First, Soom made Sard, the May Monthly Doll for 2008. A typical Soom sculpt, he had pillowy lips, limpid eyes and androgynous lines. He was a limited edition with horns, hooves and wings. People went bananas over him, as evidenced by this actual comment made by a fan on Sard's sales page:
Is there any chance he will be restocked next year during the same time as his original release? I really wish I would have gotten this boy and I'm so mad I didn't. I'd be willing to sell my kidney for a Sard!
Tragically, Sard appeared for sale for a mere month, leaving many potential Sard owners distraught.
Then Soom realized they could get their racket on [as if they didn't already have so many rackets going] by, second, making Dia some time in the end of 2008. Dia has the same head as Sard, with the exception of the ears. Dia has human ears, while Sard has elongated, pointy ears. As an unlimited doll without a special outfit or body parts, Dia represented a less expensive way for Sard fans to get their fix, this time with no chance of the doll going out of stock.
But Soom wasn't done yet. They like to release the same or related sculpts in different sizes, so of course they came out with Metato, the Faery Legend doll for April, in 2012. Yes, he has the same headsculpt as Dia and Sard, only on a smaller scale [1:6, not 1:3] and with different faery ears. As an excited poster on DOA remarked, he's "Diet Sard…now in fun size!" :p Though a limited edition with wings [resin ones, as opposed to Sard's feathery ones] and truly not that much cheaper than his bigger cousins, once you add up all the options, Metato represents yet another chance for Soom enthusiasts to get their Sard on.
I have no particular conclusion to make. I just admire Soom as a company, not only because I really like their aesthetic, but also because they know how to play the market, satisfying and tantalizing customers at the same time. It's really fun to watch and participate in the anticipation of new releases, the frenzy over teaser photos, the formulations of opinion when the thing goes on sale, the commiseration in the DOA "waiting room" threads, the increased excitement as shipping notices start issuing, the collective freak-out when the first owner pictures appear and the ultimate satisfaction of receiving one's own package and being Soomed all over again. [The most popular companies have adjectival forms of their names representing how enthusiastic one can be about them. I've seen people who are Soomed, Fairylanded and Iplewhelmed, but I've never heard of anyone being DollZoned or ImplDolled, presumably because the latter two companies sell less expensive dolls and thus have less prestige.] The fact that we're all being manipulated by a savvy business concern doesn't make the consumption any less fun.
I remain uncertain about whether to get Metato. On the plus side, I've always kind of wanted Sard because he was a Taurus doll, my astrological sign, and Metato is basically a smaller Sard with no hooves and better wings. Metato is in competition with Kremer [that's Flower's sculpt] for the cutest male faery so far, and he'd certainly play well with others, viz., Ginevra and Flower. Plus he's my favorite size! On the minus side, he's $485.00 without EMS shipping, which usually comes to about $50.00 to $60.00.
P.S. Not that anyone cares, but I currently have 27 BJDs [OH GOD WHERE DID THEY ALL COME FROM?]. Soom is the number one maker, along with Elfdoll. I have 5 from each maker.