Friday, June 28, 2013

An open book...

All week Mattel has been revealing the Ever After High dolls, one doll each day. The four core characters have all been revealed, with the possible Ashlynn Ella/Hunter 2-pack maybe being shown today. Response to the dolls has been very mixed. Even some who were into the line based on the webisodes have expressed disappointment. I think a lot of MH fans (myself included), thought EAH would be an edgy take on fairy tales, basically what MH is to classic monsters. While EAH is certainly more edgy than your typical princess doll line it definitely doesn't have the cool factor that MH has. As soon as we saw the webisodes and character designs I knew I needed to adjust my expectations. Mattel is pretty clearly aiming this line towards a somewhat younger demographic than MH. I bolded that line because it's probably the single most important thing one needs to keep in mind when considering EAH. I'll be upfront -- I love these dolls. And I think a lot of it is because I eventually realized -- and accepted -- that this wasn't going to be Monster High in a princess dress. Mattel probably shouldn't have launched EAH as a MH spinoff.  I think people would be more accepting of EAH if it had been launched as it's own thing. In any case they are two different lines, and despite some similarities the appeal of each is unique. If you want more Monster High, well, there's always Monster High! There's no need to look to Ever After High for that since we already have Monster High. Ever After High is carving out it's own identity -- and it's a pretty great one if you ask me! Let's look at the dolls...

First up we have Raven Queen. I don't think Mattel could've done a better job of matching the doll to the character design! This is 100% the character from the webisodes. Great job, Mattel! Raven was the first doll revealed, and is clearly the lead character for the line (the Frankie, if you will). Immediately you notice how gigantic the doll's head is, it's very full and round. She looks a tad younger than the MH girls. Everything here looks really nice to me. Her outfit has a good mix of textures and the colors are deep and rich. The use of chains on various pieces give her a hint of punk while still playing into her queen theme. (By the way, anyone else getting shades of Rose Petal Place from the skirt?) Her hair is super long and looks very nice. I'd say we have a fifty-fifty chance of the manufactured doll having hair that nice. Her purse is a combination of minimalist studs and an ornate clasp. But the best thing about Raven is her eyes. Aside from the beautiful violet color they're detailed and striking. There's just a hint of fierceness there. Her eyeshadow is much more subtle than what you find on MH dolls. A smart choice on Mattel's part, if you ask me. In a running theme for this line, her shoes are rather amazing. Notice the shadowed silhouette of a raven behind her? Great touch!

Oh lordy, where to start with Apple White? What a beautiful doll! She doesn't quite match up with her character design like Raven does; if anything, she's even better than the character design! Her hair falls in long, blonde tendrils, perfectly matching the shades of red and pink in her dress. She has beautiful, watery, ice blue eyes. Notice how the lightly shaded grey eyeshadow plays off the blue? So nice. Again, there's just a hint of fierceness in these eyes. There are so many great details here! The ribbon crown, jeweled apple purse, bow tie shoes -- all fantastic. I can't tell if her ring is another bow or a butterfly. Either way it definitely works. It's here that we get confirmation that these dolls all use the same headmold. Disappointing, no doubt about it, but within the confines of the mold Mattel has managed to offer some variety among the dolls. All of Apple's colors play off each other well, not just in the dress and hair but even the blue of her eyes and the golds used for the jewelry. She comes across as effortlessly put together, a breath of fresh air compared to the overt color schemes of the other dolls. Impressive.

In Disney's version of Sleeping Beauty two of the fairies battle over what color Aurora's dress should be. Flora wants pink, Merryweather wants blue. I'm definitely a Merryweather -- "Make it blue!" Besides the suffocating PINK, Briar Beauty has a few other minor problems. Her tiara sunglasses are a clever touch but I wish the lenses were a more realistic dark color. I also would've liked her ring and bracelet to have been silver like her earrings. My last complaint is about the shoes. Nice design, but why aren't those details painted in? Briar is literally stepping off on the wrong foot in those solid pink shoes. Everything else is close to perfect. She has a caramel skin tone that plays off her pink eyes and auburn hair nicely. Like the other dolls she has plenty of small details. Most impressive to me are the thorn-wrapped tights. I'm also digging the choker/shoulder pad piece. Again I'm getting Rose Petal Place from the skirt, not a bad thing. I could be wrong but looking at Briar I'm thinking these dolls will have the matte facial screening seen on some newer doll lines. The recent Oz dolls had this style of screening and I really liked it. It's pretty different from how MH dolls are screened and I have a feeling it will be the final nail in the coffin of this line for some people. Well, if that really is how they're screened -- like I said, I could be wrong.

