Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ABJD Review: Fairyland Littlefee Dark Soo Elf (Image Heavy)

This review is going to be incredibly biased, as I am still far too excited at the arrival of this girl. Keeping that in mind, leggo!

Quick explanation of BJDs. ABJD is an initialism which stands for Asian Ball Jointed Doll. BJDs can hail from all over the world- France, Russia, the US... However, perhaps the most popular BJDs are of Asian origin. This is mainly because when the hobby began to grow, Volks (now the largest and most recognized BJD company), a Japanese company, was at the forefront of expansion. My doll is of Korean origin. Chinese BJDs qualify for the "A"BJD label as well, although some dolls of Chinese origin are 'recasts' as opposed to original dolls- meaning that a cast has been created by taking another company's doll, making a mold of it, and then pouring resin into the mold to make an arguably illegal copy of the doll. These recasts are typically sold for much cheaper than company dolls, and can be of lower quality (and back in the beginning were sometimes toxic), but are also available in resin colors not produced by the original company, which adds appeal for some. Resin, a hard plastic (more durable than porcelain, but much easier to damage than vinyl), is the preferred material for use in creating BJDs, and some collectors argue that non-resin BJDs (such as porcelain dolls) ought not qualify for the title. Non-resin dolls are considered 'off topic' for discussion on the major BJD forums and facebook pages. If anything, the creation process of resin sounds pretty cool. Wikipedia states resin is, "...manufactured through polymerization-pollyaddition or polycondensation reactions, used as a thermosetpolymer..." Polla-la-la-Polly. Polly Pocket reference, anyone? Anyone? Heh, I had a pink Polly Pocket stretch limousine toy as a kid that sang the Polly theme song. I just discovered I don't know how to spell limousine. Lime moose zine. What was I talking about? Ah. Anyways, basically if a doll has ball-and-socket joints, it's arguably a BJD, and the greatest appeal of BJDs? They pose like no other.

Meet Yui! My little peanut showed up in the mail yesterday, and when my mother told me I didn't believe her, because the online tracking information still said she was in US customs. When I got home from school, there was a large package from Fairyland Korea sitting on the kitchen counter and it took a massive amount of patience to find Mom's camera, set everything up to photograph, and open the box slowly and carefully as opposed to just tearing into it to find my baby.

When I found out about the ball jointed doll hobby, I surfed most of the major doll sites before stumbling upon this sweetheart. (Her fullset has been long since sold out, so that isn't the price I paid for her.) I've actually had a printed-out stock photo of her taped to the wall in my room for quite a while. I taught violin from 7th grade through 11th grade, so even though my parents don't give me money for more than the necessities (shampoo, school lunches), I have some small change saved up to spend on myself. When I recieved my $400 computer deposit refund back in November, I figured it was now or never, and though I had never held a BJD before in my life, I purchased my baby Yui with all the works- extra hands, sleeping faceplate, faceups on both faceplates, a wig... then I excitedly surfed Etsy until I found clothing to suit her personality. Small shout out to Vampbee3- at this point I consider Ashy and I friends, because she is willing to take any idea I throw her way and turn it into a gorgeous outfit for Yui. Speaking of which, I purchased a dress and socks and a kimono for her, but failed to order shoes or underwear whooooops! I'll have to fix that soon.

My thoughts on Fairyland are as follows: All of the bad rumors made me wary about ordering from FL, but after speaking with their representative, I felt good enough to go ahead and lay down the cash. I have not been disappointed. Their communication with me was excellent. They kept me updated when I asked for information, helped me when I thought I filled the shipping form out incorrectly (EMS is a bit of a bear the first time), and above all, Yui seems to be of good quality. I am no expert with BJDs, but I can confidently state that my doll has no snowflaking (though this doll is in 'normal' skin, not tan), the faceups arrived in perfect condition with no chipping, no cracks, none of the pieces were broken in transit, and they were well package. There are two seam lines that could be sanded down a bit, but I'll probably leave her be. She feels nice and solid and she is gorgeous. I love her.

TL;DR: I'm excited and happy, now look at my doll!!

