Dolls and Doll-related Items for Sale

Friday, April 26, 2019

New Dolls! Cu-Poche by Kotobukiya

Today I have brand new dolls to talk about, from a line that I imagine is new to many of you. They are from a company named Kotobukiya, a Japanese company which has been around since 1953, making toys, figures and novelty items. These dolls are from the Cu-Poche line, a group of vinyl dolls made in chibi style. In Japanese, chibi apparently just means "short." In the greater world of those interested in Japanese culture outside of Japan, chibi means a child-like character with exaggerated features. This type of character can be seen in anime and manga art. For all I know, chibi also means a small, cute, child-like character in Japan currently too, but I don't have access to any experts on Japanese culture.

Cu-Poche dolls are made of PVC and ABS. Mine have fabric clothes; some have vinyl clothes. There are generic figures, characters from popular Japanese entertainment, and a handful of fairytale characters. The two I chose are Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella. Here they are inside their boxes. I like how the front of Cinderella's box looks like a coach.

Here are the boxes from the back, showing you what accessories you get with your doll.

The doll inside the box is packed in a plastic clamshell, with more fragile items wrapped in plastic, and some of the smaller pieces have tape over the indentation they're in, to keep them from falling out.
I'm going to start with Little Red.
Both she and Cinderella are approximately 11cm, or 4.3 inches tall. Cu-Poche dolls have magnets in their feet, to help them to stand and hold poses.

We'll talk more about this stand at the end.
Lots more pictures and reviewing under the fold!

There are also magnets in the bottom of their shoes. As you can see, these dolls have a LOT of joints. Mine came with molded-on underclothes. Little Red's are yellow; Cinderella's are white. I'm not sure if all dolls come like this, especially the ones who don't have fabric clothes.
So what else does Little Red come with, besides her dress? Little boots, and the obligatory basket of food for Granny. In her hair, she's wearing a couple of daisies, which are held on by a magnet. There's a little plastic shrub that came in the set.
Little Red also has a headband decorated with wolf ears, held on magnetically. Even when I tipped her upside down, the headband stayed on.
Do I look scary?
I had problems with her ubiquitous red hooded cape. For some reason, I couldn't get the hood to bunch up enough so that I could tie the ribbons right around her neck, and make it stay. It sounds easy to do, but with a doll that tiny, and tiny ribbons, it was harder than it looks.
Like several other types of Asian dolls, Little Red and Cinderella both came with separate sets of hands. Both of my dolls came with two fisted hands, and two hands curled to hold something. Little Red models one hand in each style. The curved hand fits the handle of her basket perfectly.
There's even a magnet inside the shrub, so the daisies can go there instead.
Now let's look at Cinderella.
Do you like my shoes?
As you can see above, Cinderella's dress slides down rather easily. Good thing she's wearing something underneath! I found the dress rather hard to fasten securely in the back. I think it's because while the hook piece is enormous, the loop side is rather small.
In addition to her magnetic tiara, Cinderella also comes with a crown coach pull toy.

Since the crown is on a magnet, Cinderella can wear that too.
Cinderella comes with one thing that Little Red didn't: a different hair style! Let's look at how Cu-Poche heads work. Here's Cinderella without the front piece of her hair.
Here's her head without any hair at all.
It seems to work best to clip the head into the back piece of hair first, and then slide the front piece into the grooves of the back hair. I say clip, but there isn't a really firm clipping action. The pieces just slide in. Cinderella came wearing this knot at the back of her head.

She also has another style though, with her hair mostly free, and some loosely fastened up at the back of her head.

So there are the dolls! But there were also a few more things that came with them. For starters, each doll came with a sturdy plastic bag, big enough to hold them and all their accessories. For dolls that come with such tiny pieces, I really appreciated that!
Each doll also came with the small magnetic stand which you saw occasionally above, and a post to hold the doll in the stand for different poses.

There are two different pieces for the end of the post: the waist clip you see above which is on a hinge to make it different sizes, and a small post which fits into a hole in the doll's back. You can see that hole in some of the shots of Cinderella from behind.
I bet there are at least a few out there that noticed that these dolls are basically an answer to the Nenderoid dolls by Good Smile Company. The two lines are very, very, very alike. In the end, I preferred the Cu-Poche dolls just from an appearance perspective, so I decided to buy those.

Some of you will also see a similarity to Azone's Little Fairies, or I suppose any doll that uses the Azone Picco Neemo doll body. I don't know if they are meant to be chibi per se, but they do have that same sense of being a small, cute little character.

Now that Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella are home, I'm very happy with my choice to buy these two. Being collectible dolls, they weren't cheap. Little Red was about $55 USD, and Cinderella about $52 USD. However, both dolls are sturdy, have several cute accessories, and have their stands. Plus, their clothes are very well made and finished. So far, I've only found two flaws.:

1. Cinderella's dress. It doesn't want to stay closed in the back, so it doesn't fit on her properly. I can mess around a little with the dress and see if I can get it to fit better. It doesn't affect how I feel about the doll, though. What's super annoying is:

2. Their heads fall off easily. I appreciate that you don't have to worry about breaking a doll joint when you remove a doll part; they slide apart easily. However, that also means that sometimes the parts fall off when you don't want them too, especially that oversized head. Clunk!

This is a style of doll I've never gotten into before, but I think I'm going to enjoy having these dolls in my collection. I might buy some more in the future, and they also make separate clothing and shoe sets! Do you like chibis? Are there other dolls with an Asian aesthetic that you enjoy?


  1. Nice review Barb, I hadn't seen one on these critters before, so thank you! I have one nendoroid and several BJD's, but none of these. Maybe one day I'll add one or two to my collection, but not right now.
    Big hugs,

    1. You're welcome! There's always so many interesting dolls out there, aren't there?

  2. These are certainly adorable! And the jointing is wonderful! :)

    I have a few Kotobukiya statues, but I've never really looked at their smaller-scale offerings before.

    1. They are real cuties, aren't they? It doesn't surprise me that you are one of my readers who has even heard of Kotobukiya, much less owns some of their items. I don't know how I even came across the Cu-Poche line in the first place. It might have been window shopping at Hobby Link Japan.

  3. Oh! I love these! I nearly bought some of these when I got my Azone girls but I was worried the posability and stand were going to be disappointing.
    I need one of these! Think I might try to find one with the molded clothes though.

  4. This doll company is new to me. I think that the price sounds good for all of the things you get with the doll. It would be interesting to see the dolls dressed in other outfits.

    1. You're right; the price is fine for what you get. I just haven't bought too many dolls in the past few years. There are shops on etsy that make clothes for Cu-Poche and Nenderoid. I will probably make some myself, but they aren't my top priority at the moment.

  5. This is something new. They look super-cute!