What are Japanese fashion dolls?
Much like a poseable GoodSmile Company “Figma,” Japanese fashion dolls are anime inspired ball jointed bodies with an interior frame, clothed with themed outfits and accessories made from real materials. Licensed dolls of your favorite characters can be found through companies like the Volks Dollfie Dream, Obitsu, Azone, and Danny Choo’s Smart Doll line.
Characters like Hatsune Miku, Yoko Littner, SAO Asuna, and Girls und Panzer Nishizumi Miho can be purchased.
Anime fashion dolls are arguably the highest level of fandom merchandise you can own at about $400-$1,000 a doll.
Most of these dolls are hand assembled and handcrafted by pros. Even the clothing is hand stitched. This means there are limited numbers!
Dolls can also be purchased second hand at doll shows or online. This is a great way to find one-of-a-kind dolls somebody has painstakingly assembled. Popular high-quality one-of-a-kind dolls made by a popular artist can go for many thousands of dollars. At the time of this article after exchange rates, this themed Touhou Patchouli doll auctioned for $4,400! If you plan to go to a doll show for a doll, be aware that rare dolls sometimes go through a raffle before you can even have an opportunity to purchase.
Some Japanese members in the doll community also offer a headhunter doll service for a fee so that foreigners that can’t attend shows can purchase a doll and have it shipped. Regardless of how you obtain your doll, some consider the exchange an adoption as some Japanese feel the dolls have their own soul, which is a spiritual belief dating back generations.
Build your own!
While we recommend owning and getting familiar with a completed doll before customizing, there is a huge accessory and parts community behind the doll market. Doll companies usually offer their own line of accessories and body parts like different skin tones for customization. It’s important to note that doll accessories follow a standardized body size and spec. 50cm and 60cm dolls are the standards we are covering here.
If you can’t find what you want at the authorized doll site, major doll shows like Dollpa and iDoll allow small and large vendors to meet where you can pick up handcrafted parts like katanas, eyes, shoes, outfits, and wigs. All items to make a doll you love cosplay or even make your own character!
Some of these vendors can be found online, like our friend Puppy52dolls.com, eBay, or Etsy. Some vendors will even take on custom projects to help you make your ultimate doll.
Why own a Doll?
Dolls are a bit like Figmas, but instead of sitting on your desk or glass cabinet collecting dust, dolls are poseable and the entire look can be changed.
A huge aspect is they are great for photography, which is another widely enjoyed hobby. Depending on where you live, sometimes you can find local doll meets where owners gather to appreciate their dolls, take photos, and talk. It’s no wonder it’s bloomed into a thriving community and culture of anime fans, creators, and talented artists where everyone is sharing their creativity.