When I asked my soon-to-be ten-year-old niece what she wanted for her birthday, she replied with an excited “Oh I want a Smart Doll, please, please, please!” I thought, oh ok, that’s easy I will get her a nice doll for her birthday. Little did I know at the time that this was not going to be ‘just another doll’ purchase that I could pick up at WalMart.
So, Are Smart Dolls Worth It Really?
If you’re a doll enthusiast and want a Smart Doll to add some spunk and vitality to your collection, the price may well be worth it to you. Not just another fashion doll, Smart Doll is both functional and educational. These are not meant to sit in a corner to collect dust. They are made to be used and utilized.
What Are Smart Dolls?
After a bit of digging on the internet, I learned that Smart Dolls are simply a type of fashion doll. There are several ‘models’ available and you can interchange their hair and eyes to suit your tastes.
Smart Dolls are completely posable and, at 60 cm tall, are not meant to just sit in a corner to be forgotten.
Smart Dolls are much more than a toy or trinket; they are silent companions that hang out with you wherever you go. They are meant for people of all ages, and are designed to also help enhance creativity in fields such as photography, fashion design and even anthropology.
The Smart Doll collection started with one doll named Mirai Suenaga. In 2013, Mirai became the official mascot for Japan Tourism.
Since then, several other Smart Dolls have been added to the collection. A group of dolls (both guys and gals) of different skin tones and seemingly different personalities to suit their human counterparts of all ages.
Where are Smart Dolls Made?
Smart Dolls are made in Tokyo, Japan by a company named Culture Japan, headed by Danny Choo, an internet personality. Each doll is handcrafted by a team of artists and crafters, so no two are alike.
Smart Dolls are aesthetically based on the Japanese cartoon and comics’ world, known as Anime/Manga culture. The product design, according to Choo, is based on Wabi-Sabi, a specific set of Japanese design principles.
In basic terms, the Wabi-Sabi principle states that beauty can only be achieved if there is a balance of imperfections.
That’s why a Smart Doll and Barbie will never get along – Smart Dolls may have an eye that is slightly larger than the other, or may have skin imperfections. Why? Because that’s real beauty.
What Makes Smart Dolls Smart?
When I first heard the term, “Smart Doll” I was thinking of a doll that could walk, talk and do all kinds of amazing things. That isn’t the case, however.
Smart Dolls don’t talk, they don’t walk and, unfortunately, they haven’t taken any smart lessons from Alexa.
So, what makes them smart?
Smart Dolls are made with Japanese culture in mind; specifically, as stated above, the Japanese cartoon/comic world.
One of the main differences between a Smart Doll and other dolls, is that Smart Dolls have an inner skeleton. The spine is crafted using ball joints. This makes them extremely posable and durable.
The dolls are crafted to be able to stand on their own two feet. There is also a small slit in the back, so you can insert a stand if you want a long term pose, or one that is slightly off balance.
Why Should I Buy a Smart Doll?
Aside from them being absolutely gorgeous, Smart Doll can provide hours of fun for adults and kids alike. They will look at home on your dresser, play house or desk.
They can hold small gadgets, like your phone, and can be adapted to charge your devices. Although they won’t be able to tell you where you left your car keys or wallet, they will make a great conversation piece while they’re charging your favorite device.
Kids of all ages are using Smart Doll figures as not just companions, but as learning tools. They are used in drawing classes and art lessons in several Japanese schools.
Where Can I Buy a Smart Doll?
The best place to buy a Smart Doll is the Culture Japan site, at https://shop.smartdoll.jp/. Here, you’ll get a great selection of dolls, clothes and accessories, as well as charging adaptors and devices.
You can also buy dolls and accessories on sites like Amazon, Etsy and Ebay.
Do Smart Dolls Come with a Warranty?
Yes. You can find a detailed explanation of the warranty here. Basically, replacement parts are covered for one year, or for the first two injuries during the first year. Keep in mind, shipping expenses are not covered.
Sometimes, it’s possible that injuries can be repaired instead of replaced. Simply contact the company and an experienced designer can walk you through the repair procedure.
Before each doll is shipped, it is packaged carefully and pictures are taken before the journey begins.
The warranty is not transferable between dolls.
Can I Use a Smart Doll to Charge My Devices?
Yes. Smart Dolls can be used for even smarter purposes! There are several adapters and accessories that can be used. Simply switch out the torso for one of the charging devices and you’ve got yourself a beautiful doll and a useful tool!
These are only available on the Culture Japan website, but they may be available at other online retailers in the future.
What Kind of Accessories Can I Buy for My Smart Doll?
Aside from the charging accessories above, there are several other accessories that can be purchased for your Smart Doll.
Clothes, such as bikinis, sweaters, jackets, pants, tank tops and underwear can be purchased from online retailers and from the Culture Japan website.
Shoes and boots are also available and are fully interchangeable between dolls. Belts and bags are also available.
Hair, eyes and even bust size can also be interchanged between dolls.
How Much Do Smart Dolls Cost?
OK, I hope you’re sitting down. Really. A Smart Doll will set you back about $500 USD. Yup, you read that right. That does not include accessories to charge your devices, or for accessories like clothes, purses, boots, hair, etc.
When I found out the price, I quickly contacted some family members and we all chipped in and bought one for my niece. She was thrilled and we were happy to give her something she would cherish for years to come!