Chihiro is a 2015 espari Mirielle doll from Barnes and Noble.
Like all espari dolls, she comes with a few looks. Her Meet wardrobe includes the reversible headband which is also a kerchief (blue gingham on the other side), a reversible red and white sweater/jacket, blue gingham overalls, a white skirt and dressy red sandals. One of my favorite things about the espari line is the care taken when boxing the doll including the clear plastic bags between their feet and their shoes so no staining occurs. Having the reversible clothing also allows for white or light to be touching the dolls but still have colorful outfits to see.
Chihiro is named for the lead character in Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.
I hope to make her an outfit one day so she can Cosplay her namesake.
espari boxes seem to me to be a large part of their cost. They mimic the Journey Girls’ holiday boxes and need to be cut on the side to release the doll. They also use tiny plastic tabs to hold things in. Glad to be out of the box, Chihiro gives us a few poses.
Before I show you the back, let’s point out that espari’s Mirelle shares a face mold with Today’s Girl Leah. There are some major differences in the dolls though.
From just the headshots, you can probably see several noticeable distinctions. Mirelle has deep chocolate brown eyes and black hair with bangs. Leah has a lighter brown eye, black hair and no bangs. Both have pretty fly away hair though. Mirielle also has lighter skin and a breast plate (yes, she has the new JG body type exactly and the same color paint on her lips as several new JG dolls) while Leah seems to have been out in the sun recently.
A closer look at the body types shows an even larger difference. The soft bodied Leah has more of a floppy baby doll body and does not like to stand on her own. She has no head/neck control. Mirielle, on the other hand, can stand alone and look towards things. Leah’s vinyl is softer but neither is unpleasantly squishy or too hard (cheap).
Mirelle’s legs are longer and thinner than Leah’s as are her arms. Compared to an American Girl doll, Mirelle looks really tall and skinny.
Oh – there is it! The million dollar marker! Did you catch the back of Chihiro’s hair? What a sight!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the back of Leah’s head. She does have more roots but her scalp is also painted dark brown to hide exactly this problem. When Chihiro’s hair is down, it’s fine…well, kind of; I still need to even it out.
How about a better shot of that height difference?
They could definitely be cousins or even siblings.
espari dolls can wear Journey Girls clothes and clothing for other slim bodied dolls. Likewise, they need slim footwear that may be a little longer than some AG stuff.
I think Chihiro is going to fit right in at the dollhouse. She is a very elegant, beautiful dollie. If someone asked me for a recommendation today for an Asian doll, she would be my first pick even with the higher pricetag and hair issue because her quality is an excellent value. I have heard reports of issues with bangs but I believe those could be tamed with training (wrapping). Pick the best option and if they all have bang issues in store, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount!