Pilot really puzzled me (and a lot of other people), because the company’s 100th anniversary was last year (2018), yet for some reason their “100th Anniversary Iroshizuku Inks” didn’t hit the states until March 2019. Better late than never, I guess.
The 100th Anniversary Iroshizuku inks consist of a fairly basic lineup of colors: Benzaiten (pink), Bishmonten (red), Daikokuten (yellow), Ebisu (light blue), Fukurokuju (green), Hoteison (dark green), and Jurojin (purple). As you can see, Pilot didn’t go out on too much of a limb here. Benzaiten, Bishamonten, and Hoteison are probably the most unique, whereas the others appear similar to inks already in the standard Iroshizuku lineup, though slightly different in tone. The inks are named to correspond to each of the “Seven Gods of Good Fortune” 100th Anniversary Pens, and if you have $30,000+ to drop, you can play the ultimate pen and ink matching game! (Or you can buy yourself a new BMW. Your choice.)
The ink that interested me the most, and in the end, disappointed me somewhat, was Bishamonten . The standard Iroshizuku lineup doesn’t feature a “true red” - the colors that many people characterize as “red” tend to lean pink (Tsutsuji and Momiji) or purple/magenta (Yama Budo). So when I saw a new ink advertised as a “red”, I was thrilled. But while Bishamonten definitely appears less pink or purple than any of the existing inks, there’s still a pinkish hue, which is more pronounced in certain lights. I’m still holding out for Pilot to make an actual red ink, and dare I hope for a burgundy?
Hoteison is a green-black ink that has strong undertones of gray to it once it dries. The dark, muted Iroshizuku colors are some of my favorites, including Shin-Kai (blue-black), Syo-Ro (a dark teal-gray-green), Take-Sumi (a charcoal gray) and Tsuki-Yo (blue-black with teal undertones). Hoteison falls into this category, and will get a lot of use even if I already have a lot of similar shades in my collection.
Takeaways and Where to Buy
As always, Pilot makes a quality product, and Iroshizuku inks are among the best and most reliable out there. Bishamonten and Hoteison are no exception. I do have to admit, however, that the 100th Anniversary colors left me a touch disappointed. The two inks I reviewed here are by far the most interesting to me, and they’re a pinkish red and a dark green-black - not exactly imaginative shades. Regardless, these inks will sell well, simply because they’re special edition Iroshizukus, and if you don’t already have similar colors in your collection you can’t go wrong with any of them.
I purchased the two inks featured in this review from Vanness Pens at this year’s Atlanta Pen Show. Hoteison is currently in stock, but Bishamonten is sold out for the time being. Vanness has most of the other colors as well, and I expect they will get at least one other shipment of ink, though I have no insight into how long Pilot intends to make the 100th Anniversary colors before discontinuing them. If they interest you at all, I’d recommend that you purchase these inks now while they’re generally available.
Disclaimer: This post contains links to paid sponsors and affiliates. I purchased the inks featured in this review with my own funds, for my own use, though Vanness Pens did offer me a discount.