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Enthusiast Reel Review

Prepare to be Assimilated : The 2005 Alphas Ito Ai


Ergonomics: The shape of this Alphas is the same as that of the original so the palming profile and casting ease are all well documented. However, the 0.7 ounce measured weight difference between these two reels is rather significant. Paired with several matching rods and compared side by side for any perceived weight differences, this 0.7 ounces was very noticeable! In fact, making this same comparison with a Pixy reel, again, the Alphas Ito Ai compared very favorably!


The Alphas ITO Ai looks right at home on our Megabass test rod


Design: There's no denying those expecting and hoping for similar, striking color combinations and highlights as presented in the 2003 lineup will be disappointed. However, it should be noted that the designer of these reels, Yuki Ito, founder and president of Megabass Japan, is not one to rest on his laurels. In fact, he constantly strides to push the envelope experimenting with new designs, materials and the like. The 2005 Alphas Ito Ai demonstrates this mindset presenting a reel that is the polar opposite of the 2003 lineup in terms of appearance. We found the bare metal finish unique and actually, quite intriguing. The clear lexan sideplate though somewhat gimmicky is what gives this reel its cyborg-like appeal. The red accents that continue to the spool's rotor and internal gears give the reel's appearance just enough life to let you know aesthetics were not ignored, but actually very carefully planned. The precision drilled holes in the spool and dragstar are wonderful reminders of this thought process.

The Alphas Ito Ai comes with standard, stainless steel bearings (top left) as opposed to CRBB's found in the standard Alphas (top left inset). The red accents of this reel continue to the spools rotor (top right & bottom left) and internal gearing (bottom right)

One feature we noticed that bears mentioning is the bearings of the Alphas Ito Ai appear to be standard, stainless steel bearings. The original Alphas comes with Daiwa CRBB bearings and is touted as saltwater safe. Now, given the finish of the Alphas Ito Ai is bare aluminum, a material that does not hold up to long-term exposure in a salt environment, perhaps Daiwa and Megabass decided to forego the corrosion resistant bearings as they'd be somewhat pointless. Still, it is something that warrants noting.


The clear lexan sideplate of the Alphas Ito Ai presents the reel with a cyborg-like appeal

Availability: The 2005 Alphas Ito Ai is in current production and distribution by Daiwa Japan. Production is limited, though we are uncertain as to exactly how many units. Pricing, for now, is not that far removed from the standard Daiwa Alphas reels.



Daiwa Alphas Ito Ai Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solidly crafted though longevity of the chosen materials (bare aluminum, lexan sideplate) is in question 8.5
Performance Pixy-like casting performance with a more standard drag! We had hoped for a serious performance upgrade over the existing Alphas but performance is only slightly improved 9.5
Price Almost inline with the standard version! 8.5
Features Questionable decision to leave out the CRBB's, however, given the reel's bare metal finish, use in anything other than freshwater is moot anyway. The lexan design is cool, but not as appealing as the amazing color finishes of some of the previous ITO reels....or perhaps even the iridescent paint of the standard Alphas 8
Design (Ergonomics) Ergonomically perfect given the standard size handle, weight savings, and super low profile 10
Application Freshwater use only but with better support of finesse presentations than the standard Alphas 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Pixy-like Casting Performance L No micro-click drag adjustment
J Super light weight L Questionable long term durability of frame and sideplates
J TypeR+ tuned cast control
J It's an ITO!


Conclusion: While Daiwa and Megabass may be losing a few faithful fans who would have otherwise purchased this reel no questions asked had it come with a similar color scheme to the 2003 reels, where would the fun have been in that? Those who approach the 2005 Alphas Ito Ai with an open mind, watch out. This reel is terribly addicting. With weight and pitching/casting characteristics approaching the vaunted Pixy, coupled with the drag strength of a standard bass reel, The Alphas Ito Ai is a serious contender. We, like many of the disenchanted collector, had serious reservations about acquiring this reel based on appearances alone. These reservations continued even after the reel arrived, but once spooled with line and run through our standard barrage of tests and comparisons, the true character of this reel revealed itself. Then, the unimaginable happened, we began to appreciate the reel's cosmetics! The 2005 Alphas Ito Ai is proof amongst reels that "Ito Engineering" could very well be synonymous with "You Will be Assimilated". Until next time, keep collecting!










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