Thursday, December 6, 2012

Voicething's Official Top 10 Monster High Dolls of 2012!

It's December so you know what that means -- countdowns! Everywhere you turn in December you'll find year-end lists counting down the best music, best movies, best TV, internet memes, celebrity scandals, you name it. We humans love looking back over the year behind us, ostensibly to take stock of everything that happened and perhaps even indulge in a little reminiscing. For me, yeah, there's that stuff. But more than that I just plain love lists for the sake of lists. I make lists all the time, for everything from groceries to places I'd like to visit to, well, dolls. Going hand in hand with the list-mania is the fact that I also love to rank things. The thing is, I'm really not a particularly creative person, at least not in an artistic sense. I don't come up with cool OC's or create custom dolls. My doll appreciation is most expressed in analyzing, comparing, admiring. So really it makes perfect sense that I would do a year-end list of the best (to me) Monster High dolls. And since I now have a blog it gives me a voice(thing) to share all my thoughts on these wonderful little pieces of plastic.

I have set a few ground rules. Only dolls scheduled for 2012 release can be included. This means, for example, that even though Skull Shores started hitting shelves in 2011 they're eligible this year since they're scheduled release was 2012. Likewise, recent lines like Scaris and Picture Day aren't eligible since they're technically 2013 dolls. Also, I will only be including female dolls. Why? I don't collect male dolls. It's not that I'm anti-male doll, they're just not my thing. I'm Switzerland when it comes to them, totally neutral. Finally, I didn't compile my list using only dolls I own but all my favorite 2012 dolls ended up on my shelves anyway so everything you'll see here was decided based on actual dolls, not pictures online. One last thing: remember, these are my personal picks for the year's best. I'm not claiming these are 2012's best MH dolls period, just the best 2012 dolls to me.

Before we get to the list proper here are the "honorable mentions", the dolls that landed just outside the Top 10. They're not listed in any particular order but feel free to consider them 11 - 20 on the list.

- Ghoulia Yelps + Scooter

- Dot Dead Gorgeous Lagoona Blue

- Operetta Basic

- Skull Shores Frankie Stein Greyscale

- Skultimate Roller Maze Lagoona Blue

- Howleen Wolf Basic

- Ghouls Rule Cleo De Nile

- Dot Dead Gorgeous Ghoulia Yelps

- Frankie Stein as Threaderella

- Skull Shores Lagoona Blue

And now to the main event!

10. I Love Fashion Abbey Bominable
This is my favorite Abbey, thanks mostly to a striking faceup of matte paint and a chic ensemble. Excellent hair in both quality and style is a major plus. The legwarmers + booties are amazing. All the extra clothes and accessories didn't hurt, but her ranking here really does come down to just the actual doll and the outfit she wears in-box. She's pretty perfect.

9. Roadster Draculaura
I can be pretty hard on Draculaura, especially her newer dolls. I don't think it's any big secret that her dolls tend to be my least favorite. But this one somehow strikes a fantastic balance between appealing simplicity and retro style. Her sunglasses are leftover from 2010 and her shoes are a repaint of a pair already seen on Lagoona. Her faceup is nothing new. I really can't put my finger on just what it is that appeals to me so much about her. There's something vaguely 20's about her, maybe that's what it is? She photographs remarkably well and the hair is great, gel and all. She just works. 

8. Skultimate Roller Maze Frankie Stein
I know I've already gone on at length in my full review about how great this doll is so I'll keep it brief. The colorful face is gorgeous and that loose hairstyle gives her a groovy, mellow vibe. If she came in a better outfit she'd be even higher on the list. Luckily there are plenty of Frankie fashions to go around so this girl is always looking stylish 'round here. I just really adore this doll, people. She never leaves the "A shelf".

7. Meowlady & Purrsephone
Is it cheating to include these two as one entry? Whatever, they came together, they belong together. In fact that's part of what's so fun about these two. If they sold just one of these dolls alone I don't think she'd be nearly as great as she is paired with her sister. They play off each other visually with mirror image stripes and opposite colored hair. Throw in those eerie eyes and incredible clothes (1982 called, it said good job!) and you have two cool cats worthy of their awesomely bad reputations. Do I think we'll ever see another release of these two? I could honestly see it go either way. And while it'd be cool to have even more versions of them, I'd be just as fine if this is all we ever get of the twins. These two dolls are great enough to stand on their own as representations of the characters.

6. Skull Shores Ghoulia Yelps
I know, I know. Mattel totally overshot it with this doll's distribution. But try to get past the burnout and remember the first time you saw her. That glorious hair, the vintage swimsuit and wrap, that colorful face. SS Ghoulia is a stunning doll in every way. She's a 50's beach babe bombshell, and that's amazing.

5. Venus McFlytrap Basic
Compared to the other new characters this year Venus actually seems a bit simple. No wings, no scars, no rivets. Maybe that's part of why she works so well. Sure, half her head is shaved and she's got vines threatening to swallow her whole, but when it comes to actually playing with and posing this doll she's very "no muss, no fuss". The fact that she's gorgeous and the side of her head that isn't shaved has looong, silky hair in two contrasting, fluorescent colors doesn't hurt. Consider me officially pro-Eco Punk.

