Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: Cleo De Nile and Lagoona Blue -- Scaris Exclusive

Scaris really is the line that keeps on giving. Even before we found out about this Toys R Us 2-Pack exclusive, the line already featured ten dolls (three of which were brand new characters), two playsets, and a TV special. It was Mattel's largest MH line to date, covering multiple price points and offering a variety of doll styles. Even the recent basic fashion pack line had a mild Scaris tie-in. Then a couple of months ago, seemingly out of the blue, this exclusive 2-Pack featuring Scaris-fied versions of Cleo and Lagoona started hitting shelves in Europe. Although various pieces of Scaris artwork hinted that we might be getting Cleo and Lagoona dolls, fans were pretty much blindsided by the sudden appearance of the set. In the process this TRU exclusive pushed the Scaris doll tally up to twelve, by far the most of any MH line. Considering the first dolls hit shelves in November, and I'm now getting this set in late March, Scaris releases have spanned a pretty large amount of time for a doll line. It took nearly a month for the set to hit the states, which meant for the past several weeks I've been coveting these dolls from afar, stalking Flickr streams and "favoriting" like there's no tomorrow! Happily, the set finally made its' way to my town a few days ago, and thanks to the "Store Pick-up" online option I had these babies in my hand and walking out the door before they even hit the shelves. Give it up for store pick-up, y'all! Woo-hoo!

Lagoona and Cleo: huge fans of store pick-up.

But enough about that. We've got a lot to cover here, not the least of which is, "So, hey, what's this set all about, anyway?" Well, the basic idea is you get two previously unavailable Scaris dolls, and they're only available at Toys R Us. ("Yeah, we figured that out," you say. "Chill, my friends, it's all about the journey," I respond. No, I'm not smoking anything.) Each doll is a brand new design of the character. Since the whole idea behind the Scaris line has been fashion and clothes and stuff, these dolls come with brand new outfits, accessories, purses, and shoes. (Squee!) Each doll also comes with a second pair of shoes (these backup shoes are repeats in new colors, but still -- squee!), and a couple more shopping bags, these made of cardboard.

Enjoy this view, you won't be seeing these again in this review. They're awfully cute, though, aren't they?

Cleo and Lagoona come as a set so their box is a tad larger than usual. This gave Mattel plenty of space to mix and mingle these two in with the deluxe characters, all hanging out on the streets of Scaris. I'm actually kind of disappointed they didn't put all the Scaris characters in this drawing; the budget ones, Catrine, throw 'em all in! There was plenty of room! But hey, this ain't too bad. At least we get full-size drawings of Cleo and Lagoona here. And I guess putting Catrine on a box containing dolls exclusive to TRU would be a conflict of interest. Oh well...



Mattel also included a collector's card for each doll. You know I love these, right? Have I ever mentioned that? Because I totally love collector's cards. This set's after my own heart. The cards feature artwork we've already seen several times on other Scaris toys. Poor Lagoona is squeezed so tightly in with three other characters that nearly half her face is cut off on her own damn card... but it's the thought that counts. Cleo's card is pretty wicked, though. Oh, Cleo, how I love you.

Both cards share the same back. We do get all the characters here... well, except Catrine. 
We need more Catrine art in the world in general if you ask me.

There's been a lot of talk about just where these dolls fit within the Scaris line. That is, do these lean a little more to the deluxe side of things, or are they a tad more budget-y? It's kind of a tough call. In terms of accessories, I'd say these dolls are even with, or perhaps maybe even surpass, the deluxe dolls. As you'll soon see, these two come with a lot of extras, and most of them are made from brand new molds. As for their clothes, well, they're not really up there with the deluxe outfits. But they're not as simple as, say, Draculaura's Scaris outfit. I'll put it this way -- if these dolls were released as solo budget Scaris dolls, they'd have the best outfits of the bunch (along with Ghoulia, of course). In short: they're right in the middle, not quite up there with the deluxe girls, but definitely a step up from the budget ladies. Let's break this shizz down...

