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getting a LE (Heath) at Dolpa 13

May 3, 2005

    1. A few weeks ago I would have LOVED to read someone's report of buying a limited in person at a Dolpa so I'd have some general idea of how Volks had done it in the past, but I couldn't find any such thing anywhere online in English. I hope someone will find this helpful!

      Anyone buying a limited needed to have purchased the guidebook in advance from a Volks store. The guidebook doubled as the admission ticket and was not sold at Dolpa until 9:30, which was too late to get into the limited line.

      I arrived at the main Big Sight entrance at 6:30 AM. It was earlier than necessary. There was no line, just some people milling about, and not that many of them. At least it seemed so to me at first, probably because the only other Big Sight convention I'd ever been to was last summer's Comiket which had 120,000 people each day. In comparison this was so sparse that it made me wonder if I was in the right place but many of the earlybirds had telltale doll carrying cases slung over their shoulders. The scheduled time for the lines to begin was 7:30 so I thought I had plenty of time.

      At about 7:10, suddenly people started moving in a certain direction and EVERYONE followed them. There was no announcement that I heard, it was just like a group of lemmings going on crowd instinct. I joined the lemmings despite having NO idea what was going on, only that whatever it was I surely didn't want to be at the end. The crowd funneled down a staircase to the bus stop area, emerging at the bottom in a line. It was just one big line and a lot longer than one might have expected from the sparse crowd above. No one had been redirected or separated into anything like the 3 lines I'd expected from the Volks instructions. I nervously asked the girls in front of me what line it was and they said they thought it was just a general "everything" line. The girls behind me thought the same thing, although they'd also never been to a Dolpa before and didn't know what to expect. However, those girls were there to try to get Arashi (as a first doll for one of them), so they were on alert for any announcements about a limited line.

      Around 7:30 Dolpa staff started moving small groups of people (maybe 10 to 20?) into a new limited line. It went very slowly, seemed to be getting no closer to my spot, and the new limited line grew larger and larger while the girls behind me cried "Minna gentei?!!!" (Everyone's limited?!) in despair. Then that limited line went somewhere and we were REALLY upset. Finally around 8:00~8:10, the staff moved my area and everyone behind into a new limited line, sorting out the few Tenshi no Sumika people. We waited for a few minutes, then were herded to the entrance of the West 1 hall.

      As we entered the hall, we drew a folded lottery ticket out of a large box and had our guidebooks stamped. My lottery ticket was number 2192, which horrified me at first until I realized it was out of 3900. The hall had lines of tape running down the middle, with numbers indicating where we should stand. We had to remain in the hall but once we'd found our places it wasn't necessary to stay standing in that spot; we could go to the bathroom or smoking area, or get a drink from one of the vending machines. Many people brought tiny folding chairs, while others simply sat on the floor. I saw the Arashi girls a couple of rows away from me, no more than 200 numbers after mine. There were fewer people than the 3900 possible. At a guess, it was about 1/3 to 1/4 empty. But because it was lottery, those empty spots were more or less evenly distributed throughout the entire range of numbers.

      At about 8:40 Volks staff instructed us to step forward in the rows so that there were no gaps. Then we waited... and waited... and waited... I'm not sure if they started distributing doll order tickets at the designated 9:00 time or not, as I couldn't see. It wasn't until 10:30 that the staff moved my row to a new line where I could see people getting order/preorder slips up ahead. Finally at 10:45 I got to the order table, was told that Heath was only available by preorder now, and received my form. Then I moved down to the end of the payment line and filled out the preorder form while waiting.

      The payment line went in stages too. We waited downstairs for a while. Then the staff sent us upstairs to stand in several rows outside the dealer halls. One row at a time was called, and then sent to go stand on the limited payment line next to the Tenshi no Sumika booth. That part of the line had a remarkable resemblance to the immigration line at Narita airport and moved just about that quickly. As we finally reached the line closest to the Sumika booth, we could see (for the first time!) a display of the dolls we'd been waiting for all morning. Then we got shooed around the corner to a row of cash registers, paid quickly, received our receipts, and were out. That part was a bit anticlimactic. *_*

      Then I walked back around the corner and took another look at the payment line... it was growing empty. The last I'd seen, there had been maybe 150 people behind me. No one had been added. Even the preorders had stopped. A few minutes later I saw the Arashi girls walking around sadly. They hadn't been able to order him. :cry: I hope they can get him at the after event!

      By this time it was nearly 1:00. Many of the dealers had long since sold out of their best items. The Tenshi no Sumika shop had almost nothing left. Without a doll to play with/show off or money to burn, there wasn't much to do except wander around and look at displays. I heard from a dealer friend that this Dolpa had a smaller attendance than previous ones. I guess it's hard for her trying to sell to fewer people but I'm just glad I got my Heath preorder. :oops:

      BTW, I'm not exactly sure how I will receive Heath. :oops: From what the staff said, and what was written on the preorder form and my receipt, it LOOKS like the extra 1,000 yen fee tacked on to preorders is a postage fee. But 1,000 yen is so low that it's hard to believe it could really be what they're charging to ship an SD13 with long legs. And yet it's too expensive for a simple letter telling me to go to one of the local Tenshi no Sumikas. I thought it was really strange but I didn't want to hold up the lines by asking many questions in bad Japanese. I guess eventually either he'll show up at my apartment or I'll get a pickup notice. *_*
    2. Wow, what a story! That bit comparing the line to immigration made me laugh. It's too bad that it seems there is a tradeoff -- either you focus on the limited lines, or you get to see the doll show before everything's gone.

      Thanks for sharing the story, though! Good luck and hope Heath arrives soon. ;)
    3. Indeed a very dramatic day. But I am really glad to hear that you managed to order Heath~~ Pictures!!! Look forward to seeing pictures of your boy when he arrives~~
    4. :)

      I'm really happy you were able to get him. He's really gorgeous from all the pics I've seen. He's perfect for your boy.

      But damn, it really does seem like such a long and crazy process. O_O You must've been very tired by the end of it. But then it was probably worth it. :D
    5. Wow, that's an interesting description but still cool to have someone talk about what goes on in the Dolpa! Thanks for sharing and congrats on Heath! :D
    6. Great story! Had me sweating bullets as I read it! Congratulations!
    7. I have no clue how all of that works but the 1000 yen could very well be the shipping fee. I think that was about the shipping cost when I got my MSD. I know ... it seems obscenely low. o__o
    8. WWWOOOOOOOOOW! What a storieeeee! O.O
      *hard to get some parts 'cause of my poor english but I got most parts ^^*



    9. Wow! Congrats on getting your guy at least! :D (and at last!)
    10. Thanks for the detailed report! I love reading event descriptions. Good luck getting your Heath... I feel kinda teary after reading that the Arashi girls didn't get him yet. ^^;
    11. Same here. And that might not bode well for those of us who were planning on trying to get him at the after event too! :cry:

    12. I'm glad it wasn't just me wiping my eyes afterwards. Boy, it sounds like a nerve-wracking process, all-in-all.
    13. I felt so bad for the Arashi girls. He's a pretty boy and after that description of waiting on line I feel so bad knowing that some people didn't get what they came for. But I'm glad you got your Heath. ^__^ Will you be making him Kamijo outfits?
    14. Aw! The poor Arashi girls! I too hope that they can get him!
      And Heath! OMG I really want to see someone dress him up like Chairman Kaga... After that one CG... *giggles*
      Congratulations on ordering your boy!

      Edit: I love your Kamijo icon!
    15. god, what a stressful event. I couldn't even imagine trying to do it with as little japanese as I know. Good job, inertia ^^
    16. Thank you all so much for the congratulations! It really was crazy and stressful! It takes so long that you just have to sacrifice doing or getting anything else at Dolpa if you want a limited.

      I felt really sad for the Arashi girls too. He would have been the first doll for the girl who wanted him. I guess it's got to be nerve-wracking trying to get a limited in any case, but I think it's really hard if it's the first doll because if you fail you have nothing at all. I'm not sure what I would have done if I hadn't been able to get Heath.

      Heheh, yeah, I'm going to make Heath (aka Jeremie Florence de Jarger) Kamijo-style clothes. I'm trying to think of what kinds of things I can start making for him straight from the pattern books without having a doll to test the fit. Heath has long legs so I guess pants and long coats are a no-no until he arrives, but maybe I can make a shirt or something. :daisy
    17. Congratulations on getting Heath! I enjoyed reading your story. Dolpa sounds fun but stressful.*_*

      I hope to have a Heath of my own soon. I've been planning on getting another SD13 boy and I think Heath is one of Volks best looking boys. I love his super arched brows and face sculpt. I plan on calling my Heath Atsushi after Atsushi Sakurai of Buck-Tick fame and his middle name will be Byron after Lord Byron. I can't decide between eastern & western names. I love them both so I'm giving all my dolls two names.

      I'll be looking forward to seeing photos of your Jeremie Florence de Jarger after he arrives!:wink:
    18. All I could of while reading this was my days of getting to shows really really early that I just *had* to be up front for...okay...NIN....but the whole waiting to see what line they were going to divide you into...ugh...not knowing is the worst! At least you got your preorder...I feel bad for the Arashi girls. It will so be worth all the wait though. Heath is an amazing looking fellow! :wink:
    19. That was fascinating reading, and I could picture the whole thing because your description of the process was so good. What a nerve-wracking experience, especially knowing that you were missing the other experience at the show! I think I would have had to drag someone with me, to keep me company... I'm delighted that you got your Heath - way to go! Sad for the Arashi girls, though. :( She must be heart-broken. But...hopefully she'll fall in love with another, possibly NOT limited doll, which would make her life a lot easier! Why I keep falling for these limited guys, I just do not know... :wink:

      Can't wait to see pics of your Jeremie when he arrives! :daisy
    20. Ahahaha...you should somehow get another Heath (or find someone over there who owns him) and have that one cosplay Asphodel. Then you can have them both do that infamous KamijoXKamijo pose. :grin: :grin: :grin: