Created by British Doll Maker Ufuoma Urie, this series follows the stories of a group of little girls (and one boy) whose lives are ended by a mysterious force, usually via supernatural means; Suicide, Murder, etc... Anyone Can Die, even cute little kids.
In the beginning, Sine, a little girl, dies unexpectedly from a disease, which is caused by the series' Big Bad. She ends up in an afterlife where little boys and girls who share a similar fate are, only to realize that not everything is truly as it seems. An apple in her pocket that has come to life thanks to the powers of the afterlife helps her get free, and they go in search of other lost souls.
There were four series of dolls released until 2008 when Ufuoma Urie parted ways with her distributor, Underground Toys, citing 'lack of opportunity in the market.' The series is now 100% artist run from Urie's own site, Screaming Matriarch. New dolls were announced in April 2011. There are about twenty three dolls in all, each with their own story.
- Sine/Sine of Souls: The hero of the series, borderline Messiah. She originally spoke to the apples in her garden for company before her death, and blessed (or cursed, whichever you prefer) the apples so that they could guide lost souls to the Inbetween.
- Umbrae: One of the lost souls of the story, who used clever tricks to talk a Shadow Demon into eating her, and then ate him back from the inside out. Her death came when she starved to death from the lack of shadows.
- Circe: A child born from a Sun God and a Water Nymph. When the Below (Circe's Mother) and the Above (Circe's Father) touched, Chaos was born - Circe. She was killed when the people of her village set her on fire and threw her into the water, exactly as prophesied: 'Fire and water created the child; fire and water shall be her end as well.'
- Erro: A girl who started her life from the same point every single day, with no remembrance of the day before. She wandered around aimlessly, searching for something until finding a demon woman, who revealed that she hid Erro's heart, so that she would come back to her each and every day. This would go on forever. One day, she met Little Apple Red. He told Erro to put him where her heart should be, so that she may be free from the demon and escape to the Inbetween.
- Animula: A girl who was betrothed to a warlord before her birth, so that he would spare her parents lives. He came for her on her seventh birthday, and her parents handed her over. Animula was kept in the warlord's palace in a cage. A white fox sneaked in and warned her not to drink milk offered to her by the warlord, for it would turn her into a demon and steal away her soul. The fox gave her eggs to eat to protect her from the curse. At the ceremony, it was revealed that the fox was the warlord's true wife, mad with jealousy. Eating the eggs would kill her. Confused and unsure who to trust, Animula ate the last egg and drank the milk, preferring to be free in death. There, Little Apple Red met her.
- Irae: A girl whose parents prayed to the Gods for a child; her spirit was bound to a tree god. She was raised in seclusion by her parents, kept in a garden where she reigned and controlled plants and flowers. When introduced to the outside world, Irae discovered she could heal the sick and revive the dead, though their sicknesses began to effect her. All hell broke loose. Her death is met after she is returns to her old garden and black flames burn her alive. She's brought back, though.
- Mentis: Probably the most modern of the stories, Mentis is a normal school girl...until, one night when her thoughts decide to come to life. Her own thoughts take over her, and she dies by being struck by lightning (while swimming, no less).
- Sanem: A nymph that had an special connection with a blood tree, they were like a single entity and Sanem could attract victims towards the tree with her enchanting voice, so it could then swallow them whole. Every season, the bloody zap could be harvested by the people that worshipped Sanem and her tree, after the harvest, she would fall back into the ground and grow back new, like flowers did, however, after an act of compassion to a creature the tree swallowed, she brought the beast's poisonous blood into the roots of the tree, killing the tree and all the people that consumed the zap after that harvest. Sanem fell from the tree for a last time, rotten.
- Vates: Vates was a little girl that was born from a light rain that poured on a certain island, she was the only child that lived there, as most kids would die before reaching adulthood, this was because the island was cursed. Vates met her end when the spirits of the other children buried her alive.
- Triginta Tres: Triginta was the blind Miko's apprentice, she was adopted for this sole purpose, after all. Alongside the Miko, she searched for the 33 sacred places, unknown to her, the 33rd shrine was found in the land of the dead, and only the purest souls could access to it. The Blind Miko burnt Triginta alive with her magick and sent her there, after a lot of walking she stumbled upon a river, which she needed to cross, so the River Baba offered her a deal, she would take her to the other side in exchange of her eyes. Triginta accepted and was finally able to find the 33rd shrine, but she was denied the entry as the Blind Miko had way too many sins and bad deeds, that were transfered to Triginta before her death.
- Oneris: Oneris was a girl offered as a bride for Fax, the fire god, she calmly accepted her destiny and hid her face under a black veil, as her freedom was lost. Fax was known for killing the wives that disobeyed or tried to escape, luckily, Fax quite liked her, so she would get almost anything she asked for. She asked if the servants could take her cage outside to see the bees, she was taken out often, so she made a plan, she collected the bee's wax to make a candle and protect her soul from fax, and then, be able to escape, sadly, this didn't go well for Oneris. She stole a knife and stabbed Fax to steal his fire, but he burnt her face and she fell out of his fortress into the Wandering Wood, even before Sine's arrival. She stayed there and gave out candles to lost souls, for protection. She can still be seen wandering with a group of candles behind her, and her beautiful but disturbing face, covered.
- Timor Balatro
- Creo and Pestis: These two are introduced as the Creator (Creo) and Destroyer (Pestis) of the universe. A demon woman gives them both gifts, which drive them both to kill one another. The first time Sine is seen making a salt circle around the two, both binding, and protecting them.
- Ianua: A born Goddess of Beginnings, Ianua's task is to both see over the beginnings of...well, everything. The second time that Sine uses the Salt Circle as punishment for the lives Ianua took.
- Mirari: A girl born as a Tentacle Monster thanks to her mother. She has the ability to apparently create something from nothing; a trait she utilities when her father abandons her. She meets her end when the Tower of Cards she makes for her father comes crashing down, taking her with it.
- Praeses/Solus: The apparent Big Bad of the series. Apparently, while Sine wishes to free the souls of the lost, Praeses wishes to keep them to herself.
Little Apple Dolls provides examples of:
- Beware the Nice Ones: Sine's powers revolve around the damned. Let your head do the rest.
- Break the Cutie: Almost every one of these stories has an example of it, both self-caused and from other sources.
- Break Them by Talking: The few pages before Animula's death lead to the Demon King and the Fox/his wife to do this to convince Animula whether or not to kill herself.
- Creepy Dolls: The theme of the franchise. The dolls have black eyes, absurdly pale skin, and no mouths.
- Death of a Child: Almost all the characters are children who are Dead All Along.
- Driven to Suicide: Animula opted to kill herself at age seven instead of being murdered, forced into a marriage, or turned into a demon.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Irae's mental breakdown could count for this, as well as Ianua's. Praeses is somewhat implied as well.
- Improbably Female Cast: Despite featuring over fifteen dolls, they're almost all female.
- Old Man Marrying a Child: Animula was betrothed to a warlord prior to her birth, who pillaged her parents village and threatened to take her mother. He came back for her when she turned seven.