Tired of me going on about Barbie and Ken and Skipper, hmm? Want to see something different? Would some Azone Original Dolls do? Okay, I only have four of them, but they're a cute set. And maybe a little storytelling about the "characters" assigned to those figures a la my fellow collector Niel's recent family post?
Azone International or Azone Green International PTE Ltd. is located in the Republic of Singapore. Azone International sells dolls of various sizes as well as detailed fashion doll clothes and realistic accessories. They distribute Integrity Toys' exclusive FR Nippon line. Most of the Azone fashion dolls have a strong Anime aka cartoony cast to their face sculpts and facial screening. Usually, I am not a big Anime doll fan. Sure, I grew up watching several Japanese cartoons: Astro Boy, Marine Boy, Kimba the White Lion, 8th Man, etc. But I prefer more realistic looking faces and heads in "normal" proportions. My Anime-styled Jenny friends are my least favorite from the Takara line. [Mitsuki and Kisara from Takara's Jenny line do not fall in that category.]
The Azone Original dolls that I have are Loco Island Minako, Jelly Beans Generation Reimy, Sarafan a la Mode Reina, and Tangerine Cat Belinda: Pluses: these are poseable dolls, they have adorable faces, and outfits and footwear with real-life detailing like LimbeDolls footwear. Minuses: Anime faces, biggish heads, tiny feet, and delicate bodies like Momokos. Azone dolls are NOT Tonka truck dolls.
Wait ... that's only THREE dolls - Minako standing, Reimy about to put on her right sneaker, and Reina undecided about what to do with her hands .... where is Belinda?
Ta da, here she is, ducks! Belinda, the one and only Tangerine Cat! Fresh from the Liv Fashions shoot. (More on that later ....)
Tanned Minako and pale Reimy are "sisters." Do you think that their heads and faces seem similar? I did so they became "sisters" to account for that likeness. (Note: Azone did not connect these two dolls as far as I can tell.)
And what do these ladies do? Minako and Belinda are actors - Minako plays romantic comedies while Belinda does period horror flicks. College student Reimy is a photographer. She did not take these photos. Izzy is the - cough - genius behind the camera.
Reimy appears again in this photograph with the ever shy, ever pensive Reina. Reina is a part-time secretary for Reverend Hadley of Sin No More church and the unwed mother of Vampire Tommy. (Vampire Tommy is the little Tommy who wore the vampire costume in a Halloween post, NOT Tawny Tommy who swiped the pizza from the Joes.) Vampire Tommy isn't really a vampire - he has "delicate health," but his deadbeat Dad had called him a vampire so Tommy believes he is one.
For additional information about Asian fashion dolls, please read this Wikipedia entry, Bobagirl Pam's website, or any of the sites included in the International Jenny and Licca Webring. I bought the dolls mentioned here from 2002 -2006 so the secondary market, particularly other doll collectors might be your best bet for finding them at decent prices. Admirers of the anime doll style can find current Azone dolls and accessories online at Hobby Search, HobbyLink Japan, or possibly Azone International themselves.
Aside: I have bought from Hobby Search and HobbyLink Japan so I can vouch for their excellent services. It helped that I ordered the dolls sent by EMS, an express mail service, so I had tracking for my packages. EMS packages get handled by the United States Postal Service once they reach this country. (That was my experience; if anyone else received their overseas package through another shipper, please let us know. I'll pop that answer in a separate post.)
So there we go .... Azone International Original Dolls. Because I do collect other dolls than Barbie ;-D