Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Comparison: Babies vs. 11" Dolls

 When D2 was born, people would tell me, "Aw, now you have your own doll to play with, you'll have no time for your other ones," meaning, of course, my Momokos (and JACK!)
Aside from the obvious "your own" bit, because, as we all know, babies are property, as opposed to dolls made out of plastic (amirite?), the statement still made no sense to me, because, I don't know, my Momokos can sit on their shelf and wait for me to get enough sleep to maybe redress them, but babies…. you can't do that with babies.

However, eventually, I started thinking that perhaps I needed to make a comparison write-up, like we do for Fashion Royalty vs. Momokos vs. Obitsu etc.
It took a little longer than I thought, considering D2 is firmly out of babyhood and into a life-affirming toddlerhood, but here it is:


While Momokos run from about $100 to $250 for a Sekiguchi doll, if you want to get a Petworks one, they can run up to a couple of thousand dollars, especially if you are trying to find one of the rare ones. Then you have to add delivery and customs fees, in most cases, unless you are lucky to find one within your country.

Babies are free, but the delivery charge is usually pretty damn high. If you are lucky enough to have health insurance (or live in an advanced country) most insurance companies cover the majority of it. There is also a pretty long (9months) production time, and for some placing the order may take several months to a couple of years.

Advantage - babies.

Bang for your buck:

  Most Momokos (exception - Wake-Up dolls and some Petworks) come with an outfit, underwear, some accessories and footwear that is exquisitely made. Amazingly, with the same face sculpt, the variety of personalities and looks is exceptional.
  Babies come naked and wrinkly. The wrinkly part goes away, though, and then they are pretty cool to look at. Variety of face sculpts and face-ups is off the charts, though their noses all look alike in the beginning. However, babies also come with a variety of features, some highly desirable, like the smiling capability, and some - like pooping - not so much.

Advantage - babies.


Depending on a particular doll you're after, Momokos vary from fairly easy to find to practically impossible. There are a number of OOAK dolls that can fetch prices of a couple of thousand.

The way you look at a baby totally depends on your views on children in general: you either going to think that they are all the same and a dime a dozen or that each baby is totally OOAK and priceless.
One thing to note is that typically, unless you are getting a ready-made baby, like we did with D1, you have no way of knowing what it will look like or have control over the gender (so, kind of like the Happy Box). Some of the looks can be customized later on, but more on that below.

Advantage - Momokos.


Momokos easily win the first round, as in the beginning, babies, while extremely flexible and with many articulation points, absolutely cannot stand on their own. The stand that is required to keep them upright is very impractical and costly, and is generally not recommended. Plus, all babies suffer from floppy neck joint, and in fact can be really damaged if you do not support their head.
However, later on, this starts changing. Momokos with time and use typically grow floppier, while babies conversely start tightening up their joints while retaining flexibility and articulation. Eventually, they can stand on their own, but expect this process to be slow.

Both Momokos and babies will stand perfectly fine while you are getting your camera ready and then fall spectacularly and ungracefully as soon as you are ready to shoot.
However, Momokos usually don't have their own opinion on where to be while you want to shoot. They are either up in their pose or down on the ground. Babies, as soon as their joints get tighter, will start imposing their own style decisions on a photo shoot. This may involve randomly changing a pose, looking away, stuffing props in their mouth, and in extreme cases, crawling or walking away. Using glue dots works well with Momokos, but not at all with babies.

Advantage - Momokos at first, then babies, then Momokos again.

Also, separate mention must be made of ease of dressing.
Momokos can be pretty tricky to dress, especially in knit or crochet pieces, as their fingers snag on the fabric. Tighter clothes can be a problem, too, because of the dolls' limited articulation. Care must be taken when putting shoes on or taking them off as forcing things too much can damage the doll or even break an appendage.
Babies are a lot easier in that regard, especially since they will sound an alarm if there is a risk of damage to their appendages. By the time they are 6 months, and if you're lucky, sooner, they will actually assist you in the dressing process. So, for this round - advantage is clearly with babies.

Advantage - babies.

Additional costs:

Momokos don't require much else in the strict sense of the word, but we all know that in reality they incur lots of additional costs in clothes, accessories, props, possible housing, and transportation arrangements. Some collectors even upgrade their photo equipment so as to be able to better capture the doll's beauty.
Also, lots of time is wast… I mean, spent looking online for said clothes, props, etc.; exchanging photos and ideas with other collectors and agonizing whether to buy groceries or another doll.

Babies actually do require a lot, in food, clothes, transportation arrangements and toys. On the other hand, you can use the same housing you have for yourself, so that's a cost-saving aspect.
Another thing to keep in mind is that babies require a WHOLE NEW WARDROBE every, like 3 months and you can't reuse any piece for that same baby. Which, depending on the size of your wallet, can be a happy or tragic thing.
Time-wise, babies consume all of your time. Unlike with your Momokos, you will be happy to have someone come and handle your baby for a little bit every now and then.

Advantage - Momokos.


Momokos are pretty customizable, starting with touching up their face-up to completely rebodying them or even modifying the bodies they came with.
This is absolutely not recommended with babies. You will damage them into non-repairable condition.The most you can do is trimming their hair, and a lot of babies don't even get their hair until they're almost not babies anymore.

Advantage - Momokos.


One can collect Momokos as much as their wallets (or significant others) will allow. They are pretty flexible on storage/display conditions, as long as it's not too hot or cold.
Babies, on the other hand, require a lot of specially designated equipment and a dedicated space, and there are all kinds of regulations on how many can be in the same room (plus, your sanity will impose its own restrictions).

Advantage - Momokos.

 Pets at home:

If you have pets at home (besides your significant other), you need to take special care with Momokos, as dogs, especially may take undue interest and damage your dolls.
Conversely, babies themselves will take undue interest in a pet and may damage it or cause themselves to get damaged if not separated in time.

Advantage - pets.


While this may not be an important aspect, babies are much better at snuggling with than Momokos. The latter have too many pointy angular bits that also break easily. Babies are made for snuggling and seem to enjoy it a lot.

Advantage - babies.

Other considerations:

Momokos are pretty set in what is expected of them.
Babies are highly trainable. This ranges from super easy (training them to eat) to almost impossible to achieve (training them to go to sleep on cue). The unexpected side effect from that is the immeasurable sense of satisfaction one gets when a particular trick, I mean, skill is successfully taught. I mean, it's like if one bought a beat up Barbie trunk in a thrift store for $4.75 with half-off and found an entire ClearLan line of clothing with Black Panther and all AE Momokos inside. And that's just for getting a baby to say "mama".

Advantage - babies.

Last word:

While obviously there are different folks with different strokes, I heartily endorse collecting Momokos (or any other dolls) while being extremely exclusive with babies. Keep in mind that babies only remain such for a limited time, and then become toddlers, then childs, and then teenagers. And one cannot return them! This is the part, I feel, that many people forget when they think they want a baby.
Unless one is absolutely ready to be housing a teenager, one has no business getting a baby, because it's one package, people.  Also, if not properly cared for, babies (and teenagers, as well) don't develop right and will bring you lots of grief.
On the other hand, Momokos remain pretty and obedient (unless you count falling down RIGHT when you are about to take a shot or refusing to get into a particular pose) for as long as you can take.

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