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Thursday, June 7, 2018

PetWorks Usaggie 032 review

When I reviewed Momoko last week I mentioned a fondness for other dolls by Sekiguchi (Momoko's current holding company) and PetWorks (Momoko's former holding company).  PetWorks is...actually a software company (I didn't know that), but they also produce doll lines under the division "PetWorks Toys."  The company releases a fair amount of dolls with the same unusual body, with most (but not all) of the dolls being animal-people.  Jossie and Odeco-chan are both little humans, but Nikki, Usaggie, Hitszie, and Kuma-bolo are not.  I think I...<pauses to glance back at the post>...yes, I mentioned Hitszie as my favorite of the PetWorks dolls, though I'll also admit to loving Nikki to pieces.  Nikki is a cat girl and Hitszie is a sheep girl, and wouldn't y'all know they're next to impossible to find on the secondary market.  Hitszie seems particularly difficult to find, and at the time that I bought this particular doll she was sold out.  Wouldn't y'all know, two days AFTER I ordered my doll Hitszie popped up on the PetWorks site again.  Yeah...that bummed me a bit, but at least I know she's not retired for good.  Kuma-bolo has apparently not made an appearance in quite some time, so he/she may be retired, but so far Hitszie appears to be going strong.  Anywho, seeing the rather minimalist bodies on Hitszie and Nikki made me incredibly curious about what these dolls are like IRL, and with both Nikki and Hitszie out of question at the time I settled for the rabbit, Usaggie.  To be specific, I got Usaggie 032.
The names "Usaggie" and "Hitszie" are clever plays on the Japanese words for the animals that these dolls represent, with "usagi" meaning "rabbit" and "hitsuji" meaning "sheep."  Sailor Moon fans might also recognize the word "usagi" as the lead character's name, fitting considering that her hair looks like rabbit ears, and "hitsuji" has also made its way into the anime world, so if you're anime fans y'all might have heard these words somewhere before.  With that out of the way, Usaggie shares a body with Hitszie, Jossie, Kuma-bolo, Nikki, and Odeco-chan, all of whom are usually portrayed as female.  Hold up...take that back.  Kuma-bolo can also be either male or female.  There's very little about this body to suggest either gender, though I've seen PetWorks label dolls with "boy bodies" or "girl bodies."  Boy dolls are hard enough to come by as it is, and mint green has been popular among my friends who have baby sons, so I was all set to refer to my Usaggie as a "he."  Indeed, I even bought a little pair of overalls, which Usaggie is wearing for most of the review.  However, tucked inside Usaggie's box were several advertising fliers, and one of those fliers had this picture.
From left, this image shows Usaggie, Ruruko, Momoko, Odeco-chan, Nikki, and Jossie, and they're all wearing matching dresses.  Usaggie is apparently thus supposed to be a girl, though my particular doll does not look as girly as other Usaggie dolls do.  Finding male clothes for this doll has proven extremely difficult, so because I'm lazy and because I love doll clothes, I'll be referring to my Usaggie as "she."  But for the record, this doll does make an adorable boy too.

