Dolls, Vol. 4

by Yumiko Kawahara | Graphic Novels |
ISBN: 159116866X Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 11/6/2012
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This book is in a Controlled Release! This book is in a Controlled Release!
5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, November 06, 2012
I got this volume at The Comic Store on one of their manga sale days. It continues the series of stories about "plant dolls", beautiful living dolls that respond to loving care, and wilt and die under neglect. I enjoy the artwork, the haunting quality, the variety of storylines from tragic to heart-warming, and the touches of humor.

The first story here has a very ill young boy become infatuated with a plant doll, which his parents buy for him; this seems to bring about an improvement in his condition, and certainly in his spirits. There are hints of something mystical, and I found the ending enigmatic - is all going to be well, or...?

The second tale introduces the concept of angel dolls, which a rival concern to the primary Mysterious Shop Owner seems to be working on, and mixes sleeping-beauty symbolism with a storyline dealing with the loss of loved ones by death or by abandonment. There's a very touching and thoughtful conclusion to this one.

"Coral" introduces yet another variety of plant doll - this one beginning as a very tiny doll in a ball of coral. This one's more of a comedy, though as the doll started growing I began to worry just where it was going to end!

The final story had me cringing in dread for much of its length; it's about a legendary "blue tiara", a kind of parasitic plant that grows on the head of a plant doll and will bloom only once - and only if the doll's been subjected to the right kind of poignant love. What's worse - after it blooms, the doll will die... When a wealthy man hires another man to help create the tiara on a plant doll he's bought, things get very, very heart-wrenching. But - yet again - the story darted off in a direction I didn't expect, and I thoroughly enjoyed the payoff.

I enjoyed these stories, though I noticed that there were fewer scenes in the plant-doll boutique than in previous collections. While the shop owner was seldom a main character, I did miss him - I'd been hoping for a story that would reveal a bit more about him, but I guess that's not to be!

Volumes:

Volume One
Volume Two
Volume Three
Volume Four

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (8/28/2013 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

This 4-volume set will be on its way to BCer megi53 in Virginia, to kick off the bookray. (See Vol. 1 for the mailing order.) Enjoy!

*** Released as part of the 2013 One Word Title release challenge. ***

Journal Entry 3 by Megi53 at Danville, Virginia USA on Monday, September 02, 2013
Looks heavenly!! :-)

Journal Entry 4 by Megi53 at Danville, Virginia USA on Sunday, October 27, 2013
I was cold to the first two stories that featured sickly little boys. But, oh how "Coral" and "The Tiara of Melancholy" compensated! The detailed artwork was especially nice in those two stories -- the clothing, the home interiors, the exquisite expressions on the characters' faces ...

"Coral" was lighthearted and funny, while "The Tiara of Melancholy" had a satisfying ending. I enjoyed spending time with the big sister who'd built such a practical handyman business.

ETA on Nov. 7: One of the sickly-little-boy stories had an exquisite touch that I should mention, as it was very unique and compelling: the boy gave the doll an unpronounceable name that was written in Japanese letters. Cool!

Journal Entry 5 by Megi53 at Danville, Virginia USA on Thursday, November 07, 2013

Released 5 yrs ago (11/5/2013 UTC) at Danville, Virginia USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Mailed from Ballou Park post office to the next person on the bookray, who lives in Honolulu.

Tracking number: 9114 9011 5981 8051 3803 98

Journal Entry 6 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Tuesday, November 19, 2013
This book and its companions have arrived safely in Honolulu and are awaiting their chance for a new victim to be read. ;)

Journal Entry 7 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Saturday, January 18, 2014
I initially started with this volume by mistake: I thought the "4" was a "1". As a result, I was rather confused and not sure I liked the first two stories. So I took a break from the books..and when I got back to them I figured out my error and started with Volume 1 instead.

As a result, I had a good deal more background to draw upon when I got to those same stories the second time around, and I found them more enjoyable than before. (BTW, those "unpronounceable" characters don't appear to be Japanese, or Chinese, for that matter: my guess is they're the artist's own creation, which makes them truly special and exotic. The idea of an unpronounceable name works well in a manga, but I can't imagine how you could get that concept across in an audio version - or a video format for that matter.)

Coral's story was light-hearted and amusing, while the story of the blue tiara was more complicated and a bit disturbing: the dolls are so human-like that (like the "cure" for the tree disease) the idea of deliberately implanting a tiara seed seems cruel at best. But one of the characters reinterprets the process with a new perspective..and unexpected results.

Journal Entry 8 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Sunday, January 19, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (1/18/2014 UTC) at Honolulu, Hawaii USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

The plant dolls are headed for Minnesota: hope they don't wilt! See volume 1 for tracking number.

Journal Entry 9 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Monday, March 10, 2014
I've read this series years ago and remember loving it; I don't tire of looking at the intricate, painstakingly drawn illustrations. Looking forward to re-reading it. Thanks for sharing!

Journal Entry 10 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Thursday, April 10, 2014
My favorite volume so far but alas this is the last!

Interestingly there are many stories about children with dolls. I am not sure what adults will buy a living doll for a little boy, considering boys aren't encouraged to play with dolls, but I suppose these stories tend to be brighter than middle-aged men with Lolita complex... I don't even want to go there...

The first story's ending, as Gory said, is really enigmatic. What with the boy saying that he can't see the water even when the doll is standing in the stream. Where is she leading him?

Like the Coral story, would be nice to have a more affordable version of plant doll.

Really love the Tiara story. Very good set up, totally lovely illustrations, as if the author herself is pouring everything into the last story to make it really bloom.

Now this set of four volumes will go on to the next reader, HI77. Thanks Gory for the chance to enjoy this volume again.

Journal Entry 11 by HI77 at Fort Myers, Florida USA on Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Is it better to have loved

and lost,
or never have loved a plant doll at all?

Journal Entry 12 by HI77 at Fort Myers, Florida USA on Friday, March 31, 2017

Released 2 yrs ago (3/28/2017 UTC) at Fort Myers, Florida USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

On this last volume of the series, it had my favorite story of the "Blue Tiara". It was quite clever with the twists and turns.

It was the one story that had me truly invested in it and I could see it ending badly. It was rough, and beautiful. I kept wanting to see what would happen and yet, also to not know.

The end was really great! It was my hands down favorite! :)


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