It’s February, which means it’s time for InCoWriMo again! If you don’t know what InCoWriMo is, it’s sort of like a challenge to write a letter, card, or postcard every day for the month of February. If that doesn’t revitalize the lost art of correspondence via letter writing, I don’t know what will. Naturally, it’s also an excuse to bust out your favorite writing implements and fancy paper. In this post, I will be reviewing a beginner’s fountain pen, the Pilot Kakuno!
(As usual, scroll down to the bottom for the tl;dr. This is a picture heavy post)
The Pilot Kakuno comes in a plastic box. Currently there are two renditions of the Kakuno, one with a smiley face, and a newer one with a winking face. They come in fine tip or medium tip. I will be reviewing the smiley face edition with a fine nib. If you are used to using non-japanese fountain pens, please keep in mind that Japanese fountain pens tend to have a smaller point in general. Therefore, a Japanese fine is comparable to an extra-fine nib. In case you were wondering if you could switch out nibs, I don’t think the nib is removable (edit: I’ve been informed by pensandart that the nib is indeed removable and usable with certain other pilot fountain pens). Fortunately, it is fairly cheap for a fountain pen, so if you really had to have medium and fine nibs, buying two pens is affordable.
The box comes with instructions in Japanese. I can’t read it, but I think the it’s fairly easy to get the main idea. The box also includes one pilot cartridge. From my experience, pilot ink is fairly water resistant.
One of THE main selling points about this pen is how happy it looks! The cap has a little shocked face on the top, and the pen nib is absolutely adorable. The Pilot Kakuno is a cartridge-converter pen, meaning it accepts both pilot cartridges, and pilot converters (con-20 and con-50). I’m cheap, so I personally fill old cartridges using a blunt tip syringe. This is helpful, because pilot cartridges come in limited colors, and I like to try new inks. The pilot kakuno uses pilot cartridges, not standard cartridges, so ink selection is limited.
The Kakuno has a rounded triangular grip, which helps direct finger placement. So far, I’ve really only talked about aesthetics, but the Kakuno is a joy to write with as well. Despite having a fine nib, it writes surprisingly smooth. The barrel is a light weight plastic, and I feel that the pen is more comfortable to write with when the cap is posted. Below is a writing a sample, along with comparisons to common pens. The second image is the back of the paper. I used cheap Mead line paper.
So am I happy with my purchase? Absolutely! This probably isn’t the pen for business or professional settings, but it makes note taking enjoyable. It’s a light-weight, plastic, and affordable fountain pen. It doesn’t work well with all paper types, but that’s just a nature of fountain pens and ink choice. I find that Daiso notebooks work fairly well with fountain pens, while Moleskine do not. The triangular grip might not be for everyone, but I barely even notice it. If that’s an issue, you might want to visit a Japanese bookstore and try out the pen yourself. If not, this pen is available on Amazon and Japanese Stationery websites for less than twenty dollars. Also the pen comes in ten different cap colors, so if pink isn’t your thing, one of the other options might work out for you.
Price: $14.00-$16.00 each
Capped: 5.16 in / 13.1cm
Recommend? Yes, it’s amazing for a beginner’s fountain pen. However, it doesn’t suit a professional atmosphere.
tl;dr: Lightweight, plastic fountain pen. Writes smoothly. Comes in Fine and Medium nibs. Is a cartridge-converter pen.