Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The City Girls by Tonner Toys

Of all the beautiful dolls being released this season, I have been most excited to see the new Tonner Toys City Girl line.  Ever since their unveiling at the 2012 Toy Fair, I have been checking the Tonner blog like an addict, waiting for the release day.  To give you a little background, Tonner Toys is Robert Tonner's play doll label and Robert Tonner (for those just tuning in) is the designer of my favorite doll of all time.  So far, Tonner Toys has produced the cartoonish Little MissMatched dolls with their contagiously happy faces and colorful mix-and-match outfits.  The City Girls are a line of more realistic-looking ~16" fashion dolls designed and priced for "beginner" collectors.  So, basically they're the younger, more durable cousins of my Cinderella dolls...selling for about half the price.  That's more than enough to get my attention.

I think there's a hole in the play doll market that is begging for a release like this.  We have a wide variety of $20 fashion dolls to choose from (Barbie, Monster High, Bratz, Disney Store princesses), and you can find plenty of collectable fashion dolls for $100 and over (Tonner, Pullip, Integrity, Sybarite, Momoko, etc), but the intermediate market is sparse.  As the holidays approach, what do you get for that careful young doll collector who is ready for something special?  Or what do you get for yourself when the budget is tight and a regular Tonner doll is out of reach?  Maybe these dolls are the answer.

On November 9th, the long-awaited email hit my inbox, telling me that not only were the dolls in stock, it was a Free Shipping Friday!  Twist my arm, Mr. Tonner.

City Girls "Houston" and "Astor" by Tonner Toys.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Momoko "Love DHEXl" 10th Anniversary Doll by Sekiguchi

When I started to be interested in Pullip and Blythe dolls a few years ago, I noticed the name "Momoko" popping up in the chat forums and blogs I was frequenting.  I have admired pictures of Momoko dolls ever since this first introduction, but have always stopped just shy of buying one because of their high prices.  During my recent Tangkou review, Momoko's name cropped up again, and this time I decided that it was time to learn more.

Momoko is a line of highly articulated 10.5 inch plastic fashion dolls made in Japan.  The dolls have childlike anime-style faces and wear very detailed outfits in a wide range of styles.  There have been Momoko dolls dressed in wedding gowns, gothic robes, office wear and even a cheerleader uniform.
Momoko dolls were first produced in 2001 by the small software company, PetWORKS.  The first dolls to be made were called DHEXs and DHEXl.  The cryptic acronyms come from "Doll Head EXhibition," the event that hosted the debut of this line.  The "s" and "l" after the acronym stand for "short" and "long" haired versions of this first doll.  I am grateful to the barbigirl website for providing this information and for having lots of wonderful reference pictures.

In 2004, the production of Momoko dolls was passed to the Sekiguchi doll making company, which is where the dolls are made today. Sekiguchi also makes the Monchhichi monkey dolls that first appeared back in the 70s (licensed by Mattel in the US).  Do you remember those Monchhichi commercials?  They're still stuck in my head thirtysomething years later.

I chose the 10th anniversary "Love DHEXl" doll because although she is made by Sekiguchi, she honors Momoko's PetWORKS roots:
Sekiguchi Momoko, "Love DHEXl"