ASM Toy Fair 2005
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Welcome to ASM's Toy Fair 2005 Coverage!

Playground Maniacs Report

Amy Lipkowitz, General Reporter

Playground Maniacs is distributing several new lines in 2005. Previously mentioned in our Blue Box coverage are the Gothic (projected MSRP $29.99) and Fashion Street (projected MSRP $5.99 to $6.99) dolls and figures. Briefly covered in our visit to Art Asylum's offices are the Little Apple Dolls, a UK import with a distinctive Japanese-horror twist.

The Little Apple Dolls are the creation of artist and writer Urie Ufuoma, who personally designs the prototype dolls and their costumes, as well as illustrating and writing the story-books that accompany each doll and explain their role in the twilight world known as the Inbetween Place. These illustrated stories are being collected into a single volume with added materials. The book is just one way that the world of the Little Apple Dolls is expanding. Apparel items such as bags, buttons, and patches are in the works. As for the dolls themselves, the UK distributor Underground Toys will determine whether there will be separately sold fashions for the Little Apple Dolls.

Items on display in Playground Maniacs booth included:

  • Original prototypes by Urie Ufuoma for Irae (with hand-embroided kimono) and Animula (knitted cap subject to change to make it look "more beanie-like")

  • Factory production prototypes for Irae, Animula, Erro (Black and white skirt) and Mentis (school uniform)

  • Giant versions of Mentis, Irae, and an unnamed doll with painted red mask that will be exclusive to Playground Maniacs. These giant-sized doll things are created by Urie Ufuoma using child mannequins, which have their heads removed and their hair burned off. Using this blank slate as a canvas, a mask is screwed on, a wig is attached, and clothing is hand-crafted to fit the character and backstory of the doll.

In addition to the aforementioned four dolls, there will be two dolls exclusive to specific vendors. A doll in Alice-in-Wonderland-style blue dress (reportedly inspired by a recent Gwen Stefani video) will be available at Hot Topic. Unfortunately, this doll went missing while on display at Art Asylum and Little Apple Dolls' Joint Toy Fair Party, so the only available photos are of her appearance at the Art Asylum office.

A darkly gothic doll with black artificial roses in her hair will be unique to Diamond and Forbidden Planet. These will be released earlier than the Playground Maniacs exclusive, and will not come with the special secret item that the rest of the Series Two Little Apple Dolls will have.

Plans for Series Three are still up in the air. There were initially hopes that the third series would be entirely male, to balance out the girl-heavy first and second series. However, it seems increasingly likely that the third series will have one male, at most, as male dolls in female doll lines tend to sell poorly. Just as retailers are hesitant to carry female action figures, due to a fear that "boys don't want to buy girls", there is a reluctance to have male "dolls". However, the world of Little Apple Dolls definitely has room for male characters... let's hope that with time, we'll be able to meet them all!

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