The Pilot Kakuno is one of the cutest fountain pens I've ever seen. What can be cuter than having a smiley face printed onto the nib? :-)
This is an affordable entry level fountain pen targeted probably at the younger crowd. Even the packaging has instructions accompanied by cartoon illustrations.
Inside the plastic packaging box, there are the pen and instruction manual. It comes with a disposable cartridge but not a converter. Both the CON-20 and CON-50 converters are usable here. The CON-20 is the squeeze type and the CON-50 is the twisting piston type.
The Kakuno comes in various different colours for the pen cap and body. For the body, there are the opaque white and dark grey.
For the white body, the pen cap colours available are soft versions of pink, blue, yellow and violet. For the grey body, the caps colours are pink, red, orange, green blue and gray. They are all variation of pastel colours.
The instructions are pretty straightforward even if you don't know Japanese.
I like the simplicity of the pen. The whole pen is made of plastic except for the steel nib. The cap is the click on type with no clip.
It's really light and I like it that way.
On the top of the cap are three small holes that are not for ventilation — it would dry out the nib otherwise. The holes are just for decoration.
The typeface on the cap is some cute handwritten font, and the U in Kakuno has a smiley face also.
The back of the pen has two holes that you can see through to the inside. The purpose is unknown.
The grip is a translucent grey. It's not easy to see the remaining ink level but it's possible. The grip has a triangular cross section with all the edges rounded off unlike the Lamy Safari. And the Kakuno has a hexagon body and cap that prevents it from rolling off the table.
The highlight of the pen is the smiley face etched onto the surface of the shiny steel nib. I'm quite certain it's able to elicit the "OMG! That's so cute!" when you show it to your friends. LOL.
The nib is stiff.
Mine has the Fine nib and it produces a nice thin line that's probably a 0.3mm. The line is even thinner than the Lamy Safari's Fine and Extra Fine.
Although the nib is quite sharp, it does not dig into the paper. Writing is smooth and has a tactile feeling that I believe comes from the sharp nib.
For drawing purposes, the line the Kakuno produces is no different from multiliners that give uniform strokes.
The feathering and blobs at the end points are because of the ink and paper combination.
Overall, the Pilot Kakuno is fun pen to use. It is a affordable entry level pen into the world of fountain pens — I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing — lol. However, you should factor in the cost of getting a converter, either CON-20 and CON-50 (recommended), for refillable ink.
The build quality is decent for a pen made of plastic parts. There are plenty of colours to choose from and I can imagine them being paired with the various colours from the Pilot Iroshizuku inks. That would be quite cool, not to mention expensive.
For entry level fountain pens, I would suggest choosing between Kakuno or Lamy Safari.