I've followed through on all three versions of this series using the workbook and support books and recommend them as your central tool for self-learning the language. You should always include additional resources to augment your learning. The books are focused on building a grammatical and contextual foundation that, once established, will allow you to continually add to on your own.
A key piece of advise: Make sure to continually review, review, review. Go back to the beginning of the books and start over to further reinforce the concepts as some don't always come up again. Also, after these books, your reading will advance further than your listening and, of course, your speaking. To offset, over-index on the CD tracks and augment using a Japanese-on-tape resource (i.e. Pimselur). In addition, try to watch JP movies, shows, etc as most resources teach more formal Japanese, however the average Japanese conversation is less formal and more nuanced.
Unlike the old style japanese language books which use gramma as the topic title, this book uses a story to bring out the gramma. In that case, you can learn and understand better. There is also a lot of sample conversations which is quite interesting and handy for learners. However, the short coming is, it is hard to search for the gramma rules when you want to refer to the book later on. I use a lot of post-it to solve this problem.
JAP III is also a big jump from JAP II. I wish there is a level in between.
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