Finally there's Madeline Hatter. Here is where I see the only real problem for this line in using one headmold. Madeline's doll doesn't come anywhere near capturing the manic quality of the character, and I feel it's because of the mouth. Were that mouth opened into a wide smile showing the white of her teeth she'd be the excitable character we know from the webisodes. As it is she looks subdued, more thoughtful than manic. Not that she's unattractive, mind you. She has that distant, contemplative expression I'm such a sucker for in dolls. If anything, she's a serene beauty. It's just not right for this particular character. Beyond that, she's faithful to the character design. She's bright and lively, a bold mixture of colors and prints. There's a lot going on here but she's not garish in the least. Her teapot purse plays off the teacup headband, while her painted hands contrast her polka dot tights. (Speaking of, I love that all four dolls wear tights! I think I've mentioned in previous posts how much I love tights on dolls, and I mean it. Seriously, they add so much to dolls, especially these four.) Her curly hair is a cool combination of mint and grape. It looks great in the pic but I'm worried about how it'll be manufactured. To be honest, I hope it comes with the curls gelled into a helmet that we have to loosen ourselves. That's the only way I can see it working. Her upward glancing eyes look to be the largest of the four dolls, and her pearl and gold shoes are the best of the bunch. Despite the disconnect between character design and doll, Maddy is my favorite of the four after Apple.

Even though there are a few minor problems with a couple of the dolls I absolutely love them. The last time I was this excited for a new doll line was, well, Monster High. In fact, once the dolls are released I'll be switching the blog to full time coverage of EAH!* After all, once EAH takes off Mattel will be closing down MH anyway.** In the meantime a new webisode has been posted...

* Just kidding!
** Don't believe everything you hear.


Update: Came across a group shot of the dolls and it looks like Madeline will be a shorter doll than the others. You probably know I'm mixed at best when it comes to the shorter dolls. But I'm hoping her colorful design and general beauty can overcome any negative feelings I might have about her shorter stature. Anyway, check out the pic. I think the ladies look even better grouped together than they did in their solo shots!


  1. It's great to read your opinions on these new dolls. :)

    I like Raven's face, her eyes are reminiscent of Elizabeth Taylor & her eyebrows convey her snarky yet kind personality. I don't like how her collar hugs her face, though. I also wish she was wearing more of a true purple rather than a pinky-purple. Her hair looks magenta-coloured to me.

    Apple is totally gorgeous! Her hairstyle is very similar to Scaris Clawdeen's & the 2012 Holiday Barbie. I think she'll end up being the most versatile doll (like Frankie Stein). Her outfit is a beautiful modern take on the classic princess dress. I love the white & gold shrug over the simple red bodice. Her colour scheme is great with the bold red, classy black & white, and the gold accents.

    I love everything about Briar's outfit. From the necklace & shoulder piece, right down to the shoes (yes, even if they're one solid colour, which I think are balanced well with her thorn-patterned tights). I think she's the pink/girly one because of the rose theme & maybe Mattel felt they needed a pink-centric doll to appeal to younger girls. Which is kinda stupid, because you don't *need* to wear pink or purple to be girly/feminine. But that's consumerism for you. :-/

    I agree with you about Maddy's face, it doesn't capture her quirky/happy streak. But I do love how carny-colourful she is. And that teacup-top hat is delightful! She reminds me of the La-Dee-Da dolls.

    If Ashlynn & Hunter get released in this wave, then I hope we'll get Cerise, Blondie, Lizzie, Kitty & Bo-peep in the next wave (especially Cerise!).
    I've noticed that these dolls seem to have smaller lips than the MH dolls. Interesting.
    Sorry for thee ultra-long post. Hehe :)

    1. Oh it's fine, no worries about the length (that's what she said). Hehe. I'll have to make it brief for now but my major response points:
      - I can definitely see the Liz connection in Raven's violet eyes. So beautiful. I'm actually digging the wine tinged shade of her purple accents -- but maybe that's just the wine lover in me coming out lol
      - Apple is my favorite of the bunch. She came together *perfectly*. Great use of natural colors and none of them are overbearing. And those ice blue eyes.. *sigh*
      - Oh I definitely think pink Briar was made to appeal to young girls. She's the Draculaura of this line, it seems. But man is that face and hair gorgeous or what!
      - I hadn't thought of it but yeah, I can see the La Dee Da thing with Madeline. I have a few of the LDD dolls -- I should blog about them sometime. Their faces are insane -- in a good way lol.
      - Of the characters we have yet to see dolls for, I'm most anticipating Bo Peep. She's like a combination of, well, Little Bo Peep and... Dolly Parton! Like, really OTT and kinda buxom. Love her!

