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  1. Disclaimer: I enjoy doing mini ink reviews for my personal reference, and I'd like to share them with others if they might be of help to gain an insight into the ink's appearance and performance. I generally don't have time to put together super comprehensive reviews, like some of our fantastic reviewers here do (thank you so much for your hard work!), but hopefully these mini reviews will still be useful as another point of reference. Maruzen Athena - Sepia Brown This ink comes in beautiful old-style bottles and is available for sale from Japanese "Maruzen" book stores. I believe at some point it was imported for sale in the U.S. by Nanami Paper, but it seems to have been out of stock for a while. I bought my bottle at Maruzen on my recent visit to Japan. Athena Sepia is a rich and dark red-toned brown. It is so saturated and dark that you will likely not see much of any shading with finer nibs, even on fountain pen-friendly paper. I personally like red-leaning browns, and this is my kind of dark brown--as opposed to more green-gray-leaning Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Guri. I am not 100% sure if this ink is made for Maruzen by Sailor, but it might be. I remember reading something to that extent a while ago. It does have the typical Sailor Jentle ink behavior and consistency. Flow is good but not excessive (depends on your pen), lubrication is good, I have not observed any feathering on good paper. Drying time varies based on paper used and pen, but it's not very long (subjectively). Despite the lack of shading in writing with fine nibs and the darkness of the color, it's actually fairly interesting in its constituent dye colors. So if you like to do a bit of water brush drawing with your fountain pen inks, this is a good ink for that purpose. There's a kind of pink brown component, and a warm golden component. There's even some green, as can be seen on the edges of the paper towel drop "chromatography". The ink has moderately good water resistance--clearly legible lines remain and not too much smears off to obscure original writing. This ink doesn't sheen for all practical purpose. I have not observed any smearing after the ink has dried. I am posting photographs (color-corrected) and scans of this ink and other inks in the general brown color family for comparison. Papers used in this review are: Fabriano Bioprima 4mm dot grid - a kind of ivory color, lightly textured, uncoated Rhodia Dot Pad 5mm dot grid #16 - bright white (perhaps with a slight lavender tinge) Nakabayashi Logical Prime notebook - coated and super smooth ivory-toned Japanese paper, shows things like sheen and hue variation pretty well (Image source: http://www.nanamipaper.com/products/maruzen-athena-ink.html) Photographs in diffuse daylight shade: On Fabriano Bioprima: On Nakabayashi Logical Prime paper: Scans: Nakabayashi Logical Prime paper:
  2. white_lotus

    Sailor For Maruzen Athena Sepia

    I'd taken some of the pics earlier, but only now getting to posting the review. Sailor makes inks for the Maruzen chain of stores under the Athena brand name. I'm not sure how widely they are available at the different stores. There have been some LE inks, but the Sepia is supposedly normally available. I received a sample from a generous FPN member. I hope someday to be able to acquire a whole bottle. There are a lot of other inks labeled "sepia," and this one is not the ultimate sepia. It's very good however. So having it in your ink wardrobe is not bad. Tried on Mohawk via Linen and Hammermill 28lb Inkjet paper. The photo here I just couldn't get the right color. One way too dark, another too red. In this it seems a bit too dark towards black. You can see the burgundy undertone in the wipe tests. An angled view. Again too black looking. You can see in the lighter parts of the shady notes the brownish tone. The ink held up well to water. Not eternal like Athena herself, but decent. The actual color here is quite accurate I think. Best of the bunch by far.
  3. visvamitra

    Maruzen Nihombashi Renga

    Maruzen is a big brand department store in Japan. They carry their own line of pens and inks named Century and Athena. It seems most of their inks are made by Sailor. I'm not sure how many inks they offer at the moment but I know they have some stunning colors in the line up. It seems follwoing inks were / are offered to customers: Akane (limited edidion, Nihomnashi branch) Eternal Blue hatobanezu Lemon Midori Renga River Blue Sepia (Athena branch)If anyone is able to complete the list, I would be grateful. By means of exchange I've managed to get a bottle of Renga. The jewel Sailor bottle looks nice but the cap feels cheap and, to be honest, I prefer regular Sailor bottles. Renga is really great color that I enjoy a lot. The ink feels smooth and behaves well in most pens - I had issues with it in Graf von Faber-Castell Ambition: the ink used to dry out in the nib and cause hard starts. in other pens however it's behaviour was flawless. Drops of ink on kitchen towel Software ID Tomoe River, Perun, Jowo 1,1 Leuchtturm 1917, Kaweco Sport Classic, B Moleskine, Perun, Jowo 1,1 Rhodia, GvFC Intuitio, M Lyreco, GvFC Intuitio, M Mini-comparioson
  4. jasonchickerson

