Princess Maker 5 Review

Title: Princess Maker 5

Platform: PC

Release Date: May 2018

Developer: Gainax

Publisher: CFK

Genre: Raising Sim/ Life Sim / Dating Sim

Geeky: 3/5

Sweetie: 5/5

Overall: 61/80 76% C “Good Game for Girls”

Gameplay: 8/10 This is the last Princess Maker game in the series, aside from some online and mobile spin offs that were released later. As such, you can expect that the gameplay is much more advanced than previous Princess Maker games. Princess Maker 5 brings back the adventure system, previously seen in Princess Maker 2, allowing you to fight in simplistic rpg battles and search for treasure. It does not unlock until later in the game.

It is also the first time that you can select a female character to be the parent – Although if you play as a female, you cannot get the ending where the princess marries you (the parent).

Perhaps more importantly, there are many new activities that your daughter can participate in, compared to previous Princess Maker games. I felt that the gameplay more closely resembled Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side (which I reviewed here.)

You select a week’s worth of activities for your daughter. She will attend public school and have club activities but she will also have free time for you to schedule part time jobs or extra lessons to enhance her stats. On the weekends you will take your daughter out to try to reduce her stress or experience special seasonal events.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

Like Tokimeki Memorial, you can see which events are happening by reading a paper that lists new events. You can have cube set a reminder on the day of the events so you don’t forget important dates. But the game will not automatically prompt/navigate you to the event so you still have to pay attention and remember when and where to go for the event.

Gameplay feels slow. Especially the first year. It feels repetitive and slow building your stats, and very few random encounters or events. But as I entered my 2nd year, that began to change. Suddenly, classmates/love interests began to invite my daughter out on dates, or suddenly teachers and employers invited my daughter to special events. Now it felt more interesting and exciting.

But still, ultimately, this game is long, and slow, and while this type of gameplay is best enjoyed in small bursts, because of the repetition and monotonous gameplay, it also is a game that doesn’t get interesting until several hours in. I spent over 6 hours in the first year… If like most princess maker games this one goes until the daughter’s 18th birthday, then this game has over 70 hours of gameplay, per playthrough, times 50 endings…. staggering… definitely a highlight of the game — but the gameplay is so monotonous that many people may never reach all 50 endings.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

How could I give an 8/10 to a monotonous boring “dull” game? Well because of the added features the game presents, this game is the most realistic child rearing sim, and gives unprecedented freedom and control to the player. Your daughter grows in new ways never present in the previous princess maker games, and she grows more independent with her own hobbies and interests and desires and things become more complicated, it brings back the adventure system, and the new dating/events system seemingly borrowed from Tokimeki Memorial. All of these are an improvement over most of the gameplay features in previous princess maker games.

The game gives you unprecedented freedom to raise any kind of daughter you want, even if you want her to be a cosplaying anime fan who loves going to idol concerts. Seriously, she can become interested in just about anything you can imagine. lol.

Story: 5/10 I think part of the reason the game is so slow is that it has almost no story. You just literally keep clicking and waiting/hoping something changes/happens. Which doesn’t happen for several hours until you’ve been pumping up your stats. The opening movie is not translated or subtitled for the english release on steam. It seems that maybe it may have had at least an interesting introduction. I think from what I can tell, the daughter is a demon maybe. It says it began from bloody events that happened long ago. Seems to hint at a curse, and then from there I haven’t a clue as to what is going on, but you see cube fly away with the girl. The girl also has a special hair clip that lets her communicate with you and allows you to watch the girl while she’s away. Every once in awhile the girl talks about seeing spirits or fairies and other supernatural things. But I’m now about 10 hours into the game and there’s really no overall story, or direction, or plot, it’s basically an open ended sandbox game. Plot isn’t necessary in games like this, but since I play games for their stories, I think that’s why I feel bored while playing this game since it lacks an overarching plot of any kind.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

Characters: 10/10 I really do like the characters. They are not strong from a story standpoint, but they feel very real, and their interactions and dialogues with each other are very cute. The independence of your daughter and new complex ways in which she can develop and grow make this the best daughter of all.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

Graphics: 7/10 The artwork put me off at first, for years even before this official US release, I would see pictures of this game, compare it to 4 which was my favorite Princess Maker game, and just think YUCK!… But oddly… in the 10 hours I played the game, I now find it cute and charming. I’d played 4 years ago on my nintendo DS, even though I couldn’t read any of it. I loved that art style, and at first found this new art style for 5 to be a huge turn off. But after playing the game, I’ve changed my tune. I suggest if you like me, hate the way Princess Maker 5 looks, just give it a go, it’s a great game, and the artwork is strangely cute once you get used to it!

There’s this little fat boy, which normally would be like a blech, but I dunno there’s something sooo cute about him. He reminds me of the fat lil asian boy from Disney’s “Up” and there’s another little boy that looks like he could be straight outta card captor or some other sugary sweet shojo anime.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

The daughter was what I found most unattractive, but watching her study, work, and play, I’ve realized she is the most “real” and endearing of any of the daughters in previous games. I love my little princess.

Music: 3/10 – I really dislike the opening song – it’s awful. blech. But the rest of the music is “OK” I guess. just kinda average to me really.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – the voice acting is very cute 🙂 I’m glad they kept the original Japanese voices in the game.

Replay Value: 10/10 – over 50 different endings and the variety of things to do within this game give it excellent replay value.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

Princess Maker 5 Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition for IOS

I tried Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition. I had previously reviewed the original game for PlayStation 4. I enjoyed the game for its gameplay but felt the story and characters fell apart in the second half of the game. You can read my full review of Final Fantasy XV on PS4 here.

My favorite part of FFXV was Prompto’s photography skills. While other skills are in pocket edition, like Ignis’ cooking, Prompto doesn’t get to take photos. Actually thinking about Prompto’s photo skills is making me want to replay the PS4 version right now lol. There is also a lot of new DLC and events I’ve missed since I haven’t touched the game in over a year now.

How does Pocket Edition compare to FFXV on PS4? Obviously the biggest difference is a different art style, using chibi characters instead of photo realistic designs. The original game has some of the best graphics I’ve ever seen in an RPG. That said, the IOS version is no slouch. It too has some of the best graphics of any IOS RPG. Ignis’s food still looks delicious. And the chibi characters are kinda cute!

Music and voice acting and story are still the same, at least in chapter one which is as far as I’ve gotten. I do not think I will purchase the full game which costs just a meager $14.99. I rather play the original on my PS4 to have Prompto’s photo skills and the gorgeous graphics and more comfortable controls.

My recommendation is that if Pocket Edition is the only way you can experience Final Fantasy XV, it’s definitely worth $14.99 but if you have access to the console version (or PC if it’s available on PC) then shell out the extra cash and play the original.

Pocket edition is good but not without flaws. My iPad is a 2017 version with the latest updated IOS, and with graphics turned high in the settings it crashes… often… in chapter one it crashed 3 times already freezing completely and forcing me to reset and lose progress between saves.

But let’s look at some of the highlights of the game. In pocket edition you still get the full story identical to the original version at about a fifth of the price. You still get some really handy features to cut down on the monotonous parts of traditional RPGs. Final Fantasy XV offers many handy ways to travel such as by car or chocobo or by visiting previous locations on your map. There’s still the skill tree to customize your characters’s combat abilities. Healing, switching weapons, using items, etc is all done in real time. Combat is fast and fun and at times even challenging. Gameplay wise, the original Final Fantasy XV is one of the most fun RPGs I’ve played in the 2000s.

And pocket edition in many ways comes close to this gameplay. Like I said, if you have no other way to enjoy Final Fantasy 15, then you should give Pocket Edition a try. Even if you typically don’t play RPG games, you may enjoy this one because it’s much more fluid and less tedious than most other JRPGs.

Here is how I’d rank Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition

Title: Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition

Release Date: February 2018

Price: chapter 1 is free, after that it is $14.99 to unlock all chapters.

Platform: Mobile, IOS, Android, Switch, Xbox360, PS4

Developer: Square-Enix

Genre: JRPG

Where to get: https://itunes.apple.com/sg/app/finalfantasy-xv-pocket-edition/id1152350815?mt=8

Geeky: 3/5 Not as graphically intense as it’s original counterpart, and has some performance issues at times, also offers fewer skills, where’s Prompto’s Photography? However, it does a good job of mimicking the combat and fluid travel and gameplay features of the original.

Sweetie: 2/5 The story has highs and lows… and not just the emotional ups and downs, but in some cases a lack of emotion in parts and tendency to abandon side characters and create plot holes or weaknesses in character development. The lack of Prompto’s photography is also huge to me.

Gameplay: 6/10 without the photography skills I have to rate this much lower as that was the best part of FFXV. That said, it still offers many side quests, great combat, and quick and fluid gameplay. The skill tree has a lot to offer to help grow your characters’ combat skills and it is overall still a fun RPG

Story: 6/10 Story is pretty identical to the PS4 version, The story is about 4 male best friends, one of which who is a prince. The prince is not like your typical prince, he’s very kinda rough around the edges, smart mouthed, sarcastic, and at times apathetic. But as the story unfolds, he begins to mature into someone fitting of the throne, The best part of the story is the friendship of the four male main characters. But there are weaknesses in any of the other characters, Some are killed too soon to get any emotion from the audience when they die, others are even killed or left out if the second half of the game never to be shown again, especially all of the female characters and as a female gamer who reviews games for other girls, that’s a big ouch there for me and my readers.

Characters: 6/10 The four “bros” deserve a 10/10. They are really great and their character development superb. Their interactions with each other and message of the importance of “bromance” are really the highlight of the game, but all of the side characters are severely under developed.

Music: 10/10. It’s the same as the console version

Voice acting: 10/10 once again also the same as the console version

Graphics: 7/10 Given that it’s a mobile game… these graphics are pretty good but of course can’t compare at all to the original.

Overall: 50/70 71% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition for IOS was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Shin Na Zuki IOS JRPG

I began playing Shin Na Zuki, a free mobile JRPG featuring summoning mechanics in a beautiful fantasy anime setting.

What I like about the game:

  • Full voice acting and beautiful music
  • Cute characters
  • Pretty graphics
  • Summoning
  • Costumes
  • And most of all a really interesting story that feels like it could even be straight out of a console JRPG.

What I dislike about this game:

    Not enough characters to collect for a summoning type game
    Gameplay especially in combat is boring
    Crafting is also boring/mindless
    Stupid people in the chat rooms. So bad I disabled the comments.
    Couple of small typos/translation errors like using the word buy instead of but, etc
    Also dunno what’s up with the seemingly excessive swear words in the dialogue lol.

Now let’s look at the review….

Title: Shin Na Zuki

Platform: Mobile

Price: Free

Publisher: Wonder

Where to get: https://swy.wonderent.net


Geeky: 3/5 There is definitely some retro JRPG console influences in this mobile game. The story feels really solid so far, The music is by a Final Fantasy Composer, The game is fully voiced by talented Japanese Voice Actors, and the graphics are really nice too! But the combat is slow and dull, and overall pace and feel of the game tedious at times.

Sweetie: 3/5 3 points for all of the good things above, story, voice overs, graphics, retro JRPG vibe, music, etc. However, loses points for not enough heroes to collect. There’s maybe like 20, when most games like this have around 500… There are different costumes you can get for the heroes though which is a cute plus. And the heroes are all so cute.

Overall: 64/80 80% B- Very Good Game for Girls

Gameplay: 3/10 I’m not really loving the gameplay so far. The combat is slow and clunky and doesn’t present much opportunity for strategy nor challenge. There does appear to be a lot to do in the game as it combines card collecting with traditional JRPG elements and later in the game it seems there are raids and large scale battles but I have not gotten that far yet.

Story: 10/10 I’m really into the story which is rare for me in a mobile game. I was hooked right by the opening video with fully voiced narration. The story is about how god was angry and destroyed and divided the world. There are basically two factions now, those who still worship their gods, and those who have turned away from god in favor of technology. Those who seek power turn into demons and the more powerful they become, their appearance changes as well. However there is a lot of mystery and misconceptions about these creatures. When the game opens, our hero encounters one such creature who helps him and saves his life. He then ponders if they are really demonic or if his beliefs are a lie.

Characters: 10/10 The characters are cute and their stories are interesting and exciting. The mystery and suspense make for strong character development and interaction. Each character has a different role and different strengths and weaknesses in combat as well making it useful to collect them all.

Graphics: 10/10 For a mobile game these graphics are quite pretty and I love the chibi anime look of each of the characters. There are dramatic special combat moves that are really fun to watch, and a lot of beautiful backgrounds as well. There are also limited edition heroes to collect from crossover anime/games such as currently a vocaloid Hatsune Miku collaboration. Sure, the graphics aren’t as good as a PC or console game, but for a mobile game they’re pretty incredible.

Music: 10/10 Composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto who has scored numerous JRPG such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Ogre Battle, Shin Megumi Tensei, Dragon Quest, and best known for his work in Final Fantasy 12, Hitoshi lends his incredible talents to this mobile RPG increasing the retro Consoke JRPG feelings that this title evokes.

Voice Acting: 10/10. The game is FULLY voiced. Every Line. And the voice acting is top notch. The Voice Acting and Great music make this a game to play at max volume. And this coming from a girl who typically plays her mobile games on mute lol. I’m really impressed with the music and voice acting and story in this game. It is if console quality.

Replay Value: 5/10. There’s lots to do and lots to collect, but the gameplay is so weak that it detracts from all of the positive points. The story is worth sticking through the poor gameplay. Maybe they will improve it so that it is more fun and fluid, until then, this is a game I only envision playing until I’ve completed the story and then occasionally logging in to check out new events for new costumes and new heroes.

Overall: 64/80 80% B- Very Good Game for Girls

Shin Na Zuki IOS JRPG was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Food Fantasy Game Review

Food Fantasy is a brand-new cooking RPG and card collecting game from the creators of Love Nikki Dressup Queen. It combines many different styles of gameplay such as allowing you to research new recipes, gather ingreedients, explore the story, battle monsters, and collect cards known as “food souls” to add to your party or put to work in your shop. I’ve been playing since the game launched a few days ago and thought I’d share with you my initial thoughts of this cute little free mobile game.

Title: Food Fantasy

Genre: Cooking Simulation, Restaurant Management Card Collecting / Battling, RPG

Publisher: Elex

Release Date: July 2018

Price: Free

Where to Get:

IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/food-fantasy/id1366072359?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.egg.foodandroid&hl=en_US

Geeky: 1/5 – There’s not much “geeky” about this game. If you like cooking mama and can imagine a mash up of cooking mama with love live, then you can imagine something like Food Fantasy. Mostly I can’t give high marks because the combat is very basic and mostly automated and not very engaging or challenging. I don’t see this having wide appeal unless you like cute things or love games like cooking mama.

Sweetie: 4/5 – I think girls will like the simulation aspects the best. When the game starts you can select a cuisine style to specialize in, you can research new recipes, decorate your restaurant, and you can collect cute “food souls” that can work as staff in your restaurant, or be added to your battle party. I can’t give it a 5 for appealing to girls because the story is quite weak.

Overall: 49/60 82% B- “Very Good Game for Girls”

Gameplay: 4/5 – I’m on the fence about the gameplay aspects. It is a unique and fun game for sure. But I think the combat system leaves much to be desired. But combat is not really the main focus of this game. This game tries to be a jack of all trades, but is really a master of none. There are better RPGs, better card collecting games, and better cooking games out there – but none of them combine all 3 of these things…

When the game starts you select a small thumbnail image to represent you. – Other cooking games often let you customize an avatar character and add dress up options – since this game is by the creators of dressup nikki I was surprised, and a little disappointed not to see such features in Food Fantasy as well. – But there are some female “avatars” (thumbnails), and some “fantasy” type ones – for example my avatar is a black cat with little chef hat lol. It’s pretty cute.

After naming yourself and choosing your little thumbnail picture, you’re shown a tutorial and introduced to a few characters and shown some background story. Through the tutorial you will experience many things. First you will select one of three cooking styles which will determine your first recipe – and I’m not sure if they will have an effect on other recipes you can obtain or give you a boost to certain recipes.

Next you get to fight some monsters and progress through various missions. Sometimes some monsters will drop ingredients that you need for cooking. – they don’t seem to drop often enough though.

Back in the restaurant you can assign staff to cook food or wait on customers. Different characters give different bonus effects to your restaurant. Customers will come and go to your restaurant even while not playing, or while adventuring and exploring other parts of the game. You will need to periodically check in to cook new dishes and collect your tips and other aspects of restaurant management.

You can decorate your restaurant with cute items which in some cases grant bonus effects when placed in your restaurant.

You can also improve your dishes by leveling them up by making them over and over again, or by adding spices and other items to each recipe. In addition to improving existing dishes, you can also research and develop new dishes if you have enough ingredients.

The final aspect of the game is the “card collecting” in the form of summoning new “food souls” which as mentioned can be assigned as staff or assist you in the battle field. The cards range from common to ultra rare. Drop rates seem generous, I summoned an ultra rare food soul, Peking Duck, early in the game without spending real money. There are also numerous special events, such as the launch party that will award ultra rare food souls for completing specific tasks and missions.

You can then take these food souls into battle – but the battles are really rather dull and not a very fun aspect of the game. You can tap to remove status ailments from your party members or tap to interrupt the boss from using powerful special moves, but largely, it’s more automated and you sit there watching your food souls fight, and the difficulty level is quite low. I have not lost a single match yet.

Story: 3/5 The story is very weak and poor, and there are some awkward phrasings and some questionable translation issues. I feel the story has potential to be interesting, but it’s not yet. Basically, you summon a food soul who has no powers and they tell you she is an empty shell and that usually such food souls are discarded, but you feel bad for her and take her in, because you feel responsible because you were the one who summoned her. She vows to help and often tries to protect you even though doing so without any powers would mean sacrificing herself. She is frustrated and wants to grow stronger, but you’re told it is impossible. – If I have to guess, she probably does have some special power or something, that’s how these stories usually go. Right now, the story is slow and dull, but perhaps things will get more interesting – I’ve only been playing for 2 days, maybe an hour each day, so I’m still in the beginning stages of the game. But thus far, not really impressed with the story.

Characters: 5/5 – The characters are super cute, and there is a mix of male and female characters which is rare for these summoning types of games. Also every food soul has an English Voice Actor (or Actress), and if you don’t like the English voices, you do have the ability to select the Japanese ones as well. This is a really nice plus, I haven’t seen many of these summoning games that bother to add English voice acting. The artwork is adorable, and of course it’s all inspired by various food and beverages which gives it a nice theme.

Graphics: 5/5 – Graphically this game is quite nice with a unique storybook like style. The anime style food souls and npc characters are all very cute. The backgrounds are really detailed and lovely. I can’t find anything to complain about here.

Music 3/5: Some of the music and sound effects sound recycled from love nikki? Or at least very similar in style.  It’s average at best. Nothing really stands out, but thankfully nothing is annoying, although like most mobile games it can be repetitive at times.

Voice Acting: 5/5 – I love that there’s English Voice acting – and some of them are quite good. I also equally love that they’ve left the option to switch to the original Japanese voice actors at any time as well. Great touch. I know they spent a lot of money licensing the original cast, as well as hiring all new voice actors for the English release. This shows me they care about the fans, and about the game, and it was just a really nice surprise and does set the game apart a bit from other summoning games out there.

Crafting: 5/5 – I love that you can research new recipes. This game reminds me of several other much larger cooking/crafting games such as the Atelier series of games, or Mana Khemia, or Kamidori Alchemist Meister.  The crafting aspects are probably the highlight of the game. In that regard though there are probably a dozen other mobile games which do a better job – If you’re looking for similar games check out anything by Kairosoft, Nippon Cafeteria, Sushi Spinnery, or Ramen Master being 3 that focus specifically on food – while other Kairosoft titles apply the same game mechanics to other jobs/roles. Or check out other cooking and restaurant management games such as I love Pasta and I love Coffee – which I reviewed here. Or of course, I’m sure you’re familiar with the famous Cooking Mama games. Even though these other games may have more in depth crafting/management aspects, I still give food souls a 5 in this area. Out of all the different aspects of this strange little game, I think the cooking and simulation aspects are the strongest and most fun elements.

Customization: 4/5 – You can decorate your restaurant, assign staff, and choose your food specialty. But most other mobile restaurant simulation games have a dressup aspect and I miss that here.

Cuteness: 5/5 – The food souls are super cute and the graphics and voice acting take that cuteness to the next level.

