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The Fountain Pen Revolution Tanoshii (incl Urushi Art and Junior versions)


Jamerelbe
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Fountain Pen Revolution Tanoshii – Welcome to (or from) Japan??

In August 2020, the folks at Fountain Pen Revolution began “teasing” a new pen design that they were getting ready to release.  The FPR Tanoshii, and the Tanoshii Junior were (as far as I can recall) the first pens in their range to be designed and made outside of India.  Kevin’s partners are based in Japan – though an online search pens themselves might be made in Taiwan? 

I liked the look of these pens, but not quite enough to be ready to shell out for one.  That perspective changed, though, when FPR started selling a “Urushi Art” version (or rather, versions) of the larger pen, with attractive and vivid designs on the barrel of the pen.  A, *ahem*, fairly significant birthday was coming up, so I placed an order…  Kevin kindly included a Junior version as well, so I could compare and contrast (and, if I wished, publish a review!) – I mention that up-front because, as hard as I try to be impartial in my reviews, I prefer to be up-front about anything that could (unwittingly) skew influence my perspective.

 

The Tanoshii line of pens are the most expensive in Kevin’s range – but the moment you get them in hand you’ll see why.  They’re clearly manufactured to a high standard.  I’m not going to ‘score’ the pen for the different categories listed below – but will try to give a clear indication of where they land.

 

One last thing to mention up-front: this review will focus primarily on the Urushi Art version of the full-sized pen – but will make frequent comparisons to the Tanoshii Junior. 

 

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Appearance & Design

For the most part, the FPR Tanoshii and Tanoshii Junior counterpart conform to a fairly standard (and elegant) pen design.  The cap screws snugly over the grip section, with only a slight step-down between cap and barrel.  The pen is at its girthiest around the cap-band, and tapers slightly the top of the cap and the bottom of the barrel.  The full-sized Tanoshii sports gold-plated trim (clip, bands and nib), while the Junior has chrome-coloured trim – I’d like to see both options available for both sizes of pen, but don’t know whether that’s in the works.

 

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The clip is one of the more distinctive features of the Tanoshii pens – it swoops down from near the top of the pen to terminate on a ball-shaped attachment, which can be made to roll as it glides over the fabric of a pocket or pen case.  I find the clip holds the pen quite firmly in place in my pocket – which is doubly important when you’re carrying a piece of art around!  The other distinctive feature is the ornamental pattern inscribed onto the cap band – I wasn’t really attracted to this at first, especially on the chrome band of the Tanoshii Junior (I’m not normally a fan of ‘flashy’ pens).   I have to say though it’s grown on me over time.  

 

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Size Comparison (top to bottom): TWSBI Diamond Mini, FPR Tanoshii Junior, FPR Tanoshii full-size (urushi), Lamy Safari, TWSBI Diamond 580 AL

 

I really like the materials Kevin chose for the manufacture of these pens: The cracked-ice style acrylics are brightly coloured with moderate translucency (you can select from blue and orange barrels paired with solid black grip section, cap and finial; or a ruby barrel paired with white grip section, cap and finial).  If you prefer a more understated option, you can purchase an all-black version – which I believe forms the base for the Urushi Art versions of the pen.

 

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FPR Tanoshii Junior - Ruby/White version

 

Here, obviously, is where things really got interesting for me.  The Urushi Art versions of the pen are brightly coloured, and absolutely gorgeous.  The artwork on the two ‘plainer’ versions of the pen (Green Genji and Golden Cloud) are made up purely, as far as I can tell, of layers of urushi lacquer and gold metallic powders; while the other four pens boast an elaborate artwork / decal (Red Phoenix, Blue Dragon, Red Dragon, and Black Dragon).  I was keen to buy one of the plainer pens, but Kevin urged me to go for one of the more decorative pens… so I opted for the Red Phoenix.  [I’m still really tempted by the Green Genji, but… my wallet keeps telling me no!]

 

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FPR Tanoshii Urushi Art - Red Phoenix 

 

According to FPR’s website, “Each FPR Tanoshii Urushi Art pen is its own masterpiece. They feature the original Tanoshii design and filling system but turned into a work of art by skilled craftsmen using Japanese Urushi art.”  Rather than try to describe the urushi technique, I’ll also include here a word from the manufacturer, as Kevin from FPR passed it on to me: “Urushi arts in the pens are done by applying different colors of Urushi, gold and silver metallic powders, decorative ultra-thin golden/ colorful paper for different themes. Then applied transparent layers of Urushi called “Ki-narinuri” over and over and one by one. After each layers of Urushi, Urushi needs to be dried and polished for smooth feelings.”

 

If I’m reading that correctly, it means the Red Phoenix on my pen is some kind of paper artwork that’s been carefully adhered around the surface of the pen, and lovingly lacquered into place.  Not as impressive a feat as an individually painted design, to be sure – but it’s amazing to look at nonetheless, and for someone (like me) who can’t justify spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a pen… this is a great alternative.  It also creates a kind of ‘three-dimensional’ appearance, with the design sitting slightly proud of the pen barrel – you can also ‘feel’ the design elements under the lacquer of the pen.

