Ross founded the UK Anime Network back in 1995 and works in and around the anime industry.
Tachikawa Manga Pen
Y'know, it seems these things were all the rage a while back. Throw the word "manga" into a product title, and suddenly everyone goes nuts over it.
The Tachikawa manga pen has, we're told, been specifically designed for manga artists. It has a precision nib for, well, precision drawing, and a special grip to help you hold it. It also has Japanese kanji on it, presumably to make it seem more authentic.
It all sounds very advanced and noble - a pen dedicated to the art of manga. But what you're getting is a plastic fountain pen. So, with the romance fundamentally removed from the product, how does it perform?
Initially I found the nib to be very unhelpful - ink flow was inconsistant, and the nib scratched the paper, which as any artist will tell, you is a pain in the rear when you're trying to draw.
Over time (and with the help of some warm water to remove whatever clot was buggering up the ink flow) the pen has become more stable. The line is ultra-fine and perfect for intricate detail, but the performance is still less intuitive than a decent Gel-ink pen, which performs just as well and is much cheaper.
Whether or not you find this pen a useful tool to your own art is largely dependent on your style - if you draw a lot of intricate detail, it may suit your purposes just fine, but since I draw with slightly thicker lines, I'll stick to gel-ink for my inking needs.
As for my Tachikawa pen, it has found new life with the job of writing entries into my journal - the fine point is perfect for my tiny writing. Maybe not the use the creator intended, but at least it isn't going to waste.
Accurate but the nib can scratch, and a gel-pen will do just as good a job.