We'll start with Cleo. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised the first time I saw pics of this doll. For starters, her face is actually fairly straightforward: no curlicued mascara, no shocking blue lips, no crazy glitter. That's not to say this is a boring face. It's certainly colorful and bold, it just seems kind of... normal, compared to what we've gotten with Cleo lately. And you know what? I LOVE IT. I know some people complain about Cleo being the least "monstrous" character, and this rather normal-looking faceup isn't gonna do her any favors with them. But I feel one of the great things about MH is the wide variety of characters and styles. And having a somewhat "normal" character just adds to that variety. And if you are going to have a normie-looking doll, why not go all out and make her STUNNING? So that's what Mattel seems to have done! Scaris Cleo comes across as smart, sexy, mature, and fierce. Her mascara comes in the usual shape and has a purple divider line running above it. The entire eye is surrounded by teal eyeshadow. A translucent shimmer goes to her brow. That's it for the eyes! Contrasting them are glossy lips in stark, pure red. These are bold colors; consider me weird if you must, but they make it hard to take your eyes off her. She's just so striking, those dark-lined eyes and bright lips jumping out at you, demanding your attention. She's amazing...

But what's a great face without great hair? Kinda useless, if my Picture Day Cleo's horrific hair is anything to go by. Luckily, Scaris Cleo has it all under control, as this is some rather fantastic hair. Oh, and it's also a completely new 'do for our Egyptian princess! The color is the usual black, with the sporadic teal streaks we've been seeing on her the last couple years. The newness comes from the actual style. It's parted on her left and lands at her rear with a mild wave. She has short bangs that sweep to her right. Scaris Cleo has no tinsel, very rare for this character. This gets a big cheer from me, since lately Cleo's tinsel has started to become ratty and thin. The texture of this Cleo's hair feels a little different than usual. It's not as silky as her 2010 and 2011 dolls' hair was, but it feels a tad thicker and has a little more body. I really like it! Not unlike Scaris Clawdeen's hair, you can play around with this Cleo's hair and it will hold different styles pretty well. Mostly though, this is just some great hair. It's a youthful hairstyle but the tastefully bold faceup lends the overall look an air of maturity. It's basically Cleo doing her best to impress the jaded Scarisians (I bet she succeeded).

Cleo wears a simple tank dress, not unlike the dress from Ghoulia's deluxe fashion pack in terms of cut. The base color is black but it features a loud print of criss-crossing mummy wraps in metallic teal, with touches of yellow and orange. Shining gold ribbon runs a bit above the hem. The dress is paired with a scarf knotted around Cleo's neck. It's tan and has a print of wraps in teal, orange, and black. It matches the dress perfectly, and goes a long way in adding some visual interest. Plus, it just plain looks great! It gives a touch of sophistication to the look, and likely went over very well in Scaris!

Cleo comes with two pairs of shoes. The ones she comes wearing in the box are the standouts. They're wedge sandals with a teal hood. The wedges are gold bricks while the hood is comprised of phoenix wings topped by a scarab. The wings wrap around her ankles. She also wears a cuff of gold strands around her left ankle; the bottom strand hangs a little lower than the others. Cleo's second pair of shoes are a gold repaint of the black heels that came with the Witch/Cat CAM. I loved these shoes in the CAM set and I love them here, too. The hood is a tiny cat "prowling" down the foot. Its long tail wraps the ankle. These work well thematically on Cleo given her Egyptian roots. Plus they just, you know, look really awesome!

Scaris Cleo comes with what I'm officially declaring a PURSE OF LIFE. It's big, it's gold and black, it actually functions, and it has some beautifully intricate molded detailing. It's a shame none of these details are painted, but that doesn't change the fact that this purse is an instant MH classic. Check it out...

To round things out and pull the look together, Cleo wears several small accessories. Her earrings are teal, dangling... uh, pieces. Honestly, I'm not sure what these are supposed to be. Fans? Drapes? (I'm kidding on that second one... sort of.) She wears a matching teal cuff on her right wrist of tightly twisted, beaded, strands. On her left wrist are three gold, triangular bracelets. (We've seen these several times before on many dolls, and they're very simple, but I always love them!) On her left bicep is a gold, beaded cuff. Her last accessory is probably my favorite: a tiny gold barrette in the shape of a scarab with dramatically pointed phoenix wings. The barrette has a clasp so it actually functions. Much like the triangular bracelets, I love the working barrettes we sometimes get on these dolls! This one in particular is fantastic! I love the overall look (the gold contrasts nicely with her teal streaks), and giving a scarab wings is really unique. It's a great touch!

