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I'm always a bit apprehensive about starting a new thread on here, since I let things go kind of easily. But I want to try my hand at all this toy-blogging nonsense and so here's my test run. Aside from that, even if I don't create a full-on toy blog, I really like using IJBM as a diary.
I would probably be less likely to create this blog if some of the toy blogs I followed still had stuff going on, but everybody's posts seem to have stalled.
I've noticed that portrait pictures work much better around here in terms of not filling the whole page with an image, so I'll try to take more of those from now on!
I acquired a Capsule Chix doll... gacha machine thing.
For my first one, I went with the Sweet Circuits collection, because the box is pink and the Sweet Circuits Limited Edition is my favourite out of all the initial four limited editions.
The first wave of Capsule Chix sets is made up of four lines; Sweet Circuits, Ctrl+Alt+Magic, Ram Rock and Giga Glam. In terms of concept, I like Giga Glam the most, and the Giga Glam LE looks like a V-Bird. In terms of execution, I find Sweet Circuits the most appealing, and I like Ram Rock well enough.
Ctrl+Alt+Magic strikes me as something that is necessary in a way, but there are pieces from it I absolutely dread getting. I do like the color scheme though.
Anyways, back to the issue at hand!
She kind of looks like a candy robot streetwalker, but so did a lot of the best Bratz dolls (except they weren't robots). However, I don't think I can effectively say I've written them off just yet.
I mean, I don't like how incredibly shiny the heads are. I held her up to one of my Off the Hook dolls and Off the Hook Jenni looked incredibly, wonderfully matte next to her.
However, Jenni is also painfully static and this girl is wonderfully expressive. Before you ask, yes her hands are stuck like that until I get another.
According to my guide/fashion magazine thing, the tights are supposed to be much darker.
That would probably help dampen the racy factor of the outfit, but I actually kind of like them the more nude (well, they are, even if her skin is purple).
So, the craze in toys lately has been blind-packaging. That is, you don't know what you get until you get it.
However, this requires a lot of packaging. For example, most L.O.L. Surprise dolls come in a really weird ball with multiple compartments. In these compartments are smaller plastic PVC bags. That's twice the trash already.
I have no idea why these hard-plastic containers are a thing, really. Oddly enough, more and more lines are starting to use them, like Hairdorables, which now come in a big reusable case (presumably to keep the scent on the scented series dolls in better?). There are 30+ Hairdorables across this line, which means... probably 70 "reusable" cases if you want to collect all of them.
Which brings me to Capsule Chix, which are somehow worse than L.O.L. dolls. L.O.L.s come with one ball, Capsule Chix come with five capsules and a box with a giant hole in the front of the gacha machine for a plastic mechanism, in addition to even more plastic surrounding the capsules to keep them in place (which sucks at doing this). I really wonder why they don't just come in one giant capsule, since all the pieces are also in PVC bags!
Today I opened my second Capsule Chix, this time from the Giga Glam collection.
The first thing I noticed was that 4/5 of my Capsules were made from a different plastic (on the right), much more weak and flimsy.
I'm guessing they realized making them all out of the good stuff was pointless, since you only need one for the stand.
Anyways, this probably makes the recycling information on the website wrong, and the new stuff feels very thin. It's probably not recyclable.
I got this combination of pieces. Decidedly more conservative with the tiered skirt and all. The top and skirt are actually two pieces from one complete look, according to pictures I've seen online. I didn't like the shirt when I saw it on the box, but that was because it was just the torso and not the sleeves. The sleeves make it work.
I still don't like that the logo on the inner shirt is an ad for the toy company that makes these (Moose Toys), but Barbie clothing literally advertises properties unrelated to Mattel, so I guess it's okay?
As you can see, I continue to have great luck in pulling terrible hand poses. I mean, I didn't even know this line had so many expressive, non-versatile hand poses until I started getting all of them.
I put my two girls together and realized they were primed for, as Harune Aira would call it, a Pretty Remake!!
I find that I enjoyed writing about this more than the surprise element of these. I don't like not having the time to build anticipation for what you buy and then examining it according to those expectations. I guess I'm not a surprise guy. It's only now that I'm truly chewing into my thoughts on what I got.
I opened another Capsule Chix, this time from the Ctrl+Alt+Magic collection.
I guess since I mentioned it in the previous post; her capsules are the normal sort. In fact, I've looked at the two Capsule Chix I'm yet to open, and both have the normal sort of capsules too.
I did get the dreaded "rare" fabric piece. I've had smaller dolls before, like Lil' Bratz, that were definitely built for fabric clothes. Capsule Chix fabric pants all appear to have one universally terrible cut, and the "tops" are a joke. So, luckily (?), I got a pair of pants.
I had to remove her lower legs to even get them on, and even that was a challenge. So, here's Little Ms. Ctrl+Alt+Magic (name pending).
I think she looks like a traveler. Maybe somebody whose settled in to their hotel and is about to embark on some package holiday through southern Europe. You can see I've already changed her shoes. She came with gladiator sandals, and those weren't going on with these pants on. I also gave her Wild Child's bag.
The top I got came with these terrible wings, and in the guide I thought they were permanently attached. Thankfully they came off.
I guess I should mention her giant unicorn horn. Not my favourite trend, but I don't absolutely hate it or anything.
I finally got a normal pair of hands! They're... very splayed, but I can't complain now can I?
Now she's very, very expressive. I also gave her Ctrl+Alt+Magic's shoes and bag.
Wild Child hasn't changed much (aside from gaining her a name, specifically after this song)). I guess I've mainly decided she can go without a bag.
I considered giving them normal names like human people have, but I've never been one to give my dolls "names". It seems trite. I mean, I named my teddy bear as a child, but he wasn't a toy, he was real.
*Yes, that's her name, I know it sounds slightly creepy, but it stuck in my mind. I also realized that the song I linked to has a line that goes "Papa don't preach" but I swear I don't have some sort of Papa complex.
also lol unexpected unicorn horn
also the catalogue colors never look the same
Yeah, I'm not sure exactly what it is with Capsule Chix. Is it the shiny skin? Maybe it's the hyper-giant eyes that are even shinier than everything else?
It's everywhere nowadays. From Barbie to L.O.L. to... probably Hairdorables, can't be sure.
Those depend on the collection. Sweet Circuits is pink, Ctrl+Alt+Magic is blue, Giga Glam is purple and Ram Rock is yellow. Shimmer Surge is uh... cyan, I guess? And HoloGlow is orange.
But as for right now, let's start on yet another Sweet Circuits!
This looks familiar somehow...
Yup, I got the same hair as my first doll. And with that unsightly blue stain no less! Like salt to a wound.
On the bright side, I basically knocked it out of the park in terms of Coordination completion. This contained not only the hair piece, but also the tights and skirt that go with this outfit. Mysteriously enough, it didn't contain the belt piece. I guess that may come with the top?
I also got the shoes and bag that go with the top I got in my first Sweet Circuits set, and the head that goes with the miniskirt/tights from that doll too.
Here the twins are. Unfortunately this hair is so big that there's just no way of any two characters who have it not being "twins". It completely overshadows the faces.
The stripey white shirt with green sleeves is really, really ugly. I recognize it as the piece that was recolored for a Shimmer Surge girl whose complete look is also very ugly. It turns out, the original complete Sweet Circuits look it goes with is also (you guessed it!) quite ugly. It's odd I never noticed these things before the magic of blind box toys foisted it on me.
All in all, these pieces don't go together at all.
Time for a Re-Coordinate!
(I'd keep using Pretty Remake!! but for goodness sakes I'm at least creative enough not to rip off idol anime from 9 years ago).
It's Traveller from Ctrl+Alt+Magic looking like an idol during an encore! Or maybe just a trendy girl with an eclectic style.
Here's Wild Child's twin in her Re-Coordination. It really helps to have the garish colors from the top muted by the jean capris. That doesn't mean I love the top, or the capris, but now I can stand them.
I guess she's the Traveller now. I really do wonder how many times I'll end up naming these dolls, considering how often I remake them. I guess Ctrl+Alt+Magic is now Capsurujuku Street.
Twins Traveller and Wild Child strike a final pose. Somehow the hands that gave me so much trouble before seem to work when they're not the only ones I have lying around.
I do have a number of pictures of my Off the Hook dolls just lying around, so the next post will probably be a departure. I mean this is A Dapper Man's Toy Box, not A Dapper Man's Quest to Open All The Capsule Chix.
Anyways, thanks for clearing up a few thoughts for the GMH. I've been drawn to Capsule Chix because of the articulation and interchangeable fashions, but I have always found the heads to be a bit much and I find the blind box element off-putting.
Plus, I've personally always been more into dolls with more human or human-adjacent skin tones. It's probably why I liked Ever After High way more than I liked Monster High.
I also don't really want to end up getting a Shimmer Surge doll set. I mean, I've almost pulled the trigger a couple of times, but buying one set where you'll always be guaranteed to get one specific doll but have a 1/3 chance of getting any of the Capsule B.O.T.s* isn't my cup of tea.
I'll... probably be on this train a bit longer though. They're really fun otherwise. I find HoloGlow's Pre-Spring, Hollister-esque, Lacoste vibe really cool, especially combined with the translucent bits. I also need to get a Ram Rock just so I can say I've experienced the whole line.
Anyways, if you think these faces are weird, wait till I get my hands on an L.O.L. Surprise! doll. In addition; as of right now I can confidently say I'm never buying a Hairdorables doll, but out of four possible faces, at least two Hairdorables faces look like they belong to serial killers. Obviously, they're also the most prominent ones in the whole line.
*Boys on Trend...s (what, I didn't make it up).
As a side note, I wanted to try doing stop motion with these, but they seem to be too small for anything resembling natural movement. That's a real big knock on me ever getting more.
The only real difference it has from a normal L.O.L. set, which is about four times smaller, is the packaging and giant bath bomb.
This comes on the same day that images for a display of L.O.L. Boys series 3 comes out, but now I'm wondering if throwing my principles on the waste of hydrocarbons aside and buying any L.O.L. toys at all is a bad thing.
Okay, now for some Off the Hook!
These two dolls are from the first ever Off the Hook pack I opened. This is called the (deep breath) Off the Hook Concert Style BFF (Best Fashion Friends) Set, with Brooklyn (purple hair) and Alexis (red hair).
Off the Hook dolls are made by Spin Master, who made (and have recently continued to make) my childhood love, Bakugan. They're a Canadian company that regularly churn out new, decent IPs. Off the Hook dolls came out in early 201...9? with a regular YouTube show of their very own which I frankly looked forward to probably more than anybody else on the planet.
Unfortunately, even though Spin Master basically has amazing distribution where I live, these never came to a store anywhere near me, so I had to give up on my love for them and turn to other interests.
(Love is a big word for some hunks of plastic, I know, but in all honesty otherwise I'd be lying).
Anyways, the backstory for Off the Hook is that these six girls are mannequins who love fashion, which I always found cute. The first line of dolls came in various looks based on three themes; Spring Dance, Summer Vacay* and Concert. For example; here are all the Alexis looks in the first wave;
They did each have a signature look, or at least a look that was used in the scant art-based promo materials for the line.
I've been on a quest to collect all six of these in the sense that I sometimes remember I want to do this, but with nothing near any level of commitment.
In case you're confused, Alexis' shorts here are under her fabric skirt on the real life doll. Same for Vivian. That confused me for the longest time...
The dolls came in one packs known as Style Girl dolls and two packs known as Style BFF sets. There were also a few special releases:
*A Style Studio with an exclusive Naia doll
*An Amazon exclusive Off the Hook Style Girls set with an exclusive Naia doll. This doll is unlisted on the guide, but her outfit is present amongst all the different pieces you can get.
There was probably also meant to be a second playset that was never released that came with a special Jenni doll in the vein of the Style Studio Naia. That never came to fruition.
Off the Hook was meant to be a big IP, hence the YouTube series, and a large showing at Toy Fair that February that included showing off a second wave of dolls with three whole new themes.
This never happened, because Off the Hook bombed. I mean, I'm not sure how big the bomb was, but I do know Spin Master had to write off a bunch of their girl's IP division. One of their best sellers, Hatchimals, also did abysmally that year. That is, to the point that Season 4 Hatchimals Collectibles minis are still available everywhere near you at a steep discount, but Off the Hook surely didn't help.
This was slightly a good thing for me, because it meant a lot of Off the Hook is still in stock everywhere. When Amazon is desperate enough, the pieces they were foolish enough to overstock on (ie that exclusive) go from their MRSP of $30 to like, $6.
However, this also means that scalpers who think people who care exist got a hold of some of the rarer dolls and crank up the prices... but only a bit, because there aren't many (I mean, if there's anybody but me that is).
Oh wow, that's a giant diversion, back to the matter at hand!
Here you can see the front and the back of the box. It's set up to appear like a store window, and all the paper art inside is masterfully cut from one piece of cardboard. I really love these boxes, but they're probably a big part of why the line failed. It's too dark an outline. The Summer Vacay and Spring Dance lines had very colorful inserts unlike the Concert line, but it didn't help much since it was still encased in all this black.
As you can see, even these visible dolls come with a surprise element, because that's what's hip with the kid's, y'know!
I also really like the little hangers on the top of the box. They're even stamped with the logo!
Released from the box, you can see the way the art is cut and folded much better. The plastic tabs holding in everything come out with just a little push, but it does hurt your hands, and some can be stubborn. Best to try and cut around them without accidentally scratching anything.
Here are the dolls freed from the box! In the artwork, they all look very young, but I quite like the mature, sassy expressions they have in the finished product. You don't really see this in kid's toys nowadays. At least, not without some softening features.
What Brooklyn is wearing looks like a set of short overalls, but the pinks are slightly different, presumably to spur on further mixing and matching.
Now, why is this doll line called Off the Hook? Well, because the head, torso, and legs all come apart. So do well... all the other parts, but these three parts are special because they have connectors that are shaped like hooks!
As the commercial says; Hook? Off the Hook? Get it?
And here's Alexis:
You know, parents (and kids) probably found this really creepy, which is another reason it didn't do well. However, I find this sort of thing kind of fun, since it allows you to explore fashion in a different way... even if that is in a slightly disembodied way.
