Monday, June 3, 2013

A rebel cause with a royal heart...

Given the massive success Mattel has seen with the Monster High doll line I suppose it was only a matter of time before they tried to duplicate it with a similar line that occupied a different mythology. Enter: Ever After High.

The Monster High Thing
Let's get one thing straight right up front. Mattel is a business. They create and market products in the interest of making money, not pleasing fans. All those little details they inject into the Monster High dolls that make them so unique are there just as much to keep fans hooked as they are to make a top product. Mattel is not a charity organization. They only create the dolls "for" us insomuch as they know who we are as a demographic, not because they can see into our souls and "get" us and therefore feel the need to valiantly fulfill our needs for dolls that are different. We MH fans have been incredibly lucky to get as much from the MH doll line as we have. I'm talking about all the different head molds, the vast array of shoes, the ever-growing number of new and unique characters. Mattel would never continue to go to such lengths if the line wasn't making a lot of money. The fact that MH was built around a "be yourself" ethos is laudable, and a lot of fans say that was what initially hooked them. Mattel pumped a lot of money into the development, manufacture, and marketing of Monster High from the very beginning, but they do that with most of their new lines. There was never any guarantee MH would take off. I'm sure Mattel recognized the intelligence of the idea behind the line, modernizing classic monsters for a new audience, along the way telling us to accept ourselves and others. But I doubt that was the major selling point of the line for the executives. I imagine the dolls themselves, their body molds and functionality, is what got them excited. The monster thing was just window dressing. If you connect strongly to a Monster High doll it's by happenstance. Mattel just scored one because they have another fan who will now buy their product. With Ever After High it seems Mattel is ready to take the MH-style doll body and apply it to something entirely new, something many MH fans may not like...

The Princess Thing
About ten years or so ago when Disney decided to all out brand and market their princesses as an entity unto itself they hit pay dirt. Turns out there's a pretty big market for princesses and fantasy and fairy tales! If I'm not mistaken the Disney Princess line and all it entails (not just dolls but everything from toy shopping carts to party decor), earns upwards of a billion dollars a year. Yowzers! It's no wonder the toys aisles are littered with princess dolls and fairy tale cosplay by any number of different companies. The problem many have with this is, number one, it can come across as indoctrination of young girls and stifling to one's developing imagination. Number two, the products in general (including those of Disney), can seem a bit, well... crappy. If you're going to try to sell me a doll in a sparkly dress and princess tiara can't you at least make it a quality product? Of course, I'm not the target audience so maybe my opinion is void. But if I had a child I would be asking that question just the same, and I would certainly try pointing her or him in the direction of Monster High rather than the princess stuff. But what if a company came along that took fairy tale mythology seriously, really gave it some thought, and delivered a product that offered quality and intelligence? Even if it was only intelligent as perceived by you, wouldn't that be worth investing some of your interest? And despite the fact that a new doll line is just a business decision for Mattel, does that necessarily negate the positivity of it as a unique entity that appeals to collectors like us? Chew on that a bit...

Morality and the Power of Fairy Tales
Fairy tales have existed for thousands of years. First as an oral tradition passed down through generations, then as short stories published in book form. (Give it up for the printing press, y'all!) At their core, fairy tales are simple stories. They deal in hard morality, good versus evil, with no grey area to be found. They are broad tales told with shades of heavy metaphor and loaded with symbolic meaning. In the beginning they were also quite dark, but over time they have been softened by parents who coddle their children and companies that know "dark" doesn't sell. If you read The Sequel you won't be surprised to learn that I love fairy tales. Or at least, I love them in the early published forms we have of them, when the darkness was still there and their symbolic power wasn't neutered by modernized happy endings. We first read or are told fairy tales as very young children. The things we experience in childhood shape us, affect us, influence us, in profound ways. We tend to carry these things into adulthood, either consciously or subconsciously. It's for this reason that fairy tales are so potent. They become a part of us, something we internalize. Ultimately, they inform the way we see the world. It's why many feminists react so negatively to the passive females in so many of these stories. It's why Disney always treads a thin line when retelling a fairy tale in one of their movies. It's why some women have dreams of unrealistic romance, and many men feel a need to "play the hero" in life. It's why people of all stripes have such strong reactions when fairy tales are modernized (for better or for worse). Fairy tales feel like a part of ourselves, and we don't like it when someone messes with them.

Ever After High and Postmodern Retellings
Ever After High more or less follows the postmodern approach to storytelling that Monster High does. Only this time, the characters are daughters and sons of classic fairy tale characters rather than monsters. Mattel is playing fast and loose with the idea of what a fairy tale actually is, inserting storybook characters into a fairy tale world. Our two main characters come from the Snow White tale, but some of the others represent comparatively modern storybooks, such as Alice in Wonderland. I feel this is a fair approach since the more modern stories are still rooted in fantasy, and it gives us a wider array of characters to enjoy. (Plus, I just really love Alice in Wonderland!) The same type of knowing humor that permeates Monster High runs rampant through the first few episodes of Ever After High. Aside from the plot we're watching unfold among the primary characters, there are also many throwaway background gags that touch on so many different classic stories that it's hard to keep up!

Fairy tales have been given a postmodern spin many times already over the last few years (examples are aplenty). But none that were directly aimed at a younger audience, and for the purpose of selling dolls, have the youthful wit and panache that Ever After High does. The approach Mattel seems to be taking is to frame the story as a classic good vs. evil tale, this time presented as "royal or rebel". Fascinatingly, the characters on both sides seem to possess both good and bad traits. (Hello there, shades of grey!) They're also more or less friends. They may have different goals and opposing motivations but they get along well (so far).

