Back when Jinafire Long and Skelita Calaveras were introduced via last year's Scaris: City of Frights themed line, many -- including myself -- wondered if we would ever see these characters in doll form again. And beyond that, we wondered if/when new dolls came, would they be basics or themed dolls? Although the Scaris dolls did feel strongly tied to that line, they also seemed kind of basic-y, you know? As we now know, Skelita has returned in the form of an Art Class doll. And even more excitingly, Jinafire is back, too -- and she is indeed a new signature/basic doll!
As part of the New Scaremester line, Jinafire has transferred to Monster High alongside Catrine DeMew. Clawdeen is their Goodwill Ambassador, helping them acclimate to the exciting new world they're entering. Rather than a diary, Jina comes with a planner that includes a map of the school and a minimalist, but very pretty, centerfold of doodles. Probably my favorite thing about Jina's planner, however, is the cover itself. An oval frame contains a drawing of that devilish little monster face we saw on her Scaris doll's headpiece, and the frame is topped by a skullette featuring scales on it's "scalp". It's very cute.
Being a designer, Jina has a good eye not just for clothes but also accessories and makeup. This comes through on both of her dolls. For her relocation to Monster High, Jina wears bold green eyeliner that encircles the eye. It splits dramatically at the outer edge, mimicking the fins of her tail. It is surrounded by matte eyeshadow in lime. Her wine-colored lips have a moderate shine to them, a nice contrast to the lime and lemon striped irises of her eyes. As expected, her pupils are a vertical slit -- she's a dragon, after all. The two-tone green eyeshadow and liner is a bold choice and stands out just a tad more than her Scaris doll's purple eyeshadow. It's also the first of many instances of that Scaris purple being replaced by various hues of green. Perhaps most importantly, the shadow matches her irises to a "T", and combined with her green hair give Scaremester Jina a slightly more realistic -- in doll terms -- dragon vibe.
Speaking of hair, Jina's comes in the same colors as her Scaris doll's hair -- bold green with thin black streaks. It actually seems to have the same part as her Scaris doll: on her left, with the right-hanging portion banded in front of her ear. However, I never took my Scaris doll's hair down so I can't say that with 100% accuracy. All of Jina's hair has been pulled into a thick ponytail to her back-right. Unlike the Scaris doll, NS Jina's hair has an ever-so-mild wave throughout. Like her outfit, this hairstyle is equal parts formal and casual.
Jina's strength as a designer is seen in her ability to use prints that feel vintage and modern at the same time, and in cuts that are hip but never "trend-chase-y". Jina's clothes always feel classic to me. Her top, for instance, takes cues from Halston, but with the eclecticism of von Furstenberg. Black ribbon featuring a print of shining gold, abstract flames and spikes wraps her neck from her right. It gives way to a smooth knit of lime emblazoned with diagonal, purple flames. Thick, black ribbon featuring the same print as the neck piece hugs her torso. The top is paired with ruby red, denim-look pants. The red is shiny except for punk-inspired dry splotches scattered throughout. Midway down the shin the red denim gives way to a much softer material featuring a grid of black hearts against a shining gold backdrop. In a clever touch, this heart print closely resembles dragon scales. The only problem I have with these pants is the same problem I have with all MH denim-look pants: it's virtually impossible to keep the Velcro fastened. Especially when you have her tail attached. But no matter, these things are gorgeous! They match the top well thanks to the black and gold, while the contrast of the ruby red with the lime and purple of the top keeps everything eclectic and funky. Mmm, couture -- you do it so well when you really try, Mattel. Kudos!
Each of Jina's worn accessories all come in one solid color, a choice that could be seen as a disappointment until you realize that going all paint-happy on them probably would've made the overall look a little too busy. Her earrings are orange and come in the shape of Chinese lanterns. There is some moderately detailed molding encircling the bulb. Her shimmering, emerald heels rest on the hooves of fully molded qilins. These are beautiful shoes but they're a bit squishy and I have trouble keeping them on her feet. Otherwise -- yeah, they're pure win. Matching them is her simple beaded bracelet. We've seen these a million times now. Still, it's better to have this simple piece than no bracelet at all. And it plays perfectly with her lime top and bold hair.
Jina carries an orange purse with small gold embellishments that's shaped like a fan. It features a black shoulder strap that rotates in its sockets. And yes, the purse does function! Hooray! Her last accessory is an orange Trapper-Keeper style folder (are we back in Picture Day?), with a dramatic gold dragon dancing across the front. It snaps in back under a skullette tab.
Overall: It ain't all sunshine and roses. As I mentioned, keeping her pants Velcro'd is nigh impossible and her shoes have a knack for falling off almost constantly. Her tail doesn't always stay in as it should, either. Although she has all those same wonderfully creative body mods that blew my mind on her Scaris doll, overall NS Jina feels just a tad cheaper. The plastic feels lighter, the shimmer of her skin just a little less luminescent. Okay then, so what's good about this doll? Everything else. She has a bold faceup that cleverly plays on her dragon theme and smartly matches her hair and elements of her outfit. And about that outfit -- wow! I adore the playful prints, the lux textures. It works perfectly as a signature outfit for a fashion designer. It's couture done in a light, casual way. If I were to ever meet a Chinese dragon girl in real life I can't picture her in anything else but this, it all works so perfectly. Indeed, I would hope this is exactly what she would be wearing. (And that she'd think I'm totally cool and wanna hang out. Hey, I ain't ashamed to admit I'd wanna be this girl's BFF!) Even though overall I prefer her Scaris doll, New Scaremester Jinafire is a more than worthy followup. Color me pleased.