Before I forget, the shoes in this line are really hit and miss with staying on. It's odd since they're a rubbery plastic that connects to the ankle like a socket.
To help along in the fashion-forward process, they came with this handy guide to explain how they work. This includes, most importantly, how to put bags on their hands.
It's quite thorough.
The surprises that come in the various shopping-item-storage-things were two backpacks, a pair of sneakers and a pair of sunglasses.
These storage items are, hilariously enough, a pain to store, and they start taking up as much space as the dolls however you choose to do so. I do prefer them to throwaway items like L.O.L. balls, and they can be useful for taking pictures. Unlike other doll lines, all the surprises were kept hidden by stripey green crepe paper, and not an avalanche of tiny plastic bags.
The girls pose for a fashion magazine. Or maybe, they're mannequins at Hot Topic this week! How did this not catch on??? Overall, with this line, I think Brooklyn is my favorite character, followed by Vivian. Though in all this time collecting them, I find myself with a soft spot for Alexis too. I like her short hair, and I like when you accidentally put her bangs on wrong.
Now, to address the main thing about this set. These girls are headed to a concert, yet it actually seems more likely that they're headed to an emo cat convention. What's with all the cats, man? Brooklyn's romper, Alexis' sweater, Brooklyn's socks, Alexis' boots, the translucent green shopping bag, the pink backpack the translucent purple shoe box, even the surprise platform sneakers that come in it! Everything is so cat themed!
This. Is. Excessive.
Overall, there's enough variation that the cat theme doesn't just rise up out of the concept and scratch you in the face, but it's a lot to look at without any variation.
Thankfully, there's a lot of variation to come! Next time I'll look at the individual Style Girls doll packs.
1*Phrasing Spin Master can't seem to stop reusing, I'm pretty sure Spin Master's overuse of the definitely not a word "Vacay" has been going on since their La Dee Da doll line.
Specifically; Concert Jenni and Summer Vacay Vivian.
As I explained last time, the Off the Hook dolls came in three themes. The themes weren't just differentiated by color schemes and pieces, but also by actual different design choices. Spring Dance dolls come with metallic pieces and glittery pieces (the terrible sort of glitter that rubs off at every touch and never comes off). Summer Vacay dolls came with fabric overskirts. Meanwhile Concert dolls came with... uh... dark colors and... metallic pieces...
Look, the second wave of this line was meant to have two whole school themes, so it wasn't the most creative line on the planet. I'm pretty sure the third was just a Spring Dance ripoff with less glitter too.
With that out of the way, here's Concert Jenni in box.
I love how these look in the box, but along with every non-standard box toy there is, there's no way to store these effectively in the box. On the side, you can see Jenni's silhouetted art based on this exact look. Achievement Unlocked! Signature Looks; 1/6.
The top and bottom of the box are apparently perforated to allow you to get at the Top Secret Surprise fashions easily, but I have never tried it and I don't really intend to. It's easier getting them out the normal way.
As you can see, everything on the boxes is in English and French, even though these are the non-international boxes (since Off the Hook had no other boxes). That's because Spin Master is based in Canada, and French Canadians get really really mad when you leave them out of things. I'm pretty sure some cardgames lack official Canadian distribution because the cards are only written in English.
These are the secret surprise bags. They feature every character in silhouette amongst lots of hangers. You can find everyone if you really try, which I didn't, because I didn't see Alexis at all in this image until way later.
Kay, let's get Jenni out of the box.
I usually don't get this sort of luck in matching a photography subject to a background, but Jenni is wearing the exact right colors for it to be overly-cutesy and matchy-matchy, I like it. As you can see, her overalls are a direct recolor of Brooklyn's from a post before, also in a Concert look, but I think they look different enough.
Her skirt is different, and this is the basic skirt I like best in this line. The stockings here feature little molded fishnets, which is both super cool and completely nonsensical since fishnets are supposed to be see through.
I have no idea what's going on with these shoes. They're also a recolor of the Brooklyn piece from the previous Concert set, and I barely liked them then. They honestly look like medicine capsules.
If you were paying attention, you'll notice she came with a hat. This hat is (deep breath) ALSO A RECOLOR FROM BROOKLYN'S CONCERT LOOK FROM EARLIER. I don't know if like, these two specific looks were just really similar, or this happens a lot because I never over-analyzed the dolls this much, but by George this is a lot.
Yes, I assure you Brooklyn's hat also featured a molded on heart, but it wasn't painted in and the cat aesthetic distracted from how obvious it is otherwise.
These are the two Super Secret Fashion Surprises that Jenni comes with; a T-shirt with a kissy lips graphic layered over a stripey monochrome long-sleeved T-shirt -very rawk if I say so myself- and a chequerboard pattern miniskirt paired with blue tights with that same nonsensical fishnet molding style.
The skirt here makes me think of a diner, maybe a themed waitress. Sadly, there's no matching shirt anywhere in the line, so that's a dream look I'll have to hold on to forever.
The top makes me think of burying it in my backyard and never seeing it again. This top is also the same mold as Signature Naia (who I don't have) and Amazon Exclusive Naia.
The baggies turned out to not only be plastic, which I earlier praised the line for not having, but the sort with aluminum coating inside to make it even less recyclable.
Time for a Re-Coordinate!
Whoops, seems like Jenni is comandeering all the hats, and Alexis' shoes too! I don't dislike the shirt as much as part of this look in the middle, but that kissy-face graphic looks like it was drawn wrong and nobody had the gall to tell Mr. Spin Master's nephew to redraw it.
And there you have it, Concert Jenni. My only Jenni to date. I should fix that. I have at least two of everyone else...
Moving on; here's Summer Vacay Vivian.
The fun thing about Vivian is that basically every doll of her's is Summer Vacay, aside from the obligatory Spring Dance and Concert looks. Concert Vivian has a top I like a lot, but she has the skirt I dislike the most in the whole line, so she's always popping on and off of my want list.
Anyways, it's time to focus!
Summer Vacay looks have a really nice insert. I didn't talk about the Concert insert a lot because well, it's there, but the Summer Vacay one actually looks like a store set-up that's meant to remind you of the beach, which is a lot of artistic flair to fit into a child's introduction into consumer capitalism.
Here's a look at both inserts side by side. I prefer everything about the Summer Vacay insert, and it's not just the flip flops next to the beach ball. I mean, what type of hipster Concert features this sort of record player anyways?
I don't like how, compared to the Style BFF boxes, these just have the cardboard inserts stuck onto the plastic holding down the doll. It's not that it's bad per-se, but having seen better with the Style BFF boxes, it's notable.
Here's Vivian out the box. She's wearing a nautical striped 3/4-sleeve tee with an anchor graphic on the front. This is possibly my favorite piece in this whole line. I really like nautical themed clothing.
She's also wearing a large pink and purple hombre overskirt, and blue sneakers. For reasons unknown, she's wearing star graphic socks to the beach too. That makes no sense, right? I think these might be the same mold as the platform sneakers from the Style BFF box from earlier, but I can't be sure.
In fact, this look only really works as a whole, the individual pieces from the waist down are kind of confusing. Nobody wears this nonsense anywhere near a beach.
Here's Vivian next to my other Summer Vacay Vivian. She's also wearing an outfit, but I won't describe it since I'm not reviewing her. Anyways, this is the Vivian known for the "I'm heartbroken it's not ice-cream!" meme. A meme known possibly entirely by myself. I'll link it later.
All of the other Vivian dolls have extremely thick dreadlocks, and they kind of creep me out since they're mean to look inhuman anyways. I prefer her with the giant ponytail (though maybe not the glitter).
Here are the Top Secret Fashion Surprises Vivian comes with. I really like the red sailor-style shorts and knee-socks. As an anime fan, I pride myself on my love of knee-socks, plus it's nautical! Quite the double whammy.
The top I'm less of an advocate for. It's meant to be a sculptural bodice. I mean, I see that, but it skews weird when not attached to anything else.
Time for a Re-Coordinate!
In the first image here, there's actually not much of a change, I just took off Vivian's overskirt to reveal her signature look. Achievement Unlocked! Signature Looks; 2/6.
This blue skirt is one of the most common in the line. The Alexis from the previous entry has a black variation. Oh darn it, typing this I realized the red shorts I love are probably also a recolor of Brooklyn's shorts from earlier. Are there like, 3 entire molds in this line total???
The second look adds the overskirt onto the second outfit and adds a pair of shoes from Naia's Style BFFs Concert look, and I switched those to the platform sneakers from the earlier Style BFFs Concert set. The purple boots here are an extremely common mold in the Concert theme, and I don't love them usually, but they work with some looks.
I find it fun that I created a Prom type look using absolutely no Spring Dance pieces.
Anyways, Alexis came to play! Well, Alexis-on-Naia's torso and in Mila's hair. I considered reviewing my entire collection in detail (like the Naia and Mila Style BFF 2-Pack), but I find it would be repetitive. As you can see, all the sets are essentially the same. I'll do a full collection post sometime later, as well as a cool Top Secret post.
So there you have it! Two Style Girls, and Signature Looks at that too! I'd say that's quite special.
Later this week, I hope I can work really fast and make up a post about something completely out of left field for this thread. Eventually after that, there'll be more Off the Hook posts, and other stuff too.
Here's the exchange. It always cracks me up.
This episode also conveniently begins with a short look at the Style BFF Concert Mila and Naia pack.
Ehhhhhhhhhh?? What's this doing here?
I'm guessing literally everybody has heard of Overwatch, and you probably know waaaay more about it than I do. All I know is that it was really popular for a really long time, which made me avoid anything Overwatch related for a really long time. Now it's normal levels of popular, and so it's fine to associate with it. There's supposed to be a second game in the series soon?
Look, I didn't even know it was an FPS until after I got this and I was reading the Wikipedia article.
So, funny story, I was looking something or other up, when I came across the Funko Pop! (another concept I don't need to explain) of Beach McCree. That made me wonder if Hasbro had made him into an Overwatch Ultimates Figure. They hadn't, because they're too busy making nine variations of Black Widow for that new movie (disclaimer: I have no idea how true this is).
Anyways, I saw the Overwatch Ultimates figures by Hasbro forever ago in the original press release, and I really wanted this one. I would have also wanted Tracer if all the women's molds hadn't ended up looking so weird IRL. I do actually want Diva, but she only comes in a giant 4-pack with like, the third Genji variation. I wonder why, because I'm assuming a lot of people want Diva (D-Va? I cannot remember), because she's tres adorable.
I'm talking about all these characters like I know anything about them that isn't their character designs, but that's a good sense of false authority to grant yourself when reviewing hunks of plastic.
With that out of the way; here's Overwatch Ultimates Lucio!
The first time I saw him, I have to admit I was underwhelmed by his physique. His arms looked needle-like to me, but they've grown on me. I mean, they have to be in scale with his giant mecha legs after all.
I really, really love these boxes. They're entirely storable, which is something I keep mentioning for no real reason since I've never not opened a toy unless I forget it exists. I like how the art wraps around here, and I like all the information on the boxes.
Lucio is a freedom fighter DJ, because I guess when Blizzard thought "cool character from the future" they were like "Let's get inspiration from Sonic Underground!"
At least in Spanish, he's also a wrestler.
I thought Lucio's symbol was this cool cute-but-not-too-cute frog thing on his shirt, but it's actually this lame orange thing on the left side of his name. It's very very lame.
Other figures in the line. I've already mentioned Tracer's weird insecty leg mold, but the other girl here has a weird coat that makes her look daft. The guy is no better, he and Soldier... uh... 73? have bodies that are giant with extremely off proportions, so they're no gos.
Soldier 73 comes in a two-pack, and this line has had two waves of solo and duo figures so far. There are others I want, but I think it's best to keep those a surprise (for if I ever get any).
Here's Lucio in his plastic tray. I have to say; I have wrestled a lot of toys out of these trays and some of them are downright prisons for plastic. This wasn't like that at all. Everything popped out super easily.
Lucio has a tattoo on his upper left arm, because he's a DJ and making bad decisions is part of the job. According to the game backstory I read once weeks ago, he stole his tech outfit from some lab in Brazil.
He's wearing a green sleeveless T-shirt. A vest I guess? He's also wearing a pair of giant metal pants. I genuinely thought they were oversized jeans when I first saw him, but nope, they're metal pants. I'm not sure why you would ever choose to fight like this unless it was Infinite Stratos, but whatever.
He's also wearing giant
metal foot blades that generate magic jelly energyice skates, therefore, he's a Prism Star. No takebacks.
Anyways, I really, really dislike his torso joint in real life. In pictures, it looks beautiful, but in real life it looks really concerning. However, it moves like a dream. His arms are double jointed at the elbow, and after a couple of initial tickety-ticks, they also move very nicely (though nothing moves as brilliantly as his torso).
His braided ponytail that appears to end in power cables also moves nicely. In the photos, he's meant to have better gradation hair, but his ponytail here is almost entirely blonde.
To compare, here's how he's meant to look in game. I can't help but notice he's much skinnier as an action figure. I guess he went on Atkins. Good on you, Lucio.
I find that he photographs really well, but I have to be really finicky about it as well. In real life, he's very matte. Here, he captures light to make him look laquered. I'm a bit obsessed. If only his legs weren't so gigantically mecha, he could do lots of cool photo stuff.
Here he is with his weapon. It took me forever to realize he's probably right handed, but the weapon fits into either of these hands.
"I heard you called for some good vibrations!"
I have no idea what this thing does, but I'm assuming it doesn't shoot sound lasers.
If you put his weapon in the right hand, the green wire connects to a little indent on his upper right arm. I guess that's how it's powered. Through his hair
He comes with two extra hands; a V-sign and a clenched fist. Not really sure what the clenched fist is for, but it's there. The hands come out semi-easily, and are all very secure.
On his back is a yellow backpack with a giant fan. This probably helps keep him upright when magic jelly energy is floating out of his giant ice skates. Otherwise, I don't think his freedom fighter luchador adventures would last very long (what with momentum and all).
So there you have it! An Overwatch action figure. Lucio was my top priority from this line, but there are others I might like enough to grab eventually. Also, much like all toys I like, Lucio appears to be the shelfwarmer of this line. He's always deeply discounted everywhere I check.
There's also a purple variation of him, but I'm not sure that a recolor is different enough to make me consider getting him. Much like the regular version, even scalpers can't manage to shove him off the 5 Lucio fans on the planet for more than 15% markup.
I think this line overall is doing really poorly for Hasbro, but I can't be entirely sure. They did decide to make a second wave, after all. However, the whole "Shoving 4 characters into a special pack" thing reeks of the "Haha, you want one? Then pay for four!" sort of desperation. I'm told it's a store exclusive, but like, still.
Anyways, I really like Lucio, at least!
L.O.L. Surprise Boys Series 3 comes out late this month (after my birthday, of course), and that's something I'm both excited and apprehensive about. Unlike the first two series, this one ups the number of available boys from 9 to 12, which means you have an even greater chance of getting multiples of the most common one as you look for the one you want.
Now, for another sort of boy:
This'll be a simple review, but I'm going to end up writing a lot of words anyways.
Today we take a look at (deep breath) Shopkins Happy Places Royal Trends Rowen Ruby!
Okay, so now you're wondering: What even is that title?
Let me explain!
A few years ago, when YouTube had fully bloomed and the nascent hobbists known as ToyTubers were learning to walk, an Australian toy company released something that took the world by storm.
No, don't laugh or give me that weird look, I'm being serious here. The revolution happened, it just happened with under 10s.
Moose Toys released Shopkins, a blind-bag series of toys that featured various things you'd find in a shopping mall. They were rubberized, cuteified and anthropomorphized into what became that years top toy. Why? Because ToyTubers thrived on the blind bag toy. You knew what brand you were getting when you clicked on the video, but every video was a surprise.
Soon, adults with small children to feed where dumping the family budget on .5 inch figurines, all in the name of making a buck on the YouTubes. How? By opening each toy in their videos, the average video going from anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour.
Kids -at least 95% of which were girls- lapped it up, and the toys didn't even need a show since the whole video was an ad.
Anyways, like all successes, Moose Toys milked the cow, releasing spinoff after spinoff of that now-hallowed Shopkins brand. There were die-cast metal vehicles (which didn't last long considering the target demo), full-sized dolls, fuzzy pet figurines, and all other sorts of nonsense.
A lot of those spinoffs died after a few months, but not Happy Places. Happy Places was a line of small, 3.5" dolls that were sometimes modeled on the bigger full-size (well, 6-7") dolls known as Shoppies. More often though, Shoppies dolls were modeled after Happy Places dolls.
Happy Places sets included the
miniLil' Shoppies dolls, and their pet-themed (rather than human themed) ShopkinsPetkins. These Petkins, rather than standard-sized Shopkins characters, were to-scale furniture replicas with pet faces, because that makes sense to someone.
Naas once said the furniture made it appear as if they were living "in a surveillance state".
Anyways, the Happy Places were almost all exclusively themed around (relatively) real goings on. Kitchens, living rooms, and so on. Season 3 introduced a school theme, and everything that came out was either a classroom or a prom or any other school-ish themed set.
There was also a Pampered Puppy Parlour which was basically a home theater, but uh, maybe that's school related somehow!
Season 4 was semi-equestrian themed, but very confusingly themed overall. Season 5 was a beach trip, and Season 6 was a mermaid theme. Another commentator was worried about this, because random mermaid themes usually meant a line was dead. I also skipped over season 6, it's the only one that never caught my attention.
Then came Season 7.
Season 7 is called "Royal Trends", and it features Shoppies new and old being Prince or Princess-ified as they live in a new Royal Kingdom. As seasons 1-5 sort of operated on a normal-ish level, and then Season 6 turned everybody into mermaids, this was only slightly less out there.
Season 7 was extended into Season 8, Royal Wedding, which featured groom Will Hugh (yes that's a pun) marrying Bridie, who having been introduced in season 4 had a name like "Bridie" without being married.
Season 8 also appears to be the last for Happy Places, as Moose Toys shifts it's efforts onto two other Shopkins spin-offs; Shopkins Lil' Secrets, a retro Polly Pocket ripoff, and Kindi Kids. Kindi Kids features Shoppies turned Lil' Shoppies/Lil' Shoppies turned Shoppies as giant kindergarten baby dolls.
So I figured I might as well get in on the back end!
Let's meet Prince Rowen Ruby from Season 7!
This packaging is pretty cute, what with the main plastic card being in front rather than in the back as is typical. In terms of royal theming, I like the use of purple (the official color of Royalty, as Massie Block would have you know) and shiny gold.
On the back is a really, really sappy story about Rowen and the Royal Shoppies, I think it's cute.
As you can see, Rowen comes with an "Easy Pop" accessory. He's the first boy in the line, and that threw the Easy Pop marketing for a loop. Which is actually strange because the Easy Pop gimmick was introduced with this very line. The girls have Easy Pop skirts, which make much more sense.
Rowen Ruby is presumably the Shoppie of Rubies. Everybody is the Shoppie of something, like Polli Polish (nail polish), Bridie (Brides?), Caketrina (cake), Katie Pops (cake pops, they're very different) and Jessiecake (cup...cakes... I swear they're not all cake themed).
When you take his plastic holding cell out of the box, you can see that it's entirely usable as a shadow box, except there's no way you're ever using branded product stuff with warnings on front for pictures and it's too flimsy for display.
It was a nice idea though.
Here Rowen is, with and without his cape. The "Pop" is actually not "easy". It takes a millisecond of maneuvering but it's fine otherwise. His shirt also comes off, revealing a red sweater that extends all the way up his neck. It's slightly creepy.
He also comes with a miniature stand.
In terms of articulation, his arms and legs move. His head does not swivel around, even though it looks like it should. I think other Happy Places Shoppie heads do, but I'm not too sure.
Rowen is wearing a red jacket with lots of nice detailing, as well as red trousers and brown boots. Each boot is embedded with a jewel, and they look more purple here than in real life. They are vaguely ruby colored.
He has a crown molded onto his head, and at the very least that contains an obvious ruby. He also has crowns in his eyes. I think every Shoppie now has a unique pattern in their eyes, which makes them look much less cross-eyed. Before, they had two dots in each eye. In both eyes, they were placed like they are in his eyes, but they made them look like they had no idea where exactly it is they were looking. I noticed this in my pictures of the normal sized Shoppies that came with Lil' Secrets compacts. It was annoying.
And there you have it guys; Prince Rowen Ruby of the Shoppies. They don't really explain how the royal family tree works, but he's the only Prince of the line so I guess he's pretty important.
I tried using some backgrounds to liven up my composite shots using my MS Paint skills, but I'm still quite bothered by the sharp rigid lines on my photos. Though I don't actually know if I'd feel better if they were rounded. Maybe the sharp edges way works best.
And there you have it!
Huh, wonder what this'll be...
It's the Off the Hook Style Girls Amazon Exclusive 3-pack!!
If the Vivian here looks familiar, that's because she is. She's the Summer Vacay Vivian I reviewed earlier in the thread, but repackaged. In fact, the Spring Dance Brooklyn that's here is also a repackage and I already have the individual Style Girls doll.
I don't know if I mentioned this before, but my original Summer Vacay Vivian had a weird issue with her head not fitting right. Also, Brooklyn is cool.
The Naia here is exclusive to this set, but is modeled on her signature look. Achievement Unlocked? Signature Looks? I'll judge this one a Fission Mailed.
Though I do have the Brooklyn twice over so Achievement Unlocked! Signature Looks; 3/6..
I'd never seen anyone review this, and it was relatively light on the pocket, so I got it.
I didn't expect the outside packaging to look like this! It's just a cardboard box, but the way it's printed is really charming!
Even the back looks really cool! It shows off the various ways you can mix and match the dolls.
The sides have the standard signature look art. It's really cool to see the girls overlap, at least on one side.
Now to open it up! I wonder how-
Okay, I mean, I get it. This is an Amazon exclusive set, so they weren't going to do anything fancy, but this is really really bad. I know it basically excludes the usual plastic holding cell which saves plastic or whatever but this is just terribly sad. The original list price for this thing was $30.
I mean, this was meant as an introductory pack to the Off the Hook series. If this was the first thing I'd gotten, I'd have much less goodwill towards the franchise. I mean, it'd be worse to give this as a gift. It's like having double layers of wrapping paper and then just bad, sad cardboard inside.
I mean, they could have at least had a background or something!
With that out of the way, let's check out the set.
Here are the three girls freed from their amorphous blob-like state. I know that mannequins are shipped in those conditions in real life, but this is dolls Amazon. Kids should remain innocent about such horrors.
Exclusive Concert Naia wears that abhorrent stripey-shirt over graphic tee look. Here the stripes are black-and-yellow and the shirt is white. It features a cutesy heart graphic. That I like at least. Yes, this is the same mold as the extra top Jenni came with.
She finishes off her look with some black cutoff shorts and boots. The boots are the same mold as Concert Brooklyn's, and feature pixelated yellow graphics on the front. I guess Naia is going to a "geeky" concert, or she's just out of a Hot Topic next to a Gamestop.
I really like how 2000's everything from the Concert line is.
Spring Dance Brooklyn wears a pink ruffled top, and a blue skirt that hombres into green. She's also either wearing socks and sandals, or pink boots.
I've already described Summer Vacay Vivian's look, however this Vivian doesn't come with her fabric overskirt. The look suffers for it.
It comes with all of these extra fun aluminum inside plastic bags. These have a terrible track record of not tearing by hand. I know that just means I have to use my scissors, but it's kind of annoying anyways. The first three each contain an extra outfits, that's six Super Secret Fashion Surprises! How 'bout 'dem apples???
The fourth contains a lot of accessories, and a pair of shoes.
The three extra outfits. We've already covered Vivian's.
Brooklyn's extra outfit kind of looks like the sort of exotic dancer you'd hire for your sad otaku friend's 27th birthday, when you're afraid that his delusions have lasted way too long and you spent all your time humoring him instead of nipping it in the bud. It's too late.
Or maybe just a cosplayer? Then again, those are the same thing (don't kill me cosplayers, it's joke).
Anyways, it consists of a pink top with a hot pink ruffle over the bodice and sleeves. The skirt is also in the same hot pink, and it comes with tights that mimic an absolute boundary with fake pink-ribbon socks.
I quite like the whole ensemble.
Naia's kind of has a groupie theme, with the exposed belly-button bodice and shiny no-sleeve jacket. This piece is almost like if somebody who hated Power Suits wanted to design one to make everybody else hate them.
The super-short black leather skirt and tights are kind of 80s too, but I'm neutral about them.
I don't think I have copies of either piece across the line, so that's great!
Naia's exclusive accessory is this glittery metallic hat that nobody should ever, ever wear.
I have another pair of flowery glasses like this, but since I didn't take a picture I've totally forgotten if they came with Spring Dance Brooklyn, or the Spring Dance Brooklyn and Alexis set. At the very least, Summer Vacay Vivian didn't come with glasses, so I'm assuming these are the same set as the ones from the Summer Vacay Style BFFs Vivian and Mila set.
Everything here that's not the hat is a recolor, and I'm pretty sure the hat is a recolor from original Concert Naia.
The backpack might look exactly the same as the Concert Brooklyn and Alexis set, but it's actually slightly different.
It has a painted on silver metallic zipper line, and a cat paw on the front. Somehow, it is actually more cat-themed than the cat-themed one.
The shoes are a recolor from the Concert Style BFFs Naia and Mila set.
Anyways, overall, I think at this discount, this was worth getting for the Exclusive Naia. Plus, now I can have Brooklyn displayed in both her Spring Dance outfits and I have a Vivian whose head doesn't wobble worryingly!
"S'all cool, fam!"
I would never, ever say "fam". I was just relaying what Brooklyn would say. She's also takin' selfies with her best friends 4ever b4 they jet off to the super lit dance. Lit.
Did I mention how well Brooklyn photographs?
Anyways, there you go! Yet another overview of an Off the Hook set. I think next time will probably be my last Off the Hook themed post (unless I'm struck by the mix-mash-fash bug in the future and actually get more). That'll be a collection overview.
It may be even longer than this post!
There's been a flurry of new releases over this month, but nothing I'm too interested in. However, there was news on something I've been curious about for a while, but that'll probably come up much later in the year.
On to today's project!
This is something I've been looking forward to since practically I started this thread. I've been curious about not just this individual line of products, but the brand, for quite a while.
I do have to say that despite using my usual space, my lighting this time around was terrible. As a result, a lot of my photos came out blurry.
The weather's changing around here, so my natural light is basically gone behind the clouds for about two or so months. The average artificial light causes my camera to artefact weird little dots all over the place, so I may have to look into new lighting.
I also probably could have picked a background for this specific product that would have helped with focusing, but I thought the color synergy would work out better for the dim lighting...
This is the Playmobil EverDreamerz Candy World Starleen set! I think everybody is vaguely familiar with LEGO, so it's time to meet it's much less popular yet still enduring less buildable counterpart; Playmobil.
Playmobil is also a "play system", but the focus is very much on the figurines. Their environments are big and require little putting together. Playmobil has been around for a while, with a lot of sets (some very inappropriate for young minds) released over the years. Like LEGO, sets are released under "themes".
Last year, Playmobil introduced two new themes to serve as the flagships for the line. The castle focused Novelmore for the boy's market, and the figurine focused surprises-here-we-promise-please-buy-us-instead-of-L.O.L. themed EverDreamerz aimed at girls.
EverDreamerz revolves around a story about five girls (as you can see on the back), conveyed by a single 3 minute music video and 5 commercials. The girls find Rosalee's grandmother's magical amulet which allows them to travel into their dreams. For some reason, an angry old lady does not like this, so she sends lots of bad guys after them.
The first "Dream" is Rosalee's Candy World. I swear if they ever get around to making even one other dream or anywhere near 5/5 for each main character, I will be impressed.
