Many years ago (three) I was a naive girl trying to learn more about "dollfies." I caught my first glimpse of Ball-Jointed Dolls at a number of anime conventions. At first I thought it was a little bit weird, but then I found people carrying these giant resin boys and girls to be kind of endearing. I decided that I wanted to be part of that odd culture - I needed a Ball-Jointed Doll, and I needed it now.
|Image copyright of Asleep Eidolon|
That wouldn't give me the instant gratification that I so craved! What did I do? Well I ordered a totally different doll that I wasn't even sure I liked in hopes of getting her sooner, of course! The irony being that, this doll also had to be made and I would have a similar wait time with her.
So after three months of pining and heartache, my Boy & Girl doll Natalia arrived - and as much as I hate to admit it, upon seeing her, I felt disappointment. She didn't seem as pretty to me in real life, and I kept feeling an emotion reminiscent of guilt when I thought of certain aspects of her sculpt I just didn't like. I had just dumped what was to me a bucket of money into something that I felt very 'meh' about.
Back to the drawing board!
After several months of posts saying, "welcome to the boards," and "wow, she is so pretty!" on Den of Angels, I was finally granted marketplace access. This was both a blessing and a curse for me. I was still "stuck" with Natalia, but now I had the BJD marketplace at my very fingertips! Very shortly after receiving access, I found a thread for another Boy & Girl doll head. I snatched the head up with very little thought. "It was meant to be!" I told myself. I mean, the same skin tone?! All I have to do is sell Natalia's head and then I will be back on track!
...and for a while there, I was "on track" (whatever that means in the BJD world). I had a doll that made my heart melt every time I walked past her. She was my special girl, and I brought her to every doll meet-up. Aurora even won me a DollHeart gift certificate for being so darn pretty! Eventually, an Angel of Dream Qian appeared, and I had my two lovely girls. Qian's features were a bit more "sharp" than I generally prefer, but I still found her lovely.
The first BJD meeting I attended was hosted by Ms. Cholong of DollHeart up in Glendale. I had a great time, and when I found out she was hosting an event down in San Diego, I just HAD to go!
The meet was at Marie Calendar's up past Poway, and that was the day I met a silly short-haired woman named Alison and her dark-haired Canadian friend (Jen, not some beau on the side). As we were seated for food, I ended up sitting next to her and Jen. The two of them were giggling as Alison clutched a giant teal box to her chest. I hadn't realized, but Ms. Cholong actually had one of the DollHeart models for sale - a beautiful Peak's Woods wake-up Cue in a Rococo gown. I recall looking over to my right and asking, "did you buy that?" I was a bit stunned - the thought of not having to put a doll on layaway was a novel concept indeed.
Events transpired quickly, but at some point I recall getting invited to a future meet-up with friends of Alison and Jen. I was happy to tag along - Alison and Jen seemed like fun people, and I was distinctly lacking in female friends. Sure enough, I had a good time...but I felt like my girls just didn't measure up, somehow. I was positively enamored with the beautiful Peak's Woods girls that Alison would bring to meets, but felt they too were out of my price range.
I attended meetings for a while, and ended up acquiring two MSD-sized girls - a DollZone Shoyo-2, and an Angell-Studio Mandarava. I really loved this girls, but I also admired the ability to stick with only one company. I started to worry that since my girls were from completely different companies, they didn't really match well.
I felt conflicted, and this was the point at which I blew out all of my dolls on DoA and became the revolving door of dollies. For some reason, the hobby was suddenly a status thing for me, and I traded my three or so lesser-known BJDs for such heavy-hitters as an Unoa, an Iplehouse, and several Fairyland girls. None of these girls ended up sticking around, however. I felt like they were lovely, but so was the idea of a pile of money...and with that pile of money, I could get more dolls that were new and exciting to me!
The pile of money turned into a Dollfie Dream and a second-hand Peak's Woods girl named Yeru. While the two girls didn't match, I loved them both because of how different they were. My custom DD had that sexy-but-sweet anime appeal, and Yeru was just adorable. Not to mention, she was a Peak's Woods - I was part of the club now!
I ended up acquiring a few more Peak's Woods girls - a Yami and Goldie. My three big Peak's Woods girls were probably my most beloved dolls, but as they say, stuff happens!
From the get-go, I was resolute on someday acquiring a Soom Amber. I knew that she was my grail, and I knew that I needed her (essential to my survival, need). After having hosted their first "special order" event, I knew it was just a matter of time before Soom would re-release their line of Super Gem girls. The unfortunate part was that they announced the special event that I NEEDED to take part in within a day or so of my getting a speeding ticket...YIKES.
I determined that the only course of action was to sell my beloved Peak's Woods in order to get my grail. Several grails later, here I am wanting Peak's Woods girls back in my life. This leads me to a choice, the choice which prompted me to write this article: to sell, or not to sell, and where the heck am I going with my collection?
There are things about my big Soom girls that I absolutely love - they are stunning pieces of art that truly capture the imagination. They are just wonderful for fans of both fantasy and the Asian BJD aesthetic. In my opinion, the fantasy aspects tend to also be problematic, however. Sculpts are beautiful, but it seems like the emphasis isn't always on the mechanical aspects of how these parts are going to work on an actual doll. I love Amber, don't get me wrong..but her fantasy body drives me up a freaking wall.
I think it is important to consider what you enjoy most about the hobby. What I enjoy most about the hobby is collecting outfits and re-styling dolls. Bulky, awkward fantasy bodies make this...well, awkward. I really enjoyed adorning my girls with precious gothic-lolita inspired pieces by Peak's Woods. Whimsical Amber and stoic Cuprit don't really rock the DollHeart quite as well, I feel.
So there is a lot to consider. Am I doing this to have a beautiful piece of artwork that is more akin to a resin statue, or a more kinetic piece that I actually feel like I can play with? After having written this post, I suspect I should cull anyone I feel I don't absolutely need, and try to actually save money toward those dolls I would like to have back in my life...and I think that is maybe the important lesson for me to take away. Being a grown-up sucks, and you sometimes have to make tough financial choices (like, do we need a washing machine, or do I need Peak's Woods dolls). Either that, or I need buy my metal detector and start scanning the beach. Oh, first-world problems.
|"My owner is a freaking ding-dong."|