Friday, September 21, 2012

Kohl's Operetta Redux

I'm pretty unhappy with my pics in the Kohl's Operetta and Clawdeen review. Especially for Operetta I feel those pics just didn't do her justice. So here she is again, in her monochromatic glory!

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Black Cat: Toralei Stripe Character Spotlight & Review

You know, there are about a million songs with cat in the title or cats as the theme. It was tough choosing one for today's spotlight. And even though she isn't a black cat, in a lot of ways today's spotlight character parallels the bad boy described in Janet Jackson's smash hit.

Image: Mattel

Yep, today I'm looking at Toralei Stripe -- werecat, villainess, involuntary math expert. I'll tell you right up front that I love Toralei, and for several reasons. But before I go into why, let's take a look at the mythology of the monster she's based on.

Thanks for the pic, Wikipedia!

Toralei is a werecat, a creature that can most easily be described as a feline counterpart to the canine werewolf. Werecats have long existed in European, Asian, African, and Mesoamerican folklore. A werecat is a shapeshifter, and can be a lion, tiger, lynx, panther, or even a domestic housecat. Although she looks very much like a tiger, based on the webseries Toralei seems to be of the housecat variety.

Werecats have never really taken off in popular culture the way werewolves or vampires have. They seem to pop up a lot -- they've been featured in the Harry Potter series and True Blood among many other things. But they haven't grabbed people's attention the way other monsters have. When they are featured in film and literature they're rarely the main focus. Two major exceptions are the classic 1942 film Cat People and it's 1944 sequel, Curse of the Cat People. Although both films are excellent, the 1944 sequel is one of my personal favorites. It's really less a sequel than a tangentially connected epilogue. With it's emphasis on atmosphere and tone, rather than straightforward storytelling, it comes across like an unassuming fairy tale. I recommend it. Okay, back on topic-

Images: RKO

Toralei is a major character in the webseries. Although she doesn't get a lot of episodes focused solely on her, as one of two primary villains she does get a lot of screen time. Toralei generally has a bad attitude, and loves causing problems for the other girls. So why do I get such a kick out of her? Well, first of all it's hard not to like someone who so thoroughly enjoys what they're doing. Causing trouble clearly makes Toralei happy, and it's fun to watch. But what I like even more about Toralei is that, despite being an antagonist, she's not one-dimensional. Although she's a troublemaker she doesn't like to out and out cheat to achieve her nefarious goals. And as she points out in her diary, what's the fun in kicking someone when they're already down? This is a far cry from the villainous characters from my childhood -- Catra comes to mind -- who were purely evil for evil's sake. Those are great characters for camp value; not so much if you're looking for a more sophisticated approach to character presentation.

That said, it can't be forgotten that Toralei is very much a nemesis to the MH girls. Backed by twins Meowlady and Purrsephone, fellow werecats, Toralei has helped take over the Fearleading squad, tried to break up Draculaura and Clawd, and generally been a big pain in the butt. She's a con artist through and through. She can imitate anyone's voice to a T and is a master of subtle manipulation. She's not dumb (yet another reason why I like her), and she can think on her feet. Fitting for such a catty, well, cat.

Toralei's partners in crime.

Me-ow! Images: Mattel

To date Toralei has only had one doll released, her basic doll, but it's a doozy. If I were to do some sort of top 5 all-time MH dolls list, she'd be there. She has orange skin, with brown stripes on her right arm and left leg. The left side of her face is a bit darker than the right, like a large spot. She has two brown stripes on each cheek. With her striking green cat eyes, arched brows, and full lips Toralei looks fierce. 

Her eyeshadow breaks a bit from the usual MH faceup. Rather than two fairly large layers over each eye, she has a surrounding layer in dark silver. Through the layer above her eyes are two strips of eyeliner, one dark pink and the other a pure green. Her lips are a deep mauve color. It's a great faceup. Her hair is short and straight, with a sidepart on her left. The color is a reddish orange, with a lighter orange streak on the right. The streak has several black stripes through it. Although her hair comes to just above chin length, the streak is longer, landing below her chin. Being a cat, her ears poke up through her hair. Both ears have a silver stud, while the left one also has a silver hoop. There's also a nick out of her left ear, suggesting she's been in a fight or two before.

