This post is in no way meant to fuel drama within the BJD Community, but only a discussion of my own thoughts and opinions. Please, keep your thoughts and opinions respectful in the comments, if you choose to join in the discussion. ~ Thank You.
Once again, I have fell in love with an out-of-reach ball jointed doll. I thought this was a good time to post about the topic of recast BJDs. I have talked about Artist Dolls and Inexpensive Ball Jointed Dolls in the past, but I’ve never breeched the topic of Recast dolls. So, let’s dive in!
What is a recast ball jointed doll?
In order to understand what a recast is, I’ll first explain what an authentic original (or legit) BJD is and how it’s made. Independent artists or small companies will sculpt and design the parts and faces that are made up of a doll. Once sculpted, these parts are set up for molding where resin material is poured to create the doll parts. This process is known as casting. Once casted, dolls are painted by hand to give them details.
A recast doll, is basically a replicated copy of an original doll (or ‘knock-off’). Companies that work to recast dolls make unauthorized copies of the original. In doing so, imperfections can occur as they are not cast from the original molding, but a copy of the doll parts. It is said that recast dolls may be created from lesser grade materials from the original (but this is not always the case).
Now that you have an understanding of recast dolls, I can go into detail on why there are dividing opinions about them.
Pro-Artist / Anti-Recast doll collectors believe that recast dolls are unethical and should not be produced or purchased. Some even believe that if you can’t afford an authentic doll that you shouldn’t purchase BJDs at all, or simply save up money until you can enter the hobby.
Pro-Recast doll collectors believe that producing and buying recast dolls is OK, that doll collecting should be a hobby everyone can enjoy no matter your financial status. Some pro-recast collectors have both types of dolls in their collection; especially if they are replicas of dolls that are no longer being offered by their original companies (or the original company is no longer in business).
Like with every argument, there is also a middle ground…and honestly I feel like that is where I fall in. 🙁 I understand the plight of Pro-Artist believes being an artist myself. It is tough to make a living if someone else can simply steal your work and make quick money from it. However, I do not gate keep any hobby, or alienate people who may not be able to afford the same things I can. I do believe everyone deserves to have a doll they love and whatever you can afford; buy that! Knock-offs are not a new concept. It is seen in TV/Media, fashion and many other avenues. There is a fine line of being inspired by someone’s work and straight copying, though.
With all that being said, it leads me to the real reason I wanted to bring this topic up in the first place. Puyoodoll Kumako (Ruru + Lala version). I came across this doll in 2020 while browsing YouTube. The channel creator, Kewpie83 was talking about her purchasing experience of a replica of this doll that she acquired from AliExpress.
I immediately fell in love with this doll! It was so unique, with it’s larger curvy bod, anime style facial features, and above all..the cute bear claw feet and hands! I took to the Internet to find out more info about the original works and where I could purchase one. With help from Instagram hashtags I found my answer..Puyoodoll. It didn’t take long to realize this doll was produced in a very limited quantity for an extremely short period of time. It was only sold on pre-order status and since then, no others have been produced. Many online seem to have missed out on making this doll a part of their collection. I see very few owner photographs online or videos being made of this particular doll.
So needless to say, it was impossible for me to get my hands on this Japanese made doll. AliExpress offered me an option to own a replica of the doll I fell in love with and I am not having much guilt over buying it, either. 🙂
The doll resource DollyInsider has done a great job of reposting these photos of the original doll (since taken down from Puyoodoll’s website). I am also sharing a photo of the doll from the AliExpress shop HeHeBJD (which is where I purchased my doll). Ruru is the open mouthed sculpt while Lala is the smiling one. I had my heart set on a bear girl version of Ruru. Originally, this sculpt is only offered in (3) very light skin tones, but with a replica your options are plentiful. I decided to get my doll made in Brown.
Although I was disappointed to realize I couldn’t own the original, I am sure to be pleased with this replica all the same. My love for dolls will always win; which is what happened with Andie when I found her on E-bay. A unique face up was too hard to ignore. I’ll be sure to do an unboxing video and share my thoughts about this dolly once it arrives in April! 🙂