Replay Value: 5/5 – With the special events and wide variety of things to do, from battling, to cooking, to decorating your restaurant, to collecting food souls, to inventing new recipes to serve in your restaurant, or progressing through story missions, this game has a lot to offer and will keep you busy.

Overall: 49/60 82% B- “Very Good Game for Girls”

Food Fantasy Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Recast Asian Balljointed Dolls

Table of Contents:

Introduction

What is a Recast Asian Balljointed Doll?

If Recasts Are Available Why Would Someone Want to Purchase a Legit Asian Balljointed Doll?

Why Would Someone Want a Recast Asian Balljointed Doll?

What Are The Risks in Purchasing Recast Dolls?

Closing Thoughts:

Further Reading

The End

Introduction

I recently purchased my first recast dolls (Shown in the featured image) (Sorry for the bad photo >.< I will update once their wigs and clothes arrive). Anyways, when I purchased these lil cuties I was nervous and not sure what to expect despite having done my own research as well. I own 13 and counting legit ABJD, and although I’m not super active in the doll communities I do like to share photos of my dolls and attend annual meetups or bring the dolls to conventions, and I have a small circle of about a dozen friends I’ve met through the hobby and I worried how owning a recast doll may damage those friendships.

If you’re like me, and have been considering purchasing a recast doll for awhile now, there are some things you need to know, many of which you may already be aware of. Or if you’re like some of my readers, you may have no idea what an Asian Balljointed Doll even is, or why so much controversy exists about the recast dolls.

This post aims to be “Recast Neutral” and present both sides of the argument. At the end of this article you will also find links to external resources for both Recast Friendly/Neutral and Anti-Recast resources for further reading so that you can come to your own conclusions.

Once my dolls’ wigs and clothes arrive I will also do a separate post to review the dolls here on my blog.

I understand there are strong feelings about recast dolls, but please keep the comments civil. Negative comments are fine, but comments that evoke bullying or harassment will not be tolerated. Also if it is your first time commenting on my blog, your comments will be held for moderation automatically due to a setting in the back end. I will publish all comments, yes even anti-recast comments as long as they are civil, but since I am the only moderator there may be a delay of a few days. Thank you for your understanding.

What is a Recast Asian Balljointed Doll?

An Asian Balljointed Doll is a doll with balljoints that allow it to move and take lifelike poses. The dolls come nude, bald, without wigs, without eyes, etc. And unlike other dolls they are meant to be customized by the people who purchase the dolls. They even come unpainted. Many manufacturers offer painting services and other customizations for a fee. Others will send their dolls to “Faceup” Artists to be finished and customized.

A Recast Asian Balljointed doll is made by taking a Legit Asian Balljointed Doll, and creating a mold from the doll, then using the molds to reproduce the original dolls often times to resell to people buying them for personal use. Buying counterfeit items for personal use is not illegal in the united states. See below under legal issues surrounding copyright or visit the following source: https://consumer.findlaw.com/consumer-transactions/buying-counterfeit-goods-laws-and-resources.html

A Recast doll is basically a knock-off. Often these dolls are made in China where their copyright laws are very different from most other nations.

There is controversy and drama surrounding Recast Dolls, unlike other counterfeit items, many people feel more strongly and get more heated about Recast Dolls than say, a fake coach handbag, or fake barbie doll. But ultimately a recast Asian Balljointed doll is no different from other counterfeit items. There are pros and cons to purchasing a counterfeit items, such as more affordable price, vs quality. This post wants to help you form your own decisions on the issue at hand.

If Recasts Are Available Why Would Someone Want to Purchase a Legit Asian Balljointed Doll?

  • The number 1 reason to purchase Legit Asian Balljointed Dolls is to Support the Companies and Artists Who Create New Dolls For Everyone to Enjoy

    • Without Our Financial Support, these companies cannot stay in business and cannot continue to design new dolls.
    • Fewer companies making dolls = fewer dolls to choose from
    • Less competition from doll companies = higher prices / longer wait times / quality issues as demand for dolls from the remaining companies will increase
    • Artists, and the companies employing these artists, deserve to be paid for their work
  • The 2nd most important reason to purchase Legit dolls is so you can join in and be accepted and included by the majority of large doll communities both online and off.

    • Most of the online communities have strict rules that forbid you from posting any photos or information about your recast dolls
    • Many offline meetup groups, and special doll events and conventions also have strict rules against bringing recast dolls to their events
      • Which they have every right to do, because it is their community, or their event.
      • The problem becomes when a user shares their recast outside of these anti-recast communities, there is still a butterfly affect, and backlash received from members of the anti-recast communities, who feel it is OK to bully users on their personal websites, personal social media accounts, personal emails, or even harass them in real life.
      • The grey area is also the case where a moderator or admin of an anti-recast community may join or browse a supposed recast friendly or recast neutral community and then decide to ban anyone it finds who also has an account in their community.
        • This is a big concern for a lot of people who would be more likely to be openly recast neutral or recast friendly because they fear repercussions and witch hunts from within the larger anti-recast communities even if they don’t own recasts themselves.
        • It’s a grey area because on one hand, it is still their community and they can moderate it as they wish. But on the other hand, if a user follows and complies with the no recast rules within the anti-recast community, that should be where their jurisdiction ends. In other words, theoretically it could also be argued that a user should be free to associate with or join other sites or with members of other sites and their activities on those sites should not impact their membership on other communities as long as they comply with the rules while within that community.
          •  Remember that owning a recast doll, or not, if you’re participating in the recast neutral or recast friendly communities you are at risk, even if you do not own a recast doll yourself.
    • Many faceup artists will not work with a recast head.
      • There have even been horror stories of artists smashing/breaking heads and/or not returning heads to recast owners
      • If you do choose to do faceups on recast dolls, even if you do not own any recast dolls yourself, you are forbidden from advertising your faceup services even for legit dolls in many of the large online communities which hurts your ability to promote your services and affects your profitability.
    • Even if you find and join recast neutral or recast friendly communities, there are “spies” and “cyberbullies” from anti-recast communities who can find you and not only ban you from their communities, but also publicly humiliate and harrass you online or off.
      • Even if you yourself do not own a recast doll, and merely want to label yourself as “recast neutral” that means you don’t buy recasts, but you don’t care if others buy recasts, these “spies” will label you as “Recast Friendly” and bully and harrass you the same as they would an actual owner of recast dolls.
        • I was in a number of facebook groups when the whole recast neutral thing first took off a few years ago. I merely wanted to say, hey, I don’t really care what you do with your money, that’s up to you, and to label myself AGAINST all this cyber bullying drama that goes on in the hobby.
        • But I left the communities due to fear of becoming a victim of bullying myself by association with those owning recast dolls.
        • On one hand, I see the bully’s point of view, if you are “turning a blind eye” from the problems of art theft and copyright infringement, you are enabling others to continue to purchase recasts
        • But on the other hand, similarly, if you “turn a blind eye” on all the cyber bullying and drama, you’re enabling users to continue to cyber bully, threaten, and harm other users as well.
          • You might think, well they own a recast so they deserve to be bullied or threatened but you don’t know anything about this person and owning a recast doll is far from the worst thing a person could do.
          • Many people take the bullying to such extremes that it becomes very stressful for the victim and spills into many other aspects of their daily life.
          • Many people view owning a recast as negatively as robbing a bank, or other “large scale” theft. Which is blown pretty out of proportion. For one thing, owning or purchasing a recast (yes even when you know it is a recast) is NOT illegal in the United States as long as it’s for personal use, while other forms of theft and robbery are illegal. Source: https://consumer.findlaw.com/consumer-transactions/buying-counterfeit-goods-laws-and-resources.html
          • I’m not saying owning a recast is perfectly OK or that there are not victims or consequences that the industry experiences, or that recasts should be viewed as widely acceptable, but it’s far from the level of extremity that many anti-recast users view it as and does not necessarily instantly make someone the scum of the earth or invalidate them as a person. People all have flaws, weaknesses, sins, etc. Not a single one of us on this Earth is perfect.
            • Many anti-recast people jump to wild unfounded illogical accusations / assumptions / conclusions about the people owning a recast about their other morals, characteristics, personality traits, and personal life that make the person appear as scum.
            • They tell everyone to shun and not associate with this person. Even if they already know or are friends with the recast owner.
              • This is in my opinion horrible, encouraging people to end years long friendships because their friend owns a recast
              • Encouraging friends to shun and not associate with their friends who own recasts, and even encouraging them to join in on the cyber bullying against recast-owning friends
              • If you choose to end a friendship with someone because they own a recast doll, you’re not a good friend.
                • I personally don’t care if a friend owns a recast doll. It doesn’t matter to me. It doesn’t change my opinion of them, and it doesn’t break our friendship or invalidate what I already know to be true of that person.
                • Friendships aren’t about doll drama. Friendships are about shared memories and experiences built together over time and about other personal traits and qualities.
                • Being a good person, or a good friend, isn’t automatically negated by owning a recast doll. That’s silly. I much rather have a friend who cares about me as a person, makes time for me, gives me good advice, shares things in common with me, does things for other people, makes me laugh, smart, fun, funny, witty, caring, warm, etc. Owning a recast doesn’t negate all those other things or the years of history we’ve built together.
                • This is just hypothetical as I don’t know anyone who actually owns a recast, before you want to witch hunt or harrass any of my friends, I’m just saying that if I discovered one of them did own a recast doll, it wouldn’t really change my opinion of them. My love for my friends goes deeper than if they own a recast doll or not.
          • In my own opinion, and in that of many recast neutral / recast friendly users, owning a recast doll is no different from downloading a “free” mp3 without the artist’s permission / without funds going to the artist. It’s no different than owning a fake Coach purse handbag, or fake pair of “designer” jeans or sunglasses. It’s no different from watching a stream of a mostly text/visual video game (visual novel, otome game, most rpgs, etc), or no different from watching a new release movie online for free.
          • All of these things are crimes and “wrong” – but how many people, including yourself and your friends do at least 1, or more of these actions? If it’s up to the cyber bullies, you should end all friendships and relationships with these people.
          • I’m not saying everyone does these actions (downloading MP3s, owning knock off fashion items, watching movies online, using their friends’ netflix accounts, or etc)
          • But I am saying, think about someone you know who does these things… If you don’t know anyone who does those things, picture hypothetically that you discover a very good friend has done this. Would you automatically hate that person and never hang out with them or talk to them ever again? I doubt it. You’d be more likely to remember all the times that friend was there for you, that they did something nice for you, nice for their community, nice for their country, nice for their other friends, nice for their kids, nice for their spouse or significant other, or nice for a random stranger even.
          • You might be thinking, oh my friend is so nice and so good, and so moral they would never own a recast doll (or download an mp3, or watch a movie online, or buy knock-off fashion items or login to their friends’ netflix account, or etc.) — But the reality is, there are millions of people like your friend who is so nice, and so good, and so moral (in other areas of their life perhaps) that DO own a recast doll, (or download mp3s, and etc). Owning a recast doll, doesn’t necessarily make someone deserving of the extreme levels of bullying that exist in the hobby.
          • You have no right to make assumptions about a person, especially regarding their character, their personal life, their moral judgement. Yes they made a poor moral choice buying a recast doll. However, there are far worse things than owning a recast doll. There are people who lie, who cheat, or murder, who commit adultery, have affairs, harm animals, harm children, commit fraud, or numerous other more serious crimes / immoral decisions.
          • And owning a recast doll does not automatically make someone more likely to commit these other more serious crimes / immoral decisions, not anymore or any less likely than anyone else.
          • The wild jumps to conclusions / assumptions about people’s personality traits, morality, and judgement are where I take huge issue with a lot of the “anti-recast” drama. – If they left the personal assumptions aside, and just made it about the dolls, that’s one thing that no one could really take issue or offense with, but instead, they launch these horrible personal attacks and witch hunts, and in my opinion that behavior is way worse than owning a recast doll. If you ask me who I rather be friends with, I would choose the person owning the recast doll, any day, over the person who is committing cyber bullying and harassment.
    • If you own a “mix” of legit and recast dolls, it tarnishes your name/reputation in the community, and may hinder your enjoyment of the community aspects of your legit dolls. Once you’re labeled as owning a recast, even if you own 20 legit dolls, and 1 recast, that 1 recast reflects so strongly against you that most anti-recast communities will treat you poorly even if you never share that 1 recast anywhere on their community and only share your legit dolls. Once you are discovered to own recast dolls it is a big risk. Are you willing to take that risk? You have to ask yourself how important is being part of the community to your enjoyment of the dolls? Not everyone cares about sharing photos of their dolls or participating in meetups, etc. But if you do, then owning a recast is sure to bring you a lot of misery and stress.
      • For example, you might post pictures of your legit dolls, with or without your recast dolls, on your own personal site or social media, and you might receive negative comments, even if that picture contains no recast dolls, because maybe your account has other pictures that do have recast dolls.
        • Online drama in other communities:
          • There are hashtags that many of the anti-recast users want recast owners to use.
          • Many recast owners are afraid to “oust” themselves by admitting to owning a recast doll because they know:
            • 1.) that it is wrong
            • 2.) that they will have to suffer cyber bullying and possible repercussions from other communities and users.
          • Other recast owners do not even know they should be tagging their dolls as recasts, because they do not participate in the anti-recast communities where these hashtag “rules” originated.
          • Anti-recast communities and their members try to enforce their views/rules/regulations outside of areas of their control (such as wanting to enforce hashtags or ban photos of recasts from popular social media sites, such as instagram, youtube, twitter, or going as far as wanting to shut down or bully users who build websites for their recast dolls, not to sell their dolls, but maybe to share photos, roleplay, write stories, character descriptions, and so on.)
            • In reality though, the only thing they can really do is report the content to the site owners, such as reporting your content to youtube or facebook for violating some sort of facebook or youtube policy about bootleg items if even such a policy exists hypothetically speaking.
    • Even if you are just posting the recast dolls on your own personal websites / social media pages, you will get a lot of hurtful comments from anti-recast users so you must be prepared to deal with the cyberbullying that comes with owning a recast. You must have very thick skin. The comments do not stop at just remarks about your dolls, but remarks about you as a person, your morals, your ethics, and even calling into question details of your personal life, relationships, or other drama, anything they can find against you, they will use to their advantage to shame you for owning a recast. Some remarks even go as far as telling recast doll owners to kill themselves, or talking about breaking, burning, trashing, or harming the recast dolls, and or even suggesting committing theft and property damage or even bodily harm of recast doll owners, through doxxing (posting private details online such as address or phone numbers) or other harmful cyber bully tactics.
    • Or you could always just always keep your recast to yourself, do not ever mention owning a recast and never show photos of your recast or take them to events, even ones labeled as recast friendly, for fear of being discovered. But this eliminates your ability to enjoy many aspects of the hobby which may be important to you.
    • This is a lot to think about – and even if you don’t care about supporting the artists, chances are, you do care about being bullied and/or want to enjoy your dolls with other members of the doll community. You should really think carefully about if you can withstand the cyberbullying and about what you are giving up or missing out on by owning a recast. If it is your first doll, chances are you want to do all of the things that come with owning a doll and being part of the hobby and community. Owning a recast will paint a large target on your back right from day one and forever tarnish your reputation in many online and offline doll communities. Once you own a recast you can never redeem yourself in the eyes of most of the community. Even if you sell or throw away or give away your doll, you will always be looked at with suspicion by the anti-recast community.
      • That suspicion even spills over to those who have never owned a recast before; there have been countless instances of someone owning a legit and being accused and bullied for owning a recast, when the doll was in fact legit to begin with.
      • The best way to protect yourself against cyber bullying is to never purchase a recast, and always keep your COA, box, and other items, as well as registering your dolls online if the specific company where you purchased your doll from allows registration.
  • The 3rd reason to purchase Legit dolls is concerns over quality or communication and for more peace of mind/buyer’s protection

    • Even many anti-recast communities admit that newer recasts have improved in both quality and communication practices and that it is getting more difficult to easily spot a recast based solely on quality alone.
    • However, just like not all legit doll companies have the same levels of quality assurance, the same goes for different recasters. Some recasters have higher quality and better communication than others.
    • Even those recasters with higher quality sometimes make mistakes or deliver poor goods, just like even some high quality legit doll manufacturers sometimes make mistakes.
      • The most common quality issues surrounding recasts include:
        • Shrinkage; when a recast is made, they use an existing legit doll as a mold. When that mold gets old, new molds are created from the mold of a recast, as time goes on, each mold gets slightly smaller and smaller and the resulting doll therefore gets smaller and smaller too.
        • As a result of shrinkage and/or the molding process, there is sometimes a loss of detail around fine areas such as the eyes, nose, lips, or ears of the recast doll.
        • Another issue is often the magnets used to attach fantasy parts or hands/feet are weaker than those supplied by the legit companies.
          • Sometimes too there will be wrong magnets, where it repells the body part instead of attract, making it impossible to assemble.
        • Stringing and other issues internally in the doll can result in a doll with inferior posing abilities compared to the legit versions.
        • Sometimes dolls arrive with two left feet, legs, or other mismatched body parts, this is perhaps the worst flaw of all because it significantly affects pose-ability.
        • Sometimes dolls arrive broken, damaged, etc in shipping. Sometimes shipments get lost. Sometimes they send you completely the wrong dolls or wrong parts.
          • When this happens sometimes you’re left with poor customer service (or no response at all) and lose your money and receive damaged goods or no goods at all.
          • Even legit doll companies can have issues with quality control or communication; however, the problems seem more common with the recast companies. Some people get perfect dolls and perfect, prompt, friendly polite customer service even from recasters. It just depends. It seems most legit doll companies have a better more consistent record at providing better quality products and customer service.
            • The 4th reason to purchase Legit dolls is a wider variety and a larger selection to choose from.

    • Although dozens, maybe even hundreds, of dolls have been recast, not all dolls have been recast yet. Recasters only buy dolls they think will be popular enough to sell many units. Even though recasters have cloned many dolls, there are thousands more that they do not offer.
      • If the doll you really love has not been recast, you should save your money to get a doll you love, and not just settle for one you like. In the long run, you won’t be happy, because you’ll always be comparing the doll you have, to the doll you’ve seen that you really wanted but couldn’t afford.
      • You might say but I will never afford it, or even if I could afford it, I’d feel so bad spending so much money on a doll.
        • There are numerous distributors which offer layaway options, even some of the doll manufacturers offer layaway too to help ease the financial burden.
        • You will love your doll more if you have to work hard for it. It will be precious to you. It will mean something to you. Just like anything in life, things feel BEST when you earn them through hard work, instead of things just being given to you with minimal effort.
          • Even if you are a child, or you are disabled, or you are elderly, or some other reason you cannot have a traditional job, there are ways you can make income to fund your hobbies.
            • Here are a few examples that anyone can do:
              • Start a blog – you might not get rich, but you’d be surprised how much you can earn each month. For example my little blog here averages between 100-300 a month. There are many many dolls in this price range, that could be a doll a month. I use my blog all the time as my “hobby money” buying things like games, dolls, anime, cosplay, or whatever. It feels “good” to me, because I’m not taking the income out of my regular paycheck, nor am I using expensive credit cards with high interest rates, and I’m “earning” things for my hobby through hard work and dedication.
              • Take up crafting, especially doll related crafting. You can sell wigs, eyes, clothes, faceup services, etc. And then you will have left over materials, and a lot of experience and skills making these items for when you finally have a doll of your own.
                • Even if you don’t have experience or talent making anything, you can always learn! There are so many tutorials online, and it’s fun and part of owning a doll that many collectors enjoy in the hobby.
                • You can start with smaller less expensive doll clothing/eyes/wigs such as for pullip, blythe, icy dolls, and etc. This way you can purchase a doll to get exact measurements and have a doll to model your finished pieces to help sell and promote your items more quickly.
              • Have a yard sale, or ebay if you prefer to do it online, to get rid of old items you no longer need. You’d be surprised what some people collect that you no longer want, such as old toys, clothes, housewares, home goods, video games, anime goods, etc.
              • Do chores – even if you’re a tiny child, ask your parents, friends, family members, neighbors, etc if you can earn 20 bucks helping them do chores that you normally don’t do.
                • Here are a few examples:
                  • Shovel snow
                  • Rake leaves
                  • Wash cars
                  • Walk dogs
                  • Babysitting (for older kids / teens)
                  • Cleaning challenging rooms/areas such as attics, garages, basements, etc.
                  • Helping with computer, internet, printer, and other technological devices
                  • Running errands
                  • Delivering groceries or other items
                  • Uber or Lyft driving (for teens/adults)
                  • Lemonade Stand / Baked Goods sales
              • Online surveys
              • Create virtual items in free games such as IMVU and Secondlife, then sell the in-game currency for real money
              • Write and self publish a book or ebook and sell it on amazon or similar
              • Photography for older kids/teens, see if friends and family members will pay you to capture special moments, such as wedding/engagement photos, baby announcements/baby photos, family portraits, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for money. At my first wedding, a friend of the groom was our photographer, but he still charged us 200 dollars – which was cheap really because we had him for the whole day (10+ hours).
              • Many other ideas and suggestions I have probably forgotten – there are many ways you can earn money to get the doll you really want. You just have to be creative and think outside the box! Age, disability, or other factors are just an excuse. They may hinder you from having a “real” job, but don’t have any impact on many other things you can do to earn money “on the side”.
  • The 5th and “final” (at least for this post) reason for purchasing Legit dolls is to help maintain the value of the dolls.

