I thought I’d do a little review of animetic eyes, since I’m personally having a really hard time finding eyes for my Dollfie Dreams. I haven’t bought acrylics for my dolls in years and my dolls don’t wear them (with one exception), because the quality just doesn’t compare to the other options out there, but with DDs I’ve had to make more exceptions. There are urethane animetics out there as well, but they’re mostly very hard to get because the makers tend to be based in Asia and only sell them at conventions. So, I don’t have many different brands right now, but I’m slowly trying out different ones, while trying to find _the_ eyes for my girls. I think I also saw a pair of very interesting oval glass eyes somewhere -directed at DDs and those got me really curious.
But for now this is what I have. I’ll add more if/when I get them.
I tend to photoshop my photos if the eyes go dark due to bad light, but for the review purposes I have not photoshopped these photos at all (except brightness/contrast).
Availability/Ordering:The standard models are available from Volks’ webstore & physical stores. Some exclusive styles are only available from certain stores. Also their limited dolls always come with limited eyes specific to that doll.
Price:JP¥ 1059 Pros:Metallic, catch light well, number of styles available, cheap
Cons:Colour selection is quite limited, some styles only available from physical stores, styles look very cartoony, best styles are limited
Conclusion:For acrylics, Volks animetics are decent, but they’re very cartoony and flat looking most of the time. The edges are very harsh and colours don’t blend together nicely, except in some limited styles. Personally, I won’t use them for any other purpose than to be temporary eyes until I find something better.
White Dolly Story
Availability/Ordering:Taobao shop, but I emailed Shiro directly when I ordered mine
Price:¥90 (or $18/pair through email/flickr, and only EMS shipping is available) Pros:A lot of colours and styles available, very pretty when they catch light well
Cons:Needing a taobao agent to get for an affordable price, materials not very good quality, clear pixels visible, not very good at catching light
Conclusion:These look gorgeous in the makers’ photos, but after seeing several pairs in person (all the same quality), I say that she uses some incredible lighting and/or a ton of photoshop to bring out the shine so much. Or she uses the urethane versions she sells at events in her own dolls that look much better than these acrylic ones. I mean, these do shine in a doll but not to that degree. Whenever the light is bad, I have to photoshop the eyes a lot to bring them out in photos. I’d say these are well worth the Taobao price if you can get them through a proxy with low fees, but I would never again pay $18/pair +EMS shipping for these. These have been by far my most disappointing DD eye purchase and I was honestly kind of mad when I got them -maybe because of all the hype, praise and recommendations they got. And yet they look and feel very cheap.
Availability/Ordering:Through her Etsy store
Price:16€ Pros:Affordable, fast shipping, style selection is growing, good colour and size selection, (+in the EU, which is obviously a pro for me and other EU customers, maybe not so much to others)
Cons:The sizes run a little small, materials not very good quality
Conclusion:For the price and availability, I’m quite happy with these. They don’t catch light amazingly, but they don’t go completely dark in bad light either. Would I wish they shined in light more? Yes. Am I totally unhappy about the lack of shine? No. The pupils are very dark as well, and don’t reflect light badly so I’m content on that front. However, I bought the 22mm size for Saya (DDH07) because 24mm tends to be too big for her, and these were too small (the iris; I’m sure the whole diameter is 22mm).
I’m quite eagerly waiting for her urethane versions.
Animetic urethanes are not like most good quality BJD urethanes where the Iris is often hand painted, threaded, glittered etc. with 3D insides. I think I’ve seen a few exceptions, but animetic urethanes are mostly made the same way as acrylics: the Iris is made with computer, printed out, cut into shape and then put inside the eye. The difference is that urethane as a material is much more high quality than the plastics used for acrylic eyes. It shines and reflects light better, but the quality will be highly dependent on how and what the irises are printed on.
Availability/Ordering:Through her website (lizanna.com), but it’s currently closed.
Price:$38 Pros:Catch light extremely well, high shine, well-made, irises don’t(/haven’t) yellowed, possibility for custom colour and size orders
Cons:Limited style and colour selection, quite pricey
Conclusion:These are by far my favorite animetic eyes. They look amazing in all my dolls at all times. However, I’ve been having a hard time pinpointing the best style and size for my girls because it’s harder to buy several to test due to the price. I did say that the price is a con, but I do think they’re well worth it simply because of how gorgeous they look. She’s also had order periods where ordering a custom colour is possible, and Lizanna is very accomodating with requests. I just wish she had more styles available, so that all my girls wouldn’t be limited to Stardusts and Moonlights -they’re the only two styles with properly black pupils, which is a requirement for eyes for me. (Just a personal kink, I don’t do pupilless/blind/bling eyes unless there’s some character reason for them.)
Availability/Ordering:I don’t know if there’s any other way to get these, but the maker regularly lists a bunch of these eyes on yahoo!Japan. I bid on mine via a proxy service.
Price:They started out at around 1500 yen. Out of the batch that was listed when I bought mine, they ended up at around 2500-4000y Pros:Extremely shiny, good quality printing, pretty
Cons:Extremely shiny, the light reflects all over the printed iris -including the pupil area, clearly printed and cast inside urethane, not perfectly cut, hard to make catch light in the same way
Conclusion:Okay, so the first thing that really pops out in these is how shiny they are. Like really. Very lustrous. I don’t think they actually shine more than Lizannas, but they’re printed on a metallic paper that shines all over the place. Even if there’s only a hint of light, they shine somewhere. However, it’s very clear that they’re just printed pieces of paper cast inside an urethane dome because even the dark areas reflect light -though they really shouldn’t. They remind me a lot of new Soom eyes, actually. The shininess is both a pro and a con in this case.
HISYO-HISYO (A grade)
Availability/Ordering:AFAIK Hisyo-Hisyo only sells the eyes at events (in Japan). No online sales.
Price:At events: 1,000yen for B grade, 1,500yen for A grade and 2,000yen for S grade Pros:Catch light extremely well, high shine, well-made, rounded in shape
Cons:Availability, cut outside the iris line slightly
Conclusion:I can only speak for the pair of A grade I have because I have yet to get any others, so I don’t know how big the differences in quality are between the differend grade eyes. But I’m very impressed with this pair. I wasn’t expecting that much because they’re not very expensive straight from the maker, despite the fact that their auction prices regularly go up to 6K-10K (but Japanese are crazy for limited stuff, so I expected that was why). I paid over double their original price, but it’s in the range of what Lizannas cost and I’m happy with that, because these are actually very similar in quality. The iris print is high quality, it shines in the right places and the shape of the eye is more rounded than other animetic urethanes I’ve seen. They also shine in very low light very strongly. The iris isn’t cut exactly at the edge of the iris and the metallic effect goes a bit over the edges, but it’s nowhere as bad as on the Lotta Mimi pair. The one major drawback is the stink availability for anyone that can’t visit a Doll Show or similar event where Hisyo sells the eyes. The second hand prices can get ridiculous -especially for the more sought after styles and colours.
If you have any other eye makers you know, please let me know in the comments. I know of Arietta Project but despite the large style selection, I was not able to find a style for my dolls, so I haven’t bought those yet (and since I haven’t seen proper close up owner photos, I’m not convinced of the quality/price ratio either).