Her general look has a retro 50s vibe while still looking completely modern. The theme seems to be a feminized greaser look, very fitting for the archetypal high school villain. She wears a long tank top with a diagonal pattern in red, black, and white. The stripes look like claw marks. Over this she wears a black jacket with a snakeskin-looking embellished pattern. It has long sleeves and an extremely cool hard collar that automatically pops up when she wears it. The collar has silver studs along the middle and a molded spiderweb piece on the back. The sleeves, collar, and breast pieces are lined in shiny red ribbon. Her pants are black tights that go well past the knee. There's an orange layer of netting peeking out through claw rips down both sides -- she must've been in a hurry when she got dressed that day! She has matching shoes in red and black. They're open toe wedges with silver studs lining the top and red straps functioning as the laces. The soles are red as well.

Molded onto her hands are red gloves. The left glove has a window over the top of the hand and several silver studs. The other glove is studless and the finger detailing is a little different. I love that each hand is unique. Her belt is molded with holes along the strap (perfect for poking her fingers into for pics!). It's gold with a square, silver buckle baring a skullette. She has a molded red purse with a long strap and feathers hanging off the side (wonder where she got those feathers? Hmm...). The front is black with red claw marks while the back is solid red and has a molded pocket. Silver studs line the top. Perhaps my favorite of all the accessories is her scarf. It's orange fabric and tied around her neck -- pure 50s. This is a fantastic outfit and easily one of my favorites for any of the characters. It conveys that she's not to be trifled with, without coming across as trashy or cheap. It looks polished and glam and tough and I love it.

Toralei has a tail and it's poseable. This adds immeasurably to the doll, and really makes me wish the later released werecat twin dolls had poseable tails, too. I usually have Toralei in her stand holding her tail in some way or another -- it looks really cool and adds to her bad girl mystique.

She comes with a diary and a pet. I don't usually go into the diaries in these reviews, but I wanted to touch on Toralei's because I feel it goes a long way in humanizing her and giving her character some dimension beyond being a troublemaker. Although it doesn't present her as an angel, the diary shows that she is capable of compassion and willing to help others. It's details like these that make her a more interesting character than some in the core group, in my opinion. There are shades of grey to Toralei, and that's always more interesting than purely good or purely evil characters.

Toralei's pet is a sabre tooth tiger cub named Sweet Fangs. She's orange with brown stripes and green eyes -- maybe she and Toralei are related? She has a black fabric scarf cinched around her neck.

As I mentioned, so far there's only been one Toralei doll released. There's a third doll in the forthcoming Power Ghoul line named Cat Tastrophe. It's assumed this is Toralei, which would make sense. What good is a superhero without a great villain to fight? In any case, I doubt we've seen the last of Toralei. She's always around somewhere, causing trouble and generally winning my heart.


So Thursday morning I'll be leaving for a long weekend in Chicago. It's one of my favorite cities and I'm definitely ready for a small vacation. While I'm there a friend and I will be seeing Madonna in concert and doing a massive record store run. We might head up to Six Flags one day, too. I love Chicago's Six Flags! It's so much better than the one in STL. In the meantime I probably won't be able to post anything, or at least anything substantial, so I doubled today's post into a spotlight + review to cover the time away. I've also added a new block to subscribe to the blog by email. Just scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page and you'll see it. It's super easy and from now on when I post something it goes automatically to your email. Til next time!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Robecca Steam Basic

Look who just showed up, bustle out and gears spinning! It's our new favorite robot, Robecca Steam!

"Greetings all. Do you have the time?"

Robecca's profile was revealed back in February, simultaneously with Rochelle Goyle's and Venus McFlytrap's profiles. Of the three I was by far the most excited about Robecca. She's a steampunk robot! With thick blue hair -- I love blue! And her body has rivets and gears and all kinds of cool little extras! Does she live up to the hype? Let's go ahead and take a closer look...

