If you find yourself in the situation where you can spare it, will learn kanji one way or another and enjoy WK, sure. If that is the case, go for it.
The goal is however to not stick to WK forever, but use it as a crutch to get into reading. Once you get to actually reading and enjoying it, WK is pretty much pointless to you. Depends on how far you are.
In any case, 200 USD is peanuts when it comes to the service you get. You blow through 200 usd like it’s nothing with private tutors.
Six years ago I bought annual for two years and after that I thought I could read some books in japanese and study grammar and it would be enough but I gradually started to forget the characters and vocab I learned. So I bought lifetime yesterday. This time I’m gonna learn kanji slowly and if I forget them again I will come back and reset my account to start all over.
At the yearly price, that $199 is gonna end up saving you money at just a little over two years of WaniKani.
The absolute fastest you can get to level 60 is a little over a year. That’s if you do all your lessons and reviews every day and never make a single mistake. Fair to say that’s probably not gonna happen.
You could be cheaper off with a yearly subscription, if you plan to just drop it after you reach level 60, but even then I’d say it’s fairly likely you’ll save money with the Christmas sale. And if you’re not planning to just drop WaniKani like a brick once you see that magic number, you’ll definitely end up saving money in the long run.
I think short of not sticking with it, only very few people stop WaniKani after just two years. Many people reset to a lower level somewhere down the line because they notice they don’t remember some of the earlier kanji as well as they’d like to some time after burning them, and many more just keep on doing reviews.
And if you just go at a somewhat leisurely pace… Yeah, you’re likely to take even longer. Maybe 3 years. Maybe 5 years. Maybe you’ll never make it to level 60 at all and you’ll just keep on resetting here and there, doing some reviews, some lessons, who knows.
The way I see it, it’s only a waste if you end up not sticking with Japanese for at least a 2 years and 3 months. But if that were halfway likely I don’t think you’d be considering a lifetime subscription in the first place.
I do technically still use Wanikani even now, a couple of years after reaching level 60, but I don’t think you should expect the tail-end of Wanikani to be what makes the lifetime subscription worth it. If you don’t take long breaks and go fast (a big if), the functionality of Wanikani will certainly be best replaced by other tools and resources like anki, etc. not long after reaching level 60. I would say Wanikani itself was useful to me 2-3 years, tops, and now I just do my few remaining reviews for the habit of it rather than any actual language-learning benefit.
Rather I think the main benefit of the lifetime membership is more the freedom from anxiety of any time constraints, and the motivation that comes with the “lifetime” commitment.
I found the benefit of Wanikani to not just be the kanji but also the longterm guided progress and insight into how I liked to study based on that (for example I would have thought I wouldn’t like SRS… turns out I love it!) so the flexibility provided by lifetime lets you experiment a bit more, I think. Maybe it’ll turn out you want to go slow, maybe fast, maybe scripts are your thing, etc. Just seems much easier to figure out that process without an anxiety-inducing ticking clock to me. (but your mileage may vary).
I think someone who knows exactly what they’re doing could potentially save money for the same benefit with yearly. But as for me, I didn’t know what I was doing, I wasn’t studying a language daily and didn’t know how far I was going to go with it. And all I can say is buying a lifetime WK subscription as my first major investment successfully pulled me into what’s been a lifetime habit since (even if the part I technically paid for is a negligible part of that habit these days). So I’m certainly grateful for that.
For your last question, after all the levels of Wanikani, I found kanji a strong suit rather than a weak spot, so although there were plenty more kanji still to learn, they’re the exception rather than the rule, and I absolutely felt prepared to distinguish and learn them on my own.
100 PERCENT!! Completely, totally, absolutely worth it!! I know it’s a big chunk of money, but having the lifetime membership really takes the pressure off of having to learn the stuff as fast as possible. I started that way and then the reviews got so overwhelming, I burned out and barely touched the site for like two years. It was really good to know I could come back any time and pick up where I left off (which I did). Now I have figured out a slower pace that works much better for me. I am not learning as fast, but it helps me learn better, not get so overwhelmed, and not get burned out with too many reviews. This is honestly the best $200 I’ve ever spent, I’m not even joking.
Yes and No. If you can afford it and think it’s useful then go for it but of course there are other ways to learn kanji.
