WaniKani Level for Cero Rating D?

What level of WaniKani level do I need to be to be able to read Japanese visual novel video games with a Cero Rating of C and D?

Update: Don’t worry everyone I’m not just using WaniKani.

I’m using LingoDeer, Drops, and EggBun

(Apparently there is will be N3 material on LingoDeer for iOS)

So for all who have answered so far I apologize as I didn’t mention I was using other apps as well on my learning journey. :paw_prints:

Cero rating D is…17 and up, right? Had to look this up because I never pay attention to this

If it’s for ages 17+, probably level 60 or close to it. You’ll also need a hefty amount of grammar knowledge to supplement.

CERO ratings are about age appropriateness rather than language ability. I’m not really sure it can be equated to a WaniKani level.


It’s not specifically for language ability, but depending on the target audience, the decision to use kanji where/when and the difficulty of the grammar structures and such can differ.

Yeah not video games, but I’ve done some reading of ‘adult content’ manga, and the language level doesn’t seem to be related to that. Some is Yotsuba to! level fairly easy, and some are a slog looking up every other word.

You might assume that being 17 or 18+ would mean they let 'er rip with language the average 18+ Japanese native would be able to read, but that’s not necessarily so.


Yeah agreed so it makes it hard to know when I can start a Japanese visual novel where I’m not looking up every single word.

I just read them for the articles


That’s like two years from now for me then if I have to wait until level 60 to understand visual novels. :crying_cat_face:

Kind of repetitive in parts, though. :wink:

Well like it if had a Cero rating B then the kanji would be at elementary school is my thinking, so I’m trying to figure out what C and D would be.

Not really. A B rating just means it doesn’t contain any content that an elementary school student should not see. It doesn’t imply that it’s aimed at the language ability of an elementary school student.


The others in this thread are right too, but it’s heavily based on what the subject matter of your game is. As ctmf said, there are pieces of media with “adult” content in it that aren’t all that difficult because of the audience it’s catering to (interest-wise, not intellect-wise).

I own and have played games with ratings B through D that were text-heavy, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell if one or the other is “more difficult” unless the content is inherently supposed to be more thought-provoking or difficult.

I’m erring on the side of safety by saying 60 or close to it if you want to play most visual novels with some comfort (AKA not struggling to look up every word). This assumes you have little to no prior kanji knowledge. I’d like to emphasize that, no matter what you’re playing, grammar and comprehension will be more important anyway.

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Okay level 60 then got it. Currently using LingoDeer, Drops, and EggBun as well.

Even if you are level 60 that doesn’t mean you’ll know every word being used. WK does not teach an exhaustive list of vocabulary so you’re still going to encounter quite a few unknown words. Finishing WK is only going to be the beginning of your journey. It can’t and won’t be able to teach you everything.


Yeah agreed so it makes it hard to know when I can start a Japanese visual novel where I’m not looking up every single word.

Honestly, no matter what you start reading, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to look up words, especially if you go entirely based on wanikani. For one, WK doesn’t teach any kana-only words, which you’ll need to know in order to read most things. Also, there are a ton of frequently used words Wanikani doesn’t teach, even if they use kanji that are taught in WK. And many books, articles, and games will use less-frequently used words that you won’t find on most lists.

When I started reading NHK easy articles, I felt like an idiot because I had to look up so many words, but I realized that it’s just a part of reading. It will feel uncomfortable at first, but it really will get easier the more you do it. And the more exposure you get to the more common words, the easier they will be to remember.

I personally don’t think you necessarily need to wait until level 60 to start reading content you enjoy. You will have to look stuff up, sometimes a lot of stuff, but that’s part of learning. Even if you were level 60, you’d still have to look up stuff. One thing that I think will hold you back more than kanji knowledge is grammar knowledge. Kanji and vocab are easy to look up, grammar isn’t as easy to look up.


Yeah exactly. I expect I’ll still be looking up words, but at level 60 I won’t be looking up every single word.

Yeah exactly I’m not using WaniKani only as like you said grammar knowledge is important too. I’m currently using LingoDeer which has N5 and N4 material and soon coming out with N3 material. On top of that I’m debating whether to get Bunpro or Bunpo for more grammar practice. I use Drops as well for building my vocabulary. I also use EggBun as well.

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Adding to this that it’s also fine to just not look stuff up. You will be able to read more in the same amount of time and the more common words will repeat anyway and you will be able to infer it from context. For me it just disrupts the flow and soon it becomes just going through the dictionary instead of actually reading and enjoying the content.


Visual novels are probably the most language demanding type of a game. Many of them take dozens of hours to complete in your native language. You’d need to be pretty well used to reading in Japanese and have extensive vocab si that you can focus in the story instead of checking the dictionary all the time.

You could start from other rypes of games, like RPGs that have cutscenes and animated visuals. It’s way easier to understand stuff if it’s shown, not just written.

And start from something aimed at younger children to pick up all the game language conventions.

Also, difficulty depends on the story setting quite a bit. For instance, I am able to play a game set in a typical high school being at roughly JLPT N3 level and WK 30. Watching slice of life anime shows without subs set in a modern world is manageable (I miss few things, such as jokes and technical explanations, which are rare). But watching sci-fi, or e.g. political shows is close to impossible.


To some extent, I’d say that if you’re motivated enough, just pick up whatever you’re interested in and try it. The worst that can happen is that you’ll spend an hour slogging through a couple of sentences, decide that it’s too much work and put it away, and come back in ten levels to see how much you’ve progressed.

For reading in general, being comfortable with Japanese sentence structure is going to be a bigger hurdle than vocabulary. As long as you’re able to untangle Japanese sentences okay, it’s really just a function of how much time you’re willing to spend with a dictionary from there.

I’d also guess that adult-oriented titles are almost never going to bother putting furigana on things, so if they use a lot of kanji, you won’t be able to look up words by reading as easily. It will help if you know how to use some tool to look up kanji by radical or handwriting recognition.

As has been said, reading for the first time is a slog no matter how much you study, just like dancing is hard the first time no matter how many dance videos you watch. So don’t feel like there’s any perfect level where it will suddenly become easy.

(For what it’s worth, I personally felt like written material transitioned from “giant wall of incomprehensible kanji” to “giant wall of kanji I vaguely recognize” at around 20 or so. I think there was a thread recently that did some math supporting the idea that 20 is roughly a turning point when most of the really important kanji are out of the way.)

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