Not that this is particularly important for your post, but Maya and 3DS Max are free for students and teachers. Autodesk's website offers an educational license for no charge.
I do MMD as well, and it's true that it would be great for that. MMD already has a plugin for the Kinect live capture, but Kinect raw data is not great unless you have a pretty ideal setup. That's why I wanted to use sensors instead, because that didn't work so well for me. Luckily, if you can do the capture itself in Blender (free), there's a plugin (mmd tools) which allows you to export motions or models to MMD formats. I'm planning to do the same for Autodesk products by exporting to FBX if possible. I'm not so well-versed on Blender, I'm good with 3DS and I'm learning more about Maya. I started with MMD, but it has many limitations on what you can do yourself, so that's why I'm in-between: an MMD style using a different program. Especially because clothing and UV editing are super easy in 3DS, that's the one of choice at the moment. But I don't like how skinning/weight painting works, so it's just about playing the strengths of each program for me.