 

Construction & Quality

As I mentioned in my introduction, this is the highest production quality pen that FPR have produced to date – and (almost) everything about it screams ‘quality’.  The acrylic pen parts are expertly machined; the cap threads are smooth, and produce an excellent airtight seal; inner threads of the grip section are made of metal (stainless steel), and thread smoothly and firmly into the barrel.  I was gifted a Pilot Custom Heritage 91 last year (thanks to a YouTube giveaway by Alesa of the Inky Rocks channel!) – and I’d say the production quality of the Tanoshii is pretty comparable, though minus the gold nib!

 

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The Urushi Art seems quite robust, and won’t easily wear off the pen – but obviously will benefit from gentle handling.  This isn’t a pen I carry with me everywhere – though of course you can if you want to!

 

Weight & Dimensions

The FPR Tanoshii and Tanoshii Junior are both very light – 21.7g  vs 17.6g respectively – with roughly 1/3 of the weight residing in the cap. 

 

The full-sized Tanoshii is 135mm long capped, and 124mm uncapped – you can post the pen if you wish, but it’s not recommended for the Urushi Art version (in case it mars the pen).  The Junior version is 11.4cm capped, and 9.7cm uncapped – which in my hands is just a little too short for comfortable extended use.  Posted, it extends to 12.9cm, which works much better for me.  I do wish it posted just a *little* bit more securely onto the back of the barrel, but that’s only a very minor nitpick on my part. 

 

The diameter of the pen at its widest (cap band) is 14mm – this tapers to 10mm towards the bottom of the barrel, while the grip section tapers from 11cm (near the threads) down to 10mm (near the nib).  That’s pretty much in the ‘sweet-spot’ for me.

 

Nib & Performance

When the Tanoshii was first released, it was only available with JoWo nibs in F and M – it’s designed to take standard #6 JoWo screw-in units, so you can easily swap in replacements if you wish.  The advantage (for me) of waiting a while to purchase is that Kevin managed to source some nib units that are compatible with the JoWo threading, but can accommodate FPR nibs – so I ordered mine with a two-tone FPR Ultraflex nib (for an extra US$21).  The Junior pen takes a screw-in nib unit with FPR’s standard #5.5 nib – Kevin kindly included an ultraflex nib in this pen too.  The nib units in both pens come with plastic feeds – but they seem to keep up well with the flow.

 

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FPR #6 Ultraflex nib (two-tone)

 

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FPR #5.5 Ultraflex nib (chrome)
 

I’m a real fan of FPR’s ultraflex nibs – though they can be an acquired taste for some! – and I’ve loved writing with these ones.  The larger #6 nib can flex a little further than the #5.5 with less downward pressure on the tines and in my experience is a little wetter.  Both pens are prone to railroad if you try to flex too far – but don’t require a lot of coaxing to get them back up and running again. 

 

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If you’re not keen on flex nibs, you can order a range of other options in both pens – EF, F and M options are included in the price of the pen; B, stub and standard flex nibs cost a little extra (US$4 at the time of writing); while the ultraflex adds a further US$14 to the cost.  I have yet to try the gold flex nibs – the USA to AUS exchange rate puts that a bit out of my budget for the time being!  In my opinion FPR’s steel nibs are great value for money – though I’ve sometimes found the stub nibs needed some ‘tweaking’ in the past.

 

Aesthetically, the larger nib goes will with the bigger pen, and likewise the smaller nib with the smaller pen – I probably prefer the writing experience with the full-sized pen, but they’re both very pleasant writers.

 

Filling System & Maintenance

The full-sized Tanoshii pen comes with a screw-type standard international converter, though it can also take standard international cartridges.  The Tanoshii Junior comes supplied with a Kaweco-style (push-pull) mini-converter, which doesn’t hold a whole lot of ink – that’s probably the only real down-side to the smaller pen!  I wouldn’t recommend eyedropper filling these pens, as I don’t know how long the metal threads would last without starting to corrode.

 

The pens can be completely disassembled and reassembled for cleaning.  The nib units are friction fit, so can be pulled apart to swap in replacement nibs – I don’t believe FPR sell replacement nib units for the smaller pen, though as mentioned above, the larger pen will accommodate any standard #6 JoWo nib unit.

Cost & Value

At US$70 (plus postage) for the ‘regular’ pen or $65 for the Junior, the Tanoshii is not cheap – but it’s definitely in the ballpark for an American/Japanese collaboration pen, especially given the high quality workmanship.  I can’t praise highly enough the artwork on the Urushi Art version – it nearly doubles the cost of the pen, but given the amount of work involved in their production, I’d say that’s money well spent.  I’m a repeat customer at FPR, and have to say that, much as I love my Himalayas and Jaipurs (especially the V2s),  this is the best pen I’ve bought from them thus far.

