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Review by mugoi usagi

The Brief overview:

Maybe you’ve heard of them, maybe you haven’t. Asian Ball Joint Dolls (ABJDs or BJDs for short) are a phenomenon happening all over Asia, particularly in Korea and Japan. Most people out of the know refer to them as dollfies, but dollfie refers specifically to Volks brand 1/6 scale ball joint dolls. Dolls of a larger scale, such as 1/4 or 1/3 are super dollfies, specifically mini super dollfie (MSD) and super dollfie (SD) respectively. Both these terms for size originated from Volks but are used to refer to all dolls of those sizes no matter what brand.

Truth be told, there are a whole variety of sizes ranging from under 10cm to over 70cm. The most common sizes are Tiny(10cm range), Yo-SD (25cm range), MSD (40cm range), SD-13 (50cm range), and SD (60 cm range). The price, like the size of the dolls ranges from $100 to $1000+.

The dolls are strung together using hooks in the head, hands, and feet to hold onto a long elastic that runs through the entire body. This allows the dolls to be broken down for cleaning, customizing (sending only the head out for a face-up instead of the entire doll), and restringing when the elastic is too loose or too tight.

The thing that makes these dolls different from your standard Barbie or porcelain doll is the customizability of them. When you buy a BJD you have a range of options often including resin color, body type (male/female, mature/immature), and if/how you want the face to be painted, commonly referred to as a “face-up.” You need to purchase eyes, wigs, clothes, and shoes for your doll to give it the look you want. This means that while you may have the exact same doll base or mold as 1,000 other people, none of those dolls will look the same. Most companies, along with your unpainted doll, will include a random pair of eyes and a random wig.

Sometimes you luck out, sometimes you don’t. There are a number of companies who specialize in products for dolls but don’t sell dolls themselves, companies that only sell dolls and no accessories, and companies that sell both. For more information, you can visit the Den of Angels forum, a BJD specific site.

Now onto the review!

This is my Bluefairy Emilie. Her name is Azumaria, Azu for short. I first purchased this doll in April of 2007. Bluefairy was not one of the top companies (and is still one of the smaller companies) so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from them quality wise. I was very pleasantly surprised! The doll held poses well and the resin was a very nice pinky color. The doll also lacked some of the more annoying problems that some dolls have. She wasn’t kicky (the tendency for the knees to kick back from being straightened, to the bent leg position too easily) and she was strung perfectly so the joints moved fluidly.


Speaking of joints, let’s take a look at them! This doll is jointed at all the main human joints: wrist, elbow, shoulder, head, waist, hips, knees, and ankles. Some of the newer dolls have double jointed elbows, knees, and hips for more flexibility. Poor Azu is too old for that.












Azu came with the standard Bluefairy face-up.


Just for funzies let’s take a peek inside that little head of hers!



She’s also got nice details on the hands and feet. The fingers aren’t all separate, but they have nice details. Look! She has nails!

Dolls come packed in attractive boxes with cushioning and often wearing a full bubble wrap outfit: mittens, shoes, mask, and dress. This is to protect delicate features (fingers and noses) from becoming damaged during shipping.



I also mentioned that she wasn’t kicky when she was new. Well…now she is a bit. This problem can be solved with a restringing, wiring (running wire through the body with the elastic to aid in posing ability), or sueding (lining the joints with a suede or moleskin-like material).


And a beauty shots.


Overall it’s an expensive hobby, but this doll was a good start to my collection. She’s well built and a very attractive mold. While the Emilie mold is not currently offered any longer, it appears that Bluefairy is in the process of bringing back the mold. Expect to be shelling out $400 - $500 for the doll, face-up, eyes, hair, clothes, and accessories.

Posted 12 February, 2010 - 14:25 by mugoi usagi