"Dollers", as they are called in English, are traditionally men. They are men who wear full bodysuits, frilly dresses, and anime heads. But Miina is no dude. Miina is a female, but just don't call her a doller.
"I think that the dollers dress up as dolls by as an extension of cosplay and I don't want to be categorized as a doller or a cosplayer because I don't put on an act," Miina said in a recent interview with Metropolis. "I don't change my character or personality to match my kigurumi as others do."
"Doller" is a type of "kigurumi" (着ぐるみ), a mix of the Japanese for "to wear" ("kiru" 着る) and "plush toy" ("nuigurumi" ぬいくるみ).
Miina covers her entire body, from head to toe, in a skin suit. She wears a mask that doesn't breathe much and is hard to see out of. When in costume, Miina must be lead by the hand and cannot wear her get-up for long periods of time.
However, Miina considers herself a kigurumist, because she also dresses up as fairies, monsters, and animals. Kigurumists like her have existed in Japan for decades—heck, all those Disney character suits at Tokyo are "kigurumi". And while kigurumi at theme parks in Japan are often women, it's men who typically dress as dollers. Dressing as a doller gives males a chance to be completely different—not just from themselves, but from reality.
"What is important is that I can become something that is on the borderline between human beings and dolls."
The goal isn't to look real, but to exist at the intersection between the real world and the anime, or video game, world. This isn't a cheap hobby by any means, and it costs real world cash. Masks can cost over a thousand dollars, but some dollers, like Miina, get theirs cheaper and then customize them to suit their desire look. For Miina, it's important that all her masks—as varied as they are—are still Miina.
"What is important is that I can become something that is on the borderline between human beings and dolls," said Miina. "I like the idea of existing somewhere between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional world."
Miina's Facebook page has surreal photos of her in costume as she goes out to eat, visits shrines, and takes a dip at a hot spring. Her photos with the giant Gundam? Now, those seem anything but surreal. Have a look in the above gallery.
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