As for the characters, Starleen is the outgoing character who wants to be a -you guessed it- star! She loves to sing, I think, but I think she mainly likes to look at her own reflection in the mirror. Her Candy World theme is strawberry ice cream.
Contrast Viona, who is shy and expresses herself through art. I know she's supposed to be a kind of decent portrayal of that, but I actually think Viona is the sort of girl who thinks her diary is Literal Art and doesn't really talk to you because you don't listen to Vampire Weekend or Imagine Dragons, which to her are the best bands ever who produce True Art. Her Candy World theme is chocolate.
Rosalee is the generic leader one, ie the one everybody else is friends with because her grandma has a magic dream amulet. She's cotton candy themed. Clare is the smart one type, she likes donuts, and she has an alpaca (the best pet in the line hands down). Edwina is the sporty one, and she likes waffles.
Somebody really should have informed the Playmobil team that there are indeed more types of candy than cotton candy and chocolate.
I mean I guess "sweet treats" are still candy-esque, but this wave is explicitly called "Candy World".
This set comes with 7 surprises, which I think is the same as the average L.O.L. set. That's actually misleading. L.O.L. sets are stingy with everything aside from the excess plastic. This is...
There's a lot in here.
To open the box, you first of all pull at this super cute tab on the front and go all around the box.
That's when I got confused. I'd nipped the tape at the top and bottom, so why was nothing opening?
It turned out that both the front-left and back-left sides of the box also shared this perforation and had to be removed from the box. Good to know for future openings.
This part was also a surprise. Once you removed the outer packaging, you were left with a "reusable" slipcase, out of which came a "book".
I forgot to take a picture of this opened, but you can clearly see how it works in the previous picture. Anyways, in the front of the opening box and in the middle (front and back half), there are three surprise boxes. There are also two hidden compartments on the second half with more of these red baggies.
Every present box contains these red baggies too.
As for the back, it's a blank picture.
I think, maybe, this is all actually saveable and reusable if you open it all really slowly and never ever take the present boxes out of the box. It becomes very flimsy without them and it's basically impossible to re-insert the present boxes into their slots after they're moved.
Anyways, mine was ruined. On the bright side, it's just cardboard. There are like 7 or so plastic bags through this thing though.
There's a checklist of everybody you can get. The first half details the five main characters, and the second details the characters from Candy World and the angry old lady who is conveniently named "Lady Nightmare". When I watched the music video, I was under the impression all twelve secret box characters were villains, but I think at least half are benevolent.
I really like how there's a villain guy who is themed after a dentist and a villain guy themed after gum disease/toothaches/whatever. EverDreamerz really captures how you should always eat lots of candy whilst shirking dental hygiene because dentists are evil and toothaches are all just in your head.
I have no idea if she looks like this in real life but Edwina here looks like there's a little more in her waffles than flour, sugar and love.
Okay, now for the rundown of all the...everything in this thing.
First of all, these come with rubber bracelets. I have no idea why, but I noticed that a lot of European surprise toys aimed at girls come with rubber bracelets and charms. Maybe these are a bigger trend that L.O.L. Surprise there (haha, sure).
Anyways, the bracelet comes with three charms. Two red beads and an ice cream cone. I was confused as to what it was at first, but I figured it out as you can see there.
Another bag of surprises included a balloon you put together yourself, and Starleen's pet lemur. A strawberry lemur. A strawberry lemur the color of fluoride toothpaste. It's very confusing. One of these also had a sticker of Starleen, her ice cream charm, and her lemur, I can't remember which.
At some point, you get to Starleen herself. If I remember right, she's tucked in one of the second half of the book's secret tabs. You might be confused as to where her hair is, or her skirt, but it's coming up! In fact, her hair is also in this bag, I just hadn't put it on yet.
She's wearing a bright red one-shouldered top with a white ruffle and an ice cream ripple pattern. I think the green is meant to be peppermint, and not fluoride.
Fluoride lemur is still fluoride in my heart...
Her peppermint belt has a cutesy strawberry on it, and she's wearing silver strappy low-heels.
She looks sort of like a gymnast. She reminds me of Ichigo in an early episode of Tokyo Mew Mew.
With her hair on, she looks more like herself. These pieces snap into the buns on her head. Not too securely, I'd say, but they don't come off. In this line, Edwina and Rosalee also come with similar hair. I found it weird, but fun. I think their hair is also removable, much like other Playmobil figures.
Playmobil has a couple of body-types for the adult model, but this line of five Candy World main characters uses the typical fashion-change model, which allows plastic clothes to be stacked on top of the figure.
On to the next few red baggies of loot!
One back includes Starleen's skirt, which you fix around her weight. That takes a bit of effort, but it's not too much for a kid or anything. This bag also comes with Starleen's handbag and some peppermint hearts that you can put on her overskirt. There are seven or so of these (some got stuck inside her purse).
I don't know what the extras are for.
Another bag comes with a lenticular collectible card of Starleen, in addition to the stickers. This set basically is spoiling me versus other surprise toys.
Then there's... the bag.
When I started pouring things from this one, I basically never thought it'd stop. There's a mirror, an ice cream scoop, a hairbrush, a cup, some extra interchangeable bits for Starleen's ice-cream cone, a tray, two silver... uh... perfume bottles?, a green... perfume bottle?, a... red tree? and a cone. The red tree thing fits in the cone, I have no idea what that's supposed to portray.
There's also a small baggie of... uh... beads? and other things. I'm not sure.
At some point, I also discovered, to my shockhorror, two apply-to-toy stickers. They actually applied fine onto the places they were meant to go.
The beads and things-with-stickers and uh... yeah I'm not sure.
Here's Starleen with her whole outfit, her balloon, her mug, and her pet lemur. The mysterious tree lurks in the background...
The skirt is printed to appear as if it has two layers. The inside layer is primarily white with a red strawberry ripple, whilst the outside mini-overskirt layer is the same red as her top. Together, it looks like a full out rococo dress (minus the sleeves).
The skirt has a cute metal ribbon in the back. Maybe it's meant to be the tinfoil you find on candy wrappers?
Anyways, this is basically insane. This cost 40% more than a basic L.O.L., but 5% less than a flagship L.O.L., and the only difference nowadays between a basic and a flagship is rooted hair gimmicks.
There's a lot of bang for your buck, and they go with other Playmobil things! Starleen can wear all the Playmobil Fashion Girls and Playmobil Princess fashions, which is pretty cool.
I do find that the size of her box was excessive. To be fair, this is standard for this type of thing, but there's no way you're lining up five of these boxes side-to-side without clearing some serious space.
So there you have it, Starleen in her Candy World look. I actually really want to see what's next for this line, but I doubt it'll stick around. Even so, one can hope.
Next time... uh... I really should say this here because I've basically been avoiding doing it because I'm lazy; Mega Construx American Girl.
Now, you ask why that isn't going in the MCX thread? Because there's a bit more to this review than blocks!
Before we start with that, let's take a better look at EverDreamerz Starleen. I got some better light the other day so here's a clearer picture of her and her lemur:
I hope the candy swirl detail at the top of her gloves is better visible here. It's a tiny detail, but I quite like it.
I do have at least two more Playmobil posts to do, but I'll probably get to those in a while.
Let's do this!!
I've been into Mega Construx for a while now, about six months. One of my favorite things about it is the Mega Construx American Girl figurines. They're highly articulated for such a tiny, tiny thing and they come in all sorts of super cute outfits.
In fact, American Girl right now as a whole is a pretty cool brand. It's a really preppy, overly expensive lifestyle brand in a way. I'm not kidding; actual American Girl dolls cost $100.
Mega Construx American Girl has been retired for at least a few years now. The last sets released, I think, were from 2018; being Saige's Art Festival and Grace's 2-in-1 Day in Paris.
But today we aren't looking at sets, we're looking at the individual figurines.
This is a set that I built as a little set up for all my MCAG dolls. It's a variation on my Prism Stone set as inspired by Pretty Rhythm Dear My Future. I've actually built both this and a Dear Crown set but I'm just too lazy to write up those posts. Anyways, it has various little hooks for extra skirts and hair pieces that they come with.
Luciana and Lanie take advantage of the set before their friends show up.
Now, for the new dolls!
No bluster, total honesty; I really like this packaging. It's cute and the design with the circle popping out of the cardboard is quite clever in a simple way. As you can see, Series 1 is so old it still had Mega Bloks branding on it, rather than Mega Construx.
Unlike the dolls that come in sets, these dolls don't have actual names. The one on the left from Series 1 is merely "DRC66" (which is a product code I know but also this) and the one on the right from Series 2 at least has a sort of name; Whiskers & Paws Outfit.
In all honesty, when I saw the one on the right I didn't want to get her, but I was trying to get dolls that I could pretend are Bratz. So I wanted a Caucasian blonde (Cloe), an Asian girl (Jade), a vaguely Middle-Eastern or South American one (Yasmin) and an African American one (Sasha). As a bonus round, I also wanted a Caucasian redheaded one for Meygan.
Hilariously enough, my order got screwed up so I ended up with two Whiskers & Paws Outfits instead of one of her and one of Kitty Cute Outfit. I honestly have no idea why there were two cat ones, but there ya go.
The packaging is easy enough to tear open, though I should say there's a really finicky piece of tape on the right that prevents you from just tearing through.
Let's look at Whiskers & Paws first.
She comes with this Series 2 checklist. If I were to go back for another try, I'd like to get the one that is clearly Josephina (Denim Dream) and Pretty Plaid. I like One the Dot's (what does this even mean?) outfit but she's vaguely uninspiring otherwise.
On the back are the vaguely Gunpla instructions for building your own MCAG. The customization in this line would beat out Capsule Chix if it weren't for the lack of elbow joint. There are also a lot of torso pieces with an open collar that limit their usage, but that's a moot complaint.
Here's everything that came in Whisker's pack. You have Whiskers herself, an extra blue skirt, and a super cute coral American Girl stand.
In all honesty, when I saw Whisker's pictures online, I really disliked the pigtails. In real life I also dislike them quite a bit. She looks a bit too old for pigtails. That coupled with the all pink outfit makes her look extremely juvenile next to her contemporaries.
So of course I ended up with two of her.
However, the pigtails work much better in these photos. I might like them a bit now.
She's wearing a two-tone pink long-sleeved tee with a picture of a cat on the front, and a pink skirt. At first I thought the skirt had warped splotches of darker pink paint on it, but that's the design. I'm not a giant fan of this outfit, but it's growing on me.
Somehow, the extra blue skirt looks worse. In fact, I don't think I like this skirt mold at all, and I really dislike the color they chose, even if it goes with shirt kitty's bow.
Almost every MCX American Girl doll comes with this pair of shoes, in this exact color, but it's versatile, so I don't mind it.
Here's DRC66... let's go with Connie.
Connie came with a white stand like all the Series 1 Girls, and a jet black hair piece. Just to note; Connie has the exact same hair piece (and color) as Isabella from Isabella's Dance Studio, but Isabella's hair has dip-dyed purple ends.
I love Connie's outfit, though the matchy-matchy here also bothers me. It's like... a peach color that's a cross between pastel and laquer. The top has a pseudo-paisley print in yellow, and she's wearing a yellow belt to match. She has the same shoes as Whiskers.
Here's Connie from the back so you can get a better look at her adorable hair piece, and Connie wearing the alternate jet black hairpiece. She looks sort of like a va-va-voom Betty from Archie Comics sort. Like Farah Fawcett with dark hair.
Here are the other girls from Series 1. I would kill for Hawaiian Cowgirl (DRC70), and I quite like Definitely Not Grace (DRC71) and Generically Boho (DRC68).
DRC73 has basically the worst design of all MCAG dolls ever.
Here's the Series 1 Gunpla illustration and some hilariously sad attempt to get people to like MCAG that's extra funny in hindsight since I'm the only person left who cares about these (I guess I could be part of the "many").
I didn't know this, even though I'd had Luciana and Lanie for a while, but the belts on the outfits are separate from the torso, which isn't shown on the Gunpla guide.
Here the girls are looking slightly less matchy-matchy.
I am probably going to get called racist for this but; even though literally every MCAG doll has the same face, somehow Whiskers looks Asian to me as long as I have her in dark hair. When I put this same hairpiece on Connie, she just looked vamp-ish.
It's probably all just in my head...
Moving on, let's look at the Mega Construx spinoff of an American Girl spinoff; Wellie Wishers!
Wellie Wishers are slightly cheaper American Girl dolls (they go for $60 a pop) and they're called Wellie Wishers because they all wear rainboots (Wellies) wherever they go. This line has five set characters, compared to American Girl's 70,000,000. That's probably inaccurate, but it feels that way. I mean what is AG anyway? A gacha game?
The Wellie Wishers packaging is different from the American Girl sort, and standardized with most other MCX figures with large ugly warnings ruining the whole front. However, there are nice flourishes like the plants molded into the plastic.
Before I go on, I seriously need to mention this weird face/expression/whatever that Wellie Wishers characters make in their books. It shows up over and over, and the art is already kind of creepy by itself.
Here's the checklist for the Wellie Wishers dolls. Emerson is in the pink dress and black leggings, Camille is in the blue ensemble, Willa is a leopard or something, Kendall is in the overalls, and Ashlyn, who we have here, is a princess.
I actually considered collecting lots of MCX doll crowns (MCX Barbie Dreamtopia has a ton) and making my own variation of the Bratz Princess line but that would cost way more than the satisfaction I'd get. At least, that's what I tell myself.
Here's the Gunpla guide featuring Willa. These dolls can interchange hair and shoes with regular MCAGs, but their waists are too small to fit their skirts.
Here's Ashlyn. She sort of looks like the obnoxious precocious girl on every 2000s sitcom who only people who have kids liked. Even here, she looks like she's engaging her best puppy dog eyes in order to disarm any nearby adults.
Overall, her design is great.
She's wearing a pastel pink flower top and a purple princess-styled skirt with ribbons holding up the hem on each side, as well as pink shoes. She has a gold crown with a heart decal on her head.
Her stand is a sort of chalky pink.
Seeing it from the back, her deepest secret was revealed; Mahde en Shy-na.
Literally nobody else has seen that episode of Don't Eat The Neighbours, but it was hilarious. Also in that instance I think it was Mah-de en Teyh-wahn. "This watch, passed to me from my grandfather and his grandfather, has been engraved with our (Scottish) family creed!"//"Dad! That says "Made in China"! ).
I thought all MCX product was made in Canada, but I guess not the figures. Plus, they just closed a big Canadian factory early this year, so who knows what's happening there.
Forgetting all that, the girls enjoy a swell moment babysitting Ashlyn.
Lanie and Luciana join them.
Here Ashlyn tries on Whisker's hair. It works really well on her.
Connie tries out Ashlyn's style. Ah, if only MCAG taking on Bratz Princess weren't just a pipe dream.
All the girls set up on my display. I didn't realize they'd take up so much space. The extra accessories sit nicely on the back wall.
This post has actually inspired me to look a little more into this line. I mean, it's old and therefore usually really costly, but I enjoy their whole look and the series-wide aesthetic.
There's actually a bit of my MCAG collection left out of this post, but I think I'll continue later.
Then, finally, I can get to L.O.L. Surprise!.
Also, from the inappropriate Playmobil stuff:
I thought this was a reference to the Amélie Poulain film but then TIL about gnoming: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_gnome
There's a Playmobil figure I've been eying for a while now, but I'm not sure if I'd be getting him for my own novelty or just to put him in the thread. It's probably a mix of both, but by golly is he costly for a single Playmobil.
Anyways, this post isn't about Playmobil! I was all pumped this morning to get to L.O.L. Surprise! when I realized I'd said;
So, gosh darn it all, let's do this:
Today I'll actually be looking at two things; a single MCAG figure and an MCAG set. I won't delve too deeply into the set, but it'll be here providing background.
The set is Isabelle's Dance Studio!
In the American Girl World, Isabelle is one of the modern Girls of the Year (I actually almost abbreviated this and left it so as if anybody would understand what I meant). She's a dancer that attends a performing arts school linked to the Hart Dance company, whose poster you can see in the background here.
This set has two main features; a really fancy piano with an innovative build and a ballet barre in front of some mirrors. The mirrors reflect beautifully, if I do say so myself. Toy mirrors are rarely this good.
It also has a smaller build featuring a small bookshelf and music station, where Isabelle has placed her smartphone.
With that out the way, let's look at Isabelle.
Isabelle wears a hot salmon pink (surely that's a color) short dress with a Hart Dance Company logo on it. The print on the logo is practically microscopic but done perfectly, so kudos to MCX for that. I mentioned earlier that I hate this skirt mold (it's the one Whiskers came with in blue), but I think it works well here.
Underneath that she's wearing white tights, which are probably meant to represent a full leotard, and gold Standard Issue MCAG shoes that are surely meant to be ballet flats instead.
Standing next to Connie, who shares basically everything not eye color and lip stain, they still somehow don't look very samey. I quite like that.
As I mentioned earlier, they also have the same hair piece, but Isabelle's has a pinkish-purple hombre dip-dye effect at the tips. Whilst on the topic, I don't know of any dolls that share Luciana's hairpiece in her same color but without her signature purple streak, but I'll be on the lookout for them.
Interlude: I propose we change Whiskers name to something else, since she's not a cat. There aren't any decent girls names that start with W that come to mind, so I propose Heather.
These aren't names I intend to use myself with the dolls, but they do have to be called something vaguely normal in the context of these reviews.
Just in time for that, here's Heather playing the piano for Isabelle as she practices at the barre. When you say Squad Goals, I say; "American Girl!"
Like all MCAG sets, this set came with a booklet that was half instruction booklet and half inspirational guide. It's basically a Pinterest board version of a LEGO Friends manual. It's also bound like a real book, which I think is really cool (only really big LEGO Friends sets came with such binding, and it was much looser).
Unlike LEGO Friends, these booklets are filled with information about each girl's interests. For some reason, Lanie's has a three paragraph explanation of what a camper van chassis is. They also are very frank about what could go wrong or how extremely hard you'll have to press down to get things to stick together.
I wonder if this was a recipe for success or exactly why this brand didn't stick around.
There's also a picture of all the other MCAG sets I want to raid my bank accounts for.
Here are all my American Girls that came in a set. They're the only ones that come in these sleeveless jackets. Luciana is probably my only American Girl doll, including Ashlyn, who doesn't come in the standard shoe mold.
The party expands to include all my MCAG dolls!
Every time characters gather around a piano like this I think of the finale song from High School Musical 2; Everyday. I hate that song, but I have a pretty decent recollection of it because I've seen that movie about 52 times.
There's another new face here on the far left. She's also from series 1, and even though she's also a DRC she probably can't be named "Connie". Rachel it is then!
Rachel is wearing a pastel pink tee with hot pink detailing that includes the word "LOVE", along with a grey skirt and purple belt. I'd say this a pretty preppy look.
She also has the Standard Issue MCAG shoes (SIMCAGS? oh my gosh it's a word!), this time in purple.
Rachel comes with the much-derided (by me <_<) skirt in a lighter blue than
Rachel and Lanie also share a hair piece.
So there you have it, a bit more of the MCAG world! Man, these reviews make me itch for more, but these sets are starting to get pricey everywhere I look. I'd like to set a challenge for myself, like "Just at least do the Bratz Princess custom", but even that'd be hard to pull of logistically (I'd need four more crown hair pieces at least plus Ashlyn's).
However, I should say that at least in me, these inspire a lot more imagination than something like Capsule Chix. I'd say that's probably because they are so gimmick neutral.
I guess I'll have to give it a serious think...
I've never directly worked in a role where there's a strong lead time and it's entirely my responsibility, so it's actually kind of interesting and motivating in that way.
With that out the way, let's begin!
Now that I'm well and truly done with my current American Girl collection, we can move on to L.O.L. Surprise!
So, here's some history;
MGA Entertainment, under visionary/madman CEO Isaac Larian, has been a major player in the toy industry since early 2001 when their revolutionary Bratz doll line hit markets. In all honesty, when I was a kid, I didn't think about any toy line more than Bratz. I thought they were the coolest thing ever, and I was actually right! That's rare for children's opinions, don't you think?
But this post isn't about Bratz, it's about MGA's efforts after the behemoth collapsed Mostly due to mismanagement and cost-saving measures post a giant lawsuit, MGA loves them a good lawsuit.
That lawsuit was the lawsuit of all Toy Time; the big Barbie vs. Bratz. To boil it down to inaccurate specifics, the man behind the Bratz line was working for Mattel (the toy aisle behemoth home of Barbie) when he came up with the idea, and even though they scrapped it Mattel claimed in court the IP still belonged to them.
Every kid around the world who cared about dolls knew you couldn't like Bratz and Barbie at the same time. It was a matter of affiliation. To see it come to fruition in court, at the head of the media, was kind of insane and slightly irrational, in fact.
After Bratz, MGA hit the market with a variety of dolls such as Moxie Girlz, and later Moxie Teenz (Livin our dreams!!!), but they didn't really make a mark. What did make a mark was their first Christmastime hit, Lalaloopsy. Lalaloopsy were giant plastic faux rag dolls that were heavy as heck (I have had fingers almost crushed by a Lalaloopsy doll head) but MGA somehow convinced children were super cool.
MGA, masters of slapping "[Brand Name]" on a bunch of different toys, leveraged Lalaloopsy for several years. There were Lalaloopsy minis because the actual dolls cost way too much outside of Christmas/Birthday presents, Lala-Oopsies which are the star of one of the best Amazon movie reviews of all time*, Lalaloopsy Tinies to cash in on Shopkins mania (I'll discuss the whole surprise toy phenomenon in a later post), and Lalaloopsy (or Lala-Oopsie, can't remember because it was dumb) Ponies, because like... why not?
*Seriously, it tells you all you need to know about that specifically strange offshoot of the brand;
Anyways, as the Lalaloopsy trend started to wane, MGA needed another hit on their hands. They tried to reboot Bratz in 2015, but it didn't really work out. I'm not sure why, I mean, I liked them well enough, but it was probably the spindly limbs and obviously Instagram Replump Lips. In the end stages of the Bratz reboot, L.O.L. Surprise was in the wings.
So give me some leeway as we return to the original Bratz line.
MGA Entertainment had leveraged the Bratz brand to create many, many spinoffs. Most important of those, something I didn't realize until somewhat recently, was Bratz Babyz.
See, there were Bratz Babyz, Bratz Kidz, Bratz Lil' Angelz, Bratz Babyz Ponyz, Lil' Bratz and... probably some others I'm forgetting. Aside from Bratz Babyz, none of these ever did all that well, Bratz Kidz became 4-Ever Kidz for a while during the infamous Bratz vs. Barbie lawsuit I mentioned earlier but 4-Ever Kidz was one of the saddest things I ever did see (and it still bombed).
Bratz Babyz lasted the longest out of all these spinoffs, and even had two movies (though so did Bratz Kidz...). Anyways, I think MGA saw something special there.
So L.O.L. Surprise was born, a line featuring babies wrapped in plastic gacha balls. They didn't immediately steal the surprise toys crown from Shopkins, because a base set Shopkins cost about 70% less, but I remember reading the usual "L.O.L. Surprise is the toy of the Christmas season posts" as soon as the first series was out (MGA must really know their release cycles).
But, that was nothing compared to what would come.
When the third series of dolls came out, MGA was already in the middle of it's "no terrestrial advertising" era (they no longer put out 30s spots on TV). Instead, they just sent every toy influencer with more than 2,000 followers a set of Series 3 dolls a few dolls.
There was an absolute barrage of videos of people
unboxing(this is crossed out because for goodness sakes L.O.L. Surprise dolls come in gacha balls so you can't unbox them!) the new Confetti Pop dolls, which had a complex opening mechanism where they literally exploded out of the ball (a feat Spin Master tried to copy with their Party Popteenies line).
Anyways, that year, by August, I'm guessing every single girl's Christmas list was updated to include L.O.L. Surprise. A really big boost to this effort was the obvious Christmas list toy; the L.O.L. Surprise Amazing Surprise, a giant (half, as many people raged about) ball that cost like $60 and included quadruple the number of surprises of any L.O.L. product before it.
So now, L.O.L. Surprise has re-found Bratz' position; only marginally trailing Barbie and biting at her plastic heels so hard* that Mattel abandoned whatever sustainable policy was preventing them from creating the plastic black hole that is a surprise feature toy in the form of Barbie Color Reveal.
*This is funny because presumably babies do indeed probably try to eat shoes when left unsupervised for too long.
As with it's major brands before, L.O.L. Surprise has been spun off in multiple ways; Pets, Lils' (the smaller, littler baby forms of bigger L.O.L. 'Tots', or 'B.B.s.'), Furniture Sets, the new Holy Grail of Fashion Dolls in the form of O.M.G., and Boys (or 'Boi's). Each year, MGA pushes how much a new L.O.L. Big Ticket Item can cost. For example, last year's Amazing Surprise ran a solid $129 dollars, and the Winter Disco Chalet cost $300+.
In addition, the main L.O.L. B.B.s continue to change styles (dare I say, 'innovate') every main season, extra glitter series, and in all additional peripheries. I... feel like I should maybe make a list:
Series 1: Basic dolls. Another feature unique to this line is that L.O.L. Surprise flagship series (before series 8 at least) come in two "waves". The checklist would include the both wave, with the inactive wave listed as "napping".
Series 2: Even more basic dolls. I don't think there was much to this series aside from it just being "more" L.O.L. This was the series that introduced Lils' and a strange thing I've never really figured out called "Charm Fizz", which came in bath bombs.
Series 3: The aforementioned "Confetti Pop" line. Not only did these have a super weird ball mechanism, they had a very specific way of being unboxed that wasn't dependent on the plastic ball wrapping, which probably upped the 'cool' factor. This line's second wave also included the first ever L.O.L. Boy; Punk Boi. He goes for insane amounts on eBay. Around this time, I think, was when the first real "sub" series came out; the "Bling" series, which was a rehash of previous dolls in new outfits and completely covered in glitter.
Series 4: "Eye Spy". In the first ever "storyline" (a function that has not really been repeated since), the L.O.L. Surprise dolls came in "Secret Disguises"; softer plastic pieces that could be used as their outfits. They also came in a capsule that required decoding a "secret message" to unbox.
The second wave of Eye Spy included the second L.O.L. Boy, https://i.imgur.com/tJl3CgO.jpg; he's an artist type that dressed like he was also a really good scam artist.
Series 5: "#Hairgoals". The first ever L.O.L. dolls with real rooted hair, except for the Ultra Rare Glitterati characters, which resulted in many an Angry Mom Amazon review. MGA did not repeat the mistake in the second half of the line.
Around this time, the L.O.L. brand was expanding further with the
secondfourth or so Glitter line, the first Boys line, and most importantly; the first four O.M.G. dolls, who were the "older sisters" of four series 1 characters.
Series 6:"Winter Disco" Winter Disco also featured the first ever L.O.L. Surprise! movie where the dolls talked (beforehand, they didn't really talk, and acted as cutesy enigma). In Japan, this movie was released with lol's #love_xxx as the ending theme, because goodness sakes #Hairgoals was very big in Japan.
Winter Disco also featured it's own O.M.G. sub-series, Deluxe Big Sisters who came with their Little Sisters in special packaging and therefore cost even more than normal O.M.G. dolls (which aren't cheap to start with).
Aside from that, Winter Disco also had it's own Amazon exclusive Amazing Surprise, which retailed at $80ish and included a Tot, a Boy, a Lil, and an O.M.G. The normal $129 Amazing Surprise was also released around this time, and it included about triple of the Amazon exclusive set in everything except O.M.G.s (there were only two of those).
Series 7: "#Hairvibes" L.O.L. Surprise dolls with velcro heads that could mix and match various sorts of hair. I'm not entirely sure, but I don't think kids liked #Hairvibes very much, and there are a lot of complaints about the velcro hair (I mean, some of the hairstyles are just impossible to start with so why make it even harder for them to connect to the heads?).
