3 Jan 2013

Bratzillaz by MGAE

Of course it was only a matter of time before other toy companies caught onto the "hey, little girls dig supernatural, spooky stuff" fad and decided to jump on the bandwagon behind the insanely popular Monster High.
Naturally, MGA, the company behind Bratz were right there to once again stick it to their main rival and attempt to take on Mattel in the dolly market once more.

Their rival to Monster High and their own particular spin on the "paranormal supernatural girlly crap" comes in the form of Bratzillaz, a series of witch themed dolls, and Novi Stars, a series of aliens.

I'll be focusing on the first wave of Bratzillaz today.

Bratz meets Harry Potter, the Bratzillaz take the cliche "school for magic" trope and add in a rather baffling "and fashion" to the mix. Magic and fashion? I admit, it's not a combo you usually see and it brings to mind that bit in Disney's Sleeping Beauty where the fairy godmother's are bickering over what colour to make the dress they've magically created for their god daughter.

Here in the UK the Zillaz retail at £25, which is absolutely insane. They come with their pets unlike the US versions (pictured here) but i'll get to why the pets aren't worth the price hike eventually.

Anyway, Meyganna and Yasmina I picked up in the local supermarket here, Tesco had reduced them to £16:50 which while still a lot, seemed about reasonable. Certainly more reasonable than the frankly lunatic RRP.
The other three I got off Amazon.com. I included the invoice in this photo for one important reason, the prices. I don't know if Amazon just really wanted rid of these dolls or if there's was some sort of massive glitch with their pricing, but for a good week these prices remained the same before finally shooting back up to $14. Odd.

yes, that's right if you can make it out on the paper. Each doll cost me around $6 each. Wow... that... yeah. Even with international postage, these three came to less than a SINGLE doll at full retail here in the UK! Crazy!
So obviously I had to get them at that kind of price, just to finish the set.

So, first impressions.

Bratzillaz.. what the hell is up with this name? What does it have to do with fashion and witchcraft? I don't understand the origin of this name, it's ridiculous and silly and doesn't make any sense.
The logo/font is ok, not much to say on that. The boxes are attractive with the large plastic window but you just know looking at them, these are going to be a nightmare to open.

The only real difference between the US and UK packaging is the inclusion of the pets. In the UK packaging the pet is where that card saying "pet sold separately" is located. There's a little hole or whatever so you can activate the pet's gimmick. Honestly I find it strange the US market is selling these separate, seems a very odd move. Why bother?

Anyway, I was surprised after my initial experience with the Bratzillaz in stores to note that the recent shipments have had much better face paint. The first few I saw on shelves had wonky eyes and smeared makeup, I even saw one Meyganna who was missing an entire eyebrow!
Of these 5, only Cloetta has any real paint errors, a faint fuzziness to her lips and a mark below one eye. Both these I can live with, they're minor imperfections that you'd expect with any doll line. So it's nice to see MGA have actually upped their QC in that respect.

Each doll comes with a stand, a cape, a little badge with the school crest on it and a plastic witch hat. The hats attach to the head with elastic and are also stitched into the hair, it takes a bit of a steady hand to snip the thread without damaging the elastic. I was paranoid i'd accidently cut the wrong thing and end up with a useless hat.

They all have inset eyes with some special feature (which i'll get to) and have articulated bodies (horah!) with jointed wrists, elbows, waist and knees along with the standard neck/hip/shoulders. It's nice to see another doll line with articulation, which seems to steadily be becoming standard in fashion dolls. YAY!

Every doll comes with a little spell card which has a lame little poem written on one side and an odd grey scale image of the character on the front. I'm not sure why the artwork for the characters on the box and cards is black and white, it looks strange and makes it very difficult to figure out which is which.
They also come with some virtual code, but I never pay any attention to these so screw it.

 So here are the girls, from left to right:
Yasmina Clairvoya, Meygana Broomstix, Sashabella Paws, Cloetta Spelletta, and Jade J'Adore.

Before I review each in turn, I have to have my usual rant about MGA boxes. DAMNIT MGA, why must you make deboxing a doll such an exercise?! A monster high doll takes me 2 minutes to get out of the box, these took no like, FIFTEEN minutes to debox.. EACH. First you have to peel the backing off, revealing this mess:

 Once you've got all the tape off and loosened all the plastic tabs, you have to tear downward where the card folds (bottom of box) to remove the plastic window front from the backing card. Now attempt to pull doll free, snip any wires or thread still tying her in place and bin the box, it's now just a shredded mess of card, tape and plastic.
Forget being able to keep the box, in order to get into the thing you have to practically tear your way into the thing with your TEETH. It's insane, it's frustrating, it's actually painful. deboxing a doll shouldn't be such a chore and i'm sick of MGA packaging their dolls like this. their boxes are consistently the most difficult to get into across all their lines. I hate it. What a waste of packaging material. Is all this plastic crap really necessary? The doubled over wad of card? All that tape? Of course not. If Mattel can box a doll using no tape at all and just the tension of cardboard tabs, why can't MGA do something similar?

