Pullip is a collectible fashion doll created by Cheonsang Cheonha of South Korea in 2003. Pullip has an oversized head (1:3 scale) on a jointed plastic body (1:6 scale), with eyes that can move right to left and eyelids that can blink. Pullip was first marketed by Jun Planning, out of Japan, but the company underwent management changes in early 2009 and, since then, has operated under the name Groove, out of Korea. Pullip (풀잎) means "blade of grass/leaf" in Korean. Since the release of the original female doll, other companion dolls have been added, in chronological order: male dolls Namu (나무, tree) and Taeyang (태양, sun); Taeyang's younger sister, Dal (달, moon); Dal's best friend, Byul (별, star); and Pullip's younger brother, Isul (이슬, dew). In February 2013, a new member of the Pullip family was introduced, called Yeolume (여루메, fruit), who is Pullip's "future daughter." There is also a miniature line called Little Pullip, Little Dal, and Docolla (a portmanteau of "doll" + "collaboration"). Pullip and her counterpart dolls are often customized by collectors. The most common customizations include changing wigs, changing eye colors, and rebodying.
Pullip dolls have a unique eye movement mechanism (called the "eyemech" by collectors) that allows their eyes to move from right to left and their eyelids to blink via levers on the back of the head. Pullips released after January 2008 can not only blink but keep their eyes closed via these levers. Pullips have highly articulated bodies and can be easily customized. Standing at 12 inches tall, Pullip's body is about 9 inches tall and is on the 1:6 scale, while her oversized head is about 3 inches tall and on the 1:3 scale. With a 1:6 scale body, Pullip is approximately the size of many popular fashion dolls, such as Barbie and Jenny.
Pullip's articulated stock body has gone through several changes over the years. Early Pullips -- the first 10 releases from February to December 2003 -- had what is called the Type 1 body, which was a Marmit-style action figure body with visible screws. The first three Pullip releases (Wind/Debut, Street, and Moon) have necks that can snap easily under the weight of the oversized Pullip head, but this fragile neck problem was corrected with later releases. Another common problem with the Type 1 body is vertical splitting between the two halves of the legs. Pullips released on the Type 1 body are the only ones who came with rooted hair; all later releases have glued-on wigs, which can be removed if desired.
Starting in January 2004 with the release of Venus, Pullip was given a new stock body. The Type 2 body had a soft torso, no visible screws, and joints that could be pulled apart. This body had more realistic proportions and, to date, is the most posable Pullip stock body ever released. Some of the disadvantages of this body are that the soft plastic torso causes chemical melt on the hard plastic limbs and pieces that remain in contact with it, including the hip joint and the ball-and-socket joints of the shoulders; limbs can fall off or pull apart too easily; and the soft torso pops out of the hip joint. Although the chemical melt issue is the most widely recognized problem with the Type 2 body, it is not known whether environmental conditions (heat, humidity) exacerbate the melt.
With the dual release of Lan Ake and Lan Ai in August 2005, the next stock body, the Type 3, was introduced. Relative to the Type 2 body, the Type 3 had less articulation; a smaller, more juvenile sculpt; and hinged wrist and ankle joints. While sturdier than its predecessors, this body was the least posable of all the stock bodies yet released and remains so even today. The most common problem with the Type 3 body is wrist cracking, which was prevalent with the Pullips released after January 2007, starting with Stica.
In January 2009 with the release of Neo Noir, another Pullip stock body was introduced -- the Type 4 -- and is still in production today. This body is more posable than the Type 3 and uses peg-and-hole joints to prevent the wrist cracking that occurred with the Type 3 body. Common problems with the Type 4 body are loose-fitting pegs at the wrist and knee, causing limbs to easily slip apart. The vertical leg split that occurred with Type 1 bodies can also sometimes occur at the knees of the Type 4 body.
New editions of Pullip dolls are released on a monthly basis. Additional limited-release exclusives are sold occasionally. Each doll has a unique name with distinct face makeup (called a "faceup"), hair, outfit, accessories, collector's card, doll stand, and box.
