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ANALOG KENDAMAS - EMP SQUAB 2020 REVIEW

Jonathan Lee

Note: This article was written by Jon (@jonnyyramone) for Honed Media.

I have only one regret about my Analog C TYTY Mod

I did not glue the spike. Ever since writing my review about the kendama nearly a year ago, it has become one of the staple jammers that I find myself picking up when wanting to sesh. The spike went blunt and I've already sharpened it multiple times.

Today, I've been lucky enough to get my hands on an Analog EMP - ET Paint, featuring the Squab 2020 shape. This is their latest shape following Analog C and Squab. Click the names to read my reviews on them if you have not already!


First up, let's dive right into the shape. It is what I would best describe as a marriage between the Squab and C. Larger cups like the C - in fact, the small cup on the Squab 2020 is larger than the small cup on the C, but maintaining the thicker sarado style like the Squab.

It is taller than the Squab, but not as tall as the C. Comes with a 61mm tama like the Squab, but retains the thickness of the C's sword. The EMP features a mixed-rare wood sarado with half maple, half purple heart and an ebony stripe in the middle so I will be commenting on how that affects the play later on.

For now, compare it with other modern-day shapes to get a gauge of what you are in store when you get an Analog Squab 2020 shape. 

You can also see how it compares to other shapes below. For consistency, we will compare to the Boost, Shift and BL Shape.

Note all text is in comparison, i.e. if the column/row says Boost, Cup, Bigger - that means in comparison to the Boost Cups, the reviewed kendama IS BIGGER. 

Shape

Boost

Shift

Pop (BL)

Cup Size

Big: Slightly smaller

Small: Bigger

Base: Similar

Big: Bigger

Small: Bigger

Base: Similar

Big: Bigger

Small: Bigger

Base: Bigger

Sarado Length

Longer

Longer

Longer

Sarado Thickness

Thicker

Thicker

Thicker

Spike Length

Shorter

Similar

Similar

Spike Thickness

Thicker

Slightly thinner

Thicker

 

With the EMP, it’s all about the ken. The tama is a simple maple with purpleheart stripe to keep the weight balanced. 

The ken, however, uses a complex wood lamination that combines 3 woods in a very clean manner. Visually, the contrast in colours is appealing and can be recognised from a distance. Burns are kept very clean with the logo on the handle and underbird and Analog's signature "for you" in multiple languages near the Portal hole.

The design does not really affect the playability of the ken, this is all due to the choice of shape and wood.

In the playability section, I test the smoothness and ease of landing tricks in the 4 criteria, Lunar, Stalls, Slings and Kenflips. 

A difficulty rating out of 10 (1 being easier than usual, 5 being no difference and 10 is much harder than usual) will be given to each category at discretion.

Adding a purple heart and ebony increased the weight of the sarado, thus improving lunar balances. I found myself slapping lunars like no tomorrow with the combination of the heavy sarado and tacky ET paint.

Ken flips were a challenge at first as I was getting used to the weight. The ken weighed 91g, which is heavier than what I usually play, however, Analog founder Baldo has shared with me that the average weight of the ken with such a combination of wood is 85g. 

As soon as I played it for a good 30 mins, I got used to the weight and was back at lacing my usual tricks. The final small detail I'd like to point out is the ratio of the thickness of the spike with the bevel. 

Compared to my TYTY mod, I found the ratio tighter - resulting in a very controlled release of my j-sticks and earth turns. 

At $45, is it a very fair price for the wood combination. (Probably the reason why they're always sold out) I've shared in multiple reviews that I am a big fan of Analog's kendamas and the attention to detail that the owner Baldo pays to it. 

If you have not gotten one already, this is definitely a brand you want to add into your collection (EMP ken aside).  

Stay tuned for Analog Kendamas’ drops here: https://www.analogkendamas.com/

VERDICT

Shape Uniqueness - 75

Aesthetic Design - 80

Paint Durability - 70

Playability - 70

Value for Money - 80


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