Right off the bat you notice her face. Like the rest of her body, the skin is a deep, rich, shimmering copper color. Similar to Venus, she has a friendly, inviting face -- somewhere between sweet and fierce, but pretty non-committal to either one. She's also incredibly pretty. She has gigantic brown eyes that are shaped like gears (so cool). She has two layers of eyeshadow -- the bottom layer is lavender while the one above it is silver. Her lips are a deep plum color. Now that I'm writing reviews of these dolls I'm noticing that 2012 seems to be The Year of Purple Lips at Monster High. It's right about now that you'll notice Robecca has rivets surrounding her head. One row goes across her lower forehead while another row completely encircles her face, even under her chin. Each of her ears is surrounded as well. In fact her whole body has rivets all over it, seemingly connecting sheets of copper of various shapes and sizes. This is a very cool detail, and yet another reason why I love this line so much. These little details really do add so much to the dolls. But back to her face -- it's fairly elaborate. The screening seems a bit thicker than usual, almost too thick. But there's no arguing it's a pretty face. Her hair is thick and wavy. It's black with bright blue streaks spread throughout. It's in a sidepart on her left and falls down to about her rear. Although it looks like it might be prone to frizz I really like it.

She has an interesting outfit. Is it steampunk? Well, it's not not steampunk. Honestly, I'm neither here nor there on the whole steampunk thing. She's a robot, that's all I care about in that regard. She wears a one piece dress. The top is divided in two halves: the bust is knit and has a print in blue, gold, and brown that looks a bit like a tapestry or wall detailing. The straps are thin blue ribbon. The lower portion is made of a leathery material and has horizontal stripes in electric blue and black. Printed over them are gold and black gears and clock-like pendulums. It's an odd print, evocative of the era but not entirely pleasing somehow. I'm pretty neutral on it. Attached is a really short black skirt in the same leathery material. Over the skirt she wears a molded bright blue bustle. It's roughly the same length as the skirt and is deconstructed into a simple grid with subtle detailing around the bottom. It splits up the middle in the front and closes with a circular tab. I love just about anything in fashion that's deconstructed so I'm very much pro-bustle. She also has a small black jacket that looks like pleather. The sleeves are flared and have copper ribbon trim.

Steampunk? Eh, who cares?

On her right forearm she wears a bright blue molded cuff. It has a yellow digital display of the time (Robecca is stuck in a perpetual state of 8:00 -- am or pm is up to you!) and is surrounded by several different styles of clocks. She has a matching blue purse. It's molded and just the one color, a toy practice I'm not always a big fan of, but I love this purse. It's a round clock face with each of the numbers in a different font. On top, one side has an alarm hood while the other has an antenna. Between them is a molded strap. Underneath, it has a cool little pendulum that swings loose. The front of the clock opens on a hinge and closes with a clasp. It's a great purse, for sure.

It seems four minutes have passed since we looked at her arm cuff. Better get a move on!

Her earrings are a light, orangey bronze color. Each is a row of cascading gears, landing just above her shoulders. They're neat but they have a habit of getting caught in her hair. I've been pulling her hair back into a clip to avoid them, which looks great on her anyway. She also comes with a pair of goggles in the same color as the earrings. They have cool little molded details such as a buckle on one of the earpieces and paneling over the left lens. There's also a little antenna poking up on one side.

They look better on her than I thought they would.

I've saved the best accessory for last: her boots! These suckers are pretty incredible. They're the same bronze color as the earrings, and have tons of little details. The front features laces that go all the way up (they reach to just under her knees), and straps across the ankles. On the outside of each is a darkened portion with little engines and tubes that reach all the way down to the soles. The largest engine juts out significantly and has a wing attached. The inside of the boots feature more tubes and a smaller engine. The soles are comprised of several little rockets. These happen to be high heeled boots, so the heel is a longer rocket. Seriously, awesome boots!

I bow to your wicked boots, Robecca.

Robecca has two more body modifications worth noting. First, unlike the other dolls who all have a stopper at the front of the knee, Robecca's legs can swing as far forward as they can backward. She's a robot so this awkward movement makes sense. The other mod also involves her legs: in the back, at the top of each calf, is a little gear that actually spins. Does it serve a purpose? No. Is it cool anyway? Definitely.

