anki is objectively the better system, and it’s free. however, out of the box, it looks terrible and the default review method is based on self-evaluation. to use anki to a degree/in a way that feels satisfying can require some learning, time and energy spent, which isn’t for everyone. a premade system like kitsun or wanikani is usable as-is.
that being said, there’s plenty free options out there that don’t cost a cent. torii, memrise and so on.
kitsun falls somewhere between function-rich and painless-usage, but isn’t first choice for either (the latter specially because it costs money and has a lot of good competition).
wk is thriving in this niche because there’s nothing like it, the system as a package just scratches a lot of itches. it doesn’t scratch em all though, so there’d be room for a competitor, but i guess the market is just too small for a second “learn kanji” subscription site.
That’s complete nonsense. What are these objective measures you used to say Anki is better? For the other reasons you described (terrible looks, requires time/energy to figure out, etc.) I think Anki is complete trash. But that’s my subjective opinion.
it’s objectively better because it’s the most customizable solution out there, and more customization options mean you can make it fit your needs better.
you can also use a lot of user-made plugins, way more so than even wk, and with a broader spectrum, like importing your own media, or directly importing words/sentences/audio as cards in the format you defined.
there’s absolutely no question, anki is by far the best srs system, if you’re willing to put in the time/energy (which i thought i’d have made clear).
I don’t think there’s that much more possible customization on Anki, to be honest. The only thing I can think of is cloze fields and that’s it. If I recall correctly, Kitsun being browser-based makes it possible to build decks that are not possible on Anki as well. Don’t know the technical details of it though.
The only relevant things that Anki has that Kitsun doesn’t are apps, offline mode, some plugins and a huge community to back it. Apps, offline mode, etc are coming in the following months. Kitsun’s community is growing as well, but it’s not Anki’s size. Nevertheless, as it continues growing, it won’t be just the work of a few making the quality of the website improve. It will exponentially improve. For Russian learners, it’s probably already easier to use Kitsun over Anki.
Kitsun also has a suggestion system where users can directly send suggestions/modifications of cards to the deck creators. If these suggestions are approved, every user of that deck will get their deck updated automatically. So far, thousands of suggestions have been sent. Not only that, but by the simple fact that you’re not downloading decks, Kitsun is protecting deck creators much better. I see deck creators out there building good paid decks for Anki through Patreon etc, and people just get it once and give the file away to their friends. This will be avoidable on Kitsun, so that creators can focus on creating instead
I like Kitsun’s vision a lot (was that noticeable I wonder? ) and I believe it’s going in the right direction in order to bring SRS with quality to the mainstream If people can afford to invest $6,50 on their education, they should go for it ^^