Pullip is a collectible fashion doll created by Cheonsang Cheonha of South Korea in 2003. Pullip has an oversized head on a jointed plastic body, with eyes that can change positions and wink. Pullip was first marketed by Jun Planning of Japan, but since early 2009, it has been marketed by Groove of Korea. Pullip (풀잎) means 'blade of grass/leaf' in Korean. Since the release of the original female doll, other lines of dolls have been added: male companion dolls Namu (나무, tree) and Taeyang (태양, sun), his younger sister doll Dal (달, moon), and Dal's best friend Byul (별, star), and Pullip's little brother, Isul (이슬, dew). In February 2013, a new member of the Pullip family was introduced--Yeolume (여루메, fruit), who is Pullip's future daughter. There is also a miniature line of Little Pullip and Little Dal. (Now called Little Pullip/Dal and Docolla) Pullip dolls are often customized. Later releases have wigs that can be replaced and the eye color can easily be changed.
The Pullip has a unique eye mechanism that allows the eyes to move back and forth and wink, using levers on the back of the head. Pullips released after 2008 can keep their eyes closed. Pullips are highly articulated and can be personalized or customized. They are about 12 inches tall with oversized heads (on the 1/3 scale.) The body is about 9 inches tall (1:6 scale), the size of many fashion dolls such as Barbie and Jenny.
The articulated Pullip body has gone through several changes. Early dolls had Marmit-type bodies with visible screws, the "Type 1" body. The first three dolls (Moon, Street, and Wind) have necks that can snap easily, though this was fixed with later releases. Another common problem is vertical splitting between the two halves of the legs. These Type 1 Pullips are the only type with rooted hair, all later models would wear wigs.
Starting in January 2004 with the release of Venus, Pullip had a new body. The "Type 2" body had no visible screws, a soft torso, and joints that could be pulled apart. This body had more realistic proportions, and to date is the most poseable body. Disadvantages of this body include the limbs can fall off or pull apart too easily, the soft torso 'pops' out of the hip joint, and the plastic of the body has a tendency to melt under certain environmental conditions, mostly high heat and humidity.
With the release of Lan Ake and Lan Ai in 2005, a newer body was created. The "Type 3" has less articulation, a smaller more childlike form, and hinged wrist and ankle joints. While sturdier than its predecessors, this body is the least poseable. The most common problem with this new type 3, however, is wrist cracking, which was prevalent with many of Type 3 dolls made after January 2007 (after Haute LA).
January 2009, with the release of Neo Noir, brought another body type. The "Type 4" is more poseable than the Type 3, and uses a peg-and-hole joint for the wrist to prevent wrist cracking. Common problems with the Type 4 body are loose-fitting pegs for the joints at the wrist and at the knee, causing limbs to easily slip apart. The vertical leg split common to Type 1 bodies has also been known to occur at the knees of Type 4.
New editions of Pullip dolls are released on a monthly basis. Additional limited-release exclusives are sold occasionally. Each has a unique name with distinct face make-up, hair, outfit, accessories, and box.
Between 2003 and 2010 there have been over 100 Pullip doll releases. The regular monthly releases of Pullip are 'limited' in that only a certain amount are made, this number is known only by the manufacturer.
Occasionally a limited release exclusive Pullip will be made in a quantity between 300 and 20000, and sold in addition to the regular monthly release. Some stores that have had exclusives are Toys-R-Us Japan (Enjoy Arietta and Carol), Magma Heritage (Singapore) Mitzi, Bianca and Oren, HauteDoll (Haute New York and LA) (U.S.), TBS shop (Japan), and pullip.net (Korea). The limited sales exclusives came with a certificate showing their production number, until the September 2007 exclusives that did not include a certificate. In early 2006 with the release of Fall Purezza, Jun Planning announced that it would no longer make exclusive dolls due to the dolls cutting in on the demand of the regular releases. They apparently changed their mind in early 2007 with the release of the first U.S. store exclusive, Haute, by HauteDoll, which was later followed by multiple Japan exclusives.
Prior to 2006, Jun Planning released some editions that bore close resemblance to popular characters and celebrities but are not officially licensed. Fantastic Alice is similar to Disney's rendition of Alice in Wonderland. Rida bears resemblance to Nana. The Happy Birthday 2 doll set is a Native American Pullip named Sacagawea and Namu named Geronimo.
In anticipation of the 5th anniversary of Pullip, five dolls were released as part of the "Another Alice" limited edition set including Another Alice, Another Queen, Another King (Taeyang), Another Rabbit (Dal), and Another Clock Rabbit (Dal). These were inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Pullip collectors often refer to this set as the "Golden Alice" set. Their original release date (August 2007) was postponed in order to include the new eye-closing feature on the Another King Taeyang. Persons that ordered the complete set received a bonus flamingo figurine. Only 500 of each of these dolls were released.
In 2006, Jun Planning began releasing licensed Pullips of the characters from the anime/manga Rozen Maiden series. These were not limited sales with the exception of the final Rozen Maiden Pullip, Kirakishou (which was an exclusive to TBS/Japan). Several other collaboration Pullip dolls have or will be released including H. Naoto, Hello Kitty and My Melody from Sanrio, Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley Soryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion, Grell, Sebastian and Ciel from Black Butler, and Angelique Limoges, Rayne, and Erenfried from Neo Angelique Abyss in 2007 through 2009. Holly is based on the character Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Princess Ann is based on the character from Roman Holiday. Also Sabrina from the Hepburn movie Sabrina. The Rozen Maiden, Hello Kitty, Evangelion, Black Butler, Neo Angelique Abyss and H. Naoto editions are not exclusive or limited sales dolls but have higher prices than standard dolls due to licensing. A set of dolls was released in 2011 based on Vocaloid characters.
