Author Topic: The Pill: A Review  (Read 4271 times)

Offline HansNickmans

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The Pill: A Review
« on: 23 October, 2012, 08:46:56 »
Over a month ago I stayed over at a friend's house, and at a quarter to 11 pm I told him: "Sorry mate, but can I use your laptop, I really need to check something". After telling him about the craze around Pills and the two-minute time window before everything's sold out, we waited in front of his laptop as 11 pm came closer and closer... After settling the world record for refreshing a web page, they suddenly came on at 10 past, and there were some still available. A split second of doubt between a mahogany and purpleheart one, and I had one in my cart. I couldn't believe it...

Two weeks later the package arrived at my home, exactly as they predicted. Inside was my new purpleheart pill in a cloth bag, Terra stickers and a card explaining what the pill was. I immediately started playing, and right out of the box I found it to be great for earth turns, swing-ins and just plain spiking. The fact that the entire pill clicks together makes for a very satisfying feeling every time you land a trick, combined with a great sound.

The pill consist of a male and female side (do I need to elaborate?). The female side is connected with the string with a bead, just like the tama. On the male side, there is 'nipple' to tie the string to. Comparing to a kendama, where the string goes through the sarado and the ken, there is a lot more tension the knot on the string has to endure on a pill. So in the first couple of days of playing, it occured that one side just flew off if a trick went wrong. But, as indicated on the card that came with the pill, superglueing the knot solved these problems. The problem hasn't occured since (and I definitely missed some tricks...).

Next to the 'obvious' tricks that can be transferred over from kendama, the pill has a lot of tricky balances that are fun to invent but also very challenging to land. For some balances the hole can be used to stabilise the balance (similar to bird), but there are a lot of other balances where this will not help. Balancing the female part on the side of the male part for example is just plain balancing without any help, which is very difficult. Next to the spike, the nipple can also be used for certain tricks, although the knot on the string tends to get in the way (which is part of the challenge of course). There is a lot of work to be done in looking for the different balances and especially switching between them.
(to see some examples of these balancing tricks, I promote KendAlex his pill edits and Mirek's one)

However, the pill really hits its stride with spacewalks, which took me some time to gather the courage for (also out of concern for my floor). The weight between the two parts differs for obvious reasons, which took some getting used to. But that same satisfying spike after a series of spacewalks, handrolls or swirls makes it so much fun to play with.

Due to the similarity in grip for the male and female part, 'varial' tricks (where you change grip between both parts) are my most favorite part about the pill. I found myself experimenting with juggling and grip switches, and I even found some tricks I would have never come up with using a kendama. (Stephanie Lussier has some varials in here one year contest entry)

As in durability, I've only been playing for a month, and it holds up great. The female part has some minor spike marks, and the spike shows first signs of rounding. The edges of both parts, which click together with every spike, are showing the most nudges which is to be expected. I do believe the variety in woods used for making pills will result in great differences in durability, so this is just for my case.

So in short, the pill is not just a 'watered-down' kendama but a toy in his own right and with its own tricks. Possibilities may be limited but that leaves room for more creativity. I have yet to try some of the typical ken tricks with a pill, and once all the balances start working they can be combined with spacewalks, varials and other manipulations (haven't even mentioned the tap-ins, hanging tricks or the spike grip) to create endless possibilities.

Thanks Terra for creating the pill (guess I'll start saving for a horse one...)

Hans
Kendama Belgium!

Offline The Void

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Re: The Pill: A Review
« Reply #1 on: 23 October, 2012, 16:03:15 »
Nice review, Hans, thanks for sharing.

I've had a few short plays with a pill, but I keep going back to the ol' kd. I guess I'm a purist. :)
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