    Five Pine-Y Sailor Greens

    Sailor makes such fantastic inks, especially greens. Spurred by the generosity of our very awesome Claudia, I've put together a five-way comparison of pine green Sailor inks. You know, for those of you who need a reason to buy more. Er, right. Thanks, C.! Writing Samples http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0123.jpg Lamy 2000 F/M on Clairfontaine Triomphe http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0124.jpg Lamy 2000 F/M on Rhodia R http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0121.jpg Lamy 2000 F/M on Tomoe River The first thing I noticed in comparing these inks is how similar Tokiwa-matsu (current version) is to the discontinued Epinard. In writing, they are close enough to identical to my eye. Unless one plans some pointed pen calligraphy (see below) or other specialized use, owning one is enough. If I had to choose one, I'd pick Tokiwa. It is more lubricated and in a broad nib pen, which I didn't use here, will sheen more. The real standout for me in this comparison was Maruzen Jade, which is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. It's like someone asked J. Herbin to recreate Tokiwa/Epinard and this dreamy, muted wisp of an ink is what they came up with. I love it. The two Kobes were also less saturated than Tokiwa/Epinard, but they differ in hue more than Jade. The Kobes also felt thinner and less lubricated than the other three inks here, making them less pleasant to write with. Swatch Washes (three times fast!) http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0119.jpg Sakura Koi Water Brush on Clairfontaine Triomphe http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0118.jpg Sakura Koi Water Brush on Rhodia R http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0120.jpg Sakura Koi Waterbrush on Stilman & Birn Gamma Series I'll let the swatches stand for themselves, except to say that they all show very little water resistance. I would not expect any of these inks to hold a line for pen and ink washes. I'm so sure that I didn't bother trying. And for those that are unfamiliar with Stilman & Birn, they make some of the best sketching journals around. This is cotton rag paper more akin to watercolor paper than stationary. Chromatography http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/croma_FUJ0128.jpg From left, Tokiwa-matsu, Epinard, Maruzen Jade, Kobe #1 and #49 Each chromatography strip received a single drop of ink. The larger diameter circle and apparent amount of ink in the Tokiwa-matsu suggests that ink has a higher amount of lubrication/surfactant. Interestingly, though Tokiwa is more complex than the other inks here, all these inks save Kobe #49 utilize the same or very similar dyes in different combinations. #49 lacks the more waterfast dark blue dye that I suspect is responsible for sheen in the other inks. Purty Writing (that's Texas twang, ya'll) http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0125-Edit.jpg Zebra G nib (dipped) on Original Crown Mill Pure Cotton Tokiwa-matsu has become one of my go-to inks for pointed pen calligraphy. It behaves extremely well, holds a fine hairline and works on many papers. The only downside of Tokiwa for calligraphy is that when this much ink is put down, the ink sheens so heavily red that it no longer appears green. Maruzen Jade performs just as well as Tokiwa, sheens just a bit, and maintains its green hue. I would definitely add this to my calligraphy ink line-up. The other inks simply don't have the lubrication/viscosity properties required for this type of calligraphy out of the bottle. Plus, though they lack saturation, they show almost black on the page. http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0126.jpg http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0126-2.jpg Equally useable but Jade stays green, while Tokiwa sheens red Conclusion If I could pick one ink of the five shown here, it would be Tokiwa-matsu. I love the color, love the sheen, love the bottle. Luckily, it is one the only ink shown here that is available outside Japan without pricey importing through a third party. I am taken with Maruzen Jade, as well. But it's long gone, I'm told. Kobe inks are available through Cool Japan on Ebay ($20).
  5. visvamitra