This is Robecca's basic doll so she comes with a diary and pet. Her pet is a cute little mechanical penguin named Captain Penny. She has a jetpack and her right wing is raised in a salute, as if she's about to jet off somewhere, literally. Penny is riveted like Robecca so I guess they had the same builder. In any case Penny is one of the better pets of the line, in my opinion.

She's saluting Robecca's boots.

Overall grade: B So with all her cool details, pretty face, and bountiful extras, why just a B? Well, something about her feels kind of cheap. Not her design or the way she looks, I'm talking literally. Her plastic feels lighter and simply of lesser quality than the other dolls. I'm guessing this is due to the way they had to mold her body because of all the modifications. I really like the modifications so maybe it's unfair of me to let the seeming lightness detract. Also, my doll seems to have a stiff neck joint. It's hard to turn her head, and when I do turn it, she can't look down at all. I guess if it were that big of a problem I would have returned her. Still, it's pretty annoying, and makes taking natural looking pictures of her nearly impossible. Of course, a B is still good. Despite the neck problem and feeling a bit cheap she has too many cool accessories and body mods for me to dislike her. Plus, there's that awesome blue hair and pretty face. I can't wait to see what her doll for next year's dance line looks like. I hear she does the robot quite well...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Dot Dead Gorgeous Spectra Vondergeist

Maybe I should rename this blog Spectrathing. She's on quite a roll at the moment 'round here, hogging all the posts with her shiny purple hair and grubby little (clear) hands. I'm going to be honest with you: Spectra usually doesn't get much attention at my house. It's not that I don't like her -- I actually think she's extremely cool and remarkably unique. It's just that, as I covered in my spotlight of her, there's literally not much of her around that we can get excited about. She's had two dolls and one fashion pack, and they're all great (her fashion pack might actually be deserving of it's very own blog post, it's that awesome), but when you've got new characters and tons of lines constantly being released she tends to get lost in the shuffle. Doing her character spotlight really put me in a Spectra mood, plus I'd already been planning on reviewing her Dot Dead Gorgeous doll, so why not do it now, while the proverbial iron is hot? And for anyone feeling Spectra fatigue, take heart, because she likely won't be showing up again on the blog in a major way until her Power Ghoul doll is released next year.

"He's right, I ain't coming back for awhile..."

As you've probably gathered from my previous reviews, the Dot Dead Gorgeous line is a personal favorite of mine. I feel it strikes the perfect balance of style and function. The line isn't as basic as Skultimate Roller Maze, and it's not overly elaborate like Ghouls Rule. If it were the porridge in a fairy tale it'd be the one that's just right.

"Did you just compare me to soup? Uh... okay..."

Spectra Vondergeist is the third and final of the wide release dolls left to cover. She's the second Spectra doll to be released, and in terms of hair and face she doesn't stray far from the Basic doll. She still has long, straight hair in streaks of lavender and purple. This doll has bangs where the basic one didn't, and her hair is pulled into a ponytail to the back left side of her head. It's held in place by a thick row of molded silver chains. The piece has a rubber band around it, which is a good thing because there's a pretty big gap in it, and since it doesn't have a buckle or clip I doubt it would hold her hair at all without that rubber band. The texture of her hair is very soft and silky. This doll's faceup is pretty similar to the Basic one, as well. She has the same turquoise eyes with a hint of purple, surrounded by more purple where typically the eyes would be white. On Basic Spectra these purple eyes have always stood out to me and given her a unique, otherwordly vibe, and it's the same on the DDG doll. This doll's makeup is painted in the exact same shape as the Basic doll, but most of the colors are different. The eyeshadow that surrounds her eyes is a bright magenta color while the second layer of shadow that goes to her brows is the same silver color, but much lighter. She has the same strip of blue-ish eyeliner. DDG Spectra's lips are still purple, but they're a much brighter, almost pink, shade. Her lips are pursed tightly, emphasizing her cheekbones, just like the basic doll.

This is how you give good face.

While I'm on the subject of faces, I just want to say I've always found Spectra's face to be one of the fiercest of any of the dolls. If Mattel was going for accuracy in representing a teenager with Spectra they were way off, because there's no way this doll is any younger than mid-twenties. As I've mentioned previously, in my mind these dolls are somewhere around their mid- to late-twenties, so I like the Spectra facemold in particular.