Between 2003 and 2014, there have been over 220 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-edition, exclusive Pullip will be made in a quantity between 300 and 20,000 and will be sold in addition to the regular monthly release. Some stores that have had these exclusive Pullips are Toys-R-Us Japan, who sold Enjoy Arietta and Enjoy Carol; Magma Heritage, in Singapore, who sold Mitzi, Bianca, and Oren; HauteDoll, in New York and Los Angeles, who sold Haute NY and Haute LA; TBS shop, in Japan, who sold Kirakishou; and pullip.net, in South Korea. The limited-release exclusive dolls came with a certificate showing their production number until September 2007, when the exclusives no longer included a certificate. In early 2006, with the release of Fall Purezza, Jun Planning announced that it would no longer produce exclusive dolls because their sales cannibalized the demand for the regular monthly Pullip releases. Jun Planning apparently changed their mind in early 2007 with the release of the first US 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 in 2008, 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). Only 500 of each of these dolls were released. This series was inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Pullip collectors sometimes refer to this series as the "Golden Alice" set. Their original release date (August 2007) was postponed in order to include the updated eye-closing feature on Taeyang Another King. Collectors who ordered the complete set received a bonus flamingo figurine.
In 2006, Jun Planning began releasing licensed Pullips based on the characters from the anime/manga Rozen Maiden series. With the exception of the final Rozen Maiden Pullip, Kirakishou (which was an exclusive to TBS/Japan), the Rozen Maiden dolls were not limited editions. From 2007-2009, several other Pullip dolls have been released through collaboration with 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. The Rozen Maiden, Hello Kitty, Evangelion, Black Butler, Neo Angelique Abyss, and H. Naoto collaborations are not exclusive or limited-edition dolls but do have higher MSRPs than the conventional releases because of licensing costs. Three Pullips have been based on Audrey Hepburn films, including Pullip Holly, who is based Hepburn's character from Breakfast at Tiffany's; Pullip Princess Ann, from the film Roman Holiday; and Pullip Sabrina, from the film Sabrina. Several Pullips were released in 2011, and again in 2014, who were based on Vocaloid characters.
Namu was the first male counterpart to Pullip, and his character was introduced as her boyfriend. Namu was 34 cm tall and had an oversized head (1:3 scale, like Pullip) and an articulated body. Also like Pullip, Namu's eyes could be moved back and forth, and his eyelids could blink via levers on the back of the head. He can be customized similar to Pullip dolls. Clothing for Namu could be exchanged with many 1:6 action figures and dolls, including the modern Ken doll.
There were seven releases of Namu between 2004 and 2005. The first Namu, called Vispo, had rooted hair, similar to the early Pullips; however, all subsequent Namu releases had glued-on wigs. Jun Planning retured Namu in 2005 under the story that he and Pullip "broke up." The final Namu released, in May 2005, was "Happy Birthday Namu #2," also called Gerimino, who came in a set together with Pullip Sacagawea. In 2006, a new male doll called Taeyang replaced Namu.
Taeyang was introduced in February 2006 as Pullip's new boyfriend, replacing Namu. His body is the same as his predecessor, Namu, but his face and head sculpt are different, with a wider jaw and less-pointy chin. Like Pullip, Taeyang has eyes that move right to left and eyelids that can blink closed via levers on the back of his head. Starting with Taeyang Hash in August 2007, Taeyang's eyelids could remain closed via these levers. Taeyang can be customized, just like Pullip can, with the ability to change his hair, eyes, faceup, and body. He stands 36 cm tall and can exchange clothes with many 1:6 action figures and dolls, including the modern Ken doll. Taeyang is released on a bi-monthly basis by Jun Planning. 
Since 2006, Jun Planning has released six to seven versions of Taeyang each year. Some of the Taeyang dolls bear close resemblance to popular characters and celebrities. Taeyang Edward Scissorhands is licensed from Tim Burton's eponymous character. Taeyang Shade bears close resemblance to Sherlock Holmes. Taeyang Another King was inspired by the King of Hearts from the Alice in Wonderland story.
Dal was introduced in 2006 and is profiled as Taeyang's 13-year-old sister, who considers Pullip to be her rival in terms of fashion and style. Just as Pullip is approximately the size of 1:6 scale 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, when standing next to Pullip, comes up to her shoulder.
