Okay, let me begin by saying I'm a huge fan of old-school JRPGs, like, SNES-era. I also actually ENJOY grinding.
The biggest thing that stuck out for me when I played this was the unbalanced experience rate. I realize that a lot of older RPGs have really steep experience requirements level-to-level, but I found the rate to be a bit too lacking. Faster animations in battle instances would speed this along greatly if, for whatever reason, you would prefer not to make the rate of experience gain more favorable.
Secondly, I noticed there is no monetary reward from random encounters. I realize that the player is most likely expected to sell drops at the shops for money instead, but a good idea would be to maybe add money drops along with those items and introduce a crafting system to use the items for, or maybe even just make all those seemingly pointless NPCs into quest NPCs that offer items or money in exchange for a certain number of dropped items.
Secondly, at the beginning of the grindfest, it seems like my characters can only go a few encounters until they need to recharge at the signpost or use precious potions/other supplies. A LITTLE more defense or HP would help alleviate that aggravation. Hell, even if you gave ONE character a weak healing skill right off the bat, it would help. It's always been a pet peeve of mine to have to go to an inn or recharge somewhere without having used any MP on any character, especially it constantly interrupts the grinding.
I can't really rate the music, because I play without sound.
I know this has already been said, but one of the key elements of an RPG is definitely eye candy. If you're trying to tell a story and it's not text-based, you need something a little more flashy than what I've seen in this so far.
All in all, a LOT of work is needed, but I'm sure all of this has been said in one form or another. I'm sure you'll be able to balance things out better in future releases. I'll give it 3/5 since it's a damn sight better than I could probably do anyway.