Please note this retrospective was originally posted on Requiemart‘s website and has been reposted with permission as a part of the Pullip Information Preservation Project. This retrospective was originally separated into several parts but I have combined them.
Pullips were first released in 07/2003. I found out about them not long after, though I fought the urge to buy myself a DOLL for months. I’ve decided to do a retrospective on the doll and the fandom.
Just a warning: it is not going to be entirely positive. I don’t believe that being a loyal fan of something means you have to 100% love it all the time. I’m a customizer. I like to improve things. I’ve also been collecting Pullips for over 9 years and have a website about them, so I think it’s safe to assume I also like them a lot.
Still reading? Let’s go then!
In the Beginning…
There was Moon, Street, and Wind (also called Debut if you got the one with a bicycle). All dolls were released on a Marmit body (an unusually articulated Japanese action figure, given the time) with a SD-sized head with a working eye mechanism.
Pullip was something new, but also something that borrowed heavily from other, existing figures and dolls at the time. The Marmit body brought articulation. The eye mechanism was fairly unique, but the eye mechanism was already in place in a different form in Blythe dolls, which were enjoying a revival in the early 2000s. The head, with its sweet round face and big eyes, is not unique to Pullip, either. It is extremely similar to the NoNo model Volks dollfie head, released in 2000 as well.
So while Pullip herself was not terribly original, she was the first doll to incorporate a lot of really great aspects that couldn’t be found in the same combination anywhere else.
The early dolls had horrible hair, terrible faceups, and necks prone to snapping under the weight of their huge heads. They had a lot of problems, but they also had a level of character and personality no other doll had. They had moxie, and a lot of potential.
The original MSRP was $65, but since there were no stores in the US or anywhere in Europe that sold them, you could expect to pay another $25-30 in shipping if you could find a store in Japan, Korea, or Malaysia that would ship internationally.
The community at the time was pretty small, mostly My Little Pony collectors, and contained in a Livejournal group that had gathered around 100 members after the first year.
Next, Part 2: Realizing potential
Today’s essay on the History of Pullips (all 10 years of it :D) is going to be about the rapid reaction to customer feedback and revisions of the doll in the first year, from 2003-2004.
The first edition dolls, Moon, Street, and Wind, had (I believe) to be hand-painted faces. There was too much variation of the kind you don’t see in machine-painted faces, and not much detail. Observe:
If you look at the orange lines of the eyelids you can see the irregular width of the line caused by an unsteady hand. On the eyebrow on the highlighted side, if you zoom in you can even see the 3D texture of brush strokes. It’s a pretty horrible faceup, to be honest. Not really symmetrical. Not really much there at all, except for eyebrows, lips, and upper lid lines.
The faces themselves were shiny, but not shiny in the machine-polished way Blythe dolls are shiny. Pullips looked a bit waxy and uneven. Also like Blythes, the scalps are removable and rooted. And the hair… was terrible. Occasionally you might find a doll with good hair. Most of them have terrible, bushy, frizzy hair. Street was the worst, Wind was the best. I don’t know why, but whatever method was used to cut the hair of the first dolls did not do it evenly and had a tendency to frizz out the last couple of inches of hair. So if you had a doll with long hair, you could trim the ends. If you had a doll with short hair… you could shave her and try to get a wig (more on the difficulties of early rewigging later).
The next set of dolls to be released, Squall and Bouquet, had very long hair, and the addition of airbrushing to their makeup, as well as soft, lower lashes painted. The doll after them, Carol, was more advanced with blushing and eyeshadow and multi-colored eyelashes and lips. Unfortunately, her head was a completely different color from her body, and her hair was as bad as Street’s.
Next came Leprotto and Noir: dolly perfection. They had bangs to conceal their scalp-line, and some but not a lot of NIB frizziness. Noir was the first doll to have actual curls, and piercings.
Then the standard slipped with Withered. While Withered had short hair that tended to be smooth and un-frizzy, signaling the end of the era of really bad hair, she had makeup on the same level of detail as the first 3 girls. She was also the very last girl with the Type 1/Marmit body with its fragile neck, visible screws, and hands that randomly fall out. For a great shot of all of the Type 1 Pullips together, check out this shot by dms a jem.