    • Doll collecting is an expensive hobby. Even many US dolls are worth a lot of money on the second hand market, like old barbies, my little ponies, etc.
    • When something goes out of production, it’s a simple lesson in supply and demand. As supplies decrease and/or demand increases, prices also increase. But as supplies increase, and/or demand decrease, prices decrease.
    • Many limited edition Asian Balljointed Dolls are EXTREMELY limited. Sold only for a month, or even some only for a few days. I think my Crobidoll Sinbi was only available for about 4 days – And even “better” inside her headcap it says “01” – I think maybe she was the first Crobidoll Sinbi to ever be produced. I feel extremely excited / proud about that.
      • Another example is my Iplehouse Claude, currently my most expensive Asian Balljointed Doll. I paid over $900 for him. He used to just be a standard doll, that Iplehouse sold, but then they decided to retire him. Now he is only available very rarely and for only a few days at a time. And his price has increased. They do open him up for sales, I don’t know if it’s yearly. I don’t believe so at least. They occasionally have “auctions” on Iplehouses site, or have “Custom” sales where you can order any head (from a list of available heads, in which Claude is not always offered).
      • Another example is many Dollmore dolls do limited editions of like 10 dolls. That’s it. TEN. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. And they sell them WORLDWIDE.
        • To put it into perspective, a European doll manufacturer that I collect, called Masterpiece Dolls, also makes limited edition dolls that they sell “Worldwide” but you know how many “limited” dolls they release? 10,000…. That doesn’t even sound limited at all!!! (but yet they do sell out and there are some highly sought after ones on the 2nd hand market)… Now imagine that “hype” times 1,000…. That’s how rare and sought after some limited edition Asian Balljoint dolls are! There are even companies such as Volks which make “One Off” dolls, where there is only ONE in the whole world. (my dream is to someday own one of those lol)
          • Now imagine the rage and hatred that someone feels when someone recasts and makes unlimited numbers of a limited edition doll. Suddenly you go from having 1 or 10, to having thousands, and growing as time goes on…
            • This kills the 2nd hand market for a user who may one day wish to resell their doll. Why they would want to resell their doll, is their business. Some people fall on hard times, other people outgrow the hobby, or some just want the money to spend on more newer dolls.
            • Back in 2005, a user might pay $600 for a limited doll, and be able to later resell it for 2 to 3 times the purchase price (1200-1800 typically, and sometimes for really sought after sculpts, 3000 dollars and up)
              • But along come recasters, and with that, there goes the 2nd hand market.
                • Why would someone want a yellowed, possibly cracked, stained, used doll for $3,000 dollars, when they can get a brand new mint condition doll for $200?
                  • You can easily see how this destroyed the 2nd hand market.
                    • Nowadays people have trouble selling 2nd hand dolls, and the recasters are one of the primary reasons.
                    • To prove that it is a primary reason, you can look at other similar asian dolls which have not yet been recast, such as Dollfie Dreams or Smart Dolls, and you can see how the 2nd hand market is thriving there. Many extremely old Dollfie Dreams go for $3,000 and up still today.
                      • These dolls haven’t been recast because they have intricate and delicate parts inside of them such as a spine system that allows for greater stability, flexibility, and poseability. Recasters have not figured out how to engineer these internal pieces, which for now, keeps them safe from recasters.
            • Not only the 2nd hand market, but also the “uniqueness” and “pride” in owning a limited doll. It kills that special fun, super exciting feeling of exclusivity. I’m sure they still love their doll just the same, but it kills some of the magic and excitement.
              • Suddenly you see photos that look like your doll plastered all over the internet.
                • Sure yours might be painted differently, styled differently, different wig, different eyes, different clothes, different faceup, but still it is disheartening to go from seeing maybe 3-4 other users posting pictures of “your” doll, to seeing hundreds or thousands of users posting the same sculpt all over.
                  • One of the best things about the hobby is how unique and different everyone’s dolls look, even when it’s the same sculpt, but sculpt too does have an effect, and when you think you’re buying a rare sculpt, for someone to then go and recast that doll, and ruin its rarity, it’s really devastating. It’s a horrible feeling.

What Are the Reasons Someone Would Want a Recast Asian Balljointed Doll?

  • Lower Price

    • Obviously the biggest reason to purchase recast dolls is the more attractive price point. As mentioned above when discussing the 2nd hand market and limited edition dolls, many Asian Balljointed Dolls go for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. You can get the same doll, brand new, and not used, for a fraction of the cost.
    • How much money are we talking here?
      • Some recast sculpts are more money than others – I think they like to take advantage of the popularity and rare availability of certain sculpts
      • Doll size is also a consideration, larger dolls use more materials and cost more to manufacture, and are heavier and cost more to ship, therefore they have higher prices.
      • Tinies, YOSD, Puki’s, Latidolls, etc. are all very very affordable. Even some MSDs are insanely affordable.
        • I purchased my 2 recasts during an anniversary event where there was an even greater discount off the already low recast prices.
        • Regularly, the little recast latidolls are around $65 with a faceup, or $40-$50 for a blank doll
          • They go for $200 and up for a blank Lati Yellow from Lati Doll.
          • Because of the sales event, I got mine for $55 with a faceup and shipping and handling.
            • I didn’t pay much more than that for the much much larger / heavier Littlefee Pong, which was under $65 for faceup and shipping and handling
              • Littlefees go for $285 and up (not counting faceup or shipping) from Fairyland – more than 4 times the amount I paid.
              • Since we’re talking about Fairyland, the MSD line goes for $397 on Fairyland’s site, or only $47 from the recaster that I ordered my Lati and Littlefee from (both prices are for blank dolls, both prices go up slightly for a faceup). This is almost 10 times more than the cost of a recast MSD.
                • The recaster has almost every MSD sculpt – but not all of them. I don’t see Shiwoo and there’s probably others the recaster is missing as well 🙂 They do have littlefee Shiwoo though.
      • The SD and larger dolls start to get a lil bit pricey even from the recasters. However, they are still much much cheaper than their legit counterparts from their original manufacturers.
        • The SD dolls are almost all $100 and up, with most being $200 and up. Most are still under $300, even for instances in where the legit are rare, limited, or discontinued.
          • This may sound expensive to some not familiar with the hobby, but the Legit SD sized dolls regularly go for $600-800 for a standard, non limited, regular SD sized BJD, and even up from there. I’ve seen some companies charge $900, or even $1,000 or more for a limited edition doll.
          • To remain neutral I should also note that there are some Legit companies which offer SD dolls for under $300 too. I will add several of these dolls to the resources section at the end of this article.
    • The prices of being in the hobby, don’t just stop at the dolls either. There are eyes and wigs and clothes and shoes and props and accessories and furniture and even if you plan to make everything by hand, you still have to factor in materials and the value of your time.
      • Spending less on the actual dolls themselves gives you more money to spend on “all the rest” of the things you’ll need to buy for the dolls.
      • Not everyone values money the same way. Some people could afford Legits, but don’t want to spend the money when to them a recast is just as good. Just like to some people they could afford a coach handbag or designer glasses, but they don’t see the “value” in it, when to them the knockoff or counterfeit versions are just as good.
  • Availability of Discontinued or “Limited Edition” Dolls

    • As I mentioned above under preserving the value of the dolls, many companies manufacture limited edition dolls. Now you might be familiar with limited dolls from European or North American manufacturers as having hundreds or thousands or even tens of thousands of units in production… but that is not the case for a limited edition Asian Balljointed Doll. Not at all!
      • Most are limited by a time frame window. They take an unlimited number of orders but only for a short period lasting a few days, up to a week, the longest I’ve ever seen for a limited ABJD was a month long ordering window.
      • Others are limited by the manufacturers producing only a small number of dolls to sell.
        • And by small I mean SMALL!!! Not hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands.
        • Dollmore usually does 10, and that’s for WORLDWIDE distribution.
        • Other companies like Volks even make “One Off Dolls” where there’s only ONE in the whole world.
      • Once it’s gone, that’s it, it will never be offered again.
        • This is good for the Resell 2nd hand market and for creating excitement for the companies to sell more dolls and also creating a proud exciting feeling for those who are lucky enough to own such a doll (man I LOVE that feeling..).
        • But “bad” for someone who wants a specific doll. Imagine just finding the hobby today, and missing out on 20+ years of limited edition dolls.
          • Those dolls are highly sought after and have high market value, which makes them very expensive, sometimes up to $3,000 for a 2nd hand doll.
          • All resin yellows over time, this is fact. I still have my very first ABJD that I purchased in 2006, and it’s yellow as hell. To the point where I don’t play with or display it, but it’s still near and dear to my heart and will never be sold.
            • My first doll was a Dollzone Demi
              • It was not limited, but for whatever reason, Dollzone no longer offers Dollzone Demi anymore. The sculpt has been retired, etc. The company has moved a completely different direction, and its apparently working for them, and they have a lot of fans, but honestly (most of) their newer dolls scare the hell out of me and gross me out lol.
              • I would love to purchase a new, mint condition Dollzone Demi, one that’s not yellow, and preferably one with a company faceup since mine just has my bad attempts at my first (and 2nd, 3rd, etc) faceups.
              • But I can’t purchase it from Dollzone as it’s been discontinued, and I don’t think it was ever recast either, so I’m stuck with my yucky yellow doll that I still love very much. If I could buy another Demi from Dollzone I definitely would buy another Demi right now today this very moment. I could buy another on the 2nd hand market (assuming I could find one) but they’d be just as yellow as mine as 12 years have passed now.
              • If it would have been recast, I could have just “replaced” my dolls as they began to yellow. (although I’d still keep my original dolls, especially Demi since she was my first).
              • In this way, I can really understand fully why someone want want a recast doll – No one wants yellow banana babies.
          • Other times, a Legit doll company goes out of business forever. And their dolls are no longer available. There may not even by (m)any on the 2nd hand market either! Or the ones on the market place may have small defects and imperfections since they are used and probably several years old now. And as those are sold, fewer and fewer remain. Overtime, eventually it becomes impossible to buy a Legit of one of their dolls.
            • There are recast versions of many dolls from many manufacturers who have gone out of business. Dream of Doll comes to mind off the top of my head, but I’m sure there are others.
              • I know that the fact there are recast versions of the dolls may have been what led to them going out of business in part or in whole, and I can’t deny that.
              • But in some cases, the Legit companies have gone out of business due to bad service or poor quality or just the economy.
              • And many other companies where almost every sculpt have been recast are still selling dolls and still profitable, because they offer good quality and good service, or just make really attractive sculpts or well engineered dolls, or unique dolls, etc.
              • Whatever the case is, buying a Legit from those companies who close down is no longer possible as the company no longer exists.
              • You may get lucky and find one in reasonable shape and at a reasonable price on the 2nd hand market, but you might not find the doll, or it might have scratches or stains, or other flaws on the 2nd hand market, or it might be very expensive since the seller knows you can no longer purchase the doll from the manufacturer.
              • In times like these people often feel justified in purchasing a recast doll and many, like myself, feel that if the company still sold the sculpt they wanted, or if the company was still in business, they’d purchase the legit.
              • Many people don’t want yellow dolls, scratched dolls, stained dolls, dolls with poor faceups, dolls that need to be restrung, dolls that have had extensive modding, or etc.
              • Many Anti-Recasters argue to “Save for the Doll You REALLY want” — but what if the doll you REALLY want is from a company who is out of business and there’s not any dolls in the 2nd hand market? Then they tell you, buy a doll that looks like that doll, or wait and see if any come on the 2nd hand market, or etc.
                • But I disagree. I think you should ALWAYS go for the doll you REALLY want, and since that company is out of business, you’re not even hurting the company or artist.
                  • It can be argued though you’re hurting other artists and other companies, because the recasters will take your money to purchase more legit dolls to use as molds for their recasts
                  • But I still say, go for the doll you REALLY want, if it’s Legit, or if it’s only available as a recast. If it’s a 2nd hand doll and yellowed and stained, if that’s not what you want, you want a new doll, hey it’s your money. And remember if it’s for personal use it’s not illegal (in the US), and the only harm is that you’re hurting the 2nd hand market, or angering the owners of the original dolls, but still, that shouldn’t force you to feel bullied into buying a doll you don’t want.
                    • No one wants that banana green doll with a chipped finger and black stains from their wig and peeling faceup that you’re charging $1,200 for. I’m sorry.
                      • If it was me, doing the shopping, and I could only get the Legit from you…
                        • And assuming it was poor quality, because I also know there are 2nd hand dolls that are in great condition. I’ve purchased 2nd hand dolls myself!..
                          • But if my only options were a really bad quality 2nd hand doll at 3 times the original price that it was when it was brand new from the manufacturer, and there was no other option because the company no longer existed, and even if no recast “new” “mint condition” version existed, I would just not buy the doll at all, I STILL wouldn’t be buying your overpriced poor condition used banana baby regardless of if a recast was offered of that sculpt or not. Sorry but that’s how I feel.
                          • Recasting does indeed hurt the 2nd hand market, absolutely, because there are hundreds of other dolls who are still available from the manufacturer who can be found recast for like a 1/10 of the price of the legit. And many people will buy the recast version instead of the legit, making it more difficult to sell your used legits when they can get a brand new recast at a tenth of the price. Plus there are probably others who WOULD probably buy your little discontinued or limited banana colored baby, but not me. If it was in good condition, sure I’d buy it 2nd hand, don’t get me wrong.
                            • But over time, as such is the case with my 12 year old Dollmore Demi there just aren’t any options that AREN’T yellow and/or stained or flawed etc.
                              • Which means that, some of those people you are harassing and cyberbullying would never have bought your 2nd hand market doll(s) in the first place.
                              • Some of the people purchasing recast would never buy your banana baby dolls even if they couldn’t get the doll “brand new” they would just either get a different doll or no doll at all…
                              • And still leave you unable to sell your used doll to them because they just aren’t wanting to purchase a doll that looks so used.
                                • So AT LEAST PART of the argument of the market place devastation due to recasters, is in fact quite flawed, and it’s also part of the reason behind the cyberbully attacks.
                                  • Which is what the bullies just don’t understand. It’s not as if removing all recasts would instantly allow them to sell their dolls at premium prices. It just doesn’t work that way.
  • To Have a “Hybrid” Doll More Easily

    • Many people worry about “Resin Matching” when wanting to create a Legit Hybrid Doll. This refers to the colors of the resin, Since as we know resin yellows over time, this can make it even more challenging. Not only do you need to find a company whose resin color closely matches your existing head, but you need to worry about if your head has yellowed, and how it will look on the new body. Even if your head is brand new, there are slight color variations between each batch of resin.
      • But recasting takes away all of this worry. You can mix and match a head from Company B, on a Body from Company C, with a Resin color from Company D. All cast from the same batch of resin.
    • Why would someone want a hybrid doll?
      • Not all dolls are created equal – some are just FAR better posers than others. Or others have more aesthetically pleasing bodies.
        • But maybe they don’t have the right face for the doll you want
        • Maybe you want a different face, or a different body. Maybe you just like the way the body is shaped. As time has gone on, companies have gotten more experimental with their bodies, making some with big heads, big hips, big busts, animal/fantasy parts, exaggerated cartoon proportions, child like bodies, more mature bodies, etc.
  • Out of Curiosity

    • Why does anyone do anything “bad” that they know they shouldn’t do? Simple, curiosity. A recent release movie had a good quote that said “You can’t teach people to not try things, that’s what trying things is for” In other words people learn by trying things, even bad things that other people think they shouldn’t do.
    • My recast purchase was mostly out of curiosity. A combination of curiosity and unbeatable pricing. I was like I wonder if the quality is as good as my legit dolls, I wonder if the things everyone says (both good or bad) are true. I want to find out first hand.
      • I had been reading about both sides of the debate for years. I’d seen photo comparisons and I knew the risks and the benefits of both sides of the issue. I carefully researched which recaster to purchase from, read reviews, both positive and negative, and did my homework.
        • But reading and understanding something from 2nd hand information just can’t compare to experiencing it for yourself and making your own decisions
        • It’s like reading a restaurant review; you might hear they have the most delicious food, but until you taste it, you can’t be sure. Different people like different tastebuds and preferences.
        • First hand experience can’t be beat. It lets you learn without any one elses’ bias or opinion influencing your decisions.
        • And you might come to find that your opinion based on that first hand experience is so different from anything you’d heard or read, or thought you knew or think you understand.
        • Until you try it, how can you know?
        • I’m glad I tried it. Prior to this, I’d say I leaned more towards Anti-Recast but now I definitely side with Recast Friendly and plan to purchase more recasts in the future. This comment will bring me some flames I’m sure, but I’m being very candid, open, and upfront in this article, and have been very candid and open on my social media channels and elsewhere.
  • To Have a “New” Doll Instead of a “Used” Doll

    • I covered this at length a few paragraphs above under the availability of limited or discontinued dolls.
    • Resin yellows and stains easily
    • Many people don’t want yellow or stained dolls.
    • Other flaws include chips and scratches, broken fingers, etc
    • Many older dolls will need to be restrung
    • Others have peeling faceups that need refreshed or removed
    • If a recast of that sculpt is available it gives you a chance to own a doll in mint brand new condition instead of having to settle for damaged goods
    • I want to stress the fact that not all 2nd hand dolls are yellowed, flawed, chipped, stained, etc.
      • Many are perfectly fine.
        • I myself have purchased 2nd hand dolls before with no issues.
    • Even if the doll is perfectly fine though, many people would still rather have a new doll as opposed to a used doll.
      • Just as there are many perfectly fine things at your local goodwill, even things with tags still attached that have never been used before.
        • But if someone can buy item X at goodwill for $35 or item X at walmart brand new for $2 where do you think they’re shopping? Not only does it cost less, but it’s brand new too. Now imagine multiplying that price by 10 or 100 times and compare the value.
    • I understand this angers a lot of people in the hobby, but the fact is that it’s not JUST about the recasts. That’s not the sole reason the market place has crashed. Some people just really don’t want your yellow stained banana babies and would not buy it even if they had no alternatives (such as recasts)
    • Anti-Recasters always say get the doll you really want.
      • But the doll some people really want isn’t a yellowed, stained, chipped, cracked, peeling, floppy version of that doll
        • For some people the doll they really want is a brand new doll. End of story.
  • To Have a Doll in a Fantasy or Unique “Skin” (Resin) color

    • If you want a purple or green or black or grey or snow white or magenta colored doll, you can request different resin colors from recasters that were not offered by the original manufacturer.
  • To Have a Doll that They Can Practice Faceup Skills and Modding on.