After all that Cleo excitement, moving on to Lagoona almost seems like a letdown. But don't be fooled! This doll may look a bit ho-hum, but upon closer inspection she holds many surprises! Let's begin...

Scaris Lagoona has a very typical faceup for this character: blue eyeliner surrounded by pink eyeshadow. Semi-matte lips in fuchsia. No, it's not very exciting. But this is Lagoona we're talking about. From the beginning she's been a beautiful doll. Not straying too far from her usual look may not be exciting, but at least we can always count on her being pretty. What is new about this Lagoona is her hair -- like Scaris Cleo, Scaris Lagoona sports a brand new 'do! The colors are the usual: yellow-blonde (though not SRM yellow-blonde), with light blue streaks. Unfortunately she doesn't have near the amount of blue streaks that her Swim doll has. But no worries, she looks great anyway, with long hair that flips out in a fat curl at the ends. She also has a ponytail right on the center-top of her head! These new hair developments are highly welcomed by me, especially the awesome flip! I love me some flipped hair (I think it stems from my Mod Barbie love), and they've pulled it off wonderfully on Lagoona. As with her Dance Class and Swim dolls, the actual texture is much improved from previous years. This goes a long way in making the flip work. As I've handled and lightly brushed her hair the curl has relaxed, to the point that it now gently frames her arms. It's a great look. My only complaint really is that it's prone to flyaways. But honestly, give me flyaways any day over frizz.

Lagoona wears a tank dress in light aqua (Mattel sure is lovin' them some tanks lately, eh?), with a really cool textured print of small dots. It's subtle, but adds a lot once you notice it. Over this she wears a sheer black top with vertical pink stripes of kelp. The top has short sleeves and ends in pink knit ribbing that hugs her thighs. Pink ribbon lines the hem where the sleeves meet the bodice. This is an interesting look, but I'm not entirely sure it works. Even though I like the top -- it has a variety of textures and the print is nice -- somehow it just doesn't completely work for me. Overall I'm mixed on this look -- I don't hate it, but I hardly love it. Luckily I made a discovery while playing around with this outfit, but I'll get to that in a bit. (Hmm...)

Like Cleo, Lagoona has two pairs of shoes . The pair she wears in-box are a new mold, and they're very cool. They're pink wedges that feature an aqua... I'm gonna say octopus even though there are only six tentacles here. In any case, he looks really cute -- he has a little head poking up and everything! The wedges have some fanciful tentacles molded into them; a simple beaded strap wraps the ankle. Lagoona's second pair of shoes are an aqua repeat of Wave 2 Lagoona's pink jelly wedges. We've also seen these in grey on Roadster Draculaura. In all cases I have liked these shoes. They fit well, they're easy to put on and take off, and the design is unique. I especially like the hollow circles that make up the wedge.

I'm gonna go ahead and call it: Scaris Lagoona's purse is the best to date for this character! Is it a PURSE OF LIFE? If not, it's damn close! It basically functions as a tote, what with it's two handles and chunky body. It comes in dark aqua and features a texture of molded bubbles. It's very hard, not pliable at all. On each side are fancifully entwined tentacles in pure pink. In the center of the tentacles is a clamshell with a string of pearls dangling from it. The tentacles climb up and over the side of the body and form a rounded handle. On one side a small scarf is tied to the handle -- you'll recognize this as the same material and print of Dance Class Lagoona's swimsuit leotard. The pink tentacle-handles are made of a much more pliable plastic than the body of the tote. To open it you lift the lid; it's on two hinges and swings up. It's quite unique, more like a piece of equipment than a purse. The hard body combined with the much softer tentacles makes for an interesting contrast. The actual design of the tentacles is very impressive -- detailed and ornate, at once nautical but also a bit Art Nouveau. The scarf adds some visual interest (the black especially looks nice contrasted with the pink handle), although honestly, the purse was probably fine enough as it was. In any case, love it!

