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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Across the other pond, part 3: Takara Licca-chan review

When I ordered Mami, I originally thought I was getting a Licca-chan doll instead.  Licca-chan (also spelled "Rika-chan") has been around since 1967, much to my surprise.  I had no idea she existed until Doll Reader ran an article about her during my teenage years.  Doll Reader was good about that, about running articles on dolls that weren't widely available stateside.  Unfortunately it made me want almost every single one that they talked about!  Licca isn't particularly hard to obtain, but one has to know where to look and unfortunately for me, the only places I know where to look are eBay and Etsy.  Etsy happened to have this 1980's fourth-generation doll available for a Hamilton, so I grabbed her.
From what I've read, Licca Kayama is supposed to be an eleven-year-old girl of mixed heritage.  Her father is apparently French and her mother is Japanese.  Licca has a wide range of hobbies and these hobbies have changed over the years, but reading has remained a particular favorite.  She's not a huge fan of math, just like me (and apparently Barbie).  As Licca dolls go, this one's pretty average.  I've seen these with pink hair, or dolled up in cosplay, or wearing traditional gear like a happi coat or a kimono, so compared to them this doll is pretty ordinary.  She's blonde like Mami, but her hair is a very, VERY different shade.
I'd call that shade honey blonde, a shade I see more often on vintage toys.  It's possible to find Licca dolls with pale blonde or strawberry blonde hair, and brunettes are common as well.  One of my favorites is a little brunette, in fact!  So Licca is not stuck in a one-hair-color-rut like most modern-day Barbies are.  My Licca's hair is shoulder-length and feels a little waxy, even after washing.  I'm not sure what sort of style she had once, but her hair refuses to lie straight so I brushed it into a curl like this.  It holds this style without any problems.
She's got simple, natural-looking bangs up front.  Some of the bangs want to stick up, much to my chagrin, but I've managed to get them to behave for now.
Licca's hair is a little thin in places, unfortunately.  I think it may be the way it's rooted around the front.
I ordered this Licca secondhand so I was not surprised to find her hair in less than pristine condition.  But truthfully, I didn't buy this doll for her hair.  I wanted her for her cute little face!
The Asian aesthetic is strong in Licca.  Her eyes are large, round, and glancing to the side like an old-fashioned Barbie's eyes.  They are gray-blue with very large pupils.  The pupils have three light flecks in them, two white and one red.  I personally am glad for these, as Licca's eyes would've looked a little vacant without them.  Also present are light brown eyelashes that look a little like the rays of a cartoon sun.  Her eyebrows are high, cheerful, single-stroke lines that add to the childlike look of this doll.

Licca-chan's profile is more...well, I guess you could say it's more human than Mami's.  I only comment on this because the two dolls are so different.
Mami has flat cheeks and a small, pointed nose typical of creatures in the anime world that she comes from.  Licca-chan has a button nose and rounded cheeks.  She has a small, smiling mouth with coral-pink lipstick.
Normally I don't like lips that are too pink, but I love this shade.  Maybe it could've done with a little shimmer, but it's not bad.  Oh yes, let's look quickly at Licca's earrings.
They're small white plastic flowers that come out with a reasonable amount of force.  The posts have small knobs at the ends to help anchor them in..  I love the simplicity of these!  If you look closely you can see that they're mismatched; the right earring has four petals, while the left one has six.

I'll get to Licca's gown very shortly, but I do want to make some brief comments on her body.  I say brief because Mami and Licca do indeed share a body...sort of.  The two have slightly different measurements across the shoulders and hips, and Mami's arms appear to be longer.
The vinyl differs quite a bit in color too; Mami is ghostly pale, while Licca is healthily pink.  The two bodies move in the same way, having internal wires at the knees and elbows (her elbows are VERY hard to bend), and regular swivel joints at the shoulders, hips, and waist.  The only difference is in the neck.  Mami can tip her head ever so slightly from side to side, while Licca only has swiveling motion.
Mami threatened both Licca and me with a very painful death if I didn't put her back in her clothes for that picture, so I dressed Licca back up too.  Licca came wearing this pink ballgown.  I have no idea if it's original to her or not, but it fits nicely.
The dress is tagged.  I can't read the tag, but as luck would have it, I don't need to.  There's no mistaking that Takara logo.
Regardless of the maker, this is a very cute dress.  It's a lovely shade of iridescent pink.  The skirt is unhemmed, but the material is the kind that doesn't need to be hemmed anyway.  The skirt has a tulle peplum that adds some nice fullness.  The tulle is cut in a zig-zag pattern along the hem.
The waist is decorated with a large silver star and a gauzy white bow.  The edges of the bow could use a little Fray Stop.
The top is trimmed with loopy silver edging and a silver ribbon that ties halter-style around Licca's neck.
The back Velcros closed, which I don't love because it catches the tulle peplum like mad.  Overall it's a nice little dress that fits Licca well.  Unfortunately, the material makes a hideously annoying crackling sound when manipulated.  It's not unlike the sound those ugly windbreaker suits used to make.  So I took the pink dress off Licca and put Mami's yellow dress on.
It doesn't fit Licca any better than it does Mami, but the bodice has stripes that match Licca's shoes so this is what she wears for now.  Oh yes, those shoes.  Licca came with them.
I'm in love with these little shoes.  They're plain red vinyl mary-janes, but they're so much fun to play with!  I love the way they feel, and I love how they fit!

I think that's about all I can say about this young lady, so let's wrap it up!

*Hair is thinning in places
*Hair feels stiff
*Arms don't bend easily
*Can't tip her head; can only swivel

*Cute face
*Hair holds its style
*Shoes go on and stay on; aren't constantly falling off
*Joints hold a pose; the elbows are stiff, but once I get them bent they stay put.
*Feels sturdy
*Provides a nice contrast for Barbie
*Can wear Blythe clothes

Overall I'm exceedingly pleased with my secondhand Licca; she's a sturdy, cute little doll with a sweet face.  Her wired arms and legs still hold a pose for now, though I'm going to be extremely careful with them to make sure they stay that way.  Her face is innocent instead of seductive or flirtatious, and it's easy to find clothes for her.  I can see why the Japanese love Licca, because she's adorable, kid-friendly, and easy to dress.  She's made me a fan!  In short, I recommend Licca-chan to anyone who likes Barbie and similar-sized dolls.  She'll fit in nicely with modern-day Skipper and Stacie dolls.

Unsurprisingly I'm not the only blogger that owns a Licca-chan doll.  For more info on this doll, and to get an idea of some other buying options, check out this post by Miss Emily and this post by beastsbelle.  Miss Hannah has a charming story behind her love for Japanese dolls.

Yours truly


  1. Again, a very nice and interesting review. I do own some Licca-Chan heads that I purchased separately and they have been put on Pure Neemo XS bodies. Here is a post I did on them: http://adayinthelifeofmydolls2.blogspot.com/2015/07/i-got-ruruko.html. I do not have any Licca-Chan dolls with the original bodies.

    1. It's funny that you'd bring up rebodying these dolls. Talolili and I were talking last night about how some of these cute dolls need rebodies right out of the box. She always has to rebody her Momoko dolls. I've never tried rebodying a Licca-chan, but it certainly is an interesting prospect since I love Pure Neemo bodies. Your Ruruko looks adorable, by the way. I love her face and hair, and she looks terrific with that Pure Neemo body.

  2. I love the little LIcca-chan dolls. I have yet to own one for my collection, but they are on my list! Yours is very cute!

    1. I highly recommend getting one; they're cute and sturdy and they can share clothes with smaller dolls. I've heard they can share clothes with Blythe dolls, but I haven't tried that yet.