27 Jul 2013

Bratzillaz back to Magic Illiana Honesty

New Argos catalogue tonight, which means NEW TOYS WHEEEE.

So that means more MGA products to review. I dunno, they're really pulling me in with their recent offerings. The Novis are just getting wierder and wierder which I adore, the Zillaz quality is improving with every wave and the Bratz are doing good in my eyes.
So MGA are raking in a whole lot of my dosh right now.

So new catalogue meant a whole load of new lines including the most recent Bratzillaz, Back to Magic. Or should I call them, "pretty in Paisley" as every single one has a paisley outfit! lol. random, but I do rather like paisley so it's all good.

My local Argos only had four of the five characters in stock, Meyganna, Sashabella and new girls Victoria and Illiana.
Because I haven't seen anyone review her already, or indeed take any photos at all, i'll start with Illiana.

Illiana Honesty. 

Illiana comes in an attractive purple box. I think these boxes are a little slimmer than the regular Zillaz boxes but they look pretty similar. Lots of bright graphics, little cardboard pet and the new slogan.. or is it part of the name of the line? "house of witches"
I find that a bit confusing given the "house of witches" tag is larger than the actual Bratzillaz. Is this the new brand name or something?

Anyway, back of the box informs us that Illiana's power is to make people tell the truth, and that you can believe everything she says.
I find it interesting they don't bother to tell you what part of the world she's from. While it's fairly obvious she's Indian, I just find it odd they don't bother to mention this despite their "two new witches from different parts of the world!" thing.
Also, I wonder what her pet's name is. He looks adorable.

 Here's a better look at the pet. A little pink elephant eee. Such a cute pet, I wonder what the gimmick for this one will be.
I don't much like this pets coming separate thing though. It makes me think "what's the point?" you know? They feel like a totally separate line just sorta tacked in there and I was pretty unimpressed with the first wave pets which in my eyes were little more than glorified happy meal toys. I think it's a bit cheeky to charge for them individually.

Illiana has lovely dark skin and very pale purple eyes. It's a striking contrast. Her makeup is a beautiful mix of gold, magenta pink and blue. She has gold and reddish spots around her eyes and little henna style swirls on her cheeks.

Her hair is black and braided, there's little strands of gold tinsel in but it doesn't look to be unravelling like a lot of tinsel streak dolls i've owned. Her hair however, looks pretty fluffy. It's very soft to touch but that frizz at the end isn't particularly pretty.

Her box informs me her class is Tales and Texture. All the characters in this line have a different book pictured.

 her outfit consists of three pieces. A pair of pink paisley harem pants in soft satiny fabric with gold trim. A cropped pink top with gold trim and a shimmery dusky pink sash with long flowy bit to one side. I'm not sure how to describe this piece, it's not a cape but it's also not really a sash because of the random floaty bit. But it's pretty and shimmers metalic gold in the light.

At first I was all "Hey, where's her witch mark?" and here it is. On the back of each hand there's a henna tattoo. I'm not certain what it's supposed to be, a flower?  It looks yellow here but it's actually gold.

And now we prepare for the huge chore that is opening a Bratzillaz box. I HATE these boxes. The bubble packaging means you have to totally tear the box apart trying to get the doll out, so forget keeping the box or managing to keep the backing card half way intact. This thing will be shredded in the process of opening. Grrr.
Also, I cannot work out how to split the backing card to gain access to the backs of the ties. The whole card seems to be so glued together that I can't separate the two halves or even find where the halves meet. It's all just one big cardboard mess, so I resort to tugging and cutting the ties. Messy.

 Here she is deboxed. She comes only with a brush, no stand here. A shame, but if a stand is what they were justifying £25 on their previous release then i'll gladly do without. The Back to Magic dolls are £16:99, which is far more reasonable. However, Mattel still include stands with their £16:99 offerings so it just seems a bit stingy on MGA's part here. No handbag, no stand, just doll and brush. Hmm.

I have to admit, the hat on the side of her head is a bit silly. Her braid is really complex though, with a second braid twisting around the bigger one to hold it all up. I dread to think how awkward this will be to redo if you take her hair down.
Under the hat there's a bit of a bald patch, so the hat stays put for now.

you can see the pretty shimmery sash thing better from behind. Her shoes are squishy gold heels with tiny buckle detail but overall they're pretty simple (they are in fact, Magic night out Yasmina's, just recoloured gold).
I'm also fairly sure she has two left shoes here... hmmm.

 There's some pretty messy obvious seams on her, particularly this arm. And a few dents in her legs from the packaging but that's pretty typical of dolls these days.

 Her eyes are amazing. Slightly misaligned but nothing too serious for me. the irises remind me of Meyganna's lightening eyes, these are like shimmery galaxies. Her makeup is awesome as well, really unusual and it helps make her "pop". I also rather love the two toned lips. It's an odd choice but it kinda works. Certainly she's a striking girl.

