If you go to anime conventions or Japanese pop culture events, chances are you'll see at least a handful of people armed with Dollfies, the incredibly detailed and very pricey Japanese ball-jointed dolls that double as works of art, and another handful of people cosplaying the popular anime Gurren Lagann. It is rare, however, that you find someone who manages to combine a love of Dollfies with a love of Gurren Lagann. We stumbled upon it ourselves at Pacific Media Expo when photographer Shannon Cottrell and I met Ebi Brion.
Brion is the proud owner of a Dollfie Dream made to replicate Yoko, the kick-ass heroine of Gurren Lagann. This past year, Volks, the company behind the Dollfie phenomenon, worked with anime studio Gainax to recreate both Yoko and Nia from the series. Like most Dollfie Dream dolls, they stand at just under two feet and are more anime fan-friendly than the brand's other lines.
In order to buy a Yoko doll, Brion had to sign-up for a pre-order and pay for the doll back in April. Fortunately for her, there was an open registration, as sometimes people will have to enter a lottery for limited edition work. Still, there was a five month wait to actually receive Yoko.
Dollfie Dreams are known for their figures, particularly for the fact that you can swap out the busts to change the dolls' cup size. Though these girls are normally curvaceous, Yoko's measurements were tailored to reflect the character's extreme hourglass figure. We should probably also note that certain anatomical parts are soft to the touch, which we learned when one passerby asked to cop a feel.
Yoko's head, hair and facial features are unique to this specific doll. She comes complete with her staple outfit, including accessories and a rifle. According to the Volks website, the list price for this new anime icon was $726 at the time of the pre-sale. For some doll collectors and Gurren Lagann fans, though, it's worth it. Brion notes that she's only met one other person in Southern California who owns a Yoko. Now that the original run has already been sold and shipped, we've noticed that the Dollfie Dreams Yoko is popping up on eBay for more than $1200.
Update: For those who are interested in checking out more ball-jointed dolls, we just caught blogger Danny Choo's coverage of Doll Show 26 in Tokyo from November 1. It's filled with photos and gives a good view of the different way people can remake Dollfie figures. You can read the post here.