Volks has almost completely dominated the Japanese resin doll market. You will rarely see Japanese owners with another brand of doll, especially before Dolk came on the scene. Volks created the original resin BJD in 1999 and has been chugging along ever since.
Volks is known for its elitist fans in the English speaking community (me). Beware!
There are so many Volks stores in Japan! They can be separated into 4 types.
Volks HQ in Kyoto. Here is a video tour by the creepiest host for your viewing pleasure. Dollfie Dreams are not allowed after 2015. Tenshi models and many FCS models are exclusive to this store.
Volks' Harajuku location. It's still a very pretty shop and has more FCS options than a Sumika.
The rest of the Dollfie stores! There are multiples of these in many cities. They're much smaller than Sato and Mado, but still look fun!
Shortened to "Dolpo". There's one in Akihabara and one in Osaka. They are focused on Dollfie Dreams, but Super Dollfie is offered there as well. Offers an FCS-like service for Dollfie Dreams called Dream Choice.
There's not much for international doll lovers, unfortunately.
The LA Sumika was closed down in 2014, but the online business remains open. My teenage dreams of visiting were crushed. Once in a while, they'll vend at a doll show or anime convention. They cannot sell outside of North America.
Closed down in 2017. Dolls can still be purchased through haruhana. Sometimes haruhana gets more interesting dolls than VolksUSA just sayin.
And of course, the online shop, Volks International!
A quarterly magazine sold by Volks with information about new releases. Even if you can't buy the doll, you can buy the magazine so you can stare lovingly at the doll you lost in the lottery.
Interested in the models for each issue? They can be viewed online starting at issue 89. Just change the number in the URL to the issue you are looking for!
Available all the time. Only a few models are offered at a time and the lineup changes every few years. For some reason, there haven't been any boys regularly available in many years.
In addition to standards, there's limited standards. SD WS Mai and SDGrB Haru are examples of these. I believe haruhana has had these once, but never VolksUSA. They're limited releases for events at Sato for the most part.
Dolls available to be purchased immediately in store. They come fully dressed and are wearing matching outfits. Super Dollfie Midi and Dear SD are the only dolls that show up as coordinate models.
Dolls released in limited numbers. They're usually sold by lottery or very rarely, pre-order. Some older releases did have publicized numbers, but we will probably never know the current numbers, except of a few dolls like Momoko Ryugasaki, Mana-sama, and HYDE, who all have numbered headplates. Volks likes to release dolls in story lines that are cute!
Shortened to FCS (English) and フルチョ (Japanese). A method of buying a Volks doll where you can choose every aspect of your doll. Usually takes around 2 months to get your doll made. Limited doll heads are not offered, but there's 100-ish heads to choose from for an SD sized doll. VolksUSA offers a watered down version of this called OnlineFCS. More like "Some Choice System".
This is the only way to get a doll in PS Ever Beauty. These dolls have special headplates which are silver. They are promised to yellow as slowly as possible, but cost about twice the price of a PS Fair/White doll. EB Tan does exist as an option.
Dream FCS (夢フルチョ) is like FCS on drugs and costs like $4k. Pick any doll in any resin color with any faceup just do whatever you want! They do not offer this very often or to more than a few people.
To get one of these, you have to visit Tenshi no Sato to enter the lottery for one. If you win, you'll get a call from Tenshi no Sato, and you'll have to come in to pick it up after listening to a 1 hour spiel about them. There are four headmolds available: Kasumi and Yayoi and an almost closed eyed version of both. They are on the SDGr yumetenshi body. It's a genderless body based off the SDGr girl body. All of these are blushed, either point (partial) or full. The faceup and blushing are sealed in a way that cannot be removed or scratched. Allegedly, PS Bisque yellows faster than PS Everbeauty.
If you get caught buying or selling one of these secondhand, Volks will ban you. To get rid of one, you must return the doll to Volks.
A doll with a faceup done by a Volks artist that is one of a kind. Each has a headplate that says "ONEOFFMODEL". The base doll is not OOAK, but the outfit may be. Volks will often commission popular dealers from their Dolpa events for the outfits. These are usually sold by lottery in person at a Volks store or event. Around twice a year, they will also be sold by lottery online at Volks International. VolksUSA and Haruhana have these events about once a year as well.