    • Spending $50-$100 as opposed to $500-$1,000 on a doll can make people feel more comfortable to enjoy artistic aspects within the hobby such as painting, sanding, or customizing their dolls.
    • Similarly related, many just feel more comfortable taking the doll outdoors, doing creative photoshoots, or merely handling or playing with a less expensive doll. Some people feel that if they spent several hundred on a doll that they would be too nervous to enjoy the doll. You might think that their fears are strange / silly / stupid or tell them that that’s what the dolls are for, to handle and enjoy, but many others, especially first time owners, feel differently. You have to remember not everyone has the same view points, personalities, attitudes etc towards things.
  • To See If They Want to Collect Asian Balljointed Dolls

    • Many people buy recast and then later on buy legit.
      • Some people can feel intimidated to throw down $500 and up on a doll when they’re not sure if they’ll even like it.
      • A smaller price point makes the dolls more accessible to people who either wouldn’t or couldn’t spend the money on a legit “at first”
        • But they may find they love the hobby, and later buy the same sculpt or a different legit doll once they’ve gotten into the hobby.
        • Others may find the hobby is not for them, and then instead of losing a lot of money, they are out significantly less money when they decide to leave the hobby.
  • They See No Difference Between the Recast and Legit Dolls

    • My experience was very very positive with my first recast purchase. Your mileage may vary. But some people, such as myself, have an excellent experience. They get excellent service and receive an item that is 99.9999% identical to the real thing while spending about 85% less money.
      • I was honestly blown away by the quality of the recasts I purchased. They had no odor, they had beautiful normal colored and smooth resin. The larger of the two dolls was quite heavy actually, not light/thin resin like I’d read about some people receiving. It had no bubbles, cracks, debris inside or out of it. It was in flawless condition. The dolls posed and stood up on their own perfectly and were very stable. The faceups were beautiful – much better than I could do myself, and it wasn’t that they were worse than the company’s default faceups, just done in a different style, but that was OK, because people do their own faceups, or send the heads out for faceups by other people all the time, even with legit dolls. There is no reason that a doll has to have a factory default faceup – in fact many people probably prefer something more unique and customized.
    • Others might have different views and different experiences which lead them to different opinions.
      • But just as you can’t be swayed away from your belief that recasts are “vastly inferior”, neither can others be swayed from their belief that recasts are “almost as good or nearly the same as the real thing”
      • We form our opinions and beliefs based on what we see, what we read, what we hear, and on what we experience. And no two people ever experience anything in the exact same way, because each person is different. 2 People could be sharing an experience together, and come away with very different feelings even though they both experienced it at the exact same time. Like my best friend would love to go ziplining in the jungle, while I would be terrified. I love wooden roller coasters and my boyfriend is terrified of those. I love swimming and until a few months ago my boyfriend had never even been in a pool. Like I said no two people are the same!
        • So two people might get two very similar quality dolls but have very different perceptions about how they’d grade that quality.
        • Everything in life is subjective – dolls are no different
    • Also as mentioned elsewhere throughout this article, there is no difference (for many people) morally speaking in owning a recast doll compared to a number of other activities that the overwhelmingly vast majority of the North American population engages in daily. Such as but not limited to:
      • Downloading an “illegal” mp3
      • Watching a movie streaming online instead of going to the theater or instead of purchasing the DVD or instead of paying for a digital download/stream or instead of paying a cable provider
      • Logging into their friends’ netflix accounts
      • Signing up for a free trial just to access an item for free and then cancelling the trial once you are done with that 1 item
      • Creating multiple free trial accounts to avoid ever paying for a subscription
      • Using your student discount when you’re no longer a student
      • Using a friends’ Amazon prime
      • Using a friends’ costco or sams’ club memberships
      • Buying knock-off fashion items such as replicas of coach bags, replicas of designer jeans, replicas of designer sunglasses, etc.
      • Purchasing other anime/asian related items from Chinese websites or in Chinatown etc. Most all of these are counterfeit, just like the recast dolls. Also if you subscribe to monthly subscription boxes, the vast majority of those include counterfeit items too.
      • Even in the doll hobby, there is not this kind of hatred for other “recast” dolls such as Blythe and Pulip. Most Blythe and Pulip online communities welcome users to share their “Fakies” and “Off brand” dolls. My little pony is another big one where recast ponies are encouraged to be used and even sold as artist creation dolls and even welcomed at events and conventions.
      • If you’re purchasing dolls wigs on ebay, taobao, or aliexpress, you’re purchasing from recasters, even if you’re not purchasing a recast, they’re using your money to continue to buy new legit dolls to add to their collection of molds to recast new dolls. Many people in the community are vehemently anti-recast, but yet continue to shop here for doll accessories, wigs, clothing, etc. Which is just funny and hypocritical really.
  • The Recast May Have Been Gifted to Them By Someone Not Familiar with the Hobby

    • Family members, especially parents, grandparents, or male family members may not even realize that they are buying a recast.
    • Even if they know it is a recast, they may not view anything wrong with this because they are not active in the community to have heard all of the reasons why buying a recast is wrong.
    • Even if they know that buying a recast is wrong, they might still want to surprise their loved one with a doll for a special occasion out of love and desire to see that person’s happy expression when they receive their gift.
    • The doll, recast, or legit, would have such strong special sentimental attachment that the recipient of the gift wouldn’t care if it was recast or legit.
      • However, that recipient may feel bullied into behaving rudely towards the person who gave her the gift
      • Also the bullying may overtime cause the recipients feelings about the doll to change
      • Many people will lecture and bully the recipient until she feels ashamed of her doll and forgets the thought and love that went into selecting the gift for her.
      • Some even tell her to give the doll back, or worse yet, throw it away, trash it, burn it, junk it, etc.
        • This is extremely rude! Think how you would feel if you gave a gift to someone and they gave it back to you, or you later discovered they intentionally damaged, lost, gave away, etc the doll.
          • Yes, technically when you give a gift, it’s up to that person, it’s theirs now, if they want to get rid of it, that’s their decision… but if the ONLY reason you’re getting rid of it is because of the bullying, please don’t do that. Just “F” them and continue enjoying your doll. Their behavior is so heartbreakingly cruel. And your behavior towards the person who gave you the doll would be just as cruel too!
            • If you love the person who gave you the doll, and you love(d) the doll, then just continue to keep loving them and enjoying your hobby. Haters gonna hate. Just do your own thing.
            • There are bigger things in the world to worry about. Stick together with your family, friends, significant others, etc, and let their special gift to you make you grow closer, not more distant. Don’t be a dick, don’t let a doll come between you and your loved ones!
  • They don’t care about the 2nd hand market and don’t want to resell their dolls

    • Not only do they not care about your banana babies losing market value, they also don’t care if their own dolls have any market values, because they never intend to resell their dolls.
  • They don’t care about sharing photos of their dolls or participating in many of the larger communities

    • Although unlikely, there are some people that just don’t share their dolls online or attend meetups or any other activities.
      • Some people are just too busy with other hobbies
      • Others, even if they had legit dolls, wish for whatever reason to keep their hobby private.
        • Afterall, dolls are perceived as being childish, and many worry what non-dolly friends, family members, and coworkers would think of their “strange” hobby.
        • Even if they don’t care what others think, some people are just more quiet and passive and private than others and just wish to enjoy their hobby in solitude.
    • Even if unable to participate in the larger communities, many smaller communities have opened up over the past few years that allow you to share and discuss recasts. These communities continue to grow more and more each day.
    • You can create your own blog, or use your own social media pages to share your recast dolls, no one can tell you what to do on your own space.
  • They don’t care about supporting the artists or companies that make the dolls.

    • We should all care about supporting the artists and companies who make our dolls, because without them, there will be no dolls, recast, legit, or otherwise, but the truth is, not everyone does care. And you can’t force them to care. People care about different things. While LOGICALLY it makes sense why we should ALL care, as pointed out, no profit = companies closing = no new legit dolls = no new recasts. It impacts every single person in this hobby. And we all SHOULD care, absolutely. We SHOULD…. but I’m just pointing out that some people STRAIGHT UP DO NOT CARE ABOUT SUPPORTING THE ARTISTS OR COMPANIES — despite all of the reasons why everyone should care, not everyone does. Just like everyone should care about a number of other important topics, global warming, recycling, women’s rights, equality, voting every election, saving for retirement, ending world hunger, helping the homeless, spaying and neutering your pets, or taking care of themselves/physical fitness – but you can probably think of some people in your life, or maybe even yourself who just don’t care, and never will. Everyone cares about different things and nothing will change that.
  • They don’t care about the bullying and drama in the hobby

    • This is what prevented me from buying recast for at least the past 2-3 years. But you know what? I’m so over it. Bullies are not my friends. They don’t care about me, and they will prove how little they care for me based on their words and actions. I only care about the important people in my life. And those important people don’t get an F if I own a recast doll or not. They know who I am as a person deep down and I don’t need to prove myself or validate myself to a bully.
  • They see nothing morally wrong with owning a recast doll

    • Lets all go troll and cyberbully someone for owning a pair of fake “Raybans” or a fake “Rolex” because that’s about how much sense it makes to be hateful to someone owning a recast.
    • There is absolutely no difference.
    • You might think oh the doll is a work of art. But is not fashion also a work of art?
    • Or if you want to set dolls apart as a class of their own, is not a Pullip or a Blythe or a My little Pony also a doll? Nendoroids? Figmas? Even barbies and monster high. All of these get recasted daily. Why then are recasts and fakies welcomed with open arms in those hobbies? Encouraged to be used as artist custom works, shared openly, discussed openly, and praised by their respective communities?
      • What difference is there? Is it price? Materials used? Size of the dolls? How the dolls are used? You can’t say this type of recast is morally wrong, while buying others, and then at the same time supporting, and encouraging recasts of a different type of doll.
        • So you’re saying there’s a price tag on morals now? Once an item crosses a certain monetary value it becomes immoral to have a recast?
    • Everyone has different and unique morals and different standards
    • We come from different backgrounds
    • Our morals are shaped by how we are raised and what we experience in our life.
    • Your morals may have taught you that recast dolls are bad, that it’s somehow far worse than a knock off or counterfeit item of any other kind of object or that it’s somehow different from downloading an MP3 or streaming a movie that you did not purchase. You’re stealing from an artist any time you engage in those behaviors.
    • Your morals may tell you that recast doll owners are the most immoral worst people on Earth and to never associate with them and to “warn” others about them so they don’t accidentally associate with them either. Or you may believe that their entire moral compass is F’ed that they will do nothing but steal, lie, cheat, and take advantage of everyone. That they are greedy, or entitled, or care only about themselves, that they deserve to be bullied and that they are literally the scum of the Earth.
    • For many of us, we disagree.  Many of us realize there are far bigger things to worry about in a person’s character and moral judgement, and that owning a recast doll is no indication of a person’s TRUE character or moral judgement. No more so than downloading an mp3 or carrying an offbrand handbag.
    • You have to realize you can’t force your morals onto other people. I mean if you could, there would be no crime or violence or hate in the world right? But real life is not always black and white, things are more shades of grey.
      • I recognize that buying a recast is wrong.
        • But how I rank that level of wrong is different from how you may rank the level of wrong.
          • And that’s fine, just as you can’t force your views on me, neither can I force mine on you to get you to see it as a lesser offense.
        • Many people rank the owning of a recast doll as the worst most wrong thing a person can do.
          • But to me, I don’t feel like it makes someone instantly a bad person. I give everyone a chance and I have my own set of morals that I judge others on.
            • We shouldn’t even judge people at all, because you know as they say, people in glass homes shouldn’t cast stones.
              • But judging people is part of human nature. We do it from our first impressions within 2-3 seconds of meeting someone and we continue to refine and reshape and rethink those impressions with each further interaction we have with that person.
            • I look at what really counts inside a person (and this is TOTALLY subjective!!! What counts to ME in a good friend might be WAY different to you.) I like the quote that says something like “If you search for friends with no flaws, you’ll be left with no friends”. In other words we all have flaws. But if a person has all the qualities I seek in a good person, and morals that I believe to be ranked as more important than owning a recast doll, then nothing would change my opinion about that person.
              • But there are other people that will end friendships with otherwise “good people” over a doll…
                • And that’s fine that’s their choice, but to me, a good friend is hard to find, and a good person even harder to find, so no, their owning a recast does not affect what I think of this friend’s moral judgement. I already know they’re good people (once again this is subjective to your personal beliefs), and owning a recast isn’t going to magically change my perception of that.
  • They Are Selfish and Entitled

    • This is how you will be viewed if you own a recast doll.
    • And maybe it is true! I’ve seen some pretty petty / weak arguments for owning a recast doll that seem highly entitled and spoiled and selfish to me.
      • Like not wanting to wait for the delivery times
      • Or not wanting to save up enough money
      • Or making excuses such as age or disability or some other reason they feel justifies their actions
      • Or just because they “want nice things” (apparently without having to put in the effort to earn those “nice things”) (that’s the very definition of entitlement lol)
    • People are human, they don’t always have the best motives and reasons behind their actions.
    • And yes, in the United States especially, many of us are in fact entitled spoiled brats.
    • Being entitled sometimes is OK.
      • You’re paying money for a product or a service. You deserve to have the product or service that YOU want. If you want a recast, buy a recast, if you want a legit, buy a legit. Don’t let some faceless random stranger on the internet tell YOU what to do with YOUR money.
        • That’s right, we’re PAYING MONEY even for recasts. I know that most of you anti-recast people just LOVE to compare buying recasts to shoplifting but it’s not the same thing.
          • To illustrate my point: That cute dress or cute pair of jeans, that cute handbag, etc, in your closet, is probably a form of art theft too unless its a high-end designer label!
            • Things like fashion items are cut up and used as patterns
            • Or some talented seamstresses can create patterns from photos
            • Especially in Asian countries they send “spies” in snapping photos of different items
            • Then they “reproduce” those items.
            • Those items get shipped around the world, to big box retailers, target, walmart, kohls, penny’s, macy’s you name it.
            • Even more so if you buy items online from Amazon, Ebay, Aliexpress, or various “Wholesalers” with “Unbeatable” prices.
            • You buy those items.
            • You’ve just contributed to art theft.
              • Have you shoplifted? No, you’ve paid the seller for your item.
              • No difference in if you buy a recast doll. You’ve paid for it just the same. You haven’t shoplifted anything. Just because something has a face, and human or animal like proportions doesn’t make a difference.
                • Or if you want to claim it does make a difference, what about Phony and Fakie My Little Ponies, Fakie Blythes and Pullips, Polly Pockets, Bratz, Barbies, Monster Highs, etc? In almost every doll hobby, there are recasts, and guess what, there’s not this weird stigma with them. In fact, many are used to create custom artist dolls, those dolls are welcome at conventions, even given away as prizes and/or raffled/auctioned off for charity etc.
                  • The owners of those dolls don’t lose friends, don’t become shunned by their respective communities because no one cares if it’s recast or legit.
                  • These communities don’t cyberbully and harass users, and don’t bring up their personal relationships, life, morals, and any other personal issues – because they just don’t care. They view it as a doll is a doll. No one even questions it or bats an eye at it if someone has a fake doll in any other doll collecting community.
                  • Instead many people are usually curious and show off their recasts or cheap dolls they find in China town, etc.
                  • Some people also seek out or collect these strange offbrand dolls and comment and discuss things openly with the “Fakie” owners and rest of the community coexisting peacefully in one place.
                  • And no one tells them you’re entitled, spoiled, have poor morals, etc.
                  • So be entitled if you want, afterall, you’re a paying customer. A recaster paid for that original doll they’re using to make their molds. The artist and the original company still got paid. And you’re paying the recaster to make a copy of that doll. Everyone is getting paid, you’re not shoplifting anything from anyone.
                  • There is a big difference between shoplifting WHICH IS ILLEGAL in the United States, and Buying a Counterfeit Item (even if you know it’s counterfeit) Because in the USA, buying a counterfeit item for personal use is NOT illegal in the United States. See below under legal issues surrounding copyright or visit this source: https://consumer.findlaw.com/consumer-transactions/buying-counterfeit-goods-laws-and-resources.html

What Are the Risks in Purchasing or Owning a Recast Asian Balljointed Doll?

  • Financial and Mental/Emotional Damage to the Companies and Artists Making the Dolls

    • As mentioned above in reasons to buy legit dolls, the biggest concern is that overtime, the sales of counterfeit goods cuts into the profits of the doll companies. If these companies go out of business, there’s no new dolls being made, eventually that means no new recasts too, so it is a problem that all doll lovers should feel worried about. Not only is there financial burden, but also emotional distress caused for the companies and artists of legit dolls when they discover their doll has been recast. Imagine how you would feel if someone stole your work of art. It is not a good feeling. Regardless of if you care about the artists’ “feelings” you should want to financially support companies whose work you enjoy to ensure they are around for a long time to continue to manufacture new dolls for all of us.
  • Cyberbullying from individuals with strong opinions against owning recast dolls

    • You can refer to my sections above about why to buy legit dolls – there is a lot of my thoughts put above there about the cyberbullying that goes on in the hobby. This is probably the biggest risk persay in owning a recast doll.
    • Also not “bullying” but related note that you also should be aware many communities, online and off, and special events, do not allow you to bring your recast doll, talk about recast dolls, share photos of your recast dolls, etc. This is not bullying because it’s up to each person how they wish to run their community and you should respect their rules. There are smaller communities online that are recast friendly, but very few real life events such as conventions or meetups that allow for recast dolls. Not being able to participate in these online and offline communities and events may hinder your enjoyment of your dolls.
  • You May Be Unable to Purchase Legit Dolls from Legit Manufacturers and Dealers Ever Again in the Future

    • There is a lot of fear and drama in the recast witch hunting. Part of that fear is that someone will buy a doll and send it to a recaster to use as a mold. So to help stop this, many people will not sell their dolls to you if you are discovered to own a recast. I don’t think anyone actually does this though (sends their dolls to recasters) I don’t know where that fear / rumour started from.
    • But as a result of that fear, many US based distributors, and original Asian manufacturers will block you from their websites and ban you from ordering their products.
      • Getting around this is so easy, so don’t let this scare you.
        • The most common way to get around it is to have a friend or family member hold the package for you. You just enter their shipping address and contact name/number and viola. Then you just either have them send the package to you if they live far away, or you can just go over and pick up your package.
          • Make sure that you’re only doing this with people you TRUST (preferably people you know in real life) so you don’t get ripped off and someone steals your package.
        • Another option could be to open a PO box at your post office, but some companies do not ship to PO boxes.
        • Even if they do an IP address ban on you, fear not, just go to your library or a friend’s house and purchase the doll on their computer.
        • I’m almost 100% sure that the recasters are obtaining their dolls in similar fashion (having their friends hold the packages for them or sending the packages to another address, using different names, or etc.) I really really really doubt anyone who is just buying dolls for personal use is sending them off to be cloned by the recasters. I sure wouldn’t want to send my dolls off, and risk never getting them back, or getting a recast back, or the dolls getting damaged etc.
  • Possible Quality Control Issues and Errors in Communication

    • This is just straight up copied and pasted from above (under reasons to purchase a legit doll)
      • Even many anti-recast communities admit that newer recasts have improved in both quality and communication practices and that it is getting more difficult to easily spot a recast based solely on quality alone.
      • However, just like not all legit doll companies have the same levels of quality assurance, the same goes for different recasters. Some recasters have higher quality and better communication than others.
      • Even those recasters with higher quality sometimes make mistakes or deliver poor goods, just like even some high quality legit doll manufacturers sometimes make mistakes.
        • The most common quality issues surrounding recasts include:
          • Shrinkage; when a recast is made, they use an existing legit doll as a mold. When that mold gets old, new molds are created from the mold of a recast, as time goes on, each mold gets slightly smaller and smaller and the resulting doll therefore gets smaller and smaller too.
          • As a result of shrinkage and/or the molding process, there is sometimes a loss of detail around fine areas such as the eyes, nose, lips, or ears of the recast doll.
          • Another issue is often the magnets used to attach fantasy parts or hands/feet are weaker than those supplied by the legit companies.
            • Sometimes too there will be wrong magnets, where it repells the body part instead of attract, making it impossible to assemble.
          • Stringing and other issues internally in the doll can result in a doll with inferior posing abilities compared to the legit versions.
          • Sometimes dolls arrive with two left feet, legs, or other mismatched body parts, this is perhaps the worst flaw of all because it significantly affects pose-ability.
          • Sometimes dolls arrive broken, damaged, etc in shipping. Sometimes shipments get lost. Sometimes they send you completely the wrong dolls or wrong parts.
            • When this happens sometimes you’re left with poor customer service (or no response at all) and lose your money and receive damaged goods or no goods at all.
            • Even legit doll companies can have issues with quality control or communication; however, the problems seem more common with the recast companies. Some people get perfect dolls and perfect, prompt, friendly polite customer service even from recasters. It just depends. It seems most legit doll companies have a better more consistent record at providing better quality products and customer service.
  • Possible Health Concerns

    • The recaster I purchased from claims to have used French imported resin, but the truth is, who knows what material is really in the dolls. Not only that, but China is infamous for using harmful leads in their paints. There have been numerous recalls the past few years of clothing, shoes, toys, dolls, and even baby items for having toxic levels of lead in the paint they use. Many people who came into contact with these recalled items broke out in scary horrible rashes and hives where their skin came into contact with the objects. Most infamously, there were flipflops sold at walmart that had unsafe levels of lead and were giving people lead poisoning.
      • I have heard horror stories about recast dolls being “rough” or having “filling” mixed in the with resin, such as sawdust and other particles.
        • My 2 dolls seem OK, but still who knows. My dolls are smooth and feel just like my legit dolls but are they really made from the same materials? There’s no way to know for sure.
      • I’ve read reviews, even from the place where I purchased my recast dolls, that indicated the dolls had a strong chemical odor.
        • This was not the case with my 2 dolls. They have absolutely no odor at all.
          • I was pleasantly surprised, because I’ve ordered other items (not doll related) from Chinese sellers before, as well as my stepdad working and living in China for several years in my teens, and I remember the packages he sent me, they almost always had a very strong odor. I think it may be caused by all of the air pollution over there. The air pollution is one of the worst in the world there. And obviously air is all around everything, clothes, dolls, the boxes the dolls are shipped in, whatever.
            • My 2 dolls honestly have no odor at all though, I’m very familiar with that “China smell” and they just don’t have it, or any smell at all. I even held the dolls up to my nose and sniffed them right under my nose, and nothing lol. Where as with many things from China, the moment you open the package, you can smell a very strong odor. But in this particular case, mine were 100% odor free. We’ll see if that trend continues next month when I purchase my next recast doll from the same recaster.
        • Regardless, this strong chemical odor that many others report could be cause for concern. It could be caused by actual chemicals mixed into the resin, or as I mentioned and suspect, caused by air pollution and who knows what effect the residue from that air pollution could have on one’s health.
  • Legal Issues Surrounding Copyright

    • The dolls themselves are not protected by copyright, however, their trademarked names, symbols, company brand names, and other such things are protected by copyright (which is why many recast dolls do not have headplates or certificates of authenticity)
    • There are laws in many countries, including the United States, regarding the traffiking of counterfeit items
      • However, the US depart of Justice has ruled that IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO OWN OR TO PURCHASE A COUNTERFEIT ITEM FOR PERSONAL USE EVEN WHEN DOING SO KNOWINGLY. Source: https://consumer.findlaw.com/consumer-transactions/buying-counterfeit-goods-laws-and-resources.html and their following source at https://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-1709-joint-statement-parts-c-and-d-definitions-trafficking-counterfeit
        • The grey area is if you sell a doll that is a recast, even if selling to another for “personal use” at that moment you go from buying it for your personal use, to selling a counterfeit item and may face legal problems. I see a lot of people selling and trading used recast dolls – there’s even communities set up to do just this, but the bottom line is that you are risking legal complications once you sell or trade your recast dolls.
          • If you never sell or trade your recast doll, there’s no legal problems to worry about. Laws are always changing though, but for now, the US government has ruled that it is not illegal to buy a knock off or counterfeit item for personal use, whether or not you know it’s a recast or not at time of purchase.
          • The other thing to remember is that only brand names and brand symbols are trademarked, the dolls themselves are not – at least in the US Government’s eyes of what is covered by a trademark. So if your doll comes without any kind of brand mark, etc, it is not protected by any sort of copyright. (This is kinda messed up and I disagree with this law, but I don’t make the laws, that’s just how things are.) The source is the same source as above for further reading).
          • So the bottom line is you are doing nothing wrong legally – morally may be a different story, but legally as long as it’s for personal use, in the eyes of the US Government, you have done nothing wrong. Please also note as I mentioned laws change so you need to do your own research on this matter as this article ages and you happen to read this. Also please note I only refer to US law here. You need to look into the laws about counterfeit items in your own country to make sure it’s safe to purchase these items for personal use.
  • Unable to participate in certain doll-related communities, both online and off

    • Not all online communities care if you own or share photos/information about your recast doll
      • But the vast majority, especially of larger communities, do care, and will ban you.
        • Most of the communities do not care if you actually “own” a doll, as long as you do not post any photos or information about that doll within their community. However, there have been stories of members being banned for posting their recast dolls elsewhere and moderators of these communities discovering the dolls and banning the members.
        • If you care at all about being part of the community, it is in your best interest to not own or share your recast dolls anywhere online
          • Fear of this sort of behavior is also tied into the cyber bullying issues mentioned above.

What Has Your Personal Experience Been Thus Far With Bullying As a Result of Owning a Recast?

I’ve only had my recast dolls for about 2 weeks now (It’s taken me about a week to create this post so that’s why there is the time difference from beginning of this article). I have not experienced any bullying. There’s only about 10 “doll people” who know I have recasts right now. Of those, 2 have been supportive/friendly, while the others have not said anything at all about the dolls, but still remain my friends and have not bullied or harassed me.  I suspect that to change once I hit the publish button here on this blog post. I have heard of people getting hundreds of harassing comments a day, I’ve heard of people getting doxxed (their addresses etc made public), I’ve heard of people getting death threats or being told to kill themselves. I’ve heard all of these things, but no, I have not experienced it yet… and I probably never would experience it if I wasn’t writing such a long-ass blog post about the whole thing.

Am I worried about this? Yes, and no, at the same time. I mean of course no one wants to be bullied.  And I’m not just talking about people who tell you buying recast is wrong, that’s not bullying, because having a different opinion is fine. I’m more worried about personal attacks, harassment, doxxing, ddos attacks on this site, calling into question my character and morals, or trying to fling mud by digging up my personal life. I’m a super open person, so there’s plenty of ammo there that could be used against me. So yeah, of course I am “worried” in that sense. But I’ve just decided to not “care” about some faceless internet strangers who have nothing better to do than bully someone over a fake doll. I’m just going to be over here, enjoying my dolls, both recast and legit, and ignoring the bullies.

Many Anti-Recast people say that the bullying doesn’t exist and that it is made up by Recast Neutral and Recast Friendly people to make the Anti-Recast people “look bad”. So I guess we’ll see what happens here… I’ve been spending a long time mentally preparing myself for what I think is likely to happen… but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised and everyone will just be calm and rational and able to discuss differing opinions without resulting to bullying…  If I do experience bullying I’ll be sure to come back and update this section.

How Would You Personally Rate The Quality of The Dolls and Service Provided By The Recasters?

Honestly I was really pleased both with the dolls and the seller. Everything about the dolls far exceeded my expectations. Magnets were good, I was worried they’d be loose but they’re fine. Face-ups are cute – or you can always buy them blank for even cheaper and do your own faceups. I wish Pong’s mouth was painted on the inside, and maybe that Luna’s closed eye had an eyelash attached, but otherwise am really very happy with the faceups they provided. The eyes they provide are nice (though not anything amazing by any means). I requested blue for both of them and got brown with the Luna, but that’s fine. The dolls are strung well and pose wonderfully. They stand easily, and all their parts are correct. (I’ve read about people getting dolls with 2 left legs, or hands that didn’t seem to fit, or other issues and was a bit worried – but mine were fine). The dolls had absolutely no odors at all. Not even that typical China smell (which I mentioned I assume is probably from air pollution over there). The dolls’ resin is a great color, not thin, not cracked, not bubbly, smooth but not shiny, insides were clean too, joints all worked well, the Pong has a lot of weight to it for such a small doll. I do not own a legit little fee nor legit lati yellow to compare the dolls for shrinkage or to compare exactly how well they pose (though I’m quite happy with how the recast ones are posing). My next recast will probably be a minifee, and I do have a lot of legit minifees so I can compare all of that, shrinkage, poseability, resin color (though my minifees are all at least 1-2 years old now or older so may have yellowed some). Overall I’d give the quality of the dolls 5 stars.

Service was also nice though a few issues arised which caused me some concern. They were friendly and responded quickly to follow up with the order. They provided pictures and waited for my “OK” before shipping and gave tracking info. Now for the negative… The dolls came together in one box… and were honestly… not packed that well… There was bubble wrap, but they were bubble wrapped together… like two dolls side by side and bubble wrap bound around them tightly with no bubble wrap between them. I can totally see why some people’s recasts arrive damaged and I’m thankful mine did not. Also curiously, they provided 2 different tracking numbers, and caused me quite a scare when one of the tracking numbers was going to another state (probably someone else’s’ order). Due to the miscommunication and risky packing job, I’d rate service about a 3. Definitely some room for improvement there, but overall everything went smoothly and they were quick to answer my questions or concerns and seem really professional, polite, and friendly.

Will You Personally Buy More Recasts in the Future?

Yes I will, in fact I’m getting ready to place my next order later this month.

Will You Personally Also Continue to Purchase Legits in the Future?

Yep, there’s at least 2 ABJD I really want which have not been recast yet. I also collect or want to start collecting other dolls which have not been and probably never will be recast such as Smart Doll, Dollfie Dream, Obitsu, Pure Neemo, Azone, Excute, Pullip, etc.  If every doll I wanted was available as a recast though hmm, that’s a tough question. There would probably be some I’d want to buy as legit, to enjoy the other aspects of doll collecting / sharing with the community / etc, or because Iove the sculpt / company / faceup / or some other reason. But I’d probably go about 75% recast, 25% legit, because the quality of the recast dolls in my opinion is so close to that of the legit dolls.

Do You Personally Feel Guilty or Bad for Owning a Recast?

If I went strictly recast only, I would feel guilty for not supporting the artists and companies I like, and if no one buys legit then the doll companies will be forced to close and that’d mean no new dolls, legit, recast, or otherwise. Traditionally, since 2006 when I entered the hobby, I’ve purchased 1 legit every year, though some years I haven’t been able to afford to. I will probably continue purchasing legits at about that pace. I doubt my purchasing frequency is significant enough to disrupt the profits of the doll companies one way or another – not that that’s an excuse or makes me feel any less guilty for deciding to save money by buying more recasts in the future. But I’m not going “recast only” so I’m still spending the same every year towards the legit companies as what I had been spending every year with them prior to my also recently collecting recasts. The recasts aren’t taking the place of money I’d spend on the legit companies every year, it’s just something else to collect in addition to the legits to me. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

I can collect both recast and legit just as people in other doll hobbies outside of ABJD collect fakies and phonys and cheap china town dolls etc. Anti-recasters try to justify that by saying the others are toys and ABJD are artist dolls, but I just watched a documentary lastnight and actually, they’re all artist dolls. Someone sketches each Barbie. each of her faces, each of her outfits. Her hair is sewn by hand, her face is painted by hand, her body is sculpted, etc. I also thought a lot of it was done by machine, but that’s a misconception, because people forget there has to be a prototype for every single Barbie. And every Barbie now is more unique than ever, each one has one of several different bodies, heights, weights, and different facial features too to make them more realistic and diverse. And even after mass production, there are artists who style the dolls, pose them for marketing photographs, videos, commercials, video editors, packaging designers, etc, etc… To me, an ABJD is not different from any of the other dolls. The other dolls are cheaper and marketed towards a younger audience, but that still doesn’t change the fact that someone’s art, talent, time, and work went into those dolls as well.

And yes, buying recasts of ABJD or MLP or Barbie or Monster High is wrong because it steals from the artists, and I’m not trying to justify anything or prove anything to anyone or change anyone’s mind, it will always be wrong. But to me, it’s “not such a big deal”. That’s me though, everyone else is entitled to their own lovely opinions. To me, it’s about equivalent to a fake barbie, fake monster high, pullip, or any other doll, or about as morally wrong as downloading a movie or mp3 illegally online. So let’s say we’re ranking “wrong things” on a 10 point scale with “perfectly fine to do this thing” at 0 or 1, and “the worst thing you could ever do” at 10. To me, buying or owning a recast is like a 3 or 4, while things like murder, child abuse, domestic violence, animal abuse, adultery, affairs, etc are a 10,  So yes, I feel some guilt, but not enough that I’ll stop buying recasts.

Why Did You Create This Article?

I wanted to share my honest, personal experience, as someone who now owns both legit and recast dolls. I wanted to provide friendly, non-judgmental information to people, and allow for them to make their own decisions without forcing my views on anyone. I write very informally, and I can sometimes come across strong or sarcastic, but it is not my intention to offend or call into question the actions of anyone whether anti-recast or recast-friendly. I’m aware there is better info and resources out there, but often time those resources are compiled chiefly of 2nd hand information and not from someone who has experience owning both recasts and legits, and I thought that such experience could be interesting. I also know it’s a popular topic, has been around for years, and would make a nice article for my blog as it’s controversial and a “hot button” issue that won’t be going away any time soon.

Where Can I Find More Information About Recast Asian Balljointed Dolls?

Anti-Recast Resources

Where to Read More About Recast Dolls from an Anti-Recast Perspective:

https://denofangels.com/doawiki/index.php?title=Information_about_recast_BJDs

http://probjdartists.tumblr.com/

Budget Friendly Legit Alternatives to Recast Dolls:

While I haven’t found any dolls for as cheap as the cheapest recasts (tiny / msd recasts are often under $60) I have found several Legit dolls that are “budget friendly” (under $300). Check out some of the following doll manufacturers.

Mystic Kids – their smallest ones start around $140, and larger ones around $470. They have some really cute sculpts. Quite a few here on my own wish list 🙂

5StarDoll – Little ones begin at $130, big ones are just $240 and up.

Bobobie – Their littlest ones start at $68 – close to the price of recast tinies. Their big ones start at $168. They have a large variety of dolls.

April Story Dolls – Right Now All Dolls Are 40% for a Limited Time, Prices ranging from $150-$350 for various sizes. I had actually never heard of this company until just now… I really want a Clover from this company… She is so beautiful… Only $300. I like a lot of their other sculpts too OMG… They also offer layaway lol. The only thing I don’t like is I can’t figure out how to add a default faceup when ordering. 

Doll Family A and Doll Family H – It can be hard to find where to buy these in America. It seems that Alice Collection has most of the models available for ordering. The prices start at $100 for tinies up to around $360 for larger dolls. I really want a Dake, I love his smiling lips 🙂

Resin Soul – These are extremely reasonably priced, though I personally don’t care for their aesthetic, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The tinies start around $100 and even the big 72cm dolls are under $250.

Only Doll – their dolls start around $110 and most stay under $300 – They have many different sculpts to choose from.

Doll Love – Their dolls start at $100 and go up to $310. They have a lot of very cute dolls at great prices.

Doll Leaves start at $150 for an MSD and up to $370 for for larger dolls, while tinies start around $88.

Asleep Aidoloon has tinies and MSD starting under $200, and under $400 for larger dolls. I really like a lot of their sculpts.

Impl Doll starts around $150 and goes up to just over $300 for their various sizes of dolls.

Kids Sky is a newer BJD brand that I have never heard of. They have dolls starting at $135 for tinies, up to $348 for large dolls.

Angel of Dream has a lot of really cute and sometimes strange / unique dolls for around $200. I own two of their tinies. I also just noticed they have a pregnant doll with large belly and tiny baby lol. 

Only Kids, another company I have not heard of until researching this post, has dolls starting at just $128.

Cherry Castle has some very cute dolls starting at $138 up to $375 – I’ve also never heard of this company. So many new and affordable ABJD these days.

Cocotribe (yet another doll company I’d never heard of – wow) starts at just $159.

Gem of Doll starts at $145. I want a lot of their dolls! 🙂

Doll Legend starts at $150 up to $350. They have a nice selection of cute and unique sculpts.

Xaga Doll also starts at $150 and up.

Angel Fantasy starts at $155 and up.

Natuye Spirit Doll cost $159 each.

Dollzones start around $160. Some of their tinies are cute. I wish they’d bring back some of their old MSD sculpts though. My first ever doll was a Dollzone Demi (MSD). 

Maskcat Doll starts around $200, though some of their dolls can get pricey, over $600

Magic Time has many dolls for under $300

Guu Doll (another new comer?) has tinies for $175 and large dolls for just over $300. And they’re very cute :).

Loong Soul dolls start just under $200.

Boy & Girl dolls also start under $200

In fact, there are many, many other options if you do your research! I will update this post in the future with even more great legit dolls for under $300. But now it’s 1AM and I just want to hit publish and go to bed lol. I’ve worked on this every night for several days now. I can always add to it later 🙂

Anti-Recast Doll Communities and Events

dolliehsanctuary.com/sanctuary/

https://denofangels.com

All of the Dollpa events hosted by Volks. You can read about these events on Volks’ official websites. I’ve also heard they do not welcome dolls from other companies etc at their events or in their stores, whether recast or legit.

A few years ago the folks on Den of Angels held a US balljointed doll convention in Buffalo NY. I was there 🙂 It was a lot of fun. So many vendors, so many photo opps with props and backdrops for your dolls, and so many people with their dolls. It was supposed to be semi-annual, once every two years, but after the first one, they never did it again. If they ever host another one it will definitely be anti-recast as DOA is very strict about recasts. This is the largest Asian Balljointed Doll Show in the USA.

There exist a number of smaller doll shows all throughout North America, including Canada, USA, California, Washington, Texas, and other states. As far as I know, almost all of these conventions are anti-recast. You will be escorted out by security if you bring a recast doll to any of these events, losing your time and money spent to travel and attend the shows, and the money paid for the convention tickets, etc.

Almost all facebook, flickr, and other groups on social media are also anti-recast. There exists only a very small handful of recast friendly communities within these larger social networks. Be sure to read the rules before joining and sharing any of your recasts in these communities.

Recast Neutral or Friendly Resources

Where to Buy Recast Dolls:

I purchased my recast dolls from ChinaBJD, also known as S/L or Steven Chen / Luo Ligui. There are several ways you can go about ordering from them, a lot of people recommend to use their Skype, but the easiest is to use in my opinion is their aliexpress storefront at https://chinabjd.aliexpress.com/store/218136

You can also check the recast master list to see if a doll has been recast and where to purchase it. Once again, this is not my own list, merely sharing it here: docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pbhXd51y28hTfqewgfSVs60oJEZ7EKZWb6vOt72p7tU/

Recast Friendly Communities That Allow You to Share and Discuss Your Dolls:

http://recastsanctuary.com/forum/

http://castawaydolls.com/

https://www.flickr.com/groups/recastbjd

Faceup Artists and Modders Who Work With Recast Heads:

Disclaimer this is not my list, I’m merely providing an external link to a list made by someone else. Just as there are Recast-Anti Spies in many Recast Friendly communities, there very well could be such spies on this list who would harm your doll. Use this list at your own risk.

docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1PzLq0S3UcEBbbm5WwDOf-AGP_Jw_lxHe3835jJ-jRes

Where to Read More About Recast Dolls From a Recast Neutral or Friendly Perspective:

See Recast Friendly Communities Above (I don’t want to list them twice)

http://amaranthscastaways.blogspot.com/ – She claims she is anti-recast but a lot of the info here seems more neutral so I wasn’t sure where to put it, but it has some good info for anyone considering purchasing recasts.

In addition to that here are some more blogs/articles and thoughts on Recast Dolls from a Friendly or Neutral perspective for your reading pleasure:

https://sdrcow.deviantart.com/journal/Recast-Information-Friendly-514070401

gummysungshine.tumblr.com/post/55133396805/recast-bjds-truths-facts-reasons-and-the

bjdrecastpositive.tumblr.com/post/163923259912/serious-question-no-hate-why-do-you-support

Recast Asian Balljointed Dolls was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Every Don Bluth Animated Film Ranked From Best to Worst. Top 10 Don Bluth Films. Best Don Bluth Films. Worst Don Bluth Films. Favorite Don Bluth Films

Every Don Bluth Animated Film Ranked Best to Worst

Don Bluth started out as a Disney Animator, but left to form his own studio. He also worked for awhile with Steven Spielberg. It seems that Don Bluth had a few hits, and then faded from the animation scene. But the hits he did have under his belt remain some of my favorite animated movies of all time. In fact, the first four movies on my list are all so fantastic I had a hard time deciding what order to rank them under.

What are your favorite Don Bluth films? Leave a comment to let us know!

Here are my faves:

All Dogs Go to Heaven

make it rain money GIF

Easily one of the top 5 movies from my childhood. Anyone that has ever loved and lost a pet will relate deeply to this story. It’s very emotional and sweet. It also teaches us morals and lessons, to be kind to others, to be less selfish, and to help and take care of each other. It shows us how to be a good friend and a good person. Dogs in real life have a lot to teach to humans about how to live a more simple, loving, and honest life. But the dogs in this film don’t start out as the typical “man’s best friend” – They’ve been bad dogs. Very bad dogs. Charlie, he’s the main german shepherd looking guy right there, loves to gamble and lives a fast paced life with little regard for others. Even his best friend Itchy is sometimes betrayed by Charlie’s greed and selfishness. Charlie’s antics have gotten him into some trouble with other dogs. This results in a conspiracy to murder Charlie, but Charlie isn’t ready to die just yet. Charlie loves life and all that it has to offer. Charlie sneaks out of heaven with a warning that he can never come back. “Ghost” Charlie rejoins his friend Itchy and the two set out on a new adventure to make lots of money and win back their place among the other dogs. Charlie thinks he has a fool proof plan when he meets a young orphan girl with an uncanny ability to correctly predict the right horses at the races. But as Charlie begins to spend time with the girl, his heart changes and softens. Sadly reluctantly in the end they must part ways, but Charlie is welcomed back into heaven because of his selfless actions near the end. And like the title states ALL dogs go to heaven, even (previously) bad dogs like Charlie. The love between Charlie and the little girl is so heart warming and then so heart breaking at the end. I love stories that are full of emotion. The film also has great music “You can’t keep a good dog down” is super catchy and cute.

