Sailor Manyo Inks

Sailor Manyo Ink

Yo, Manyo. Looks like Sailor is giving us even more new inks. This Manyo collection is coming later in the fall, to pen and ink dealers outside Japan (per my own ink dealer, Dan Smith, the Nibsmith).

The Manyo inks come in Sailor’s new square bottle, the 50 ml size, at the MSRP of $24. Now the Nibsmith is listing them for sale at $19, which in the new world of premium ink prices, isn’t bad. It’s 50 ml. The price is better than my new Penlux inks ($26 for 50 ml, albeit limited) and much better than Sailor Ink Studio inks and Bungubox inks in 20 ml bottles.

And, I hate to say this, but, I kind of … like them all?

Well, of course I would. But they are a nice range, like the Pilot 100th Anniversary inks. They look nice individually and together.

Now, I’m not clinically insane. I’m not going to buy the Yamabuki (Saffron), because I just don’t use yellow-gold inks to write. But it does look nice; I could see artists wanting it. Personally, I can resist the three inks in lavender, magenta and interesting purple/burgundy shades, because as lovely as they look, these aren’t colors I use. But they look good. In fact, the lavender one (Nekoyanagi) is so captivating I almost want it. And the burgundy one (Kuzu) could prove to be a lower-priced alternative to Bungbox Sweet Potato Purple.

But my sweet spot is blue and blue-ish inks, so I’ve preordered the four on the left. I predict the one I like the best will be Haha (Glacier Blue), be still my heart; and the one that will be most popular will be Yomogi (Cerulean Blue), because it’s in the teal range that everyone loves.  Sumire is like Sailor Sky High and Sailor Souten, so it’s bound to be pleasing. Lastly, Kikyou (Mariner Blue) looks perfect to me as a work ink that I’ll use often. I love a blue-black with a greenish tint.

Here is  a closeup of the swatches, just flagrantly stolen from the Nibsmith site.

Sailor Manyo Inks

Sigh. Sailor is just unstoppable. I want them to stop, intellectually. But maybe not deep inside.

Ink Review: Bung Box Dandyism

Bung Box Dandyism writing samples

Bung Box Dandyism. This is a very dark green ink, made by Sailor for Bung Box in Japan. It’s an appealing color that in some ways combines the best of Sailor greens. And it perfectly hits the recent craze for very saturated and wet inks. Unfortunately, it’s an expensive ink here in the US, or I think it would be more popular.

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Fountain Pen Favorites for November 2016

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November 2016 kicked off with the best World Series in 108 years, for a Cubs fan. And when it came to fountain pens and ink, the rest of the month was pretty darn good, too. Here are my fountain pen highlights.

1. Sheaffer Targa Green Moiré. The grand slam.

2. Some Great Inks. Montblanc Golden Yellow, a new KWZ, Bung Box Sweet Potato Purple, Bung Box Dandyism. Wow. And if the rain ever stops here, I’ll be able to take photos.

3. Columbus, Ohio. I had a great time at the Ohio Pen Show. I’ll list some favorite things. First, being able to consult Richard Binder, Ron Zorn and Dan Smith. Also, Tim Hofmann’s coffee. Hanging out with friends. The pho restaurant. Robert Mason Co. And above all, the nice people of Columbus and Ohio State. Thinking of you today, Columbus.


Photo by Dafne Cholet, Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

The Perfect Ink To Accompany Turkey Dinner at Cole Porter’s House: Bung Box Sweet Potato Purple

Bung Box Sweet Potato Purple (Omaezaki)

Okay, mind blown.

Bung Box Sweet Potato Purple. I’ll do a review, I suppose. But part of me thinks that all ink reviews are now superfluous. Let’s pull the plug on all the blogs and forums, and just go home. This probably is the best, most interesting fountain pen ink I’ve ever used. Even though it’s purple. Even though it’s been hyped from here to Japan and back.

Know that I’m not a purple fan. Also, when something has a lot of internet hype, I become super wary. Add in a very high price, and the “it’s only available once every three months” manufacturer-created scarcity, and you are describing an ink pretty much guaranteed to make me roll my eyes so far back in my head I’ll fall over backwards.

