I attended the recent Anime North 2017 at the Toronto Congress Center in May. The weather was mixed, for the most part, it was partly cloudy, sunny and spitting rain on and off plus to top it off the temperature was lower then the seasonal average. It basically sucked.
The one thing that I had going was the best parking spot at the Con with my car firmly placed near the entrance, which allowed me to periodically drop my loot off and a place to rest without being away from the fun! With that in mind, I was quite excited since I haven’t last attended since 2010.
The Con was decently organised (definitely still room for improvement though and much better than my last attendance in 2010). The sheer scale of this Con permitted it to have many “sub-con’s” as I would describe it.
One of the sub-con’s included a Doll-con. They occupied a whole hotel and all the conference and banquet halls alone!
At that time, doll’s didn’t quite appeal to me as much and on retrospect I regretfully omitted visiting the booths during my visit.
More notably though my time was fairly well spent elsewhere at the con, besides – I had only one day to make my rounds as I didn’t buy a weekend pass.
Other than the diverse dealer room booths, I found myself at a panel, more specifically an anime figure panel. There were a handful of high profile anime figure collector/blogger personalities whom were the host of the panel and there was one of the panel hosts who remarked his disdain for dolls.
I thought not much at the time but after the panel, it was what he said that resonated with me.
What he said has since been forgotten in the dusty recesses of my mind but his disdain may have stemmed from two possible lines of thought that may have caused him to make such a one-sided remark.
1) Figure collectors prefer to stay separate from Doll collectors
His remark can be interpreted as elitist, that was my impression at the very least. He identifies as a figure collector purist and that moving into collecting dolls would break his belief system about figures and everything he had stood for.
I concluded that maybe because of the stereotype that collecting dolls remain largely as a feminine thing, he didn’t know how to better phrase it because he may have been a bit flustered when it was his time to speak since there was quite a turn up at the panel.
I quickly reasoned that to a lesser degree, there are certainly people who feel that figure collecting does not and should not include collecting dolls as that would be logically a separate hobby all together which made sense.
So that got me thinking… What would be another logical reason for not embarking on the doll collecting world?
2) The sticker shock might be too much for some people
One of the original reasons I was not fully on board with ball jointed dolls scene is because the average cost of a doll can range from 47,000 JPY (Approx $480 USD) upwards to over 100,000 JPY (Approx $1,100 USD).
This may be a good as time as any to disclose to you that these costs comprise of standard model Dollfies to 2nd hand market equivalents including both new and 2nd hand limited runs.
Limited runs are interesting because, as with wine, there are some limited edition Dollfie’s that were developed only once and are long out of production and can fetch 2nd hand market prices in excess of 500,000 JPY (Approx $5,200 USD+)!
The average cost a respectable setup will run you between 47,000 JPY upwards to about 75,000 JPY ($480-780 USD). These includes the base doll, a custom sculpted face plate, wig, underwear and for a small premium additional clothes/accessories either bundled together or sold separately.
A quick background on how limited runs are acquired…
Aside from standard models available all year round, seasonally the doll manufacturers would collaborate with studio’s to bring anime character equivalent dolls to the marketplace.
The average cost of limited run dolls seem to hover into the 70,000 JPY (approx $720 USD) territory as opposed to standard models that cost about half.
But it is not as simple saying “shut up and take my money”.
There is a lottery system that you have to apply for and in this lottery system only if you are selected (win) do you get a chance to purchase it.
Not only do you need to have the cash on hand but there is also the element of chance as well. If this helps the companies boost profits and increase demand/popularity, why not?