Anyway, Bratz dolls first appeared in 2001 and have been dominating an impressive chunk of the fashion doll market ever since. Mattel and MGA Entertainment have been suing each other back and forth over these dolls since about 2005--MGA claiming that the My Scene dolls are a rip off of Bratz and Mattel claiming that they actually own the rights to Bratz because the Bratz designer allegedly came up with the idea for these dolls while he was working for Mattel. A third party is suing Mattel and MGA for stealing what he claims is his idea. Sheesh. It's a big mess, and for a while there, I remember there was some serious tension among collectors about whether or not Bratz would be permanently pulled from the shelves.
Things seem to have calmed a bit on the legal front (after lots of money flew back and forth) and Bratz is alive and well and legally owned by MGA. I have always been mildly interested in this legal battle (I mean, who wouldn't be? Two behemoth doll companies locking horns is the doll collector's version of watching the World Series) but as I said, I have never been interested in purchasing a Bratz doll...until last week. Last week I plunked down $20 for a Bratzillaz doll, and I'll tell you why in a sec. First, here's a picture of the doll I chose (the redhead, of course):
|"Meygana Broomstix" Bratzillaz doll by MGA|
Ok, back on track--why did I buy this Bratz doll? Well, I have been in a vulnerable state ever since Liv dolls were discontinued. Feeling my pain, one of you kindly emailed with the consoling news that the newest line of Bratz dolls would have a high level of articulation and inset eyes--two of the features I love so much about Liv. I scoffed at first, thinking I'd never buy a Bratz doll, but then I saw them in the store. They're pretty neat.
The character I bought, Meygana, looks like this in her pictures:
There are magic secrets to be unlocked online, but I probably won't go there.
And like this as a doll:
That's confusing. I think a green-eyed doll with wild silver hair (like in the picture) would be very cool, but I also like the actual red-haired doll with blue eyes. I'm just not sure what the two have in common.
Anyway, on the back of the box, there's a fair amount of information:
Meygana has the special magical power of helping people fly and making their "dreams take flight." Actually, on the box it says she can, "help you fly," which I assume means me. She can help me fly. Cool.
|I can't fly...yet.|
She's friends with a mini flying horse, "Wingsy." He doesn't make an appearance as a minifigure in the box. I guess the Bratzillaz pets will be sold separately. I wish he'd come in the box. He's pretty cute:
|The name is so boring, though. |
Why not something like Zelfirino?
You can see all five of the available dolls pictured on the box: Jade, Sashabella, Yasmina, Cloetta and Meygana. The names are plays on the regular names of the Bratz lineup--Sasha, Yasmin, Cloe and Meygan. My Toys R Us had all of them, and I liked Meygana and Yasmina the best. Cloetta made my short list because she has mismatched eyes, but she also has lips that are different colors on opposite sides, and the overall imbalance in her face didn't quite do it for me.
|The picture totally makes it look like each doll comes with a pet.|
(well, ok, it does say, "pets sold separately").
Meygana's box is a plastic bubble with a double-layered cardboard back. If you rip off one layer of cardboard, you see this:
Meygana comes with a broom-shaped brush, what looks like a broom-shaped purse around her neck, a collector's card and a stand. Wingsy is just a cardboard cutout.
|It looks like a broom guitar.|
Getting Meygana off the cardboard was hard. This section, at the back of her head, was the hardest:
|That's red thread, plastic holders, tape AND plastic ties. The works.|
On the back of the card is the spell that is supposed to make me fly (it doesn't work, but it's possible that I was mispronouncing "Bratzacadabra"). I guess it's more of a metaphorical flying they're talking about. Bummer.
The broom-brush is a great idea, and it would work pretty well as a brush...if you could actually brush this doll's hair (more on that later):
The stand comes in two pieces that fit together easily. It is made of a flimsy plastic, but it holds the doll well. It reminds me of a Pullip stand without the telescoping arm.
Here's Meygana fresh out of the box. She has goggles and a tiny witch hat tied to her head. She has one long plastic dangle earring (the other one fell out), a cape, and this strange broom item hanging around her neck.
