Plant Dolls, published in North America as simply Dolls, is a josei manga written by the manga artist Yumiko Kawahara. Rather than having a conventional storyline, Plant Dolls consists of a series of interdependent shorts that all revolve around the Plant Dolls themselves: living dolls that are insanely expensive and subsist on warm milk given three times a day.
From The Other Wiki: The stories revolve around some special dolls, the Plant Dolls, and the people who buy them. The dolls choose their owners, and desperately need their owners' love; they often reflect their owners' personalities for better or worse. Each story is independent of each other, though there may be references to knowledge learned in previous stories. Some stories have a fairy-tale like quality: they are eerie fables meant to warn against certain actions.
- Always Female: Apparently, male Plant Dolls don't exist.
- Artificial Human: The Plant Dolls themselves.
- Big Eater: This is what "Angel" becomes at the end of "Milk At Mealtimes" thanks to her owner giving her brandy in her milk despite the manager's explicit orders.
- Body to Jewel: When Plant Dolls cry, their tears become extremely valuable jewels called "Tears of Heaven." This is a major plot point of several stories.
- Costume Porn: The Plant Doll's outfits are gorgeously detailed.
- Dissonant Serenity: Olympia, the singing Plant Doll from "Forbidden Fruit," is constantly smiling no matter what is going on around her. Because her condition doesn't seem to change no matter how she's taken care of, she's ultimately considered defective and it's implied she gains nourishment from despair. She finally sings after her owner accidentally shoots his wife.
- Eating Optional: While the Plant Dolls must drink milk three times a day to survive, actual food seems to be optional. They can eat sugar cookies, but only once a week.
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: Almost all of the Plant Dolls fit this description.
- Famous Last Words: The conflict in "Garden in the Sky" revolves around the last words of a dead billionaire, which have been "recorded" on the man's Plant Doll. His will's stipulations include a clause saying his fortune can't be bequeathed to his heirs until they hear the words from the Plant Doll. What are the words? "Take it easy, y'all."
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The nature of the Plant Dolls. Their origin or how they function is never explained; however, it's implied that they've been around for centuries, having been a favorite luxury in the aristocratic courts of old. Given the fairytale-like nature of the series, the explanation for living dolls is probably more on the "magic" side.
- No Export for You: A slightly more complicated example. The original four Plant Doll volumes were published in English by Viz. However, those volumes didn't contain every Plant Doll story; there were seven chapters that were initially only published in magazines. After Viz published the original volumes, the manga was reprinted in Japan; the reprinted edition is compiled into three volumes instead of four, and contains the seven chapters that were missing from original edition. It's unlikely Viz will publish the reprinted edition, meaning that English-speaking fans won't be able to read the previously-missing chapters.
- No Name Given: Almost none of the characters are ever given names. In fact, not even the Plant Dolls tend to be officially named and are usually referred to by nicknames.
- Pimped-Out Dress
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: The aptly-named Plant Doll Snow White.
- Replacement Goldfish: Sometimes Plant Dolls are used as substitutes for children.
- Princess Jewell is given to a man's wife to act as a replacement for their dead daughter, whom the wife has been unable to accept is dead.
- Honeymoon is bought by the father of a teenage girl because she greatly resembles his daughter when she was younger.
- Rich Bitch: Madame from "Emerald," but she's a strangely endearing example due to her carefree honesty and exceptional insight.
- Sanity Slippage: The father in "Potpourri Doll" grows increasingly obsessed with a nauseating stench only he's aware of, and comes to believe it's originating from his daughter's Plant Doll. A Plant Doll which grows more in likeness to his daughter every day. The "stench" relates to him murdering his wife after finding her in bed with another man. His daughter found her mother's body and was traumatized by the sight. Ultimately, the father demands to return the Plant Doll, dragging it back to the store and declaring he never wants to see it again... only to learn when he gets home that the girl still in his house is the Plant Doll.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: "Rainy Moon" focuses on an artist with a supernatural reputation painting a portrait of the titular Plant Doll. The manager destroys the painting to make sure no harm comes to Rainy Moon.
- She's All Grown Up: Although Plant Dolls normally look like little girls, they can "mature" into adults if given improper treatment. This is especially true if they are given anything to eat or drink other than milk and cookies.
- Something Completely Different: A few of the volumes include stories that have nothing to do with Plant Dolls.
- Tomato in the Mirror: In the story The Missing Doll, a young woman tries to find the Plant Doll once owned by her dead, beloved grandmother. In the end, it's revealed that she was the Plant Doll all along; she had matured into an adult because her "grandmother" wanted to her to be her real child and she lost her memories of being a Plant Doll as a result.
- Twenty Minutes In The Future: The exact year the stories are set in isn't given, but the futuristic architecture in most of the background scenes implies they're not set in a present day society.
- When She Smiles: Plant Dolls are shown to have very lovely smiles, often deeply touching those who see them. In fact, it's said that their smiles make you want to grant their every desire.