Ball jointed dolls are not a new concept, despite the rage caused by those that have become hugely popular in Japan and Korea and are now making their way to America. In fact, most of the dolls you think of that we would consider to be antiques are also ball jointed dolls. This definition of being a ball jointed doll derives from the fact that the dolls are made with the rough equivalent of joints like in actual humans, thus they can be posed in natural positions and look more realistic. Another appealing aspect of ball jointed dolls is that they can stand up on their feet, which comes from their disproportionately large feet, a surprising aesthetic choice for female dolls in Asia. Their faces and body proportions are heavily influenced by anime and if you consider characters like Sailor Moon, for instance, you can expect a large head, gorgeous hair, and a tiny body in all Asian ball jointed dolls.
A large subculture is forming among American owners of Asian ball jointed dolls and you will find that there is a unique doll for every owner. Part of the appeal of ball jointed dolls is that they are meant to be dressed differently, which means unlike with traditional Barbie Dolls, most of whom looked roughly the same, there are many different doll sizes at ball jointed doll shops to choose from and all of them have highly unique faces. With the rise in popularity of ball jointed dolls, one can easily see the clear marketing genius behind it; the ball jointed dolls are expensive enough on their own and an entirely separate market aimed specifically at selling the many wigs and items of clothing has also emerged. One cannot help but read about the owners of ball jointed dolls who spend massive amounts of money on their clothes and ball jointed doll wigs and compare the level of enthusiasm regarding this whole process to the fervor seen in the most rabid of pageant moms.
Some owners of Asian ball jointed dolls, the authentic ones, are able to switch the heads, which means that depending on the day, one can have an entirely different ball jointed doll to enjoy. There are different body types to choose from as well as different genders and again, this high level of potential customization of a ball jointed doll is particularly appealing, to those who can afford it, at least. The cost of Asian ball jointed dolls is rather high and clothing and ball jointed doll wig retailers often charge an incredible amount of money for something so small, even if the clothes for ball jointed dolls are just as well-made, if not better, than the ones we wear.
In fact, it seems like this realistic aspect is another part of what makes ball jointed dolls so popular. Their faces are intricately painted with great attention to detail. The faces on Asian ball jointed dolls are very expressive as well and are unique and in some cases, hand painted. They are correct down to every last detail (yes, every) and one can only imagine what kind of a doll censorship is going to happen when these hit the mainstream American shelves. Off with the correctness and on the with attitude rather than emphasis on sweetness and expressiveness (ala the Bratz line of dolls).
One can easily suggest that Asian ball jointed dolls (also called BJDs) once they hit the mainstream which, given the nearly limitless marketing and economic potential these little dolls offer in terms of the customization angle, is an inevitability. When these do hit the shelves, chances are they will lose the uniqueness and steal the features of the dolls without maintaining the expressiveness. In short, they will be like Asian Bratz dolls. For now, as the Asian ball jointed doll craze first arrives, we should enjoy these strange, fascinating, and bewitching little creatures before they enter the realm of mass production. Chances are they will have a great influence on the facial features of new dolls and will enhance already strong accessory marketing for existing doll lines such as Barbie and the Bratz line.