By Zofia Tadeo
Collections come in different forms, shapes, and sizes, and this collector proves that there’s profound happiness in collecting a line of adorable mini-sized cherubs.
Years after its initial release in 2005, Toru Soeya’s “Sonny Angel” which is described as a little winged angel boy whose character wears a variety of cute headgear, rose in popularity on TikTok — influencing netizens to amass their own little army.
Julliana Flores, a fourth-year political science student who devotes most of her time to balancing her studies and personal life, said that she started her own collection in May this year.
“I was in a desperate need for a hobby. Medyo nalulong na ako sa acads, nasanay na ako sa ganoong life na acad-tulog na parang medyo na-bore ako essentially sa life,” Flores said.
Smitten by its angelic charm, Flores recalled how during her university’s finals season, she found emotional support in the form of angel babies.
The dolls were essentially designed to serve as mini boyfriends that can fit in the palm of one’s hand or pocket, and are bought as blind boxes—where you simply choose a box from where you’re purchasing without knowing what design you’ll get.
“It’s appealing sa market ng 20-something-year-old women who grew up playing with toys, playing with dolls,” she said, “it’s different in a sense na there’s nothing like it. What sets it apart is they’re angels, they’re cute-sized, and they’re not that fragile.”
Sonny Angel in a nutshell
Sonny Angel’s vast selection caters to different collectors’ preferences. Known for their unique stature, they are also great subjects for photography and can even be brought on dates as one’s personal companion or support.
“Nag-resonate rin sa akin ‘yung reason ng creator ng Sonny Angel, which is to cater to 20-something-year-old women,” Flores, who is in her early 20s, said.
“She created it to accompany 20-something-year-old women in their period of life na workaholic sila to have a little something to get by their daily routines, to break ‘yung parang routine nila to have something to look forward to,” she added.
Another main selling point for most Sonny Angel collectors is the excitement and surprise that comes with buying one.
“Walang guarantee of what you’re going to get, you can try to shake it … pero hindi talaga siya 100 percent guaranteed kung anong makukuha mo, and that adds to the appeal,” Flores said.
“It’s a gamble, it’s a risk, but it’s always going to be fun, and ‘yung suspense na nakabili ka ng box na hindi mo alam — that feeling that you’re going to chase, it’s part of the appeal ng Sonny Angels to people,” she added.
A shared experience
The joy in getting a ‘prio’ angel or a most coveted Sonny Angel is a shared experience among Sonny Angel collectors — and for Flores, who is an active member and admin of Sonny Angel Lovers Philippines, this brought her closer to her fellow collectors.
“Tuwang-tuwa ako ‘nung na-receive ko ‘yung strawberry na Sonny Angel like I was crying sa elevator, ang cute cute niya kasi tapos it took me days and weeks to decide what will be my first Sonny Angel, and I was really happy that the first Sonny Angel to arrive sa akin is the strawberry one,” Flores said.
Sonny Angel collectors across the world have likened the Kewpie-esque dolls to actual angels, saying, Sonny Angels have healed their inner child.
“It has changed my perspective on life. I’ve been given a chance to heal my inner child, parang I’ve missed out on a part of my childhood eh when it comes to collecting, playing kasi I feel like I grew up a bit too fast,” she said.
For Flores, her collection signifies a profound turning point in her life where both the little girl in her and present self are happy.
“It’s given me that chance to heal, to have a second childhood essentially. As a young adult, I’m having a second childhood. I feel young, I feel innocent, and I feel really happy about it.”