Doki Doki Crate Review (January 2016)
My first Doki Doki Crate (the 2nd one released so far) and, as you’ll see why from this review, also my last one. Doki Doki Crate is described on their website as “…your monthly supply of everything Kawaii. Inside you’ll find 8-10 items ranging from adorable plushies & squishies to collectible keychains, figures, apparel, miniatures and more” and is run by the same people who do Japan Crate, a popular monthly Japanese candy box. The name DokiDoki comes from the Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound of an excited heartbeat and is a good representation of the initial excitement of opening the box up and seeing all the cute stuff inside… but for a mystery box costing $30 a month (this includes US priority shipping), did it make my heart go ‘dokidoki’? Was it worth $30? I wish I could say it was, but unfortunately, I cannot with good conscience say yes as it was very disappointingly full of bootleg products. Keep reading for my full review, photos, and comments on their statement about it.
To begin with, I first want to address the blog post JapanCrate released with their statement about the disappointment that was this January box (+screencapped back-up juuust in case).
Personally, it kinda feels a bit like they’re skirting the issue with the vagueness (never actually mentioning what the issues were, like y’know, the fake items?) and it comes across as though they are pushing all the blame on the supplier “It was recently brought to our attention that our supplier may not have been completely transparent with us,….”. Shouldn’t they have taken the effort to make sure they were getting authentic items if that’s what they were intending to give us? Although they do say “We apologize sincerely and greatly for this mixup”, calling it just a ‘mixup’ feels like it was only a small thing and if they were really apologetic, then why is it they’ll only offer a refund “If you’re completely dissatisfied with your crate,..” and if you first “send it back with all original contents…”?
Curious to note as well, if you look at the comments this post is listed as ‘1 year ago’, yet obviously as this January 2016 box is only their second Doki Doki Crate ever, and it’s the one they’re discussing in the post, that is absolutely incorrect.You also cannot find the post at all without the link to it directly (which I’d found on another review – unfortunately I’d went through quite a few reviews today so I’m not certain exactly which reviewer had shared it first… sorry about that!) or if you’re lucky and one of the last five comments on their blog was on it you can find it under their recent comments widget when you’re on a category page. Even though it’s in the Announcements category you cannot see it if you go to the category itself (screencap here). What do you think? Are they trying to hide it? It’s not exactly a simple mistake to backdate a post on WordPress, you have to hit edit on the sidebar by the published date and manually type the change to the date. Why use only a blog post and not send out an email so that all subscribers would be able to see the message in their inbox? (quick edit [Jan 26 / 5:29pm]: Slightly incorrect here as I have been alerted you can actually find the post if you go through ‘All’ category and scroll your way down to eventually get infinite scroll to load down to 1 year ago / the very first posts. View screencap here.)
Also here’s their reply about the bootleg issue to another user and I on Twitter:
@vintango We do our best to source authentic products, are working with licensors to secure even more. We are looking into this matter ASAP!
— Japan Crate (@JapanCrate) January 12, 2016
— Japan Crate (@JapanCrate) January 21, 2016
Doki Doki Crate January 2016 Review
Upon first receiving it, I was super excited. The custom designed hot pink box made me think, “Wow! if they put this much effort on the packaging the items must be great!” – even the inside was custom designed! There was an adorable looking mini magazine/booklet with a cute original illustration that covered the front and back covers. Inside there was page about a photo contest with the Pikachu plush that was in the box, a page with two little four panel mini comics, a two page spread with illustrations and short description of each item, then the last two pages include images of what the lucky winner of the ‘Suteki Crate’ would receive, as well as some box opening photos from those who’d received last month’s Doki Doki Crate.
Just under the booklet was this cute set of Rilakkuma notepads. If you’re not familiar with Rilakkuma (Relax Bear), he’s a character by character company San-X. While San-X unfortunately hasn’t reached quite to Sanrio / Hello Kitty levels of worldwide fame, they have many just as cute characters and goods. I believe this is legit; as it’s got the price, copyright stuff, and everything listed on the back side just as most similar cute stationary things I’d bought in the past when we were in Korea did. Also at the price of 1500 Won (around $1.50 US, give or take a bit depending on current exchange rate), this should have been plenty cheap enough to buy legit and not bother with knockoffs.
Pikachu Hip Pop! Parade Plush
Now this is the item I would have loved the most if it had been real. An item exclusive to the Pokemon Centers in Japan would have definitely made this box worth it and, as someone who enjoys taking pictures, this would have been super fun to play around with. I immediately noticed that the quality didn’t seem too great though, with a long loose thread and bad stitching. Included in the image gallery below is a cropped photo from this Pokemon collector’s blog of the real plush at a Pokemon Center in Japan (please do visit their blog to view their full post, which is a wonderful little piece on the Mega Tokyo location). You can clearly see the real ones have have two brown stripes not one, and if you look close at the tag there is missing text on the bottom left (no dangling loose threads either).
I’m not knowledgeable enough of Amuse’s vast Alpacasso series of plushies and other cute goods to spot a real one from a fake, but sadly this cute little guy was confirmed to be fake by this large alpacasso fan tumblr “be aware that those are bootleg alpacasso!”. He was really adorable looking and I really liked this little plush, but again, ended up disappointed with another bootleg in this pricey box.
