Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
January 10, 2016
It has been around eight months since I first set my hands on a Sengoku product and they are currently up to their third full release. For those that are unfamiliar, Sengoku is a newer company out of Japan that is specializing in high end, multi-metal designs while pushing yo-yo innovation though the use of different materials and unique designs. Company owner, Julio Robles, takes quite a bit of pride in coming up with new ways of doing things in order to make his products. While I started off the first review in jest, I can honestly say that, after playing their first two products, this company is no joke and people are starting to take notice. One side effect of the rising popularity is that there had been some mistaken reports that the company was not truly Japanese but importing designs from China. Those reports have since been clarified when a Japanese retailer produced a day trip video with Robles to Sengoku’s contracted Japanese machine shop and filmed the Masamune run being created. With that being said, Sengoku has decided to go a similar route that other companies have taken and outsource a higher end design to a Chinese machine shop in order to keep the retail price down. The difference is that while most companies like CLYW and YYF are outsourcing their bimetals to China, Sengoku did it with the Hideyoshi release… a tri-metal yo-yo with a 7075 body, steel rings over the rims and brass rings in the cup. The big question that always comes up when we hear a company has outsourced their manufacturing to China is “will this harm their quality?” That is something I plan on checking out today with a review of what is being dubbed “the world’s first tri-metal yo-yo”.
• Diameter: 56mm
• Width: 44mm
• Weight: 63.6 grams
• Bearing: Terrapin Delta DryPlay bearing
• Response: IrPads
The Hideyoshi takes some of its design cues from Sengoku’s first release, the Nobunaga. The profile shows off a wing shape design with stainless steel rings covering about two thirds of the outer rims and a large V-shaped catch zone. Where the profile designs differ is that the steel rings are set slightly back from the edge of the rims, leaving a little bit of the pink aluminum to show at the outer edge. This design change is no doubt there to address the rare issue that some had with the rims of the Nobunaga coming dislodged from the body when the yo-yo made harsh contact with a solid surface. The cup design also resembles the Nobunaga down to the step down design that puts a stabilizing weight ring halfway down the inner walls. This time, instead of the step being just a machined feature of the aluminum body, Sengoku decided to place a secondary brass ring in the cup as the step. The floor of the cup is completely flat, making a perfect canvas for Sengoku’s laser etching. The aluminum body is lightly blasted with the only color available at the moment being pink. While the pink is striking I love how the two rings popped against the darker royal blue body I saw on some of the prototype shots. Overall, this yo-yo looks amazing with its elegantly minimalist design approach that cuts any superfluous grooves and flourishes out of the picture.
Brass rims, steel rims… 63.6 grams total weight. At this point I am seriously thinking the empty Dr. Pepper can on my desk weighs more than the aluminum body of this yo-yo. (No, not really, please don’t write about how that can’t be true.) While this yo-yo is super stable, the speed was not what I was expecting from an almost 64 gram yo-yo. I will touch more on that in the play section.
Response and Bearing
Sengoku is still using IrPads for the response that are giving excellent grip during play. For this release they switched to Terrapin’s Delta bearing, which is a C sized dry bearing. While it is smooth and gives excellent spin times, it is a louder bearing. It is also a V-cut string centering bearing. Not as bad as a concave bearing but not my preferred flat bearing either.
The play on this yo-yo is downright crazy. It plays blazing fast or chilled out, even though it could easily be classified in the featherweight category. I never felt like I had to restrain it in order to slow the play down or force it to speed up. If I wanted to chill out and relax the Hideyoshi gave excellent spin times while playing at a relaxed pace. Give it a hard throw and it becomes a speed demon on the string. It is so hard to explain, but it was a treat having a competition designed throw that matched the speed I wanted to play at instead of having to match my speed to the yo-yo. That alone makes this a good design for those who want to perfect their game. They can ramp up the speed of their tricks and routines without having to switch out their yo-yos. Tricks wise, the Hideyoshi can handle pretty much all of them. Grinds are slightly impacted by the raw, stainless steel outer rims and there is still no IGR for thumb grinds, but over all that is some minor nitpicking.
Hideyoshi, Japan’s second “Great Unifier” behind Nobunaga. An interesting name for a yo-yo that brings together three different metals in one harmonious package. The play on this yo-yo is so hard to nail down in words, I highly recommend that if you have the chance to play one that you take it. As for whether the Chinese manufacturing impacted the quality? I don’t have a Japanese sample of the same yo-yo to compare it with, nor do I know what the price would have been if it had been made in Japan. I will say that this easily stands next to every other Sengoku release on the market, so take that for what it is worth. The fact that it clocks in at under $200 just adds to the appeal.