by Michelle "Ms. Geek" Klein-Hass
Ball-Joint dolls (BJDs) are elegantly beautiful dolls made from modern plastic resin compounds. They are individually crafted works of art, cast to order. Items like eyes and wigs and clothes are changeable, unlike figures which are usually painted or cast with pigments. These dolls were inspired by Victorian-era porcelain dolls, and are structured very similarly, including the elastic strings that hold the dolls together.
The Kyoto, Japan manufacturer Volks was the innovator of this kind of doll, and TOKYOPOP visited a "Doll Party" they threw at a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport in August of 2015. The event was a mad tea party of dolls and their caretakers, many of whom are fans of Lolita and/or Harajuku fashion.
Volks has done several anime and game tie-in dolls, including a resin version of Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess. However, most of the anime and game tie-in dolls are done not in resin, but in vinyl as part of their Dollfie Dream line. Dollfie Dream is more of an anime-aesthetic doll line, and is marketed not towards women, but towards a more stereotypical male Otaku market.
Recently, Korean doll maker Immortality of Soul released a Ciel Phantomhive doll, and then soon after revealed plans for a Sebastian doll. This is not the first time Sebastian, the sinister demonic butler, has been done as a licensed BJD: the Japanese company Fairyland released a Sebastian doll in 2011.
However, the new Sebastian doll is spectacular, and is over 70cm (28") tall, very tall for a BJD. Immortality of Soul also apparently has a global license to sell their dolls, unlike Fairyland who could only sell their version of Sebastian to Japanese customers. Currently the Sebastian doll is available for order at this website: http://dolk.jp/kuroshitsuji/sebastian/en/index.html .
However, he doesn't come cheap. The price, in US dollars, is $1590.00. This is not unheard of for a limited edition BJD, and not surprising for a licensed doll. Immortality of Soul does have their own designs for dolls, and they are not as pricey. They are similarly handsome gents...they do not make female dolls, apparently, concentrating on their resin men.
However, if you have the cash and the inclination, orders for Sebastian are being accepted via PayPal until January 31st, 2016.