Thank you to my friends at JetPens for sponsoring this post. Because of their sponsorship, the Pilot Kaküno reviewed here was free to me. This review reflects my experiences and observations with the pen.
I’ll be honest— though the metal-bodied Pilot Metropolitan is undoubtedly a better value than the Pilot Kaküno, the whimsical appeal of the Kaküno is hard to ignore. Despite having an all plastic body and cap, and a slightly higher price tag than the Metropolitan, I can’t resist the charm of the Kaküno. Touted as the perfect pen for children and adult beginners, its superb nib makes the Kaküno worthy of a look by even experienced fountain pen users.
Each pen comes with a gray body, but the red, blue, green, orange, pink, or gray cap choices make this a fun-looking pen despite the subdued color of the body. (Unless you choose gray. But why would you?) I chose the orange version— though the green one tugged at me, too— because I almost always choose orange if it’s an option. AND it matches my new Rhodia dotPad. Which, of course, is critical.
Pilot uses sturdy plastic for the body, and a hexagonal shape that keeps this clipless pen from rolling off of a desk. The snap cap is quick and easy to remove and replace, and posts solidly. The triangular(ish), semi-transparent section is less severely molded than that on the Lamy Safari, but should help newbies settle into a proper and comfortable grip. The pen is LIGHT- just 13 grams (9g body, 4g cap)— which is why it’s such an appealing pen for children. If you require heft in your pens, move along. But if you like a bit of fun AND and an awesome nib, keep reading.
When I look at the end of the Kaküno’s cap, I see a little face. It reminds me of that kid’s expression in “Home Alone” when he finds out that he is, in fact, home alone. “OH NO!” I’m not sure if this is an intentional feature, but I think it’s kind of cute.
The most light-hearted feature is the smiley face on the pen’s steel nib. It’s hard to stay mired in a sour mood with a happy face looking up at you as you tackle your work. The smile performs an important function while also providing a little levity. It signals the correct orientation of the nib to kids—or even to uninitiated adults—who might not be quite sure how to correctly hold a fountain pen. If you see a grin, you’re doing it right!
Even the word Kaküno, which means “to write” in Japanese, contains a tiny smile! KAKÜNO. See the eyes over the grin the “u” makes? Cute.
Where this pen stops kidding around is in the nib’s performance. My happy little nib is a fine—medium nibs are also available—and the line is super-precise, clean, and crisp. It is AWESOME. Even with such a fine nib (more like a western extra-fine, or finer), the flow is generous and the line consistent and smooth. It honestly knocked my socks off. (It’s true. I’m writing this in bare feet.)
I choose to keep things simple— as a beginner might— and installed a Blue/Black Pilot-Namiki cartridge that I happened to have in my ink stash. The Kaküno can be outfitted with a CON-20 or CON-50 converter, but I’m probably going to stick with the cartridges for now. One black cartridge is included with the pen but a converter is not, which is another reason why the Metropolitan wins the empirical “best value” contest.
I’ll be attending a conference in July and am already planning to take my Kaküno to Indy with me. I hate taking dear or pricey pens when I travel in case they get waylaid in the airport shuffle or I just stupidly leave them behind (unlikely, but possible). For that reason, my Lamy Safaris, Pilot Metropolitans, and now, this Pilot Kaküno—all with lightweight price tags— are the perfect candidates for travel.
The Kaküno is a low-stress, high amusement pen that makes writing fun and easy for kids, adult novices, and even veteran users. The nib’s happy face makes me smile, but it’s the nib’s performance that REALLY lights up my face.
It’s pure joy. Ü
The Pilot Kaküno is available from JetPens for $16.50. The CON-20 and CON-50 converters are also available, along with Pilot/Namiki cartridges. There are no affiliate links in this post. Thanks, again, to Elaine at JetPens for making this post possible.
For the official Pen Addict’s take on the same pen, check out Brad Dowdy’s review HERE.
Bob, of My Pen Needs Ink, reviews the Kaküno HERE.