Anyway, moving on from that tangent, Spectra's dress is one of the best of this line. It's a lavender sheath dress with black dots. It has one strap, on her left. The length is just past mid-thigh. It's covered completely by soft tulle in purple, with a print of magenta chains connecting large, dark purple dots. I'm pretty sure this is meant to be a ball-and-chain print. The seam around her chest is lined with magenta ribbon while the seam around the bottom of the tulle skirt is magenta thread. At her abdomen is an asymmetrical hem and from there the skirt flares out. The skirt is pretty big and folds in on itself, creating a layered look. Over this Spectra wears one of the most interesting accessories we've seen from MH yet. It's a molded, silver piece that rests on her left shoulder. Six strings of chains hang from it and reconnect at her left shoulder in the back. The first string hangs over her right shoulder, then four more strings hang under her right arm, getting progressively longer. The last string loops under her left arm. This is a really cool piece, and I'm not even sure what to call it. It more or less functions as a sort of necklace but is much more elaborate than any necklace I've ever seen. Well done, Mattel. I'm impressed. Matching silver cuffs wrap each of her ankles, while on each of her hands she wears a corsage made of black elastic with a little magenta bow with black dots attached. I don't really care for the corsages and I'm not sure why. Maybe they seem like overkill? I don't know. Molded onto Spectra's hands are silver cuffs, with a string of chains that "dangle" over her hands and connect to a ring on her middle finger. These hands look really small to me, but I compared them to her Basic doll's hands and they seem to be the same size. Anyway, these are really cool hands. The chain detailing adds a lot of visual interest. Her purse is black and has a silver chain handle. More chains are wrapped around the purse haphazardly. Her shoes are solid purple high heels with molded chains all over. They're not the most interesting MH shoes we've seen, but I like them nonetheless.

Basic but pretty.

She has mismatched earrings. One is a silver chain with a heart connected to it; the heart has a lock in it. The other earring is a white skullette key. Pretty cute! She comes with a silver stand and matching brush (I love these DDG stands), and a collector's card featuring her Dot Dead Gorgeous drawing on one side and all six DDG characters on the other.

Overall grade: A- This is yet another great doll from this line. The theme is executed well; I don't exactly know what a dot party is supposed to entail, but I imagine this is how you should look for one. The multi-chain thing on her shoulder is way cool and very distinctive. The doll itself is well-made; very high quality for a playline doll. She lost a few points for having a face that's a little too similar to her basic version, but there's no denying she's really pretty in her own right. I'm glad we have another Spectra around; she's a cool doll.

"Ta! See ya next year!"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Spectra Raided Abbey's Closet

Doing Spectra's character spotlight put me in the mood to take a few pictures of her. So I grabbed my DDG Spectra, threw one of Abbey's outfits on her, and snapped these pics. With all the purple and lavender, this outfit looks more like it belongs to Spectra than Abbey anyway...

All images: yours truly

Happy Phantom: Spectra Vondergeist Character Spotlight

Monster High was originally built around the core six female characters, and two males. (Yes, I'm counting Jackson as a core character since, technically, he's the same person as Holt.) These proved successful and it didn't take long for Mattel to start introducing new characters. Enter: Spectra Vondergeist.

Image: Mattel

Spectra, a ghost girl, was the first non-core character to be released. Looking back, I'm kind of surprised a ghost character wasn't in the initial lineup. After all, ghosts are probably the most prolific, universal monster there is. Some people even substitute the generic word "ghost" for "monster". The idea of ghosts has existed for about as long as humans have, and ghostly lore in some form or another is present in virtually every culture around the world. They take on different meanings and have differing mythologies but when boiled down, they all mean "ghost".

A ghostly specter...

