Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai: Ink Review

Shin-Kai (Deep Sea) is one of the three final Pilot Iroshizuku inks to complete the line. These inks, aside from looking great in the bottle, have typically be renown for smooth flow, not drying on the nib, pleasant colors, easy of cleaning, and fast dry-time.

Shin-Kai is a blue-black ink that has a strong gray and purple/red tint to it. I find it to be a rather interesting and unique color from most other ones in this range. It's particularly interesting because it seems to have better shading than most other blue-black inks. I did the review with a Lamy AL-star with a medium steel nib, mainly because I enjoy it and I know it's a pen that you're likely familiar with, if you don't already have one.

LAMY AL-star foutnain pen Ocean blue

Here's my full Shin-Kai review:

Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai Ink writing sample

This ink is a really interesting one to me. It's not like other blue-blacks, especially when you first open the bottle. It almost looks like Kon-Peki when you look at the wet ink on the inside of the bottle cap. When you first put ink down on the page, it's almost a bright royal blue, but then quickly turns much darker and more gray. It's pretty fascinating to see, actually! I show it in the video. You may also notice a red sheen to the ink on the heavier swabs I did. That's not something I saw come out with my ‘normal' writing, but it's probably something you could bring out with a really wet pen.

Blue-black inks are pretty common, it's usually one of the first inks in an ink line, next to black. But not all blue-blacks are created equal. Here are a few that I think are somewhat close to Shin-Kai, or at least ones that are popular and worth comparing.

Diamine Blue-Black
Noodler's 54th Massachusetts writing sample
Noodler's Bad Belted KingfisherPilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai InkPilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo Ink
Diamine Prussian BlueDiamine Indigo

So am I impressed with this ink? The dry time isn't as short as I'd hoped, and that stinks because that's the attribute I desired the most. But it still flows amazingly well, cleans easily, and it still dries in a respectable time. While Noodler's 54th Massachusetts is pretty much my go-to blue-black ink, Shin-Kai definitely has a different appeal, especially with the way the color changes from wet to dry, that's a pretty fun thing to see happen. I think for anyone that really likes Tsuki-yo and wanted something that was a little less navy and more of a true blue-black, Shin-Kai will probably work out great for you. It's definitely not cheap but you get a lot of ink.  Now you have a little more information before you spend your hard-earned pennies.