The winners of one-offs from Volks stores are notified with a white envelope containing a photo and information of the doll.
The current one-off artists are: Ciera, Kinoko, Tsukimi, Rumina, Luluco, aone, Yui, Saifa, HARU. Former one-off artists are: K.Mayura, Valico, momo, MIKEY, Kyon, and KISARAI. It's not uncommon that the artist will leave a signature inside of the head. Gift tenshi also include one off certificates and may have makeup credited to Zoukeimura.
Included in this are Super Dollfie Dream, which are Dollfie Dream cast in resin. Extremely rare as only a few have been released many years ago. I swear I'm not crazy.
I hope you have too much money if you want one of these. Sold at events only.
Shortened to ドルパ Dolpa. Quarterly in person Volks event where new dolls are released and dealers gather to sell goods. Many happen at Tokyo Big Sight, but this isn't the only location. Hometown Dolpa take place in Kyoto. VolksUSA also hosts a Dolpa in LA once every 2 years or so since 2015.
There have been a few events on cruise ships. You'll find some Oath of Silver Coin dolls were exclusive to these events.
Volks used to hold some events at the Volks Mansion. There's no way Volks owns a mansion in California. I have no idea what this was about. Only used for events and parties in the 2000's.
At Dolpa 30 in 2013, Volks broke the world record of the longest line of dolls. Nakayoshi hand parts were given to participants.
Most Volks dolls feature the "one touch system" for an easy method of hand and foot removal. The S hook in the wrist is pulled out and lodged in a recessed area so you can easily remove the hand from the hook. SD/SD13 have this feature in their wrist ball. SD17 has this feature inside of their forearm.
SD/SD13G can all share hands. SDGrG and SD16G share hands, but SD16G requires an extra wrist ball and uses a string. SD13B share hands with SDGrB. SD17 and SDGou can also share hands with SDGr, but a wrist ball and string must be attached for use. SDGrB hands 8-12 specifically are offered to owners of SD17 boys. It appears that the SD17 body only has one set of hands specifically made for it, other than owner limited sword-holding and gun-holding hands.
SDM has the normal and tabi feet options. SD/SD13 has normal, heel, and tabi feet. SDGrG and SD16G have flat footed leg parts, as well as heel legs with no ankle joint. These parts are for the entire leg, not just the knee and below. SDGrB has normal and tabi feet. Please email me if you know the compatibility of SDGrB feet with SDGou and SD17.
When ordering new from Volks, hand sets for SDM are 3,080円, and all larger sizes are 4,400円. Wrist joints are an extra 1,100円. If included with the hand set (such as SD17B-H-01), the cost of the set is 5,500円. Both SDGrG leg part sets go for 19,800円.
Komame is the first Super Dollfie Mascot. Komame is a plush cat owned by Jun Tachibana and created by her mother. You could optionally order a Komame plush after purchasing a SD13 Jun Tachibana. There have been plenty of Komame releases since including "Komame Cheeky", a plush made by Merrythought.
Shirokuma Shige-chan represents Shigeta Hideyuki, the Volks CEO, and was released for the 45th Volks anniverary in 2017. For the 50th anniverary, two honeybears were released. One flocked, one unflocked. Each unflocked Shige-chan was signed by Shigeta himself!
For the Volks 50th anniverary, Shirokuma Setsu-chan was released! This bear represents the president's wife, Shigeta Setsu. A plushie of Shirokuma Setsu-chan was given away as gifts.
There's a few very special models which are small sculpted angels that are given away at Volks events. These models cannot be purchased from Volks. Reitenshi (霊天使) are the smallest and most minimally jointed. Seitenshi (精天使) are a bit smaller than Yo and fully jointed. For Yo, MSD/SDM(KoTenshi), SD(KyoTenshi), SD13(SeiRei), SDGr(YumeTenshi), tenshi just means the body has no genitals. Both male and female SD bodies are converted to tenshi bodies and although the girls are completely flat, you can tell which base body was used easily by the overall body shape. These are sold at Tenshi no Sato.