<End rant>

Deboxed the problems with this line become abundantly clear. But let us look at each character individually. Each have their own set of things to love and sadly, their own list of things to hate.

First, Yasmina:

Yasmina Clairvoya

The Bratzillaz "cousin" (read: We were too lazy to come up with different names for this line so just reused the ones from the Bratz line) of Yasmin, Yasmina is curiously pale and well... Caucasian in comparison to her Bratz namesake.

Yasmin's box informs us that she can "see into the future" and to hammer home this point, she comes with a little spyglass. A nice touch is that the spyglass does actually magnify, SCORE! That's a nice detail there.

Yasmina as gorgeous yellow, side glancing eyes with a purple "halo" around each iris. Her hair is a silvery purple and tied up in a complicated bun/braid affair which I doubt you could ever replicate if you took her hair down.

Her "witchmark" (or tattoo if you like) is the eye of Horus, located on her lower arm.

Her outfit consists of a pair of shimmery gold cargo pants (which are made from see through fabric.. wth? she's giving everyone panty shots here!), a purple faux laced bodice with gold braid (which was already fraying in the box!) and a shiny scale print bolero jacket.
The outfit is completed with a set of brown lace up boots.

Overall the quality of the clothing could be better. It all fits fine, though the jacket has a tendency to gape open. I've fastened it shut with an elastic band here, same way you'd get a necklace to sit flat on a doll. The fraying braid seems a pretty silly oversight and I have no idea why her pants are see through. These two factors rather ruin what would otherwise, be a pretty funky costume. The fabric is obviously cheap and for a doll that retailed at £25, that's really not acceptable.
Her hat is just a solid chunk of plastic with an elastic band threaded into the base of it so it'll stay on her head. It works fine, though i'm dreading having to rethread elastic when the band inevitably snaps on me. 

Yasmina also came with a cape, but I immediately removed it. It's made of thin fabric with huge holes in it which are way out of scale with the doll and cut in such a way that whole edges of the cape itself are indented by hole. It looks like it'll fray and snag very very easily. It also conceals the majority of her outfit when it's on and doesn't go with her clothes at all. It's heavy and impractical, so it went straight into the clothing bin. The school badge serves as the "clasp" for this cape, stitched onto where it fastens.

For some reason, despite having earring holes in both ears, Yasmina only comes with a single earring. I've checked and evidently this is intentional. Confusing. I can only assume they couldn't be bothered making her so she only had the one hole, but I can imagine a lot of customers searching in vain for the "missing earring" as a result. The earring she does have is a large gold key, i'm not sure what a key has to do with seeing the future but whatever... it's a cute accessory.

Her boots are great, really soft and easy to get on and off. I was honestly surprised by how pliable they were, having gotten used to rigid, stiff, tight fitting dolly shoes.

Her articulation is sufficient. Monster High, Fashionista and Liv pose a bit better and their limbs hold tighter, but on the whole, it's not bad. Her knees are wobbly and loose though, no doubt because her lower legs (and her hands) are made from soft rubbery plastic while the rest of her body is the standard rigid plastic. I have no idea why MGA decided to do this, seems a very arbitrary move. Her wrists have an issue where they don't necessarily want to bend in a particular direction. So getting her to hold a hand palm up, for instance, involves a lot of force and makes me fearful i'll break the hand clean off!

Her hair is a beautiful colour and the style is really cool. Unlike some people i've heard from, my Yasmina doesn't have bald patches from the styling, which was a huge relief. I was worried i'd have to restyle her hair and there's no way I could get it back into this complex assortment of plaits and buns! The problem with her hair is, as i'm sure everyone and their dog has complained about, the quality. I have nothing against nylon, in fact, I often prefer it for curled styles particularly as it holds a curl beautifully. But the nylon MGA are using for this line is the cheapest, nastiest, almost fishing wire-like nylon. It's coarse to touch and is fraying and splitting at the ends. It's horrible stuff. Thankfully Yasmina's hairstyle covers a lot of sins, only the ends look ratty and they're hidden behind her when she's on display so I can live with it. But, for a £25 doll, the hair quality really is sub par. 

Her stand is actually really good. The base section is solid and the stand itself is angled so the doll stands away from the strut. This allows hair and cape to billow free and the prop slots securely into the base, unlike the recent Monster High bases which like to just fall apart randomly. The stand feels a lot more secure than the MH bases, the chunkier base makes it far more stable which I like.