4. Skull Shores Cleo De Nile
Pickings were slim in 2012 when it came to Cleo dolls. In fact we only got two, and one of them was in an exclusive pack that cost 50 bucks. A shame really since SS Cleo is not only the best doll of an already great line, she's quite possibly the best Cleo released to date. In an outfit that channels the 70's via Art Deco revivalism Cleo walks on heels of pharaohs, proudly displaying a black bob and turquoise bangs. Lips golden, eyes sharp, Cleo stands ready to ascend her throne. Then from somewhere in the back some Mattel exec yells "Get your ass back to Target! We got more Draculaura's to make!" Damn.

3. Kohl's Exclusive Operetta
In a slight variation of her fashion pack, Kohl's Operetta comes to us with dark, dramatic makeup and smooth, shiny hair. Basic Operetta may have the better hairstyle, but Kohl's Operetta has the better, well, everything else. Even the outfit retread works since the fashion pack was so amazing in the first place. Sultry and enigmatic, this Operetta comes across as a doll for grown ups. Not in any weird way, it's just that she doesn't seem like a doll that would particularly appeal to the kiddies. I may be wrong, I don't have kids so I wouldn't know. But here Operetta is fierce, dark, mature, retro, cool. She's the only doll that has truly lived up to the potential of this character so far, in my opinion. She hasn't moved from my "A shelf" since I got her and I don't see that changing any time soon.

2. Toralei Stripe Basic
If there's some ambiguity as to whether lumping Meowlady and Purrsephone together was cheating, there's none here. Toralei's release date was December 2011, technically disqualifying her from this list. But hey, December is almost January, and I couldn't get my hands on the doll until well into the spring anyway so she just feels very 2012 to me. She's so cool I might just make a rule saying this doll qualifies for every year, forever, anyway. So yes, Toralei is my #2 doll this year. Even if I didn't think she belonged here she'd probably cut me for leaving her out, so in she goes!

1. Rochelle Goyle Basic
Big pink eyes, cotton candy hair, and granite wings get 'em every time. Or something like that. Whatever, Rochelle is a beautiful doll and my #1 this year. She's stylish, she's unique, she's just plain fun, and that's what dolls are supposed to be. I'm already smitten and then some with her Scaris doll (expect an appearance next year), and look forward to many more to come.


  1. What a great post John! I also love making lists for everything and I love reading them too!
    There were some surprises like roadster Draculaura and SS Ghoulia (not exactly fan favorites) but most of these weren't surprising to me, even though I've only known you and your blog since yesterday ;)

  2. I've been following Voicething since the end of last year, I think. I just wanted to comment and well this comment may be long. Your reviews are the best I've seen for sure, and I love how many pictures you've taken. Before I discovered this blog I collected dolls but only like, new characters, basics, and maybe a few themed ones I just really liked. After seeing all your dolls and reviews, I now collect MANY more dolls! I love every doll and line, I'm easy to please. The bad thing about this is my money...collecting playsets, fashion packs, dolls etc costs so much! My parents and boyfriend think it's a waste of money, but to me, it's money worth spent. I want basically every doll released ever, I know that's like impossible, especially considering how expensive SDCC's exclusives and older, out-of-production dolls cost. However, I think I'll get there someday! I'm proud to own 30 dolls, cleo's vanity and Abbey's bed, and the 4 Scaris fashion packs. Unfortunately, this is already alot, and when I buy a new doll or attempt to, I get in trouble with my parents because I'm "running out of room." I won't be completely out of room until my dolls flood my hallway! Just wanted to comment on what an inspiration you are to me and my doll collecting. Oh, and a big thank you if you actually read all of that!

    1. Welcome, Helena! I'm so glad you like the blog! I have to say I'm both happy and ashamed that I got you into buying MH dolls beyond the basics and new characters lol. In MH fandom a *lot* of people only collect the basic/signature versions of characters. To me this is very limiting because, imo, some of the most unique, beautiful, and interesting dolls are released within the themed and budget lines. So here at Voicething I often try to spread the word that "Hey, that Skultimate Roller Maze Frankie or Dead Tired Cleo or Skull Shores Lagoona you passed on because she was a budget doll is actually *really* cool!" The fact that so many of these dolls -- such as DT Cleo -- are among so many people's favorites, says a lot!

      Of course, the downside is, as you point out, it can get very expensive very fast! A lot of it comes down to really studying the dolls, thinking it over, and choosing only the ones that *really* appeal to you. But it can beough. As I like to say, I only buy the dolls I like, but I like 90% of what's released! Lol

      A big thank you back if you read all of what I wrote! ;)

    2. My comment actually wasn't as long as I thought haha! Well I was only collecting basics in the beginning because I don't have a job or anything and my mom thought I spent too much money on them. Everytime I brought one home I would get in trouble. But one day, when I asked if I could buy one she said "it's your money-do what you want with it." I was sooo happy! After saving so much I kinda bought so much....too much...maybe she was trying to teach me a lesson by letting me handle money on my own because I did a pretty bad job at it. Also, I can't drive. It's a major setback in my doll-collecting because my family doesn't shop at Target or TRU so I can rarely get my hands on some exclusives. I frequent Walmart often though I really would like some exclusives from the other stores...When she takes me to Kohls she expects me to buy clothes so I can never get special dolls there. Is it sad that my only reason I want to learn to drive is so I can go out to get MH dolls? haha.

