I currently am doing Wanikani and a little of Duolingo aswell. I have herd so many good things about Anki that I really wanted to try it but it went way over my head about where to start let alone set up my own deck!
So just wanting to know when (whatever is a unit of measurement for you ie Wanikani levels, ‘x’ Kanji learned etc) to up the ante and pick up these things.
Well you’re gonna need more grammar than duolingo and WaniKani teaches you right from the beginning… so you should be looking at many resources right away (no harm in it, imo)… you want to start with something like genki 1 and/or Japanese from zero
Short version: don’t be like me. Start your grammar learning now. xD
In order to actually understand anything, you will need grammar. I haven’t done the DuoLingo course, but I have seen discussions on here saying that its grammar explanations are a bit lacking, so you will probably want to pick up another source. Many people will recommend Genki I or Tae Kim’s guide, but there are a lot of other options (check the link below). Genki definitely has the most exercises, but it can be expensive (Tae Kim is free, but doesn’t really have exercises to practice). I have been majorly slacking on my grammar studies and I am regretting it, so I definitely recommend you start as soon as possible. ^^
I think you could probably hold off on Anki unless you want to use it to reinforce vocab from whatever grammar resource you use and/or learn kana-only vocab (since these words are not a part of WaniKani). I just started doing a Memrise course with kana-only vocab, but I probably could have and should have started earlier. Personally, I don’t really like Anki, but I think I’m probably in the minority. ^^ There are a lot of Anki decks/users running around on the forum - I know a popular Anki deck is the Core 10k deck and derivatives (check the link below). If you do pick up Genki, I believe there are pre-made decks with the vocab from that as well, so you probably wouldn’t have to build your own deck unless you really wanted to.
I can add the perspective of the path I’ve taken so far…
I use an online native speaking tutor who works on Genki 1 textbook with me over Skype. She explains things, answers questions, we practice speaking, I do homework, practice kana writing, etc. This is extremely productive time from my perspective, and I try to squeeze out as much understanding as I can. No rush, maximum learning.
I’ve also started conversation exchanges with native speakers on Skype wanting to practice English. While I’m a beginner, so far it is great to be able to practice even more and ask very specific questions related to things I am learning. It also improves my ear for how average people sound when they speak (not professional voices). Just today someone explained for me the sequence at which he learned kana and kanji in school, and I was able to recognize I’m at perhaps the 2nd or 3rd grade elementary level at the moment. This was reassuring, since I’ve only been working hard for about 3 months.
I decided to begin on WaniKani just this week as it seemed a good time to start expanding into Kanji and vocabulary in general. There is a large amount of independent study need to learn basic facts like this. However, I feel it would be much harder to motivate myself and retain if I wasn’t also learning how to put them together into practical use.
I’ll admit to a bit of information overload currently, but I think this is only because I don’t have a study rhythm for the new sources of information yet. I may be pushing too hard in some areas. Also, speaking to natives makes me painfully aware of the gaps in my basic grammar skills and the most basic of conversation skills. I’ll be hitting Genki 1 extra hard from now on!
I would also add that my goal is to reach proficiency in all areas, reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Hence my focus on breadth of experience. The path one would take, for say just reading comprehension alone, could be quite different.