The world of Ever After is set in a high school, with the intended purpose of leading our characters into their predetermined fates, aka their destiny. As the children of classic fairy tale characters it's their duty to fulfill the roles of their parents. To not do so would be to cease to exist, as if they have been written out of their story, and therefore their life. At least, that's what seems to be implied. Ever After High deals heavily with identity and questioning one's purpose, albeit in a playful, kid-friendly way. There are hints that certain characters have a particularly vested interest in continuing fairy tale traditions for nefarious purposes. There are some interesting dark undercurrents running throughout the first few EAH episodes. The overall setup of the storyline and many of the thematic elements have a strong duality to them, and I have a feeling this will come through in the characters as the story continues.

The Characters

Ever After High has been built around four main characters, two of whom are "Royals", and two who are "Rebels". All four are the brethren of a classic storybook or fairy tale character. There are several other characters that can't be considered leads, but seem likely to gain prominence if the line takes off. These include Blondie Lockes (Goldilocks), Ashlynn Ella (Cinderella), Cerise Hood (Little Red Riding Hood), Cedar Wood (Pinocchio), and Daring and Dexter Charming (sons of Prince Charming). There are also several detailed backgrounders who may also become later dolls. They correlate with the Cheshire Cat, Queen of Hearts, and Little Bo Peep. But let's talk about our main characters...

Apple White

With her blonde hair and red-hued dress, Apple looks like a Gala brought to life.

As one of two leads, and a devoted royal, Apple is determined to live her destiny. She's energetic, upbeat, a bit pushy, and high-strung. She can come across as entitled, but given the established reality of the world she's in, it's understandable. Speaking in broad terms, I'd say she's the "Cleo" of Ever After High. It's hard to say exactly where the story will go, but based on her interaction with Headmaster Grimm at the end of her episode, I think Apple has the potential to become the most interesting, multifaceted character of the show.

Apple's magic power is that when she sings, boys and animals flock to her rescue. Gotta love the knowing wink Mattel is throwing at us with that one! In her Mirror blog, Apple makes it clear she and Daring are not "an item" at all -- she's her own person and Daring is part of her destiny anyway so why worry about dating now? She's also careful to point out that her beauty is not just skin deep -- and I believe her. Apple is by far my favorite character so far. I hope Mattel follows through on all the promise she holds!

Raven Queen

Gothic lace and punk purple inform Raven's look. And check out that feathered collar!

Raven is our other lead, and a rebel in that she's not entirely sure she wants to fulfill her destiny. She's the daughter of the Evil Queen, but Raven's not evil at all. She is thoughtful and somewhat pessimistic, understandable given her situation. Her magic power is casting spells, but since she's destined to be evil she can only cast black magic spells. In her Mirror blog, Raven says she's not a damsel in distress. That may be true -- I certainly don't think she needs or wants to be "saved" -- but I'd say the poor girl is pretty distressed!

At first glance Raven may seem like a multi-dimensional character, but to me she's very much the "straight man", the level-headed, calm person among a sea of craziness. A grounding force is necessary in any good story, and that's what Raven is. I like Raven a lot. She's smart, with the kind of dry wit I'm such a sucker for. She's also relatable. I just feel, as a character, I've seen her story a million times. I feel like I know exactly what her arc will be, while with Apple it's hard to say at all.

Briar Beauty

Too much pink! Nice shades, though. And her face is gorgeous!

Our other lead royal is the daughter of Sleeping Beauty. It's her destiny to sleep for a hundred years before waking, and she knows it. Therefore, Briar is a bit of a party girl! She knows she's working with limited time and wants to get the most out of life while she can! Briar is fierce, fun, vivacious, and lively.

Briar's magic power is that she can hear for miles, but only when she's asleep. I like this aspect of her a lot. Remember, Sleeping Beauty is seen as perhaps the most passive of all fairy tale princesses. She's asleep through most of her own story! By giving Briar the ability to hear for miles in her sleep, it helps give her a more active role in the story. It's really clever when you think about it. (Ironically enough, Sleeping Beauty is not just my favorite Disney film, but one of my all-time favorite films, period. But I chalk a lot of it up to the stunning artwork of Eyvind Earle and Mary Blair that informs the visual tone of the film. And how can you not love the scene of Aurora singing operatically as she wanders through the calm, relaxing forest, her gorgeous voice echoing through the hills? So soothing. And, of course, Maleficent -- Disney's best ever villain, easily!) Anyway, back on topic, the only thing I don't like about Briar is her color palette -- pink, pink, pink! Hopefully she eventually gets a doll that scales back on the pink. I do love her big, ornate sunglasses, though.

Madeline Hatter

The hair! The gloves! The dress! Consider me a fan!

Now we're talking! Rebellious Maddie is the daughter of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland! That's really all I need to know! I love me some AIW, and I'm all about the zany Mad Hatter. So. Much. Fun. Maddie takes after her father -- she's frantic, happy, distractible, and maybe a bit mad. She wears a teacup-shaped fascinator from which she can pull just about anything, including an entire impromptu teatime setup. (My kinda gal!)

As far as character designs go, Maddie is by far my favorite. She has a beautiful head of curls in streaked teal and purple, a multi-layered skirt tied with a large bow, and turquoise, polka-dotted gloves and matching tights. She's a burst of colorful action in an already colorful, action-filled world! Love her!