A Bit of Trivia – although the screenplay is uniquely original, the title of this film was inspired by Bluth’s love for a book of the same name, which he remembered having read in 4th grade. I believe that book to be All Dogs Go to Heaven by Beth Brown, published in 1944. Although out of print, you can find it on Amazon. – The stories are not related in any way – but it still sounds like an amazing book for anyone who has ever lost a pet. There’s also one by the same author called All Cats Go to Heaven

All Dogs Go to Heaven by Beth Brown https://www.amazon.com/All-dogs-heaven-Beth-Brown/dp/B0007HRA72

All Cats Go to Heaven by Beth Brown https://www.amazon.com/all-cats-heaven-beth-brown/dp/B000SZVLW8


The Land Before Time

the land before time nostalgia GIF

Next in line for Best Don Bluth Animated Film of All Time, we have The Land Before Time. I loved this movie as a kid. I even had a stuffed plush Little Foot. I love Little Foot so much!! Very cute film, also, very heart breaking – Are you seeing a trend here? Darn you Bluth, lol. Your films are so sad – and so touching – I just can’t stop crying when I watch these.

Anyways as I’m sure you know by now, the Land Before Time is about the Dinosaurs migrating to find food and water. There are rumors of a great valley with lots of water and lush vegetation. And you know if the grass eaters starve to death, the meat eaters will starve to death too, circle of life and all… so they agree as a herd to set out and seek a new home.

It is a difficult journey, and not everyone makes it. As the journey goes on, their faith in each other is tested. We also witness the innocence of the baby dinosaurs as they grow up at first seemingly oblivious to the threats and dangerous and then maturing through their journey and experiences.

After writing this I was suddenly inspired to want to rewatch the original Land Before Time. I also wondered just how many sequels were there… I can’t believe there’s 13 sequels… Though if I recall none of the sequels I saw are that great. But I found all 14 films in a DVD collection on Amazon for $34. That’s less than $2.50 per each film. It will make a great addition to my collection. I want to start to rebuild my DVD / Movie collection, and Board Game collection but that’s a topic for another day lol. Having all 14 films in one DVD set at such a low price is a great place to start. I’m somewhat concerned by the reviews which state that the cases arrive broken/damaged, DVDs are missing, the audio and video quality is poor, etc. But these negative reviews are few and far in between and most of the reviews have been positive. So here’s hoping! lol.

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The Secret of NIMH

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The Secret of NIMH is one of the most memorable standout films from my childhood. I still love this film. It is based on the book MRS Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – I vaguely recall reading the book once when I was younger, and I found it dull. I don’t know if it’s because it lacked the elements of fantasy and magic which were written only for the movie version, or because it lacked the drama and suspense and darkness and almost horror like qualities of the cartoon. I love the Secret of NIMH because of the highly emotional and suspenseful story. A mother who has a sick child, plus other children, and must keep them all safe. NIMH is also portrayed much more gravely in the movie than the book. The cruelty of animal testing and the horrors the rats suffered were much more apparent and helped make the film darker too. This movie was dark AF – maybe it’s because it was Bluth’s first project after leaving Disney and he wanted to do something so different that it would stand out as being non-disney-ish in any way. The darkness of this film may scare small kids – but it will also help endear the film to older kids, teens, and adults.


Fieval An American Tail

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Fieval kinda reminds me of the movie “Home Alone” in some ways. Fieval gets separated from his family and finds himself all alone in a strange city. The thing that stands out most to me in the film is the song “Somewhere Out There” – It’s a duet by Fieval and I think it was his sister? Although it sounds more like a love song lol for someone looking for love / unrequited love / loneliness – but Fieval was looking for his family. “Somewhere out there, if love can see us through, then we’ll be together, somewhere out there, out where dreams come true.” I remember liking the film a lot as a kid, and I had a large stuffed Fieval doll too. But my memories of Fieval are a lot less clear than my memories of Land Before Time or All Dogs Go to Heaven.


Anastasia

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There are many people who consider this film to be a failure (despite that it performed quite well in the box office). I rather liked it though. It felt like a very mature story with a very strong female lead and since it is based on history (although only loosely) it offers the opportunity to become interested in the events surrounding the real anastasia and do your own research and learn new things. The animation style was beautiful and the music in the film was also amazing. Some people feel the film is too Disney-ish, but ultimately, that direction helped this become a blockbuster hit.


The Pebble and the Penguin

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I remember this film being cute – but I don’t really remember much else about it. I know it’s based on real penguin behaviors, and that the basic plot involves a shy and awkward penguin in puberty who has a crazy crush on another penguin who also likes him, but they’re too shy to express their feelings. I remember the main character gets bullied a lot, but ultimately prevails in the end. It ranks lower on my list just for not being as memorable as Bluth’s other films.


Thumbelina

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This cartoon and the fairy tale that it is based on is very cute. This is another film with that Disney princess feel that feels a little cliche. I think it’s because it’s not terribly unique (from other animated films / fairy tales) that it ranks lower. I do like the idea of a miniature civilization of tiny human/fairy things – I also like Arietty, the Borrowers, the Littles, and The Indian in the Cupboard which all share a similar theme to Thumbelina.


Rock-A-Doodle

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I remember this film quite well but I don’t really love it. I watched it probably 20 times or more in my childhood, when it’d come on TV or etc… but I dunno it’s “OK” I don’t really hate it. Parts of it are humorous, but it feels WAY more “kiddie” than ANY of Bluth’s other films which are all decidedly dark and dramatic. This is just a humorous fun tale about a Rooster who thinks he’s Elvis.


Titan A.E.

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I watched this once, I should probably rewatch it some day to see if I like it better as an adult. I didn’t like the characters, both the animation technique and concept design of them, and just their development within the story. Many other people also dislike this film, so much so that it bankrupted the animation studio and to date has been Bluth’s last feature length animated film. I haven’t watched the film since it’s theatrical release in 2000. That was almost 20 years ago. I need to rewatch it to form a stronger opinion on it. But from my foggy memory, I’d definitely rank it as my least favorite Don Bluth film.


Don Bluth Animated Films I have not seen:

  • A Troll in Central Park
  • Bartok the Magnificent

Don Bluth also directed the video games Dragon Lair, Dragon Lair 2, and Space Ace. (all of which I have found memories of playing back in the 90s)

Also Banjo the Woodpile Cat looks very cute – it was a short film by Bluth which I have not watched yet.

Creating this list got me thinking, whatever happened to Don Bluth? I mean at least half of those films were a huge success, rivaling that of even the golden age of Disney – but then the other (more recent) half of those films were pretty much huge failures at the box office… So just what went wrong, and will we ever see another Don Bluth animated film? Was Don Bluth even still alive?

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The answer is yes. Currently they are working on an animated movie version of Dragon Lair. – I love Dragon Lair, but I sit here wondering to myself – why would I want to watch the movie, when I could play the game? A game is more of an interactive and engaging medium than a movie. And yes, the movie may bring Dragon Lair to a new audience (younger people who have never played the game, or just “non-gamers” in general regardless of age) – but still it’s kind of a head scratcher. – Good for them though. I look forward to seeing the movie when it’s released.

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Here is the very active kickstarter – the last update 13 days ago states that they are almost sold out of some of the rewards: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dragon-s-lair-returns-movie-cartoon#/updates/all

He’s also apparently opened his own “online school” for animation that will begin accepting students next year: http://www.donbluthuniversity.com/  – Unlike a lot of other schools – Don Bluth University will focus on teaching hand drawn animation, as opposed to computer generated animation.

Every Don Bluth Animated Film Ranked From Best to Worst. Top 10 Don Bluth Films. Best Don Bluth Films. Worst Don Bluth Films. Favorite Don Bluth Films was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Every Studio Ghibli Film Ranked From Best to Worst – Top 10 Studio Ghibli Films – The Best Studio Ghibli Films – The Worst Studio Ghibli Films

Much like our recent list of the best and worst Disney films, here is a list of the best and worst Studio Ghibli films. Disney owned distribution rights for awhile for several Studio Ghibli films, but I think that has since changed hands to Gkids. Many people who love Disney films also love Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli Films; after all, they have a lot in common with each other. Both studios rely mostly on making films from well known children’s literature and fairytales. Both studios have a very recognizable animation style. And both studios excel at creating stories that the whole family can enjoy together, cartoons that appeal to young and old alike.

I was surprised there’s not as many Studio Ghibli films as I would think. If you’re wondering why Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is not on this list, that’s because it’s not actually made by Studio Ghibli. This actually gives me an idea for another blog post maybe something along the lines of “10 Anime Movies You Mistake for Studio Ghibli Films.” I can think of 3 or 4 right away without much effort. Nausicaa being the biggest “WTF, Really?!” moment of the bunch. There’s also Wolf Children, My Summer with Coo, Nadia The Secret of Blue Water, and a Letter to Momo which all seem to share Studio Ghibli’s art and story styles. More recently there’s Mary and the Witch’s Flower which I’ve yet to watch but am really looking forward to because of the “Ghibli Vibe”.  Although different in style, you might also mistake other recently successful anime films such as Ko no Katachi and Kimi no Nawa as Ghibli films because when most people think of successful feature length anime films, they immediately think of Studio Ghibli.  I’m also surprised there’s still quite a few legit Studio Ghibli films which I have yet to watch – I will include those at the end of this article. As there’s only a handful of them, I plan to try to watch them and come back and edit my rankings asap.

Here are my picks for best and worst Studio Ghibli films – what are some of your favorite and least favorite Ghibli films? Leave a comment below!


Best and Worst Studio Ghibli Films:

Ponyo

Ponyo is sorta Ghibli’s Take on the whole Little Mermaid thing. It’s a very original and creative take on it, with a lot of imagination and charm. Its charm and originality are what lands it at first place on my list of favorite Ghibli films. Ponyo is a fish like creature who gets caught by a young boy, Souske, who keeps her as a pet. She begins to fall in love with her new master, and as she grows, she becomes more and more human-like. Her transformation causes an inbalance in the sea which creates a Tsunami. Ponyo and Souske must work together to save their village from the Tsunami, which also tests their love for one another, If they can find unconditional love, Ponyo will be able to remain a human with Souske, or else she must return back to the sea. – If you also love Ponyo, check out Lu over the Wall which I reviewed here. It’s very similar and also very cute!

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Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki’s Delivery Service is definitely high on my list of favorite Studio Ghibli movies. It features a strong female lead, Kiki, a young witch who is leaving home for the first time, as is customary for young witches when they “come of age” (which is at just 13 years old). Each town can only have 1 witch, and Kiki must strike out to find her own place in the world – quite literally. Taking only her father’s radio, Mother’s Broomstick, and Jiji, her black cat, she sets out on a grand adventure. She struggles at first, an allegory to how we all must struggle to find OUR place in the world. This makes the film so relateable, and the characters are so likeable, that who can’t help but to just love Kiki’s Delivery Service? – Did you know that Kiki’s Delivery Service is actually based on a book by the same name? You can grab the book over on Amazon. It’s out of print and expensive now sadly. https://www.amazon.com/Kikis-Delivery-Service-Eiko-Kadono/dp/1550377884

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Spirited Away

This is one of Studio Ghibli’s best known, and most well loved, featured films. It was the first anime to ever win an Academy Award for Best animated Feature Film. I believe to date, it’s the only Japanese anime to have ever won this award. It beat out numerous other animated films that same year including Disney and Dreamworks. It’s the highest grossing film of all time in Japan, and even beat out Titanic. In 2016 it was voted as the 4th best film of the 21st century which made it the highest animated film on the list as chosen from more than 170 film critics from around the world.

Just because something wins lots of awards though does not necessarily make it a great film — but Spirited Away does indeed fall into the category of greatness. I feel that the success of Spirited Away is due largely in part to the emotional attachment the audience develops towards the young pure hearted characters, as well as the fantasy setting, which is set in a realm of spirits that’s mysterious enough to be edgy/creepy for older kids/adults, while not terrifying like Mononoke, and attention to detail through story writing, the excellent music score, animation, and voice acting.

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When Marnie Was There

When Marnie Was There is also based on a book by the same name. https://www.amazon.com/Marnie-There-Essential-Modern-Classics-ebook/dp/B00KA11ZI0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=&dpID=51FrFUXIjEL&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=detail This Studio Ghibli adaptation rates higher for me than it does for most other people because I love my grandma so much, which made the bond that the main character shares with her own grandma overwhelmingly sweet and sentimental to me. Everyone loves their grandmas right? But mine is literally like my favorite person in the whole world. So this film really hit me right in the heart. I could watch it over and over and probably still cry each time. Love the song at the end of the credits too. I related a lot to the main character too who is always alone / lonely as I was similar to that growing up. She’s also interested in art like myself, and has a great imagination. Really, just on a personal level, out of all Ghibli films, this one is by far the most relatable to me, even though it’s still a fantasy movie about a ghost :).

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Howl’s Moving Castle

Obviously, Howl’s Moving Castle is based on the very well known series of books by the same name https://www.amazon.com/Howls-Moving-Castle-Diana-Wynne/dp/1442008431 – Though only very, very, very loosely based on this source material… In the original book, Sophie is very sarcastic and independent – She literally doesn’t give a flip about anyone or anything. In both versions they are pessimistic and feel they have no control over their fate, but in the book that quickly changes, and we witness Sophie become more responsible for her own actions and feelings. Sophie in the book also discovers pretty early on that she has magic powers. Howl in the book is a total playboy. There’s no war in the book. The villains are different too. In the book the main villain is the Witch of the Waste who is scorned by Howl rejecting her romantically and is looking to create her ideal mate by piecing together several different men, including the missing prince and Howl’s pretty face. Some find the book to be very funny, while others find it to be dry, because British humor is often very dry indeed. The idealistic love between Sophie and Howl in the film is quite different in the book. The two argue and break up and make up over and over throughout the story. The biggest difference is definitely in the titular character of Howl. In the book we see much more of Howl. Early on in the book it is difficult to like or sympathize for him as he is so vain and breaks so many hearts. But as the story unfolds, we learn the truth is that he is afraid of letting others close to him because he is in fact very sensitive and fragile and a very warm and loving person as well, and instantly we learn to not judge others, Everyone is going through their own struggles in life, and both Howl and Sophie have a lot of demons inside of themselves that they must face, which sadly is a lesson that the film doesn’t care to impart to the audience. In the film Howl instead is scarcely seen as he flies off to fight wars that don’t exist in the book. In the book, he is from modern day Wales, and has found a door to Sophie’s time and world where he has chosen to stay to study magic. This time traveling is completely omitted from the film, just as is equally omitted Sophie’s magical abilities. Instead, in Miyazaki’s version, it is Sophie who we see “time traveling” as she learns about Howl’s past. Miyazaki’s goal was to create a film that shows how love makes life worth living, while the original author’s goal was to create a story about a strong willed female mage which challenged gender and societal stereotypes. Both stories are equally charming in their own unique ways. Miyazaki’s interpretation of Howl’s Moving Castle is romantic and full of charm and innocence and still quite engaging in its storytelling and plot devices. There are some who complain that too many liberties were taken which deviated from the author’s original work, but one could also argue the same is true of Ponyo which is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid or any number of Ghibli or Disney works that are based on books before becoming films.

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Whisper of the Heart

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This is a lesser known Ghibli film based on manga of the same name about a young girl whose only passion is reading, and a young boy whose only passion is music. They are both outcasts and self isolated because they pour 100% of their time into their chosen hobbies. Both wish to drop out of school to pursue their passions full time. And neither one of them really get along with each other when the film first starts out. What I really enjoyed about this film is watching the characters change their thoughts and beliefs, about their passions, but also about how they perceive other people. They also discover they have a lot in common and both help to inspire one another to chase their dreams. Initially they view other people or other responsibilities as a hindrance, taking away time from their passions. But they learn that instead, other people add to your experiences and make life sweeter. Both characters yearn to grow up and become adults, but both are only grade/middle school students. They have a lot to learn. And as the film ends, we watch just how much they’ve matured over their summer. They learn to make time and space in their lives and hearts for other people while still each holding tightly to their dreams of their future. The original manga has not been licensed for US release. There is also a sequel manga that follows the characters as they prepare for their college entrance exams. https://mangarock.com/search?q=Mimi%20wo%20Sumaseba


Grave of the Fireflies

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This film is sad AF!!! There are some who will not like this film because of it being so sad. And also others who will not like this film simply because it portrays the real life events of the bombing of Hiroshima. Japan is the only country to have been nuked by an atomic bomb and the US the only country to have released an atomic bomb. Never again has such a weapon been used in combat because of the devastating long term and long range consequences that spring about from such frightening weaponry. This movie depicts the suffering and harsh realities of the war and subsequent bombing of Hiroshima. Obviously, war and decisions made by a country’s government, is a very politically charged issue. And many lives were lost on both sides of the war. So much suffering occurred that it’s still a tense and delicate subject to people on both sides of the war still today even in modern times. It is hard to watch this film, and even harder to see their suffering, and know that “we” (as a nation / group of nations) caused that suffering) even if it was perhaps necessary at the time of these events. It still doesn’t make you feel good realizing what you’ve unleashed. I’ve seen documentaries with actual real life footage of the victims, I’ve seen them peeling burnt flesh from survivors’ bodies using chopsticks, I’ve seen footage of their shadows burned into the walls, shadows of children playing at playgrounds, shadows of mothers trying to protect their children in their arms. But I’ve also seen movies on the other side of the issue too – Many US lives were lost in the bombing of pearl harbor; many other lives were lost around the entire world from Hitler’s atrocities, and so on. In war there is no clear cut good / bad decisions. You do what you feel you have to do to protect your country and its people, and in bombing Hiroshima, the US was trying to do just that, although it tragically resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Japanese civilians… such as the two depicted in this Studio Ghibli film… We watch them live fearfully, and with not enough food to eat, without any parents to take care of them, and we watch them suffer, fall ill, and struggle at every turn. We watch their own family and friends turn their backs on helping them and realize they have nowhere to go or turn to – an important – although equally political – message in our own modern times with issues with refugees and so on from our modern day wars. To quote the videogame Fallout “War Never Changes” – that’s why a film about a decades old war is still compelling and relevant and relatable in modern times. One of the interesting things about this film, is gaining a new perspective on the war and circumstances around the war. Sympathizing with our “enemy” and seeing just how similar we are, despite hundreds or thousands of cultural differences, at the end of the day, we each love our families, and would do anything to see to it that our families are happy, healthy, safe, and cared for. There is no way to watch this film without crying and forming an emotional connection with the characters. The ability to evoke such deep emotion is a testament to the quality of this film. It is an artful masterpiece with fantastic writing, character development, and storytelling.


Laputa Castle in the Sky

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I just watched this movie last year as part of Studio Ghibli’s and Gkids Ghibli Fest which brought many great Ghibli films to the theater – some for the first time in theaters within the US. I loved this movie. It had great action and a great love story. A lot of things in this film reminded me of my favorite Videogame, Lunar Eternal Blue which I reviewed here and cosplayed as here. Maybe it’s the girl and her pendant, her mysterious origins/past, her dramatic entrance, or the floating city in the sky, or maybe it’s the awesome epic love story. The lengths that both male characters go to in order to protect the person they love – and to help the girl they love complete her mission, or the way in which both film and game are so rich in lore and history and create a strange mashup of fantasy and technology creating a timeless story, that feels like it could take place equally conceivably in past, present, or future. Laputa Castle in the Sky is very action packed and fast moving, but yet, since it centers on these two characters and their love for one another, it can capture audiences of any age or gender.