The Type-2 body was revolutionary in a lot of ways: It was the most flexible Pullip body ever released. It was the only one that could be completely taken apart and reassembled or have parts easily replaced. It is the only Pullip body to have a soft torso, coming out a little after Volks and Obitsu were making the same innovations in their own doll lines.
It also had 2 major problems: with all of the flexibility, it could sometimes become floppy and no longer capable of supporting the gigantic Pullip head, and the torso had a tendency to slide out of the hips (‘Belly pop’). Fans quickly created a fix for the belly pop issue, but the body could still be floppy. Still, it was a really great body that could steal most 1/6 scale doll fashion clothes, and many a Jenny and Barbie were stripped to add to Pullip’s wardrobe.
Three months after the new body was introduced, faces were matted and rooted scalps were replaced with wigs starting with Arietta. Arietta had THE WORST WIG EVER. Was it bad enough to warrant all caps? Oh yes. It was shockingly bad. Coarse, unstyle-able, and glued to the head with so much industrial glue that getting it off almost never left the wig intact, and pieces of the scalp stuck to the doll’s head.
Next came Anne, and she was much better. Anne Shirley was released in 04/2004, and is what most people would recognize as a modern Pullip: A wig that was nice and un-frizzy out of the box (though prone to frizzing later if not cared for properly), a matte face, and machine-done makeup with blushing, eyeshadow, and stylized eyebrows, eyelashes, and lips. This would be the standard style for any Pullip released in the next few years. We’ll call this “Classic Pullip” and the dolls who came before her “Early Pullip.”
All of this rapid change took place in the first year of Pullip, reacting quickly to customer feedback and turning a doll that had a lot of potential into a doll that would quickly explode in popularity around the world.
If you’d like to see a list of doll releases (with pictures), check out Pullip Junk’s release list.
Today’s topic: Customizing. Sort of. Rather, this essay is going to cover what we’ll call the history of the Pullip “Sympathetic Market” which is not exactly Pullips, but other products that could be bought for Pullips, and how this lack of initial sympathetic market created a environment that fostered customizing and the effect this had on shaping the fandom.
I apologize for the wall of text, but there really aren’t any pictures I could provide for this one that would enhance it.
When she was first released, Pullips needed things. Clothes. Body parts. New hair, eyes, etc. Even if you didn’t get into Pullips with the intent of customizing (I didn’t!) there was a reasonable chance that the doll you bought might arrive in need of repair or break while you were playing with it. Not playing with Pullips wasn’t really an option. A doll that articulated demands to be posed, not stuck on a shelf and ignored.
My first dolls were Panda and Nero. They were ordered together, and Panda came out of the box with a broken knee. As in, her lower leg was loose and hanging in her panda suit, the knee joint in two pieces. My third doll was Moon. When she arrived her eye rubbers were cloudy and made it look like she had rheumatism. Her hair was horribly frizzy, and her body was stained. Then her head broke off her neck when I was trying to de-frizz her hair, even though I knew about the fragile necks and carefully only handled her by the head. I was a customizer of necessity.
I didn’t have especially bad luck, this was all standard for being a Pullip collector at the time. You couldn’t get replacement anything from the maker, if you wanted your doll fixed you either repaired it or bought compatible replacements for the broken part. There was no Junky Spot. There was no Volks USA. There was a since-closed online doll shop that got a few volks EB Beauty bodies 2-3 times a year, and sold out within days. Or you could order from a Japanese store, and 10 years ago, very few of them shipped to the US.
Same story for wigs: Pullips take a size slightly larger than most 1/3 scale ball jointed dolls. Volks made a size that fit, but they didn’t ship to the US, and their wigs already cost $40+ before you went through a proxy service. There were no North American wig makers. There was one Asian doll wig store, and whatever you could find on ebay: one page of listings. Another common option was buying a Blythe wig, cutting it up, and sewing it back together smaller so that it would fit Pullip.
Because of all of these difficulties, most early Pullip fans had to have a bit of a do-it-yourself streak by necessity. Most of the things that would be the realm of customizers in other fandoms were necessities for Pullip fans. Customizing, therefore, became more of a standard than a subset of the fandom.
Over the years this changed: Pullip became more mainstream, more parts were made or made readily available from overseas or international sellers. Specialty shops opened up like Coolcat, which focus on customizing supplies. Much of this happened after the quality control and earlier model designs were fixed, but by then customizing had become ingrained into the fandom.
