Friday, June 4, 2010
U-noa, I'm in Love with You
There's no denying it. It was love at first sight. From the moment I saw my first U-noa Quluts girls in the pages of a magazine, I knew I had to have one. Or two. Or more. Araki Gentaro's delightful dolls exemplify my aesthetic of the ideal doll body and doll face. Their proportions are perfection. The fact that they are hard to get only adds to their allure.
For anyone who is not familiar with these dolls, their creator does not care to deal directly with the international market, nor does he sell through doll shops abroad. If you do not live in Japan, or know someone in Japan who can buy a doll for you, your only recourse is a buying agent in Japan or else the secondary market (e.g., ebay). Complicating matters is the fact that the dolls are offered during a narrow window of time a few times a year, and sometimes only by lottery. At times, sales are limited to customers who have purchased the dolls before. So how do you get a foot in the door?
If you think you want to buy a U-noa, register with an agent as soon as you can. I registered with Crescent Shop in Japan during an open buying period. They are wonderful people to deal with -- polite and informative. Items are carefully packaged. I highly recommend them.
I have also purchased U-noas on ebay. Prices there can be high, considering that you are buying either a previously loved (i.e., used) doll or an unassembled kit. I would not recommend a U-noa kit to anyone who has not already had some experience of BJDs. Not only is it daunting to assemble a doll for the very first time, but the instructions are in Japanese. They are well-illustrated, so it is possible to put the doll together just by following the pictures. Still, you wonder what you are missing in the fine print! The doll kits are also unpainted. Some doll owners paint and body-blush their own dolls; others send them out to doll artists for face-up and blushing, which adds to the overall cost of the doll.
There are two models of U-noa Quluts girls: Lusis, distinguished by an open mouth with a removable piece for teeth (see the two girls in the photo above), and Sist, who has a closed mouth (see photo below). Both models are 42 cm. tall (16.53 inches) and wear a size 6/7 wig.