Spectra aligns with the generalized Western views of ghosts. In most Western cultures ghosts are disembodied spirits of the deceased who have not passed on to "the other side". This can be for a variety of reasons -- they have unfinished business here on Earth, their death was so traumatic they are in shock and unaware of their situation, they simply don't want to move on, etc. Ghosts are said to appear as translucent figures, and common lore dictates that they can pass through solid fixtures such as closed doors and walls. Sometimes they are depicted as figures who walk, but more often they are represented as beings that float or hover. In the webisodes Spectra is constantly seen floating through doors and poking her head through walls and lockers. In her diary we learn that she and her family perished under traumatic circumstances; it's possible that Spectra has not dealt with this yet. Curiously, in her diary Spectra is written as an antagonist of sorts to the girls, but in the webisodes she admires the girls and becomes their friend. Spectra's first name is a reference to the word "specter", a synonym to the word "ghost". Vondergeist seems to be a play on the word "poltergeist", an offshoot of the common ghost, who haunts a particular person rather than place. Spectra's primary visual motif is chains. The most obvious reference here is to Jacob Marley, the ghost in Charles Dickens classic novel A Christmas Carol, who must wear chains and locks in the afterlife to atone for his sins against the poor during his human life.

"Why must I be burdened with these heavy metaphors?" -Jacob Marley (Not really.)

This being Monster High, Spectra gives the look a thoroughly postmodern spin by using them as a reference to 80s hair metal, where chains, studs, and grommets combined with flashy colors were the look.

It was a different time then.

In the webseries Spectra writes the gossip column for the school newspaper. Her ability to float through walls and peak into lockers aids her greatly in finding juicy stories to write about. Unfortunately she doesn't always stick around to fully investigate her findings, leading to comical misunderstandings and mishaps. But Spectra is never malicious in what she writes -- as she tells it, her creative side simply fills in the blanks. Spectra is presented as flighty and somewhat distant -- very much the "creative type". She speaks in a soft, hyper-feminized voice, not dissimilar to the breathy coo Marilyn Monroe affected when speaking in films or to the public.

Image: Mattel

Spectra isn't a major character in the show. She's not part of the core group, nor a villain, and unlike some of the other non-core characters she doesn't get much screen time. She's had a couple of webisodes that have focused on her, and occasionally she pops up and says a couple of lines, otherwise she's only seen sometimes in the background. I really enjoy her character when she's featured prominently and am disappointed that she's not utilized more often.

Basic Spectra. Image: Mattel

Spectra is one of the most interesting dolls in the line. To create the look of a ghostly apparition she has a pure white face and body with limbs that fade to clear plastic at the wrists and ankles. The whites of her eyes are colored purple, and her irises are turquoise, with a hint of purple. Her clothes always feature purple to varying degrees. I think it's safe to say purple is her signature color. She has long, straight hair that features streaks in shades of -- what else?-- lavender and purple. It's always in a sidepart. Her basic doll didn't have bangs, but her Dot Dead Gorgeous doll does.

Dot Dead Gorgeous Spectra. Image: Mattel

Spectra has only had two dolls released to date: her Basic doll and her new Dot Dead Gorgeous incarnation. Curiously, it was nearly a year after her Basic release before was saw a second Spectra doll. Abbey Bominable, who's Basic was released a month after Spectra's, had five more dolls released in the time it took to get just a second doll for Spectra. And Operetta, who's Basic came out a full seven months after Spectra's, now has four dolls available. I have no idea why Spectra has seemingly been picked over when it comes to doll releases. Encouragingly, a third Spectra doll has been confirmed for 2013 release. She's from the unique Power Ghoul line, in which the girls are re-imagined as superheroes, and will be called Polterghoul. She looks like she's going to be incredibly unique, and one of the most exciting MH dolls of 2013.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cleo Loves Fashion, Too

Thought I'd share a few pics I took today of Skull Shores Cleo in Fashion Abbey's awesome sweater dress. Her turquoise hair contrasts nicely with the pink dress, I feel. This Cleo is pretty amazing -- it's all about that hair. So chic. Nothing too fancy about the pics (it's hard to do fancy when you're working with a point-and-shoot) but I like 'em anyway.

"Frankie and Abbey ain't the only ones who love fashion ya know."

"See? I can pose with perfect poise and actively alliterate always. Hm."

"Uh... pay no attention to my bangs in that previous pic..."