The Cat Returns

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This is a sequel or Spin off based on Ghibli’s earlier film, Whisper of the Heart. I enjoyed Whisper of the Heart more than the Cat Returns, despite my huge massive never ending love for cats. Unlike the author’s own sequel to her manga, this story is not related to the two main characters of Whisper of the Heart, but instead focuses on the story that was inspired by the cat-like doll, nicknamed Baron as he searches for his lost love Louise, who was taken from him by Muto. Despite the name of the film, and it actually really being a sequel, the title is still slightly confusing. A better English title would have been something along the lines of “The Cat’s Reciprocation” or “The Cat Returns the Favor” but that doesn’t really have the same “ring” to it. Perhaps the perfect title should have been “The Cat’s Reply” which could not only mean to “return the favor” but also foreshadow Haru’s ability to speak with cats. Haru saves a cat one day, who wants to return the favor by offering her the prince’s hand – err paw — in marriage. Haru is flustered both by the cat’s proposal and his ability to talk. Cats around her begin acting strangely, bringing her gifts and tokens of the prince’s affection. Haru is cat-napped and taken to the world of cats where she is pampered and treated like a queen. She is given feasts and entertainment and more lavish gifts. As she begins to enjoy her time in the cat world, she begins to turn into a cat. The Baron warns Haru that she will become a real cat, and forget her human self if she does not immediately leave the cat world. The king and prince orchestrate obstacles and distractions to lengthen Haru’s stay in the cat kingdom, knowing that once she is fully a cat, she will become the Prince’s Bride. Will Haru forget her true self and live happily among the cats? Or will she escape and reclaim her place among the humans? Many people think this film is based on the Manga by the same author of Whisper of the Heart, but actually the Ghibli film came first, and the author enjoyed it so much that she made a manga based on the film – kinda neat, right? 🙂 Usually it’s the other way around.


The Secret World of Arietty

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Studio Ghibli’s “The Secret World of Arietty” is based on a popular children’s book, The Borrowers by Mary Norton. This book has entertained children for several generations. But it’s also a book (and film) that can be enjoyed by the whole family, young or old alike. My grandmother told me that it is her favorite book, she told me she first read it when my mother checked it out of the library. I too read the book when I was younger, and I also enjoyed many other film and tv adaptations and similar books and movies and tv series such as The Littles and The Indian in the Cupboard.

The Borrowers and The Secret World of Arietty give you a glimpse at a hidden world right under our noses. The Borrowers are a tiny race of miniature humans who live in our walls and gardens and live off of things we waste or take for granted. If you ever notice a button or a needle is missing, you can bet it’s been “Borrowed”. Of course the human world presents many dangers to Arietty, she must be careful to not be discovered by the humans who could capture her and keep her as a pet or science experiment. At the same time she must be aware of her surroundings at all times. She could get swept away by just a small trickle of water, or mistaken for a mouse and gobbled up by a cat, or crushed underfoot by a horse and carriage. Arietty is of course not afraid of the human world, and instead intrigued by it. She finds the human world fascinating and impossible to resist. Especially when she meets and falls in love with a human boy who is equally fascinated by Arietty’s world. The story teaches us that even though our lives may seem dull and mundane, that all it takes is a change of perspective to be reminded how wondrous life truly is.


The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Ghibli used an unusual art style in this anime, making it quite different from any of their other films. Their intention was to create an anime that looked like ancient Japanese calligraphy paintings and wall scrolls. The tale of Princess Kaguya was unfamiliar to me, but very familiar and loved in its home country of Japan where it is known as the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. This legend has been around for over 1,000 years! It is most famously presented and passed down through ancient Japanese paintings from the Edo period which is what influenced Ghibli’s character and art direction in this film.

I’m not a huge fan of the art style in the anime, and even some of the customs/traditions of the Edo period which the film accurately depicts like women painting their teeth black – SO eww. Interestingly, little has changed as I know even now it’s generally considered to be “unlady-like” for a woman or girl to smile widely thus showing her teeth. That’s why there’s two emoji’s ^.^ and ^_^ – the first one is a feminine emoji and the second is a masculine emoji. I learned that years ago when I used to chat with people all over the world and was told about my “improper” use of the “^_^” emoji. Although I still use ^_^ all the time, and I consider “^.^” to be more of a “playful” smile, sorta cattish or impish or mischievious, or maybe a smile that seems like it has a secret, a smirk or a giggle behind it, where as I feel ^_^ is just pure joy/happiness/amusement/laughter.

Anyways enough about Emoji’s – lol. The strange art style and questionable fashions/traditions of the Edo period are really the only reason this film doesn’t rank higher for me. I do agree that the film looks just like the historical paintings… but it’s just not my tastes personally… That said though, I am extremely fascinated by the story and legend behind this film.

The legend states that an old man unable to have children of his own, found Kaguya one day while cutting bamboo. When she first appeared she was only the size of his thumb, but she rapidly grew much faster than other children. The bamboo cutter took the baby to his wife, where they raised her lovingly as their own child. Ever since Kaguya appeared in their lives, every time the Bamboo cutter would go to work, he would find gold coins in the bamboo stalks and soon the family become very rich. Although initially the family wishes to protect Kaguya’s innocence and youth, it is not long before word spreads of the beautiful young woman and many princes appear to seek her hand in marriage. Kaguya tasks each prince with impossible tasks, knowing they cannot be achieved, because she wishes to remain with her family and maintain her independence. One by one each prince fails to win the hand of Kaguya. Time passes, and eventually the Emperor comes to see the beautiful Kaguya. He falls in love instantly, but Kaguya tells him they cannot be together because she is not from his country. They instead become friends and remain in correspondence. As time went on, Kaguya began acting strangely, especially on nights with a full moon. She would cry and cause her parents to worry. She later reveals to them that she is not from Earth and must return to her home on the moon. The Emperor, as well as her family, do everything they can to try to hide and protect Kaguya who does not wish to return to the Moon. Kaguya wants to remain on Earth. In the end, however, Kaguya must go back to the kingdom of the Moon and leave her beloved family and friends.

Studio Ghibli’s version of the tale differs in some areas – The Emperor in the Ghibli version is more obsessed with Kaguya and Kaguya wants absolutely none of it because she’s in love with a simple boy from her childhood whom her father deems is not of high enough rank for her hand (who never existed in the original legend). In fact she is so repulsed by the Emperor that she cries when he touches her and discovers she has a secret ability to disappear at will. These details were made up for the Ghibli version only. Also at the end of the Ghibli version, Kaguya looks back onto the earth with a longing and sad gaze, even though her robe of feathers was to strip her of all of her memories of her time spent on Earth, the look on her face implies that her feelings and attachments were so strong that she could not forget the people of Earth. – This also is made up in the Ghibli version. In the original legend, Kaguya does in fact forget everyone when she returns to the Moon. In the original legend, the Emperor is so saddened by Kaguya’s death (or disappearance whatever you want to call it) that he orders his army to climb to the top of the mountain “closest to heaven” – There he wishes to burn a letter from Kaguya in hopes that his love and feelings for her will rise with the smoke from the letter and reach her on the moon. He also wanted to burn the elixir of immortality that Kaguya left him because he did not want to live forever without Kaguya by his side. Wikipedia states that the Japanese word for immortality “Fushi” is what Mt. Fuji’s name was derived from. And that the kanji characters for the mountain mean “Mountain abounding with warriors” which is said to denote the Emperor’s army who burnt the letter. The legend also says that the smoke from the letter still rises today (when the legend was created, Mt Fuji was an active volcano and hence produced smoke). I think the original legend makes for a very beautiful unrequited love story, where in Ghibli’s version the Emperor is the main villain whose appearance is what drives Kaguya to pray to the moon for help, after which her people come to “rescue” her from the Emperor. Quite a different take on the tale. I know Japan’s long history and traditions with their Emperor’s being near godlike status, so it’s odd to see a film from Japan depict in Emperor as a villainous character, especially given that in the original tale he was so pure and chivalrous and so in platonic unrequited love / mutual friendship with Kaguya throughout much of their lives.

I can’t remember where I read it now, (I’ve tried searching) but I read a few years ago that there are many scholars who believe that the legend of the Swan Princess / the Swan Lake Ballet is derived from the much older Legend of Kaguya. The main themes are very similar. This wikipedia article gives you a glimpse at the “Legend” of the Swan Princess The “Legend” is apparently much older than the ballet itself.

Here are a few of the similarities:

In these “Swan Maiden” tales, an unmarried man steals a robe of swan feathers from a woman in order to keep her from “flying away” – The maiden then bears children by this man. At some point the children come across the robe their father has hidden, or they ask their mother why she is always crying and go find the robe for her. As soon as she is given her robe she ascends to heaven without any hesitation or thought or attachment for her family or life as a human. Regarding those she leaves behind, wikipedia says this: “Although the children may grieve her, she does not take them with her. If the husband is able to find her again, it is an arduous quest, and often the impossibility is clear enough so that he does not even try.”

Kaguya is pursued by many unmarried men. She is given her robe of feathers when she ascends to the moon, and thus this ascending into the sky, can also be like “flying away”

Kaguya begins crying “always” uncontrollably near the end of her tale and her family always asks her what’s wrong / show concern for her.

Kaguya is given a robe of feathers which allows her to forget her time with her human family and friends so that she has no attachment or regrets leaving them (obviously Ghibli changed this part with one final glance back to Earth from their version of Princess Kaguya)

Kaguya’s family does grieve her but she cannot take them with her.

Kaguya tasks her “would-be” husbands with impossible quests – Even the Emperor himself cannot win Kaguya’s hand. After her disappearance, he sets out on his own arduous quest in the legend which would become the legend and folklore around Mount Fuji. 

The wikipedia article also states that “The swan maiden has appeared in numerous items of fiction, including the ballet Swan Lake, in which a young princess, Odette and her maidens are under the spell of an evil sorcerer, Von Rothbart, transforming them into swans by day. By night, they regain their human forms and can only be rescued if a young man swears eternal love and faithfulness to the Princess. When Prince Siegfried swears his love for Odette, the spell can be broken, but Siegfried is tricked into declaring his love for Von Rothbart’s daughter, Odile, disguised by magic as Odette, and all seems lost. But the spell is finally broken when Siegfried and Odette drown themselves in a lake of tears, uniting them in death for all eternity. While the ballet’s revival of 1895 depicted the swan-maidens as mortal women cursed to turn into swans, the original libretto of 1877 depicted them as true swan-maidens: fairies who could transform into swans at will.”

Kaguya has a special relationship to the Moon (symbol of the night).

The Emperor loved Kaguya (not as apparent in the Ghibli film, but VERY apparent in the original legend where he burns the letter and the elixir of life.)

In burning the elixir of life, he gives up immortality so that he can (one day) rejoin Kaguya in death.  

The Lake of Tears could signify how the Emperor wept for Kaguya (or in Ghibli’s case how her parents wept for her). 

The ability to transform into swans at will could be inspired by Kaguya’s ability to disappear at will. 

There is another tale from Japan with themes similar to Princess Kaguya, Tsuru no Ongaeshi, or the Crane Wife, about a crane who is caught in a trap. She is set free by an elderly couple and to repay their kindness she arrives as a human child, claiming to be lost. She asks them if they would take care of her as their own daughter, and the elderly couple happily agrees. To repay them for their kindness she begins to weave beautiful fabrics which she makes by plucking her own feathers. The fabrics sell for a lot of money and make the family very wealthy. She warns them they must never look in the room as she weaves. But overtime, curiosity overcomes the couple and they steal a glimpse only to find a crane and not a human in the room. With her identity revealed, she tells the couple she had hoped to always  remain their daughter, but she must now return to being a crane. In other versions of this legend, it is not a couple, but a young man who saves the crane disguised as a human. The two soon fall in love. In some versions he is sick and so the crane plucks her own feathers to make the fabric to sell for money to get medicine to save her husband. In other versions the husband is alive and well, but the crane becomes increasingly ill as she continues to pluck her feathers. As she plucks her last feather she must return to being a crane and leave her husband behind as the husband vows he will never forget her.

(source: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuru_no_Ongaeshi)

The legend of Kaguya predates the legend of Tsuru no Ongaeshi. You can already see how the folk lore was shifting but still similar to the original tale of Kaguya. From here, the similarities between Kaguya and Swan’s lake are even more apparent.

Obviously both Swan Lake and Tsuru no Ongaeshi feature a bird who has turned human.

Swan Lake’s maiden has lost a robe of feathers, while the Crane Wife has lost her feathers while making robes.

In relation to Kaguya, Once their true identities are uncovered they both must return to their former selves/worlds.

Also in relation to Kaguya, the main character is raised by or falls in love with humans – she then asks them to raise her as their own child. When she is leaving she tells them she never wanted to leave and always wanted to remain their child, but that she has no choice now. In the version with the husband, his vow of never forgetting her, could be similar to the Emperor’s love for Kaguya in the original legend and the lengths he went to even after her death or disappearance to prove his love and rejoin her in death.

As you can see, I had the most to say about Kaguya, despite it not being my favorite Ghibli film, but because of the interesting ancient legend on which it, and many other fairy tales, are based. The Legend of Kaguya predates all other tellings of similar nature which makes it even more interesting from a historical point of view.


Princess Mononoke

I dunno, Princess Mononoke honestly scares the hell out of me… Even looking at this gif scares the hell out of me… This movie is so unsettling… and it’s even “worse” dubbed – because then the lip syncing is all off and then it’s just even more eerie AF…. I think Princess Mononoke definitely has a good story… and it is no doubt beautiful…. and probably Ghibli’s most successful / well known film – I own it, I “like” it (even though it honestly gives me nightmares) – but damn son…. this movie just ain’t right lol…. Am I the only one that finds this movie just INHERENTLY creepy? It’s not even the infamously excessive amounts of blood and violence… it’s little things like this creepy-ass mother bugger right here….

studio ghibli GIF


Only Yesterday

I thought this was a little bit of a bore. I generally love slice of life and romance films. I’m not sure why this one missed the mark for me. The story is told by a middle aged woman as she looks back on her childhood / early adulthood and reminisces about summers and her first love. Even though the majority of the film felt a little slow – I really really really really REALLY loved the later parts of the film — Especially the ending — One of the most memorable endings of any Ghibli film — or any film — ever. So good. I think overall though, the story suffers from some pacing issues and the constant back and forth from memories/present day. There are cute parts, sweet parts, dramatic parts, but in some ways it just felt like it dragged and droned on and on… That ending though… so emotional!! Loved it.

studio ghibli GIF


My Neighbor Totoro

If you care to read more about My Neighbor Totoro – I did a review after attending the Gkids theatrical release last year. Read my Review of My Neighbor Totoro here.

As for how it ranks against other Ghibli films… Sorry Totoro – cute as you may be – and having owned the film as a kid, and seeing it again recently in theaters – I still love you for how cute you are, and the memorable characters – dust bunnies, cat bus, Totoro himself — but Totoro there’s just one problem, there’s just not much really happening in your film. One interesting theory suggests that the girls are actually dead, and that Totoro is a Shinigami (a spirit that only children can see which will guide them to the afeterlife. A sort of Grim Reaper that usually takes the form of animals or stuffed toys etc) – I think this theory could be plausible. And it would definitely make the movie a bit more interesting. Like Princess Mononoke, parts of Totoro are (perhaps unintentionally) Creepy AF!!… Also after seeing it in the theaters – Catbus has balls… just saying…. WTF? lol. XD Nothing like sitting in one of the front rows and seeing huge Catbus balls in my face as he leaps through the sky. – I have heard that Pompoko also features cute characters with huge balls lol. (though I haven’t seen it yet). Anyways, despite Totoro being the iconic mascot of Ghibli, basically equivalent to Mickey Mouse for Disney, the movie just isn’t that great. I love it for the heartwarming sweet characters, but yeah that’s about it. And the juxtaposition between the beginning and 2nd half of the film, is just kinda creepy. (although admittedly, that’s when things pick up rapidly and get more interesting.)

Studio Ghibli GIF


From Up on Poppy Hill

This film is absolutely beautiful to look at (Just look at the ambience in the gif below, how it perfectly captures the glow of the street lights and sunset) — But that’s about the only nice thing I can say about this film. I found it to be the most boring Ghibli film of all time. — But actually after reading Wikipedia to refresh my memory of this film (I only watched it once, and years ago) — I dunno – the plot sounds interesting to me; I may give this one another watch. The only thing I remembered from the film was the children trying to save their school and club house – which I think took up 90% of the film – and this part was boring to me, watching them clean and repair the building – etc. It just felt dull. I never felt like I cared about any of the characters, and therefore also never cared about their school or club house… But after reading Wikipedia it seems I missed the point of the film, which is a complicated love story. The two below fall in love, but find out that they may be siblings. I won’t say if they actually are – Wikipedia can give you that answer if you’re curious – Anyways the two struggle – first avoiding each other, then trying to remain “just friends” because of their situation – and then deciding that even despite their situation that they will embrace their feelings for each other. Another wiki dedicated to all things Ghibli says that the two also learn the “full story of how their parents met, loved, and lived”. This piques my interest even though after reading wikipedia I now know all of the details and don’t really need to watch the film – I still may rewatch this – and if need be, adjust my rankings of it because the drama honestly sounds like it’d be right up my alley, and that animation is just so pretty.

studio ghibli GIF


Ocean Waves

Well here is my least favorite Ghibli film… I hate it for one reason – The main girl is a total B-… She has NO redeeming qualities, NO remorse for her actions, and she does NOT change her ways or grow as a person at all. She remains this same horrible terrible crazy B– of a person…. But yet the main character falls in love with her and basically bends over backwards, throwing money and time and his emotions etc at this girl… and for what reason? But I know sometimes love and life are like this. Sometimes nice people get sucked in by people like this. Or sometimes love is just so unexplainable and inexplicable that we don’t really know WHY we love some one… Clearly she has no qualities that should make anyone love her. She is manipulative, cold, greedy, and just crazy. I can’t stand her… I want to scream and shake the main character’s shoulders like hey wake up, this girl is not good for you!!… But nope, in the end, they get their “happy ever after” – Man, way to romanticize abusive relationships. Domestic, Emotional, and Verbal abuse does not deserve to be twisted into some grand fantasy romance like this… I just can’t get on board with the characters in this film… They may be the most realistic and adult like of any Ghibli characters…. but I can’t believe how she treats him. Begging / Stealing money, Playing Victim all the Time, Dragging him and parading him like a trophy in front of your friends, Then turning your back on him, etc…. We do see that she is ostrichsized by her classmates too near the end for her behavior being called to light — and I get that the main character is Mr. Nice Guy and feels bad because suddenly she has no friends and everything… And he is also in a similar situation because of rumors that she and her friends started after their trip… but dang… I dunno he’s just TOO nice to her. She really doesn’t deserve someone as good as him. And it makes me mad. LOL. — I guess it’s still an interesting film… I definitely remember it and feel very very strongly about it… so there’s that at least… The movie and the characters are unique… and memorable… just not in a good way LOL.

ocean GIF


Studio Ghibli Films I have yet to watch – In no particular order:

  • Porco Rosso
  • Pom Poko
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas
  • Tales from Earthsea
  • The Wind Rises

Every Studio Ghibli Film Ranked From Best to Worst – Top 10 Studio Ghibli Films – The Best Studio Ghibli Films – The Worst Studio Ghibli Films was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

I Want To Take an Anime and Manga Tour in Japan

OMG… I want to do this. (Maybe Next Year – I don’t have Vacation Time left this year since I will be going to Peru this summer) Their next tour is in just a few weeks, and seems to only happen once a year, in March coinciding with the International Anime Festival AnimeJapan.

https://japandeluxetours.com/japan/group/anime-japan-tours#anime3

Visiting Japan is my life long dream. (sadly, mostly just so I can go shopping for anime, game, and doll stuff lol. Although I do want to do the museums and cherry blossoms and hot springs and other cultural things too – though mostly, I’m just a big geeky nerd who loves anime and wants to go shopping – which is what this whole tour is designed for <3)

Animate - The World's Largest Anime Store

Animate – The World’s Largest Anime Store

It’s not that much money (well OK it is, but it’s cheaper than I expected honestly). Guided 6 Day Anime Tour in Japan which includes hotels and Guides through all the “anime” spots in Japan (since I can’t speak Japanese a Guide would be helpful…)

Cat Heavy Breathing GIF

Only $1,500 a person, includes hotels for each day. I’d just have to have airfare, and LOTTTTTTTTSSSSS of money for food and shopping. Like seriously I’d probably want to have another $1,000 with me just for shopping lol. If I buy a dollfie dream or custom volks doll or something that’d eat half that budget right there. Then there’s all kinds of cheap (but cute) dolls / toys / figurines, etc.

idea intensifies GIF

I wouldn’t want to go by myself either – I would hope my boyfriend would go with me but if not then I’m pretty sure that I could find a friend or family member to take… If I had to pay for both of us that’s $3,000… The tour includes several meals but I’d need money for more meals (Let’s say $100 a day food budget X 5 days $500) Airfaire is probably close to $1,000 a person too So not counting shopping expenses I’d need $5,500… I want to mainly go shopping so I’d want at least $1,000 for shopping for myself that’s $6,500…. which still… isn’t that bad because of all the things this tour includes.

