Ah yes, the time has finally come. I’ve been starting a number of projects lately, and today I will be announcing the newest, and perhaps most arduous: building my own custom Dollfie Dream! This is a rather large step, so I’ll start by talking a little about my experience with dolls up to this point and why I’ve decided to take on this project.
The most common story I come across when reading the accounts of those who decide to acquire their first Dollfie is, “Dolls used to creep me out, then I saw one doll I had to have”. Well, that’s somewhat true for me.
Dolls are something I’ve always wanted to like. I played with Barbies, but never had a doll that I was really attached to. Traditionally I’ve preferred animals, but I think this is partially because I could never find a satisfying toy of a person. In fact, ever since I was little, I’ve been a stickler for accuracy. I remember when I was really into The Fairly Odd Parents. I desperately wanted toys of Cozmo and Wanda, but when some came out, I was really disappointed that the toys didn’t look enough like them. It was experiences like this that resulted in my collecting Japanese figures. Japanese figures made me remember that desire for toys that actually resemble who they are supposed to depict, and proved that finding high quality renditions of characters was possible.
I collected figures for a long time before becoming involved in the doll world. Every now and then, I’d see a cute doll for sale, but the $100+ price tag quickly drove me away. Then, on one fateful evening, the moment came. I saw the doll I just had to have.
That doll (of course) was Azone’s Pureneemo Caster. With my luck, she turned out to be an exclusive and in the end, cost twice as much as the average Pureneemo. But I didn’t care. I had to have her, and knew that she would be near impossible to find if I didn’t get her right away(wish I’d known that about the Niitengo Kirito XD).
When Caster arrived, her hair was messy, she was heavy, and she lacked the overall glamor of the prototype pictures I’d eagerly stared at for months. I wasn’t exactly disappointed, but knowing that I’d just given up a rather large sum of money(still the most I’ve ever spent on anything) to get her, I was uneasy. Sure, I could probably hold on to her and re-sell for a high price, but to give up on something I’d waited six months for so easily would have been a shame. I kept Caster with the firm belief that she would be my one and only doll. The same way I said that Goodsmile Company’s Nessa would be my only scaled figure.
I love figures, but there is certainly something different about dolls. The option of building a wardrobe and playing with their hair(things I oddly don’t even do for myself) is really appealing to me, but there’s still something else. Without exchangeable faces and accessories, dolls rely on something else to make them appealing. They rely on an inner charm, and since a doll can very easily be scary , it’s up to the owner to give it to them. Because of this, dolls pose a challenge to those who buy them: take something with a blank stare, and make it endearing. Whether the owner chooses to accomplish this with wigs, clothing, poses, or faceups, owning and photographing a doll can be a very personal and rewarding experience. I believe this is what differentiates dolls from figures which can be displayed right out of the box.
In time I grew to love Caster (now named Tamaki) and the urge to find her a companion was strong.
Pureneemos are definitely my favorite series of small dolls. They’re portable, well made, and have cute faces. Thankfully the majority of Pureneemos fail to impress me in some way, but I remembered seeing one other that I did like. That doll was Alisa from the Nostalgic Story Collection. Within a week, I had ordered Alisa, and she now is a part of my doll family under the name Kagura.
Now that we’ve reached my current place as a doll owner, I can begin to talk about what caused me to want a Dollfie Dream. Although there are some scary ones out there, Dollfies in general have never creeped me out. I even swooned over the new Saber Alter when she was released, but as with Pureneemos, the prices drove me away. For those who do not know, a Dollfie of a licensed character can easily surpass the $1000 range, and as a student, there’s no way I could ever afford one. In fact, even if I did have the money, I don’t think I could justify spending that much on something that isn’t Kirito.
Knowing this, I was forced to be satisfied with admiring Dollfies from afar while being fully aware that I could never achieve the same level of personalization or photography with my Pureneemos.
Then I found out something that should have been obvious. Not all Dollfie Dreams are of licensed characters. You can build customs. And assembling a custom costs a fraction of the price! I was thrilled to learn this and immediately began researching the topic. A successful photo shoot at the park with Kagura only inspired me more as I realized that I could build my own doll and photograph her the same way.
The first thing one thinks of when creating a custom of anything is who to make. Thankfully I knew immediately who. To avoid being trapped in an endless loop of making a Dollfie of every single character I’ve ever loved, I chose an original character of mine.
My original character(I’ll keep her name a secret for now) is one I created back when I used to draw. Much to my dismay, I was never able to draw well enough to properly depict any of my characters(the frustration from that is actually what got me into photography). This character was one I created to be a gentle and elegant woman, so I knew that if anyone was going to be made into a doll, it had to be her.
Even if it’s not a licensed character, Dollfies are still more expensive than figures. To manage the cost, I will be assembling the pieces over an extended period of time.
This month I plan to buy the wig(my character has reddish brown wavy hair) and possibly the eyes(brown), then I will purchase the head(DDH-06 is my favorite, so that’s what I’ll be using). Since I want her to look good, and am not confident in my painting skills, I’ll then look to commission someone for the faceup. After that I’ll be ready to buy the body(M bust). The clothes will be easy since I plan to learn to sew this summer and will make my own.
I suppose this concludes my lengthy explanation. I’ll be updating whenever the next piece of the doll comes in, but it will take a while, so this is definitely an ongoing project. Still, I’m very excited and think this will be a great way to pass the summer months in addition to my usual figma posts!