Overall, she's a pretty doll. The side glancing eyes give her a real personality and the vivid yellow contrasting with the purple is attractive. her hair style is interesting and visually appealing and her little spy glass thing is adorable. I do however wish a little more thought was put into the costumes and the quality. I think i've been a bit spoiled not only by the quality of the Monster High line, but the attention to detail in the character costume choices. Yasmina here has nothing that hints at her future sense theme. her jacket has what looks like snake scales, her earring is a baffling key and i'm not sure what her faintly pulp-esk fashion sense is all about. I do however like her colour palette. Purple and yellow is a great combo and not one you see too often in dolls.
Her concept is a bit muddled, but she's a cute doll. Her only real issue is the quality of the materials used to create her. That hair fibre is unforgivable for a doll in this price bracket and the see through trousers is such a ridiculous oversight it actually annoys me. Would it have killed you MGA to have lined the pants or something?

Yasmina, being a UK release also came with a pet. Winkers is a strange critter with one giant eye that lights up when you press a button. You have to HOLD the button for the light to stay on though, which makes it a pretty pointless feature in my opinion. You can't get a picture of it without a hand in the way. He's light weight, feels pretty cheapo and i'm pretty sure light up features cost next to nothing to produce. So no, I don't feel like the inclusion of the pets somehow justifies the £25 price point. I wouldn't pay money for this pet individually, he feels to me like something i'd get from a Happy Meal or other kid's meal.

Overall grade: 4 magnifying spyglasses out of 6. - She's nice, but her quality and that price point really let her down.

Meygana Broomstix

"Cousin" of Bratz Meygan, Meygana shares her cousin's signature red toned hair but that's about it. This Meyg's hair is of course, far far more vivid and "fantasy" toned that her Bratz namesake, and a lot more unruly.

Meygana is the "sporty one", her magical power being that she can fly... or make other things fly? I'm not entirely sure. Basically, she's the Quidditch playing one lol.
Her little accessory is a broomstick shaped purse. I think it's adorable and quirky, really in keeping with her theme which I approve of.

Like Yasmina, Meygana's eyes are side glancing. This time in a vivid blue with pale strands branching out from around her pupil. They're amazing eyes, really striking and far more detailed than the photos here really show. 

Her hair is a mass of bright red curls, contrasting sharply with her vividly blue eyes and pale skin.

Her "witchmark" is a pair of stylised wings, again located on her lower arm. 

Meygana's outfit consists of a metallic looking bolero, a snake print bodice and a short denim effect skirt with a brassy shimmer to it and metallic waistband.Her school badge is stitched to the bodice and they really haven't done a great job at it. It's so loose that it spins, so it's upside down in a lot of these photos.
Her shoes are a pair of black ankle boots with brass buckle detailing.

Her hat is a simple black hat with a brass coloured trim, she also wears a pair of flight goggles.

 Her earrings are also brass coloured and cute filigree effect. They're quite big and dangly though, which doesn't seem very practical for someone who according to her biography is a bit of an aero acrobat.
Same goes for the skirt really, what kind of girl flies in a skirt? I'd have thought a pair of shorts or something would have been far more appropriate.
Despite this though, I do like Meygana's outfit. It's very "sexy schoolgirl" but I can't help but find it cute. The faintly steampunk aspects also appeal to me, so i'm not really going to gripe too much about practicality of costume to character.
Again i'm baffled by the snake print. I can only joke that all these girls are Slytherin house or something, hence the snake print obsession. That or MGA got a bulk lot of scale print fabrics they had to use up. Either way, it's a strange choice for the "flying girl". Perhaps MGA simply couldn't be bothered coming up with character appropriate fabric patterns and designs?
Quality wise, the skirt isn't hemmed. A lot i've seen in stores were fraying in the box, but we got lucky with this one. There's no obvious damage to any of the fabric or stitching (yet) aside from a few snags to her cape from the plastic tabs that held it into the box.

Her goggles are a bit stiff, which means they fit a little awkwardly for me. A little more flexibility would have made them far far easier to position on her head but once one they look cute. They are however far too chunky and stiff to look anything but ridiculous when worn over her eyes. They're obviously designed to be worn as a headband, a shame, but I can live with it. They're nicely detailed with tiny stitching effects along them, I love that.

Her cape is very thin slightly stretchy fabric in the same midnight blue as her bodice. It's pretty simple but inoffensive. The little elastic loops on each side allow you to slot her fingers in and pose her in dynamic swooshy cape poses. I love this feature and it's on all the capes. yay swooshy capes!

But of course, you can't mention Meygana without talking about the hair... oh good god.. the hair.

Upon getting her out of the box, this is what her hair looked like:

What... a ... mess.

All different lengths, matted in parts, a huge poofy, frizzy tangled mess. Meygana's crowning glory is her biggest let down. her hair is HUGE, even after a trim and boil wash. it's not just that it's fluffy, it's very thickly rooted and really could do with being layered. I'm not confident enough in my hairdressing ability to even try to do this, so settled with a boil dunk and trim.

it's a faint improvement.