Now that that's settled, Usaggie is 6.75 inches tall from the crown of her head down, but if I add in her ears she measures in at eight inches even.  Here's how she compares in size to her PetWorks/Sekiguchi comrade Momoko, to Raimei (one of my Licca-chan dolls), to Lottie, and to the ever-popular Barbie (Pilar in this case).  Lottie is closest to Usaggie in size, and even she is a smidge taller if I don't count Usaggie's ears.
As I noted above and y'all are probably aware of by now, Usaggie is mint colored.  That's normal; indeed, it's normal for all of PetWorks' dolls to come in unusual colors like pink and blue and marigold and other outrageous colors that living creatures are not supposed to come in (translucent!).  Anywho, at the time I purchased Usaggie there were more realistic colors available, but I'm a sucker for a weird-looking doll so I chose the green morph.  Hey, if I can have an orange Hujoo, a green Bobobie, and a purple witch, why not make a fell swoop with a green rabbit?  Usaggie would also fit in well with a collection of anthro dolls, but I only have one.  Here's how Usaggie looks with Pepper Parson.
Well, my only other anthro doll for now!  I still have my eye on Hitszie some day, and probably Nikki as well.  Anyway, unlike Jossie and Hitszie Usaggie doesn't have any hair, but the back of her head is interesting so I'm going to start there.
That circular area is usually detached and the ears are not in place, with that little task being left to the owner.  However, my Usaggie came fully assembled.  That was a pleasant surprise, though it wouldn't have bugged me greatly to put in ears.  This hatch does come off, though it's a terrible hassle to do (I had to use a nail file to pry it off).  The inside of Usaggie's head is predictably empty, devoid of the strings and putty that a ball-jointed doll would have.
The back of the head is marked with the PetWorks logo.
Usaggie's face is pretty minimalistic, as are the faces of many of these anthro dolls from PetWorks.  These dolls are not terribly unlike early Strawberry Shortcake dolls, in fact, though Usaggie's face has less detail even than my Lime Chiffon doll does.
Some Usaggie dolls have eyelashes or huge anime-style eyes, but my Usaggie has neither.  Her eyes are almond-shaped and are mostly black, but with chocolate brown rims.  I rather appreciate those rims, as they soften the edges of the eyes and prevent them from looking harsh against the vinyl.  In addition to the eyes Usaggie has a nose and mouth, also painted in this chocolate brown shade.
And...that's it!  No other paint to discuss, no real molded features either aside from a slight protuberance that the nose and mouth are painted onto.
Less is more, I guess.  Usaggie's expression is neutral and rather blank, but that means I can project any emotion I choose onto her and photograph her as such.

But then again, photography may not be the easiest thing with Usaggie, as she's not the most poseable doll I've met.  We'll cross the posing bridge when we come to it though, as I haven't even discussed the SHAPE of the body yet!  I'm approaching this body with a bit of trepidation, as it's not unheard of for these dolls to have uneven legs, like this unfortunate Kuma-bolo does.  Usaggie dodged the uneven leg bullet, but notice that her whole body leans ever so slightly to her right/our left.
I had to play a little bit with Licca's Azone body to figure out what was causing her uneven stance (it turned out to be a bum ankle), but with Usaggie the problem was pretty clear right off the bat.  Her waist joint is ever-so-slightly off-kilter...
...and her head tips to one side as well.
That would all be well and good, except that neither of these joints are supposed to tip.  Indeed, all of the joints (waist, hips, shoulders, neck) can only rotate.  As a result, Usaggie's posing is pretty limited.  She can turn her head all the way around...
...she can wave...
...she can sit and do side-to-side splits if I pose her just so...
...and her waist can do a 360, though I don't recommend that with ANY doll (LOL).
Molding is all but nonexistent.  Usaggie has naught but a slightly tapered waist in terms of torso molding, and her hands (paws?) are little mitten hands with a separate thumb.
They're not terribly unlike Lalaloopsy hands.
The arms have a slight curve in them to suggest an elbow joint, but not much else.
The legs are similarly minimalistic, being little more than green cylinders with slightly widened bases for feet.
Usaggie cannot stand up on her own with these dinky little feet, by the way.  She can sit up with no trouble, but she can't stand.

Clothing Usaggie's unusual little body has proven challenging.  This body can wear Middie Blythe dresses, but Middie is narrower through the hips than Usaggie is, so Usaggie can't wear Middie pants or jeans.  A childlike doll like this usually looks cute in blue jeans.  Still I think I was able to come out with something reasonably nice.  MyLilSparrow made this outfit, and it is one of the few Middie Blythe outfits I've found that has pants roomy enough to fit over Usaggie's posterior.
The pink T-shirt is a little snug, but not dangerously so.  It has some nice scalloping along the hems of the sleeves.
The cute little overalls are tan and navy gingham with dark blue straps and a huge blue pocket.  This pocket is functional...or rather, it would be functional if Usaggie's arm were flexible enough to get into it.  It's big enough to accommodate my fingertip.
The seat has a faux flap.  It would be cute if this could open, but that also would've been tricky to make properly so I'm not going to harp about that.
The snaps, the back flap, and the pocket have these cute little copper rivets, just like full-sized overalls do.
The bib of the overalls sports the maker's label.  I always love touches like this on Etsy products.
Sparrow has a number of other things that look like they'll fit Usaggie and similar bodied dolls.

