Lost minds in Akihabara

Around Akihabara station, the geek and gadget filled shops contain some weird, questionable stuff.  Wandering around there last week I stumbled across something particularly bizarre.

Now I am quite comfortable with the concept, if not the practice, of talking to women.  I am also aware that is possible to hire a woman, even buy a woman.  But I never realised until last week you can make your own woman.

Now do not get carried away.  You obviously cannot construct their minds (no market for this), but you can build their 60cm high bodies, limb by limb, and then dress them in seasonal outfits.  I saw these creatures, the so-called Dollfie Dreams, on the 3rd floor of a store called Volks.  Except for me, the other customers were all adults, mostly but not all male, and some foreign.

Wandering around, my eyes were bursting out of their sockets trying to take it all in.   The most shocking, ghoulish section of all was ironically the enormous display of eyeballs .  These eyeballs come in a variety of sizes, shape and colours and cost 1,000yen (8pounds) for a pair – even tightwads surely would not buy just one.

The visit was made more disturbing by the fact that outside the store were dozens of young girls in school uniform trying to convince customers to come into maid cafes (also popular with foreigners).

Given Japan`s extrenely low birthrate, are the dolls acting as a substitute for children?  I don`t know.  But the fact the Dollfie Dreams website is in English and that many of the customers are foreign suggest this is a global issue.

So we all need to talk about this.  Or is it just me who is confused?  Are cleavage or legs not so important anymore?  Is it now just all about a good pair of eyeballs?   What`s next?  Ears?  Heart?  Soul?

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5 Responses to Lost minds in Akihabara

  1. Anonymous says:

    I suppose it’s an obvious next step. Women are encouraged to aspire to Barbie-like features and proportions, to supplement actual flesh with silicon and to have their human fat removed. It’s a perverse hall of mirrors. Dolls who look like real women. Women who look like real dolls. What are men looking at? What do we see in the mirror? A continuum has been set in motion that leads to total doll. Unconvinced that this is simply about child replacement. The website is at pains to stress that the ‘flesh’ of the dolls’ breasts and fingertips is particularly soft…

    Am sure you can probably get a Hello Kitty perfume spray called Soul. Far better than the real thing.

    What’s the market like for boy dolls?

    • tomointokyo says:

      Boy dolls I am not sure about. It`s not my field…..I agree that it`s more than about child replacement. It might be more about control and hopeless fantasy. With good timing, I just watched a film called Handsome Suits about an ugly bachelor who suddenly finds himself god`s gift to women when he wears a magical suit. As an ugly bachelor, his life is a misery with people critcising every aspect of his appearance. It was quite funny and interesting.

  2. laxurin says:

    I never realized doll collecting could look this way to an outside person. While I don’t know the reason personally, most Dollfie Dream collectors are anime fans as well as figure collectors. Mostly, they just want a more high-tech figure of their favorite anime character.

    As far as boy dolls are concerned, in the (foreign) Asian Ball Joint Doll hobby (Volks, the makers of Dollfie Dream also made the modern BJD), there are plenty of boy dolls (however, it’s mostly girls) that are bought by a predominately female crowd. They’re highly customiz-able including paintable, and most like the artistic aspect. They have nothing to do with children, as a large number already have children, and just like having a beautiful work of art. Some (women and men) also collect Dollfie Dreams as character dolls.

    • tomointokyo says:

      Thanks for your comment Laxurin.

      I did not know about the boy dolls. Are they sold in seperate body parts too?

      I do think the Dollfie Dreams are different to figures representing anime characters. The anime charcacters already have a shape and identity, whereas the Dollfie Dreams are customised.

      I was shocked by the displays of body parts in the store. It looked clinical and gruesome. One thing I don`t understand is if it is purely for art, why do all the dolls have to be young, pink-skinned girls with implausibly large breasts?

      • laxurin says:

        Odd. I was certain I had replied earlier.

        Dollfie Dreams and Dollfies are sold in much the same way: assembled, with optional parts sold separately. Some are sold in “kit” form unassembled.

        I suppose I’m used to the sight of unclothed and unassembled dolls, so I’m not sure how it’s “clinical and gruesome”. One has to be able to see prospective purchases unobstructed whether it’s human shaped or not.

        As far all all DDs being “young, pink-skinned girls with implausibly large breasts”,
        As of right now, the only male DDs are custom built. There was an announcement saying they would make official DD boys, but nothing has happened yet. I assume girls sell better, and girls always outnumber boys in terms of production (the same is true of toys for children, Ball-jointed dolls, and Dollfie Dreams).

        They are pretty much in the same age range and body types of anime characters. The DD have two bodies, one that appears to be a pre-teen and a young adult body. Not only this, but in terms of aesthetics, older bodies are not preferred. Using Greek statues as an example, the people sculpted were usually in their twenties, with the exception of a few people. There are two skin tones: White Skin and Normal Skin (the pink one you refer to). There is very little skin tone variance, as the dolls are for the Japanese market.

        I’m not sure what they stock in the store you saw, but there are are 5 bust sizes for DD ranging from small to the very very large Shapely DDdy bust. The one you probably saw was the Large (in the middle range), since it seems to be the default unless you;re buying the pre-teen body.

        As I said, “many” like the artistic aspect, but I don’t deny there are strange people out there. It’s the same as any other hobby, this does not make it any less artistic.

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