What a mouthful of a title. It’s time for another doll review! While there was definitely going to be more after Yuta, this Aika doll was actually rather unexpected. She’s from 2013 and is by now hard to find for a reasonable price almost anywhere – but I got lucky and just happened to be browsing the pre-owned section of AmiAmi at the right time and scored an impressive deal on one that was still new-in-box. Even though she’s came out nearly two years ago, I’d still like to review her because she’s adorable.
Beginning with some background information – The EX Cute series from Azone consists of seven characters – a group of middle-school girls who form a club/gang called EX-Cute. Each has a distinct face, as well as a given personality and have shenanigans not dissimilar from your average slice of life anime. (There’s even official yonkoma on the website!) Since they were first released in 2005, there have been multiple series of the EX Cute girls with different outfits, eye colours and hairstyles – some of the ideas behind them are even alternate universes. The series Komorebi Mori no Doubutsu-tachi, or ‘Animals of the Sun-Dappled Forest’ (the box rather clunkily translates it ‘the forest of sunbeams filtering through branches of trees’), is one such AU, as well as being the 9th series of EX Cute dolls. In it, the girls are now various forest animals that were granted human form by the ‘forest god’. These human forms naturally are dressed in the ‘Mori/Forest Girl’ style of fashion, so in other words yes, the ‘plot’ is strange but that doesn’t matter, they’re adorable.
This is the Aika doll from the series, whose animal is a cat. Cats, of course, are not native to the forest, and neither is Aika – her booklet contains a cute little 4koma that explains how she became lost in the forest after being separated by her owner on a picnic. Some Azone dolls come in two versions, regular and ‘direct store’ version – an alternate colour scheme only available from the Azone stores in Japan and not online. My Aika here is the regular, you can see her palette-swap edition on the cover of her booklet. I personally like the regular one better due to her softer image.
One of my favourite things about this Aika is how many accessories she comes with. She comes with even more than Yuta did! Anyway, let’s take a look at Aika herself.
She comes glad in an adorable outfit – a long pink-cardigan over an off-white, lacey dress. I really like how the cardigan ‘gathers’ at her bust and sleeves, and the way it kind of delicately spreads out at the bottom, almost like flower petals. The material of it is very soft and light. It’s held together at her bust with a small metal clasp.
Aika is the tsundere of the EX Cute gang, and that personality has been – according to the including 4koma anyway – preserved in this incarnation of her. This Aika doll however is one of the few Aikas with this facial expression, she usually has a more confident smile. This face is apparently called the ‘Poyo Mouth’ – her alternate colour version actually has her regular smile though. I think it’s really cute, though, and gives her that lost kitten kind of look. The way her fringe covers a lot of her face covers her eyebrows, though, which really makes her face look different to usual. To be honest, I think her fringe is a little too long, and I plan to try snipping it ever so slightly in future. The hair itself is a beautiful shade of blond, or ‘Ivory Gold’ as Azone puts it, and her eyes are ‘Wicked Purple’. She also has rosey cheeks, which is something I really like, and I wish Yuta did too.
Back to the dress – her white dress is actually layered, and the top layer is a fish-net-like material with white polkadots. The bottom of the dress has a really nice line of lace. Compared to the other dolls in this series, I feel like Aika’s outfit is the most refined and fancy- which makes sense, as she’s not from the forest itself.
The white fishnet with polkadots look is also used on her stockings, which are just above knee-height. Her boots are adorable with faux leather and fur, although, again, the large shoelaces do look a bit strange, although there’s not much way around that while still being able to tie the shoes up with large human-sized fingers.
All the Mori-Girls come with some type of bag, and Aika’s is a little handbag with faux fur and a ribbon. I didn’t know this from the website pictures, but you can open the bag, too! It’s not really big enough to put much inside, but…
…I still had fun with it. (Cute sleeping cats not included, of course. This is from a sleeping cats gashapon series.)
Aika uses the S version of the newest full flection Pure Neemo bodies (Yuta was XS, so he’s a little smaller). She’s pretty well articulated, but I feel like Yuta was just a little more for some reason, in terms of how far he could open his legs for example. She does, however, look cute in almost any pose you put her in – and even moreso if you make use of the generous amount of extra hand parts she comes with. It makes me kinda sad that Yuta never got this many.