Series 8: "Lights" Light is a weird series, the main Tots are relegated to a sub-series esque Glitter series, except this time it was entirely original characters. This Lights line also has it's own O.M.G. sub-series, but this time they're cheaper slim-boxes with less surprises.
Anyways, around this time, the second series of L.O.L. Boys was released, and there has been one more line of normal O.M.G.s and... well... half a line of O.M.G.s. (just all of the exclusives that came in the Christmas-focused megasets).
Coming up in the L.O.L. world is Series 9; the Remix Series, which will not have any hair gimmicks at all (I think they didn't really work out?*) as well as the JK series, which will feature the Tot sisters of the first four O.M.G.s in Hi:Glamm esque shoes (*these have rooted hair though so who even knows).
Goodness sakes I knew there was a reason I was avoiding doing this post. The history took up so much time I barely got to the toys. I should probably leave things here for now. This is a lot of information. I'm starting to feel like the keyboard is warping around my fingers so I should probably stop now.
Hi:Glamm was a doll line by MGA during the Bratz era that featured dolls with insanely long legs. I always wished they'd come back sometime...
This post might as well have been called "Why Dapper Dudes should take their own advice.", or, alternatively, "Why Gachapon is bad and ruins your life." But we'll get to that later. Today we'll be taking a look at the L.O.L. Surprise Boys of both Series 1 and 2.
Series 3 of this line has just hit market, so I see no better time to delve into the history of this now gigantic mega-franchise.
Before we start, let's look at the L.O.L. Surprise flavortext, which I've always found really cute:
So that's the basic plot. How the older sister O.M.G. dolls fit into this universe is anybody's guess, but I like to just ignore their existence. I used to be quite a fan of fashion dolls, but recently I've been quite taken with things about 3-6". They're much easier to store and photograph really well in limited spaces.
So here you have it! An unopened L.O.L. Surprise Boys Series 2 ball, and a fully opened Series 2 Boy; this one specifically is 'Beach Boi'. The doll on the ball is called 'Neon Guy'.
You see, L.O.L. Surprise dolls come in large plastic cases in the vague shape of a sphere. The sphere is flattened on the top (with a space for you to pose your doll) and bottom (via an opening we'll discuss in a bit).
As you can see, there's a clear division in the plastic between the line that wraps around the ball and the one in the very middle. This is the first layer of the ball, and you unwrap it by pulling at that basketball zipper in the image on the right.
As advertised, the ball comes with 7 surprise elements. However, calling them all genuine "surprises" is really pushing it. Two of them are stickers. One sticker is supposed to clue you in on who you get, but at least two of my series 2 boys came with the same sticker but weren't the same doll.
Here's a clearer overview of the ball.
The first two layers of plastic are the most pointless, since they contain the stickers and nothing else. The third allows you to access one of the side compartments on the lower half of the ball, where you'll find your dolls "baby bottle". These bottles are usually themed in super-cute ways, and almost always make it obvious who you've got.
Peeling away the fourth layer of plastic opens the other side compartment, which usually has some sort of accessory. The fifth then allows you to open what has been called the "pizza trap door" (two images on the right). This is the cover of the sphere on the very top of the ball that then allows you to stand the ball upright in the opposite direction (as shown in the middle image). Inside this space is your doll's outfit.
After this, you've finally ripped all the plastic away from your sphere, and can open it up to reveal your doll and it's shoes.
By the way, have I mentioned that every single accessory comes packed in it's own little plastic wrapper? Honestly, there is no amount of partnerships that MGA can do with Terracycle to pretend that this line doesn't have the biggest plastic-to-toy ratio in all of toykind.
Inside the ball is a "play space". I put that in quotes that because... who the heck actually wants this thing? Let alone the about 30 times you'll need to open one of these per series. Yes, even if the series is only 12 characters, more on this later.
The left side, the "bottom", has a seating area, which is hilarious because no L.O.L. Tot wearing pants can sit. To provide a weak maybe; the ones in skirts might be able to make it work.
The other half just goes over the top if you wish to store your doll in here. I guess you could also use this as a tub to activate the doll's various water surprises, though I'm assuming that works better with a much deeper container that won't tip over easily.
I have never tried any of the water surprises myself because I'm not getting my dolls wet on purpose (also this), but MGA seems to have a lot of concern for it.
The dolls can spit, wet themselves, change color, or cry. They also had a new water feature a while ago, where water would pour out of the doll's ears, but MGA seems to have abandoned it now.
Kay, with that out of the way, on to the dolls!
Hashtag Asphalt Familia, no?
On the right you have Beach Boi with this bottle sticking out of his mouth (I have a reason for this), wearing his insanely terrible sunglasses. On the left you have Luau from Series 1. I never noticed the chips in the paint on his glasses until I took a second look at my pictures, but I don't mind them here either.
Luau is the 'Brother' of Hula Babe or whatever her name is. L.O.L. dolls, ever since Lils, have come in 'Families'. Families usually consist of a B.B. Tot, a Boi, a Pet, and a Lil. Sometimes they'll include an O.M.G.
It somehow never occurred to me to take a picture of the Series 1 ball. To be fair by the time I was halfway through with Series 1 I was seeing red levels of mad about the whole thing. But we'll get back to that.
Both dolls have super cute outfits. I'd have taken off Luau's shirt too for that aesthetic middle image but for goodness sakes his teeny necklace was so finicky to get on that I decided not to tempt fate.
By the way, L.O.L. Surprise Boys are all anatomically correct (which is why I'm not dumb enough to take pictures of them in the nakies). It's tiny, but it's there. I wonder why exactly, rather than molding on underwear, but that's the way it is. It feels slightly wrong somehow...
Okay, so Beach Boi has a peachy orange multicolored shirt with one sleeve sporting a blue patch and the other a grey one, as well as pink lining throughout. His shorts are a blue chequerboard pattern, and are probably the same mold as Luau's. He's wearing tiny neon yellow sneakers with a blue accent.
He also has a super tiny earring in his left ear, because it's not fashion dolls if there are no bad decisions (earrings for babies, man). Overall, he seems to be themed around the California beach boys of the 80s, except I can't remember any of them dressing this badly.
Luau, meanwhile, is wearing a red daytime leisure suit that features white tropical flowers as per his Hawaiian theming. He's also wearing white loafers that I think are the cutest thing ever. His outfit overall is pretty epic. His hair is in a green topknot, which I'm assuming is a normal natural color when you're an L.O.L.
Here you can get a closer look at their heads. Though Luau's is just typical green pretend fuzz, Beach Boi actually has a pattern of alternating blonde/dark blonde squares, which i think is pretty cool.
Overall, I really really like Luau and I really really want to like Beach Boi except;
Beach Boi's lips are a horrid, stark brown that doesn't go with his face at all. I feel like they were going for a very specific tan effect, but I've never seen a human being with this much of a color shift because of a tan. It doesn't look natural at all, it kind of looks like lipstick in a way, and I'm not a fan of the aesthetic.
A few other upcoming L.O.L. Boys Series 3 dolls seem to have this issue, and I just know it'll keep bothering me if I ever get them.
Therefore, I opted to just leave his bottle in to obscure his lips, and later on I used Captain Q.B.'s pacifier, which is smaller and so just covers his lips and lets me look at the rest of his face.
Here's Luau trying on Beach Boi's shorts. I like the plastic that L.O.L. clothing is made of. It feels nice on the fingers, and slips on/off the dolls very easily (well maybe not tops, Beach Boi's top is a nightmare to get back on).
Luau looks quite dapper, if I do say so myself.
I would have tried Luau's things on Beach Boi, but I think they'd clash.
They both came with a checklist. Series 1 is the teal, and Series 2 is the Cyan.
In Series 1, I was looking for Sunny, His Royal High-Ney (I think he sort of looks like a K-pop idol), Smarty Pants, and Luau. Maaaaybe Do-Si-Dude.
In Series 2, I wanted Scribbles (he reminds me of a Bratz Boyz Play Sportz Basketball Dylan doll -not my picture-), Beach Boi (before I found out about the lips), Bro Cheer, and Neon Guy.
Pictured: the calm before the storm.
So, who do I end up getting in 4/5 of my Series 1 balls? Do-Si-Dude. FOUR OF THEM. How is that even possible? I mean, I understand it logically, but come on!
I'm no longer mad about this, but now I have one of the least versatile dolls to swap fashions with.
I fared better in Series 2; I got Beach Boi, Neon Guy (he's a rare and so he has real flocked peach-fuzz hair, I don't actually like that), two Swaggies (Swaggie is surprisingly great in real life) and Captain Q.B. Captain uses the same head as Do-Si-Dude, but in bleach blonde.
The collection (I didn't completely open the fourth Do-Si-Dude, I just got to his little blue neck tie thing it would have hurt too much to look at him too, he's still in his ball).
I'm not too mad anymore, and I actually think these dolls are pretty cute. I'll probably get a few more boys, but I don't think there's enough here to really hold my attention. The fashion change element is a big draw, but it's limited. The styling is excellent overall though.
The articulation is nonexistent once they're dressed, and terrible otherwise, but these are more for display. I got rid of all of my balls, but I'm pretty sure they're completely non-recyclable outside the U.S. The series 2 balls came in a lot of colors; the neon yellow here, a neon blue, a neon orange, a silver (for the rare Neon Guy) and one black. Luau came in a ball with the blue that matches the Series 1 checklist, and the Do-Si-Dude Crew all came in a black ball.
Aside from the balls, this was all the trash I generated opening the first four;
So, uh, yeah.
These are a real mixed bag, I'd say. Great in a lot of elements (the fashion especially), and terrible in others (articulation, giant useless ball of nothing, trash generation potential, the tiny bits).
So there you have it; L.O.L. Surprise. I guess now the thread can move on.
Just for fun; here's some size comparisons!
Beach Boi and EverDreamerz Starleen.
Beach Boi and Prince Rowen Ruby.
Bonus: Rowen Ruby and Starleen! These two actually kind of go together. Funny that.
Why a baby bottle? lol. or are they supposed to be cool teenage boys but also endearing?
Now, on to the Next Stage!
Right now, there's going to be a bit of focus on a Spanish toy company called MagicBox Toys. It's not like all my posts from here on out will be about them, but there's quite a bit of their stuff I want to look into right now. Especially with how well this first try went.
I'd seen some MagicBox products before, but it was in passing I'd just put them into the category of "10p toys", long before the surprise toy boom hit. Mainly Zomlings, which were tiny zombie people of every stripe they could think of. I don't like that sort of stuff, so I ignored it.
"10p toys" is a British term, and somehow it's the only one I've found exists. "Impulse buys" seems too general, and it also covers things where the cutoff point is 10GBP/$10.
One day I was walking through a store and I came across a line called SuperZings. They were, well, exactly like Shopkins, except they were various anthropomorphized inanimate object that were super heroes and super villains. I found the concept novel, and I purchased one or two of the cheap, smaller impulse toys that fell under the "10p toys" label. I liked the plastic they were made of, but I quickly moved on.
However, I did end up looking at MagicBox's website, where I found out about...
Star Monsters! This is the Star Monsters Multi-Pack.
I think even by the time I found out about these in 2017 or so, they were on the outs. This specific set is from the first series out of two. In fact, there's only one reason I remembered these but this post isn't about that.
The story with Star Monsters is that some mysterious rounded triangle shapes fall from space, combine with typical Earthly things, and then they're like.. everywhere. And they can become your pocket friends (because they've very tiny).
As is typical for this sort of line, there are about a hundred Star Monsters per Series. They have different elemental powers, different rarities, and different power levels. When a Star Monster first 'forms', it's a white "Essential" blob, and up to three colors can emerge from that Essential version. Those base forms can then evolve. In the second series, they could even combine!
I was instantly endeared to these when I found out about them, but they weren't really distributed very widely.
This set contains one Essential monster, two typical monsters, one "Evolution 1" monster (there are two levels in Series 1, possibly more in Series 2) and a Rare Gold/Silver monster in a Mini Capsule.
My Essential monster is Helmut, the helmet Star Monster (I think Helmut is also a real human name?). My typical Star Monsters are the "Sorry, your Amazon package is now an Alien" Pakeji and... the... uh... demon?? Star Monster, Akuma. According to the online guide, Akuma is a "laboratory funnel" Star Monster, so... yeah.
My Evolved monster is Jumpono, who evolves from Jumpo. According to the guide, Jumpo "Collided with a mailbox close to a seaport."
Sure, MagicBox, sure.
Here's my Mini Capsule. The gold on this thing is intense. Like, very very gold. It's a wonderful color and paint effect.
Inside was Bagger, the gold bag Star Monster... eyup. These things are just intensely weird, but it's the sort of weird I like. The whole aesthetic is very clean and sterile, so you can take it in for what it is rather than being distracted by some off-putting gross aspects.
When I first saw these online all those years ago, I assumed they would be made of a soft plastic. Actually, they're made of a very hard plastic that feels like it would be brittle if it were thinner. I quite like that.
I'm glad I was able to save this cardboard panel. It's almost like a game board. If Star Monsters ever got their own TV anime, I'd assume the game panel would look like this.
I guess since she appears here I should explain; I opened my second MCAG Whiskers and switched her hair with Rachel's, and renamed her Isla. I feel like I've started some weird thing where I now have to get five more Whiskers and name them Sara, Kaylene, Emerly, Rina and Sharon, respectively.
So, there you have it! Star Monsters. A fun little part of recent toy history.
However, L.O.L. is releasing two, possibly three whole collections of O.M.G. Fashion dolls, MGA is leveraging the Poopsie brand from rainbow slime pooping unicorns (it's quite disturbing) to the 12" fashion doll via "Rainbow High", Moose Toys (Moose Toys! is releasing their own surprise fashion doll line called "#FailFix", and of course Barbie Color Reveal dolls continue to be sold out everywhere.
Looking at all of this, I can't help but feel slightly nostalgic.
In all honesty? Good riddance to the whole surprise toy thing.
On to today's toy of record:
I've been eyeing this figure probably since it was released, because I thought it was pretty cool.
And in his TV show, he becomes quite... Miraculous!
(There's a better version of this song with French artists but this is the one that's most iconic to me).
It's Adrien from Miraculous!, that TV show that continues to truck on seemingly entirely based on tumblr fans.
