When I bought my first Pure Neemo, I didn’t think I’d buy any others. There weren’t any past or upcoming releases that caught my attention as much as that particular Chiika. This continued to be true even as Azone released the fantastic “Komorebi Mori no Doubutsu-tachi” dolls. Their mori-girl themed outfits and adorable forest animal ears, tails, and accessories were wonderful. There were quite a few that I wanted for the outfits, but not for the dolls themselves.
In fact, I split one of the releases (Miu) with a friend who was only interested in the doll. Katyusha looked adorable in the navy and green-plaid overdress and dark brown accessories, not to mention the bunny ears and bunny tail adorned bloomers.
I didn’t think I’d be able to find someone willing to split every “forest animals” doll, and it was too expensive to buy them all for the outfits, so I stopped paying much attention.
Then I started seeing pictures on other’s Flickr photostreams showing “neko-san Aika.” Aika’s face hadn’t really appealed to me before, but “neko-san” Aika was not the same as normal Aika. Aika typically has drooping eyes with heavy upper lids and a slightly smile; it gives her a somewhat sneaky expression–albeit a bit sleepy. This Aika did not have the little smile, however–instead, her mouth was a little “o” that seemed somewhat hesitant. Chiika’s mouth is more of a “D” with the flat part at the bottom, and that gives her face a frightened look. By comparison, this Aika’s mouth makes her face seem as though she’s yawning or has just thought of something to say. It’s like a visual pause.
I missed out on the opportunity to pre-order her, and at first I thought that wouldn’t be a problem. I liked her cute face, but I didn’t need to own the doll. This became less true the more frequently I saw other people’s photos. I checked the sites that stock Azone, hoping to find an Aika that wasn’t pre-ordered, but my joining of waiting lists didn’t produce any results.
However, one of my Flickr friends tipped me off to a used Neko-san Aika listed on Mandarake’s online shop. (Mandarake is an auction service and a shop for anime-type goods.) I managed to order before someone else did, and then anxiously awaited the arrival of the doll. She was listed as used, but with nothing missing. I wasn’t sure exactly what that would mean or what shape the doll and her outfit would be in when it arrived.
Mandarake shipped very promptly (the next day) after I paid for my order, and because I chose EMS shipping it arrived at my office in only a few days! (One of the guys from our IT department signed for it and tipped me off to its arrival, as our receptionist was away from her desk when the mail arrived. He came by saying, “I think you have something from… Japan?” XD)
Despite being “used,” she was in perfect condition! Even her hair was still held down by the little plastic band. All of the outfit accessories that the doll wasn’t dressed in to start off were in their plastic bags taped into the box. I couldn’t have been more satisfied. She’s just as cute as she looked in the pictures, and I think she looks well with Chiika. ♥ I like seeing them together!
I’ve named her Nonna. Since Chiika is named Katyusha, and Nonna and Katyusha are close characters in Girls Und Panzer, which I ADORE, it just seemed right. :3