Thanks for the follow up link there, you beat me to it.
I actually just received three more in the mail today.
No, they're not that great.
But they are good enough that I figured I'd pick up a spare and one for each of my kids. $25.92 total for 4 rods...why not?
I think it would be more accurately termed a Chinese "tanago" style rod; it will certainly limit the size of the water and fish you can go for. I have cast a TenkaraUSA 11' rod. This rod certainly isn't one.
My buddy Adan is a solid fly fisherman; we were discussing the rod this weekend. I have no doubt that I can catch fish with it- I can accurately cast about 16' of line with it, for a total effective reach of maybe around 22' or so, plenty for many spots I've fished in the High Sierra in summer. But we certainly agreed it's the type of rod you have to find the right water for; I view it as a pretty specific tool for small water and small fish- but that's what a "tanago" style rod is anyway.
I'm not believer in buying junk, which I'm sure many will argue is what these rods are. But I will argue that tenkara is pretty cost prohibitive for a lot of people, even with the $50 rods out there. For a person that is new to it, barely fishes, or has no idea if this style of fishing is suitable for them, $50+ for a rod, not including line, is a lot. If I find that I end up wanting to do more of this style of fishing, which at this point is questionable, I'll certainly be looking at getting a Daiwa.