I don't know much about Miraculous, aside from that it's about a girl named Marinette who transforms into a magical jumpsuit-clad Ladybug. In said show, the boy she likes is called Adrien, and he transforms into a leather catsuit boy. I'm quite taken aback by the fact that a teenage boy transforms into a catboy in a leather suit. It's like one of the creative staff is getting away with something inappropriate, but maybe that's just me.
As Miraculous has gone on, more and more characters have gained the ability to transform into people in animal jumpsuits, including a turtle I think. Zagtoon, the company behind the series, is now trying to leverage the series into it's own branding called "Zag Heroes", with a new even more toy focused property called Power Players with action figures by Playmates.
The Miraculous action figures are by Bandai, who uh... they do okay with action figures, I'd say. I used to have two figures from their Ben 10 line when I was very young and they were just okay? I saw their Power Rangers figures during the Samurai-Ninja Steel era and they were always innacurate with the Rangers looking like body builders for some reason. Like, reuse the Sentai molds man!
Hilariously enough, like ZAG, Bandai lost the Ben 10 license to Playmates.
I know these aren't collector grade, and Hasbro has made a lot worse in recent years, but I'd never give Bandai top marks for any of their Western ventures. Even their collector grade figures look kind of off, the new Anime Heroes Naruto figures all seem to have very chalky faces...
As for the packaging here, I quite like how the front kind of looks like an old lock because of the proportions, though that did contribute to the box getting crushed.
On the front, you have Adrien looking super-cheeky and slightly agressive as his magical cat jumpsuit form; Cat Noir. I guess they couldn't go with Black Cat cause there's already a bishounen anime Black Cat. I like the odd detailing on his staff with the green cat paw, it's cute.
On the back, you have Adrien looking slightly humble and cutesy in his everyday look over the Paris skyline.
Here he is in the box.
Here are the other figures available in the line. There's heroine Marinette in this ill-advised getup, and her super hero form Miraculous Ladybug too. There's also Adrien's super form, Cat Noir. This outfit is insane. He even has a cat bell choker!
I dunno, maybe he also sort of looks like a super-spy.
I think, aside from these, there's also two reverse looks available from an opposite day episode (or maybe a whole story arc?); with Adrien as Miraculous and Marinette as Cat. There were also a few fashion dolls in 10" scale.
Here's Adrien in his plastic holding cell. Pleased to say it was easy enough getting him out.
He comes with two accessories, both made of the same translucent black plastic. I like the accessories themselves, but the choice of material is odd to me. One accessory is a camera, and the other is a shoulder bag.
One of the three episodes of this show I've seen involved the resident mean girl, Chloe (who may or may not have an action figure I suddenly remember), took over a weather girl role or something. It's possible that Adrien is studying to be a journalist, but I wouldn't really know.
The shoulder bag strap does not detach from the main bag, and the whole thing is very rigid. As a result, he can only hold the bag on one shoulder and not cross-body. It can be pulled over his head, but it gets stuck in his hair and juts out diagonally.
It also doesn't stay on at all one shoulder.
Here's Adrien from the front. He looks very thoughtful, like he's just realized he left something burning in the oven.
He's wearing a black T-shirt with three multicolored stripes across the chest area, under a plain white short-sleeved shirt. It's a very cool, simple look.
He's also wearing a pair of blue jeans and a pair of red and white converse.
I like the paint job effect on the material his jeans are molded from. It's very chromey and shiny. It's completely unrealistic, but it's super cool.
I like that they kept the black ring detail from the show on his finger, as throwaway as it is at least they remembered.
Here he is from the back. As you can see, his has a very defined upper torso and a less defined pair of legs. Luckily they teeter on the right side of spindly for me.
It occurred to me whilst testing out his articulation that I probably need some scale furniture so this ridiculous pose never happens again.
He has double-jointed-ish knees, and his feet swivel around to help you find him some balance (it's easily found). His elbows have a clickey sort of articulation, but they move well enough.
Now, for the whole reason I got him!
I was just browsing Amazon thinking "Wouldn't it be cute if I had a rambunctious teen boy to interview all of my action figures?"
What I didn't realize then is the insurmountable scale difference.
"Hey Adrien, what's up? You're here to interview me -the Great Lucio!- right?"
"What's wrong, Adrien?"
"You were so short..."
The scale difference was a real shock, but not so much that they can't inhabit the same world. Maybe Adrien is just a really tall teenager.
Either way, thanks Hasbro. Or Bandai. Whichever one of you did this.
The interview goes on...
And a profile pic for Lucio.
"I'm late for school! Again!"
Anyways, I quite like Adrien. Even with some of the flaws -mainly the accessory material- I think he's a good representation of bishounen in action figure form. I probably won't be getting any more from this line, unless I find his catsuit form for a reasonable price.
Catsuit Adrien is the only figure from this line that is sold out from all primary sellers everywhere. Speculating on reasons why makes me worry a little.
Given recent goings on, I haven't really been as focused on this as I should be. I have been writing, but yesterday I lazed out on that too.
First, an update; a while ago I opened up my Playmobil Everdreamerz Edwina.
She doesn't look stoned or anything, which I guess is a plus but I'd sort of built up the idea of it in my head. Anyways, her base hair is the exact same style as Starleen's. That means they can switch parts.
I don't know if I like the non-monochrome looks at all, but they're a possibility.
Anyways, let's keep this thought-train hitched to the Playmobil!
Playmobil's product range spans a lot of various concepts and price-points, most random and often not repeated. However, this line is 16 collections strong!
These are the Playmobil Boys Series 15 packs! Much like L.O.L. Boys, they're some dude figures packed in a blind fashion. These cost about 80% less than L.O.L. Boys at retail, and in some respects are much more inventive.
From this collection of figures, I really wanted to get the hippie. He has such good style.
The bag is meant to be cut from the top with scissors, but you can also just open the bottom.
Here's what my first one looked like. I wasn't entirely sure who this was to start with, but it should be clear if you pay enough attention.
The pack came with a checklist, which included building instructions. I was kind of confused as to how this works, but it became clear once I started building.
The back of the checklist recommends turning your perfectly decent figures into a Scottish grasshopper monstrosity.
See, you're supposed to put this holding piece in. This is basically the whole structure of the figure. When you first insert the arms into the upper torso, they're very floppy. As soon as you stick the torso on this structure, they gain their standard Playmobil mobility.
I have no idea how this works for the fashion change body ala EverDreamerz, since they don't have the inner structure as they don't connect to their bottom halves like this.
Looking at the checklist again, I wouldn't mind having the Rugby Player and Hipster Lumberjack either.
Ohey, it's the cowboy! Not exactly a must-have, but he's a pretty good find. I quite like the print on his shirt.
Also, all Playmobil figures with weapons look deranged, so that's always a good thing.
It's really hard to get Playmobil hair on, but somehow if you just try for long enough it slots in. It fits really nicely.
On to the next one!
Hot dangety this can't be happening again. I only got two of these! Is this some sort of joke from the Toy Gods?
Am I just destined to get as many cowboys as possible?
The Cowboy Twins. I really like the cowhide print on their jackets. I mean, these might just be printed details, but they're pretty nice.
Oddly enough, the Cowboy figures totally pull the EverDreamerz into the world of rootin'-tootin' high falutin' action!
See, Edwina's getting really into it.
I like how customizable these are, but I still prefer figures with separate clothing to some extent. Just an aesthetic thing I guess.
One of the Cowboy Twins considers trying his luck with Edwina. Ah, romance in the wild west~
"Cowboy and Candy Princess" is probably the real premise to a kindle book aimed at divorcees somewhere.
You know, even if the Toy Gods apparently think Eternal Cowboy Fourteenwings is funny, I quite like these figures. They're very cheap as per MRSP, and they have really nicely printed details. You can also mix and match them with basically every other Playmobil figure out there, though that's limited by body type.
Plus, I will always be a fan of Deranged Weapon Playmobil Guys.
This is kind of funny, but I genuinely was about to give up on this whole project for a few days. However, going by what I said a few minutes ago, I'm going to try and Walk The Walk (and MAKE IT POP! as an independent chico -google it-).
I've had some big posts I wanted to make. There's a specific line I wanted to do an "evolution" post on, and another where I wanted to do a Completely Unbiased Versus post, but like... $ink.
Eh, let's do a low cost post!
As you might have guessed, this is my long-delayed Off the Hook Collection Overview! Sadly, this'll probably be my last ever Off the Hook post, unless I go right mad and just get everything I don't have.
It was kind of hard to remember each of the signature looks, so it was good that I had about a thousand lookbooks to help out.
These are my Concert girls. Limited Variant Signature Naia, BFF Style Naia and Naia, BFF style Brooklyn and Alexis, and Signature Jenni.
Concert is probably one of the most varied collections, because a lot of the looks are distinctive and therefore don't go together. The looks that evoke leather and jeans are very different from the ones that go with spandex and metallics.
Put on the spot, I find I don't have a favorite look in this whole collection, but I like Brooklyn's romper and Alexis' sweater. I dislike Brooklyn's shoes and Alexis' skirt, but that pack wins the day easily.
My Spring Dance collection, consisting of Style BFFs Brooklyn and Alexis (again?), as well as two Signature Brooklyns. One is in her Signature outfit, whilst the other is in her Super Secret Fashion Surprise look. The shoes she's wearing are from the Concert Style BFFs Brooklyn and Alexis pack.
I think Spring Dance is a really cool collection, even with all the shedding glitter. People complain a lot about glitter shedding, and I always just thought it was one of those faux things, but it's true; glitter gets everywhere.
It was actually kind of hard to pick a favourite, but I'll go with Signature Brooklyn. Her confusing socks-and-sandals or mini-boots really make the look.
I always wanted to get the Spring Dance Style BFFs Jenni and Mila set, because it had two looks that went with the Alexis look here, but despite being the most prominent set around release it has now completely disappeared from anywhere with reasonable pricing.
My Summer Vacay collection. No matter what, the summery collection of a fashion line will always be my favorite, so here we are.
This collection is almost entirely Vivian, save for one Mila. From left to right; we have SIgnature Vivian, Style BFFs Mila and Vivian, as well as Super Secret Fashion Surprise Look Signature Vivian. The Vivian I have in the Fashion Surprise look has an issue in her head with how the neck joint works. It's annoying, but it happens once in a while. It'd have bothered me a lot if I was a kid who had spent all my allowance on this set though.
I think because summer is all colours and nonsense, there's very little that doesn't work. I'm still not a fan of the overskirts all the Style Girls dolls in this line come in, but for Vivian it's doing a lot of work hiding that skirt mold I dislike. I really love Signature Vivian's nautical top, so she easily wins the day here.
I know it must feel like whiplash after looking at so many Vivians, but the character I have the most of is actually Brooklyn. I love me a good Brooklyn. As I mentioned before, she photographs really well, and I just love her overall character style.
Here are all the Super Special Fashion Surprises that came with all my Style Girls dolls, as well as the Signature looks I wasn't using.
They're mainly wearing shoes from the Style BFFs sets. It was really clever to do that, but what wasn't clever was not including extra heads anywhere in the line.
Here are all my shoeboxes from the Style BFF sets. I like the plain colored ones a lot, but the translucent ones are pretty cool too. I didn't realize they were both the same purple till I put them next to each other.
I like the kitty print one more than the hearts one. The heart print looks really juvenile. I do really like how these are hinged, rather than just lift-off. It's cool, if not exactly realistic.
The hatboxes from the Style BFF sets. All of them are plain and glittery except the one with the dotted ladybug-esque pattern. I think they would have all benefited from the printing. Maybe a stripe on one at least?
My shopping bags. Most of these are printed, and some translucent. Others are even feature hombre paintwork. These aren't a hard plastic like the shoe and hat boxes. They're an almost rubbery plastic, but it's really solid. A few were crushed in the box for too long, so they're stuck in a permanent flux state.
I like the green translucent kitty one the most. The ones in the back row have no printed features.
My hat collection. Half of these are the same mold, but they're all different enough. There's also a flower crown, which is super cute but super glittery. It sheds like nobody's business.
My favourite hat is the pink one made out to seem like it was made of straw. It's from the Summer Vacay Style BFFs Vivian and Mila set.
Bag collection. This has a lot of great pieces, but also some really weird ones. I don't like the lip bag, it's a bit much for me. The star bag is also just really generic.
I quite like the translucent heart bag. The glitter is actually embedded in the plastic, so it doesn't shed. I absolutely love the sea-themed bucket bag. It's also from the Summer Vacay Style BFFs Vivian and Mila set. I mean, if there's one Off the Hook set to have, it's that one.
Backpacks and sunglasses, as well as a stray hairband. The sunglasses and hairband do not stay on well at all, but they're cute enough that I'd feel bad getting rid of them. The kitty backpacks are exactly the same, as I mentioned a while ago, aside from the print on the front pocket.
I really like the pink flower-themed glasses in front. They're super cool.
Off the Hook is my favorite line, but I do think the over-reliance of storage items in the Style BFFs sets is a weakness. It's a storage space hazard, considering these things take up more space than the dolls themselves.
I say that, but they do allow you to create lots of cool accessories-only shots. It adds a whole other dimension to it all, albeit an unnecessary one.
Summer Vacay! All you need for your savvy "no I generally just exist with absolutely perfect make-up" instagram moments on the beach.
Spring Dance! Hashtag Prom Goals.
Concert! Featuring the beanie tower. For when one Hot Topic isn't enough (sorry, this is the only joke I have).
And one for the more discerning emo BFFs.
A bonus and a burden at the same time, I'd say.
So, unlike a lot of it's contemporaries, Off the Hook is a line with a lot of layers. I'd like to say I foresaw this, and it's why it's my favorite modern toy line, but I just really liked the dolls man.
And with that, I think I've documented quite enough Off the Hook.
Signature Looks: 3/6. Maybe 3.5/6 or 4/7.
Style Girls: 6 Total, 4 Unique
Style BFFs Sets:4, for a total of 8 dolls
Good run, I'd say.
These are the L.O.L. Surprise Arcade Heroes. I'm a fan.