    3. I'd say it definitely sounds like your mom was imparting a lesson for you. A good one. :) I spend too much money on dolls too -- I could stand to re-learn that lesson myself!

      Getting dolls may be the reason you want to learn to drive now, but there are so many other great things that coming with learning to drive -- but even for me, making the rounds at all my local stores doll hunting takes up a huge portion of my driving time!

    4. I'm really late on learning how to drive because I've always been scared of driving. Also why I don't know how to cook, I'm scared of starting a fire. I also want to drive so I can go shopping for clothes on my own. I can take hours and hours that my mom wouldn't be able to put up with lol.

    5. Lol your mom sounds about like me -- unless it's for dolls, I'm not a fan of shopping! ;)

  3. Also, which SS Ghoulia do you own? The wide-release one, or the one in the Target 5-pack? Or do you own both? Which one do you like better? Thanks! Do you own the SS Draculaura wide-release and the Target release as well? Again, if you do, which do you like better/what are the differences? Is there usually a reduction in quality of the dolls included in exclusive packs? Sorry for all the questions!

    1. Questions are what I'm here for, no worries! :)

      Yes, I have both the solo and Target version of both SS Ghoulia and Draculaura. I prefer the solo versions of both dolls by far! My solo SS Ghoulia has a beautiful, perfectly shaped bouffant, while the Target one has scary granny hair! In the case of SS Draculaura, the Target doll has cheaper-looking face paint, and her outfit overall feels of lesser quality. I prefer her solo doll by far, as well!

  4. Looks like I'll be buying two SS draculauras and Ghoulias then! I really want SS Cleo and Clawdeen looks cute too. The sad thing is, I don't own ANY Cleo dolls! I usually buy my dolls in-store because I like to inspect them in person, and none of her dolls are around. There just aren't that many dolls of her, as far as I can tell. I got into MH kind of late and missed the Wave 1 basics and DOTD.

    1. Don't forget you can always buy SS Draculaura and Ghoulia as solo versions, and SS Cleo and Clawdeen can sometimes be found sold on their own on eBay, often for what you'd pay for them if they were sold solo anyway (that is, not too badly inflated). That way you're not doubling up on dolls you don't need! Or you could buy the solo Dracu and Ghoulia, and also the full Target set, and sell the extras you don't need on eBay yourself! Whatever the case, you definitely need a Cleo doll in your life, be it SS or otherwise! (It's hard to go wrong with Cleo so any of her dolls would do.)

    2. Oh yeah, that's what I meant. I was going to get solo Ghoulia and Draculaura as well as the Target pack :)
      Don't know when but I know it'll happen!

    3. I see :) Well, just keep in mind you can sell those extra dolls online, or even use them to trade for dolls you don't yet have. Extra MH dolls make for very good collateral, they're basically like another form of money in the doll world!

    4. I've never sold anything online before and don't know how. I don't have any friends really, and no one I know owns any dolls anyway. I have a younger niece with lots of dolls but since she is little she mishandles them majorly. Lots of missing hands, accessories, clothes, and messed up hair. On extra dolls I might do something different to their hair. They can be my experiments haha.

    5. Over at the MHD forums there's a buy/sell/trade section, and since it's fellow MH fans, they're generally trustworthy. I know a lot of people have had good experiences doing trades there. :)

    6. Oh wow! But I would like to trade one that is in box and stuff like new...well maybe not for the budget dolls boxes but definitely the bigger boxes

    7. Yeah, doing a trade of a non-boxed doll for a boxed one can be tough, but I have seen it happen! It's all about getting the word out to fellow collectors about what you have and what you want. With patience, there's always the possibility that just what you're looking for will show up!

  5. Can I comment on a really old post? :)
    I'm not surprised you ranked Rochelle at #1. She wasn't the first from that group that I bought (I got Robecca first). I was getting a bit tired of all the pink on the dolls, and her pink hair wasn't doing her any favours in my book. But once I bought her; Dang! She's beautiful. I think her style will end up doing her good, because Robecca is steampunk, Venus is eco-punk, while Rochelle doesn't fit into any particular theme. She seems to be as diverse as Frankie Stein. I only wish her teal streaks were periwinkle or sky blue instead.

    I gave it a thought, and while I didn't come up with a top 10, myself, I came up with my 7 favourite dolls from 2012;
    (In no particular order): Ghouls Rule Frankie, (greyscale) Skull Shores Frankie, I Love Fashion Frankie, Scary Tales Clawdeen, Dot Dead Gorgeous Operetta, Skull Shores Cleo, and like you, signature Rochelle. (Can you tell I love Frankie? lol)

    BTW, will you do a top 10 of 2013 at the end of the year? I have a feeling quite a few of the Scaris dolls will make it in. :)