    2. "That's what she said" Haha! You dirty little fucker!
      Apple is my fave of the dolls, too! (Surprise, surprise!)
      I like Briar's face & curly hair, but I don't care for that hair-bow.
      I'm more excited for Cerise & Blondie.
      Cerise because I love her style, and Blondie, because well, if I can't have Alice, she'll suffice.

    3. Lol yep, pretty much!

      I thought maybe you'd like Raven's doll more. Glad Apple has worked her magic on you. I think Cerise looks promising. She definitely seems a bit wolfey, and how can you not love that shock of white hair in her bangs!

    4. I just tend to make a point of distinguishing between the characters & their corresponding dolls.
      Raven is still my favourite character, but Apple's doll just appeals to me a little more.
      I know she's a typical white girl like Barbie (and I think that mind hinder some people's perception of her), but unlike Barbie, she has really fair skin, icy blue eyes & platinum blonde hair. Not at all your typical California girl!
      It's like with Monster High, my favourite characters are a little different to my favourite dolls.
      Fave Characters are; Cleo, Abbey, Ghoulia, and Frankie
      Fave dolls are; Frankie, Cleo, Spectra and Operetta
      (In order) ;)

    5. I just noticed that Briar's dress is also very similar to Scaris Clawdeen's. Not that I'm complaining, Scaris Deena is my favourite of all of her dolls!
      I also love how the skirt of her dress is shaped like a rosebud. Very clever design. It may also be a significant symbol of her yet-to-be character development, or 'growth'.

      *whispers* "Rosebud."

    6. I think you may just be onto something Felicity. Especially with the hair -- Apple's has that same part, and I'm guessing it will be banded like Clawdeen's was, too. Briar's rosebud dress is pretty brilliant, ties perfectly into the pricked finger theme of Sleeping Beauty, and of course Briar's thorn tights play right into as well. The skirt does speak to the theme of "reaching adulthood" aka "blossoming", that was the symbolic drive of the original fairy tale.

      And way to slip in a Citizen Kane reference -- I'm impressed!

    7. I've never actually seen Citizen Kane. :(
      I just know the quote. (it's a famous one-word line)
      *Hangs head in shame* Boohoo.

    8. Naw no shame required. That said, get thee to the video store/Netflix/whatever, and rent it asap! :D

    9. Mm-hmm, her rose & thorn motif does indeed tie in well with her fairytale heritage. Doesn't her mother wish for her (Aurora) to have lips as deep as a red rose? And doesn't the prince have to fight his way through a forest of vines & thorns?
      Briar's outfit just seems to get those elements across wonderfully, while still being modern & young.

    10. I just noticed you changed the title...
      BTW, would you really call Briar's hair colour auburn? I mean, I can see where you're coming from, but I think her hair is more of a chocolate brown. Who knows? Maybe you're right, maybe she *does* have auburn hair, or maybe it's just a trick of the light or because of the pink streaks?
      Also, is it just me, or does Ashlynn have a sort of late 60's - early 70's hippie vibe going on? The full-bell sleeves & the floral print make me think of that era.

    11. I had to think about it for a bit, it's a tough call isn't it? But notice the very dark red lowlights? So I went with auburn. Although, as you say, that may just be the pink streaks reflecting onto the rest of the hair.
      I totally got that from Ashlynn too! She's definitely got a hippie-esque flower child thing going on. I just hope the doll's hair is more of an orange-y brown rather than a darker shade. She should be light and airy, and a darker shade would be too heavy for that.

    12. Flower Child! That's a perfect description!
      Totally agree with you about the hair. I'm hoping it's a light coppery or gingery shade of brown.

    13. Here's a video review of Apple White;
      He says he got them from Justice. There's also a review on Madeline, with Briar & Raven coming tomorrow. :)
      Apple really is beautiful!

