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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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05/08/2005 Archived Entry: "Manga review: Dolls 2"

Dolls II
by Yumiko Kawahara
Publisher: VIZ

Review by Kathryn Ramage

The dolls are back!

The living dolls featured this second collection of graphic short stories written and beautifully drawn by Yumiko Kawahara are actually a plant that grows to resemble a beautiful Victorian-style doll. They live on milk and sugar cookies, are eye-poppingly expensive, and require a near-slavish devotion to maintain. The dolls often choose their owners; they respond only to people they've taken a liking to, for reasons known only to themselves. It seems that the dolls reflect their owners' personalities for better or worse -- or perhaps it's the other way around, and the owners reflect their dolls? Sometimes the line between dolls and owners are even further blurred and confused, until it's hard to tell which ones are which.

The stories in this second volume include:

• A lonely repossessor's assistant who winds up taking care of a doll left in an abandoned apartment.

• A maid hired to look after a doll owned by a mysterious young man from an incredibly wealthy family.

• A young woman seeking a doll just like the one her grandmother had.

• A flighty and shallow model who buys a doll after her husband leaves her, and finds an unlooked-for measure of success.

• A poet who has a possessive obsession with a doll who sings, even though her song is reputed to presage death.

While the first set of stories seemed to me to be primarily quirky fantasies about obsessions carried too far, this second set of stories are more romantic in tone. These stories are about love, between the dolls and their owners, or between human beings. The Pearls of Heaven -- a rare and precious jewel that comes from the tears of a doll; and a doll must love to cry -- feature in several stories.

Like the first volume, I found these stories to be frequently lovely and haunting, and occasionally disquieting; the final story about a woman (or doll?) who won't stay dead is the most noteworthy in this respect.

Please see my review of the first volume of "Dolls."

Replies: 2 comments

I absolutely fell in love with this Manga as soon as I said eyes on it. I've always had a special place in my heart for porcelain dolls, and so this manga really caught my eye. The stories are all very well done, and the art is spectacular. The style reminds me of Petshop of Horrors, actually, but with better art. Anyways, I highly recommend this manga, and hope that any others who read it will enjoy it as much as I did.


Posted by Nanashi @ 06/14/2005 01:58 PM PST

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Posted by Editor @ 01/13/2006 06:20 PM PST

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