Namu was the first male counterpart of Pullip. Namu was 34 cm tall, and had an oversized head with an articulated body. His eyes could be moved back and forth, and blink, using levers on the back of the head. Namu could be customized similar to the pullip doll. Clothing for the doll may be exchanged with many 1:6 action figures and dolls.
There were 7 releases of Namu between 2004 and 2005. Namu retired in May 2005 under the story that he and Pullip 'broke up'. The final Namu released was the "Happy Birthday Namu #2", also called Gerimino. In 2006, a new male doll called Taeyang replaces him.
Taeyang was introduced in 2006 as the second male counterpart of the Pullip doll. He is profiled as having a 13 year old younger sister, Dal. His body structure is the same as his predecessor, Namu. Starting with Hash, Taeyang's eyes can remain shut then released using a lever on the back of the head. He can be customized similar to Pullip dolls. He can exchange clothes with many 1:6 action figures dolls and modern Ken doll. Taeyang is released on a bi-monthly basis by Jun Planning.
There were six or seven releases of Taeyang each year beginning in 2006. Some of the Taeyang dolls are styled after, or bear close resemblance to, popular characters and celebrities. The Edward Scissorhands Taeyang is licensed from Tim Burton's character. Shade bears close resemblance to Sherlock Holmes. Another King was inspired by King of Hearts from the Alice in Wonderland story.
Dal is the smallest of the Pullip line, introduced in 2006. She is profiled as Taeyang's 13-year-old sister who considers Pullip as her rival in fashion and style. As Pullip is approximately the same size as fashion dolls like Barbie and Jenny, Dal is similar in size to 'little sister' type dolls, such as Skipper and Licca. Dal is 26.3 cm in height, and comes up to about Pullip's shoulder.
Dal's body articulation is similar to Pullip's. Her eyes move from side to side like Pullip, but does not close. Dals can be customized. Jun Planning announced in the beginning of 2008 that a new Dal will be released every month.
Byul, introduced in 2008, shares the Dal body type and height, but has a different face mold. She is profiled as Dal's 13-year-old best friend and has secretly lost her heart to Isul, Pullip's brother. Just like Dals, they cannot close their eyes.
Isul is Pullip's 15-year-old little brother, released in 2011. He debuted as Apollo to match with the steampunk collection. He studies in a High School in San Francisco, USA and likes to play soccer. As a prodigy, he is a fan of reading university literature. In personality, he is said to be very calm, tender and helpful.
Yeolume is Pullip's future daughter and the newest addition to the Pullip family. She was released in February 2013. Yeolume wears a school uniform with a pink and blue bow. According to her biography on the official Pullip website, she is 10 years old and is an elementary school student. Her personality is cute and sweet.
She is a Dal-sized doll, and like Dal and Byul, her eyes moves from side to side but cannot close. She also has a body design that is much different from the other dolls. Yeolume has no articulated joints as her body resembles a Little Pullip, though bigger in size. However, the arms and legs do bend and flex, and she is able to be posed much like a Pullip. Yeolume is customizable, and like the other dolls, her body can easily be swapped for a more flexible body such as Obitsu.
Little Pullip is a miniature version of Pullip. Often called a 'mini', the little versions stand about 4.5 inches tall. Several editions of Little Pullip are miniature copies of previously released full-sized dolls with similar name, clothes, hair, and makeup. Despite their small size and limitations, however, they are customizable. They can be re-wigged, given other eye/colors, and new makeup painted on their faces. The others are unique to the little line and do not have a full-sized counterpart. There have been separate distinct themes for the little line, such as the western horoscope signs. Little Pullips do not have movable elbows or knee joints,they have painted on shoes, and their eyes do not blink or move.
Pullip Costume/Fashion are clothes and accessories sold by Jun Planning for Pullip dolls. This includes complete costumes, articles of clothing, and accessories. Pullip Costume items are released sporadically.
Petit Luxury are display furniture for Pullip released by Jun Planning of Japan, starting in January 2008. This includes classic French armchairs and other pieces in resin.
In July 2005, Jun Planning authorized a Pullip Magazine book that is 88 pages long and written in Japanese. The magazine book includes the full catalog of each Pullip released up to that point, concepts, interviews with the designers, collaborations with popular clothing lines, guides on customizing Pullips, and outfit patterns of brand name fashion designs.
In August 2010 a second book "Pullip Complete Style" again printed in Japanese, became available both separately and as part of a special box set with limited edition Pullip Bonita. This book is 133 pages and features photographs of all dolls in the Pullip line from 2003 to Autumn 2010.
Like the more expensive ball-jointed dolls, these dolls are easily customizable. Pullip dolls released prior to March 2004 had rooted hair, but the scalp pieces can be swapped with other Pullips. Dolls after this point have wigs, and their hair can be changed more easily.
The head and eye mechanism can be taken apart with a simple screw driver. Changes range from minor such as wig or eye-color swapping, to custom dolls of completely new designs. More intensive customization can include resculpting of the face or body, and painted or carved tattoos.
The doll originally designed for July 2005 was "Beressa," a 'lady spy', who came with a black uniform and cap with gold braids and red details, including a red arm band and a pistol. Although no swastikas were visible on the doll in photographs, the resemblance of the uniform and gun design made it appear to some that the doll was designed after a German SS officer uniform. Jun Planning announced the cancellation of Beressa out of respect for the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust. Lan, the doll that was to replace her, was delayed for a month and as such there was never a doll for July 2005.
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2008)|
- http://ishop.tbs.co.jp/tbs/special/rozen-maiden3/index.html TBS ishop