Jul 192013
 

tumblr_mdw5to4Dbp1rl4iulo1_500For those into all things Japanese, the correlation between the Japanese rice ball treat Mochi and the Tenga Iroha line is not lost. The names of the three vibrators, yuki and sakura mostly, are used in describing kinds of mochi too (as well as being words for other things). Traditionally, daifuku mochi comes in white, pale pink, or pale green just like the Iroha vibes. Professionally-made mochi tends to have a perfectly soft-looking, unblemished exterior, especially mochi ice cream. The Iroha vibes were described minimally at first, with a photo showing their powdery-soft looking seamless finish and boasting a bizarre plushness factor. Cue delighted squeals of interest.

MATERIAL  Naturally, sex toy reviewers go nuts for anything new and different. We hope for something awesome and want to tell the world all about this grand new sex toy that we love. I’m no different, and really wanted to try one; mainly because I’d purchased a few Tenga items for my husband over the years, all met with varying degrees of success. Tenga’s material,SquishMidori be it the white material they used for the 3D models or the clear material used for the Flipholes, felt unique and weird and neat and awesome. It wasn’t silicone, but it wasn’t toxic, either. The Iroha vibes are covered in a skin of silicone, underneath which is a layer of squishy something (actually it’s “polyurethane elastomer, so says Zoe Hanis who grilled her Iroha rep – it also fully explains the odor), underneath that is the hard plastic of the vibrator. On the underside is a hard plastic disk with two metal buttons.  The silicone skin can be “plucked” at, it’s not glued to the squishy underlayer so I keep playing with it (in ways not intended). It reminds me of the skin formed on cooked pudding, oddly enough. The skin is also a silicone type that is cured differently than we’re accustomed to – the shiny, lint & fur attracting silicone wouldn’t work here, so Tenga is using a silky, powdery sort of matte-finish silicone. Combine the pliant aspect of the skin with the silky matte finish, and the plushy layer under it, and the whole vibrator feels very soft and pillowy at first. You don’t have to press in very much though before you can feel the hard inner portion – oddly, it’s more plush in the body than the tip.

IrohaMidori

It’s pretty cute, right? Odd, yet discreet I suppose. Although if anyone were to see it they would want to touch it and pick it up.

IT STINKS  Now, granted, my Midori sat in a delivery truck probably for 7 hours on a day where it was 96 degrees ambient temp (so likely well above 115 in the truck) but when I opened the package and took out my Midori vibe I was hit with a very strong odor that smelled exactly like latex wall paint. That was troubling – and nauseating and headache-inducing1. Especially when someone else tells me that theirs arrived stinky back in February, and Iroha claimed to have addressed the issue. The smell has faded so that it’s barely noticeable now to me unless I sniff it close up, but I do notice that it will pick up my natural scent after use, until I wash it clean.  Since the manufacturers admitted that the odor is due to the polyurethane-elastomer layer, unless they change that material, I don’t understand how they could have “addressed the issue” as they told GrittyWoman.

SHAPE  Midori seemed to be the most practical, to me. Sakura, with the weird, Pacman-esque pincher bit doesn’t seem like it would really work for me personally. The Yuki, claiming that a portion is insertable, doesn’t seem big enough to be worth anything when you insert the tiny portion, unless you’re doing anal stimulation. Midori has somewhat pinpoint vibrations in the smaller head. However due to the material, the vibrations are muffled and spread out a little bit more. Those with very plump, fleshy labia and a smaller clitoris, or those who like firm pressure, aren’t going to get much from any of the Tenga Iroha vibes, I think. They’re more for those who want a vibrator that is not as buzzy, but who don’t like pressure and don’t like hard materials. The only way that I might possibly change my mind on the practicality of the shapes would be if Yuki actually had more intense power than Midori but so far I’ve not seen any evidence of that. 

