Nadja Applefield attracted attention of three doll companies: Romando, Bandai and Giochi Preziosi. The latter seemed to be much more interested in the character than its Japanese counterparts and made five dolls, while Bandai made only two. I love comparing dolls manufactured by different companies, so this time I decided to buy two Nadjas that have the same outfit as an extra. I mean Nadja Gallery Ballerina Dress by Bandai and Nadja Applefields Doppio Abito by Giochi Preziosi.
This is Nadja by Bandai. She is wearing her first dancing dress - the pink one - while the extra outfit is her blue ballet dress.
The box design is aesthetically appealing, and rather inventive - if you're asking yourself what the rose bush is doing inside, I'll tell you it's concealing the doll stand.
The box sides have the image of the blue dress as shown in the series...
... while the back demonstrates it on the doll. Hmm...
I wouldn't call it a striking resemblance. It's not even a dress but rather something like an apron that should be worn over the pink dress (which is much closer to the original).
Other details, such as ballet shoes and the hairnet, are impeccable though. In the anime, Nadja wears them with both outfits.
Nadja's permanent accessory is her baton which is reproduced in detail for this doll.
Now to the Italian doll.
She comes in a different dress. Nadja changes outfits many times in the series, so Giochi Preziosi had a big variety to choose from. As you will see on the back of the box, the manufacturer made the best of it (literally)!
Two of these dolls are "Doppio Abito", which means they have two outfits in the box. You can notice in the picture above that the last dress in line is the pink dancing dress similar to that worn by Bandai Nadja. And, of course, here comes the blue ballet dress again.
Very different from Bandai version but quite recognisable anyway. It's a full dress this time, and I must mention that Nadja's precious red brooch is thoughtfully attached to each outfit in this doll line. As for details, well... here Giochi Preziosi was less thoughtful. The shoes are blue; even though they match this particular dress, they're still different from the white ones in the series. Nadja's hair accessory isn't appropriate for either of the two outfits in the box - it's neither the hairnet nor the tiara she is supposed to wear with the white dress, it's two red roses instead.
Let's take a closer look at the dolls themselves.
Nadja by Bandai has a unique mold, and a unique body. Probably the lips are too bright, but it's a true portrait of the frail slim girl we see in the series. On the other hand, Nadja by Giochi Preziosi is just another anime girl. Comet has the same face. Pichi Pitch mermaids have the same face. 2011 Sailor Senshi dolls look almost like her, even though they are slightly smaller.
Still, as I said before, Asita no Nadja is almost an haute couture show, and Giochi Preziosi exploited this successfully, offering no less than seven replicas of the dresses we could see on the screen. Bandai gave us only three. And don't even get me started on Romando.
- Written by Yoruno
Fuwa Fuwa means soft or fluffy; it is a common Japanese name for small dolls with stuffed bodies. Magical Girl Lalabel has also got her doll of this type, and I'm glad to review her today!
This doll (by Popy) was made back in 1982, so her box has faded, but I think you'll appreciate the front window design, as stars and crescents are Lalabel's distinctive patterns.
The left side of the box shows an accompanying toy, Bira the cat, resembling Monchhichi dolls. Bira was sold separately, but you could use the cutout on the back side of the box instead.
The box is quite compact as the doll comes in a sitting position. By the way, she is 21cm tall. Here she is together with her magic wand and a cardboard Bira (just like the cutout on the box).
First, a couple of words about the wand. The way Japanese toymakers make some devices work has always stunned me. Those mechanisms are simple but ingenious, and here is an example. The wand has a ribbed surface. If you take the pink plastic star attached to the handle and rub against it, the upper part of the wand will start rotating because of the vibration. Isn't that clever?
This Lalabel looks different from the regular character. This is a baby or a chibi version, but still quite recognisable.
Her arms and legs are wired, so there are some posing options.
Lalabel's body is made of flesh-coloured terry cloth, and this is why the doll is titled Fuwa Fuwa, or Fluffy.
The fabric of her dress was designed by Popy exclusively for Lalabel dolls. There are five types altogether that you can find in our database, and all of them wear the same pattern, while a Lalabel doll by Robin has to wear a plain pink dress.
I preferred to leave her headband on as it is attached to her hair.
The vinyl used for this doll is thin and very soft. The vinyl parts are, of course, her head and her hands - both of which can hold the wand.