    Maruzen Athena Eternal Blue

    Posted 03 July 2016 - 12:27 Maruzen is a big brand department store in Japan. They carry their own line of pens and inks named Century and Athena. It seems most of their inks are made by Sailor. I'm not sure how many inks they offer at the moment but I know they have some stunning colors in the line up. It seems follwoing inks were / are offered to customers: Akane (limited edidion, Nihomnashi branch) Eternal Blue hatobanezu Lemon Midori Renga River Blue Sepia (Athena branch)If anyone is able to complete the list, I would be grateful. Tinjapan sent me a sample of two of their inks - Eternal Blue and Midori. Thank you Todd Eternal Blue is an intriguing ink - normally I dislike similar hues but this one offers some nice level of complecity that makes it interesting. It'll never become my first choice but I admit I was hooked for a while. Depending on the nib / paper combo the color may vary quite a lot.The ink behaves well but truth be told I've been using it for three days. Drops of ink on kitchen towel Software ID Color Range Tomoe River, Pilot CH 74, M Leuchtturm 1917, Kaweco Sport Classic, B Kokuyo Campus, Pilot CH 74, M
  6. white_lotus

    Sailor Maruzen Nihombashi Akane

    Sailor Maruzen Nihombashi Akane (2017 re-issue) OK, let's start with some history. Long ago, perhaps around 2008, Sailor made some LE inks for the Maruzen Nihombashi store in Tokyo. Each ink was limited to 300 bottles. Fast forward to 2014. By then, the inks were long sold out but Akane had gone down in history as legendary, a grail ink, the best red Sailor had ever made. And there was never, EVAH, to be any more. So it became a mythical ink, perhaps on par with PPS, at least among fans of red inks. Well, all I can say is that sometimes pigs do fly, on rare occasions Hell does freeze over, and Sailor makes inks again that they had said they would never make again. Within the last month or so Maruzen Nihombashi had re-issues of all of their limited edition inks, including Akane. I was fortunate to obtain a bottle from a friend in Japan before they sold out. The ink comes in a Sailor vase bottle without a label. The box has a very nice label. Normally I don't like red inks, but with this one I'm in love. The flow and lubrication are excellent, the handling great, the color not too bright, the shading also great, and on the right paper there is golden sheen. Visvamitra referred to this ink as "FP nectar" and I'd have to agree. The ink is not water resistant. It is Unobtanium. Pen: Pelikan M201 (F-steel) Papers: MvL=Mohawk via Linen, TR=Tomoe River, Hij=Hammermill 28 lb inkjet, Rhodia=Rhodia 90g ivory. Camera: iPhone 7 The iPhone did not pick up on the shading very well. It's much better than shown here.
  7. white_lotus

    Sailor Maruzen Nihombashi Murasaki

    Not so long ago a message appeared in my inbox offering some inks from Japan. Of course this excited me, as these were re-issues of previous Limited Edition inks made for the Maruzen department store in the Nihombashi district of Tokyo. These inks are only available at the store, so they are very difficult to obtain, even more so than the usual Sailor shop-exclusive inks. This particular ink is a rich, deep purple or deep grape hue. It has a heavy dye load, so it's not really very shady. But it has quite a bit of sheen on Tomoe River paper. The ink dries fairly quickly. The reason to have this ink is for it's color. It's just very rich. The flow and lubrication were very good. While taking more effort than usual to completely flush out the pen, there did not appear to be any staining on the converter. The ink is not waterproof, and really doesn't have any water resistance other than the fact of a lot of dye. This spreads everywhere when wet. I have no idea if this ink is actually available even though it was only released perhaps a month ago or so. I don't know how many bottles were produced and available, whether any announcements were made about the release, or if any bottles were left at the end of the day. The Sailor "vase" bottle was packaged in a tall Sailor box with a nice, heavy label. There was no label on the bottle itself or the cap. Apparently, only some bottles had hand-written labels. Pen: Edison Premiere (F-steel) Papers: MvL=Mohawk via Linen, TR=Tomoe River, Hij=Hammermill 28 lb inkjet, Rhodia=Rhodia 90g ivory. Camera: iPhone 7
  8. white_lotus