VIBRATIONS  There are 3 speeds and 1 pattern; 2 buttons, + and -. +, when held, turns it on. You can then use either + or – to circle through the settings. Hold the – to turn it off. The buttons are thankfully easy to use, but the button panel is indented just enough that combined with the locations of the buttons you won’t find yourself changing it without meaning to. On the highest speed, I’d say that the power level is fairly equal to the We-Vibe Salsa/Tango on level 2 of 4. The vibrations would be considered rumbly by most, certainly not the dreaded surface-buzzy, but the vibrations lack the oomph needed to really wow me. You’ll get a little bit more strength by pressing the tip of Midori against your skin firmly, to bypass the squish layer, but doesn’t that defeat the presumed-purpose of the vibrator being soft & pillowy to begin with? One thing I will note is that pressing on the vibrator or holding it firmly does absolutely nothing to dampen the vibrations, which is good. The Je Joue Mimi suffered terribly from that affliction, as well as the We-Vibe Touch and, to some slight degree the We-Vibe Salsa & Tango, too.  Since the entire vibe is so small, you’re bound to feel the vibrations in your fingers and hand as you hold it.

CHARGING & STORAGE  The Iroha vibes charge magnetically, by sitting on the black charging platform. This is probably the only magnetic-charging system thing that I’ve not hated. All other sex toys that use this method have a little “fob” that pops off so easily, held on by the weakest of magnetic force fields. You can plug it in USB to your computer, or use the included wall adaptor and plug that into the wall. There is a white LED light on the front of the base that glows while it is charging and shuts off when it is done. The charging base will double as storage; a clear acrylic lid is included – however, this isn’t the most discreet of storage options.  You could then put the charging base & cover back inside the box it came in, too, that would make it more discreet. I was able to fit (but it required finagling) the charging cable inside the acrylic box but could not fit the wall charger. For me when it comes to storage, I prefer to be able to keep everything all together.

MidoriCharger MidoriInBox

CAUTION  First, the Iroha vibes are not waterproof. This doesn’t affect cleaning because the vibes are “splash-proof”, so you can hold it under running water long enough to clean it. You cannot, however, use the toy in the bath or shower. The overall design is seamless, except that the plastic disc surrounding the buttons creates a seam where dirt and fluids could easily get trapped. I have seen many vibrators where the silicone skin goes over the buttons, allowing for a more seamless, waterproof design. Not sure why Tenga didn’t go that route. Another area of caution goes back to how the vibe is made – a plush elastomer material under a silicone skin. While the silicone skin is likely tough, I’d have to wonder how easily it could get punctured. A silicone skin that is firmly against a hard underlayer wouldn’t have this issue, but I could see how a sharp object might get pressed against this in storage and possibly puncture the skin.

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Pros: Interesting material construction, small and discreet, unique, 2 charging options
Cons: Odor, not waterproof, only moderately powerful, could be hard to clean thoroughly
Who would love it: Those who like form over perfect-function; those who do not require strong vibrations; those who do not like hard materials; those who need something a little easier to grip than a tiny2 or oddly-shaped vibrator3. If you’re intrigued, also do consider the Yuki – while I cannot fathom using it internally, externally it could be great for delivering pinpoint vibrations. Also, cute Xmas gift?
Who should avoid it: Those who need stronger vibrations; those who do not like vibrators that vibrate your hand too much; those looking for the most bang for their buck – at $90 it is a little overpriced for what it offers. Instead, go for the We-Vibe Tango.

All in all, it just didn’t wow me…..but I’m notoriously hard to please. If you saw this thing in person you would no doubt want to pick it up and then you would quite likely spend a while just petting it and squishing it. Everything about it, from the charging base that doubles as storage to the material, shape and color is pretty damn unique and overall I’m satisfied with the quality. Some will be awfully tempted to Pokemon it up and “collect them all”. However, I expect a vibrator to really knock my socks off in all categories to warrant a price tag of $90, so that’s why I’m lukewarm on this. I think that the shapes are just not perfect enough for me, and the vibrations are not quite strong enough for me. I do think, though, that many who don’t require the power of the We-Vibe Tango will quite like this adorable little vibe. If I loved the vibrations, then I can see it being worth the price tag.

UPDATE: I wanted to show you that not everyone agrees with me. In fact, here’s the opinion of one reviewer who prefers the Midori to her Salsa!  Navigator sums it up really well as to why it works for them, and this might help you figure out that even though it didn’t work for me, it might work for you:

I read a review a while back that described the orgasm this toy brings about as “comfortable”, and I think that’s a pretty accurate adjective. This is a comfortable toy, rather than an intense toy like the Hitachi or the Wahl, or an insistent toy like the Salsa or the Eroscillator. (You know, the toys that take your attention away from whatever else you might have going on and insist you focus on them.) It makes me feel downright sweet. I’m twitterpated over a sex toy.

