You know, I have to hand it to Mattel; for a line that's been around for three years now, they've managed to keep Monster High fresh and exciting. I mean, look at today's doll. Just a year ago did you think we'd get a Lagoona Blue that's freshwater, with neon yellow hair and electric blue skin? Of course not. But by thinking outside the box and being clever in their approach to themed doll design, Mattel has managed to give us a totally unique Lagoona, one that is almost nothing like her standard dolls, and yet due to the intelligence of the 13 Wishes theme, feels totally natural for the character. It's really quite brilliant when you think about it. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's back up and take a closer look at how Lagoona got to this freshwater state.
13 Wishes is based around the idea of genies and the wishes they grant. In this world, genies grant thirteen wishes instead of three, and they always come with unexpected, dark side effects. We learn this in the synopsis on Lagoona's box back. We're also treated to large, beautiful drawings of our four main 13 Wishes characters, in glorious full color and glossy finish.
13 Wishes Lagoona is presented as a signature/basic doll: she comes with her pet, a purse, and a diary. Obviously we already have a signature Lagoona doll (three, in fact), so why are we being given another? Because this is freshwater Lagoona, and as you learn in her diary, she's quite different from the saltwater Lagoona we know and love. What I like about this setup is that it successfully establishes the world of 13 Wishes, enticing you with an elaborate story that ends (in the diary) on an odd, Twilight Zone-ish note. It's never outright stated, but one understands that this strange freshwater Lagoona is the product of a wish run amok. It's assumed that the full story will play out in the upcoming 13 Wishes DVD special. Or better yet, you can take the setup given here and the included doll and use your imagination to finish the story yourself. In any case, this is very complex doll presentation, especially for a play line.
When looking at the doll, what we have here is basically Bizarro Lagoona. Many of her accessories are altered versions of the ones that came with her original signature doll. Most notable are the purse and pet. Like her first basic doll, freshwater Lagoona comes with a fishbowl purse. It's the same shape and functions exactly like the original purse, but this new one is clear and the handle is aqua instead of gold. Her pet piranha, Neptuna, is also different. She's now purple and lavender instead of the original pink and salmon.
And then we have Lagoona herself. When the promo pic for 13 Wishes Lagoona first appeared, many were shocked. To say she was divisive amongst the fanbase is an understatement. You were either excited by the prospect of such an outrageous doll, or found her tacky and downright ugly. There didn't seem to be much middle ground -- you either loved her or hated her. Personally, I thought she looked great -- so cool and unique! Although I'm not always the biggest fan of Lagoona as a character, her dolls are always among my favorites. She's one of the few characters that I have every doll of. I simply find her beautiful, and this new 13 Wishes doll is no exception.
Lagoona dolls always have lightly shimmering, glaucous skin. In freshwater form, Lagoona's skin still shimmers, but it's now a much bolder azure. Her translucent fins are a bright electric blue, much more noticeable than her usual baby blue fins. And her olive green eyes are now a primary green that contrasts nicely with the brighter blue freshwater skin. Overall, freshwater Lagoona looks a little more odd, a little more colorful, a little more monstrous, than the usual Lagoona doll.
In freshwater form, Lagoona's makeup is quite simple. She wears amethyst eyeshadow that encircles the entire eye. There's no shimmer or glitter, nor is it topped by any other colors. Her usually blue freckles are also amethyst, while her brows are the standard lavender. Most interesting is her lipcolor, a sea foam green that makes for an odd contrast with her azure skin. Even though the two colors are very different the overall effect is almost monochromatic. It looks like it could be her natural lips rather than lipstick. I love the effect!
Lagoona's hair comes in a twisted ponytail that ends about halfway down her back. She also has bangs that land in a straight line above her eyebrows. Unless I'm forgetting someone, this is the first time Lagoona has bangs that aren't sideswept. But the most unique thing about this hair is the color -- neon yellow! Over the years Lagoona's hair has varied somewhat in color, but it's always been a naturalistic shade of blonde. Her Skultimate Roller Maze doll even had a yellow shade of blonde, but it's nowhere near the brightness of this particular shade of yellow! Think a banana on acid and you're somewhere in the right vicinity. And instead of long, sporadic blue streaks like we usually see on Lagoona, here she has one lone streak -- right in the middle of her bangs and in a cool shade of mint. Very unique. What with the contrasting azure skin and neon hair, not to mention the mint streak and her makeup, there's something almost psychedelic about this Lagoona. She's just so vibrant. And we haven't even gotten to the clothes and jewelry yet!
At it's core, Lagoona's dress is really just a strapless cocktail number. Of course, this being MH, it's been gussied up into something a tad more elaborate than that. The dress has a print of alternating fuchsia, salmon, and pink diamonds containing tiny, geometric black lines. It ends at the thighs in an un-hemmed zig-zag. Attached to the bust is a right sleeve made of tiffany netting with rose sparkles. It's topped by pleated, black netting and hemmed with black thread. Under the bust is more tiffany netting that lays over the dress, opening at the front and darted on the sides. It looks like an abstract lily pad, a smart design choice that plays into the freshwater theme without being too obvious or costume-y.
Lagoona wears a pair of green goggles that feature dragonflies and blades of grass molded into the sides. Four magenta dots line the top. Black elastic holds the goggles in place, and though they can be worn over her face they look much better resting on her head, a bit like a headband. Right next to the goggles, near her bangs, a pink and yellow barrette in the shape of a flower is inserted.
Matching the goggles are translucent green wedge sandals. Fluorescent green blades of grass are molded into the wedges and also function as the strap. Lagoona's earrings are translucent pink dragonflies. These are paired with a translucent green necklace that has a tiny turtle dangling below. Her last accessory is a matching green bracelet with a turtle charm.
Overall: 13 Wishes Lagoona is a doozy of a doll! Her bright skin and neon hair are what really grab you, and have rightfully been getting the lion's share of attention from fans. But what really impresses me about this doll is the attention to detail and the consistency of the freshwater theme. Gone are all the nautical accents usually found on Lagoona dolls. Instead the focus is on, well, freshwater elements: blades of grass, dragonflies, turtles, flowers. Even though these pieces come in bright colors they still manage to feel naturalistic somehow. I think using translucent plastic for most of the jewelry plays a big part; it gives the pieces a wet, dewy look. The netting of the dress helps, too -- it's evocative of a watery lily pad, and is the base from which all the other elements stem. No one color is overpowering since they're all used in various forms spread through the entire outfit. This is an impressive doll, a shining example of why we all fell in love with Monster High in the first place. Occasionally I come across fans who say MH is losing it's touch, that the designs are becoming boring and predictable. I look at 13 Wishes Lagoona and think otherwise.
While I was photographing Lagoona for this review I decided to grab the original Wave 1 doll for a few shots as well, just to compare how different freshwater Lagoona is from what she started out as. I also grabbed Dance Class Lagoona since she has the standard faceup, thinking it would be cool to see the three together, a sort of "Evolution of Lagoona" thing. Take a look...