    Sailor Maruzen Nihombashi Fukurou

    Not so long ago a message appeared in my inbox offering some inks from Japan. Of course this excited me, as these were re-issues of previous Limited Edition inks made for the Maruzen department store in the Nihombashi district of Tokyo. These inks are only available at the store, so they are very difficult to obtain, even more so than the usual Sailor shop-exclusive inks. I wasn't really sure what this ink would be, other than brown in some respect. From the image of the box, it seemed like it would be a deep caramel hue, and this is not far off. The Fukurou has much less dye load than the Murasaki. It's very close to the Sailor Ishida Bungu Hakodate Curry, perhaps a little lighter than that ink. It is not as bright as the Akkerman #22 Hopjesbraun. KWZ Honey is another ink closely resembling this one in color. Most of my review was done using a Pelikan M400 (F). This particular pen I don't think of as "dry" at all, but with this ink I really felt the flow wasn't as generous as typical for Sailor inks. I did try this ink in my typical "testing" pen, and Edison Premiere, and the flow there was better, perhaps what would be called "normal" by most people. The advantage is that you get more shading this way. It's also fairly fast drying on a number of papers. It may be that one has to match this ink to the right pen. But the general handling was very good as expected. I have no idea if this ink is actually available even though it was only released perhaps a month ago or so. I don't know how many bottles were produced and available, whether any announcements were made about the release, or if any bottles were left at the end of the day. The Sailor "vase" bottle was packaged in a tall Sailor box with a nice, heavy label. There was no label on the bottle itself or the cap. Apparently, only some bottles had hand-written labels. [iPhone didn't know how to capture the color of the label, too much red.] Pen: Pelikan M400 (F) Papers: MvL=Mohawk via Linen, TR=Tomoe River, Hij=Hammermill 28 lb inkjet, Rhodia=Rhodia 90g ivory. Camera: iPhone 7 A very lovely color droplet. The ink is not water resistant but doesn't flow so much with running water. After a few minutes on the paper blotting does lift a majority of the ink.
  9. white_lotus

    Sailor Maruzen Nihombashi River Blue

    As I described previously, the limited edition Sailor inks for the Maruzen Nihombashi store were reissued recently. I honestly don't know the full extent of the line but one of the inks is a water resistant blue, River Blue. This is the main distinction for this ink along with a little bit of pink sheen. It's definitely a very professional style of ink, nothing too flashy. There are not that many water-resistant, near waterproof, dye-based inks on the market, and it's a quality that some in the professional and school environment appreciate. The general handling for the ink is typical Sailor, fairly wet, problem-free across a broad range of papers. This ink is an all around pleasant ink, and I don't consider that a negative. Again, I have no idea if this ink is actually available even at the Maruzen Nihombashi store. Or whether more will be made, or when. Pen: Edison Mina (F-steel) Papers: MvL=Mohawk via Linen, TR=Tomoe River, Hij=Hammermill 28 lb inkjet, Rhodia=Rhodia 90g ivory. Camera: iPhone 7 The lighting wasn't so great on this one and the ink appears darker than in reality, not by a lot though.
  10. visvamitra

    Maruzen Athena Hatobanezu

    Maruzen is a big brand department store in Japan. They carry their own line of pens and inks named Century and Athena. It seems most of their inks are made by Sailor. I'm not sure how many inks they offer at the moment but I know they have some stunning colors in the line up. It seems follwoing inks were / are offered to customers: Akane (limited edidion, Nihomnashi branch) Eternal Blue Fukurou (2016 LE) Hatobanezu Kirin Lemon Midori Renga River Blue Sepia (Athena branch)If anyone is able to complete the list, I would be grateful. Ethernautrix sent me a sample of Hatobanezu. Thank you Lisa Hatobanezu does little to thrill me. It's well behaved ink and even water resistant. However I find the color dull and rather boring and if not boring a little depressing. Some of you might enjoy it but I don't. At all. Drops of ink on kitchen towel Chromatography Software ID Color Range Tomoe River, Pilot CH 74, M Leuchtturm 1917, Kaweco Sport Classic, B Rhodia, St Dupont Fidelio, M Water resistance
  11. visvamitra