But her hair is just massive and very very heavy. Even with the chunky base of her stand she's prone to toppling over. She's about 75% hair, 25% girl. I have no clue what MGA were thinking when they decided on this fibre or this density of rooting. While thick hair is great when it's decent quality, this is like going to a buffet and every single dish is made from dog turd. Oh there's a lot of dishes, but not one is something you want to go anywhere near.
It's a real shame because Meygana is, in box and in promos, absolutely breathtakingly beautiful.
A doll in this price range, hell, a brand new doll at ANY price range shouldn't require you to restyle their hair to get them looking decent. MGA seriously need to rethink their supply of doll hair and quick. I'm no hair fibre snob, but this stuff is horrible to touch and don't even think about brushing it. As soon as a brush touches this stuff, it frizzes into a totally unmanageable fluff ball.

Poor Meygana, how can she fly when all that hair is weighing her down?

She also came with a pet, Wingsy, who dare I say it, is even lamer than Winkers. Wingsy can't even stand on his... her? it's... own. One leg is hollowed out so you can't pose it from that direction or you get this ugly hollow leg thing happening. The hair fibre is the same as Meygana's so it's a wiry mess and the two gimmicks are very very poorly implemented. Wingsy flaps it's wings when you press on it's tail, and the eyes light up when you press the button on the head. You try doing both simultaneously... NOT gonna happen. Like Winkers, the light doesn't stay on if you stop pressing the button, worse, if you put the goggles the critter came with on it, they block access to the stupid button anyway.
It's such a mind numbingly terrible design that I can't quite figure out how nobody in the production stage thought "hmmm, maybe we should rethink this button placement.". I see no reason why the wing flap AND eye glow couldn't be done from the same switch. Press the tail, wings flap AND eyes light up? Or just not have eyes lighting up, I mean, a glowing eyed pony is a bit creepy right?

Overall grade: 4 Golden snitches out of 6. - I can't forgive that hair.

Jade J'adore

"Cousin" of Bratz Jade, like Yasmina, there's absolutely nothing about this girl that could even remotely be tied to her namesake. Jade is a black haired girl of presumably Japanese/Chinese sort of origin, while this girl is as far from that as possible without turning her into a burly black chick (that would have been AWESOME but eh). She also appears to have stolen Yasmin's signature beauty mark... huh... strange.

Jade can "mend broken hearts" apparently, so her design is themed around hearts and stitches etc. It's a cute touch and unlike the previous two girls, her outfit actually has some association with her power.

Like Meygana, Jade gets a purse. Hers is small and heart shaped, it's cute enough but hardly exciting or unique. It's nothing as fun as Meygana's broomstick purse for me.

Jade's eyes are bright red and her pupils are heart shaped. I love the shaped pupils, it's a neat touch though I can't help but feel it's a shame they covered them up with that mesh face mask.

Her hair is cut into a short bob style and white. It's a cute style, nice to see a short style on one of these girls. It makes her really stand out. However, the quality here is absolutely horrific. Meygana's hair was bad, but Jade's manages to be even worse! It feels like fishing wire, it's split and damaged straight out the box and her fringe/bangs are cut in a really sloppy manner which leaves the top layer a lot shorter than the bottom. it's a mess, it's not pleasant to touch and it refuses to actually sit in the style it's supposed to be in. One side kinks out and some strands want to stick straight out instead of down. It's frustrating and messy and I honestly don't understand what the heck MGA are using as hair fibre here. This stuff is beyond dollar store quality, I don't think i've ever actually handled a doll with worse hair in fact. Nylon shouldn't feel like this! It shouldn't split up the length of the fibre like this! Why they keep using such shoddy materials is beyond me, it's like they just want to spit in the face of their customers.

Jade's witchmark is a red heart with an arrow through it. Hardly the most unique symbol but I can't think what else they could have used really. It's cute enough, and yet again, it's on her lower arm. You'd think they'd have varied the positioning of these marks a little more wouldn't you? Maybe have one on the shoulder? I don't know.

Jade's hat is the most different of all the dolls. It's red and has a frill effect on the brim. I like that it's so different to the others.

Jade's outfit is a strange mishmash. The dress has a lace underlay for the collar and sleeves, which I actually like. It makes her outfit a little more modest and adds some visual interest up the top there. The main body of the dress is made from cheap feeling plether fabric with odd pocket... frill.. things on either side. I honestly have no idea what these patches are supposed to be. They look cute in the artwork but on the actual doll they just look messy and strange. The symbol on her chest is a heart with what looks to me like a ribcage effect over the top? I like it, it's a cool effect. Below it there's a stitched up "break" effect. Another nice touch. I only wish the fabric the dress was made from was a bit less... nasty feeling. Husband pointed out that it's "easy wipe" fabric and he's right, it does kinda feel like those horrible latex costumes you see in sleazy sex shops. Hmmm... mends broken hearts... suddenly it all takes on a whole new and quite horrible meaning.

Adding to this costume is a pair of knee pads... seriously.. knee pads? With hearts on. Why knee pads? They made no sense, unless you assume she spends a lot of time on her knees. *shudder*

Same with the eye mask, does she not want to make eye contact?

Nasty filthiness aside, the knee pads are baffling and the eyemask, though kinda cool, seems an odd choice when you have such detailed eyes. I like the mask though, it reminds me of the gorgon veil from Planescape Torment which is one of my all time favourite video games heh. I like to assume Jade's gaze is somehow dangerous or something.

Annoyingly, her mask doesn't even fit properly.

As you can see, the elastic is far far too long and instead of making it the right length the guys in the factory just pinned it in place with a plastic tag. Wth? Why is it so long? Elastic is stretchy, that's the whole point, so there's no obvious reason it should be this long in order to remove it or anything. All it does in fact, is mean that if you aren't careful, you'll break the plastic tag and the mask won't fit her any more. Just cut the damn elastic the right length you crazy factory people!

Her boots are identical to Meygana's, just with the buckles painted silver instead of brass.

Lazy! The other girls all have unique shoes, so this duplication is frustrating. Seems she only could have her own shoes, or her own hat. *eyeroll* so unique hat mould means reused shoes.
Still, the boots work fine with the rest of her look so I can't gripe too much.

Her earrings are a white and red broken heart, both are identical, as in, they don't mirror image. So they look a bit strange to my eye. I'd have expected a left one and a right one, but nope. A shame, a tiny touch like that is something Monster High would have done. It's a minor thing to complain about, but Mattel has spoiled me with tiny details like that.

Her cape is red satiny fabric. It's a nice cape actually, the fabric is a decent quality and it means you get the same colour on the inner as well as the outer so it looks good in "swoopy" poses as well. Unlike some of the other girls who suffer the issue that the cape ONLY looks good when you can't see the inner. Her cape, like Yasmina's, has the school badge as a "clasp" on the front. I like the badge clasp, it's I feel the best place for that thing.

Of course, the overall outfit is very "gaga" in style. I think it's a cool style but there's a few details that just feel really poorly thought out and cheaply implemented.Also, now the idea has been implanted into my filthy mind, I can't unsee the implication of the knee pads, the eye mask, the easy wipe down fabric... Was MGA trolling us here? Did they sit down and say "oh you thought Bratz dressed like hookers? Just you wait!" or did they just not really think this one through? Is my mind just particularly filthy and perverse? I dunno. Still, you can't unsee it either now can you? BWAHAHAHAH.

Jade here was one of the "US" releases, so didn't come with her pet. So I can't comment on the quality of Kissifuss. Still, I can't say I miss the pet at all from this set. I think you could quite happily do away with the pets completely and just have the dolls cheaper. I just don't feel the pets aren't worth the price hike in the UK boxes and certainly aren't worth buying separately.

Overall, I give Jade 3.5 inappropriate innuendos out of 6. She's pretty but her hair quality is terrible and her outfit isn't much better. The fabric chosen feels cheap and parts of the design just come across sloppy and ill defined.

Sashabella Paws

"Cousin" of Bratz Sasha, the first thing that strikes me about Sashabella is how... well... white she is compared to her Bratz namesake. She's more Yasmin toned than Sasha, a kinda generic brown that you see a lot in doll lines as shorthand for "all non Caucasian characters". I'd have loved her to be darker skinned but of course, then she'd be shipped in her own box because MGA doesn't think black dolls should be allowed to hang out with the white ones, they might catch her black or something. *eyeroll*

So Sashabella is the "Animal lover" of the group. Her special power allows her to talk to animals, though I can't help but wonder how interesting animals would be to talk to. Cats would just ignore you, dogs would be all "Omg walk! omg food!" and forget about trying to engage in any sort of intellectual discussion with a goldfish!

Sashabella is, despite not being particularly dark skinned, my favourite of the group. her outfit is the most cohesive in design, incorporating aspects of multiple animal kingdoms. I love that attention to detail and wish they'd extended it to the other character's designs.

Sasha's dress is shimmery like fish scales, decorated with two belts and buckles that serve no purpose other than to break up the pink. The sleeves are made of a faux leathery fabric and the cuffs are pink frills. On her legs she wears green knee high socks/leggings with a criss crossed pattern resembling abstract lizard or snake skin.
Her cape has a fur collar and feather design, which I love but my only complaint would be that the pattern is only on one side... the outside which you DON'T SEE if you have to doll on display. It would have been nice to have been lined, it seems quite flimsy and the fact you can see the pattern through the thin fabric just looks cheap imo.
That said, her cape IS hemmed which is nice. And like the others, has those little plastic hops for her hands so you can pose her dynamically. The bottom of the cape isn't hemmed though (booo) and cut in a jagged pattern. It's a cool cape, I like it despite it being unlined.
in fact, unlike Cloetta and Jade, Sashabella's outfit at least feels like it's ok quality. The fabric isn't tacky or stiff, it fits her well and the details are cute abstract references to her power which I adore. If only Yasmina and Meyganna's outfits had had such thought put into their design instead of feeling kinda throw together. 