The Dolls
Two low quality pics have leaked of Apple White and Raven Queen. Some are questioning their authenticity, but they look awfully detailed to be fakes, especially since whoever would have made them surely would've claimed their excellent work by now. In any case, not much is actually known about the dolls. Based on the website and the episodes, it looks like a four doll launch will take place, and it looks set to happen next month! The packaging looks like a book, with a spine running down the left side. It looks like a charm will be included with each doll, themed to either rebel or royal, depending on the character. One disconcerting thing about these pics is that it looks as though Raven and Apple (and presumably the other dolls, as well), will have the same facemold. Maybe we've been spoiled by MH but using the same facemold is a bit disappointing. Then again, a lot can be done with paint! As for the bodies, they look to me to function just like the MH bodies do. Considering the entire setup of EAH, from the style of the website, to the humor of the webisodes, to the fact that these are the brethren of already iconic characters, is so similar to MH, I'd be shocked if the doll's bodies are different. We shall see.

The Future...?
Some are saying Ever After High will mark the end of Monster High. I don't see that happening. I do see EAH doing well, though. The fairy tale princess thing is hot right now, and by following MH's lead, Mattel seems to be delivering a fresh approach to the genre. Based on the webisodes EAH seems fun yet dramatic, with a serialized story and a fully planned arc. It's still so early it's hard to say exactly what will happen, but I'm liking what I'm seeing so far, and if things continue to excite me about this line they will be covered on Voicething. Am I a Royal or a Rebel? For the time being, I'm a little of both. But Apple sure does intrigue me...

Official site including the webisodes is here.
A wonderful fansite has already taken off on Facebook. Highly recommended!


  1. I suppose you have a point regarding Apple. For the time being, though, I find her to be rather annoying. Hopefully you're right about her being the EAH version of Cleo, because Cleo is my favourite MH character.
    I still like Raven the most, followed by Cerise Hood. For all we know, the writers could turn the story on it's head.

    I'd say Beauty & the Beast is my favourite Disney (princess) film, while Claude Frollo is my favourite Disney villain (closely followed by Scar).
    My problem with the female villains is that they're all pretty much motivated by vanity, and there's more to life than looks. Claude is so realistically evil and two-faced. His song 'Hellfire' is awesome, too.

    1. I can see how you'd find Apple annoying. She's very pushy, whiny even. But I feel there's more to her than what we've seen so far. Plus I just think she's funny. I think there's massive potential with Cerise -- I can see her becoming a fan favorite if the line continues.

      It's been a really long time since I've watched Hunchback. But I remember Frollo vividly. I remember him being very realistic in his villainy, in that stylized Disney way. I agree many of the female Disney villains are motivated by vanity, including Maleficent. But everything about her is so impressive -- she seems genuinely evil, very powerful, definitely not someone to be messed with! Plus she turns into a dragon. That whole sequence has always amazed me!

    2. Hellfire".
      Inner torment with sexual undertones. It's such a dark song for a Disney flick. I love the line "It's not my fault, if in God's plan, he made the Devil so much stronger than a man."

      Speaking of Maleficent, what are your thoughts on the upcoming Sleeping Beauty live-action remake from her perspective?

    3. I remember back when Hunchback was first coming out that Hellfire stirred up a fair bit of controversy. It's definitely on the edge for a children's movie. From what I remember, anyway.

      I don't know a whole lot about the remake so it's hard to say. I've learned from all the recent remakes it's best to view these new versions as their own entity, and try not to compare them to the originals we love so much. I'm iffy on Angelina Jolie, but am open to being surprised. As far as looks go, she does have the severity to pull off Maleficent. I'm guessing they're giving the Aurora character a bit of a modern spin?

  2. Great post! It's nice to see a level-headed response to the whole EAH thing. Too many MH fans are getting bent out of shape about things and comparing the two lines to each other. I don't see how there can be anything bad about getting some more lovely dolls!

    I'm totally in love with Raven Queen's artwork, but in the pics of the dolls (assuming they're real - which may not be the case), Apple White's definitely my fave. As for characters, I am completely in love with Madeline Hatter (like you, I am also a total AIW fan!) for her zany hijinx and Briar Beauty for her "I haven't done that before! WHEEEEEE!" insanity. I'm always a sucker for craziness that makes me laugh!

    One thing I also noticed: Raven Queen, in art and in the doll, reminds me a LOT of Duchess RavenWaves from Lady LovelyLocks. I don't know if you collect vintage dolls at all, but this has me SUPER excited. So excited, I didn't even notice Apple & Raven share a head mold until you mentioned it... That's a bummer. But the mold itself looks sweet, innocent - and a bit younger than the MH molds, so I think it will turn out okay.

    I think Mattel is using this line to try to draw younger folks and princess fans into the "______ High" craze - while still maintaining the features that got older folks and non-princess fans hooked on MH. If they play their cards right (and they often do), this could be a huge hit. Even my mom likes them! LOL :)

    1. Thanks Astro! I don't get the knee-jerk negativity a lot of fans are having, either. To me, the more dolls the better -- especially if they have the fantastic MH body. Sign me up!

      Briar and Maddie are both really fun characters. They both have a manic quality to them that really appeals to me, a sort of zest for life kind of thing. And Maddie -- holy crap, her design is *perfect*! She totally evokes the world of AIW while still feeling modern. I can't wait to see her doll. Can you imagine that dress? And hair? On a doll? So cool :D

      I've heard of Lady LovelyLocks but if I've seen them I didn't know it. I'll have to look them up. Considering the range of influences on MH I wouldn't be surprised if LLL was an inpsiration for Raven's look. I do collect vinatge dolls, but they're mostly from the 70's. When was LLL around? As for the head molds, I'm not *certain* they're the same, but they definitely look to me like they are. I'm hoping they're not, but if they indeed are I still plan on getting at least Apple and Maddie. And even if they are the same molds, if the line is a success there's always the possibility Mattel will introduce new molds for later characters.

