After receiving one of the School Casual sets today, I decided to speculate a bit on doll outfits. The initial idea behind any doll is that you can undress it and change its clothes.
If we talk about anime dolls, it will be correct to start with Candy Candy. These toys weren't intended for collecting, so the dress-up fun was highly encouraged. Almost every type of Candy Candy dolls had extra clothes that were bought separately. Most of these outfits didn't appear in the anime, but at least the manufacturers often applied Candy's favourite colours, red and white. Candy Candy dolls were also released wearing exactly the same clothes that you could buy in a separate pack. Compare this outfit with one of Itazura Candy dolls:
Female leads always had a better chance of getting more outfits than the rest of the cast. For example, Sailor Moon Boutique was a series of extra outfits that was almost entirely made for Usagi, while School Casual was intended for Miki. At the same time, other dolls in Sailor Moon and Marmalade School line could also wear these dresses because they all had similar bodies - except Chibi Moon who had her own wardrobe, although not so rich as Usagi's. The Sailor Senshi also had their own distinctive uniforms which couldn't be worn by other characters.
After Sailor Moon dolls, random outfits were neglected in favour of character clothing. For example, Free Pose Selection series only included the clothes that Sakura and Tomoyo were wearing in Card Captor Sakura. This series of outfits was particularly important as the main character changed battle costumes in each episode of the anime.
While you had to buy new costumes for Sakura to make her look like a mahou shoujo, it was the other way round for another magical girl, Saint Tail. The doll was sold wearing her magician's dress, so in order to transform her back to an ordinary student you had to buy her a school uniform.
Not only were clothes made for magical girls, some clothes were magical on their own! These were the outfits made for interactive dolls. A good example is Oshaberi Pendant Dress: it could make the talking doll produce new sounds.
Some dolls were (and are) released with a bonus which is an extra outfit. This outfit is either included in the box...
...or it can literally be a bonus, e.g. for early pre-order:
There are cases when such an extra outfit can transform the character into another one. It probably started with Henshin and Beauty Change Sailor Moon dolls, but it is a predictable mahou shoujo change. As for the Boogiepop doll, changing clothes will reveal a big plot spoiler, and if you undress Dal Gloomy, you will see his master, Pity:
Outfits are very important for doll kits. For example, buying a Resinya body without adding the character clothing would be senseless.
Now a couple of words about major character clothing manufacturers. Bandai, Takara and Volks make clothes intended for the dolls they produce. Outfits by Volks (worn by Dollfie Dream dolls) are widely known by their high quality.
Azone also makes clothes for its dolls. What's more, it makes clothes for the dolls that don't exist yet! For example, there are no Kanon dolls, but you can dress an Obitsu using this set and make a custom one.
Cherry Milk and its former collaborator Ginger Tea are doujinshi (amateur) doll clothing makers. Their works are licenced, but made by hand in very limited numbers.
- Written by Yoruno
Bandai Asia released several big Doremi playsets which included 12cm dolls.
- Written by Yoruno