Where To Buy Dollfie Dream – A Beginner’s Guide
I suppose it is finally time to write this blog post, as I have been thinking about this repeatedly over the past year. Ever since I began collecting Dollfie Dream seriously, I have always wanted to write a FAQ guide for beginners who are interested in acquiring the “ready made” image character Dollfie Dream; since the distribution mechanism for Dollfie Dream is rather tricky and unconventional. It was rather difficult to track down the relevant information related to acquiring a Dollfie Dream when I first started, and it still is! There are numerous sites out there with wealth of information related to Dollfie Dream, but finding the relevant information is like looking for a needle in a haystack, so my goal here is to cover just enough basic information and answer some frequently asked questions for those of you who are interested in acquiring the “ready made” image character Dollfie Dream.
What is a Dollfie Dream?
Just what exactly is a Dollfie Dream? (For the sake of simplicity, I will just cover the most relevant topic, which is the DD Basic Body 2/DDIF) Dollfie Dream is a line of 60cm tall (or 1/3 scale) character doll made by a Japanese company called Volks Inc. (there are other companies which make similar dolls, but it’s outside the scope of this topic), which is composed of a highly articulated Dollfie Dream Inner Frame DDIF covered by various hard/soft vinyl skin parts with customized head mold and face-up.
Why Collect Dollfie Dream?
Dolls or Ball Jointed Dolls in general have often time been portrayed as a feminine hobby, so why do I collect them? Good question! I am a guy after all! Even back when I was actively collecting PVC figurines, I have always been fond large scale figure. Dollfie Dream offers what I can best describe as the ultimate representation of the characters I adore to-date. And in contrary to popular believe, the target audience for these Dollfie Dream is actually Japanese male and that’s why majority of these Dollfie Dream Image Characters are mostly chosen from popular anime or eroge games (to appeal to the male audience obviously). That’s not to say Dollfie Dream is only for male, there are in fact plenty of female collectors as well. And with the ability customize them with different outfits, wigs and eyes, Dollfie Dream just offer so much more in terms of “sense of presence” than fixed pose figure. Personally, Dollfie Dream are just perfect for me to create and capture special images based on the characters that I like. With proper photographing technique, it’s even possible for Dollfie Dream to behave in a life like manner due to their superior craftsmanship and scale.
Some example images here taken by me:
And to give you a sense of scale of how big a Dollfie Dream really is, here is a picture of Dannychoo and his Mirai Saber
Where Can I find Dollfie Dream?
In exception to the Volks standard release Image Characters DD Aoi and DD Yukino (more could be added in the future), which are regularly stocked items; almost “all others” Image Dollfie Dream Characters are only available at Volks’ special event known as a Doll Party, an event that held roughly 4 times a year where Volks would introduce their new character dolls. A very important note is that all Dollfie Dream released through a Doll Party event are only produced to a limited quantity due to licensing agreement to respective copyright holders and are considered “Limited Item”, once they are sold out, there is no reliable way to acquire them from Volks again. Popular image characters such as Saber, Rin Tohsaka, Tamaki Kosaka and Kusugawa Sasara were all released through Doll Party events, a comprehensive list of previously released image characters can be found here. There are alternative means to acquire them in the secondary market which I will talk about later. There is, however, an exception to this rule in recent years through some special collaboration projects such as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Dollfie Dream and White Album Dollfie Dream Project, where the respective Dollfie Dream were not distributed through a Doll Party but instead were available through Pre-Order directly from Volks Website; however, once they are sold out, they are sold out. Most limited Dollfie Dream are usually priced somewhere in 50000-60000 yen region (some are more expensive), so roughly 600-750 USD based today’s currency exchange rate. Although priced much higher than the basic image characters, limited release Dollfie Dream comes with their own default wig and clothes modeled after the original image character, and they usually offer the best value as a package.
Alternatively, Volks also sell all the necessary raw components for you to build your own image character to your liking, however, that is outside the scope of this topic and won’t be covered here.
How Can I Acquire A Dollfie Dream?
As I mentioned in the last paragraph, almost all image character Dollfie Dream are released through Volks Doll Party that is held roughly every two months or so in Japan, usually in the month of February, May, July/August-ish and December and in recent years, there is also a relatively new event call DD Gathering that is held in the month of October. If you are in Japan during one of these events, great, you can attend the Doll Party and enter the lottery draw for a chance to buy them at the event, more detail information regarding the Doll Party event can be found at Dark Dollhouse, who has taken the time to write her experience of the event. Since all limited items are only available in limited quantities, their after market value tend to rise, so your best bet is to acquire them directly from Volks. If you are not going to be in Japan but would like to acquire the newly release Dollfie Dream, here are your options:
Although you won’t be charged for entering the Volks USA lottery, you do need to complete the payment information; in essence, you are committing to buy the Dollfie Dream if you happen to be among the winners of the lottery draw.
The After Event Lottery is specifically setup for people who lives outside of Japan or unable to attend the Doll Party personally for a chance to acquire the same items as if you were attending the Doll Party. I must stress that by entering the lottery, you only have a chance to buy these items and there is no guarantee what-so-ever you can acquire the items you want to and that will bring us to the After Market strategy.
There are several internet websites that offer a limited listing of Dollfie Dream.
If you can’t find what you are looking for, then you might have to resort into Yahoo Japan Auction.
Since there is no “guarantee” way to acquire a Dollfie Dream of your choice, many people, myself included, have to resort into looking at Auction sites; not just for newly released Dollfie Dream, but also many past releases in brand new conditions as well. Since many Japanese Sellers do not wish to deal with oversea shipping directly, most of us usually choose a Deputy service of our choice to interface with the seller, there are a number of Deputy services out there just to name a few:
The use of deputy service to acquire Dollfie Dream is another comprehensive topic in itself and since this is merely a beginner’s guide so I won’t be covering it in details here.
There are additional resources available in various websites, such as (links borrowed from my mentor Chibichibiusa):
Dollfie Dream Flickr group :
Has a discussion section with over 100 posts full of DD info, also up to date DD head mold list etc… very active DD group.
Wolfheinrich's World/Dollfigure.com (My blog)
Dollfie Dream Forum :
I am not familiar with this forum myself (added per suggestion)
Dollfie Dream Yahoo group :
Not a very active group, but has an interesting files section with face-up tips, customizing how-to, DD clothe patterns, etc…
Den of Angels forum
Not specifically dedicated to Dollfie Dream, but has a pretty active Dollfie Dream and Mini Dollfie Dream thread, as well as Dollfie Dream “wiki” articles.
Special FAQ Segment:
Q: I saw this gorgeous Dollfie Dream Photo of (Tamaki or Sasara or Saber or Rin Tohsaka, etc etc.) where can I get one?
A: As I mentioned previously, those are limited release Dollfie Dream in past Dolpa events, they are completely sold out and can only be acquired in the After Market.
Q: Is there any chance that past popular Dollfie Dream could be available again?
A: Unfortunately, no one really has the answer and it’s not likely to happen. In 2011, Volks has re-released Dollfie Dream Moe as part of the Akihabara Showroom reopen and Dollfie Dream Saber Alter as version 2 for the Type-Moon X Dollfie Dream Collaboration Project, so the chances (although slim) for re-release is there.
Q: I saw Dannychoo’s Mirai Saber and I wanted one just like her!
A: Danny’s Mirai Saber is a semi-custom work, the dress is made by Doll Seamstress Chun at http://puppy52dolls.com/ and it’s not commercially available at this point.