      I agree about the overall younger vibe of this line. I definitely think it's going to skew younger than MH does, and I doubt it'll have quite the wide appeal MH has. I think it'll achieve it's intended goal and reach the target demo. Basically I think it'll appeal to the "edges" of doll fans -- the youngest fans, and the older collectors. The middle region might be a harder sell, if any of that makes sense lol. I just don't see many straight guys getting into these dolls the way they have MH, know what I mean? In any case they've reached me, now it's just a matter of seeing the actual dolls in high quality pics, and better yet, real life!

    2. I absolutely can't wait to see Maddie, either! Her design is very unusual. I love all the different colors and patterns going on all over her. And that hat and purse combo is adorable. I really, really hope they use high quality hair on her, though. Curly-haired dolls always make me a bit anxious - their hair can so easily be a frizzy mess right out of the box! (Lagoona, I'm looking at YOU, girl.)

      LLL was around in the mid-to-late 80s. I collect 80s toys along with current ones, so I noticed a big similarity right away. It's mostly in the long black hair, the overall color scheme and the generally "younger" look to the faces in EAH. The name probably got me thinking that way before I even saw her, too.

      It looks like the same head mold to me, too... so I don't think you're wrong there. I'm okay with them having the same head mold in a general sense, although I doubt I'll buy as many of them if that turns out to be the case. I'll still watch the webisodes, though - I'm 34 and still a total sucker for cute cartoons.

      I also agree with you about the "edges" of the doll world going for this new line. I can totally see little girls who might not like MH going crazy for this line - along with the older, more "traditional" doll collectors who might find MH a bit too out there for them. But yeah, I don't know if many guys will be seeing EAH and thinking, "That's interesting..." the way they did/do with MH! But thankfully, Mattel's got you hooked, so hopefully I can see your awesome reviews when these dolls DO come out! ;)

    3. Curly-haired dolls really are a double-edged sword, aren't they? When done right it's pretty much the best hair ever, and is more fun and looks more interesting than straight hair (to me). But more often than not it simply gets too messy and frizzed-out and becomes a problem. And it's hard to guess how Maddie's hair will be since Mattel is really inconsistent with curly hair. She really does look amazing though -- so colorful and lively! I hope they get it right with her.

      I'm 33 and still love cartoons! I'm still a Disney nut (though most of my admiration has moved to Pixar), and I still watch animated shows all the time. Both for adults and children. I think I just really like bright colors, and of course you get that much more with cartoons than live action shows. The head mold thing is disappointing, and honestly kind of surprising considering all the molds they use for MH. Maybe they're waiting to see if the line is a success before they start spending money on different molds and stuff.

      I think the combination of the princess thing and the fact that EAH seems to be aimed at a younger audience will keep the guys away lol. EAH just doesn't have the edge or cool factor that MH has. Then again there's the brony thing but that seems like a really isolated occurence. I doubt anything like that will happen for EAH. If the dolls appeal to me as much as I'm guessing (hoping!) they will, I'll definitely be reviewing them! :D

    4. Curly hair is totally a double edged sword. When done right, it's definitely a favorite of mine. But it's so frequently done wrong :( I wish I wasn't such a wuss about my dolls and could try boil perming some of them to see if it improves the curls... but I just see it going terribly for me LOL At least Mattel uses better hair (on average) than a lot of other companies. I have one Bratzillas dolls (the one with the gorgeous red heart eyes) and the hair quality is so poor, even a short, straight 'do is frizzy and looks unkempt.

      I love the colors in cartoons, too! Especially now that so much of live action seems to be filmed rather "darkly" these days. Sometimes you have to turn the brightness on the TV up just to see what's happening! Ridiculous. I also like the humor in cartoons. It's so much more good-natured and pleasant.

      I hope they do get some different head molds... The more I look at Raven Queen's face, the more I think that head mold just isn't *right* for her, know what I mean? She needs something a little less innocent and sweet. I think that's why I keep feeling like the doll is a bit of a disappointment after seeing the awesome character design in the webisodes. Hopefully, those dolls in the leaked pictures are just prototypes or something. Hey, a girl can hope! :)

    5. I haven't confronted the Bratzillaz dolls face to face -- I'm just not a Bratz guy, whatever the incarnation. I've heard the horror stories about their hair, though. Eek!

      You're spot on about live action being so dark nowadays. You see it in a lot of movies, too. I don't like not knowing what's going on which is the case with so much live action today. Action movies are the worst about it. I can't tell what the hell they're hitting, shooting at, etc!

      The Raven doll doesn't really work for me either. Her face looks off to me, and it probably is the mold. She's not on my to-buy list of this line.

  3. I agree with Astro; I appreciate your level-headed approach to Ever After High. Most of the MH fans I follow on Tumblr are already expressing their love for this new line. In fact, I can't recall reading even one negative comment about it. However, I imagine that selection of people represents only a small sampling of MH fans, so I'm certain others have differing opinions. And I'll take this opportunity to admit that I'm not a fan of what I've seen so far. Simply put, I just do not like the princess theme. I'll try to avoid being too preachy, but I dislike the qualities that a princess generally represents, like being born into royalty and wealth; or being in need of rescuing. I've always preferred the type of character who comes from nothing and makes something of themselves. But alas, that is merely a personal preference.

