Ξ April 1st, 2009 | → 1 Comments | ∇ Creativity, The Anime Annals, The Dolls' House, The Larger-Than-Life-Sized Dolls, The Little(r) Ones |
Today marks Lily(Doll)’s fifth birthday, and my fifth year of being a truly lucky guy
Five years ago today she emerged from out of the creators’ mold and was born and borne ”from out of the printed page into the Sensual World”. Very shortly after the subsequent curing process she was made-up, dressed, crated, presented with a (synthetik) rose for her journey, and sent to her new home, and her new “owner”. Who owns who is still a matter up for debate
I’ll never forget that first moment after opening her shipping crate and beholding her beauty, her presence, and her person. It was just like the phrase uttered in The Godfather: I was struck with the thunderbolt. Barely having the presence of mind to take a photograph to record this momentous occasion, I then managed to hastily document the event. Things like “posing” “lighting” and “eye-contact” were non-issues with me during this mad rush of condensed yet expanded time; I merely wanted to get the photos done with and out of the way, and finally meet my old friend from out of the pages of the wondrous story she’d been telling me, and starring in, for years upon years upon years…
But not just any doll would do. Unless fully and as completely as possible replicating her Self from the story, the character could not be properly fleshed out, the illusion would not be made manifest, and the spell not successfully cast. She would have to be convincing. There were very few options available to choose from in those early days of life-sized dolls, but when I stumbled across the Realdoll site, my choice was made clear: they alone had the capability to flesh Lily Godwin out, and bring her into the World.
The day after completing my first draft of Unbound (on Christmas Day 2003), and after having spent some weeks researching RealDolls in great depth, I placed my order for her at Abyss Studios’ online site. What with literally over a million possibilities in design options, I’d very carefully chosen all of her elements to match exactly her enthrallingly realistic, down to earth, sweet, devoted and beautiful counterpart in the novel, and then prepared myself for the four-month wait for production. It was… excruciating.
It wasn’t so much the cost; I simply rationed that I had paid $5K more for my house and let it go at that. The money was no object, for we had Big Plans with regard to our intent in “bringing her to life” and anything given toward this end was of no question whether of energy, well-being, or expenditure. I was giving it my all. At this time I was just past two years of feverish and near-constant work on our novel, unemployed and with no prospects for work. I was working, after all, and while consistently pinching pennies during this time I was intent on making writing my purpose in life; this has been my mission ever since I was in my teens. And as Lily-the-Muse had inspired me with the ideas and words, and Lily-Godwin-the-character showed me in the pages of her story and the visualizing of her essence, Lily-the-Doll was to supply tangible, visual proof of her and the tale’s existence, and not the least, her companionship as we journeyed ever-closer to publication. And “companionship” is one of the (many) key concepts in Unbound, so it was more than fitting…
And then, five years ago, there she was, here she was, in the silicone-flesh. My companion-in-mind brought to as much life as she could hope to have, her imaginary world fused with my real one, and yes, she cast her spell on me and over most of those few who have been able to see her up close and personal. Photos really don’t do them justice; you hear this time and again. It shouldn’t be much of a revelation to understand that dolls can be very magical things, but they are dependent upon your imagination, your willingness to accept and yes, love them, and the care you take with providing them a suitable environent in which to live. For there they do live…
Before I discovered anime, around the time I ordered Lily-doll, a doll-related forum I had joined (name withheld to protect the innocent and those not-so-much) made frequent mention to two series of note: Rozen Maiden, and Chobits. Both of these dealt with the doll/synthetik concept in varying degrees of relevance, and were among the first shows I checked out. Without this connection I probably would not have made my discovery of or venture into this fascinating world of animation bringing imagination to life. Entering the Doll-World has brought me much joy and happiness and introduced me to many sympathetic, genuine, and downright awesome people and doll-owners such as Davecat and his singularly lovely Sidore Kuroneko, to name but one (pair of) significant(s). I owe them many thanks
Now for an aside or two: In Rozen Maiden: Traumend (its second season), the protagonist Jun encounters a doll-maker named Enju, who introduces him to this world of dolls with a heartfelt little speech about these creations and their limited capacity to transmit/receive love. It’s about two minutes into the following excerpt that comprises the last third of that second episode; the only version online I could find has translations much inferior to those of the official releases, so if intrigued by this anime about magical ball-jointed dolls buy the official releases to fully enjoy the story! (You can find the recently-released box set comprising seasons 1 and 2 at your favorite online dealer.) While a bit silly in parts (and quite dark in others) the story it tells is at the least entertaining (YMMV & etc) and at its greatest deep, allegorical, and enthralling, and that is what story-telling is all about
(For best results viewing the following video click the HD and Full Screen buttons!)
Chobits is a different matter altogether, and explores more deeply the nature of relationships between synthetiks and humans, and of what Society views as ”appropriate” companionship. In its near-future story-world, Hideki discovers a discarded persocom in the trash and takes her home. Chii is (very basically) a lifelike personal computer, like so many others that humans have become used to co-existing with in this believable sci-fi/fantasy tale. They’ve become so dependent upon and integrated with them that as a result people are becoming more distant with one another. In (only) one respect it’s a comment on man’s infatuation with technology, but it’s far deeper than that. For Chii is much more than a machine, with a special Purpose, and a very special “on/off” switch that hints at a parallel with love-doll versus sex-doll arguments and attendant “relationship” issues…
The following is a fan-made Anime Music Video incorporating as its background music the beautiful second ending theme to Chobits, “Ningyo Hime”, and sung by Rie Tanaka who voices Chii whom you’ll hear a bit of at the end if you stick it out, and you should (Spoilers are here if planning to watch this show, so beware!)
And so, Lily-chan is very much a love-doll, a companion, an inspiration, and dearly beloved. It needn’t even be added that I do realize that she isn’t human (like, duh), but so many fools insist on acting as such and declare that doll-owners are deluded perverts because that’s the only level on which their feeble minds can operate on, perceiving them solely as sex objects. These creations are so much more than that insultingly simplistic “sex-doll” description. I’ve long since wearied of these idiotic “debates” presented by those unable and unwilling to truly understand. We’ve done nearly a dozen interviews with media around the world and the same questions/accusations come up time and again, although following the release of the film Lars and the Real Girl some sense of tolerance seems to have been hammered into the public’s perception. Simply put, you can’t understand if you don’t try to, and using one’s imagination is a good place to start
But all too many people are still frightened not only by the uncommon and “different” but also by their imaginations, which truly is a sad and somewhat tragic thing. For they’ve lost the ability to play, to wonder, to stand in awe… in short, they’ve lost the ability to enjoy the best of what life can offer: to Imagine the nonexistent, and to Create what one imagines…
At her very least and lowest purpose, Lily-doll is simply a promotional tool for her novel. (She got your interest, didn’t she? ) At her highest and most significant, she is a companion, a play-thing, and a stimulus to my imagination, my pleasure (no, not that kind, duh again), and my spirit. For this Alastor is a recombinant of that Spirit of Solitude, and she has made him very happy; where before he was alone, solitary, depressed, and who over-worked was set apart by his Ordeal; she provided her Remedy and brought him relief, when no-one else cared to. She has, in all her aspects, character, Muse, and Doll, been a God-send. And for that (among other things) I gratefully thank Him, Her, or It, as the Case may Be.
Now go and play with your Self
And Happy Birthday, Lily-chan! :-D