Sengoku Kenshin
Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
August 21, 2016

Kenshin 00


Sengoku is primarily known for its high quality bi and tri metal designs. They currently only have five models under their belt and four of them incorporate rims clad in some metal other than aluminum. Today I am looking at something radically different in terms of Sengoku products, a mono metal design. The Kenshin, named for the daimyo who ruled the Echigo province during the Sengoku period of Japan, is unique to Sengoku yo-yos in that from tip to gap there is not a single steel or brass ring to break up the solid aluminum body of the yo-yo. The big question now is whether Sengoku, a brand known entirely for its multi metal designs, can deliver a compelling mono metal yo-yo.

Kenshin 01


• Diameter: 55.5 mm
• Width: 44 mm
• Weight: 63.8 grams
• Bearing: CT Bearing
• Response: Sengoku Katana Pads


The Kenshin is a straight up wing shape design. The profile shows off some pronounced rims before meeting the V-Shaped catch zone that leads down to the gap. Where past Sengoku designs have used steel rims to break up the look of the rims, the Kenshin uses different cuts to give the profile a unique look. Since it is a straight V-Shape catch zone, Sengoku has opted to forgo the step out before the gap. The cup is pretty typical Sengoku. It is extremely clean, simple, and straight forward with no extra flourishes to detract from the functionality. The floor is completely flat with the only thing breaking up the looks is the laser engraved logos on the floor of each side. The Kenshin uses the same fine blast finish used on all the other Sengoku products which gives it a great grinding surface that is pretty smooth to the touch. As far as colors are concerned, it comes in solids and splashes. I will be honest; the splash ano masks the elegant lines of the Kenshin and looks out of place in the Sengoku line up. I can’t fault the yo-yo for the splashes because opinions on looks are so subjective. Overall this is a comfortable design that looks and feels great.

Kenshin 02


One thing that Sengoku does not deviate from is light designs, the Kenshin is no exception. Tipping the scales at just under 64 grams, this model is pretty light and lively on the string while retaining a high level of stability. Quite a bit of weight has been pushed to the rims, giving the Kenshin a great deal of spin time without resorting to steel or brass rings.

Kenshin 04

Response and Bearing

The Kenshin ships with a CT bearing, which I do not mind as far as string centering bearings are concerned. I would have preferred a flat bearing, but the CT still allows for normal string wraps.

The pads used are Sengoku’s own black silicone Katana Pads. The break in quickly and give great binds. Usually I am not a fan of black silicone, in the past I have noticed that it discolors bight colored string, so far I have not noticed this with the Katana Pads.

Kenshin 05


I don’t think Sengoku knows how to make a slow yo-yo. The Kenshin is a zippy chunk of aluminum that flies from string to string during play. While I had no trouble keeping up, I did end up adjusting my normal laid back style of play to compensate for the increased speed. The extra heft in the rims means I never really had an issue with spin outs during play and honestly, I did not really miss the heavy rings that Sengoku is known for. It could be that I am just not at a level where I need the hyper extended spin times that bimetal designs afford a player. Grinds are, in a word, incredible. I am a huge fan of the finish that Sengoku uses with their yo-yos. Palm and finger grinds are great, thumb grinds are easy even though there is no IGR, and finer spins are easy to pull off… although I am finding that I prefer yo-yos that that employ a slightly concave floor versus a completely flat floor. Overall, the play is up there with Sengoku’s higher priced offerings.

Kenshin 03

Final Thoughts

While Sengoku may be known for their bimetal designs, this chunk of 7068 aluminum is no slouch. I can see the Kenshin being the gateway yo-yo for players unfamiliar with the brand, especially with its $98 price tag. By Sengoku standards that is positively cheap.