This acceptance of customizing as a standard led to lots of originality. People look at new releases and immediately start making plans to give the doll new eyes, wigs, or bodies. NRFB or like-new dolls have never been valued in the Pullip community as much as in other communities.
The acceptance of customizing as a standard has also led to two things which have impacted the fandom in a negative sense: First, people are expected to customize, as if their dolls and collections are second-class if they don’t have all new parts and don’t look like their original release. That’s silly. No one should ever have to excuse liking the body a doll comes with and not spending $25-30 to buy a replacement for an un-broken body on a >$100 doll.
Second, people accept a lower standard coming from new dolls. It’s OK if you don’t like the body—you were going to buy an Obitsu anyway. It’s OK if the wig quality has gone downhill—you already have a new wig ready! In the long term, the fandom is as much to blame for overpriced dolls with sub-par quality as the makers. The cost of a new doll is not the MSRP. The cost of a new doll for many people is the MSRP + a new wig, body, and eyechips which adds another 30-50% to the MSRP.
As the MSRP rises, Pullips have found themselves competing with other dolls of much higher quality that people don’t have to buy replacements for half of the parts that they come with. It also makes it harder for people to justify buying a Pullip, knowing how much money they will have to invest in a new doll just to bring it up to a standard that they will find acceptable.
The Styles they are a Changin’
Pullip has had several distinct styles over the years. I’m going to break up these styles into types and give examples, as well as cover when which styles were dominant, and the external influences.
The first faceups, while basic, were not very much different from Volks BJD faceups at the time. Although ABJD dolls today are shockingly realistic…early ones not so much. Early pullips, like BJDs, had basic, individually painted faces with lots of variation between dolls. if you have seen a lot of Noir dolls, you would know that Noir has a huge variation in her makeup: in eyeshadow especially, light, heavy, concentrated or spread out. Even though Noir was the iconic doll that drove popularity in the new brand, that kind of inconsistency isn’t good, and I suspect the level of detail on Noir’s face was too expensive to sustain, if each doll was painted individually. These faceups were the major type from 07/2003 to 03/2004.
Pullip was still finding her way, and while she did, she diverged from the hand-painted BJD type faceups to a factory painted faceup more like Blythe. The result was something that was neither, and uniquely Pullip. Classic Pullip is recognized by a stylized faceup: while she had painted features, like lips and eyelashes, they were done with solid lines without shading. Each stroke of paint was reflected with perfect symmetry on the other side of the face.
This kind of makeup gave each doll a personality, and that personality did not always sell well. Principessa, for example, was not a popular doll when she was first released. She was considered to be too evil by most collectors. It was only later, when almost every doll released was sweet & innocent looking, that Principessa sold out and became rare. This was the dominant faceup type beginning in 04/2004 and gradually disappeared by the end of 2010.
Collaborations were responsible for the next major shifts in makeup style: The obvious example is Rozen Maiden, where anime-type faces were produced for the Rozen maiden dolls, and some of their aspects (simplified, angular eye makeup and eyebrows with heavy black eyelashes and liner) became incorporated into regular releases such as Youtsuzu. While Shinku was the first Anime-type collaboration, she was done in more classic pullip style, and the first doll in this new anime style to be released was Sugintou in 01/2007. This is a current style, usually showing up whenever there is an anime collaboration release.
The less obvious example of collaboration influence on Pullip’s style is Holly, the first Audrey Hepburn doll. I think of this style as “proto-realism” styled. Holly was the first doll designed to look like a person, and her makeup reflected that. While still moderately stylized and symmetric, Holly had dense, un-stylized eyelashes and thick, detailed eyebrows. This style also began to leak into regular releases, such as Blanche, with her famous ‘spider eyelashes.’ Holly was released in 03/2006.
Proto-realistic type faceups gave way to full-fledged realistic faceups in the style of modern BJDs, and faceups with obvious personality were gradually diluted until nearly every doll had a sweet lolita type face. While it is hard to pinpoint exactly when this change took place, I associate full-fledged realistic faceups with lots of heavy blushing and extra-long unstylized eyelashes. Pullip Aya, in 02/2009 is a good example of the beginning of this style.
Realism was very popular at first: lots of people who got into Pullip bought them because they could not afford asian ball-jointed dolls. The ball-jointed doll type makeup became more and more common until it became standard on just about every release that wasn’t a collaboration.
