It’s been an issue for both this and Loopers, but I was just thinking about it from the direction that it feels so… contrived. Both games feel as though there isn’t much of a real world outside the stories, that the characters don’t have any existence beyond when the plot calls on them. Shrinking the cast such that our protagonist can’t even have a friend and just have a normal relationship with them worsens that problem. No one exists without being directly connected to the supernatural stuff.

Great job on all the reading recently!


Nicely done, just in time for Episode 3 :partying_face: welcome back!

more language stuff

Honestly? I would say ignore Steam time cause as you say, unless you’re super strict with tracking time, it’s super easy to have idle time that adds up very quickly just from minimising the game window, taking a break, going to the bathroom and so on. If you want to reliably track time IMO just use an HTML file that has time tracking and pause it every time you’re not actively reading. My Steam says I spent 36h on Episode 2 but my HTML says 23h 19m, it’s a massive difference. This is to say, you probably have read significantly faster than what your Steam time shows. I stopped taking Steam time seriously a long time ago :joy: so much idle time.

Something along these lines, I can say I’ve noticed a similar effect. The more I’ve been able to push gradually, the more I began to lose the feeling that reading for so long was unachievable, something I would never feel like doing. Building endurance has been really beneficial in terms of language acquisition for me, I feel, because it allows me to pursue my goals at a faster pace now which I’m happy about. I used to feel pretty tired reading for 20 or 30 minutes but now at this point I can read for 2, 3 or 4 hours and not feel destroyed, as long as I’m having fun / what I’m reading doesn’t require 10 lookups per minute, in which case I do tire easily. Now it’s gotten to a point where I read about 2 hours most days when I do, and more occasionally if I’m super into something, but there is no doubt that I’m able to do this now because I don’t have to look up as much as I once had even if I still frequently have to, and frankly, getting to this point sucked frequently enough :joy: I certainly did not enjoy the frustration much, as much as you’re supposed to enjoy the process. But I’m certainly grateful that I did endure through it, because I feel like I’ve now reached the actual fun part, the part where lookups are dramatically diminished for your average difficulty content, like 9-nine-, and every lookup is now much more efficient because there are a ton more i+1 sentences than before as opposed to i+3 or i+whatever. Reading for this long has become very enjoyable and god I’m super grateful for that, I feel like after all the previous effort now a door has opened that allows me to keep learning a lot more effectively than ever before. Reading around one’s level is probably the most efficient one can ever be in terms of learning, but also boring when starting out, and naturally we all feel driven to all kinds of content with varying degrees of difficulty. If you’re anything like me and you like content that tends to be pretty hard, well that translates to hitting your head against the wall for a very long time :sweat_smile: .

IMO we did super good in picking something that was slightly harder than Loopers but not so much that the difference felt overwhelming, at least for me I feel like it has been the perfect difficulty to keep pushing my learning with new stuff to learn (because there are still a relatively fair number of lookups I have to do in 9-nine-) but also not easy enough that there’s nothing new to learn. And on top of that Zero Escape is of more or less similar difficulty, with different vocabulary, so I’m really happy about all the picks so far and what it meant for my own personal study. It fulfils completely what I was hoping the club to be, a place where I could keep pushing my learning while having fun reading with others. Pretty happy so far.

For me now in hindsight, even though I don’t regret having done WK, if I could go back I probably would take things differently. I would start reading much earlier for sure, and wouldn’t have bothered with the last 10 or 20 levels. Heck, even 30 levels. I would still work through a beginner course like Genki 1 and 2 or Minna no Nihongo 1 and 2, for sure, and then a frequency deck with like 2k or 3k very important words, and then I would start reading ASAP while doing other things on the side, whether that be Tobira, still WK or any other kanji learning method, a personal SRS deck mined from content, or whatever, but I would certainly not treat WK like it was this sacred gem that alone would take me to Japanese fluency. Honestly from my experience nothing could be further from the truth, relying that much on WK was a terrible mistake and one I see many people do as well, as did I. There’s too much of a worship for the tool, but it’s not THAT holy grail. It also doesn’t advertise itself as such, if I remember correctly even the team advices to start reading early, but the community endorses full-time WK a bit too much, and obviously disappointment follows when people reach Lv.60 and can’t read beginner stuff at all because they’ve been neglecting other important stuff for 1 or 2 whole years.

The only thing WK did for me, which truth be told I’m very grateful for that alone, is to associate readings to a ton of different kanji. I can now read most kanji I encounter in words unless it’s an irregular reading. But it certainly did not teach me vocabulary, I think I forgot most words that WK tried to teach me; reading has taught me vocabulary much more effectively. The readings however have been deeply ingrained and that has saved a massive amount of time, but it’s probably nothing that just learning vocabulary can’t do to be honest. And then for kanji meaning, well learning many words containing the same kanji I’d say gives a general idea of that kanji eventually, but I guess associating meaning initially to them wasn’t a bad idea.

At this point for kanji I exclusively use Kanjipedia and Kanji Study (only android), with SRS and custom lists for what I read and whatnot. It’s a paid app though (one-time purchases) that sometimes has sales, but one I really like and use daily with a stylus, but that’s only cause I like handwriting them too.