Studio Ghibli Museum

Studio Ghibli Museum

This tour includes all of the Ghibli and other museums, the largest anime stores, and even admission to an anime convention for one day. OMG and an anime theme park another day… OMG it includes real life mario kart racing too…. omg…

Anime GIF

The number 1 place I want to visit actually isn’t on this tour – that place is Doll Point Akihabara – Volks store where you can buy Dollfie Dreams and Asian Balljointed Dolls and Accessories – including some items available only in the store and not sold online.  But that’s OK because the tour gives you free time in the evening and one free day where you’re on your own without a guide.

Doll Point Akihabara

Doll Point Akihabara

My dream / life goal / bucket list… lol…

Now that I have my passport I can actually do stuff like this O_O!!! Now I just need money (lots of money) (and to wait for my vacation time again lol).

https://japandeluxetours.com/group/tour/anime-japan-tour-6-days-a

Tour Includes

  • 6 DAYS
  • 5 nights accommodation
  • 7 MEALS
  • 5 breakfasts
    2 lunches
  • TRANSPORT
  • All transport shown
Anime Stores

Anime Stores

Details:

  • 4 nights Western hotel
  • Daily Breakfast-Buffets and 2 Lunches included
  • All ground transportation in Japan during the tour
  • Complimentary Airport Transfers (see details)
  • Admission Fees, Tax & Gratuities at all included Destinations
  • Full time service of licensed English speaking tour guide & separate bus driver
  • Japan Deluxe Tours Handbook and Tour Goods Package
  • Free Wi-Fi in Bus & Most hotels
Doll Stores

Doll Stores

Travel Highlights

  • A day at the AnimeJapan Festival in Tokyo
  • A walk through the busy Shibuya Crossing
  • Tokyo’s lively Harajuku and Takeshita Dori
  • The electronics and anime town of Akihabara
  • 20+ Anime stores at Tokyo Character Street
  • Admission to J-World Jump Theme Park
  • The well known Ghibli Museum
  • Souvenir shopping at Harajuku Kiddy Land
  • Shopping and trading time at the Pokemon Center
  • The Gundam Base Tokyo and Lifesize Unicorn Gundam

Not Included
– Airfare
– Travel Insurance
– Optional Excursions

Animate Japan - World's Largest Anime Store

Animate Japan – World’s Largest Anime Store


Itinerary:

Day 1

Tokyo Arrival
Arrival* Narita Int’l Airport (NRT) Haneda Int’l Airport (HND)
Arrival Transfer
Welcome to Japan! We will have transportation services to take you to your hotel. Please refer to your tour handbook for more information.
Rest at the hotel and be ready to start your exciting tour tomorrow.

Mirai Store

Mirai Store

**INFORMATION**
From Narita Airport to downtown hotel in Tokyo – about 90 mins(Bus)
From Haneda Airport to downtown hotel in Tokyo – about 30 mins(Bus)

Hearton Hotel Higashi Shinagawa or similar


Day 2
Tokyo | Sushi & Akihabara
Morning [ Tokyo ] Asakusa Sensoji Temple Pokemon Center J-World
Afternoon Tsukiji Fish Market (Lunch) ( Lunch – Sushi )
Tokyo Character Street [ Akihabara ]
Animate
Evening Return to the Hotel

Tokyo International Anime Fair Anime Japan

Tokyo International Anime Fair Anime Japan By Max TimchenkoOwn work, GFDL, Link

Before our big day at the International Anime Fair – AnimeJapan tomorrow, our Anime tour will visit some of the best anime sites Tokyo has to offer. We first start with some traditional Japanese culture and shopping at Asakusa. Enjoy shopping at the Nakamise area and the stunning red temple that is Sensoji. We then make our way to Sunshine City to check out the Pokemon Mega Center, a must-go for all Pokemon lovers. Besides all the Pokemon goods they sell, they also have a battling and trading room for customers to interact with other Pokemon fans.

pokemon center

pokemon center

After browsing through exclusive products, we will head over to J-World, the Shonen Jump theme-park in Tokyo! Play games and win prizes based on all your favorite characters, including Goku from Dragonball, Luffy and Co from One Piece, Naruto and Sasuke, Kuroko and the rest of the Generation of Miracles, and Hinata and his team of volleyball hopefuls! Win prizes and shop to your hearts content at the J-World store before our next stop. For lunch, enjoy sushi with fish provided by the Tsukiji Fish Market, the famous fish market that provides freshest ingredients for thousands of families and businesses alike.

J-world

J-world

Following our time at the market, the tour will visit the lively Tokyo Character Street in Tokyo Central Station. The area is lined with various anime-themed shops, including a Jump Store, Pokemon Center, Hello Kitty shop, Ghibli store, and more! There’s also Tokyo Ramen Street, Okashi Land, and Gachapon Street, perfect for someone who wants some lunch and to do a little more gift shopping for friends or for themselves! After our adventures at Character Street, we will head to Akihabara, the town of anime. While there, enjoy shopping ad sightseeing for the rest of the day at some of the most popular otaku destinations, including Animate. Animate carries all kinds of character goods, electronics, and games from current and popular anime/manga series.

Tokyo Character Street

Tokyo Character Street


Hearton Hotel Higashi Shinagawa or similar Breakfast Lunch
Day 3
Tokyo | AnimeJapan Festival
Morning AnimeJapan
Optional Shibuya Scrumble Crossing Gundam Base Tokyo (Optional) VR ZONE SHINJUKU (Optional) Ninja Trick House (Optional) CAPCOM BAR (Optional) Mario Kart (Optional)
Evening Return to the Hotel
*Evening Capsule Hotels (Optional)

Gundam Base Tokyo Japan Life Size Gundam Unicorn

Gundam Base Tokyo Japan Life Size Gundam Unicorn

Today’s the big day of the International Anime Fair – AnimeJapan! Join the many cosplayers, otaku, and anime lovers of all degrees in the biggest Anime event in the world. Anime, manga, doujinshi, guest speakers, figurines, rare items, video games, limited and exclusive covers are all accessible at this large event. Enjoy your day exploring the grounds and meeting people with the same passion as you! If the fair isn’t enough, you also have the option to join an optional tour at 3pm to explore the famous Shibuya Crossing and Gundam Base Tokyo to see the awesome life-size RX-0 Unicorn Gundam model (72 ft). The Gundam Base is an expansive store, museum, and features a cafe for guests to enjoy everything Gundam.

Real Life Mario Kart Experience at Maricar Japan

Real Life Mario Kart Experience at Maricar Japan

Feel free to enjoy the night at your leisure, or you have the option to enjoy the night as you wish, or sign up for a few optional excursions. We have the new VR Zone Shinjuku, an incredible VR-focused arcade, the Ninja Trick House where guests can enjoy learning how to throw ninja-stars and also learn the ways of the ninja, or a meal at the CAPCOM BAR, a themed-restaurant showcasing the best of CAPCOM, including games and themed-meals, or sign up for a MarioKart experience and drive go-karts around Tokyo dressed as some of your favorite characters!

You also have the option of staying a night in a capsule hotel for one night (additional fees may apply for capsule hotel and/or additional excursions)

(Err no thank you to the capsule hotel… Too claustrophobic for me – like sleeping in a coffin or morgue lol)

Japanese Capsule Hotels

Japanese Capsule Hotels


Hearton Hotel Higashi Shinagawa or similar Breakfast
Day 4
Tokyo | J-Pop, Ghibli, & Robots
Morning Harajuku Harajuku Crepes (JDT Recommends)
Harajuku Kiddy Land (Optional)
Omotesando (Optional)
Sailor Moon Store (Optional)
Tokyo One Piece Tower
Afternoon Ghibli Museum Robot Restaurant
Evening Return to the Hotel

Japanese Crepes

Japanese Crepes

We will start our morning heading to Harajuku for shopping and snacks along Takeshita Dori. This shopping area is the perfect place to get in touch with Japan’s pop culture trends, and to sample some of the best crepes in Japan. After our time in Harajuku, we head to Tokyo Tower, Japan’s iconic tower. Tokyo Tower has been taken over by One Piece, resulting in Tokyo One Piece Tower. Known as Tongari Island, this event is filled with attractions, wonderful restaurants, and a live-action show designed to wow fans of all ages.

Japanese Crepes

Japanese Crepes

Following our time at the tower, we head east to visit the famed Ghibli Museum. This animation and art museum exhibits works of Miyazaki Hayao, creator of world famous films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. Ghibli Film fans will definitely enjoy the artistic museum, which not only exhibits the history and techniques of animation but also plays short movies in a theater room, produced exclusively for the museum.

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower

After the museum, it’s time for dinner at the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku for those interested! Enjoy a show like none before, fusing classic Japanese elements with the dreams and fantasies of the future. The restaurant has a wild vibe and a unique experience you are sure to find entertaining.

Robot Restaurant

Robot Restaurant


Hearton Hotel Higashi Shinagawa or similar Breakfast Lunch
Day 5
Tokyo | Leisure-Free
All Day Free at your leisure
Optional Excursion Fees not included.
Opt 1 Tokyo Disneyland (Optional)
Opt 2 Tokyo Disney Sea (Optional)
Opt 3 Kamakura (Optional) -or- Nikko (Optional)
Opt 4 Mario Kart (Optional)
Opt 5 Sanrio Puroland (Optional)
Opt 6 Fuji-Q Highland (Optional)
Evening Return to the Hotel
We have cleared up the day for you to explore and enjoy Japan as you wish. You can either
1) enjoy the entire day as you wish
2) visit Tokyo Disney Land, Fuji Q Amusement Park, or Tokyo DisneySea or another theme-park
3) Join a Mario Kart day tour*
4) go on a private-guided tour through Nikko or Kamakura

Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disney Resort

For those who wish to visit Tokyo Disney Land, Fuji Q Amusement Park, or Sanrio Puroland, your tour guide will be happy to explain directions.
(additional fees may apply for additional tour options. Please contact us in advanced for this service)

*The Mario Kart experience requires an International Driving Permit. Please contact us for more information if you would like to participate.


Hearton Hotel Higashi Shinagawa or similar Breakfast
Day 6
Tokyo Departure
Departure Transfer
Departure* Narita Int’l Airport (NRT) or Haneda Int’l Airport (HND)
Your pleasant and memorable Japan tour ends today. The tour will disband after breakfast.
Fly home with cherished memories or enjoy your extended stay in Japan.

https://japandeluxetours.com/help/frequently-asked-questions/


Mirai Store

Mirai Store

5. Anime Japan Tour | Tokyo
Departure Date(s)
6 Days
2018 Tokyo Tokyo 03/22
5 Nights 6 Days From : USD 1,878 USD 1,784 pp

Destinations:

  • Akihabara Animate
  • Ghibli Museum
  • J-World
  • Pokemon Center
  • Asakusa – Sensoji Temple
  • Shibuya Crossing
  • Nakano Broadway
  • Tokyo Character Street
  • Tokyo One Piece Tower

Experiences

  • AnimeJapan
  • Robot Restaurant
  • Tsukiji Fish Market Lunch
  • Optional – Capsule Hotel

Take on Tokyo during our AnimeJapan Tour | Tokyo package! This fully escorted Japan tour focuses on all of the major anime & manga spots in Tokyo, and enjoy admission to the AnimeJapan festival! We’ve also included a day of leisure in the city, with plenty of suggested itineraries we can set up at your convenience (additional fees may apply).

Animate Japan - World's Largest Anime Store

Animate Japan – World’s Largest Anime Store

During this Anime Japan tour, we have selected the integral destinations that showcase Japan’s unique pop culture. Akihabara, the mecca of anime and electronics, is just one of the many destinations we will be visiting during this tour. Among the shops of Akihabara, we recommend a visit to the Animate store. One of the largest anime and manga store chains, you’re bound to find the latest anime posters, figurines, and goods.

There’s also J-World, the indoor theme park featuring Dragon Ball, One Piece, and Naruto, Tokyo Character Street, the shopping arcade in Tokyo Central Station perfect for souvineer shopping, and the Ghibli Museum where the works of Hayao Miyazaki come to life. We’ll also be swinging by the long-standing Nakano Broadway and Tokyo One Piece Tower, just in case you were worried we didn’t have enough anime spots on the menu. This anime tour will also covers the Gundam Base Tokyo, where the massive 72 foot Unicorn Gundam stands over Odaiba!

animation copic markers

animation copic markers

With so many incredible anime shopping destinations, don’t forget this tour includes admission to the AnimeJapan exhibition at Odaiba’s Big Sight Convention Center! There are over 100 exhibitors participating, capturing the spirit of anime and manga from fans all over the world. The exhibition not only features displays and performances, but also charity auctions, cosplayers events, meeting animators and manga artists, limited edition goods, and more. We’ve also arranged for an optional walking tour along Shibuya after the convention! You can also extend your vacation before / after this Anime Japan Tour in Tokyo.

Cat Heavy Breathing GIF

Come Join the LARGEST Anime Expo & See all the hottest anime and Manga spots in Tokyo!

Tokyo – AnimeJapan


OMG!!!! They have a different tour to the Tokyo Game Show and Video Games / Arcades in Japan too. A shorter one, only 3 nights.

And another one which is 8 nights and includes things like the deer park (deer just roam the streets, they’re tame you can pet and feed them, etc). And includes more museums and things too.

idea intensifies GIF

Of course the best one is 15 days long – but it’s also the most expensive.

So many awesome tours. I’m definitely doing this (probably the 6 day one) – Hopefully next year once I save up the money.

My life long dream ❤

I Want To Take an Anime and Manga Tour in Japan was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Viz Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Seasons of the Kitty Book Review

I received this book for free in exchange for a review. Thoughts and Opinions are my own.

Neko Atsume is a popular idle clicker style mobile game where you leave food out and close the app, and open the app later to find different kitties have come to your garden to sample your food. The object of the game is to “collect” all the different kitties who will come and go in and out of your garden and do various cute things on your screen. The simplistic artwork and simplistic gameplay launched this mobile app to stardom levels with over 50 million users around the world having installed the app.

The success of the mobile game spawned a whole franchise of toys, home goods, pet products, even a live action movie. So it’s no surprise there are new activity books by Viz featuring the cute kitties! The first book I will review is Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Seasons of the Kitty. As the name suggests, it’s a cute collection of poems with illustrations featuring the collectible cats of the Neko Atsume mobile game. There’s also stickers in the book that let you keep track of your kitty collection and personalize it with names and other details. See the stickers below:

A Haiku is a type of Japanese Poem that features 3 “phrases” with a rhythm that’s defined by the syllables in each phrase. The first phrase will have 5 syllables, the next will have 7, and the final phrase will have 5 again. Thus creating a rhythm of 5, 7, 5. Many Haiku create a relationship between two objects and focus on observing everyday objects and occurrences. Many Haiku also focus on seasons, so it’s quite fitting that this book Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Seasons of the Kitty breaks the book into short chapters each featuring a collection of Haiku showing us what the kitties are doing in each of the four seasons. In spring we see them playing with flowers or napping in the sun, in winter we see them playing with Christmas decorations. There are also some Haiku in the book which don’t seem to reflect a season at all, such as kitties hiding in tunnels or playing with toys, kitties just being kitties, which they do year round. Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Season of the Kitty features over 100 full color pages sure to charm you and brighten your day.

Neko Atsume Haikus

Neko Atsume Haikus

My favorite Haiku in Neko Atsume Kitty Collector features a kitty begging for more meat treats. I love this one because my own kitties always beg for treats. I joke that my kitties need an intervention, they are like treat-addicts. So reading this haiku and seeing the simple illustration warmed my heart because I immediately thought of my own kitties in real life. In fact, at several points in the book I was thinking “That’s just like my cats!” This book is definitely for cat lovers! In fact, it’s so cute and would make a great gift for any cat lover — even if they’ve never played Neko Atsume.

It could also be a great book to teach young kids about Haikus. You can have fun showing young kids this book, counting together with them as you read each line of the Haiku, and enjoying the cute and funny artwork and seeing what the kitties are up to in each Haiku.

My only complaint with the book is that some of the Haiku feel a little forced to fit the rhyme scheme, with random “meows” thrown in it feels like at times just to match the syllable formula of the haiku. Regardless of this small complaint, the book is so cute and charming that I’ve already read it front to back and re-read my favorite Haikus again and again. Reading these little poems is so relaxing – just like the relaxing gameplay of the Neko Atsume mobile game that started it all.

Once anyone reads this cute collection of poetry, they won’t be able to resist catching Neko Atsume fever and delving into playing the game or collecting the toys and other related merchandise.

If you’re looking for a great gift for a cat lover, or just looking to feed your own collection of Neko Atsume Goodies, be sure to pick up a copy of Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Seasons of the Kitty today. For just $10.99, it would make the perfect gift for that cat lover in your life, or maybe that cat lover is you! 🙂 Curl up with a nice cup of tea and kitty in your lap and enjoy the cute illustrations and see what mischief the kitties in the book get up to each season.

You can bring the kitties home for yourself on March 13, 2018!

You can buy Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Seasons of the Kitty at any of the following retailers:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Rightstuf

*It looks like Rightstuf is selling the book ahead of the other retailers, and for a bit cheaper too (currently “in stock” and just $8.24 at time of this posting)

Viz Neko Atsume Kitty Collector Haiku Seasons of the Kitty Book Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Artbook Review: The Art of The Secret World of Arietty

I received this book for free in exchange for a review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

This large, beautiful hardcover artbook is a must have for any Hayao Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli fan. Within its pages lies a treasure trove of not only gorgeous artwork, but also a behind the scenes look at the work that went into creating The Secret World of Arietty. This book is very high quality. Its large oversize format makes it excellent for laying on your coffee table or bookshelf and its presentation is so inviting that your friends won’t be able to resist picking it up and scanning through the pages. Its an excellent conversation piece, as well as a great asset for a collector’s own private and personal collection.

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

With this review I struggled if I should include pictures, and if so how many, and which ones to include. I wanted you to see the beautiful artwork and the commentary from the artists at Studio Ghibli but I also wanted to not reveal too much as to avoid spoiling the surprise and excitement of reading the book for yourself. So I selected 3 or 4 images showing concept art and notes from the team. It’s also important to know there are many beautiful full color art pieces in the book as well, including some that spread across both pages. I just felt the concept art was far more interesting as we don’t get a glimpse of that by simply watching the film.

By far, my favorite part of the book is all of the commentary and interviews with the staff of Studio Ghibli. It’s easy enough to fill a picture book full of sketches and doodles, but what I really enjoyed was reading about how the film all came together, the various changes that were made to characters and settings within the anime, and getting a sense for what the artists feel about their finished creation. It was quite fascinating, especially reading it as someone working as a full time artist myself. I can really appreciate the team’s dedication and passion and I think that passion really shows through in the final product (both the film and this gorgeous artbook).

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Studio Ghibli’s “The Secret World of Arietty” is based on a popular children’s book, The Borrowers by Mary Norton. This book has entertained children for several generations. But it’s also a book (and film) that can be enjoyed by the whole family, young or old alike. My grandmother told me that it is her favorite book, she told me she first read it when my mother checked it out of the library. I too read the book when I was younger, and I also enjoyed many other film and tv adaptations and similar books and movies and tv series such as The Littles and The Indian in the Cupboard.

The Borrowers and The Secret World of Arietty give you a glimpse at a hidden world right under our noses. The Borrowers are a tiny race of miniature humans who live in our walls and gardens and live off of things we waste or take for granted. If you ever notice a button or a needle is missing, you can bet it’s been “Borrowed”. Of course the human world presents many dangers to Arietty, she must be careful to not be discovered by the humans who could capture her and keep her as a pet or science experiment. At the same time she must be aware of her surroundings at all times. She could get swept away by just a small trickle of water, or mistaken for a mouse and gobbled up by a cat, or crushed underfoot by a horse and carriage. Arietty is of course not afraid of the human world, and instead intrigued by it. She finds the human world fascinating and impossible to resist. Especially when she meets and falls in love with a human boy who is equally fascinated by Arietty’s world. The story teaches us that even though our lives may seem dull and mundane, that all it takes is a change of perspective to be reminded how wondrous life truly is.

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Just as life is wondrous and full of adventure, so too is the official artbook, “The Art of The Secret World of Arietty”.

You can buy “The Art of The Secret World of Arietty” Artbook here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/197470033X

Buy the Borrowers complete set of books here: https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Adventures-Borrowers-Mary-Norton/dp/0152049150/

Buy the DVD or Blu-Ray of the Secret World of Arietty here: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-World-Arrietty-Two-Disc-Blu-ray/dp/B005LAIGXM

Artbook Review: The Art of The Secret World of Arietty was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News