Lagoona wears several small accessories. She has a small aqua necklace featuring a dangling octopus. Her ponytail is held by yet another aqua octopus. I especially like this one, as it has the most detail. Like on the shoes, his head is popping up, but here his winding tentacles reach around to hold Lagoona's hair in place. It's a great touch! Her last accessory is a pink bracelet on her left wrist (this is another new mold, unless I've missed one along the way).

To give you a better view of Lagoona's tank dress I took the black top off... and discovered something. I like the look much more without the top! Take a look...

However, it is a bit plain. It needs something to "punch it up". How about a belt? I grabbed Swim Lagoona's headband, wrapped it around Scaris Lagoona's waist twice, and voila! A whole new look! Now, this is just me personally, but I much prefer this to the black top look. Even when the clasp of the headband is in the front, it looks kind of like a buckle so it works. I know the color doesn't match the pink accessories perfectly, but it matches the aqua well. I may grab Dance Class Lagoona's accessories since they'd probably make for a better color match. Anyway, take a look...

Overall: Well, first of all, I've decided to stop doing letter grades. Why? All I was ever coming up with were A's and B's! The thing is, I pretty much only buy the dolls I like. That said, I usually like about 90% of the dolls released! So when I do a review chances are I'm gonna like the doll. Doing a letter grade seems kind of arbitrary at this point. I feel my overall thoughts on a doll will come through in these final summations anyway.

So, continuing on with the Overall: Based on what we've gotten and what we know we'll be getting of Cleo this year, this is her best doll of the year. I don't usually make bold, definitive statements like that when it involves dolls I haven't seen in person yet. But everything about this Cleo works. She's stylish, she's bold, she's unique. She has attitude in spades and ain't afraid to show it. To say Scaris Cleo is photogenic is a massive understatement -- she was made for the camera! This is a new hairstyle for Cleo and it definitely works! She comes with plenty of extras, including that purse of life and some damn fine shoes. The backup gold shoes ain't too shabby, either. Lagoona isn't quite as exciting, but she does have a great hairstyle, and once you play around with the outfit a bit you may find that it works for you. Maybe it already works for you, no personalizing required! Her purse is another huge success for this set -- it's simply looks amazing, and I especially love the Art Nouveau vibe of the pink detailing. In 2012, stands were hard to come by for exclusives, especially multipack ones. But this multipack exclusive includes not only two stands, but two collector's cards! Aside from the extra pairs of shoes everything here is made from new molds -- impressive. And just to reiterate: Best Cleo of 2013.

A final note: there's only one day left to vote in the Cleo poll! The more people who vote, the more accurate the results are, and the more I can talk about Cleo on the blog! (If you're on the mobile site, just scroll to the bottom of this page, click "View web version", and when the page reloads you'll see the poll.) It only takes a few seconds to vote; make your voice(thing) heard!


  1. You're blog has become my daily crack. Its the first one I check every morning, somes times more that once a day. I have scrolled back and read every post aleast 2x. What amazes me is ALL the details I miss when I check out my dolls.
    So after reading you're blog. I get a second gift and notice all the things I miss. Exp. Cleo's shoes for skull shore, I never noticed they were a greek god supporting her heal. I feel bad when I don't see any coments on you're posts that you so obviously have put a lot of time into, I hope you aleast get site hits so you know you're followed. So I just wanted to say thank you from an avid follower!

    1. Thank you very much, onnosan! The compliments are greatly appreciated! I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog! As I always say, it's my little labor of love. :)

      It is a lot of work, but I love the dolls and have such a passion for them -- it's really fun to take the pics, analyze the dolls, and write my thoughts on them. And then I share them with the world!

      The reason I don't always get so many comments on the posts is because I don't allow anonymous comments. Most bloggers say "allow anonymous comments!", but, I don't know, I like to control what gets posted. I may be a bit of a control freak lol! Several readers prefer to talk with me and give feedback on my Flickr account. I also have a running conversation with a few friends over at MHD.