 *sigh* Another issue. Frayed seam under arm. I'll have to stitch this. MGA QC rears it's ugly head.

Without the sash Illiana's outfit is really quite basic, and honestly pretty dull. It's pretty, but it's seriously lacking something.
Looking at the promo image on the back of the box it'd seem that somewhere along the production line she lost a bracelet and a necklace, as well as a lot of shoe detail. I'm sure I can find her some jewellery in my box o stuff though, which may just lift this whole design. It's those itty bitty details that make a doll pop.
Still, it's nice to see not much has changed between promo and actual product. Unlike those Witchy Princesses, eugh.

Underneath Illiana has the usual painted panties, silver in this case with a frilly detail lol.
I always find it amusing when they detail painted on panties, it seems so redundant.

Her joints feel a bit looser than the first wave Bratzillaz, but her posing is the same.

Turns out she's the same skin tone as Sashabella. I was wondering if she was maybe a little more saturated in skin tone but nope, same tone.
It's a nice skin tone but it's kinda a shame to have no darker tone than this. While Illiana isn't the right character to be darker (she's pretty spot on for her supposed ethnicity) i'd love to see a really dark skinned Zilla one of these days.
I do find it interesting though that this one line contains not one, but two darker toned characters. It's also interesting to me that Cloetta and Yasmina are absent. I wonder why. Still, I never much liked Cloetta so her absence isn't much missed.

All in all, Illiana photographs beautifully. I think she may even be prettier in photos than she is irl! Photos really bring out her makeup and she can pose just enough to pull some fabulous model looks.

The quality may still not be totally there, but she's a lovely doll and for the price point, i'm not disappointed.

Pros: Gorgeous eyes, as always. Lovely details, decent fabric for clothes! YES!
Cons: Hair is frizzy, though at least it doesn't feel like fishing wire like the first wave. Some badly finished seams in both doll and clothing.

Overall, I give Illiana a solid 7/10 Henna dots. She's basic, but she's beautiful.

Bratzillaz Magic Night Out

Second wave Bratzillaz, the "magic night out" line or as I shall call them "You're really justifying the cost with a crappy fibre optic wand?"

I waited and waited for these to come down in price before taking the plunge. Much like wave 1, these dolls suffered a serious case of "you want HOW much?". £25 is frankly insane, these aren't collector quality, they're playline and not very high quality playline at that!

Now don't get me wrong, I do like the Zillaz, but let's face it, the first wave hardly hit it out the park in terms of quality. The fishing wire hair, the dodgy seams and awful fabric choices, I really do hope this second wave have fixed those issues. Though I still can't see where they're pulling that price tag from.

Today we'll be looking at Yasmina and Sashabella, and expect me to continue to gripe about that price point.

Much like the first wave, the Magic Night out girls come in oversized blister packs with a decorative border in each character's signature colour.

The box informs me the dolls "dance" which i'm pretty dubious about, but as long as it doesn't totally screw up their articulation whatever. They still look to have their knee and elbow joints, so that's something. The dancing livs lost their knee joints so they could shuffle stupidly, so i'm glad that's not happened here.

There's also some fibreoptic wand thing that lights up. It seems pretty pointless to me and certainly doesn't justify that price hike. I'm pretty sure I could buy something like this for a few quid in poundland if I really wanted to. Supposedly it's a broomstick but it doesn't look much like one to me.

The back of the boxes tell you their ability, Sashabella communicates with animals, Yasmina sees the future. it also shows the entire Magic night out including the "we're not jumping on the Monster high bandwagon honest!" vampire character.. eugh.
And the bizarre glow in the dark beach Zillaz who i'm yet to find in stores.

It also repeats the instructions for the dancing, and by dancing it seems they mean "wave my arms like i'm drowning". And the broomstick is also a magic wand for you. Uh huh...

Let's get Yasmina outta her box.

Argh MGA box design strikes again!

So you pry the first layer of the blister pack of doom apart, and are faced with this mess of threads, plastic and tape. I snip what I think is holding her head in, and leave the rest.
Prying the plastic cover from the backing card is awkward, you pretty much have to shred your way in because the glue holding the whole thing together means finding a gap to slide your fingers under and separate the two halves is almost impossible.

I HATE these boxes. MGA were doing great with their super easy Bratz boxes, so why must the zillaz suffer hideous giant blister packs of bulletproofness?

Finally she's free of the plastic bubble at least. You can see she comes with crappy wand thing, brush, stand and doll. See the damage to the backing card? yeah, stupid box.

Her hair is two toned, or technically tri toned. The front is a pale lavender while the back is dark purple and black. It's very very pretty, and very soft. I'm impressed with the hair quality so far, a massive improvement over the first wave's crappiest nylon on the planet.

