Kitsune gi review: Views and Heroes

Previously, we talked about some tips for buying a womens gi as a smaller player and mentioned some money-saving options, like getting a cheaper gi to start (I still stand by Fuji as the best starter BJJ gi).

This post, however, is a bit different.  If money isn’t too much of a concern and you like Japanese ukiyo-e prints, I’d like to turn your eye to Kitsune.  Below, we’ll cover why I have two gis from this brand (and contemplating getting even more from them), a comparison of the Views and Heroes gis, and some further thoughts.

Why Kitsune?

I grew up in Japan and Hawaii, where Japanese culture and influence is prominent, so when I saw that Kitsune was working ukiyo-e prints into the inside of their gi jackets, I was immediately intrigued.

The only reason why I didn’t buy their first gi that featured an ukiyo-e print, Spectre, was due to the upkeep – I’m not great at keeping white gis clean.  However, as soon as I saw their Views gi, I knew I had to buy it.  It hit all of my favorites: The use of Hokusai’s “Morning after the snow at Koishikawa” ukiyo-e print, the rich navy blue color, and the subtle embellishments like the use of the print along the inside of the vents.

I was extremely happy with the Views gi so when Kitsune released their third ukiyo-e print gi, Heroes, in black, I bought that one as well without a second thought. 

Comparison of the Views and Heroes gis

I didn’t think to take pictures of the two gis when I first bought them, but I had two different reactions when I received each gi.

For the Views gi, it was exactly as it had been presented on the website, and better still, it fit me perfectly – which is saying something for someone who stands at a mighty 5 feet tall.  There was minimal shrinkage and it instantly became my favorite gi.

It’s no surprise, then, that I had high expectations for the Heroes gi. The thing that surprised me was the length of the sleeves.  I hoped that it would shrink but it’s still longer than I prefer.

The different is likely due to the two gis being part of two different lines.  This isn’t noted in the gi description but is noted within the gi jackets themselves: Views is from Kitsune’s MK1 series while Hereos is from their MK4 series.

Other than the sleeve length, there weren’t any other notable differences that I could see. Both jackets are 350gsm (though they can feel heavier due to the thick collar, which has been fine for me) with 10oz ripstop pants that seem mostly identical.  I’ll go into some of the differences below.

Views

Jacket

After 1.5 years, there’s some fading in both the jacket and pants, but it’s retained most of its original navy blue color. The thing I love about this gi is that the inside panels have a smooth, almost silky texture, and are cool to the touch.  It’s likely because of these panels that I’ve been okay wearing this gi in the summer, as they run not only across the back, but along the inside chest as well.

Here are some pictures of the inside panels, which isn’t really shown on the Kitsune website:

P1440036 - Copy

P1440043 - Copy

Pants

After 1.5 years, I’ve never really given much thought to the pants – which is a good thing! Usually, pants are either a tad too long or too tight/loose in certain places. But the Views pants have been perfect for me – so much so that I only ever had to think about rolling.

Though the jacket is really what makes this gi special, the pants play an admirable supporting role, mostly for the fit though.  Nonetheless, here are a couple pictures.

P1430685

The patch on the left with the Kitsune logo is starting to come off but it’s nothing I’m worried about. I’ve never been able to get the lint off though.  (Note: I removed the patch that that listed belt promotion dates and such for vain aesthetic reasons)

P1440073

To be honest, I’m surprised there’s any lettering left here at all (I’ve trained regularly in this gi, and though I rotate it with other gis, it still ends up being worn at least 2-3 times a week with my training schedule).

P1440081

Interestingly, I’ve never had a problem with the string for these pants. I usually knot the ends to prevent it from getting pulled (and have to rethread the string through the loops) but never had to with these pants.  

 

Heroes

Jacket

The Heroes jacket features generally the same construction, however, there are a couple noticeable differences in the sleeve length and the inside panels.

The sleeve length was the biggest surprise for me – all other aspects of the two gis seem the same, but for the Heroes jacket, it’s more than an inch longer than the Views jacket in some areas:

P1430701

That said, the inside print is still clean and vibrant.  However, the main back panel feels more like cotton (I’ve not noticed if it felt hotter because of this, as I’ve usually been more preoccupied with the length of the sleeves).

P1440008P1440050

The side vents, however, have the same glossy/silky feel of the panels in the Views jacket.

Comparison to the Views jacket:

P1430703

 

Pants

Fortunately, the pants for the Heroes gi is pretty much identical to the Views gi in terms of construction.  An interesting aesthetic difference was the removal of the lint-catching patch on the left side for a direct print of the Kitsune logo, giving a cleaner look.

P1430688

Similar to the Views pants, there’s some slight fading in the lettering along the string cover but nothing worrying. An interesting note is that the string is much longer on the Heroes pants, even though it’s the same size gi. 

P1430682

 

Thoughts

I hadn’t realized the full differences between the two gis before I wrote up this post (ex. back panels, the full difference in sleeve length).  I had always thought the Heroes gi was “lesser” than the Views gi because of my issue with the sleeves, but looking at both more objectively, the Heroes gi is pretty much the same, just “roomier.”

All in all, after 1.5 years, I still love the Views gi the most for aesthetics and fit.  That said, I train in both regularly, even in the summer (though I’m also the type of person who’s fine training in 90% humidity in a non-air-conditioned space with a longsleeve compression top and spats underneath).

 

Gi size: F2

My measurements for reference:

  • Height: 5 feet even
  • Weight: 115 pounds
  • Wingspan: 47.5 inches
  • Sleeve length: 19 inches
  • Chest: 32 inches
  • Torso length: 17.5 inches
  • Pants width: 36.5 inches
  • Leg width: 22 inches
  • Pants length: 30  inches
  • Inside seam: 24 inches

More on what these measurements mean, plus the importance of and tips on taking your measurements: Tips for buying a womens BJJ gi as a small player

 

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