A cute little mouse(?)-like creature by the name of Hoppe chan. The text on the plastic notes that it’s “Made in Japan”, and that “Hoppe-chan is popular with elementary school girls. It belongs to SunHoseki” (this bit of text was in both English and Japanese). It was cute and something unique that I hadn’t already been aware of. Although, in the booklet it’s noted to be a keychain of some sort from both the drawing and the description of “hang your Hoppe Chan from your bag or backpack!”, yet mine had no such keychain. As stated, I’ve never heard of Hoppe-chan before this, so I’ve no idea if this item is real or fake, but I’d like to assume something in this box was actually authentic and from Japan.
These sushi socks are a cute novelty item, especially if you’re a big sushi fan. The plastic notes the company/brand name as “ideasox” and that they are “size free 22~27cm”. Once unrolled they lose the cute sushi look aside from the strip of design below the black strip at the top. The black part seems quite stretchy, and possibly also the patterned part, the white part though is I’d say about as thick as a typical character designed sock. Looks maybe a bit shorter than under-the-knee length? I’ve seen similar ones on Otaku Mode, if anyone’s considering a definitely legit pair for themselves.
Not really into Domo, but these four good sized stickers were cute and seemed nice enough. No idea on legitimacy, but quality looked alright and print was pretty nice and bright.
Hello Kitty Wallet
Aand once again fake. I’m a big Sanrio fan, my current wallet and my last were Hello Kitty ones too, so I knew from first sight this was likely fake. I didn’t recognize the design from any particular line and it just obviously doesn’t look like a proper theme – if you take a look at the wallets available on Sanrio’s website it’s clear all are designed with a distinct theme in mind. Yet this is a ‘went-shopping-at-the-boutique’ Kitty with a punk style guitarist Kitty on the other side and a ‘hippie’ style to the actual Hello Kitty text. Additionally, there was a complete lack of any tags and the wallet has a very strong plastic(?) smell (which Japan Crate says on a FB reply that is due to it being “recently made” – not fishy at aaallll [screencap in gallery]).
Sailor Moon Blind Box Figure
This is a knockoff version of MegaHouse’s Sailor Moon Petit Chara Glitter Ver. Set 2 blind box figures. My initial impression of it was good as even though I’m not actually a major Sailor Moon fan, they looked super cute from the images on the box. Upon opening the box I found a tear in the plastic and the connector piece for the stand missing. This was the first thing to make me worry this whole box wasn’t worth the money. I’d already noticed the HK wallet was likely a cheap knockoff, but chose to hope it was just one mistaken inclusion, but the moment I looked into this item (wanting to be sure the missing piece wasn’t just somehow lost in the box, I decided to look at some unboxing videos from Sailor Moon collectors on youtube) it confirmed for me that the majority, if not all of, the contents in this box were fakes. The box to an authentic one should open differently and have a sticker on it; and the figure itself should have been in several different pieces to put together – not fully assembled minus the stand like this one. Below twitter user vintango has some good comparison photos of real vs fake:
— Vintango (@vintango) January 12, 2016
Sentimental Circus Fan
This plastic fan features the likeness of the elephant Mouton from the line Sentimental Circus. Creator San-X‘s website describes the line like so: “After the whole town is felt asleep quietly, neglected abandoned toys are awaking one by one and gathering together… …the curtain of the mysterious circus, “Sentimental Circus” goes up somewhere again”. I really like this particular line a lot as I’ve always enjoyed creepy cute things + circus themes. One side of this poor little elephant is a tad bit scratched up though, particularly noticeable on his eye. It’s very cute, but I do wonder about the thought behind including it in a wintertime box. An authentic plastic fan like this couldn’t possibly be any higher than 500 Yen; so I’d assume it’s not worth making a replica and hope this item was actually legit.
I had been super excited about Doki Doki Crate and sad that I’d missed out on the first box. I’d canceled a subscription to another box, because I believed this one (at a $30 price tag) would only have good quality, authentic items from Japan. With the popularity and good reviews/comments on their original Japan Crate candy boxes, I had no reason to think they’d cheapen out the quality for this new kawaii box. If this is what they mean by “Experience Japan Through Everything Cute”, as said on the box, then I don’t think I want anything to do with their cheap knockoff version of Japan. While I hope for the sake of all their subscribers that this was just a mistake and that they truly intend to fix this for future boxes, I’ve chosen not to continue with this subscription. If they change their ways in the future I will be sure to edit this, but until then be warned about Doki Doki Crate. Thanks for reading all this, hopefully my next review post will be far more positive!
If you also received this January Doki Doki Crate, please fill out the survey they linked on their blog post and let them know this wasn’t right and that they’ve got to do better in the future and let others know about what happened with this box. And thanks again for taking the time to read through all this.
P.S. Sorry there’s not much else on the site yet. I intended to properly study up on WordPress code first and make a custom theme, but this was important info to share so I went ahead and went with the default theme to get this up quick. LootAnime and ArcadeBlock reviews to come in the next few days/weeks.