    14. :D

  2. oh my god i freaked out for a sec, i thought you were being serious !! thank god i scrolled down a little further !! :) my heart sunk in my chest when you said you were switching to all EAH !! ok, now that i calmed myself a little... this is a great review, i thought some of the same thoughts about this line bc from the beginning of EAH i have really liked the idea and story line and i really love the dolls... right from the start i only had 2 problems with EAH and that was 1 i didn't want EAH to be the end of MH and 2 i didn't want them to all have the same face mold and those were my only issues with EAH but since the reveal and seeing for sure what this line and concept is all about i no longer think this will end MH so that problem is eliminated bc EAH is really geared to a younger crowd but hey what can i say im young at heart !! the whole same face mold thing is still a little off putting to me but the beauty of these dolls has made up for it... it is just that their eyes are so striking and they did a great job on hair and make up and i love the outfits and shoes... also to comment on your dolls wearing tights theory i totally agree with you on that especially when they are hip and cool like a thorn or polka dotted print tights and when i thought of these tights it reminded me that the older MH dolls use to wear really cool tights all the time and it made the out fit so much better and lately MH has not been rocking the tights as much !! i will say i am going to be getting these dolls (as long as they look as good in person) bc they are just so beautiful even though they all have the same face mold it is a unique mold and that is a plus and really im hooked on those eyes they just look so real !!

    1. LOL I was being a little jokester with that one! ;) I'm glad you've come around to the line, Ricky! I think they're beautiful dolls and they're built around characters I genuinely like. The facemold thing is disappointing but like I say in the blog, I'm honestly okay with it since they've managed to give each lady a unique look. And who knows, as the line grows they may start introducing new molds! So there's always hope! In any case, I like these four a lot and so can't wait to see them in person. Oh and as for the eyes, I agree -- so striking and realistic, for dolls anyway!

    2. I think we're all young at heart here, Ricky. :)

  3. ohh and i wanted to ask... is it just me but in the group shot with all 4 of them together is maddie shorter than the rest of them, like she is a howleen height ?

    1. It's funny you mention that. I'm actually about to edit the post with the new shot and touch on Madeline's height. It does indeed look like she will be shorter than the others.

  4. I'm still disappointed by the same-head-mold thing... but for the most part, I think it works out okay somehow. I'm with you on Maddie, though! A big, wide smile would be SO fitting for her!

    I'm also a bit dismayed at the painted-on gloves Maddie has. Painted-on gloves always limit redressing possibilities. Which is an odd thing for me to care about, since I rarely redress any of my girls. Also, Maddie doesn't seem to care much for matching, so I guess it wouldn't matter anyway...

    I am totally loving these dolls, though. Can't wait for them to be released! I'm surprised by Briar Beauty the most, I think. I really was expecting her to be a non-event for me, but she's actually quite lovely in a somewhat understated way.

    1. Yeah, I know Madeline was pretty much the most anticipated doll for the both of us, and them missing the mark on conveying her personality is a letdown. The doll is still really pretty, at least. She's just not the manic happy girl we were expecting. I actually don't mind the painted on gloves, mostly because I think had they made gloves you slip on her hand they wouldn't have fit anyway. But I see where you're coming from. It really limits her clothes options since the gloves are such a unique color and are polka dotted.

      Briar is absolutely gorgeous -- that face! And hair! I love the outfit too, just hate that they went so overboard with the pink. Hopefully a later Briar doll will tone that down.

    2. Yeah, it is a bit of a let down... but I still adore her for the pretty colors in her hair and her adorable accessories :D There's still a lot to love there :)

      I'm totally in love with Briar's face/hair combo. She's SO lovely! If the pink is too much for you, you could always try re-dressing her in something more appealing... Although the pink in her hair would maybe stand out more then. Could be a good or a bad thing. I'm looking forward to seeing what other versions of Briar come out later.

      Oh, and I meant to say before that I also noticed (and am loving!!) the Rose Petal Place vibe to some of the clothing on these dolls. The sweet, round faces remind me of them, as well. Overall, these dolls remind me a lot of some of the great toys from the 80s - which has me absolutely thrilled!!

    3. Even with the pink in Briar's hair, I think it would look good paired with some brown clothes of some kind -- well, maybe. I might have to raid Robecca's closet for her!

      Glad I'm not the only one who noticed the RPP connection! It is pretty cool, isn't it! And yes, there's something very 80's about the EAH dolls in general. Even their round, chubby faces seem like something from back then.

    They're just so... so... I'm going to the corner and fangirl a little bit. Wanna join?

    1. Of course! Everyone else, please pardon Ainara and I while we go squee and talk at ridiculous lengths about the wonders of doll tights! Oh what fun! :D