    As you stated in the beginning of the article, John, Mattel is a business, and their main goal is to ultimately make money. Although many aspects of MH dolls appeal to me, I believe their most definitive quality is the unique body, it's proportions and it's poseability. Add to that the dark, gothic, somewhat morbid design styles of MH combined with the "be unique, be yourself" motto that implies a focus on outcasts, and I was totally hooked! However, many kids (and I suspect even more parents) do not relate to that perspective, nor do they find it aspirational. I wonder if EAH is a strategy to fill that void; to capture the audience that is turned off by the darkness of MH, but who will surely fall in love with that captivating doll body once it's presented to them in a way that's more appealing to their own tastes?

    Basically, as you already alluded to, it seems like a no-brainer business strategy to present an already successful unique doll form in a variety of ways to appeal to different demographic markets. And hey, if it means more clothing and shoe options for my MH ghouls, I'm all for that part!!

    On another note, I can't believe you're unfamiliar with Lady Lovely Locks! As someone who remembers Jem and She-Ra, I don't understand how you missed them. Like Astro, EAH immediately reminded me of LLL. (Especially Raven's resemblance to Duchess RavenWaves.) Basically, LLL dolls came with brightly colored hair extensions that could be added to their rooted hair. At least that was the most memorable quality to me!

    1. Thanks Eric! :D I can definitely see where you're coming from with the princess thing. It can come across a bit patronizing and in general I don't think the qualities implied are good ones, especially for children. It seems like with EAH Mattel is trying to subvert the whole princess concept, although there are still some of those negative qualities present. Mostly I'm thinking of Ashlynn Ella and the shoe thing -- it's very consumerist. But MH can come across as pretty consumerist-driven too, so I'll give EAH a pass on that one.

      EAH seems like it's meant to appeal to a younger demo than MH. With any business, but especially a gigantic one like Mattel, it really does all come down to demographics and money. I'm honestly surprised we're just now getting a different doll line that uses the MH body. Then again I imagine EAH has been in development for quite a while, so maybe it just took them this long to bang out a full concept and design they felt would sell?

      I'm really gonna have to check out these LLL dolls! If they're from the 80's I can't believe I missed them either! It sounds like they're pretty focused on the hair thing -- sounds good to me!

  4. I agree with pretty much every thing you said... my one thought or should i say concern is that i don't think everyone should be getting so bent out of shape about this but i do see why some are because i really hope that this wont stop mattel from making more and better MH characters or new lines with our favorite MH dolls that is my only concern because that would really break my heart, because a world with out new frankie, cleo or lagoona dolls would be awful :) that being said i do like this new series and im already a big maddie fan and i (like you) believe her doll will be amazing and i do love apples doll and story i think that as the story continues apple will show a side of herself that no one knows exists and i think that will be interesting... right now in the story im rooting for raven but that is because i have a habit of taking up for the under dog but i do really enjoy apples story as well i think when all of this plays out we will all be surprised of how things work out and what role each character will really play... ohh and i love the way they are playing around with little red riding wolfs story, they say she is hiding a secret and i think that her secret is that she turns into the big bad wolf at times... anyway i think we have a great story and cute dolls coming our way i just hope that mattel throws in that slight sophistication and sexiness that they do with MH and i also hope that MH wont end !!

  5. ohh i also wanted to ask ... i know you said that you would blog on EAH so will you blog it here on the MH page or start another page and or will you still review and blog MH dolls ??

    1. A lot of people are worried that if EAH is successful then MH will be history. I don't see that happening, honestly. I imagine Mattel already has a budget for what they spend on MH each year, and figures and amounts for what they consider "successful", so as long as MH keeps doing well as it's own entity it will be fine. And I don't see EAH taking too much attention away from MH. They have similar setups but they're also different enough that I imagine they'll each have their own unique audience (although there will of course be some crossover fans).

      It's impossible to really tell, but I can almost picture a sort of role reversal for Apple and Raven, and Raven will end up becoming the "good" queen, while Apple will become the villain. I think that would be really cool, but so early in it's anyone's guess at to what they have in mind for the characters. It'll be fun to see what happens!

      If I do end up liking the EAH dolls I will probably just cover them here on Voicething. They'd be sort of a sidebar thing that I review occasionally. If I end up *really* liking the dolls, to the point that I'm getting as many of them as I do MH dolls, then I'd probably start up their own blog, or just cover them on The Sequel.

  6. Is strange if my favourite character is a background one? I mean, Cerise has intrigued me a lot.

    1. Not at all -- I can see Cerise appealing to a *lot* of people! I actually think of all the characters she is the most MH-ish. It seems pretty clear she's part wolf, which is very MH. And her design has a Gothic edge that's similar to MH. I imagine her doll will be pretty fantastic!