Her boots are a fairly dull black affair with pointed toes and her hat is equally as uninteresting being a kinda frosted white with criss cross pattern. It's identical in mould to Yasmina's.

Her earrings are nothing to phone home about. They're an ornate pair of bronze/brass dangle earrings that seem to bear no relation to her theme at all. A shame because you'd have thought themed earrings would have been a pretty easy ask.They're nice enough earrings and they look good on her, but it feels like a wasted opportunity.

Her eyes are cat-like, a vivid green with slitted pupils. I love these inset eyes, inset eyes is something MGA does very well. She wears shimmery green eye shadow which draws even more attention to her striking eyes, which stand out so well against her tanned skin (of course, they'd stand out MORE if she was actually Sasha toned but i'll shut up about that now lol).

Sashabella's hair is white and black, which isn't hugely interesting. Three of the five come with white in their hair which does rather mean the two with coloured hair stand out all the more.
Sasha's hair is the usual MGA stupidly long length, coming down well beyond her knees. I've never liked this length of hair on fashion dolls, it tends to look ratty fast and seems utterly impractical to have hair so long you could trip over it. I'd love to see more dolls with normal person length hair, but MGA particularly seem obsessed with crazy long styles. The style itself is again, pretty boring. It's identical to Cloetta's being long, straight and with a fringe (That's bangs for our American friends).
The black is a top layer and on my doll at least, it's cut much much shorter than the white part. I'm not sure why, it looks odd to me.

The fibre quality is, much like Jade's, nasty and coarse. The white fibre is particularly dry and damaged, though nowhere near as destroyed as Jade's was out the box. The black feels unpleasant but at least smooths out ok. On one side there's what looks like a burn to the hair where the black is actually frazzled and starting to shrink up on itself. I've only ever seen this happen on cheapo clones when exposed to boiling water, and this damage was there straight out of the box. What the heck are MGA doing to these dolls before they box them!?? How do you burn the hair on a factory new doll?

As with most MGA dolls with long hair, Sashabella needed work to look decent out of the box. The cheap fibre combined with the length really does her no favours and even after a boil wash, condition and trim, the ends are still really nasty and split. I'd have to hack a good 2 inches from her hair to get rid of the worst of the damage and i'd really rather not have to be so drastic.

(What a mess)

Sashabella's witchmark is on her upper thigh, which is a new spot. Only she and Cloetta have their mark anywhere but their lower arm. It does unfortunately mean you can't really see the mark under her clothing though. it's a stylised animal face, I think it's meant to be a cat. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of this but it's almost always partially hidden under one of her socks anyway.

Another US release means no pet, Sashabella's pet is a fluffy monstery plant thing called Fluffnscruff. The thing looks part troll, part cactus, part monkey to me. I'm not sure why he seems to have stitched up lips either, didn't Sashabella like talking to animals? He growls when you press a button on his stomach, which is different to all the light up pets in this line I suppose. I can't say i'm particularly sad to not have him though, monster plant monkeys aren't exactly the top of my wishlist right now.

Overall, I give Sashabella 4.5 crazy plant primates out of 5. She feels like the most "complete" of the Bratzillaz in terms of design. her outfit, witchmark, eyes etc all blend nicely with her power and unlike several of the other girls, she doesn't feel like she bought her outfit at the local "adult" store. Her only real issue for me is that hair. The white fibre is SO nasty it's just unforgivable. While you can get it looking ok for photos, you don't want to touch the stuff, it feels horrible. The random hacked black part looks odd and like a child attacked it with scissors, it should blend with the white but it doesn't, it just looks like she's had a bad haircut.
But I am lead to believe later releases have addressed this hair issue, so if you can find one with decent hair fibre, Sashabella is, to me at least, the standout of the line. Such a shame they've decided to go "hooker" in her fashion style in the other Zillaz lines. Maybe someone pointed out she was bucking the theme of "adult entertainment worker" in this release hmm?

Cloetta Spelletta

Now there's an awkward name. Cloetta, I can't help but think of "Cloaca" which i'm pretty sure wasn't the intention. Gross. 
I don't want to think about bird orifices when I read a doll's name.  
A google search only shows me some candy company, so goodness knows where MGA got this name from. I don't like it, it's awkward and I feel kinda ugly. 

But it's just a name right? All the Zillaz really have pretty dumb names when you think about it.

Anyway, Cloetta *shudder* is the "cousin" of Bratz Cloe (Another spelling that's always annoyed me. It's Chloe damnit! Unless her name really was supposed to be pronounced "Clo", hmmm.)
Anyway, again i'm not sure what the relation of this girl to her Bratz counterpart is. Cloe was the blonde, blue eyed chick (I.E the boring one lol) while Cloetta has this crazy half tone deal going on.