Yeah I am still using it but I only have around 60 reviews a day.
Yeah of course, I see now and then kanji not on wanikani. Also wanikani doesn’t teach you all readings of the kanji on it. I can still remember most kanji on wanikani but it takes some time to remember some of them. But I forgot lots of vocabulary already.
While I can recognize the kanji I learnt how to write, instantly even without thinking. So in my opinion writing kanji by hand is even better than wanikani.
i think so. i started in march 2020 and got a year sub then got the sale for lifetime so i effectively paid about 7 months plus lifetime on sale
i reset to level 1 after getting to 40 because i got overwhelmed so having lifetime made that possible without me feeling guilty. always a good thing
if you go fast, it still takes 1.5 years to burn everything. i you go 10 - 14 days per level, which is reasonable, you need over two years and that’s the cost of lifetime covered already. if - like many - you feel like you need to reset a bit or a lot, then you don’t have to fret over the waste of time.
around level 40, i’d say the kanji become rarer for the most part anyway. you can anki your way through the remaining ones but we’re still hoping for an extra 10 levels at some point. you never know.
so unless you plan on speeding through and finish in just over a year and never need it again, then get yearly. in other cases, get lifetime.
Seconded. While it may depend on who you are, and those who are particularly organized and committed may complete it faster or find other ways of studying, not having to worry about that is a huge help. Japanese is more a hobby than a priority for me, so your mileage may vary, but though I’m only a little bit of the way in, I don’t know that I would have nearly enough either kanji knowledge or motivation for continuing it otherwise. It makes it easy to stick to at least some Japanese during lulls in other forms of study, and possible to come back to the language quickly since there’s a straightforward process that doesn’t need giant chunks of time to dive in; I’ve been using it on and off, and just recently made a more consistent return, cleared my 600+ review pile, and am looking at finally making it to the next level after about 2.5 years (not something I probably would’ve done otherwise). I’m sure most users will be better than I am in this regard, but for me, the lifetime sub paid for itself already even at less than a sixth of the way, not just because of the value for the time spent but also because having it available without the need to make it a priority makes it altogether easier to continue Japanese.
As you can see from my level, I am just “getting started” but I have bought the lifetime (with no sale) knowing it’s going to take more than a year for sure. To some people like myself, paying the “premium” for a service like WK can really act as an extra motivator.
I do not know what lies ahead in my WK adventure but I know for sure that the Kanji “gamification”, ready-to-absorb mnemonics, and the SRS system made the lifetime purchase one of the best ones I have ever made. Looking forward to say this again in a few levels and learned Kanjis.
I feel like I’ve already gotten my money’s worth on this one year (I bought it last Christmas). I wanted to pay them, because It’s been using their message boards for the book clubs already a bunch and got a lot of of these great people. So I need them to stay in business. LOL.
I wanted that time pressure OFF me, and I KNOW that I’ll want to review things when they get “rusty”.
From my own calculations, I believe that getting the reduced lifetime more or less at the beginning of your WK journey should be worth it. That sounds exactly like your case. The caveat is that that’s the exact moment where you don’t yet know if WK is right for you. If you’re convinced, however, I would say, get it.
You’re breaking even if you use WK for about 2.25 years which is not an unrealistic pace (ignore all the “leveling up every 7 days” speedrunners), especially if you want to burn all or at least a big part of your items.
The calculation is different if you’ve already been using WK for a while or if we’re talking about the regular lifetime. (Also very much depending on how fast you’re willing to go.)
In my case, I have decided that I probably wouldn’t break even so no lifetime for me (I also don’t plan on burning every single item necessarily).
While the idea of lifetime reviews may sound appealing, for my part, I’d rather graduate away from SRS at some point and absorb vocab and kanji through exposure. YMMV, of course.
It’s definitely worth it. If you take a more casual pace, reaching level 60 will probably already take around 2 years, meaning the price will be worth it. It also means that you don’t have to worry about completing WK with a time limit, if something unexpected comes up you can decrease your speed for a bit without worrying about wasting a part of your subscription.
I think they did a test run for the sale yesterday, so the sale was active for a few hours and people could test out the various sale pages and already buy lifetime at a discounted price.