But the best thing, my friends, is the squishiness between the silicone skin and the motor underneath. I thought initially this would dampen the vibrations, especially if the motor was in the body of the toy, so I’d be fruitlessly pressing it against my skin wondering where the vibrations were. Thing is, I press vibrators against my clit like a fiend anyway, but the squish prevents me from having a case of Bruised Clit the next morning (I’m looking askance at my Mia and Salsa as I type this). That, and the motor is located very solidly in the little nub at the tip of the Midori, so they’re nice and focused.

Thanks to Shevibe.com for sending me this to review!

  1. that usually signals VOCs for me but I am notoriously sensitive to those
  2. Some people find that the slender We-Vibe Tango is just too small, that it gives hand cramps if held too long
  3. The i-Gino One is a perfect example of that
  • http://www.bedroombondage.co.za Noëlle Steegs

    Thank you for your interesting and helpful review. I was intrigued by them when I saw them at Lovehoney UK, they looked so cute, which is a big factor for me. But I know I’d probably find the odor off-putting, and I do not own any We-Vibe toys so I cannot image what the vibrations are like, but I also tend to go for stronger ones (think Deluxe Magic Wand by Lovehoney). And you’re not the only one who wonders why they didn’t go for covering the buttons.. waterproof would have been such a plus!

    ~ The odor really does dissipate but the first few days are hell.

  • http://www.septimusreviews.blogspot.com SeptimusReviews

    Fab review (as usual). I’ve been seeing these little vibes talked about quite a bit on facebook and twitter, and was wondering if I should invest in one. But considering that I really love strong vibrations, I think I’ll probably pass.
    Although, it is tempting to get one so that I can draw little eyes on it and keep it as a pet vibrator. They are damned cute.

  • http://sex-ational.com sexational!

    I talked to the iroha/tenga rep I worked with when I was made aware of scent. He told me it was polyurethane elastomer as well, and didn’t tell me they had “fixed” the issue in any way, but had determined that the scent didn’t pose a health risk, but not much else.

    ~ I’m not real sure I like that answer any better. But too many people are accustomed to the bad odors that go along with the cheap sex toys, so I’m betting no one else will complain but us.

  • http://www.marvelous-darling.com Sarah @ MarvelousDarling

    I finally had my first awesome orgasm with the Sakura. I’d had one or two decent but weak orgasms with it before, but never anything worthy of some chocolate and a nap, y’know? But it’s a beautiful toy. A triumph as far as design goes, IMO. (I’m working on my review haha.)

    ~ I’m glad you like that one! I just knew that it wouldn’t work with my anatomy, so I was just torn between the other two.

  • http://rollinthehay.blogspot.com K

    Wow. I’m really bummed that the vibrations aren’t stronger.

  • He@ArousedDuo

    We (She@, my wife) and I really appreciate the update. She@ really fell in love with, as she calls them “the cute manga balls” but before we ordered one we read the reviews, one of which was yours. Every one mentioned the latex smell which reminded me of what my mom would say whenever we painted a room in our house “don’t worry, the small will go away” which it did eventually. Frankly associating a sex toy with parental-inspired home remodeling was not a great selling point and we passed. That was, we passed until we read your update.
    As always thank you for your honest, entertaining and always helpful reviews.

    ~Hope she likes it! I am notoriously hard to please, and require more vibrations than most so that’s always something to bear in mind.

  • Saul

    I am trying to get a vibrator for my girlfriend. I have really never bought a vibrator before so I don’t know what to look for. I went to a sex shop and really liked the Iroha. I thought it would be a cute gift, but after reading your review and understanding what women prefer I think I will avoid it.

    On the other hand, I looked over the We-Vibe tango vibrator that you recommend on this same post. From what I read it does seem to do a better work. I just finalized reading your review on the We-Vibe series. Great job. I’m buying it as I type. :)
    Thanks!

  • http://secretlysensuousstuff.blogspot.com/ Secretly Sensuous

    Oh, I’m not the only one who gets bruises!

    Pity the smell, though.

  • megan

    I just bought the Sakura (I’m one of the folks you thought may not find it helpful but I love it!) and am commenting just to say that I got water in it from washing it and she’s drying out now but may already be toast. Sad face. I didn’t do anything unreasonable–so be careful out there!
    Otherwise I’ve been super happy with the design. I didn’t experience the smell problem (1 year after this review) and I’m pretty sensitive.