I've never owned any independent designer outits, and here's the reason why:
Cherry Milk, Ginger Tea, TcDoLL and others only get licences to sell their anime-related doll accessories during various cons, which means that if you like them, you should either go to Japan and visit their booths at, say, Wonder Festival, or wait patiently until a second-hand outfit pops up at Yahoo! Japan Auction or Mandarake. I had to choose the second option, because I'm nowhere near Tokyo.
I'm not a big fan of idol games or series, but I can't resist marine theme in clothes. Ongaku De Tsumugi Dasu Sekai was love from the first sight.
This is a screenshot from the game:
The outfit has never appeared in Volks collection, but we're lucky to have Ginger Tea and her sewing magic! I ordered this outfit for my DD Exellen Browning to match her beautiful blue eyes.
The description says it fits bust M/L, but I had problems with buttoning it on L.
You can feel the clothes are handmade, but at the same time all these details, like the pattern on the skirt or the metal charms, seem even more impressive when you realize it's not mass production.
I think it's awesome to have an alternative to giants like Volks and Azone. Diversity is a good thing. Yet it's a pity that these outits are so hard - or sometimes even impossible - to get.
- Written by Yoruno
I'm head over heels after buying Pia Carrot Floral Mint uniform! I've been dreaming about it since I first saw it in a magazine article on Wonder Festival 2005. It's been a long time, you see, so I was prepared for any price and was really OK with ¥12k.
It was made by Azone/Cospa in the doll clothes line called C-Zone Mini Costume. Originally it was intended for Obitsu bodies. My Excellen Browning (hate the name, love the doll) is a Dollfie Dream with an L bust. I wasn't 100% sure the dress would fit her, but I knew she would look fantastic in it.
It did fit after some struggle! The only thing that might be seen as a defect is that the left sleeve is narrower than it should be, but overall I like the outfit and its quality.
- Written by Yoruno
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