One hand is gauntleted up in a plastic cast, i've never quite understood why they do this. She's holding a random cardboard version of the spyglass her first wave doll came with. Again, i'm not sure why.

Her dress is poofing up really wierd from the ties holding it, and those dots have me thinking of giant purple strawberries.

Free at last!

Yasmina's hair is quite striking and her bangs sit nice and flat, actually.. a bit too flat as I soon discover they're STUCK TO HER FACE. Evidently they were slicked down while her facepaint was still wet as the hair is glued to her eyebrows. Carefully prying it off leaves a small amount of damage to her brows but oh well, it's covered by her hair anyway.

The hair is soft and feels slightly greasy at the back. I'm suspecting it might be saran but my hair fibre knowledge isn't great. it doesn't feel like nylon though, it's too slick feeling.

Yasmina here has the same eyes as her first wave doll, yellow with a purple ring around the outside of the iris. They're still beautiful and still so striking against her purple hair.
I like that they've incorporated the yellow into her outfit here, with a shimmery yellow underskirt.
Her lips are a deep slightly metalic plum and her makeup is soft pinks and purples.
Earrings are long dangly purple things, they don't seem to be of anything in particular, just dangly generic earrings.

The hat is gold with a big black bow. Is this a new mould? I'm not sure.

Her dress is made up of lots of bits. There's the fishnet underpiece with the metalic purple bodice and poof skirt. Those little embossed dots still look like strawberry seeds lol. The poofing is odd, the dress is stitched to the underskirt only in a few places to give the puff, but it means it needs a bit of adjusting to sit right.
The underskirt is a yellow ruffle stitched to a fragile looking net underskirt. I can see this tearing VERY easily in play.

However, all the seams seem to be fine and while the construction is hardly what i'd call sturdy for play, there's no obvious flaws or dodgy sewing here.

There's a tiny black lace trim to the underskirt, which isn't fraying! Horah!

Yasmina's cape is quite neat. It's got a pearl necklace chain and velcros at the back so you can remove it. The actual piece is made of purple fishnet and hemmed in yellow. Omg a hemmed cape! YES!
Sadly, there's no loops on this one for swishy poses. A shame, those swishy pose plastic loops from the first wave were a great idea.

Both dolls have very similar faceups, the makeup is similar colours though I think Magic night Out might be a little brighter. The major difference here is the hair, and what a difference it makes!

First wave Yasmina's hair is a mess of overcomplex design and poor hair quality. It's coarse and unpleasant to touch, redeemed only by the fact it's all braided so you can't really see how BAD it is.
Magic Night Out's hair on the other hand, is lovely and soft though the dark parts seem to like to flick out a bit at one side.

The witch marks are different. I can't tell if this is an error or intentional, but Magic Night Out Yasmina's eye of Horus is missing the black pupil. Very odd.

Now we get to that silly wand thing. it comes with two options, bristles or orb.

Both light up fairly bright, but I still fail to see the point of this.
but the box claimed it was also a broomstick so let's see if it fulfills that function.

It's a little difficult to get her to pose with it, but actually, yeah.. it does work as a racing broom. I had a lot of fun flying her around the room singing the Bewitched theme tune... yes... i'm a big child sometimes ok?
I can see these actually being quite good for play and I can't help but wish they'd just made them actual BROOMS rather than light up wand things. The playability of them as a broom and only a broom is great fun. Meyganna totally needs her own Nimbus class broom bwhahaha.

The other piece works great as a crystal ball. Yasmina's the perfect character for such an item. Problem is, while it suits her great, I can't see why the other characters would have any use for one. yasmina's who thing is divination, it could have been neat for each of the girls to have a character specific accessory instead.

"I see a lot of Harry Potter references in my future... "

So overall, Yasmina isn't a bad doll. Quality wise she's pretty good but I can't say she's worth £25. At £16 i'm not grumbling, but no way is she worth full retail. That fibre optic wand thing is really just glorified junk, you could get the same playability from a twig if you really wanted a broom for your doll. While it was fun swishing around with it, it's primary purpose seems to be "light up thing" rather than broom for your doll and that's a bummer. Maybe i'm just too old to be wowed by light up things, I don't know.

It's great to see the hair and clothing quality improved upon. I was anxious these would be just as terribly slapped together as the first wave but I was pleasantly surprised by Yasmina's soft hair and well constructed dress.

She's a beautiful doll, i've always said MGA do inset eyes well and they certainly haven't disappointed here.

Overall, I give Yasmina 9 plastic light up brooms out of 10. Her biggest letdown is her retail price.

Now Sashabella!

Same gripes about the box, stupid bloody packaging.

