I will admit, deciding on what pen to review out of my big long backlog has been really tough. I actually had a different pen in mind prior to starting this review, but after using the lot of them over the past few months, I decided to go with this one, because (spoiler alert), I kind of just want to get this over with and retire the pen for looks only. Don’t get me wrong, I really like this pen, but I’m also a user before a collector, so if a pen doesn’t live up to the standard then it moves from user usefulness to collection usefulness. Anyway, let’s get started shall we?
Does this pen look super awesome? Yes! I love it
Another confession, I bought this pen purely for it’s looks and because I got fomo from not having a pen in my collection with a bunny beautifully painted (or printed?) on. This is a Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Fountain Pen. It uses a combination of the highly acclaimed maki-e technique of lacquering and affixing gold or silver leaf onto the pen body (and cap in this case). It’s actually an incredibly labour intensive process which makes maki-e pens equally incredibly expensive. This one however was considered ‘cheap’ for a pen of this quality, which made it a more ‘affordable’ option for owning this in my collection. I believe the reason is that it is not a full maki-e pen, with parts of the the gold leaf being printed on in addition to some of the hand-i-work.
The pen comes in quite beautiful packaging. First, a fibrous origami paper-like sleeve which is different than the basic white paper sleeve my 3776 Century box came in. Inside the sleeve is a wooden carry box with a plush red cushion for the pen to sit in. It’s beautiful, but the boxes just go in another box in the end. The pen comes with a converter as well as a cartridge, the cartridge of which jumps right into a box of other unused cartridges just cause.
The pen itself is rather slim and smaller than anticipated, which is usually a good thing for me because of my small hands. Measuring about 13.5cm (5 3/8″) it’s one of the shorter pens I have but not the shortest! Here’s a pic with some comparison of my few gold-trimmed pens. Left to right: TWSBI ECO rose gold, Platinum Kanazawa, Pelikan M600 Vibrant Orange , and Pilot Lucina.
The pen is quite gorgeous, a clean lacquered black finish on the cap and barrel with gold rhodium accents at finial, clip, cap base and barrel base. There’s also gold around the nib section and between the grip and rest of the barrel. On the cap sits a gold Moon illustration and the barrel features the Rabbit among some gold vegetation. The nib is an 18k Platinum F nib, but quite different than my Century Oshino which was a much larger nib featuring the classic heart shaped breather hole. It’s a more minimalist aesthetic, reminding me more of Lamy nibs.
This is a light pen, mostly in part to it being much slimmer. It feels well balanced in my hand though, and the grip and length all suit my hand quite well. This is about as far as the positivity on the pen goes for me. I really wanted to love this pen, and it is still one of the most beautiful pens I own, but there are ‘buts’.
The nib is a typical platinum level scratchy yet smooth feel, which isn’t a problem. As I’ve touted before, I love my Oshino and it’s scratchy nib. Perhaps it’s the 18k gold that makes it a little too soft, but I found that I had very little control using this pen. I couldn’t weight my writing or drawing accurately enough to adjust to the pen’s semi-flex nature. That being said, there is a slight flex to the nib which makes doodling those swirly stuff quite satisfying, but makes drawing consistent linework kind of hell. On top of that, the ink I started off using in the pen was Blackstone Sydney Harbour Blue, which is a very cool sheeny ink that takes forever to dry. Both that and this Noodler’s ink were subject to lots of nib creep.
Drawing with the pen is the same issue regarding control. I probably could learn to adapt to it and develop a style around using a pen like this, but my minimal effort did not get me very far and I wasn’t motivated to try, unfortunately. So, in conclusion, everything is excellent about this pen but it didn’t align with my writing/drawing needs. Sad face. It seems a little petty to blame a pen for poor penmanship, but I do think my writing is much worse when I use this pen compared to some of the other ones. That being said, I also want to work on my penmanship! Getting green with envy over some of the wonderful pages of writing other reviewers have!
This is harder for me to answer because of my experience with the pen. But almost all other reviews I’ve seen of this pen have been wonderfully raving and very positive. So to start, if you’re interested in a maki-e pen but can’t afford the upwards of $3000 options out there, this is a perfect alternative. The quality of the art is amazing and the pen itself is well built and beautifully ornamented. The price tag is also quite reasonable in pen-world standards, for a gold nibbed pen of this quality. It’s not cheap either, so I would still do your research before biting the bullet. The pen comes in 4 or 5 other designs of the same quality, so there’s also options for the less bunny-crazy like me.
The funniest or silliest thing is, that I keep looking for new fine nibbed pens to replace my cheapest and most used Pilot Penmanship, but for what reason? So far, nothing has really compared to the control I get with the penmanship or the extra fine-ness of the nib. My next test is for the final boss of Japanese fountain pens, Sailor. dun dun dun. I know, I should have one by now, but those are expensive! There’s no reasoning around this, since I do own more expensive pens than the cheapest Sailor out there. But back to the earlier reasoning, why should I look for a pen to replace a pen that works perfectly fine? Because it’s too ‘cheap’? It’s a $10 pen. But it has also got the most use and value for me thus far since starting this journey. Perhaps I just need to justify to myself that if I pay more for a pen I’m going to get a better result. Either I’m just lying to myself, or I’m just not looking in the right place. So, if I’m still going to be pursuing this attempt, the next steps will be a Sailor as I have heard they have extremely delicate yet smooth nibs, as well as the UEF from Platinum — I’m almost scared that one will be TOO thin. We’ll have to see.
- Beautiful craftsmanship
- Maki-e qualities are top notch
- Balanced in hand
- Smooth (with classic Platinum nib resistance) ink flow
- Great giftbox packaging
- semi-flex nib may be hard to control
- ink seems to leak into cap, dirtying the grip edge
- On the pricier side
I have inked this with my standard doodling ink – Noodler’s Heart of Darkness. It’s an excellent ink, dries relatively fast, bulletproof, waterproof, and the bottle is huge (90ml) which means it will basically last me forever. It is also quite a black-black ink, which is perfect for me when I use it for my everyday doodling. The black matches my brush pen blacks, which is also a plus.
The only thing crappy about the ink is that it ONLY comes in this huge 90mL bottle, and that it comes with a free pen that I have no need for. Such it is —into the pen graveyard it goes.
Thanks for reading! One more checked off the backlog ✔️