      Again, thank you so much! Don't be a stranger! :D

  2. Cleo looks beautiful! Oh, how I wish I had money to waste on these dolls...I only have three MH dolls: Original Operetta, Original Ghoulia, and pink-haired Howleen. How sad is that?! XD

    1. This Cleo is sort of an instant classic for me. Everything about her just works. Even the outfit, simple as it is, has quickly become a personal favorite of mine.

      You may only have three dolls, but they're good ones! Especially Operetta and Ghoulia! Countless MH fans wish they could get their hands on a basic Ghoulia; you've definitely got something special with her. :D

  3. this 2 pack is one of my fav exclusives and the review couldn't have been better... this is an amaze cleo and lagoona is great too !! :)

  4. 'It's the purse of life
    and it moves us all,
    Through department stores,
    through clothes and sho-ooes!
    'Til we find our phone,
    In the hidden pock-ET
    In the purse,

    Sorry, I couldn't help myself. LOL

    You're so right about Cleo being 'fierce' and Lagoona being 'fun'. It's a nice contrast. :)
    Can't wait until I can own this set.

  5. Circle of Life, right? I love your new lyrics lol

  6. so i finally deboxed this cleo and lagoona set tonight... i loved them in box but i have to say when i got them out and started brushing the hair and playing around with them this set instantly became a favorite well cleo and lagoona are in my top 3 along with frankie but really i see the love you have for cleo in this doll she is sexy and fierce !! i think i will leave them out for a while before reboxing them just because i love them so much !!

    1. At this point I'm about 99% sure she's my favorite Cleo. She's bold and striking and yet there's something subdued about her. I really love it. I'm not surprised at all that you love her. I basically tell anyone who'll listen how amazing Scaris Cleo is and is pretty much a must-have lol.

  7. Aww... I just tried buying this set on TRU. :(
    I get an error saying it can't be shipped to my country, even though it says it can be shipped internationally. Boo hiss.

    "The items listed below that appear in your cart cannot be shipped to the country that you have selected. Please adjust your cart accordingly.
    Monster High Scaris Dolls 2-Pack"

    And I really wanted to get them & the werecat sisters in time for my birthday.
    I contacted them, but I don't think it'll do much help.
    What else do you think I should do?

    -Darn these store exclusives. *shakes fist at Mattel & TRU*

    1. Hmm, that sucks :( The only backup I can think of is trying to find them on eBay. I don't know what they're going for on there, though. Sellers usually do such brutal markups on the 'bay I shudder to think what the asking price is.

    2. I've looked. Some are okay prices, but then they go & charge ridiculous prices for shipping. Lame.

    3. Yeah, it seems a lot of sellers like to try to sneak in those upcharges through shipping. Not cool.

  8. have you seen the new oasis 13 wishes cleo, up close she looks a lot like scaris cleo she is awesome :)

    1. No, I haven't! Do you have a link? I'd love to see!

  9. yes it is at then just scroll down to this date May 10 th it is on the left hand side of the page and the box is labeled 13 Wishes Desert Frights Oasis Cleo de Nile doll and you can see pics of cleo by her self with out the play set they are really good quality up close pics and there is 11 of them... let me know if you found it and what you think of her... i actually think she is just as sexy as scaris cleo and her hair looks like it could be great when fixed properly :)

  10. sorry i wrote the wrong link before that's the page the original pics came from but it is hard to find on that page the way i did it and the easier way is to go to facebook and in the search bar type in monster high dolls and it will bring up their page it should be the first one on the list the profile pic is a cartoon drawing pic and then like i said in the last post you just scroll down its on the left hand side under the may 10 th date... sorry i thought if i copied the link before it would be easier than explaining how to get there but when i clicked on the link i gave you it took me to a different page so just do it the way i explained in this post and it is a lot easier to see it on their facebook page :) let me know if you found it

    1. No problem, Ricky! Thanks for sharing the link. I agree -- she looks fantastic, and reminds me a bit of Scaris Cleo (a very good thing!)