Welcome back to Doll Break! I hope you all like American dolls because this post is absolutely full of them. In fact, I have so much US doll news to share that there's not a Japanese toy in sight, which is a first for the column.
I spent a long time behind the camera this week and I really enjoyed it. I've been thinking a lot lately about how toys are "played with" by adults and I realized that toy photography is my "play," it's how I interact with toys and why I get so much joy out of them. That and meticulously arranging them on shelves, of course. This week also has my first correction, an update from last week's post. I have to say I'm thrilled that Doll Break has readers who like it enough to correct me when I'm wrong! You all are awesome.
Hit the jump to check out an alien invader, new cavity-inducing Mini Lalaloopsy, and more monster goodness!
As promised last week I have photos of my first Novi Stars doll, Ari Roma, to show you all! Ari Roma is one of five dolls in a brand new line from MGA Entertainment. Oh, and last week I neglected to mention Nita Light, who comes with the Energy Pod play set. Here you can see Ari with everything she comes with, including space buddy 02, which is adorable and creepy. Because of my impulse control problems, I promised myself that I would only get one doll. I chose Ari because:
Una Verse came in a close second for me because I love that her legs are filled with water and glitter. You’ll note that Una and Nita both have clear bodies, which is a selling point for me. Consider my demographic targeted!
One of the coolest things about Ari Roma isn't her glitter body, it's her removable space helmet! I think it's a nice touch that you can remove the helmet of 02 as well. That's some attention to detail right there. Ari is supposed to be scented, but she just smelled gently of toy smell circa 1985, aka "unidentifiable vaguely berry scent." A few days later, only her afro puffs remain noticeably scented.
You may have noticed a cute stand above. It's glow-in-the-dark and her shoes anchor into it. The only issue is that there's no real back support and the legs are always struggling to sproing further apart, so she's fallen over more than a few times.
Out of the helmet, the face of this doll is absolutely adorable. The eyelids are molded and contain actual doll eyes with glittering turquoise irises and shooting star accents on the pupils. For me, this is a really nice change from the standard painted-on doll eyes. There is unnecessary glitter glue holding the eyelashes up and the eyes can't move, but this doll was $20 USD, so I wasn't expecting an eye mech. The dotted eyebrows are darling and there's blush as well. You can also see her cutesey alien ears in this photo. The mouth is a bit of a question mark for me; I'm not sure if I like it or not. There's something about the shape that's throwing me off slightly. On the whole, however, I find Ari Roma's face quite enchanting.
Nudity! For the record, I don't think dolls have sexuality, so don't expect anything along those lines from me, and I definitely needed to show the glitter body. There are no knee or elbow joints on Ari Roma, though one elbow is in a bent position, which limits the number of poses you can put her in. The neck, hip, and shoulders are ball-joints and the arms have to be taken out of the socket if you want to change her clothes.
The most important thing to note is my biggest complaint about the doll: the glitter is on the outside. It wouldn't have been that difficult to make the glitter part of the actual body and this way, not only is there going to be basic joint wear, but it guarantees that glitter will flake off every time she's handled. Take a lesson from the flocked G1 My Little Ponies: things that can rub off of a toy body are not a plus. Out of package, Ari's hands, neck, and shoulders all have major glitter loss with her necklace doing the most damage.
Fierce! All that being said, Ari Roma is one fierce little space girl. The afro puffs give this doll a lot of attitude and the quality on the hair is pretty good. The hair ... pony/rat tail ... accent thing ... what ever it's called, I had to braid it and cut off some really frazzled chunks, so I could have lived without that. The puffs themselves are really nice. Not soft per se, but not as rough as I would expect from so many ringlets. The knock-kneed molded legs are actually really different; you can see how far apart the legs are "naturally" in the photo above. I had to Google "knock-knee" before I remembered that it's a medical condition and not just a cute pose people do for photos: first world problems.
In conclusion, I think that Ari Roma of the Novi Stars line is very cute and different, which is exactly what I look for in a new doll series. I love the sci-fi feel to the whole line and the continuing trend of dolls with abnormally large heads. Also, despite the fact that the stated "mission" on her box is to "kiss and Earth boy!" and that she is "an air-head ... literally," I think that dolls that look like this do a whole lot more to encourage young ladies (and gentlemen) to grow up and be themselves than standard fashion dolls do. The Novi Stars dolls don't even have a discernible "race," which means kids can buy any of them and see themselves in all of dolls, not just one or two. As an adult that collects toys, it's not something that comes up that often, but I love when I see a new toy that I'd be willing to give to a kid myself. I'd just make sure they threw out the box.
On to some old business: last week I wrote that the Monster High Create-a-Monster Kits don't come with all the parts that you need to make the dolls. Well, Mattel had just recently answered the call with this amazing torsos n' arms kit. Win! Thank you to everyone who let me know about these because they are awesome and I really appreciate the help! At $7.99 USD (plus $3.99 USD shipping stateside) for the set of five, it's not a shock that the order limit is two sets. I also have to admit to feeling silly for buying a $20 super kit to finish my skeleton girl when this was around. Oops! You can order online though the Mattel website and if I'm reading things correctly, it's an exclusive, so don't look for it in stores. Also, in a related matter, I think I need a Bee Girl kit now.
Finally, today while I was frantically searching for an apartment, I decided to take a break and look up some of the new Mini Lalaloopsy that I had seen in the shops. I know that local parents are super generous (which is a nice way of saying that the shelves in my neighborhood are perpetually bare) so I wanted to see what new releases weren't on display. Whilst searching online, I stumbled upon Mini Lalaloopsy Series 9 and I may have fainted a little on the inside. It went something like this: "Moar candy Lalaloopsy wah!" then I went on an auction site and bought them all because I clearly have a sickness. I'm really looking forward to photographing them and I have my fingers crossed that they'll show up in good shape. As you can see above, the new additions are Sugar Fruit Drops, Twist E. Twirls, Toasty Sweet Fluff, and Bubble Smack 'n' Pop. Lots of red and orange in the set, it almost makes Toasty seem out of place. Still, I'm thrilled that they made more in this series; it really took the edge off the six hours of apartment hunting that followed the purchase.
Next Doll Break don't expect any news. I am excited to announce that I will be conducting my first Doll Break interview with one of the most amazing customizers of BJD, Pullip, and Blythe dolls. I think you all will really enjoy it so I hope to see you then. In the meantime remember that you can email tips, ideas, and corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them in the comments!
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