Sasha has a bad case of "box bangs" going on here. poor girl.

Her makeup is pretty striking with high curved brows and white, bronze and a bronzy green toned eyeshadow. She has a bit of a lip smudge and random smears of red on her face if you look really close. I'm gonna have to give her a little wash down with some nail polish remover to try to clean that up. Hello MGA QC, welcome back.

Still, it's a pretty minor gripe in the grand scheme of things. At least her eyes are fairly even and she's not missing chunks of paint like SOME of the first wave I saw... eek.

Sashabella free from her box.

She's been nicknamed "Hookerbella" by a fair few people in the doll collector community and I totally get why. This outfit.. oh my. It looks like something you'd see a streetwalker in a 70s dirty cop film wearing. "hey baby, wanna good time?"
Would a teenaged girl really wear something like this to her prom? Would she even be allowed in? lol.


The hat is crazy high, it's about twice the height of the other hats and I think it looks a bit pilgrimmy as a result. It, like her shoes, are a vivid green but they're the only green bits here. It seems a bit random, something in the dress being green might have helped tie this look together.

The dress is leather effect with a fishnet middle piece and fur hem. The sleeves are a separate bolero/jacket piece.

She has big silver earrings which are just randomly frilly, they're not hugely interesting but they work fine.

Without the jacket she looks even less appropriately dressed. Wowza Sashabella, "you aren't leaving my house dressed like that!"

Sasha's hair looks a mess but it's actually really soft and SO MUCH better than her first wave. This is more like my first wave Cloetta's hair, soft and manageable rather than the coarse, nasty fishing wire of first wave Sashabella and Jade.
Her bangs are really choppy though, they stick out in random directions and i'll need to give her a bit of a treatment with some hot water to get them to lay flat.
She also has a few bald patches between where the bangs are rooted and the rest of the hair starts. Eugh.
There's a really random curly chunk of hair, i'm not sure why or what it's supposed to look like but it just looks a bit messy and arbitrary to me.

Alongside first wave Sashabella you can see how messy those bangs are! Also, her eyes are a totally different colour, they're a really muted green instead of the vivid green of her previous version. It's quite an attractive change.

Unlike Yasmina. the witch marks are the same but Magic Night Out Sashabella's is a bit higher placed. I'm not sure if this is just a difference in every doll regardless of line or what. There does seem to be a bit of "drift" with the placement of these marks.

Magic Night Out's hair looks whiter in pictures, which is because it's much better quality fibre. While first wave's hair may look ok in photos, it's horrid to touch. I cut a lot off the bottom on this doll and washed it repeatedly to get it to this point, meanwhile Magic night's hair is lovely and soft straight out the box. Aside from that random curled bit, which needs taming. 

Tying the majority of the hair back helps. 

The soft lower legs are a pain in the butt still. This poor girl has rickets or something, her legs keep flopping all over the place and bending unnaturally. I do wish they'd use normal rigid plastic for the lower legs, there's no obvious reasoning for using the bendy vinyl.

I forgot about the dance mechanism with yasmina, yeah, that's how amazing it is.
So it's less "dancing" more "Flailing wildly as if drowning"
Sasha here is showing off her "moves", doesn't she look amazing?

So, you twist their hips and their arms swing around like mad, whacking the doll in the face and everything. It's pretty hilarious, but also pretty ridiculous.
Thankfully the gimmick doesn't interfere with the pose-ability otherwise. Aside from her arm randomly flying out to whack you when you're trying to move her legs into position, she can still pull the same moves her non "dancing" companions can.

Overall, i'd give Sashabella 6 grimy cop dramas out of 10.
While the hair quality is a much needed improvement, her hair styling leaves a lot to be desired. The curled bit is random and unattractive, it just looks unintentional and messy. Her bangs are terrible and there's random bald patches.
Her outfit is just awful, and while it amuses the hell out of me that she's dressed so much like a hooker, it really doesn't seem at all appropriate for a children's toy line. It doesn't look like something a real girl would wear, it's not flattering and the random green accessories don't tie in with the rest at all.
Her hat looks more pilgrim than witch and the dancing mechanism is plain pointless.

Is she worth £25? hell no.

She's got beautiful eyes, but that's about it for the poor girl. I want to love her, but until she gets a full restyle, she's relegated to back of the shelf.
Poor Hookerbella.

Overall, my impressions of the Magic Night Out line is positive in terms of the quality. Some of the design choices (Sashabella ahem) are questionable but the outfits seem well constructed and the hair fibre is infinitely better than the first wave. They're a huge improvement over their debut release, so here's hoping this line can continue to improve.
The articulation is sufficient, it's nothing amazing but it works. The inset eyes are gorgeous and the dolls really do photograph amazingly well.

They're still massively overpriced, but on clearance, worth a look.