A lot has happened in the past twelve months. I’ve gone from figure collector, to travelling Dollfie salesman.
The first Dollfie lesson I learned was never to use the word “copy” on the Dollfie Dream forums. My very first thread that spurred much (undeserved) outrage in my direction was titled, bluntly, “Costs involved in copying this Horo Dollfie”. Though, there were many nice people there as well who came to the rescue, allowing me to feel reasonably good about my decision to even consider the Dollfie Dream hobby. One of whom I’d actually known for quite some time and had kind of shunned because of her Dollfie collecting and my irrational bias back then as a figure collector.
I’ve never really pin pointed why I thought like that back then (and many figure collectors still do), I think a lot of it might have been jealousy mixed with an uneasiness about their appearance. Before ever having seen some in person, they truly creeped me out. But even despite that, I’d always secretly wanted Saber, Saber Alter, and Tohsaka Rin, but the prohibitive costs involved (eBay prices were all I’d seen back then) made them entirely inexcusably far too expensive. The only time I finally considered maybe stepping over that line crossed in the sand was when I saw Daniel Ting’s Saber Alter done up as Horo. Which was why I started that thread as a feeler into the hobby and getting an idea of the costs involved. Thanks to poking my head in, that same person I’d shunned became super excited that I was interested in Dollfies and invited me to my first Dollfie meet. That was a year ago this month!
Summarizing the past twelve months…
- I’ve attended eight more doll meets, missing only three due to trips and family matters.
- I purchased my first Dollfie and made my custom Horo.
- I’ve near as makes no difference stopped collecting figures. Last review was posted well over a year ago.
- I purchased a brand new motorcycle and kitted it out with gear, and camping equipment, and used it to travel nearly 20,000 km in a single summer, bringing Horo along for the journey as well. To places all over Ontario, around Lake Michigan, and as far as Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona, at the Four Corners Monument where those states intersect.
- I’ve converted two people to “Dollfie-ism”, one a local friend who bought a MOMO, another I met for the first time while in Colorado who bought a Mashiro. Both fell in love with Dollfies after seeing Horo in person, which gave me a certain amount of pride, as did the kid atop Rocky Mountain National Park who recognized Horo, made me feel I’d done her justice.
- I purchased a second Dollfie, Kuonji Alice, something I was adamant would never happen, and immediately flew with her and Horo to British Columbia, somewhere I’d never visited before. While there I also shot my first gun, a Russian SKS, as well as a 12-gauge shotgun.
- I’ve introduced my family to Horo and Alice, and even brought them on a family trip (British Columbia), to Christmas, and various other little gatherings. My grandmother even once referred to them as my girlfriends, “Oh! I see you’ve brought your girlfriends along for a visit too!”. Which amused me to no end. Partly because the comment could come across as trollish, and partly because she was super enthused.
- I’ve learned to sew because some of the items I’ve purchased for the two weren’t quite as well produced as I’d have hoped. This meant asking my mother, who was all too happy to help me mend my dolls clothes.
And that list doesn’t even cover the more personal aspects of my life that only those who know me are aware of. It’s been an interesting twelve months.
The doll meet this month however wasn’t particularly interesting. I don’t mean that negatively at all, I just mean that a year in now I’m used to the meets and they’ve in a way, become routine. Again, I don’t mean that negatively. The first bunch of meets were all different and put me in different seemingly socially awkward situations. The first meet I was meeting everyone for the first time, at the girliest sounding place in Toronto, Cafe Princess. So that meet stands out just for everything being new and realizing the hobby is actually quite well split between men and women. Also that PlasticFantastic knew all too well how to sell me on “Dollfie-ism”. The second meet we went out to a busy park and there were passers by. I’m ok with this, because I’ve done figure photography in public for quite some time. The biggest difference however was passers by now engaged you in conversation. Instead of watching you and wondering from a distance (which also happened), some would actually come up and ask questions. I’m not too shy so again, this didn’t bother me, but it was once again something new. This wasn’t limited to the fact we were in a crowd taking photos either. No, it happened to me constantly in Colorado where I was frequently by myself on the motorcycle in the middle of no where. Dolls may not speak, but they’re certainly good at starting conversations.
Despite describing the meets as being routine, they’re frequently the highlight of my month. This month we once again went to Go For Tea because the weather here is still pretty terrible, and Go For Tea has a good large open space with a good environment and a staff who seems to enjoy us. They even took their own photos of the dolls, as well as some selfies with them. The meet sizes seem to continually increase with time, so some of the places we’ve gone in the past just aren’t big enough for us anymore. The last time we were at Cafe Princess we had the party room and ran out of seats and tables! Who knew the hobby was that popular in Toronto? Or perhaps, that that many of us are social enough to go out to the meets, because I know of yet more people who don’t attend.
One of the conversations I had at the meet and afterwards was about Alice. Archangeli’s Alice with her blue eyes and light brown hair really caught my attention, I loved how she looked and it made me think. I bought Alice on somewhat of a whim. I’d thought she was cute sure, but I had little to no reason to spend $800-$1000 on another doll, especially on a character that meant nothing to me. What caused me to do it I think was frustration, I’d ‘lost’ the first lottery, and ‘lost’ the second lottery, despite entering both expecting to lose, and yet when I happened to see her on Yahoo Japan Auctions for a very reasonable price I started to feel like maybe I should buy her after all.
Spurred on by the IRC channel I dove in head first. Immediately I regretted my decision to purchase her, but when I got her the regret was gone, I thought she was great. More over, the more photos I see of her by other people with other design choices, the more my I like her. I’ve yet to see a badly done Alice, she’s not popular by any means, but she’s definitely cute and I’m glad to have purchased her. The same can’t be said for Saber/Saber Alter, my opinion of them hasn’t changed despite the vast number of photos I’ve seen, some quite excellent indeed. Which once again makes me happier to have purchased Alice.
I’m not sure where things will go in the next year in the hobby, I hope that I can find a way to travel with both Horo and Alice on the motorcycle. As of yet, I’m unsure how I’ll manage, but I don’t like the idea of only travelling with one of them, defeats the purpose of having two!
Here’s to another year! Cheers!