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Introducing… The Pilot Kakuno Fountain Pen!
This Pilot fountain pen quickly caught my eye with its colourful body and cap choices and cheerful design. After doing a bit of research I learned that this was designed as a beginner-friendly fountain pen, which I think is a wonderful idea. Its range of colours and chunkier body would appeal to the young’uns, but this is by no means a toy. Kakuno is an awesome place to start for anyone -young or old- looking to try out a fountain pen. That all said, it really is a nice pen, and I think it’s worth trying for any pen enthusiast, despite experience level. To find out exactly why that is, read on for my Pilot Kakuno review!
This is certainly the cutest pen I have ever seen. It’s a nice, small size, and the slightly chunky body feels good in the hand. I absolutely adore the little smiley face adorning the nib, and the number of colours to choose from is fantastic. You can go with a white body and pastel cap, or a dark grey body and brighter cap colour (like the blue-capped pen I chose).
I know it doesn’t really matter in terms of actually using the pen, but with so many fountain pens out there donning the classic black or metallic finish, it’s downright refreshing to have so many colours to choose from – and bright, happy ones at that.
Although the pen is made of plastic, it feels good and sturdy. It’s lightweight and fairly short, but my collection of fountain pens is modest yet and so I don’t have a whole lot to compare it with. Despite its small stature it does feel like it will last a long time, and that’s precisely how long I intend to use it!
What I Like
I already mentioned how fond I am of that tiny smiley face on the nib, which is apparently there to let you know when you’re holding the pen with the nib right-side up. This coupled with the hexagonal body shape makes it incredibly easy to hold the pen properly, and both of these features are nothing short of brilliant when it comes to design choices. The first time I used a fountain pen, I had no clue which way the nib was supposed to be; so I can see how valuable this is for newbies.
I really like the feel of the pen. The plastic is smooth and shiny without being slippery, and the rounded edges make it a pleasure to hold. It is shiny enough to pick up the odd fingerprint, however any smudges that are left are so faint that you have to deliberately search for them, and the pen is easily wiped clean.
Kakuno feels solid, and despite the small price tag, it’s anything but cheap. It is a strong writing instrument available in a variety of lovely colours. I also want to mention that the cap makes a wonderfully satisfying click! when you replace it on the pen. (This kind of thing is important to me.) 😉
Another wonderful thing about this pen is that the nib and ink cartridges (though proprietary) are interchangeable with those found in other Pilot pens. This means that someone starting out with the Kakuno can always move the nib to a different Pilot pen later, if they so choose (like if they decide to splurge on a pricier pen).
Alternatively, if you like the bright Kakuno body, you can use a nib from another Pilot pen. For example, I have a Pilot Metropolitan with a fine nib, while my Kakuno has a medium nib. I could switch the nibs on them if I wanted to (although I prefer to sketch with the Kakuno, and I like the medium nib for this). They both use Pilot’s Namiki ink cartridges (which can by bought in bulk online), so that’s also very convenient. Bottled ink (the manufacturer (naturally) recommends their Iroshizuku line) can also be used in these pens by means of a converter.
What I Dislike
Honestly, I’m having a real hard time finding something I don’t like about this pen.
All I can really say is that the little nub on the cap (presumably to stop the pen from rolling around) seems redundant; with the hexagonal body it’s really not going anywhere. But it’s not like that tiny nub is in the way or anything.
It took a bit to get it going when it first arrived, but I had just retrieved it from a community mailbox in Canadian winter temperatures, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this had more than a little to do with it. (The pen did come with an ink cartridge, although I set that one aside to thaw while I loaded my new pen with a Namiki cartridge I had in my drawer.) After letting it warm up for a few minutes, I found that it writes like a dream and I haven’t had a lick of trouble with it since.
Oh! I thought of something. When using the pen with the cap posted on the back, the place where the cap ends happens to fall almost right at the spot where the pen rests on my hand. Mostly I use the pen unposted (it feels better balanced to me this way), so it’s not a big issue. But it may be a nuisance to others who prefer to use the pen posted. Unfortunately this is something you will have to find out for yourself, but I thought it worth mentioning.
The ink is not waterproof though (assuming it’s the same ink Pilot includes with all their pens), so I suppose that could be a bad thing, depending on your tastes. In general, it is best not to use waterproof ink in fountain pens, as it tends to clog up the works; but there are apparently some good inks out there (although I haven’t tried any of them personally).
What I Think
The Kakuno is clearly designed with beginners in mind. But don’t let that fool you: while it is by no means a fancy thing, it’s an all-around lovely pen, suitable for fountain pen amateurs and experts alike. I love to sketch with it, and the fact that the ink is water-based means it gets to play with my water brush. It’s very accessible with its low price and ease of use.
If you’ve been intrigued by fountain pens but don’t know where to start, I can’t think of a better place than here.
Kakuno would be the perfect way to ease anyone into the wonderful world of fountain pens (but be warned: once under the spell, there is no turning back!).
| Here’s a direct link to the Pilot Kakuno on Amazon.ca |
Did you find this review helpful? Have you used fountain pens before? If not, do you think you would give Kakuno a try? Let me know in the comments below, and if you have used this pen, feel free to share your thoughts on it as well! 🙂