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Venus McFlytrap Basic

Released in early July of this year, Venus McFlytrap and Robecca Steam are the newest character dolls available at the moment. Venus, who's doll I'm reviewing today, is the daughter of the Plant Monster. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but her name suggests a connection to Audrey II, the Venus flytrap/alien monster from Little Shop of Horrors. Venus is big into ecology and has powers of Pollen Persuasion, two traits that link her to comic book villainess Poison Ivy. But what little we've seen of Venus suggests she's a friend to the Monster High crew, not an enemy. Once she's been around longer and becomes fully developed I'll give her the star treatment and she'll get a character spotlight.

This being Venus's Basic release, she comes with a pet and a diary. Her pet is a cool looking Venus flytrap named Chewlian. His leaves form a mohawk on his head, and he sports a huge, toothy grin. He rests in a flower pot, but unfortunately he's very top heavy and won't sit upright. I had trouble getting a good picture of him, so Venus's official product picture featuring Chewlian will have to do for now.

Hmm, this shot seems to suggest he magically floats. Mine doesn't magically float...

Being a plant monster, Venus has bright green skin. Her ears have a veiny, pointed leaf shape, and her hands are also textured to be vaguely plant-like. These are the only monstrous body modifications she has. She has seven (seven!) fangs, but these are painted onto her lips, similar to Draculaura and Abbey's fangs. Venus has a stunningly beautiful face...

Oh, quit! I'm blushing!

She has gorgeous sky blue eyes, with just a hint of green. Her faceup is surprisingly simple -- she has very thin strip of light purple eyeliner; this is surrounded by a layer of magenta eyeshadow that comes to a dramatic tip near her hairline. And that's it for her eyes! There's no glitter or even a sheen. Her lips are a deep pure red, with the aforementioned seven fangs (I wouldn't make this girl angry). It's a clean, simple faceup. She has a friendly face -- not exactly sweet-looking, but not fierce, either. I like it a lot.

The 'do is what really stands out on this doll. On one side she has very long (down to her knees), straight, hot pink and green streaked hair. On the other side her head is "shaved". The look is achieved by using hot pink felting on that side of her head. It's a striking look, no doubt about it. 

She wears a black knit top with short sleeves. It has a print of shooting stars and squiggles that look a bit like graffiti. The colors are hot pink and yellow. This is worn with a pair of knit tights that go just below the knees. The print is again hot pink and yellow, plus some black. The print itself is different from her top; it has more of a block design -- no stars and graffiti. Over the tights she wears a solid black, knit micro-mini skirt. She sports a denim jacket in a bolero cut. The jacket's right breast has three buttons (non-functioning), and a  hot pink, yellow, and orange skullette with the words eco punk next to it. I love this outfit. It's very 80s -- kind of a post-punk dance diva look. It has a vague Keith Haring look to it. Madonna circa 1985 could've worn this.

Into The Groove is stuck in my head now.

Her shoes are hot pink high heeled sneakers. The neon green shoestrings are molded, and at the front of each shoe are green teeth in a smile. These are some cool shoes; very unique!

"My shoe took a bite out of me!"

All of her accessories are green and just a shade darker than her skin. In her right ear she has four earrings, all small hoops. In her left ear she just wears one earring, a molded dangling vine. This matches her necklace, which rests on her neck in a circling vine pattern. On each wrist she sports a winding vine bracelet that frames each of her hands. Her most interesting accessory is the matching molded vines that wrap around her legs. They poke out of the top of each shoe and go up just past her calves. When I first saw pictures of Venus I thought these were actually a part of her shoes but they are, in fact, separate.

Instead of a purse she carries a bag made of recycled material. It's light pink and has a print of skullettes colored like the Earth's atmosphere -- blue and green. These are mixed with pink hearts with a ribcage inside them, and pink bones. It has one strap made of light pink ribbon.

Eco Punk

Overall grade: a resounding A+! This is one cool doll! I love her punk hairstyle and retro clothes. Her face is absolutely beautiful. Her ecology-meets-punk theme really appeals to me. The vine accessories are unique and visually interesting. I can't wait to see more of Venus, both on the webseries and in doll form. Consider me a fan!

Top two images: Mattel. The rest: yours truly