Soft, cute and magical. That's what a true mahou shoujo should be.
- Written by Yoruno
I've recently noticed a certain pattern in my reviews: The older a doll, the more extatic I get. So, this time I'm almost in love with this 1981 Italian Becky doll! She is none other than Becky Thatcher, the famous character of Tom Sawyer book and anime series.
Dolls inspired by this series were exclusive to the Italian manufacturer Furga. You can find all variations of Tom doll at eBay, Huck dolls are not so frequent, but this Becky doll is a rarity. Some collectors even question her very existence, but here she is, 45cm tall and gorgeous!
All Furga anime-based dolls were sold in colourful boxes with flaps showing the main characters as well as some familiar environments. Here we can see a Mississippi steamboat, Tom's school, Huck, Tom and Becky.
Here is the doll. As I said before, she is 45cm tall, and there is a chance that a mini Becky doll was released, too, because other Tom Sawyer no Bouken dolls have variations in size. Becky looks somewhat similar to Furga's Anne of Green Gables. I don't own this Anne doll yet, so I can't claim they have the same mold, but as for the bodies, I think they share the same type.
There is Furga logo on the back of her head.
Yarn hair! (You'd better not undo it). It should have been ginger rather than yellow, though.
My first reaction to Becky was, "Yuk, she's squinting!" But somehow she is quite photogenic, and her design is very Alice-In-Wonderland-ish.
Maybe because of her blue dress and her pinafore? I still wonder whether it used to be white or not. Both pieces are made of a peculiar fabric with a waffle-like feel, only the pinafore is starched. The shoes are plastic, with the right one easy to tell from the left one, and there are kneesocks instead of stockings.
The body is that of a traditional vinyl doll, with not many options for posing.
Unlike her solid plastic legs, Becky's arms are soft and hollow, and I really like the way her hands are sculptured.
Cloud Nine reporting. I am genuinely happy I have this rare doll, and I don't regret the money I paid to get her. She was worth every cent, and something more.
- Written by Yoruno
This dear little Arale by Popy dates back to 1981. She is a 15cm tall mechanical doll that is able to raise her right hand when you press a button on her tummy. She doesn't say her "N-cha!" catchphrase, but at least she performs the action! Due to the fact that her tiny body conceals a mechanism, this Arale is pretty heavy. However, she's well-balanced and can stand on her own. Her clothes come as a one piece, with the exception of plastic sneakers and the Arale cap. Different versions of this doll have different accessories, mine has got a sports bag and two rackets (for whom, I wonder?) The box itself is typical for all Arale dolls by Popy, whith a very clever design. It looks as if it was made of wooden planks, with a window for the doll's head and with a "blueprint" on the reverse side, which seems to be an appropriate design for a robot character. I must also add that this Arale has saran hair which is fading and partly changing its colour from purple to greenish. Anyway, this doll is a good representation of the character, and her funny facial expression was an inspiration for many doll manuacturers in the 80's.
- Written by Yoruno
Dejiko and Puchiko, or rather Di Gi Charat and Petit Charat, are two 5th Anniversary dolls made by Takara in 2004. They have vinyl heads and limbs and stuffed bodies. The box designs are similar, but the sizes are very different, as Puchiko is supposed to be a sitting doll. On the back of each box there is a manga image of each character, while the sides of the boxes have the pictures of the actual dolls.
The accessories are few, just a comb for Dejiko and a brush for Puchiko, but, as a supplement, they both have character cards signed by Koge-Donbo, Di Gi Charat creator. The signature is a faximile, though.
I decided to keep Dejiko boxed, but Puchiko arrived unpacked, so she will be the one to get undressed and examined. First, some pictures of Dejiko. This green-haired catgirl is wearing a silky maid dress. Her cat outfit includes gloves, boots and a hat, and her tail is attached to the back of her dress. The soft giant bells in her hair don't jingle, but the metal one does.
Now to Puchiko. I was able to undress her so that you could see her stuffed body. Puchiko's dress is simpler than Dejiko's. There are also cat elements in her outfit, and her metal bells in her ponytails can jingle, too. Actually, when I moved the boxes, they both made the sound of a tambourine.
I wouldn't say these dolls are very rare or expensive in the aftermarket, but they are both really good as representatives of kawaii style.
- Written by Yoruno