Volks ceremony performed in a Volks location where you welcome your new Volks doll into your life. A free service, but reservations are required. All Super Dollfie can be welcomed regardless of when they were purchased.
Volks staff will place your doll in a bed on an altar covered in a veil. Doors are locked, lights are dimmed, and an unfittingly sexy song plays. The store manager wears a cloak and recites some words about how you are welcoming this doll into your life. He or she then lights some candles around your doll.
The candles are blown out and the soulbonding is complete. You are now legally required to pay your doll's taxes. You'll take a commemorative photo that will be sent to you (within Japan). You can then take photos of your doll in the welcoming bed. Invite your friends!
My little American brain can't process this one. You can choose to send back your doll to Volks. You pay 2000 yen to Volks. Volks refurbishes the doll and then sells it in their store. You receive a little crystal heart in return. Here's a blog post (and another) from someone crazy enough to use this service.
The results of the wakare service! A refurbished dollfie. They have special little black outfits, new wigs, and new (FCS recommended) faceups. They're available for immediate pick up at Sato and Mado (when available). The prices are (from what I've seen) SDM 37,400円, SD/SD13 60,500円, SDGrB 79,200円. Limited models may be higher.
It is HIGHLY recommended you do not buy these without seeing them first in person. I have seen multiple with mismatched resin that most would not find acceptable.
In 2000, Volks collaborated with Gentaro Araki to create Andolrea U-Noss. Between then and 2004, they could be purchased from Volks through a sort of preorder. A collaboration like this has not happened since and likely will never happen again.
As far as I know, Unoss is still allowed at Volks stores and events.
She is the great and holy spirit behind Super Dollfie! She decides if you win the Volks lottery for the doll you love. She can be seen at Tenshi no Sato. Pray to her nightly before and after entering a lottery.
For many limited releases, VolksUSA will have their own lottery or preorder. Due to licensing issues, don't expect every release to show up on VolksUSA. An odd limitation occured when Canadians could not enter for or order the Frozen dolls, but this isn't common.
The lottery entry period lasts the first 10 days of the month and the winners are sent emails around the 17-24th at 12AM PST. All winners receive the email at once. The losers do not receive anything. Winners may be able to see themselves added to a "User Group" on their profile before emails are sent out. It's theoretically possible for a winner to not pay and a winning email could be sent out later, but don't bet on it.
Always expect your doll to arrive at least a month past the International arrivals. They are shipped by cargo ship from Japan to LA. After this, they are checked and sent out from the warehouse in Gardena, CA via whichever mail service you choose.
Included with your doll will be a sheet of paper that includes a link to the "Owner Limited Items" page for your doll. These are option hand parts, and other "extra" items like a second wig won't be included. You will need to be logged into your account, which is added to the user group that can view the items. If you have a different paypal email from your account email, you may need to email them to be added to the group. These items will be shipped by sea to LA, so expect another long wait. Alternatively, you can order the option hand parts (or any other parts they may offer) from Volks Int, if you are able to find the link. Ask around! It's likely someone will give it to you.
For more information on VolksUSA online FCS, please visit this page!
VolksUSA pricing has generally been $1 USD = 100円, which could be good or bad for you depending on the exchange rate. For orders shipped outside of California, VolksUSA does not charge tax. Local buyers can choose to pick up outside of the warehouse and skip the shipping fee.
VolksUSA does not offer Beauty Salon, Satogaeri, or Trade Exchange services outside of in person LA Dolpa events.
As much as I like to think I know, I don't know even close to as much as these people!
Covers a lot of topics! Events, pages for each doll sculpt with info on one-off models released. A bit of info on FCS, not really any photos though. Good place to waste time looking at the limited doll you want!
English FCS guide. Based off of Angel Den with updated information. Updates seem to be slow. Lots of photos so you can dream about going to Japan and ordering an FCS doll.
The original FCS guide in English. Also has an area for every standard and limited model doll. Stopped being updated in Sep 2012. No photos anymore. Thanks for your hard work seraphim! If you need an icon for your DoA signature, she's got you covered too.
In 2019, Volks changed the names of their resin and vinyl tones. This article explains the changes (in Japanese). Sunlight is a much better name than Tan but what do I know.