Kazuhiko's comments: It seems odd to me that at no point are you actually told what the characters mean. Figuring it out in-combat is possible but not really when you have no knowledge of a character set (the game starts with Katakana rather than Hiragana so I was truly stuck!). A little revision before starting is definitely required. Also, don't pick up the 400 gold from the village and then sleep in your hut since you then lose all your gold and become rather stuck!
It's supposed to be a first step, just to teach you recognition of the characters. Which I guess is important, because for the life of me I can't tell SquiggleWithTwoLinesAndACurve? from SquiggleWithThreeLines? or WavyLineUpsideDownDuck?. But no, it doesn't teach meaning - I think that's intended for later levels. --Vitenka
Sorry, different meaning of 'meaning'... I think what I'm getting at is it's a good way of practising, but not a particular good way of initally learning the characters. --K
Turn the speed setting down! I find it horrible, actually - gave up. I can see how it's supposed to work, and for kids it might - but for me I'd rather have 'A is for apple' dittying in my head. --Vitenka (Of course, it would help if the game were any good. Hmmm.. RpgMakerTwoThousand beckons.
More recent versions seem to have improved greatly on a lot of these points. It's now much more of a teaching game, especially once you get on to the kanji; when you give an incorrect answer (for example, when you encounter a new character for the first time), the game tells you the correct answer (and, in the case of the kanji, even gives you hints on how to remember it). There are also now adjustable settings for typing speed and how frequently it gives you new characters. The main complaint most people still have about it is that it insists the player learn the obsolete hiragana/katakana for "wi" and "we".... - tjm