Are they starting to blur together yet? How about one more:
There is nothing wrong with realism, but it doesn’t suit Pullip as well as some of the other styles she’s used in the past: Pullip only has one head sculpt, and so when you don’t use stylized makeup and different expressions, every realistically painted, sweet/innocent face starts to look the same (It doesn’t help that some faceups and faceup components are reused between dolls, but that will be discussed later). The other component is that Pullip still has a cartoonish head from a BJD design popular in 2000, and ABJDs have evolved more towards realism with their headsculpts which better suits this kind of makeup, as well as helping to differentiate one head from another.
It is worth noticing that no doll has sold out since 2011 (source: Pullipstyle.com sold-out lists), which coincides with the years that the realistic/BJD faceup has been most heavily used.
From talking to other collectors and following their collections as they have changed, I have suspect it is because collectors who were drawn to Pullip in the earlier years (like me) tend to find the realistic-type dolls dull. For newer collectors originally drawn to Pullip as a lower-priced substitute, as the number of companies making BJDs multiplied, a lot of dolls started to become available in the high $100s to low $200s. Now that Pullips with MSRPs as high as $180 in 2013, the gap between them is not as wide and these collectors are ignoring or selling Pullip in favor of BJDs.
But we’ll get to where the community has come from and where it’s going to another day!
(Also, none of the pictures I pulled for this are mine since I don’t keep many dolls stock. They mostly belong to PullipJunk, but each photo links to their respective owners’ flickr accounts)
The title of this chapter is “Pullip’s incredible shrinking bustline!”
…or “The evolution of the Pullip Body,” if you want to be serious about it. The following body shots/measurements were provided by Jun Planning/Groove in Pullip mooks. Do not believe the measurements, they are full of errors (which should be obvious from the titling of the first one “Pullip Firts Body”).
As mentioned before, the Type 1 Pullip body was not Pullip’s body. It was a Marmit body, a Japanese company that made anime dolls/figures with around the same MSRP as early Pullip, which was fairly high end at the time (early 2000s). Marmit still exists, but they no longer use this body. I think it went out of vogue around the same time or before Pullip appropriated it. This body was in use from 07/2003 to 12/2003.
Pros: This body, if not floppy, could stand on its own with its big feet. Though each body has tradeoffs, Type 1s are more poseable on average than Type 2 and 3. This body also has the most character. Yeah, character is hard to define, but tall, skinny Pullip does not have the same presence as short, busty Pullip.
Cons: The neck was really fragile, and heads snapped off all the time. Also, the hands randomly pop out of their sockets. I’ve never figured out how, because usually you have to unscrew the arm to get it back in, so it’s not a matter of the wrist socket wearing out over time. Ankles were also prone to breakage, but IMO, that was more the fault of the incredibly tight shoes that had to be cut off the foot to be removed.
The type 2 body was similar to the new soft-bust Obitsu bodies being made at the time. While the ones we can get today are far more aesthetically pleasing, the original ones not so much. To replace the obitsu soft torso shell took boiling water, a hairdryer, pliers, and occasionally blood. The Pullip torso did not contour as tightly to the inner joints, and was much easier to replace if torn or stained, but that also resulted in Pullip’s love handles.
Pros: The most poseable body Pullip has ever come with. It was very easy to replace a broken part, because this body could be almost totally disassembled. Also the body that could most easily steal Barbie-sized fashion doll clothes. This was the only body with removable feet, which may not sound like a big ‘pro’ but when all the other dolls have ankle-break problems, it’s a HUGE benefit.
Cons: Soft torsos stain very easily. They also deformed a lot in the box, and you might undress your doll to discover that one boob (usually the left one for some reason) had been partially caved in, making her look REALLY weird. These bodies tended to become floppy with use, making it hard for them to support their heavy Pullip heads, even on stands. Necks occasionally broke, but probably with about the same frequency/ease as types 3 & 4. The soft torso had a tendency to pop out of the hips, though fans came up with an easy fix for this involving strips of craft foam. None of these things were major problems, but in the end, I think the thing that doomed this body was that it just wasn’t very pretty.
