I'm Pam, the friendly (if sometimes a bit cranky) host of --the collecting page with the exclamation point. By day, I am a mild-mannered epidemiologist. At night, with a cry of "Henshin!" I transform into my secret identity, "CollectorPuff Girl." Wearing a special powerup suit (which on second glance looks suspiciously like a Japanese junior high school girl's uniform, only with a shorter skirt), I may be found fighting Evil, helping the helpless, but mostly, spending a frightening proportion of my disposable income on Japanese toys.
How did I get into collecting anime dolls? Of course, I had played with my share of as a kid. But face it, who would you rather be, Barbie, or Michelle Yeoh? When, as an adult, I drifted back into collecting (under the influence of my Star Wars-obsessed ), I was drawn instead to the brightly-packaged dolls from Asia. This fascination was potentiated when, for a brief shining moment, DiC released a few precious English-dubbed episodes of my beloved in this country. Moon power, makeup! I knew I had acquired a new obsession: dolls that could whup GI Joe's ass.
Probably the question I receive most about my web site (after, "Geez, girl, you must have one big-ass storage space!") is, "Where the heck to you get all that stuff?" In preparing this top site list, I've attempted a long-winded answer to that question. That is, though I hope you will enjoy these sites as much as I do, I also hope, as Dad Brady would have put it, that we learn an important lesson here today.
WE WANT INFORMATION!
You want toys? Then you can never have too much information! Japanese toys don't grow on trees. Many new items are made only in small quantities, and are available for only a limited amount of time. If you know what's coming out in the coming months, you'll have plenty of time to whine and beg to your favorite dealers about setting one or two of those Card Captor Sakura dolls aside for you. On the other hand, if vintage items are your game, educating yourself about the product will help you sort out the real deal from the many bootlegs and fakes on the market.
Yu's Cutie Dolls
This (bilingual) Japanese site features an amazing array of vintage Japanese fashion dolls. (Well, had you ever heard about Curl Chouco-chan, or Yes-No Rummy before?)
Great bilingual page has a dizzying array of Jenny doll faces, but also features current gossip on what's going on in Jenny-land itself, Japan. Oh, and if you want to take a gander at some Japanese doll pages, visit Helene's links section.
Hyper Hakoiri Musume
I must admit, I don't read Japanese, but if you can figure out how to navigate it, this page always has great picture features on the latest Japanese toy shows.
The Selling of the Moon Princess: A Look at the Toys and
Spooky's site contains a bounty of info about the Sailor Moon line, and includes a fabulous Banpresto section, featuring a comprehensive list of the Moon UFO catchers.
Too high to get over, too low to get under, love it or hate it, you really can't avoid eBay these days. I don't think of this internet auction site so much as an annoying web shopping mall, but rather as a good place to get information about new releases. Remember, in virtual shopping, just as in real life, it doesn't cost anything to look.
As any seasoned collector will tell you, half the fun of this hobby is actually running into the other terribly eccentric human beings who share your strange passion. Toy shows and anime cons are great places to run into your collecting brethren, but if you're stuck at home behind monitor, you could do worse than to join one of the many internet mailing lists devoted to your favorite collectible.
Darla's Home Page
Darla's page is packed with interesting tidbits (including info on postal rates to Japan, a page slavishly devoted to pics of Jenny doll's cute boyfriend, Tom, and directions to the Totoco doll shop). The reason I've included it on my list though is that it contains information on how to join Casual Jenny, a mailing list for Jenny doll fanatics. Though the talk often involves mooning over Jenny's latest cute boyfriend, or discussing her new outfits, the chatter often wanders off onto the topic of anime toys.
Good safety tip: whether you're a bit constrained on cash, or merely annoyed that they never produced a Van Fanel doll you've been waiting for, customizing is a great way to push the boundaries of your hobby. Would that I were as talented as these folks I've listed below!
Sailor Moon Toys: A Collection of Toys, Dolls and
Another great Sailor Moon collecting page, I'd like you to take a look at Usagi's Fashion House for some amazing custom outfits.
The Doll Doctor is in! Besides a fun customs page, this has tips on what to do if you anime doll has a "bad hair day."
Here's a little zen advice for those of us who love variety: specialize! It's fun to pick just one anime show, and then try to track down absolutely every doll, curry package, beach ball, or bicycle lock associated with the show. The pure variety of stuff will amaze (and often amuse) you.
Sean Aune's Marmalade Boy Shrine
Sean has Marmalade Boy stuff I didn't know existed. I like the little memo pad shaped like a rocket ship.
The Jasper MKR
Like Magic Knight Rayearth? You might need to rent a storage locker to hold all this merchandise, including my fave, Rayearth bubble bath. I'd especially recommend the section devoted to Mokona, one of my fave anime fuzzy critters.
OK, now that I've got you all upset and bouncy, you're probably whining, "C'mon! Tell me where I can get all this neat stuff! Oh, please please please?" There are tons of dealers in the naked web, but I have listed only three. These folks have not only been, in my experience, friendly and reliable, but the sites have also served as fonts of information about older, best-loved toys, as well as the latest upcoming products.
David Hammon Dolls Japan
David has written a great series of articles for Barbie Bazaar magazine about the strange and wonderful world of Takara's Jenny, and he has reproduced some or all of these articles on his page.
Though browsing this site can be as inscrutable as reading chicken entrails, the cogniscenti scan this page weekly for the latest news of upcoming dolls and figures from Japan.
A great source for the Irwin Sailor Moon stuff, and to boot, Brent is a collector, just like you and me!
Well, that's all for now. Hope you enjoyed this little sojourn into the wild world of world wide web toy collecting. Now I've got to run--I've heard Anime Kingdom just got in a set of Vampire Savior UFO catchers. TTYL!
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Last Update: 10/25/99