This paper presents a hybrid architecture of hidden Markov models (HMMs) and a multilayer perceptron (MLP). This exploits the discriminative capability of a neural network classifier while using HMM formalism to capture the dynamics of input patterns. The main purpose is to improve the discriminative power of the HMM-based recognizer by additionally classifying the likelihood values inside them with an MLP classifier. To appreciate the performance of the presented method, we apply it to the recognition problem of on-line handwritten characters. Simulations show that the proposed architecture leads to a significant improvement in generalization performance over conventional approaches to sequential pattern recognition.