EDIT: Pilot Pen has contacted me to correct the error in my post – there is no Pilot Sumino, and the white Kakuno is still known as the Kakuno. So do note this as many sources online call it the Pilot Sumino, which is not correct! I have made the necessary changes in this post to correct the name of the pen. Thanks to Pilot Pen for pointing this out!
As promised on my Fukubukuro sale post, I was going to do a comparison review of the two adorable little pens that have taken the world by storm: the Pilot Kakuno in white and in grey.
Okay, okay, I exaggerate a little when I said “taken the world by storm”, but it does seem that many love these pens, and it appears that everyone I know in the fountain pen world has one of these. If you haven’t gotten one, shame on you! 😉 (Just kidding.)
The Pilot Kakuno is an economically-priced fountain pen, perfect for beginners and for children (or adults like me who have a soft spot for cheap pens with smiley faces on the nibs). In fact, I have already done a review of the grey-barrelled one before. Thanks to the Fukubukuro sale organized by Straits Pen, I am the happy owner of the ivory/white-barrelled version of the Kakuno.
In comparing the packing boxes of the two pens, they are exactly the same. My white Kakuno comes in an M nib, while the grey Kakuno is F, so that’s the only indicative difference shown on the packaging.
At the side of the boxes, both are similarly sealed with coloured tape that says “open” with an arrow sign pointing to the edge where you tear open the tape. The colours of the tape correspond to the colour of the cap on the pen. The Pilot Kakuno range with the grey barrel has more vibrant, stronger colours, while the range with the white barrel has gentler, pastel colours. The white Kakuno was said to be targeted towards ladies, and I can see why! However, it doesn’t mean that the fairer sex wouldn’t prefer the grey barrel and vibrant colours over pastels!
The Pilot Kakuno is very easily disassembled by unscrewing the barrel. Inside is space for a Con-20 converter (the type which I dislike), or you can also use a Con-50 if you so prefer. The Con-20 was included in the Fukubukuro bag, so I thought I might as well use that anyway.
If you placed the two Pilot Kakunos side-by-side, you can see that the section (grip area) are also different. The original Pilot Kakuno is of a grey, semi-clear plastic, while the white Kakuno has a clear, colourless section. This matches well with the respective barrel colours.
Also, zooming in further to the nib – and I swear your heart could melt if you’re into such things – the smiley face on the white Pilot Kakuno doesn’t just smile, but also winks at you! Aww, such cuteness! This is another visual difference between the two pens that you can spot in case you mess up the nibs or something like that. Actually, the nibs are all the same and write similarly well for the same size. For both pens, only the F and M nibs are available. Let’s check out my writing sample comparing the F nib and M nib.
The Kakuno fine nib feels like most other Pilot fine nibs: the ink flow is well-controlled, not too generous, but does not skip. It writes more like an extra fine than a fine. Because of the controlled amount of ink being laid down to paper, the ink dries faster but is also appearing to be less saturated. The medium nib, however, presents quite a stark difference from the fine. The ink flow is pretty generous, and while it is still well-controlled, the amount of ink placed onto paper is much more than the fine nib, so for a leftie overwriter like me it may pose some smudging issues as the ink takes longer to dry. Also, the medium point gives less feedback on paper and glides a little more smoothly. The downstrokes of the medium nib seems to lay down a slightly thicker line, as pointed out by my pink arrow in the picture above.
To be honest, I usually wouldn’t notice so much a wet nib as I tend to adapt to the pen rather than waiting for the pen to adapt to me, but as I am doing a side-by-side comparison here of these two nibs, I can’t help but feel the big difference.
If you ask me, I still prefer the fine.
Both the Kakuno pens have that hexagonal body which prevents the pen from rolling around. To add extra caution, there is a protrusion at the side of the cap that is able to stop the pen from rolling away if you happened to push it. The protrusion is not invasive – in fact, I hardly noticed it at all. The caps don’t have clips, which can be an issue for those of you who prefer clips. For me, it’s not a big deal.
So this concludes my comparison review of the Pilot Kakunos. What are your thoughts? Which colour series do you prefer?