A big love for Touken Ranbu leads to a big expenditure, but is it money well spent?

Our Japanese-language reporter Udonko makes no secret of her love for the Touken Ranbu anime franchise. Whether it’s Touken Ranbu video games, Touken Ranbu stage shows, or Touken Ranbu sweets, Udonko is always down to spend some time with the series’ cast of handsome young men with the spirits of real-world historical katana within them.

Naturally, Udonko is also the owner of an extensive array of Touken Ranbu merch, including figures and plushies. It wasn’t until very recently, though, that she became the owner of her very own Touken Ranbu doll.

Udonko’s doll desire was triggered when she saw the promotional images for manufacturer Dolk’s doll of her very favorite sword boy, Tsurumaru Kuninaga. Devoted fan she may be, though, it took some time for her resolve to harden enough to place her order. Why? Because the doll cost 248,380 yen (US$1,840).

The sticker shock was huge, but then Udonko started talking to a friend who’s knowledgeable about the Japanese doll scene. The figure was a very high-quality piece, Udonko’s friend could tell, and the availability window for dolls is often limited. “If you miss your chance, won’t you regret it?” her friend asked, adding, “Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to spend every day with your oshi [favorite character]?”

So Udonko bit the bullet and, with clicking finger trembling, placed the order. Some time later, her delivery came.

The box was heavy and huge, longer even than the 65-centimeter (25.6-inch) height of the doll. There’s some assembly required, so after opening the lid the first thing she saw was the instructions, followed by a proof-of-purchase card and Tsurumaru’s neatly folded cloth garments.

Underneath that was a layer of foam padding, with cutouts for the doll’s various parts.

Because of the doll’s highly posable construction, there are various joints and internal cords that need to be tugged and twisted before you start moving things around. Some of them required an S-curved hook, which Udonko was able to order at the same time as the doll.

▼ Part of the head

As you can see in the above photo, the doll doesn’t ship with its eyes in place. Instead, they come caringly placed in their own box.

You don’t just pop them into the sockets, either. Instead, you use sculpting clay to create a firmer, more natural-looking fit.

With the eyes in place, the doll’s face really seems to come alive. And though the assembly takes some time and effort, it also means that you can use other eye pieces if you’ve got different ones you prefer, and how you apply the sculpting clay can also change the overall visual impression.

Now it was time to start getting Tsurumaru dressed.

The doll comes with a pretty thoroughly sorted outfit that includes a kimono, undergarment, billowy hakama pants, and even gloves and sandals.

We suppose you could also say that the doll comes with a wig, since Tsurumaru’s hair starts off separate from his scalp.

And once that finishing touch was in place…

…this sword boy was looking very fine to Udonko’s fangirl eyes.

Of course, the must-have accessory for a Touken Ranbu doll is the katana from which he gets his name and backstory, so Tsurumaru Kuninaga has his.

The doll’s size and posability give it an immense sense of presence, and Udonko is filled with delight every time she thinks of a new pose for him.

She’s also been having fun swapping pictures with other owners of the same doll, seeing the little personal touches more experienced doll enthusiasts have added to theirs.

▼ Udonko’s friend’s Tsurumaru Kuninaga on the left, and Udonko’s on the right

She’s also been gathering tips and ideas for creating a diorama-type space for her doll, but she’s not quite ready to take that plunge just yet.

There’s no getting around the fact that 248,380 yen is a lot of money to drop on a single piece of anime merch, and Udonko can’t deny that in the time between when she placed her order and when her doll arrived, she spent a lot of time wondering if she’d made the right decision.

Immediately upon seeing her assembled Tsurumaru, though, all those feelings of doubt lifted away, and she’s completely satisfied with her decision. After all, if it’s making you happy, spending money doesn’t necessarily mean you’re wasting money.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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