Welcome to the review of the Masamini yo-yo here on Cyyclical. Read on to see what I think about this mini yo-yo from Julio Robles and Sengoku Yoyos!
I have said it before and I will say it again: I rather like the smaller side of things when it comes to yo-yos. I don’t really have any particular reason for that other than the novelty aspect. Nonetheless I am always excited to try any undersized or mini yo-yos.
Thus I was quite happy when Julio Robles from Sengoku Yoyos asked if I wanted to give the rather recent Masamini a try. I had been hearing good things about this mini yo-yo with an eye on performance. I received it a few months ago and have been having fun with it ever since.
Unfortunately, neither Darren nor Mat picked up the Masamini, so I have to fly solo on this review. And with that said let’s get on with it!
The Sengoku Masamini
As the name implies, the Sengoku Masamini yo-yo has some shared roots with Sengoku’s Masamune bi-metal yo-yo. Both are straight V-types and both have in-cup stainless steel weight rings. Having said that, the Masamini is more than a Masamune reduced by X%. Certain design allowances have to be made for any mini yo-yo. Plus, while the size was reduced, the weight was kept more or less the same.
But more on that in a bit. Here is the official blurb about the Sengoku Masamini from Julio:
“It started as a joke, I made ten for close friends to have fun. I expected something nice, but it was way beyond my wildest expectations! Something so unique. The result is a throw with lots of soul, I never had such fun creating something and being more satisfied with the result. So weird…the Masamini is something so unconventional, whatever you think a pocket (not undersized, pocket) can potentially be, it is not! it is everything a regular competition yo-yo is but with the pocket size! All I can say is, I’m pretty damn satisfied and happy with what I created, my new favorite yo-yo, that is so good that I’m unable to remain objective.”
There you have it. By the way, I should mention that I have never tried the Masamune and so I can’t compare the two directly. So with that mind, on to the review!
- Diameter: 42.0 mm
- Width: 32.0 mm
- Weight: 64.5 grams
- Bearing: Size C centering
- Response: Sengoku Katana pads
- Material: 6061 Aluminum
Size and Weight
So when you think of an undersized or mini yo-yo, what comes to mind in terms of the weight? 50 grams? 55 grams, maybe? Well, the Masamini laughs at all such attempts. At 64.5 grams, the Masamini packs in the same weight as many mid-size or lighter full-size throws. That is nuts! This is largely due to the chunky stainless steel rims. Otherwise, the dimensions are pretty much what you would expect from a mini yo-yo. I should also mention that the Masamini is machined from 6061 aluminum, unlike the Masamune. Perhaps that was done to control the weight in some fashion.
Well, it is a small, V-type shaped bi-metal. I am not sure I need to say more than that. One thing that is worth pointing out about the shape is that the Masamini has an excellent catch zone for its size. This certainly helps out during play. The stainless steel rings are squared off and the cup bottom is almost completely flat, resulting in more-or-less cylindrical cups. A very minimalistic shape overall.
Bearing and Response
The Masamini ships with Sengoku’s own Katana pads and a generic centering bearing. The bearing is fine and I imagine everyone will be happy with it. The pads are the same as those in the Kenshin that was reviewed previously. As with the Kenshin, I don’t have any complaints about the pads and they seem plenty grippy when I need them to be. The tops of the pads are perfectly flush with the top of the groove and they don’t stick out into the gap. Kudos to Julio for being so precise with his designs and pads.
You can tell that Julio was really trying to break down the wall between mini yo-yos and performance yo-yos. With its shape and weight, the Masamini is trying to get serious about a mini yo-yo performing at a higher level. Thanks to the mass of the Masamini, you can get a surprising amount of power into the throw. And thanks to a lot of that mass being located in the stainless steel rings, this translates into some nice spin times.
Stability is quite good for a mini yo-yo, although it isn’t going to be as good as mid or full sizes. In general, that is the thing to keep in mind with the Masamini. It is a higher performing mini yo-yo no doubt, but it is still a mini yo-yo and it won’t convince you otherwise. Having said that, it is still impressive just how well the Masamini plays. The catch zone is impressive for a yo-yo so small, making landing tricks easier than pretty much any other mini yo-yo that I have tried.
I only have one real complaint about the Masamini. Having over 64 grams of mass does give the Masamini a boost in performance over other mini yo-yos. But that comes at a price. All that mass is packed into a tiny spatial volume and that creates a lot of center weight. The result is that the Masamini suffers from a “stone on a string” feeling. Throwers often talk about “float” in a yo-yo…well…there ain’t no float here. You are going to feel it on the throw and when pushing it around. If you don’t like that feeling then the Masamini might not be for you.
Some final points, as always. The surface finish feels fine for grinds. I am not a horizontal player, but even so I can’t see the Masamini working that well for horizontal action. Additionally the stainless steel rings are squared off and so thumb grinds don’t really work. None of that matters much to me but it might to you.
Well, if you are into mini yo-yos and are looking for something that manages to push the performance envelope then the Masamini is certainly worth a look. If you don’t like mini yo-yos then the Masamini may not change your opinion, especially given the “stone on a string” feeling. Nonetheless, the Masamini is impressive for its size and it is probably unlike anything else in your collection. Thus, it might fit in a particular niche for many players.
In any case, what started at as a joke design by Julio has turned into what might very well be the best performing mini yo-yo to date. Or, at the very least, it is the highest performing mini yo-yo that I have tried to date. I quite like mine. Thanks to Julio for shooting one over to me.
As always, thanks to MonkeyfingeR Design for providing all of the Ape Hanger strings used for this and other reviews.
Yay, Nay, Could-go-either-way Summary
Please keep in mind that these are purely subjective. One thrower’s negatives may be another thrower’s positives, and vice versa.
+ Performance: As mini yo-yos go, the Masamini’s performance is amazing.
+ Catch zone: The catch zone is large for a mini yo-yo, and decent in general.
+ Spin times: Great spin times for a mini yo-yo.
+ Up your aim: Like all mini yo-yos, the Masamini will force you to improve your accuracy.
– Center weight: Packing so much mass into a relatively small spatial volume creates a “stone on a string” feeling.
– Inner grind ring: No usable inner grind ring.
+/- It’s a mini yo-yo: your enjoyment of the Masamini will depend greatly on whether you enjoy mini yo-yos in general.
+/- Stability: Stability is good relative to other mini yo-yos but so-so when compared to bigger yo-yos. Whether or not the stability is sufficient will probably vary from player to player.