The Type 3 body was developed for a doll named Hestia, a short-lived fashion doll also made by Groove/Jun Planning with a higher initial MSRP than Pullip. Probably developed. You see, at the time, Jun Planning had been saying that they were going to make another Pullip body to fix the Type 2 issues. However, this body first appeared on Hestia prototypes, and not on Pullip for 1-2 months later. When initially asked, Jun Planning said that Pullip and Hestia would not have the same bodies, and then, when this body first appeared with the Lan releases in 07/2005, it turned out that yes, both dolls had the exact same bodies. The new body also better suited Hestia’s proportions and “profile” better than Pullip (Pullip is supposed to be 17, Hestia 14). Before Type 3, many collectors viewed rebodying as optional. After Type 3, it became much more common.
The doll below is one of the original Hestias. On each side are J-dolls, which also used this body:
Pros: This body is very stiff and did not become floppy under the weight of the Pullip head. Smaller feet allowed it to steal more shoes from other dolls.
Cons: This body had the least range of motion of any Pullip body made. The wrists were incredibly fragile, and would often arrive broken, or break without any stress/use. Ankles were not quite as fragile, but still prone to breaking if you weren’t incredibly careful with shoes, including stock shoes.
While Type 1 and Type 2 dolls look very different, they could generally steal each others’ clothes. They both had 11 cm busts (as I said before, ignore the charts, I measured myself) and only 1cm difference in waist. Some clothes looked better on one girl than the other, and Type 1 could squeeze into smaller dolls’ clothing more easily while Type 2 could fit into larger dolls’ clothing more easily, but they were both pretty compatible.
You could forget all that with Type 3. The Type-3 body was smaller and more adolescent-shaped, and really aged down Pullip (and her bust is 10cm, not 10.5!). A pullip on a type 3 body looks more like a tween than a young woman, and all of the clothes released in outfit sets for earlier dolls no longer fit Pullip, to include whatever carefully assembled horde of type 1/2 compatible shoes collectors had accumulated. Very little at all from other doll brands fit this body, and what did didn’t look very good on it. Type 3 lasted from 07/2005 to 01/2009.
Type 4 was introduced in 02/2009, and is the longest-running Pullip body. It’s virtually identical in size and shape to Momoko, a popular Japanese fashion doll (shown below in comparison to a J-Doll, the successor to Hestia in Jun Planning/Groove’s attempt to break into the asian fashion doll market who shares the same body as Pullip):
Pros: Being the same size as Momoko, Pullip now has another doll whose clothes she can steal that will fit her well! Momoko also has a lot of patterns out there in Dolly! Dolly!, Dollybird, and other Japanese doll mooks. This body also has a slightly better range of motion than the Momoko body, with a different chest joint and wrist joint.
Cons: Weak ankles. Also incredibly skinny, which has been an ongoing trend with every Pullip body and in general, every doll body in both asian and western markets. Not a technical ‘con’ because it doesn’t deform under clothing (like type 2) or drape clothes horribly (Type 3).
Still sad though.
What side effects has the ever-changing Pullip body had on the fandom? People don’t make clothes for Pullip. I’ve found patterns for Dals in Mooks, but not Pullip. As a pattern maker myself, I understand this: people send me requests for some of the patterns I’ve made in “Pullip” size, and I have to ask which size they are referring to? When I did a poll on which doll patterns to make, cumulatively, Pullip patterns were more popular, but individually, outmatched by other doll types, and the most wanted ‘Pullip’ size was for “Pullip on Obitsu” (and Obitsu also has varying measurements between the doll types and bust sizes as well!)
Even on a ‘Standard’ doll like Taeyang, who has had no change in body dimensions over the years, patterns for him are less popular than patterns for Monster High boys. Both doll types are comparable in having few to no well-fitting compatible clothes, and I have the same patterns available for both dolls, but there are just fewer people interested in sewing for Taeyang & Pullip. Sewing was never an aspect of customizing that caught on in the fandom.
Today’s topic: Pullip’s boyfriends!
What’s that? Plural? Why… yes. Pullip’s first boyfriend was Namu. He was first released in 02/2004, just as Pullip was making the switch to the type 2 body. The first Namu was Vispo, presumably to match Arietta.
Similar to early Pullips, Vispo had a shiny face and a rooted scalp. The next Namu, Trunk, had a wig, but still a shiny face. After Trunk came the first Happy Birthday Pullip set, a limited edition couple. This was the only Namu with a matte face (and it makes them look a LOT better).