Dal's body articulation is similar to Pullip's. Her eyes move from side to side, but they do not close. Dals can be customized, just like Pullips and Taeyangs. Jun Planning announced in the beginning of 2008 that a new Dal would be released every month.
Byul, introduced in 2008, shares the Dal body type but has a different face mold. She is profiled as Dal's 13-year-old best friend who has secretly lost her heart to Isul, Pullip's little brother. Just like Dals, Byuls cannot close their eyes, and their height is 26.3 cm.
Isul is Pullip's 15-year-old brother, released in 2011. The first Isul to debut was Apollo, who was part of the Steampunk series of Pullip dolls. Isul is profiled as a high school student in San Francisco who 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. Isul is of 29.5 cm tall.
Released in February 2013, Yeolume is Pullip's "future daughter" and the newest addition to the Pullip line of dolls. Yeolume is 26 cm tall, and the first release, called Podo, wears a school uniform with a pink and blue bow. According to her biography on the official Pullip website, Yeolume is 10 years old and is an elementary school student. Her personality is cute and sweet.
Yeolume is approximately the same size as Dal, and like Dal and Byul, her eyes moves from side to side but cannot close. Unlike Dal and Byul, however, the design of her body is very different: she has minimal articulation points, and her body somewhat resembles a Little Pullip (though larger in size) or a Blythe doll. However, Yeolume's arms and legs do bend, and she can be posed somewhat. Yeolume is customizable, and like the other Pullip dolls, her body can easily be swapped for a sturdier, more flexible body, such as a Pure Neemo or Obitsu body.
Little Pullip is a miniature version of Pullip. Often called a "mini," these little versions stand about 4.5 inches tall. Little Pullips lack articulated elbows or knee joints, their shoes are painted on, and their eyes do not blink or move. Despite their small size and limited points of articulation, they are somewhat customizable; they can be rewigged, given new bodies, given new eye colors, and given new makeup. Several editions of Little Pullip are miniature copies of full-sized Pullip dolls with similar name, clothes, hair, and makeup. The Little Pullips who are not modeled after a full-sized doll are unique to the Little Pullip line. There have been distinct themes for the Little Pullip line that are separate from the full-sized themed releases, such as the Western horoscope signs.
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 "Pullip Magazine," a 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, entitled "Pullip Complete Style" and again printed in Japanese, became available to purchase on its own and as part of a special box set with limited-edition Pullip Bonita. This book is 133 pages and features photographs of all the Pullip releases from 2003 to autumn 2010.
Like the more expensive ball-jointed dolls, Pullip dolls are easily customizable. The dolls released prior to March 2004 had rooted hair, but their scalp pieces can be swapped with each other. Dolls released beginning in March 2004 have removable wigs, and thus their hair can be changed more easily.
The Pullip head and eye mechanism can be taken apart with a screwdriver. Customization changes range from minor, such as wig or eye-color swapping, to fully custom dolls with completely new designs. More intensive customization can include resculpting the face or body, piercings and body/facial jewelry (done either with glue on the surface of the doll or with a tiny hand drill to make a permanent hole), and painted or carved tattoos.
The Pullip release originally scheduled for July 2005 was called 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 or in photographs, the resemblance of the uniform and gun design bore a close resemblance to a German SS officer uniform. Jun Planning announced the cancellation of Beressa out of respect for the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust. Lan Ake, the Pullip that was created to replace Beressa, was delayed by a month; as a consequence, Jun Planning ended up not releasing a Pullip during July 2005.
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2008)|
- "Ars Gratia Arts". pullip.net. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- "Pullip profile". pullip.net (in Korean). Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- http://ishop.tbs.co.jp/tbs/special/rozen-maiden3/index.html TBS ishop
- "Taeyang profile". pullip.net (in Korean). Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- "Dal profile". pullip.net (in Korean). Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- "Byul profile". pullip.net (in Korean). Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- "Isul profile". pullip.net (in Korean). Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- "Yeolume profile". pullip.net (in Korean). Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- "Yeolume Podo official selling page". pullip.net (in Korean). Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- "Little Pullip+ profile". pullip.net (in Korean). Retrieved 27 December 2013.