Jane Cherie points out that Usaggie can also wear Vi and Va and Only Hearts Club clothes, plus the occasional Licca-chan outfit, and I happen to have a few of those items hanging around.  Unfortunately none of these went quite the way I was hoping.  My favorite Vi and Va dress does fit, but it doesn't fasten fully in the back.
Only Hearts Club pants are too long, but Jane Cherie never said the pants could fit (LOL).  She said the ballet skirts can fit, and judging from the way the top and the seat of the jeans fit, I have reason to believe her.  If these jeans were capri-length on Olivia Hope they'd be perfect for Usaggie.
I only tried one Licca-chan dress on Usaggie, that one being Michiko's yellow dress.  It's loose and long on Usaggie, though this could do in a pinch.  I'm willing to bet that other Licca-chan dresses might fit better.
Oh yeah, I also have Ju-hwang.  She's quite a bit taller than Usaggie is...
...but she's got a small body so some of the things I've got for her might work.  Keep in mind that these are things I knitted and thus may not fit the greatest.
Nope, these don't fit the greatest.  Everything is too big, even that purple skirt with the drawstring cinched tight.  This suggests to me that Ju-hwang, as lean as she is, is chunkier than Usaggie, because she can wear that skirt and rainbow top with no trouble.  The yellow sweater is too big for both Usaggie AND Ju-hwang.

I keep my Vi and Va dresses stored with my Bratz things, and that gave me another idea for clothes.  The fruits of this idea can be seen below.
First-wave Jade's secondary outfit looks a little too risque for a cutesy little doll like Usaggie, but it fits nicely.  The skirt might be a smidge tight, but that's all.  The middle dress belongs to a late-model Meygan, and I have no complaints about how it fits OR how it looks.  Maybe a nice belt might break up the monotony a bit, but it works.  The red dress on the right is one that I made, and it fits but is a bit too long to suit me.  I may give that dress to Ju-hwang since it bags around Bratz waists and is too long for Usaggie.

Of course there had to be a loser in the bunch, and the loser turned out to be the stuff I bought for Raya.  These items are way too tight for Usaggie.
Of course full-length Bratz pants are too long for Usaggie, but I have more hits than misses for her in my Bratz wardrobe.  So some Bratz clothes can fit, and some Only Hearts Club items, and maybe the odd Licca outfit.  The Vi and Va dress that I tried did not fit, but my other two dresses probably will since the tops are looser.  Oopsie, I forgot to try Lalaloopsy Girl clothes!  Lalaloopsy Girl dresses have fit most of the dolls I've tried them on in the past, so it's worth a shot for Usaggie.
Welp, a swing and a miss.  Pix E. Flutters' dress is the right length, but it proved to be too tight for Usaggie's chest.  So Lalaloopsy Girl clothes are out for these dolls.

Okay, I've got a few options for Usaggie if I don't want to spend money on Etsy or eBay, but for those who are good with a sewing machine there's this pattern, which came folded inside Usaggie's box.  One side has a pattern for a dress...
...and one is for a pair of overalls.
I would be all over these like flies on a dog turd, but everything is written in Japanese and I can't read a word of either pattern.  I think I might actually be able to figure that overalls pattern out if I sat down and put my head to it, though.  The patterns themselves look pretty simple, and I can read the numbers and the abbreviations.  I might be able to make heads or tails of this.

Usaggie came with some other odds and ends besides that pattern.  Remember the fliers that I mentioned above?  They have some epic pictures of the items that PetWorks currently has available.  The front of the first flier shows printed-eye versions of Odeco-chan and Nikki.  Usually both girl and cat have inset sleep eyes, but these two have printed eyes and I must confess that I like these better.  The two seem more like characters with the printed eyes.
The back of the flyer has illustrations of Odeco-chan and Nikki enjoying life, plus a fair amount of Japanese writing.  Notice that Odeco appears to be looking at a catalog of PetWorks stuff herself.  Also notice the leftmost circle, the one that confirmed Usaggie's femininity.
Flyer number two contains an advertisement for two new Ruruko dolls.  One is a little boy, and the other is a little girl.  Ruruko is usually depicted as a little girl, but like Usaggie she can also be made to look like a boy.
The back of the second flyer shows some items that Petworks currently has available.  The top row shows Odeco-chan and Nikki again, plus a new Nikki in a different color.  I love black cats and I'm thus sorely tempted by the second Nikki, but having just bought Usaggie I think I'll pass.  The lower row shows the new Hitszie doll, an adorable panda-colored Kuma-bolo, and a sublimely happy Jossie.  Maybe Kuma-bolo hasn't been discontinued after all?  I certainly hope not because that panda is adorable.
The last flier shows a new Momoko and a coordinating Ruruko.  The front shows them together...
...and the back shows them separately.
PetWorks certainly is good at triggering the galloping greedy gimmies!  I love that Kuma-bolo and I hope she'll be available in the near future.  I also like that black Nikki, and I feel a little torn between her and Hitszie...though in truth I probably won't get either of them because I just bought Usaggie!

I griped earlier about the lack of posing in these dolls, but if given some time Usaggie can strike  a few cute poses.  Indeed, my doll has proved to be quite a little character.  She likes to sit in trees and watch the world go by...
...and she likes to snuggle with her new best friend, Momoko.
Sometimes she just likes to chillax in my workstation at the library.
I absolutely LOVE this little doll!  But I have to overcome my delight with her and go over the pros and cons.

*Posing isn't great.  That's true of all these dolls, so it isn't a problem specific to my Usaggie.
*Joints are crooked in places, and that IS a problem specific to my Usaggie, though I know she's not alone.
*Relatively hard to clothe

*OMG SO CUTE!!!  Ahem...I think this doll is adorable.  She reminds me a bit of Miffy with her minimalistic face, and who doesn't love bunnies?
*Sturdy.  I don't think this doll is meant for children, but it could be used as such.
*Can wear Middie Blythe dresses and some clothes from other doll lines
*Fairly affordable.  If Momoko and Ruruko are more than y'all can swing, Usaggie and her animal friends are more within reach.
*Interesting!  These little critters can come in all sorts of colors, and they're not always natural.  My doll is a case in point.

Usaggie may not be for everyone (my mother is on the fence about her, for example), but for me this is thirty bucks well spent.  I can't do everything with her that I can with Licca-chan, but I can do a good many of the things.  She's good for cheering up my somewhat dreary work station at the library, and she's good for a picture or two outdoors.  She makes a good companion for Pinkie Cooper, or for the Enchantimals that are available right now, or for other cutesy dolls like Licca and her friends.  Also, I'm unsure if PetWorks intends these dolls for children, but I think Usaggie might do well in the hands of a child, at least one that's old enough to know not to chew on their toys.  Posing is poor, and clothing the doll is a bit of a problem, but if you know how to sew that second problem is easily rectified.  I honestly can't recommend these dolls enough, and as soon as I get the chance I'm going to get my Hitszie, AND maybe that panda-colored Kuma-bolo, if PetWorks does indeed release her.



  1. I think the hardest part about the dress pattern would be gathering the skirt and sewing it to the bodice. It looks like the bodice is cut out of some sort of knit fabric that won't unravel, so you don't even have to finish any of the bodice edges.

    I love Ruruko, but she's way too much money for my budget. I noticed there are a couple of Wake Up Momokos coming out that were under $75! I vaguely remembered even the Wake Up Momokos being about the same price as the fully dressed ones. Still, I prefer my J-Dolls, so that's that.

    Usaggie looks like she'd make a good listener, so I can see her being a nice toy for a child.

    1. Usaggie has proven popular with the folks who come into the library. Even the boss didn't have much to say, so I guess she's okay with me having a doll at work.

      Oh, I love your J-Dolls!!! I want my own so bad! Have your dolls had any trouble with breaking wrists? I've heard that some J-Dolls have serious issues with that.

    2. I haven't had any issues with wrists. I own eight J-Dolls, and I went back and looked at all of their wrists to double check. The one who has the biggest issues is Anni. She has a crack in her arm just below her wrist. But I got her cheap because of her being a display doll used for trade shows. Maybe I've just been super lucky; who knows? Black Kitty posted a lot about some issues she had with a J-Doll wrist.

    3. Poor Anni, I saw those wrists. She's such a pretty thing, too! Do you know if it's possible to rebody those heads if need be? Just curious.

  2. I honestly don't know anything about rebodying a J-Doll. I have to think it would be possible. ? I checked out my regular J-Doll Flickr page, and right on the first page there is a doll with Azone arms and hands on the J-Doll body, so at least if the wrist cracks there is that alternative, I guess.

    1. Well, if push comes to shove one of the links you shared above was very helpful. Black Kitty's repairs were encouraging.