After that though, all of the Namu went back to shiny-faced versions. There was Fei (matched to China China), Wolf (to go with Little Red Riding Hood), and Serpant (to go with Principessa), and Geronimo, the last Namu, from the Happy Birthday Pullip 2 couple.
Namu wasn’t very popular. What you have to remember is that Pullip’s head wasn’t designed from scratch, it was very closely designed off of a Volks head, and without an equivalent boy head to borrow from, what you have is essentially a second artist’s style taking dominance while that sculpter created what he/she perceived to be a male equivalent of Pullip.
I’ve always felt that they gave up on poor Namu too quickly–He didn’t even last a year! Every time a doll has been released, it’s taken a little bit to work out the kinks and create faceups that work with the head mold. I’ve used him as a base for some customs, and found that he can really shine in the right characters.
Namu was replaced by Taeyang in 02/2006, after Pullip had been single for a year. Taeyang was received much more positively than Namu was, and is still produced. Instead of trying to make another Pullip-styled boy, the style of Taeyang’s head was simply done in the style of existing BJDs on the market, such as the Volks Cecile or Delf Yder model. I am not aware of him being “inspired” by any particular headsculpt as Pullip was, though. He had the same body as Namu, which has a couple of issues with it (breakage tendencies in the shoulders and ankles) but is a pretty darn good body!
The biggest complaint with Taeyang over the years is that he has not had nearly as much facial variation in makeup style as Pullip: Almost every Taeyang has thin, arched eyebrows and winged eyeliner on the upper lid with a neutral mouth. The 2010-2011 push into realism with Pullip did leak over into Taeyang, creating a little bit more variation in the faces after that, even so there has only been one Taeyang made with non-arched or thick eyebrows who has winged upper-lids and a neutral mouth, one doll who has no eyebrows (but still has winged eyeliner and a neutral mouth), and one doll who has a non-neutral mouth (Raiki, with a smiling mouth) but still has thin, arched eyebrows and winged upper-lids.
…But no one complains that he isn’t pretty!
Today’s essay: Dal!
In 10/2006, 8 months after her big brother Taeyang showed up, Dal was released. And the world rejoiced!
…nope. Dal at first was a bit of a disappointment. Not because of what she was, but because of what she had originally been shown to be:
(you can click on any of the pictures for a larger version).
When these prototype pictures were first shown, the community went nuts. She was so CUTE! She even came with an obitsu body! Did that mean that the makers had struck a deal with Obitsu and Pullip (who was on a hated type 3 at the time) was going to start coming on Obitsu too? Excitement and rumors abounded.
Ok, now this is going to be like one of those “Spot the differences” pictures. You probably noticed that they have different faceups. And lower-quality wigs, stock outfits and shoes. But the heads are actually different. They’re bigger, and a slightly different sculpt. The bodies are still obitsu 23cms.
So people were not quite as much singing in the streets at the coming of the Taeyang’s little sister as they had been with the first pictures, but some paring down in quality was not unreasonable between the prototypes and mass production, and they were still cute.
Then these final pre-release prototype pictures were released:
Monomono was pretty much the same, but the other two had changed again drastically. Fiori looked like one of the “lovely ladies” in stage makeup from Les Miserables (period prostitute) and their stock had degraded again and their bodies… where did the obitsus go…?
People were PISSED. I had preordered Fiori as soon as it was possible, and had watched with horror as my cutie turned into…that. There was so much freak-out going on that the main US distributor at the time was sending word back to Jun Planning, and assured buyers that the new dolls would not look nearly as bad. Fiori’s makeup wasn’t quite so heavy but… it was still orange, with a burgundy wig and pink blush. I sanded her face off, tried a few different looks, and eventually traded her to someone for a pullip. Didn’t touch a dal for years after that.
But, like with all the other headsculpts, Dal’s early faceups gradually became more suited to her pouty face. She attracted a following of her own and won back some of the pullip collectors the original releases had alienated. These days I am more likely to be interested in a Dal’s new release than a Pullip’s, because Dal kept the attitude that Pullip lost with the shift to sweet-realistic.
Influences: Like Taeyang and Pullip, Dal’s headsculpt was heavily influenced by vogues in BJDs at the time. Lati, for example hit the scene in 2005, and their first pouty dolls were very popular. This is the general style that Dal was born from.