I cringe a bit every time a story like this pops up. Here come the myths, the misinformation, the wild exaggerations... Life was easier before the "anime/manga" fans took up their little obsession.
Well, let's be positive: This is a learning & teaching experience, right? So for the interested, a bit of debunking about Japanese:
1) "Kanji" is not a language.
I know, I haven't seen anyone on this page make that mistake, so I'm not pointing a finger at anyone here. Just at people out there who do think "kanji" is the name of the language – like Steve Jobs in his keynote a couple days ago. I had to write a debunking: http://www.homejapan.com/japanese-language-is-not-kanji
2) Japanese does NOT use "three writing systems". (That claim does appear on this page.)
Japanese uses ONE writing system. Precisely one. No more, no less. It contains multiple character sets, including Chinese characters (aka kanji), home-grown "kana" phonetic characters (with two variants, hiragana & katakana), punctuation & typographic symbols (including some from European languages), and Arabic numerals. Those all combine to form exactly ONE writing system.
It's nothing special. English uses multiple character sets, including Latin letters (with two variants, upper case & lower case), punctuation & typographic symbols, and Arabic numerals. All of which combine to form ONE writing system.
I haven't written a post on this one yet, but definitely need to. That "three writing systems" is a really common misconception. (Comment by Moridineas is very much on the right track, pointing out that the jumble of features and origins found in the Japanese writing system is just the normal way human language rolls.)
3) "OMG Japanese is so hard." Well, that's purely opinion, so I won't say it's right or wrong or a misconception or anything. I'll just add that there are learners with precisely the opposite opinion: I call it a wonderfully easy language to learn! There are plenty of reasons; see http://www.homejapan.com/2008/02/whats_easy_about_learning_japanese .
Lots more linguistic debunking at my site. But I'll refrain from further boring the good people here.
So, anyway. Fascinating stuff, and actually it's nice to see so many people take an interest. Let's just watch the exaggerations and stick to reality. (Yeah, like that'll happen. Who am I kidding? : )