  7. i also think that apple and raven will do a role reverse and i can see it already i feel like she is going o want her happily ever after so badly that she will do anything for it so it should be interesting to see what comes of these two... and also im going to have t check out the site again because i don't remember what this Cerise character looks like

    1. Cerise is in the scene in the cafeteria. She's the one who drops her tray. She's wearing a red hood and has a thick streak in her hair. :)

  8. Apple is my favorite as well for a lot of the same reasons you stated. Raven is already questioning her place in the world/her destiny and will roll with the punches better than Apple, who's so used to things going exactly as planned/life being exactly what people have told her, who might embrace the differences or snap. I can get why people would dislike the royals on principle, it's harder to sympathize with the haves vs. the have nots and Daring Charming CERTAINLY isn't making like the royals an easy task, but people seem to not be giving her a fair shake at the moment so hopefully they'll come around with more time/webisodes. For now, I appreciate that the mains are nice and that everyone's want for their lives is seen as equally reasonable & equally valid. As far as dolls go, I put up a prediction/wishlist of my tumblr (miwadake) for the main 4 and an Ashlynn Ella/Hunter two pack for wave one (which seems likely as the silhouettes match up to the 6 of them, but we'll see!) with Cedar & Blondie locks or both prince charmings in the coming waves (as well as Cerise & maybe a Cupid store exclusive).

    I just CAN'T WAIT for more things to unfold! The line's only been out a week and it already has made quite an impact.

    1. Great points, Andrew! It's nice to find another who also prefers Apple! You also highlight what I've suspected about the general preference for the rebels, ie they're the "have-nots" and are therefore easier to embrace. But I'd rather see an interesting, unpredictable story, than a simple, straightforward one, and I feel in that regard Apple holds a lot of promise. I'll have to check out your Tumblr! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

    2. the specific post I mentioned is here -

      I really respect mattel's call in making Apple a wide eyed innocent instead of a stronger Cleo parallel who was meaner/more confrontational. So far, everyone we've meant are nice people which will make the story more interesting as with no true villain, except for maybe the principal, their reactions to things will shape who they are and potentially create villains organically and/or show the true colors of each character in the future.

      With the current structure & base set up for us literally anyone could become whatever they wanted or find themselves becoming something they would've never thought. Often I'd been slightly sad that the MH storyline shied away from such greyness or harder looks at character (especially in Draculaura's case as her earlier maturity from her diaries often falls by the wayside in the MH media works) but this franchise seems poised to challenge the preconceived ideals of what makes something good vs evil or wrong vs right and it's that possibility for the storyline that really has me buzzing & excited to see the journey they're taking us on.

    3. Again, more great points! I guess we'll see, eh? I feel like Apple may go to the bad side, but like I said in the post, it's anyone's guess, really. I agree that with the setup they've established the room for character growth is considerably more organic than it was for MH when it was first starting.

      I liked your Tumblr post a lot -- I think an Ashlynn Ella + Hunter pack would be cool, but personally I'd prefer a Bo Peep + Cerise pack (I know Blondie is much more prominent than Bo Peep but I like Peep's design a lot more), or a Cheshire Cat + Red Queen (blanking on their names at the moment) pack. I'm just not into male dolls. But I know in general they're really popular with collectors, and having a male in a 2-Pack is a good selling strategy.

    4. I wasn't into male dolls myself really, which made me feel odd as a male collector, but MH really turned that around for me & I love them equal now as they really rounded out most of their characters (except for Deuce sadly, who is my favorite guy) and they are as well designed as their female counterparts so I can only assume the male dolls for this line will be just as nice. Bo Peep would be cute as would Lizzie Hearts and Kitty Cheshire but it's hard to play favorites though as I really like every one right now, even Daring Charming ;3

      I'm not sure if I want Apple to go evil or not as I think she'd break down first (and it would give her initial haters all the more reason to do so with the added annoyance of being cocky at 'hating the real evil girl from the beginning) but as long as she finds her own strength then I can be ok with it. I think if a villain emerges then it will come out of nowhere. If anything, I'd put money on them overthrowing Grimm and taking a second season of webisodes to truly discover themselves and live their own lives on their own terms. Not that I or anyone but the author of the novels & Mattel know (there's a several hundred page story bible for the series. How amazing is that?!). It's still too early to truly tell anything but they seem to have meticulously planned this line so I'm not as worried as I might be were this in another company's hands.

    5. I have to admit the Heath doll has totally won me over. He's the first male doll I've actually wanted! How lucky that he just happens to include a female doll I'm also chomping at the bits for! I totally get why people are into male dolls, they've just never interested me. But if Mattel starts doing all the male dolls in a similar style to Heath -- that is, a bit more stylized, almost more like a cartoon brought to life -- I could see myself getting into them. Not holding my breath though lol

      Tell me more about this bible, Andrew. I'm outta the loop at the moment and it sounds cool!

    6. Nobody knows the detailing of the bible but when there was an article that was an overview of the line that mentioned offhand that Shannon Hale was writing for the series and that there was a storyline bible they were working on/from that she was able to insert her opinion into and help them with. Even more exciting is that Justice, formerly the 'Limited Too', has told a few consumers that dolls will be arriving in July (likely after or around SDCC) and starting today they're allegedly going to be revealing one doll or news blast a day (likely weekdays) via their facebook page, with Raven & Apple being up first. Raven's features are a little hard to discern as her face is half shrouded in shadows but I already like what I see and can't wait for Apple, Briar, Madeline & the others to come out so we can see owner pictures.

    7. The fact that they're working from an established bible outline in itself is really promising. If they're true to it then we'll get to see what's in it anyway through the webisodes. What do you think of the dolls so far? I'm really loving them all, aside from Briar's OTT pink color scheme. But we already knew what she looked like so it's not like it was surprising or anything.

