This won’t be a surprise if you actually know me, but I have a confession to make for the blog readers: I’m a doll person.
Although to be specific, I say I like dolls but it’s really only a specific type of doll: Azone Pure Neemos. My interest in them began when I was still living in Japan and had access to a hobby store that sold parts for making custom dolls, and what should have just been a one-off for funsies (Melbourne from my webcomic) soon spiralled slightly out of control as I realized the hard way that you can never own just one Pure Neemo. I made a few more customs but this doll here, Clock Rabbit Yuta, is my first official Azone character.
Anyway, some background information about these dolls. This Yuta is from Azone’s Pure Neemo Ex-Cute line which features original Azone characters that get new versions with different hair/eye colour/costumes at least once a year, although some less often than others. For example, this Yuta I’m reviewing is the most recent in the Yuta line and the fourth Yuta doll overall. He’s also actually a rerelease – the original release was in February 2014, which sold out quickly, and this one was agonizingly delayed all year long until I finally got him literally at the end of December.
I really like the boxes that Pure Neemos come in, actually – they’re the perfect size and don’t waste any space. They’re also decorated rather nicely and the cardboard insert can be pulled out and used as a photography backdrop, which I’ll be doing in this review. Inside the box is Yuta himself, his rabbit hat and pocket watch alongside him, and a pair of optional hands (open hands, or ‘jazz hands’ as I like to call them. They’re actually the default hands that the blank pure neemo bodies you can buy for custom dolls have.) He also comes with Azone’s regulation Doll Maintenance book with instructions on keeping their hair nice (less of a concern for a short-haired boy like Yuta), and a small booklet about the doll itself. It includes a catalog of each item of clothing Yuta is wearing and should come with for reference, his character profile – highlights of which include the fact that he is a 4th-grader and apparently loves trains and aeroplanes.
It also contains these rather cute 4koma comics featuring Yuta and the corresponding Aoto doll. Aoto is Yuta’s best friend and the two of them will usually always have matching outfits in their releases, so it’s almost a shame I wasn’t able to get Aoto as well. I’m sure my Yuta won’t be too lonely with all the custom dolls keeping him company. (If you’re at all interested in that 4koma, I did a rough translation of it on my tumblr.)
On to the doll himself!
First of all, these dolls don’t come with stands, so you will have to buy one separately – a few companies make them, and Azone themselves have recently put some out. It is possible for them to stand on their own if they’re balanced well, but it’s not ideal.
This Yuta, standing about 23cm tall, is silver-haired, blue-eyed and comes in an adorable ensemble based on the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. The quality of his clothing is exceptionally high, and a lot of care has gone into the details. There’s quite a lot to this outfit, actually, so for the purpose of this review I’m going to gradually undress him.
The outfit is composed of a buttoned coat and vest (which is one piece), the shirt underneath it, poofy shorts, knee-high socks, platform boots, a floppy velvet tophat with the bunny ears attached and a pocketwatch.
Yuta has an exceptionally adorable face with a gentle smile, and I’m really liking it with that hair and eye colour. I don’t have a photo of it, but brand new Azone dolls have a protective clear plastic shield around the top of their head to keep it safe in the box, which is nice. His hair is also of a high quality material and is incredibly soft to the touch.
As previously mentioned, the jacket and the vest underneath are a single piece, which I’m glad for, as giving dolls too many layers can make them look a bit too ‘bulky’. It’s made in such a way that it really does look like he’s wearing a vest underneath his jacket, though.I love all the little buttons he has on his clothing, too. The pocket-watch obviously doesn’t actually work, but it really does look like it could. The only problem I have with it is that the ribbon on it seems to be far too short to tie into a nice-looking bow like it is in the promotional pictures – above is the best I could do, as it’s really difficult tying such small items to begin with. I think the ribbon could have been longer, especially considering…
…that his bootlaces are really long. One of the problems with cute little laceup doll shoes is that the laces have to be long in order to actually be able to tie them with your big giant hands, but the way they hang out like that does look weird. However, his boots are also very nicely detailed, complete with little buckles.
This Yuta comes on one of Azone’s newest Pure Neemo Flection bodies with full articulation. The older dolls (such as the rest of the Yuta line) had the older bodies, which didn’t have as many points of articulation – their limbs only had one axis of movement. These new ones have movement much more like a figma, which is a lot more fun and useful for posing possibilities! Anyway, let’s now begin stripping him down.
He’s cute both with and without the hat, of course, although I feel like his head is easier to appreciate without it. I like to pose him both with and without it.
I feel like you get a slightly different atmosphere to him depending on how much or how little of the costume he has on. With that said…
It feels almost a shame that such a nice shirt is hidden underneath that jacket! A lot of Azone dolls have outfits that are almost like getting two separate outfits in one, since it really does look different if you remove the top layer. This pinstriped shirt has an adorably ruffly frill at the front and large cuffs, and I think it goes great with his hair and eyes.
I think his personality looks rather different like this, actually. It’s hard to decide whether I like him better with or without the coat. As for his optional hands – they just snap off and on like a figmas, although it’s best to be careful while doing it.
Although the buttons go down the front, the shirt actually opens at the back with some velcro, making it much easier to take off and on. (For a lot of doll clothing, however, you do need to remove the dolls arms to get them inside the sleeves at times.)
I think he’s easier to pose like this without the jacket getting in the way, actually. …although it looks like all that posing has caused the ribbon on the pocket watch to come undone…
Removing the jacket also makes it easier for him to sit, which he does very well. Sometimes it’s hard to decide if I want to display him sitting or standing.
Of course, you can combine the jacketless look with the hat for another different look again!
Removing the shirt and his poofy shorts presents us with the final layer…satin bloomers. While the puffiness gives them an unfortunate diaper-like appearance, they’re part of what helps make his shorts poofy. There’s also his socks, which have those weird bands attached to them – on the website photos I originally thought those were attached to the boots.
Since Yuta is now undressed, I wanted to end this review with a bunch of photos of him wearing some other Azone clothing that I have, since after all – the best part of these dolls is being able to dress them up and creating all kinds of looks for them. So then, here is the Yuta Fashion Show: