Originally the plan was to review Dance Class Operetta today, but in my search for Scaris dolls yesterday I happened upon Dance Class Howleen, the last doll I had yet to obtain from this line. I found myself taken with her, so Operetta's review has been bumped to a later date. Sorry Oppy, them's the breaks.
Let's check out Howleen's box art--
Wicked. And the doll actually came in the box in the closest facsimile they could conjure of that cool pose, arms all folded in place, anchored by a sea of rubber bands. (Sorry, I didn't think to get a pic of this. I think I was blinded by that shocking pink hair and forethought left the building.) Having just very recently gotten ahold of Howleen's basic doll she was still fresh in my mind, and seeing as there are only two of her so far, comparisons were inevitable. First, that pink hair. It's a brassy shade that could accurately be described as hot pink, or possibly even magenta. It's loud is what I'm saying, and I absolutely love it! The texture is very soft, perhaps a tad frizzy, but not terribly so. She has bangs that curl under, behind which you'll find two pigtails of puffy curls. Between this and SRM Ghoulia's pigtails I'm finding that in general I like this hairstyle choice quite a bit. It's fun and grabs your attention, if only because it's just so, well, big. I like big hair when done right, and this feels right. It's a youthful look that's perfectly fitting for a younger character like Howleen. I don't think it appeals to me quite as much as basic Howleen's bright orange and yellow fauxhawk, but it's close.
Dance Class Howleen has a faceup that's a bit subdued compared to her basic doll. She has a light pink strip of shadow above each eye, while underneath is a thin strip of more pink, but it's much more shimmery than the pink on top. This is all surrounded by a layer of shadow that's a smokey pink that borders on very light tan. Above this is a layer of light tan-ish silver that goes to her brows. Her lips are a glossy shade of salmon, similar to her basic doll's lips but a bit darker. So yeah, it may come in more muted colors than her basic doll, but it's not a simple faceup by any means. She's incredibly pretty, though not quite as pretty as her basic doll in my opinion.
There are four dolls in the Dance Class line -- Robecca, Lagoona, Operetta, and Howleen -- and her smaller stature isn't the only thing that differentiates Howleen from the other three dolls. While the others all wear leotards/swimsuits paired with a wrap of some sort, Howleen comes in a unitard, wrap not included. As I've pointed out already with Robecca and Lagoona, there's a bit of a disconnect between what we're told these dolls are supposed to represent clothing-wise, and what the doll's clothes actually convey. We're told Howleen is hip hop. This unitard is... hip hop-ish? Pajama-ish? Nothing-ish? I don't know, really. I'm kind of seeing the hip hop thing here -- sort of -- but like the other three dolls this mostly feels like a basic outfit meant to convey Howleen's previously established theme. In this case, wolf-girl. The bodice of the unitard is one-sleeved and comes in light blue. It has a busy print of yellow and red paw prints connected by matching dashes, interspersed with pink arrows outlined in purple pointing every which way, with some larger purple paw prints tossed in for good measure. But you know what? It works. Seriously. The print isn't as loud as I'm making it sound, it's just really busy. And the arrows and dash-connected paw prints connect to her dance theme. Is it hip hop? No. Is it a diagram of dance steps for a wolf-girl? Yeah, sort of. The attached leggings are a bit simpler -- black with a simple paw print pattern in alternating colors of blue and pink. The paw colors match the bodice while the black anchors all that business going on above it.
Howleen's extras differ from the other dolls as well. Instead of a cylindrical dance bag she gets a two-handled bag in the shape of a boombox. It's black with little pink paw prints over the speakers. The tape deck is outlined in pink, as well. The back is blank except for a few claw marks. I like this bag a lot, and am already envisioning you enterprising customizers cutting those handles right off and turning this into a straight-up ghetto blaster. That would be way cool, guys!
She wears a hot pink molded belt. It's a series of connected safety pins strung with cords. On one end hangs flat, molded headphones. One earmuff has a simple diamond while the other bares a paw print. This is matched by her shoes, light blue (almost aqua) hightop wedge sneakers. They have molded purple laces. Each outer side has a skullette while the wedges have some claw marks in them. Pretty detailed!
Overall grade: B+ Scant extras for this budget doll (even compared to previous budget lines, Dance Class feels seriously budget), but the doll itself is pretty great! I love her hair! It's bright and fun and feels fairly high-quality. The outfit may not be hip hop but definitely works as something a wolf-girl would wear. To dance class or to bed is up to you! Her face is really pretty and differs considerably from her basic doll, something I can definitely appreciate, even if I don't like it quite as much as the basic doll's face.