She's the shape changer of the group, I think... She changes other people into other things so i'm a bit confused about that. 
Anyway, somehow this means she gets a half and half theme. it's a cool motif but i'm not totally sure what it has to do with transforming people. 

I have to admit, Cloetta was my least favourite of the Zillaz when I first saw them. I dislike pink, her outfit seemed a mess and her two toned thing just didn't work for me. 
Have I changed my tune having her in person? Not really. I still feel she's the weakest of the lot. 

The two toned effect is brave, the heterochromia is a cool effect and far more pronounced than you usually see in media (usually it's one blue, one green because it looks "pretty" or something.) but it does make her look a bit squinty or derp eyed in some pictures.The half toned lips are an interesting touch. Her hair also splits right down the middle, pink and black on one side, white and pink on the other. I can't help but wish they'd gone with a contrast to the pink for one of those sides though, maybe a blue instead. As it is, the pink in both sides kinda merges and I feel ruins the effect. 

She also has pink skin, which I find odd. The others are all human coloured but Cloetta is distinctly pink. Hmmm...

She has mismatched earrings, one large pink hoop in one ear and a black dangly thing in the other. Even her outfit is half black and half pink and she has one pink boot and one black as well. Like Sashabella, they went all out with the theming here and I like that, but the pink puts me off (I'm biased ok?) and the fabric choice is HIDEOUS.

Cloetta's dress is made from that same crappy vinyl as Jade's, but the style just makes the stiff, plastic material all the more ugly here. The dress itself is rather cocktail hour, slutty cocktail hour that is. While not particularly short (now there's a first), it is quite low cut showing off her Witchmark, a crescent moon and stars (Which is significant to... what exactly? Moon phases = transformation maybe? Seems a bit of a lazy mark though, just having the one phase and some random stars.)
one sleeve of the dress has a poofy shoulder part which because the fabric is so stiff, doesn't sit properly. Some coarse lacy stuff is badly stitched to the cuff. the other sleeve is totally detached, it's more a kinda glove thing. it also has horrible lacy stuff badly stitched to the cuff. On both sides this lace is already damaged and fraying.

(Blurry picture, sorry about that. But you can just make out the damage to the cuff) 

The dress, again thanks to the stiffness of the fabric, just doesn't seem to sit correctly to me. The pleats in the front just make it look chunky. it's an ugly dress and I hate it.

Over this dress Cloetta wears some sort of pearl... thing. I don't even know what to describe it as. It starts as a necklace then becomes some sort of top as it winds around her body... what? It draws attention to her chest and looks a bit odd with the dress I feel. 

Thankfully it is removable, but it's not much of an improvement. 

The belt is also white with the pearls on it, why pearls? Are they meant to be pearls? I have no idea, i'm confused. 
For some reason her school badge is on the hip of this belt. How do I know it's not supposed to be a buckle? Because there's some dangly pearly bits that are obviously supposed to be on her OTHER hip. the only problem with the badge being here is that you lose it when she has her cape on. You'd think it'd be in a more prominent position but oh well, at least it isn't half falling off like a lot of the others.

Cloetta's boots are actually quite nice. They're soft and easy to get on and off which I appreciate, especially after the difficulty of getting Monster High shoes off. I don't like to feel like the doll is going to break because I tried to remove her shoes, so it's great to have nice soft pliable boots for easy redressing. 

her hat is like Meygana's, with a simple pink stripe across it. Not hugely interesting, but it works well enough.

Cloetta's cape is unique in the set for two reasons. First, it ties shut instead of velcroing and secondly, it's split into two. One side pink, the other... silver? Why silver? Nothing else in her look is silver, it's all white, black, pink. I can't help but feel black would have been a better choice here and stood out better.
The main problem with this cape however is that it is, yet again, not lined. So you can see the seam through the middle where the two fabrics join. It's ugly and amateur. It is at least totally hemmed though. 
It's a boring cape though. Standard, dull. 

Like Sashabella, Cloetta's hair is a standard long, straight with fringe/bangs. Unlike Sashabella however, Cloetta's hair is beautifully soft. I'm not sure if she's from a different factory or a later release or quite what, but the white fibre is NOTHING like that fishing wire used in Sashabella and Jade. Cloetta's hair is wonderful, perfect out of the box with no need to do anything to it aside from a very quick finger comb to straighten it out. THIS is what doll hair should be like out of the box MGA! 

There's not a huge amount of black in my Cloetta's hair, but all the different tones are at least similar lengths which is a huge improvement over Sashabella's kiddy haircut look. 

I don't love this girl, perhaps because her outfit sucks so much and she's so damn pink, but she's the best quality of the lot of them. Typical right?
I still feel she's the least interesting of the lot. Heterochromia is cool but i do wish they'd picked a slightly more interesting style for her than "Sexy glam" and certainly a far less horrible fabric for the dress. This vinyl stuff is nasty beyond all belief and ruins the shape of anything it's used for. It doesn't sit right, it feels unpleasant and it reeks of cheap adult store costume. I refuse to believe a real teenage girl, witch or not, would wear something made of this fabric day to day. 