My favourite of the hand parts are these ones, the ‘kitty paws’, which suit her very well of course, especially with that headband. Like everything else with faux fur on it, the cat ears are very lovely and soft. It’s also not the only cat eared item she comes with…however, I have mixed feelings on the other one:
The ‘hood muffler’ is actually surprisingly hard to get on her, because it always seems to be just sitting on her rather than feeling like she’s actually wearing it. I’m sure it is possible, but trying to fix it up too much ends up messing her hair up a lot…and in the end, I don think it looks all that good anyway. It’s a cute extra, but not one I can see myself using that much. It kind of makes her outfit look a little too ‘busy’ in my opinion. That’s one way of wearing it, you can also put her hands in the end parts, which is a little easier.
Or you could combine the paw parts with the headband…although that requires having the hood part hang down behind her. In any case, the headband is the cat eared item I prefer for her. I can’t really complain much about the hood muffler though – I think it’s great that Azone included both of them.
Something I really like about a lot of these EX Cute dolls is that, as I mentioned in the Yuta review, it’s like you get ‘two outfits in one’ because you get a slightly different feel when you remove the top clothing layer. With the cardigan removed, it’s hard to tell whether Aika is cuter with or without it.
I neglected to mention it until now, but Aika has had a cat tail on this entire time! It’s attached to her pantaloons underneath her dress. You could still get it to show with the cardigan on, but it’s easier without it.
The dress, by the way, fastens with velcro at the back, which is the norm for most Azone dresses. Her lacey sleeves are very cute, but so delicate-looking that I worry bout tearing them sometimes.
Anyway, if you wear wondering about that included camisole near the beginning of the review, here’s what it’s for.
This is meant to be Aika’s ‘cat form’ – all the Mori-Girl EX Cutes come with an outfit like this one to represent their animal states before the forest god turned them ‘human’ – consisting of the pantaloons they wear under their clothes (with an attached tail) and the camisole. I’ll admit, when I saw this on the website pictures I wasn’t that interested, but after seeing it in person…it really is cute. Also, scratch what I said before, with this look this doll really has three outfits in one, which is impressive.
That tail also has a wire inside it, meaning you can bend it as you like – something I’m glad for, as it’s a lot cuter than if it were just hanging or stuck in the same position.
It’s a cute look that becomes a little more sexy in Aika’s case due to her stockings. Since I like her regular outfit better, I probably wouldn’t display her like this, but it’s a really adorable extra to include and once again, I’m amazed at how many display options this doll gives you. Azone sure do give you your money’s worth…which, considering the price of these dolls, is a huge plus.
Now that I’ve said all there is to say about the doll itself, it’s time for the dress-up portion! After all, changing outfits is one of the things that make these dolls so fun and addictive.
First, a clothing swap with Yuta!
The Pullip-Madoka outfit! Pullips, unfortunately, have much thinner bodies than Pure Neemos so the clothes are not always compatible. This skirt, for example, only fits the S body if the velcro isn’t done up. It fits the XS bodies fine, though.
Next, the same sailor outfit I had on Yuta before, swapping out the shorts for a skirt. …Which also doesn’t fit that well as it’s actually a little too big (I think it’s actually M-sized), but you wouldn’t know from this photo.
So there we have it – Komorebi Mori Aika is not only an adorable doll with absolutely beautiful clothes and a generous amount of accessories, she also happens to look good in just about anything. I just wish I could photograph her better. I’m really happy to own her, especially considering how little (relatively) I paid for her on the second-hand market. Given that these dolls tend to sell out quickly and be resold at high prices, unless you happen across a similar stroke of luck that I did, if you do want one of your own…dont expect her to be cheap. If you have your heart set on an Aika but don’t want to pay outrageous after-release prices, your best bet is to wait for whatever the next EX Cute series will be and jump on preorders. (The latest Aika, by the way, is the 10th anniversary rerelease of ‘Cheshire Cat Aika’ which as of now can still be found for close-to-rrp with some hunting – available in both ‘smiling‘ and ‘poyo mouth‘ versions.)
Out of 5,