  9. I realized that Cerise is red riding hoods daughter I just didn't remember her first name... I went back and re-watched the episodes of EAH and I love the way they have Kitty Cheshire and the queen of hearts daughters hanging out together and then you have Maddie for the mad hatter but did you see a daughter or son for Alice of Alice in Wonderland maybe they don't or i just missed her ? I really do enjoy the idea of this world and the story that is unfolding... I have seen the promo pics of the 2 dolls they have so far and they look pretty good, I hope they do other characters and lines because I would love to see a Maddie, Kitty, and the queen of hearts dolls ( i think the queen of hearts doll would be awesome looking ) also with doing other lines they could have the different outfits and make up and hair dos, like for example I think they should put out the legacy day line because some of those legacy day outfits looked awesome... then they could (just like MH) have the basic dolls and then other cool looks for the dolls... I also think they should include story books in each basic doll with the story of how that doll fits into that world (like the MH diary) I didn't see any in the promo pics but i think mattel should definitely include those, I remember you saying that you love that kind of paper collectible stuff and I just think it would be cool for the story and the dolls :) anyways im rambling on so i will hit you up later !!

  10. I've noticed that the voice actresses for Ashlynn & Blondie sound a lot like Lagoona & Venus, respectively.
    Speaking of voices, maybe that's the reason I don't like Apple?
    Her voice sounds too nasal & high-pitched, like she has a cold or something.
    As for her doll, is it just me, or does she look like a younger Kirsten Dunst?
    Like here and here, for example.

    1. Hmm, could be. I probably should've looked voice actors up but I don't get too into that. I'm a bad fan ;)

      I can totally see the Kirsten resemblance! Which works for me -- love me some Kiki! ;D

  11. Hmmm...not really interested in this whole new line. It just seems like a modernized Disney Princess thing, and if there's one thing I loathe, it's the Disney Princesses. Not a feminist or anything, but boy do those chicks annoy me! Lol :) The outfits designs don't look too special either - they're just your typical filly, Victorian style dresses. Bleh.

    I like the style of the official artwork, though. Looks very manga-ish.

    1. I can see where you're coming from. Although I do think that by copying the MH approach they're delivering something pretty fresh for the princess genre. Plus I have to admit I'm a sucker for Victorian style. I think that's part of why Maddie appeals so much to me :)

  12. This was an excellent read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and everyone's comments.

    EAH is a very exciting and greatly anticipated line for me. The art work is lovely and as with MH, pictures will probably not due the dolls justice. Getting a sneak peek at the leaked photos was amazing but I'm looking forward to seeing the stock photos and dolls themselves upclose.

    I think Mattel has found a niche with this approach of being yourself and finding your own way in life. If it worked with monsters, fairly tales should be a knock-out. As long as Mattel continues to follow through on detailing and sending out quality dolls, *ahem* I don't know why MH and EAH would not branch out into an even bigger franchise.

    (The Lady Lovely Locks reference was spot-on, I knew Raven was familiar in a good way.)

    It is interesting to read the comments here on Apple and how well she is being received. I have seen a lot of negatively towards her which I don't understand. Three introductory episodes in, it's a little early to hate anything so strongly in my opinion.

    Monster High isn't going anywhere. To hear the uproar over it being ruined or over with is simply silly. There is plenty of room for more and broader lines. Mattel would not proceed without knowing exactly what they are doing.

    What I would really be crazy about is a MH/EAH cross-over. I would like to know who is designing what, and who is doing the art work.

    1. Thank you so much, iwant. I'm so so so sorry for the belated response!

      I'm right there with you with the excitement for this line. Likewise, more than anything I can't wait to see what the actual dolls look like. That will be the ultimate deciding factor for me. If Mattel is as thorough with their approach to fairy tales as they have been with monsters I don't see how they can fail... unless the dolls are substandard. But if the dolls are loaded with as much personality as the MH dolls I can't see EAH failing.

      I think people already feel a certain degree of familiarity with EAH, even after just three webisodes, due to it's strong similarities to MH. I think that's why so many already feel like they don't like Apple. As the line continues and grows people's opinions will change, I feel. We'll see...

      I'm not sure how I feel about a crossover. It could be cool, but I think it's a little too early to try something like that. I also feel MH and EAH, as similar as they are, are also quite different. I'm not sure it would completely work. But if done right, who knows, it could be really cool!

  13. my walmart finally got in some PD lagoonas but still no frankie or operetta so i will finally have PD lagoona still waiting on the others though... also i seen on that they are finally getting PG frankie and toralei so that is really exciting !! did you see on the monster high dolls face book page that they have pics of the packaged MF clawdeen, venus, and abby they are actually budget but they look really well made and thought out they also so have pics of the packaged DC 5 pack with rochelle she looks beautiful in it and how cool is gill ?!? Ohh and also on that page they have a pic of the packaged draculaura dinner set with operetta and from what i could see the operetta is as good as we hoped she would be... if you haven't seen these pics yet you should definitely check them out !!