She has potential, a little more contrast to her hair for instance, and a much much better outfit would save this girl imo. But as she is? she feels like an incomplete concept. In fact really, a lot of the Zillaz feel like incomplete prototypes. Not quite refined, the rough edges not smoothed off. Combined with the overall fairly shoddy costumes and the terrible hair quality in 4/5 cases, it just isn't good enough. 

Overall, I give Cloetta 3.5 David Bowie references out of 5. She needs a bit too much done to be really striking. One thing is for sure though, no way is she staying in that outfit. 


The Bratzillaz have potential, but only if a LOT of effort is put into getting their hair and outfits up to scratch. their articulation isn't brilliant but it's perfectly serviceable, they don't feel too flimsy and aside from lower leg wonk thanks to random use of softer plastic for that part, their body seems fine to me. The inset eyes are striking and effective, I appreciate the different detail put into each character's eyes and they really do stand out on the shelf because of it.
However, their outfits generally just don't work. either due to poor fabric choice, bad design or simple bad craftsmanship. The stitching is often slapdash, things are fraying straight out of the box and the general quality feels much more pound shop clone doll than big brand. likewise the hair, which is the worst hair quality i've felt on a doll in my life. Even pound shop clones i've owned have had better hair than this! Not just the texture, but the damage before you even get them out of their packaging is unacceptable!
And then there's the price point. here in the UK these retail with pet for £25, that's an OBSCENE amount of money, especially for something so haphazardly put together. The pet itself isn't worth the price hike and now we're starting to see US versions popping up more and more without the pet for £20, which is still far far too much for a doll of this quality.
Consider, a core line Monster high doll is £17:99, they come with a non gimmicky pet, a diary and a very detailed outfit. This is the Zillaz main rival, their competition and they're being beaten on quality, attention to detail AND price right from the start?

So even if the hair fibre was more like Cloetta's and less like Jade's, if the costumes were better? Are they worth the £20 - 25? No. The second wave of Bratzillaz is £25, no pet, some stupid fibreoptic wand thing you'd buy for £2 at a junk shop. The fabric quality still looks a bit dodgy and cheap and while they have improved the hair quality i'm told, it's a ridiculous amount of money for a playline doll.
Price-wise, I wouldn't pick up any of these for more than £18. Even then, it's something that makes me pause for thought.

I paid £16 for Meygana and Yasmina, which was a little more than I felt they were worth having deboxed them. The pet adds no real value and while they're nice enough with a bit of work, they did feel overpriced even on sale.
The other three I paid less than £10 each for which means I can't really complain about their issues. However, these are the exact same dolls that are STILL retailing at £20-25 in stores, the same issues, the same quality.
I have no doubt their price point will be their biggest hurdle and will likely kill the line. Price is a delicate thing to balance and MGA recently seem to be screwing up their UK pricing on a regular basis. While I know they're a smaller company than Mattel and don't ship as much in bulk, the average customer doesn't look at that, they look at price and quality and overall look of the toy and decide. Already a lot of stores don't carry Bratz because they don't sell, I can see Bratzillaz disappearing pretty fast. Especially with the latest two lines being so overpriced. £17:99 for a beach line!? Are you high?

I'm sure i'm not the only one waiting to pick more up on clearance, and that's not something you want customers to be doing. If your product only sells well when heavily discounted, you're doing something wrong.

I like the Bratzillaz, the whole Harry Potter meets fashion doll amuses me, but it feels like it came a little too late to the party. They aren't morbid enough to be in the "monsters are cool" category, but the Harry Potter bubble burst a while back didn't it? Of course they're trying to cash in by adding more monstery witches to the mix, but this just feels like desperation to me. They end up coming across as knock offs to a lot of people, more expensive, lower quality knock offs at that. Where can they go with the brand? Expanding on the "Hey, remember witches? They're cool too!" would be nice. A little more innovation, and a little less jumping on the bandwagon of whatever's flavour of the month would I feel, really help this line forge off on it's own and be able to peer out from the huge shadow cast by Monster High. They need to try to distance themselves from MH while still appealing to that market. There's no reason the two can't coexist, but unless they fix the price point and up the quality, there's no way the Zillaz can compete, let alone survive.

Of course, I do find myself wanting furkini glow in the dark Sashabella, but that's less because she's well designed and more quite the opposite. it's because she's SO terrible she's hilarious. Similarly, the 70s hooker Sashabella cracks me up and makes me want her, but not enough to pay full price just for the amusement of a doll that looks like she belongs on a street corner in a dirty 70s cop film.

Why oh why are the Zillaz dressed out of the Ann Summers catalogue MGA? Are you trolling us? I do wonder. the fabric choice for Cloetta and Jade does NOT help matters.

Maybe this is why I like the Zillaz... because they feel so inappropriate for their target market hahah.