I personally prefer the look of bare wood, so most of my kendama and similar type toys have been unstained wood. That’s also what I like with the TMBR products(except for where they are using other wood parts).
I’ve got a Sweets Natty, Voodama and a Rolling Pin from Sweets, all raw/bare except for minimal markings.
I find that with regular paint, it’s too slick so it can be tough to land some tricks.
With stains, depending on how it’s done, can provide a tiny bit of extra friction. If they put a seal on it, it makes it often too slick unless they do a SourMash finish. I’d like to get a clear SourMash finished kendama. Gives me the bare-wood look I desire, but with the sticky advantage.
With sticky kendamas, I can’t say as I haven’t purchased one yet. Maybe I do that before my trip. I feel anything that can help you learn or help you enjoy the toy more is worth it. However, I’m doing fairly good without it. I do want something in the “super sticky” category because it’s a variation that belongs in my collection and will be something I will play.
In the experience of those who know more than I do about kendamas, and I don’t know much, which brands seem to offer the “stickiest” sticky pre-made kendama set-ups? I’m asking for an immediate purchase that unfortunately won’t be through YYE. I want to get something before my vacation, which is Friday. It got bumped up a week.