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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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09/27/2005 Archived Entry: "Manga review: Dolls 4"

Dolls, Vol. 4
by Yumiko Kawahara
Published by VIZ Media

Reviewed by Kathryn Ramage

The latest volume in Kawahara's lovely, graphical, fantasy series about living plant-dolls carries on the standard set by its predecessors. There are only four stories in this volume, but with one exception they are longer and more complex than the stories in the previous collections--more a set of graphic novellas than short stories.

As always, the theme of each story concerns the odd relationship between the dolls and their owners. This time, three of the four stories are about children, both little boys and girls, who have an almost spiritual connection with their beloved dolls. Only the last one has to do with an obsessive owner, and a grown man in love with a doll--both of which have played prominent roles in many of the earlier stories.

This set of stories also elaborates on the mysterious, magical, botanical processes that go into the making of a doll:

  • The story titled "A Gift" has to do with the creation of an angel-doll--i.e., one that can grow wings.

  • In "Coral," a little girl grows a tiny doll in the heart of a "plant mite" in a fish tank.

  • The tiara featured in "The Tiara of Melancholy" is actually a flowering parasite that grows on a plant-doll's head, blooms only for a few minutes, and kills its host. Only an obsessive millionaire would want to destroy an expensive doll just to see the tiara in bloom.
  • As always, thoroughly enchanting.

    For my reviews of Dolls Volumes 1-3, see, and

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