    1. Thanks for the info Ricky -- I've been out of the loop so your tips came in handy! So did you get your PD Lagoona or is she a future purchase? She's all things good in the world lol :)

  14. have you seen that all the new stuff is finally becoming available !! lots of final product pics on monster high dolls face book page !! im so excited but really it is going to take a lot of money to get it all the main ones that im focused on are 13 wishes Frankie and lagoona i also like twyla, spectras party room, catty noir, i love shoes draculaura, PG wave 2, CR 2 packs ( i love both sets ), i love fashion scarah, DFO cleo, and i would like to get the color me creepy CAM ( it would be my first CAM set and i love the basic doll with it ) of course i want all the new stuff but the ones mentioned are the ones i want first !! :)

    1. I have, and none of it has reached me yet! Ack!!! Of course when it all does I'll be broke as joke lol!

  15. yeah that's usually how it goes... yes i finally got PD lagoona and also found frankie !! so i finally got them i still need PD operetta but i did find an original basic frankie she is the re release but still so happy to have an orginal frankie doll and outfit... did you see they finally put some teaser pics of maddies EAH doll on the monster high dolls facebook page and the catty noir special release it looks great... im really trying to find the CR 2 packs those are on the top of my list it is just so hard to find somethings and then with all the other new stuff i don't have the money for all of it !! Hey have you heard of a guy on you tube called monster high expert if not you should check out his channel he makes some good points on some of the issues and i was watching a video he did on EAH killing MH and i must admit some of the things he said makes a lot of since one fact to point out is that there is no promo pics or leaks of MH stuff for christmas time it is all focused on EAH... i really hope this is not the phasing out of MH bc usually for christmas mattel makes a huge hype around new MH stuff and this year the hype by them is for the holiday season is EAH... and all the new MH stuff is coming out now and into fall... so whats up with that !?!

  16. Have you seen the recent teaser images?
    Squee! I love the attention to detail!

    1. The dolls look pretty great to me! Briar Beauty's doll is *gorgeous*! It's a shame she's so pinked up. With that face and hair plus a different color (I would've liked blue), she would've pretty much been perfect.

    2. Whoops! I was talking about the teaser images but it seems the full dolls have since been revealed.
      I wonder what Briar would look like if all the pink on her was changed to a forget-me-not blue? Maybe that's too much of a soft colour for her character, though, as it seems she wants to live her life to it's fullest before her 100 yrs sleep. What shade of blue would you pick?
      I know I said I didn't like Apple's character, but I love her doll. Gorgeous!
      If there's cross-compatibility between the MH & EAH dolls, I wonder what Raven would look like with the Harpy's forearm wings?
      And I *love* her shoes! They've got little molded wings all over them with chain-like straps on the front. Awesome!

      Overall, I'm really digging this line so far. I'm interested to see what themed lines they'll come up with (sleep & swim wear are a given)...

    3. I was thinking a bright, sort of sapphire shade, but a lighter blue would look good too. Really I have yet to find a shade of blue I dislike so any would work for me.

      Agreed on Apple -- beautiful! Love those long, blonde tendrils. I'm having trouble picturing Raven with the wings. Do you mean as part of her outfit or actually attached to her arms like the harpy? As for the shoes, I like all of them, especially Maddy's. The colors are super rich and the curlicued heels are up there with the best MH heels we've seen.

    4. Ooh, I *love* sapphire blue! My favourite shade. :D

      I meant attached to her arms. It sounds weird, I know, but I'm just really curious to see what it would look like.

  17. i forgot i was going to tell you when i got my PD lagoona her hair was the older lagoona hair as in it was really curly and frizzy... i rememeber in your review you did on your PD lagoona you said that her hair was wavy and silky... i sometimes wonder if mattel makes dolls differently with the same doll sometimes bc i have noticed a lot of things... i have always wanted an original frankie and when mattel decided to do the re-releases i thought "hear is my chance" so i tracked one down on the walmart website and ordered it, it came a few days ago and i was so excited to go and pick it up but when i did and got it home and opened the box it was shipped in i have to say i was disappointed bc not only was frankies actual box badly damaged she barely even looked like frankie her face was rounder and wider her left eye was painted on a little cock-eyed so she looks cross eyed and her hair was a mess, now i know that the re-releases would look a little different bc mattel has made MH more barbie like (an example being spectras face mold being changed) but really i didn't expect it to be this bad, i mean my frankie dose not even look like frankie and her quality of her hair and clothes and body plastic is worse than a budget dolls (and i like budget dolls) but i was just wondering if you had any opinion on this matter bc it seems like to me that sometimes i will get a doll from a place that is a mattel retailer like target or walmart and it will look like a fake... i also had this problem with my GR frankie everything was good on her, her hair was nice her clothes were nice but her face looked different and she had that crossed eye... i called mattel and complained and ask what could be done bc i didn't want to get my money back i just wanted a good looking basic frankie and they basically said that i couldn't be helped they said that i could refund the doll or i could send it to them (and pay all the postage myself) and they would examine her and if they felt like it warranted a return that they would refund her... but that's not what i wanted... so i kept her and fixed her up and just thought to myself she is the re-release and one day soon when i get the extra money im going to get on amozon and get all the first 5 waves of basic dolls because i really want the originals and i missed all the basic dolls leading up to and including toralei... so hopefully one day my dreams will come true :)

    1. I'm can't remember exactly what I actually wrote in the PD Lagoona review, but I thought I mentioned that her hair was like the older dolls? My PD Lagoona has frizzy hair too (but I love it anyway lol).

      I'm glad Mattel's doing the re-release of those wave 1 dolls. I never got Clawdeen's doll and I've always wanted her so she'll be making her way into my collection. I didn't see her once the first time around! I may grab another Frankie too just to have an extra.

      Ordering MH dolls online is a gamble thanks to Mattels' spotty QC. I try to avoid it as much as possible but I still do it sometimes. I'm disappointed Mattel doesn't run a tighter ship when it comes to QC. Wonky eyes are way too prevalent, among other things! I'm surprised Mattel didn't just send you a replacement Frankie. They're usually good about that, but I do think who you get on the phone when you call makes a difference. Some workers are more willing than others to do a replacement, no questions asked, I guess.

      I hope you're able to get them too, Ricky! Oh and congrats on your Lagoona!