Want to know how to get me to buy anything? Stick Totoro or Kiki on it. I grew up on Miyazaki films and was never able to find any swag or toys with the characters when I was a kid. Peanuts, Disney Princesses and such were everywhere but never any Catbus, dust sprites or Jiji the cat. So, now as an adult with access to “disposable income,” I enjoy feeding my inner child the occasional treat.
The most recent limited edition Kurutoga Studio Ghibili Mechanical Pencils ($14 each) were a must-buy for me. I had to choose between the Totoro, Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service designs but who was I kidding? A pink barrel with Jiji printing on it was always going to be the winner.
Kurutoga pencils are popular for the self-turning lead function. Everytime you lift up the lead rotates slightly. I am a compulsive pencil turner because I did not grow up with this self-turning feature so I am not sure I really notice the advantage of this. Especially with the thin 0.5mm leads, I am not sure how beneficial self-turning mechanical leads are.
As a lefty, I still smear what I draw when I use standard graphite lead. I know there are some less-smeary options available but for this review I used the lead that shipped with the pencil. It was nice and dark and reasonably soft but that, of course, meant it would also be easy to smudge.
There is a teeny tiny eraser under the cap on the end of the pencil but I prefer to use a nice block eraser when I use one but its always nice to have something to use in a pinch.
If you like inner-child-inspiring graphics on your mechanical pencil, I can’t recommend this more highly. I get a wave of delight every time I pull this pencil out of my daily carry case. I know folks love the Kurutoga self-rotating ability but this feature is lost on me. If you prefer a more understated mechanical pencil with the self-rotating option, other 0.5mm (or even 0.3mm) options are available starting at $5.50.
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I have a few kurutogas but like you said, since I instinctively turn the pencil whenever I pick it up, I think I’m undoing any of the benefits of the design