Written on July 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm
Filed under: Personal with tags:

So what is a girl to do when gets questions (and comments) like the following? Write a blog entry, of course!

Those Blythe dolls are scary. And I’m not too sure why people like them so much. o_O – Dane

I’ve never really understood the whole Pullip-Blythe obsession some of my friends have, so could you perhaps write about it? What is the “deal” there? – Jonna

A little background information for you all…

Blythe was first manufactured in 1972 for exactly 1 year. They weren’t a huge hit and toy shops were practically giving them away because no one wanted them. They only had 4 different hair colours (red, blonde, light brown and dark brown) and a very limited number of dresses. What the vintage Blythes have in common with the Neo-Blythes is that they all have a pull string that comes out of the back of their heads and when you pull on them, the eyes close and open to reveal a new set of ‘eyes’. There are 4 sets in total, 2 front-facing sets and 2 side-facing sides (one to the right and one to the left). The standard stock eye colours are blue, green, orange and pink. With the Neo-Blythes, there are occasionally “special” eye colours, depending on which doll you are getting. You can also customize the doll by giving them whole new eye chip colours.

The dolls are, from my point of view, charming and cute and just downright darling. They’re incredibly expressive in photographs. And the idea that they are just ‘scary’ doesn’t really bother me because the original Blythes didn’t do so well because little children thought that they were scary. Blythes were manufactured again via 2 different companies (Takara-Tomy and Ashton-Drake Galleries) after the successive of Gina Garen’s photobook, This is Blythe.

Now in terms of Pullips… I’ve never seen one in person. So I can’t really comment on them. I also cannot comment on Nikkis or Wonderfrogs or Lati dolls. But I can comment on Blythe.

There is just something about them that’s just darling, I swear. I first photos of them online in 2004 (right after the doll “Velvet Minuet” came out) and I fell in love. From 2004 to 2009, I would periodically “stumble” across them again online. And just remember that they existed. I couldn’t justify buying one (or two!) when I was younger because a) I didn’t have my own credit card so that made online shopping doubly difficult and b) I just wasn’t sure if I would really like them. That is, until I saw them in person.

I’m lucky enough to live within travel distance (just a few hours) from a small store in BC that sells Blythe dolls. The vintage ones fetch a very pretty penny, but they had a few of the newer dolls in stock. I was just smitten by them when I first laid eyes on them. See, I knew, based on what I read online, how big that they were supposed to be, but I honestly expected them to be smaller (despite knowing that they’re the exact same height as a regular Barbie doll).

As some of you might have read, back in late June I broke down and bought my first Blythe doll (Sophie, who is a Cappuccino Chat Blythe). I’m frequently obsessive about hobbies, but there’s always some things that capture my attention and never let go and I do honestly believe that Blythe is one of those things.

It’s like with my yarn obsession. People who don’t do any of the fibre arts (i.e. crochet, knitting, spinning, etc.) don’t really understand the obsession that people have with yarn. They don’t understand how yummy yarn can be, they don’t understand the idea of feeling and basically having to touch all the balls of yarn in the store. To them, one blue yarn is the same as the other. But to someone who knows their yarn, they know there’s a difference that comes out when it is 100% wool or a wool blend. They know how wonderful a hand painted soy yarn can look when it’s knitted up.

To someone who doesn’t knit or crochet, they’ll take a look at something that I’ve made and go “Why can’t you just buy something like that in a store?”. But to someone who does crochet or knit, they’ll look at it and see the amount of stitches it is made out of.

It’s like the same thing with Blythe.

You can look at a photo of one online and all you can see is the fact that she’s got a huge head, she’s incredibly pricey (for a doll) and “Why don’t people just get a Bratz doll instead? It has the same concept!”

But that can be all you see.

Or you can see a doll that has so many expressions, albeit a little top heavy at times. You see a doll that’s worth every penny because you know she’s worth it. You see a doll that takes you back to when times were simpler, even if it’s just for a little while each day.

Blythe has a wonderful charm that makes it very easy to fall in love with the sound the doll makes when you pull on the string or when you’re arranging her for a photo. There’s a charm about her that you can understand if you took at her with an open mind. I don’t think she’ll ever be a particularly popular doll, mainly appealing to a niche market and to mostly adults for the most part as well as they are generally collector’s toys. But there’s still something ever so darling about her.

Some links that you might want to consider are:
This is Blythe
Blythe (official website)
Blythe (Wikipedia page)

18 Responses to “Blythe”

  1. Cody says:

    I imagine that once I buy my first, I’ll never be able to justify it to anyone who happens to see it. I don’t see it as any different than anything else someone decides to spend money on… I consider all of my collections to be part of the decor, and I think they make the apartment far more comfortable and personal than any fancy furniture or art.

  2. Caity says:

    That is really interesting. I never knew all of that. I have always enjoyed looking at photos of them, but I never really understood what the fuss was about until now.

  3. Laura says:

    I personally don’t understand it as like commented, they scare me. But to be honest, all kinds of dolls scare me. Blythe dolls, china dolls. It’s the eyes. The spooooooky eyes that seem to be looking at you no matter what angle you are to them. *Shudder*

    However it’s great you found such an interest and another thing to consider it by paying out for them now you’re really investing (hopefully) for the future as they’re worth such a lot.

  4. Jenna says:

    I used to think most blythes were very unappealing but after I saw the customization factor of them: <—Like these (so pretty). I understood their appeal. Now I want some Blythes of my own. First I'd rather get a Rose Moon BJD though

    A lot of hobbies won't make sense to people from the outside because they don't understand the history, or enjoyment one can get from them. Which is pretty unfortunate.

  5. Kim Kath says:

    I just received my very first Blythe today and she too is a Cappuccino Chat, she is pretty. Haven’t taken any pics of her yet just got her out of the box and it’s the wrong time of day right now to take toomany pics, too bright and sunny and glary, so a little later maybe. Now to find some outfits. Fun fun fun…

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