Conclusion

The Tanoshii, Tanoshii Junior and Tanoshii Urushi Art are great pens to look at, great pens to write with, and in my opinion are great value for money.  Happy to answer any and all questions below – but thoroughly recommend these pens to anyone who’s interested.

 

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Posted Images

Some closer up shots of the artwork on my pen - trying (and probably failing) to capture the texture of the "urushi artwork".  Hope it gives some idea of the finer details, either way!

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18 minutes ago, david-p said:

Pardon me, but I fail to see what is revolutionary about these pens! 😀

 

David

 

 

Apart from the brand name, not much 😉 - but they're well-made pens, and the finish on the Urushi version is pretty nice for the price!

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That, I think, sums it up. A comparable urushi pen would cost you much more, easily double the price.

 

FPN self-styles as the house of affordable pens, and I think that with these models Kevin has hot on a beautiful and quality model at a really affordable price.

 

I also pondered long getting a Golden Clouds, but for the time being, can't justify the expense. Too many pens already.

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7 hours ago, txomsy said:

That, I think, sums it up. A comparable urushi pen would cost you much more, easily double the price.

 

FPN self-styles as the house of affordable pens, and I think that with these models Kevin has hot on a beautiful and quality model at a really affordable price.

 

I also pondered long getting a Golden Clouds, but for the time being, can't justify the expense. Too many pens already.

 

@txomsyI'd say you've got it in one! It's a nice pen even without the urushi art, but even better value comparatively when you factor in the urushi. Fountain Pen Revolution have sales from time to time, where they'll take 10-20% off - from memory, I took advantage of a sale price to get my Tanoshii (I've had it for some months now).

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  • 2 months later...
On 10/1/2021 at 7:54 AM, david-p said:

Pardon me, but I fail to see what is revolutionary about these pens! 😀

 

David

 

Greetings all. I held off purchasing these pens for many months. I finally did make a purchase of a Guru and and a Jaipur V.1 fountain pen. I was very pleasantly surprised with both pens due to: the light weight of the pen, the amazing softness of the steel nib, the very wet consistent line, the ebonite feed and the piston filling mechanism! Both pensbwere a pleasure to write with......I could not put the pens down. They are great everyday carry pens.

 

The fit and finish of the pens are not perfect.......but they do deliver a great writing experience (although that can be very subjective).

 

If you are looking for a perfect pen, then these pens may not be for you.  There are number of cosmetic flaws. As a warning, these pens do have that vegetal resin smell (which does not bother me) then avoid these pens. But if you want to try a fountain pen at an extraordinary price, then these may work for you. I forgot to mention, all pens offer a flex nib or an ultra flex nib for a very very modest price.

 

These two pens are just fun. When you factor in the price considerations, it is "revolutionary" to be able to buy a fountain pen with all of these features and the option to try a flex nib. The owner was very responsive, and quickly addressed any questions. How do you beat this combination in this day and age? It is "revolutionary"......

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18 minutes ago, mb146 said:

Greetings all. I held off purchasing these pens for many months. I finally did make a purchase of a Guru and and a Jaipur V.1 fountain pen. I was very pleasantly surprised with both pens due to: the light weight of the pen, the amazing softness of the steel nib, the very wet consistent line, the ebonite feed and the piston filling mechanism! Both pensbwere a pleasure to write with......I could not put the pens down. They are great everyday carry pens.

 

The fit and finish of the pens are not perfect.......but they do deliver a great writing experience (although that can be very subjective).

 

If you are looking for a perfect pen, then these pens may not be for you. As a warning, these pens do have that vegetal resin smell (which does not bother me) then avoid these pens. But if you want to try a fountain pen at an extraordinary price, then these may work for you.

 

These two pens are just fun. When you factor in the price considerations, it is "revolutionary" to be able to buy a fountain pen with all of these features. The owner was very responsive, and quickly addressed any questions. How do you beat this combination in this day and age? It is "revolutionary"......

 

Hi @mb146, thanks for the comment.  I agree with you, FP Revolution's lower end pens are good products for great prices - the Himalaya V1 especially is amazing value for money.  I'm also a particular fan of their Darjeeling - though it comes with plastic rather than ebonite pens, it's substantial in size, with glorious #6 nibs, for a low low price.  I think David's (tongue in cheek?) comment was more about the Tanoshii pens - which are, in truth, not particularly 'revolutionary' in terms of design.  But they're really nice pens nonetheless, and though more expensive, they're pretty good value for money too!

 

Glad you're enjoying your FPR pens - I've got another one on the way right now, though it's been stuck in Illinois (with a USPS affiliate?) for the past two weeks!

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  • 5 months later...

I have the Golden Clouds version.  It is a beautiful work of abstract art.  I got rid of the plastic feed, using flexible nib factory's J6E Jowo compatible feed and collar.  I upgraded the nib to one of FPR's own 14K nibs.  It is a great writer, as good as anything that I own at much higher price levels.  It looks elegant, and writes reliably enough to be used daily in a business environment.

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