    Maruzen Nihombashi Midori

    Maruzen is a big brand department store in Japan. They carry their own line of pens and inks named Century and Athena. It seems most of their inks are made by Sailor. I'm not sure how many inks they offer at the moment but I know they have some stunning colors in the line up. It seems follwoing inks were / are offered to customers: Akane (limited edidion, Nihomnashi branch) Eternal Blue Fukurou (2016 LE) Gyokuro Hatobanezu Kirin Koubai Lemon Midori Renga River Blue Sepia (Athena branch) If anyone is able to complete the list, I would be grateful. Tinjapan sent me a sample of two of their inks - Eternal Blue and Midori. Thank you Todd Midori was LE ink that's practically impossible to get at the moment. When I saw it in Gylyf review I was hooked and ready to seriously start looking for it. Happily I've received the sample and while I still think it's nice ink I'll tell you a secret. It's not special. It doesn't lubricate the nib as well as other Sailor inks, it's not very saturated in direr pens. Sure, the color is interesting and it's good ink but in order to make it shine you need special, wet pen. And in such a pen also cheaper inks that are easy to buy in Europe will look great. Drops of ink on kitchen towel Software ID Color Range Tomoe River, Waterman Carene, fine nib Leuchtturm 1917, Kaweco Sport Classic, B Kokuyo Campus, Lamy Al-Star, F
  12. I am looking for single shop inks. I went to Nihombashi Maruzen and got the Eternal blue and Hatobanezu grey. Where are the others? Did I miss any in the Marunouchi store? What are these colors?? See picture. These green boxes are not the store editions .. Correct? Thank you
  13. mehandiratta

    How To Buy Store Exclusive Inks...?

    Hi I have query ... How can we buy Store exclusive inks from Japan... like Maruzen Are there any spotters or persons who can help???
  14. jasonchickerson

    Sailor — Maruzen Akane

    http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0661.jpg http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0661-2.jpg http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0663.jpg Maruzen Akane (left) and its doppelgänger, Rouge Hematite (right) http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0673.jpg Rouge Hematite and Maruzen Akane, Zebra "G" nib on OMC Pure Cotton paper THANKS TO CYBER6 FOR SENDING ME THIS SAMPLE! Akane is a store exclusive for Maruzen pen store in Tokyo. It is a beautiful, super well-behaved red ink. Akane is a dead ringer for the expensive but more available Rouge Hematite. If you avoid the gold glitter in RH (don't shake the bottle), they are practically identical. They sheen the same green-gold. They both smear. They are both hard to clean out of a pen. For my money, I'll take Rouge Hematite because the glitter doesn't show in my daily carry pen and I can use it to effect with calligraphy. Care was taken to ensure color accuracy. This one is pretty much as you see it on a properly calibrated screen.
  15. Cyber6

    Sailor Maruzen - Jade

    Ok.. I just received some birthday presents from Japan.. Thanks to my lovely Nin(k)ja Traffiker.. This is Sailor Maruzen JADE!!!! :wub: It has a more gentle sheen (tone down) reddish-copper all over... You can't see it in the scanner.. Easy to see in person. Is not like some other inks that hits you over the head with it... example below... This is done with a scanner on Canson Tracing Paper (kind of like vellum).. Like Maruzen Akane, this ink NEEDS to be appreciated in person... pictures/scans.. will never do it justice. C.
  16. yogalarva

    Maruzen Athena Sepia

    This is another one of those reviews that has been hard for me to write. Not because it didn’t live up to my expectations, but because it exceeded them so far… This ink sample was sent to me by same kind soul as the Tsuki-yo. It’s a very hard ink to get here in the States, and so far I’ve only found one online retailer who carries it (I’ll get to that later). Maruzen Athena ink is sold in Japan and that’s about the extent of what I know about the brand as a whole. I do know that this ink is a deep, rich brown that is dark enough to be a reliable daily user but just interesting enough to set yourself apart from black and blue users. Because it’s so dark there’s not much for shading, but there is a little bit. Otherwise the behavior is everything I could ask for and more - no feathering, little bleeding, great flow, and some really fantastic water resistance. Alright, here’s the only problem with this ink - you can’t really buy it here. The only place I’ve found is Nanami Paper and you can expect to pay roughly $1/mL to get your hands on a bottle of the good stuff. Is it worth it? That is a question only you can answer. To me it definitely is and as soon as I free up some cash I’m going to buy a bottle. I’m sure that if you try really hard you can find a similar color but probably not the wonderful behavior. If you do find a match, please let me know. :-) This ink was provided to me for the review and I am not being compensated in any way. All opinions expressed above are my own and you are free to disagree with them if you like.





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