This is the first of a two-part article written at our request by one of our favorite doll companies, Ringdoll. As they approach their 10th year of working together and creating dolls from Ran to The White King, the company looks back on their first releases and the milestone dolls in the development of their unique style. They also describe some unique challenges they have faced to release BJDs that comply with their vision.
The second part, which will be released soon, will describe in detail their approach to creating that will include specific challenges that have come up and how they handled them. They will also detail their design approach with one recent doll, Ring Grown line Senkai.
PART.1 Ringdoll’s history
Ringdoll formed at the end of 2008. At that time we only had four members, three females and one male. ìRingî means ring. While we agreed that the name represents more a feminine feeling, it was also in line with the construction team at the time, so we did not think a lot about it (laughs).
The first doll, (Ring Teenager) Ran, was formally completed in 2009 May. It was released in June. Later, Shao, Markus and other works came out. Some of the early works were green, but we devoted great enthusiasm to making them.
Then in 2010, still early for us, an iconic BJD from Ringdoll was born, Pan. Pan is our main designer Shan Huang’s mother’s surname, so this doll also carries extra meaning. Pan is good-looking, a magician, and his dress reflects his personality. He had became very popular.
In 2010 as we developed new dolls, we created a sub- series of Classic Ringdoll that we call The Infamous. This name was not nice, It’s name warned that these dolls were dark, gothic and more. In this series, we played with the aesthetics of horror and violence. The dark series included original works such as chainsaw girl Jessica, orphanage dean Norman and so on. As everyone knows, the popular BJD market is normally sweet and gentle in style, while the Ringdoll The Infamous series attempted a dark style. There were a lot of friends who said it was too dark to accept, but our purpose was that by depicting the dark side of human nature, to exploit pent up fragile feelings and the resonance your heart, it would call out the light and positive forces we finally pursue.
In our darker series, in addition to pure original designs, we chose to create some well-known classic characters such as Frankenstein and Jack the Ripper. Frankenstein is representative of the 2011 Ringdoll The Infamous series. We used Ringdoll’s style to reinterpret the Frankenstein monster. (Mary Shelly’s) Frankenstein is the origin of Western science fiction – our Frankenstein 2011 had a handsome face and was cast in blue, with the original concept of stitching on the body.
Frankenstein 2011 was very popular. Over the next two years, we received requests for a re-issue, so we launched into a redesigned version for Frankenstein 2013. Frankenstein 2013 also received a lot of feedback, and some customers said Frankenstein 2011 was fantastic and they did not want us to change the original design. We replied that the design concept of renewing a Ringdoll original is a challenge and we prefer to overthrow and break with what we have done in the past to give our Ringdoll a new and original soul.
From 2013, Ringdoll began to create a series of dolls with copyright cooperation, first with Kylin, a character from Chinese popular novels (“Time Raiders”) in 2016. Kar98k is from the popular Asian mobile phone game
“Girls Frontline”. Most recently we created “Black Butler” Ciel Phantomhive and Sebastian Michaelis – who are characters from the popular Japanese manga and anime. These works were popular releases.
Yoshitaka Amano-Vampire Hunter D
Ringdoll has received famous Japanese artist Yoshitaka Amano’s approval in early 2017 to authorize the design and development of “Vampire Hunter” D BJD works. Yoshitaka Amano-approved works in the CORE HOBBY can be said to be few, because in addition to technical difficulties, Mr Amano himself places high requirements for the construction of the works. Mr Amano personally recognized Ringdoll’s exquisite design and excellent quality.
From 2008 to 2017, Ringdoll, from the initial four, had now grown to more than thirty people in the team. We have created hundreds of original works, such as The Red King, Dracula, Camilla, K, Senkai, etc… They have been well received. We took our work to shows outside China and participated in exhibitions in the United States, France, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong. Close contact with our customers allowed us to to share our experiences and design ideas, and to collect customer feedback.
We drove more than 20 hours across three states to participate in the exhibition in the United States; and we also sent a designer on a plane for 20 hours alone to a Paris convention. We had to drive more than 10 hours across one state to go to a show to meet our fans and encountered the tears of customers who looked at the works in our booth. These wonderful experiences made us feel significant and they were of great value to us. To create – share – and progress, this is what Ringdoll has always been about.
Part 2 of our Ringdoll article will be released soon.