Anyways, let's hitch our wagons to a familiar friend!
There are no cowboys this time! I checked.
This is the Playmobil Boys Series 16! The latest series from this line. I hope there are more in the future.
For some reason, after I bought all of these at quite reasonable prices, they all kind of went AWOL. Though I don't know if I really ever want to get more anyways.
In this collection, there are a few I kind of wanted to get. My main focus though was on the hairstylist guy, because he is super adorable.
Let's get started!
Huh, doesn't look like a hairdresser to me. At least it isn't a cowboy again.
It's a bellboy! Ain't he dapper, huh? His legs are an entirely different mold from different Playmobil legs; they taper off in the front and back, presumably to present his snappy dress style in more detail.
He has a nice suitcase to cart off, but not it's owner. I guess they'd be sold separately!
Here's the checklist for this series. Rather than suggesting you create your own Scottish Grasshopper demon, there's just a literal fire demon. Cutting out the middleman, you see?
I'd like to get the trickster with his West Side Story esque locks, or the frankly slightly scary bear survivalist man. He's cool.
Here's the bellboy with his hat. Looking very professional now.
No way no way no way.
Were all my bad pulls leading to this very moment? Have the toy gods finally moved on to messing with somebody else? Either way, here we are!
It's Mr. Hairdresser! Ready to give you the look you don't want, but surely need.
If you can see from the checklist, his look is actually less conservative in real life since it cuts out his pink undershirt. Hero of the heavage, this guy.
I know his hair mold is fairly typical for Playmobil, but I really like how it's swept to one side. Very dramatic.
His belt is really cool, allowing you to hold a pair of scissors in the back. Probably not a good place for scissors, but maybe he's careful.
The scissors also don't really like to stay in the belt, but it works well enough.
This time around, the guide suggests you create a German knight fire demon who moonlights as a hairdresser. I guess Mr. Hairdresser has some deadly competition in town...
I think these figures remain very cool, despite seeming like so little on the surface.
But we won't stop there for today! Continuing with the Playmobil theme, we have...
It's another EverDreamerz set! This time, it's Clare. Clare is the thoughtful, considerate EverDreamer, which is a fancy way of saying she's the blue one.
As is typical with these boxes, you rip away the perforation at the line and on the left side of the box both in front and in the back and release the inner packaging.
It's kind of pointless, since there's also some very super-strength tape at the top and bottom you have to cut away, but the cool kids probably like it.
The front and back of the inner box. The back is completely blank, whilst the front advertises this "magical amulet" thing as well as an orange perforated tab.
I've never been able to get this piece of cardboard out without ruining it, so it clearly isn't magic enough.
The orange tab slits back into the top of the box, as you can see on the right. On the left you can see the whole shebang opened up. The magic amulet is pointless andbasically just sits there and taunts your lack of frailty in pulling at it.
Inside the pink candy striped box, which I managed to not ruin by only pulling at once side and then promptly closing back up again, were the usual guide and one of Clare's plastic bags.
When I opened up Edwina by myself without taking pictures, I kind of felt like a jerk since she has probably the best bags of the whole line; they're a nice gold colour. To be fair, I didn't know the bags varied.
Inside the first bag was Clare's bracelet and a few charms, including her exclusive donut charm.
Here's the bracelet all put together.
Moving on to the inside of the box, there are two more candy striped surprise boxes as well as two compartments in the right side.
This is what was inside the first box. A sticker of Clare and her alpaca as well as the illustrious alpaca.
I avoided looking into the surprises that came with these, and I was immensely excited for Clare's alpaca. The size is kind of disappointing in that context, but it's about the same size as the other pets.
The box on the right contained Clare herself, as well as her foil character card. Clare's skirt does not come off, unlike the other dolls, presumably because it's so tiny.
Clare is wearing a blue jacket with bouffant sleeves, as well as a pair of blue bike shorts under a short skirt. The shorts and skirt share a candy sprinkle print.
I don't like how the print on Clare's arms looks. It's supposed to replicate the frills of CG Clare, but it actually looks like she has two matching blueberry marshmallow tattoos on either arm.
I do love how shiny and pearlescent her hair is though.
I have to admit now that I no longer remember what came in the first compartment, it was probably her card or something, but lets move on to the WOW! compartment.
It is indeed a compartment full of lots of Wonders, but I'm pretty sure the WOW! is for "WOW! This is a lot of stickers I need to figure out!"
It also contains (deep breath):
Two milk cartons, two tubes of toothpaste, a perfume jar, two candy bars, a plate, a mug, a milkshake bottle and straw, a tray, a lot of donuts, and some sort of blue jar.
It occurs to me that the "perfume jars" may actually be jars of candy, but that's not as fun.
Clare also comes with a book, cause she's the smart one. I wonder if this is a Compendium of Candy Creatures, or maybe a spellbook. It's not very specific, which is a good thing since it leaves things open ended.
Before we move on, I should issue a correction on this bag of mystery from Starleen's set. It is not beads, and it's also not some sort of hard drug. It's actually giant sugar crystals, as well as a dish for the sugar crystals and a small spoon for dealing in such things.
However, I must admit that this would probably prove very helpful if you were playing Playmobil & Order: Vice Unit.
Here are my three Playmobil EverDreamerz together. I swear I didn't mean to get the most Sentai color combination possible, it's just in my DNA for these things to happen.
I probably won't get Rosalee or Viona, they're kind of just slightly boring, especially Viona. Rosalee is the main character, so I do feel I should maybe get her if I'm ever really out of things to care about.
The pets. I don't think even alpaca kids are generally smaller than cats, and Edwina's cat is basically gigantic. Both the cat and alpaca have moving necks, but Mr. Fluoride Meerkat is static.
This is how the back of their character cards looks.
All of my Playmobil figures together, with Mr. Hairdresser leading the pack.
I actually had photos of the insane amount of accessories and playpieces I've collected through the EverDreamerz sets, but I seem to have accidentally deleted them. I guess I'll take a few more eventually.
EverDreamerz are quite costly in the scheme of Playmobil things, but the prices are miniscule in comparison to basically everything else in the toy aisle. These come with a lot of things, which allow for more than "I have a figure and it's doing stuff", and they certainly also help with photos.
I think that's probably why I have a lot of respect for Playmobil toys. They have generally good designs, which branch into the greater scope of novel a lot of the time (there's a "Horse Therapist", I kid you not). They're not my favorite, but they're probably the sort of thing that really spark an interest in ideas and things, rather than just being cool and fashionable.
Things I've recently learned; Paw Patrol and Bob the Builder are the brainchildren of the same man*, and that man's son now makes children's skiing outfits.
*It turns out that sometimes if you're just really good at something, you are really, really good at it.
By the way, this thread is one page but it's gigantic because of all of the images. Maybe I should put the older posts in toggle-boxes or something? I think after a bit I'll have it be policy to only have the last two posts completely visible.
I have updated the L.O.L. Surprise History post somewhat. Mainly I added a section about the Mattel vs. MGA Bratz lawsuit and also a picture of Clearly a Scam Artist Scribbles.
I feel like I've been just constantly working at things lately, so even though I do want to do a review right now, I'm going to stop myself.
A lot of people stepped down at Spin Master in early 2020, so I wonder how this'll affect the company going forward. In their 2020 results, they mentioned Off the Hook again, but I wonder if that's a crutch because they've been reporting that since Q3 2019. I know that they had a lot of new molds they had to scrap when things couldn't go into production, so that may be a contributing factor.
In more relevant matters; I feel like giving up right now. This whole thing is an intensive process that runs solely on my love and the feeling I have that maybe, some day, somebody else will be entertained reading this after they google a toy they like. Obviously, this means seriously starting a blog, but that would be even more work than I'm already doing.
Plus, I'm starting to get baie* confused by all the things I want to get, and all the things i want to do. I mean, I am a list-holic and so I should really have an intensive list by now but I never expected to need one.
But right now I'm feeling somewhat resolute; and the only way forward is to take a step, so let's go!
Unrelated to all of this; there's an exclusive toy I really really wanted to get. The one that's easily available to me (also an exclusive) is like, an opposite variant that I may or may not hate. I will probably end up getting that version anyways.
Update: I now have a chart. It is... long.
This is something I had my eye on for quite a while. I'd seen it on some toy guy's instagram and was instantly drawn to it, despite it's origins...
It's a Fortnite action figure from Jazware's Fortnite Legendary Series! Everybody knows what Fortnite is, some sort of game that characters on TV shows will mention to prove how they are in the know of modern things. I know slightly less about it than TV writers do.
I do know that the toy license was split so many ways that there it now has too many action figure series. One is the 6" Legendary Series by Jazwares, meant for collectors. Another is the "Squad/Solo Mode" 4" line, also by Jazwares. There's also a separate 7" collectors line by McFarlane Toys, who are trying to make all the action figures possible (including some for My Hero Academia, I think).
Finally, there's the whatever-they're-called miniatures line from Moose Toys. I actually like a bunch of the Moose ones, but they were distributed horribly and seem to be on the outs, so I won't bother.
I'm not much of an action figure man, so in my further considerations for this project I may just eliminate them as a category to consider unless it's something I really like. But for now, let's dive in!
I love the look of this box; it's open and crystal-clear, allowing you to see every detail.
A view from the side.
The back. I understand that Fortnite is very low-key in terms of storytelling, and these characters are really just "skins" (which sounds gross in the context of them being empty inside) but they could have come up with some flavor text.
Scary cute is just one of the 60 Monster High taglines.
You can also see the other figures in this line-up. I think they've all been greyed out somewhat, because I know The Visitor is really really green. It's probably meant to replicate the game selection screen, but it actually makes all of them less appealing.
The plastic holding cell. It was easy enough to get everything out if I remember correctly. His elbows are actually inserted into the back of the plastic carton, which makes the figure himself a slight pain to get out.
He boasts 38 points of articulation and in all honesty I am yet to figure them all out.
Here he is out of the box. I understand that Fortnite is clean, zany, deranged-adjacent fun but this guy looks like either an axe-murderer or a serial bomber.
He's wearing a pastel pink onesie with fluffy pink slippers. I think the way the plastic is textured represents all of that very well. I also like that, to represent the rough and tumble world of Fortnite, his outfit has prominent mud stains in a light brown color. It's quite cool.
He has blond hair and a face hidden behind a pastel baby-blue ski-mask that's painted to emulate a rabbit, but it looks more like pastel tribal war-paint. Continuing with the "cutesy rabbit/war-paint" theme, we have a baby blue belted bag on his left leg, which does add a nice flourish to the design.
His hoodie, as seen in the previous picture has a lot of trouble staying on. It essentially made it's own decision in coming off.
His accessories. They include two alternate heads, a pickaxe disguised as an Easter basket, a giant egg, a small egg grenade, a pastel canister, and a big gun of sorts. The gun doesn't match any of his other accessories at all, which makes me think it was included as a random bonus rather than to match with everything else.
The giant egg might also be a bomb, but it doesn't really look dangerous in the slightest. Just looks like an Easter prop.
Here he is wearing one of the alternative heads. This is the same head as the "Jonesy" figure, which I think is the basic "skin" for male characters in the Fortnite series. I guess it makes sense, and they went to all the trouble of including these heads in the set, but I don't like it.
The face looks too serious for the outfit, so it ends up looking silly. Like, it makes me want to chastise Rabbit Jonesy for being a furry.
Though it does make for a punchy photo at times.
Glasses Rabbit Jonesy looks like a creep of the highest degree. The sort of guy you run into in a dark corridor that leads to a concrete wall in your hotel. You should have seen this coming when you checked in and noticed the giant "Furries Welcome Here! 2021 Furry Love Convention" sign. You should have left. But you didn't, and this is what you get.
Now, let's talk about his articulation. He has all the standard points you'd expect from an action figure in this price-range, but his shoulder joint is not a ball, it clicks when you move it. The connection between the shoulder and the upper-arm is also very stiff, which means trying to get his hands into any position is vaguely a nightmare.
For obsessive detail's sake, his hands have a joint right in the middle, and it's kind of pointless. It's also very loose, so it means he can't really hold things very well. Odd given his massive collection of holdable accessories.
His hips and knees are all great, and man do the flat slippers provide excellent stability!
His torso joint is not as good as Lucios, but I'm starting to thing nobody's ever will be. However, it does a funny thing when you mess with it too much;
Yup, comes clean off. It's in no way a real concern, and I think his body was made like this because of the volume they wanted his hoodie to have in the upper torso, but it's a novelty worth mentioning.
On his torso is a cross-body belt on which he carries a bunch of explosive grenades.
I wanted more than anything to take this belt off, and the funny thing is that it does come off almost all the way, except it's tacked directly into his chest here. I'd even live with a hole in his chest if that's what it came down to, but it's really, really glued in there and some of the blue paint has seeped through the glue into the outfit.
All of this feels vaguely unnecessary, but you can't always have what you want.
His faces attach to the front easily, and the joint is so seamless that my camera failed to focus on it.
Here it is in more detail.
In the end, I decided I liked the serial killer face best. It's quite cute when you compare it with the other two.
He is indeed sporting a cute little rabbit tail. No murder rabbit is complete without one, after all.
Overall, even though I only wanted the figure for display in one of the normal faces, I think I found something even better. The weapons and other accessories, plentiful as they are, provide what is probably excess value at his normal pricepoint, which is a nice bit of effort.
Fortnite provides a lot of great generic action "skins", and Jazwares have done a brilliant job bringing them all to life. That's quite laudable.
Appraisal out of the way; let's have some fun!
Rabbit Raider shows Lucio his DJ moves!
Lucio doesn't seem too impressed...
"I thought one Marshmello would be enough to please these animal-head rave weirdos..."
"Fame means dealing with guys who talk big when their hairplugs are in!"
(I honestly didn't even know Lucio's hair came off until I accidentally knocked it out just then).
Adrian is a bit concerned about where things are going now...
But everybody gets along in the end!
Great American Heroes from the North and South!
inb4 US 'Muricans try to pawn off Rabbit Raider's embarrassing outfit on Europe.
"Take this stupid outfit off and get a job you NEET!