I use Anki to reinforce vocabulary I’ve learned elsewhere, and to go from E->J. WK only tests J->E so recall is good, but production is awful. (I know there’s kaniwani, but that seems overkill for my vocabulary needs for now).
I don’t think it’s the only thing that works, but it offers consistent progress over time without much effort from the user (you don’t have to create decks, you don’t need to keep track of which chapter you’re on certain book, etc). Before WaniKani I was studying only with a couple books (Heisig’s RTK, GENKI). I’m nor saying the books aren’t good. They’re great, but they work better when you’re attending a japanese school or have a lot of free time and discipline. If you could easily add SRS to any book study method it would be as effective as long as you keep practicing.
WaniKani leads you by the hand, you don’t need to write anything
If anything, I’d say that’s WaniKani’s one big flaw. I wish it asked us to write the kanji now and then (perhaps by telling us the meaning and asking to write the kanji) because that way it can be sure we KNOW the kanji rather than just having an ability to guess it based on its general shape. However, I’m aware how difficult coding something like that is so I don’t hold it against Koichi.
I’ve honestly always looked at WaniKani as a game.
As a born gamer (thanks dad), the whole leveling system that WK uses gives me a bunch of motivation to do my best in order to level up in a timely manner and watch the Apprentice > Guru > Master > Enlightened > Burn status keep going up.
I suppose I would like to read some manga tooooo, but I agree. I’ve started to learn Japanese like 3-4 times in my life, and WK is the first time I’ve ever actually stuck with something.
Turtles and the Crabigator god have truly blessed us. \o/
For me I think the main reason is that it does a lot of the organisational work for you.
My method just before starting WK was to use the Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Course (which is still a great book), learn a page or two of Kanji at a time, and test myself the old-fashioned way - covering up the answer and testing if I knew the meaning/reading. So the idea was each day to learn a few new ones, and test myself on the one’s I’d learnt so far.
The trouble is, it becomes hard to get yourself to do this consistently every day; either to remember to do it or find the motivation to keep doing it is hard. Furthermore, you have to figure out which ones to test yourself on every day (because after a point you can’t be testing yourself on literally every Kanji you’ve learned each time), maybe make flashcard or an Anki deck or something…
I just found that WK does all the boring stuff for you, lets you know what to revise and when, and of course structures the SRS in such a way that you’re learning things in the most efficient way.
That, and it’s just fun. Poring over a book gets dull after a while, but WK feels like a game (which does not mean it’s a competition of course!). It’s satisfying to watch your progress in terms of levels/items going up, to get 100% on a review session, or to finally nail those difficult items you could never remember.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. What input method(s) would you want to use? Mouse is pretty terrible. Touchscreens are good. Drawing tablets are great. Would it be worthwhile to you to buy a drawing tablet to practice kanji? If so, how much would you spend on one? $30 for a cheapo? $50 for a middle-of-the-road? $90 for a Wacom?
If you still are not willing to buy a smartphone, then you probably just are not interested in using that method anyway.
I wouldn’t say ‘not interested’… but I never thought of buying a smartphone simply for drawing kanji when I have a high-end PC and tablet. That seems sorta ‘wrong’, but I’ve not really looked at smartphone prices, so…