Just not for me. In fact, spending more than $40 for a bottle of (purple) Bung Box ink ranks below “root canal” and “sending my ten-year-old daughter on a plane by herself” on the list of Things I’ve Willingly Done.

Except, when I finally reached the bottom of that list, I bought Bung Box Sweet Potato Purple on a whim. And then I actually put the stuff in a pen and wrote with it. And mea culpa. This is a fantastic ink.

Bung Box Sweet Potato Purple (Omaezaki)

It’s divinely odd, and oddly divine. It’s a reddish purple, but it kind of looks burgundy, too, except it’s too purple for that. And it has greenish gold sheen, too.

It’s name is officially Sweet Potato Purple (Omaezaki). I feel like “Omaezaki” should be translated as “dayum.” This ink is that cool, that different, that quirky and wonderful. In fact, if you ever want to convert someone to fountain pen use, put Bung Box Sweet Potato Purple in a pen.

Now, we won’t go nuts or anything. No matter how stunning this ink is, it’s still purple, and it’s still crazy expensive. I have no urge for a “backup bottle.” I am quite certain my one bottle will last me forever. There are, and will continue to be, many other inks that are also awesome, most of which have the advantage of being not-purple. And the further advantage of costing far less than $40 a bottle.

But, still, wow. What an ink.

Bung Box Sweet Potato Purple (Omaezaki)

Oh, I know. “Oy with the poodles already.” Stop with the Sweet Potato Purple.

And I shall. At words poetic I’m so pathetic. It’s just an ink. A silly thing. Like the Tower of Pisa, or the smile of the Mona Lisa, the time of the Derby winner, or a turkey dinner. It’s not like anyone wrote a song about those things that might apply here, too. Just saying.

Comparing Parker Penman Sapphire and Bung Box (First Love) Sapphire

Parker Penman Sapphire compared to Bungbox First Love Sapphire

When I got my new bottle of Parker Penman Sapphire (not actually new, but new-to-me), I hemmed and hawed about what pen I should use.

Part of me wanted to put it in a gorgeous Azure Blue Parker Vacumatic, because PPS is a gorgeous blue Parker ink. Another part of me thought, this is a job for my Pelikan M205 blue demonstrator: PPS is an ink that should be appreciated in a demonstrator. While all the votes on Instagram were for the Vac.

But I ended up choosing the beautiful new Kaweco AL-Sport Light Blue with extra-fine nib instead. I’ve got that pen for review, and it deserves a special ink.

Parker Penman Sapphire ink

After a few days of using PPS in the Light Blue AL-Sport, a light bulb went on: I also have Kaweco AL-Sport in raw aluminum with an extra-fine nib. The same pen, the same nib. So I grabbed the second AL-Sport and filled that with what remains of my sample of Bung Box First Love Sapphire, which is often compared to PPS.

You can see the results at the top, and I’ll put some closeup photos on the next page.

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Bung Box First Love Sapphire: Another Glimpse

Bung Box First Love Sapphire writing sample

I know I mentioned a few weeks ago that a friend gave me a sample of my very first Bung Box ink, First Love Sapphire.

And I posted a writing sample from an Aurora Optima with a fine nib.

But here’s a quick look at Bung Box First Love Sapphire from both the Optima and a much different pen, a Kaweco Sport with 1.1 mm calligraphy nib.

I find it really interesting. The ink color is consistent, but the impression it makes, on me at least, is very different.

Pen of the Day: Aurora Optima Blue Auroloide


Aurora Optima Blue/Chrome with fine nib. I do keep using this pen.  It’s hard not to.  Also my friend just got one, so we are pen twins, and I had to get our two matching pens together on a playdate.

Her Optima has Aurora’s cursive italic, which is wide and really neat. It is a very crisp italic, with amazing line variation, and it wrote with the lightest of touches. Mine has a fine nib.


The ink is Bung Box First Love Sapphire.  In this pen, it really has sapphire sparkle.