The Kuru Toga dive: for some the greatest thing since sliced bread, for others an overhyped and overpriced pencil. But one thing is for sure, I keep getting comments on my Dive post from a year ago and I see little to no accurate information of what’s actually going on with these pencils. Thus, I decided to put a thread together with all things Dive.
Lead size: 0.5mm.
Mechanism: Automatic feed, both through lead sleeve retraction (i.e. the usual auto feed mechanism on Orenz Nero, Pilot Automac, S30 etc) as well as through a mechanism coupled to the kuru toga rotating engine (the big selling point of this model). Clicker button on the back. Uncapping the pen will always reveal the exact same amount of lead coming out of the sleeve, since the cap pushes on the automatic feed mechanism. The amount of lead the mechanism feeds can be regulated from the tip in five intervals (from min to max).
Construction: Black coated metal clip. The rest of the pen is plastic, with a coat of paint that varies depending on the model. Magnets hold the cap in place both in the front and back of the pen. A small window reveals a rotating tube inside the pen, with the kuru toga logo on it.
List price: 5000 yen (5500 with tax)
The whole auto feed mechanism is explained in this post (in Japanese), there’s also some images of the dive taken apart.
Note that fully taking apart the Dive is a very bad idea, most probably you won’t be able to put it back together since many parts are assembled inside a sealed tube so that no debris enters and affects the mechanism.
1st gen (第一弾)
Model and serial
Grand Blue - M5-50001P.GB グランブルー
Quantity - 5000 units
Release day - February 10, 2022
Current resale price - 25000 yen unboxed, 30000-40000 boxed
Peculiarities - It’s the only model with a glossy finish, all of the other models have a matte finish.
Methods of acquisition - A few units were allocated to some stationery stores in Japan (2 to 8 per store as far as I know). They were allowed to take reservations from about a week in advance, which hasn’t been allowed for later models. It was never sold officially on online retailers nor overseas.
2nd gen (第二弾)
Model and serial
Moon night blue - M5-5000 1P.MN ムーンナイトブルー
Cascade blue - M5-5000 1P.CC カスケードブルー
Quantity - 5000 units each
Release day - November 4, 2022
Current resale price - 10000-15000 yen
Methods of acquisition - The new colors were leaked on a Chinese website, so hype made getting these pens at release quite hard. Again, a few units were allocated to each store but now no reservations could be made. You could be notified by phone when the pens were up for sale on that store, since some stores were 1 or 2 days late to the release. The sales were limited to 1 pen per person, so in order to get two colors you had to find to two stores with enough stock.
3rd gen (第三弾)
Model and serial
Twilight orange - M5-5000 1P T.4 トワイライトオレンジ
Dense green - M5-5000 1P D.6 デンスグリーン
Abyss blue - M5-5000 1P A.33 アビスブルー
Quantity - In theory unlimited, in reality very slow restocks (in batches of 5000 one would assume, although we don’t know)
Release day - March 3, 2023
Current resale price - 9000-13000 yen
Peculiarities - The packaging changed from a shiny blue cardboard box to a matte black cardboard box with a lid. Items sold overseas through the Uni website don’t include this packaging, but include some additional goods (stickers).
Methods of acquisition - Again, the colors were leaked on the Chinese website and it was impossible to find them on stores even on release day. It wasn’t officially sold online in Japan, but some units were allocated to the overseas Uni store for the first time.
Are the three blues the same?
You could think, what kind of genius decided to make three different blue models with so little difference? And no worries, Uni is self aware that it was confusing. Anyway, they are different. 1st edition is easy to identify since it’s glossy, the other two are harder to tell apart.
I used the dive quite a lot when I got it, and I was impressed by the mechanism. I never had to click the button to manually feed lead, and the rotating auto feed was so good that the lead sleeve never really scratched the paper.
The release of the Dive has been massive both within the Japanese enthusiast community as well as overseas. This has made the pen virtually impossible to get without going to resale sites like Mercari or Yahoo Auctions and paying 2 to 8 times the list price, depending on the model. Although collectors are keen to pay those premiums for old and rare models, having to pay 300 bucks just because a Japanese middle schooler isn’t getting enough pocket money from their parents is a fair reason to be angry. Other people criticise the pen because they consider that 5000 yen is too much for a full plastic pencil.
Mercari resalers aside, we have to understand that having a successful 5000 yen model on the Japanese market is incredibly difficult. One of my favourite pencils, the Pilot Fumi Laku, was also a list price 5000 yen model when it was made. We know that only 5000 units * 3 colours were made during its first year in production, and then two years later it was discontinued. Now what? The pencil isn’t made anymore and if you want one you have to go and pay 4x list price on resale sites. So in my opinion that’s the genius behind the Dive marketing: You make 5000 units (which is what you would make anyway) and market it as a super limited product, have collectors go nuts over it. Rinse and repeat with new colours. It’s annoying, but it’s a way to have the product not flop.
Also, some people seem to think that Mitsubishi is artificially keeping the supply low, but I’m not sure that’s the case. I’ve talked with some stationery stores and it seems like the supply for other high end pencils (S30, the new Orenzs etc) is also pretty low, it’s just that there’s not enough resale value for kids to buy out the products at release day.