I have no qualms with the method of wrapping for Yui. For something so expensive, it makes sense that she be wrapped well. Besides, she was an international traveller before she was born! Jan. 23, 2014 is her DOB.

Hello there! The booklet on the left is instructions on stringing, care, use, etc. interior shown below:

Mommy, I'm bald!

Much better.

This wig was purchased from the Fairyland site, but doesn't come with her, per se. I'm holding it in such a way that you can see the rather dense layers- no, she doesn't really have a mullet. 

The wig is REALLY long on her, but my boyfriend says it is cute. Many people in the hobby trim their wigs, but I am not sure I want to touch this one.

I also bought extra hands for her, because it is difficult to tell on the company website what the hands look like. I really love the delicate default hands, so I think I'll resell or offer to trade these on DoA. Resale value there isn't bad, and since this didn't add anything to my shipping cost, I won't lose any money. I like the hand that can hold things, but the right hand looks like a baby sucking it's thumb, not like moe hands or 뿌잉뿌잉 like I thought they would be.

Why am I holding my head?

I purchased her sleeping faceplate as well as the awake one, and ordered faceups for both. I cannot believe the incredible detail in such a tiny thing. Yui is 25cm. That's about 10 inches. Shorter than Barbie, yet the details in the artwork put other dolls to shame. It was a photo of sleeping Soo Dark Elf that convinced me this was the doll I wanted, so I didn't think buying the doll without the extra faceplate was an option.

Here you can see the company's engraving inside the sleeping faceplate. It reads Soo.D.E, and the space where the eye holes usually are is filled with resin. You can also see the blushing on the back of her ears.

I think the eyes in her awake faceplate are gorgeous. I got really lucky with the randomly selected default eyes, so I won't be buying her any other pairs. I can't explain the color. Sometimes it looks grey, sometimes it looks yellow. The pattern inside is so lifelike it is almost a bit scary, but they photograph incredibly, and they reflect light just like real eyes. Her bottom lashes are painted on, but the top lashes are applied to the faceplate on the outside. You can neither see the glue with which it was attached, nor the place of attachment, yet I know it is applied on the outside. The black eyeliner serves its purpose. q: Yui is six years old, but I guess elves start wearing makeup young.

Sort of a half-profile shot with her head cocked to one side a bit. She is strung perfectly for holding poses in all of her limbs and her torso, but the head lolls ever so slightly to the side if I don't straighten it. I think it's rather charming, actually. I swear she has a different expression from every angle. From here she appears to be smiling, dead-on she seems to be lost in thought, looking up she appears hopeful, from the profile more pensive... Maybe it is all in my head.

Profile pic. (Punny.)

Posing. (Better than my splits.)

Posing. (Still better.)

Scary-posing. She is rather poseable, I think. The head and most of the limbs can do a 360, though I wouldn't, so as to not twist the strings inside. If I counted correctly, she has 23 points of articulation, I think. That is a looooot.

Butt. She totally has an adorable baby's butt. 

You can see the locking mechanism in her legs that allows her to stand on her own so well.

Her hands are removable because they are interchangeable, but this also makes dressing her a lot less of a hassle.

Mommy, I put my sockies on all by myself!

We had fun snap chatting D and K last night. ><

This afternoon I sewed her a (skull) beanie to keep her bald head warm. It's so cold right now that we actually got a snow day off school, and there isn't even any snow outside!

Yui wanted to explore outside... Until I explained why I was home from school on a school day.

Oh no. Oh nononono. OH noNOnOnONo. *BRB HIDES PIGGY BANK*

In conclusion:
Quality: Better than I expected, and I expected a lot.
Price: Not. Cheap. By mixing and matching items on the website, your $250 doll can rapidly and exponentially increase in price.
Collectability: I think so. BJD people call themselves collectors, and I don't know who would shell out that much money for a toddler.
Cuddleability: Ah, the most important aspect of any doll. She always looks like she wants a hug, and she likes chillin with me in bed when I'm lazy-surfing the internet. 

I'm biased because this is my grail doll, but she gets 10/10 dollie points.

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Keep comments classy, bro. >< I would love to hear your opinions, recommendations, and if you have a Dollie blog, DoA, tumblr, etc, link me!