The hair. Oh, my goodness goodness. This is hands-down the worst hair I have ever seen. If I said that before (I probably did) scratch that and replace it with this hair. This hair is coarse, frizzy (not just at the ends, but frizzy everywhere...) and tangled. I could not run a brush (or my heavy duty comb) through this hair even once...or even part way.
|It's road kill hair.|
It looks like a crazy, flattened mat of tangles, right? It is.
The hair takes up all available energy when trying to manipulate this doll, so I quickly removed the goggles and the cape to reduce the complexity. The cape is thin and pretty cheaply made with no hems or finishing of any kind. It closes at the top with a small velcro square:
There's still a plastic tie stuck in the cape from my box extraction. There's also a small clear plastic loop on each side of the cape that I think will fit around the doll's hands or wrists:
The goggles are great. They are brown and gold and have molded stitching detail and a white elastic strap:
Ok, back to the hair. The only parts of the hair you can attack with a brush are the very ends, and in these areas, the brush just kind of sticks into the hair, moves a centimeter and then you have to pull the brush out because it gets stuck. Then, you stare in dismay at the huge mess you've made:
After fluffing the hair, it becomes harder to get the doll to stand, because this mass of hair is heavy. She wants to tip over backwards like you can't believe:
Forget flying, I wish there was a magic spell to fix this:
|Clown costume hair.|
Under that mass of hair, Meygana has a neat face. She has side-glancing sapphire eyes that are probably the most beautiful and interesting inset eyes I have ever seen in a play doll:
The eyes are surrounded by very heavy blue opalescent eyeshadow. I am not crazy about the shape of the Bratz mouth, but I like the dramatic color of Meygana's lips and the hint of teeth in her smile:
I put that earring back in, but the earrings are very poorly made. The right one keeps falling out:
The design is pretty...
But on both earrings, the short peg that inserts into the ear is crushed. Maybe it's hard to see in this picture, but the white area on the peg is where the plastic is bent--like it was jammed into the ear with some degree of force and it couldn't handle the pressure.
|That peg seems way too short to stay in the ear anyway.|
The ear hole is large and crudely cut.
That's the last you'll see of the earrings. I tossed them aside and moved on. Here's the broom that was hanging around Meygana's neck:
It's not a purse (it doesn't open, anyway) and it's too short to be an actual broom. It's heavy and cumbersome and poorly made (that back panel looks like it should open, but only because it's falling off). Another accessory tossed aside.
Here's Meygana, unencumbered by her accessories:
Now I can appreciate that she has a tattoo of two wings on her arm:
|That's her "witchmark," to help with the flying spell.|
Next, I wrestled the plastic hat out of her hair. This was held in place with a clear rubber band, and then secured by two little ponytails of hair. It didn't come off without a fight.
The hat struggle left Meygana's hair looking like this...
...at which point I decided that I couldn't proceed with the review if the hair wasn't fixed somehow. I had to use a real human-sized ponytail holder to secure this mega rat's nest:
With the hair out of the way, the outfit is revealed. Meygana is wearing a blue print tube top that is connected to a gold bolero jacket. On the bottom, she wears a pleated denim skirt with a gold pleather waist band.
Both pieces close in the back with velcro:
The gold fabric is pretty nice--it's surprisingly soft and pliable. I can't help but contrast this skirt to the cheap blue vinyl skirt of Winx Club Bloom's outfit. This skirt is much nicer and looks like it will hold up well to play.
|There's no hem on the bottom, though.|
The skirt has sewn-in black panties to prevent it from riding up. Much better than a plastic thong.
The top is nice, too. The cap sleeves have well-concealed elastic on the ends for easy dressing. The design is fun and I love the colors. It's almost steampunk.
The tiny plastic crest has silhouettes of a shoe, a ring, a bikini and, what? A perfume bottle, maybe? It says "fashion" at the top and "Magic Academy" in the middle. They could have given the Academy a name, I think. "Stylz and Spellz?" "Fabrix and Magix?" Anyway, the crest is very reminiscent of Hogwarts, and the colors are exactly those of Gryffindor.
Meygana is wearing black boots with pointy toes and painted gold buckles.
The pointy toes are a cute nod to stereotypical witch shoes.
With the horrible hair out of the way, Meygana's fascinating face is much easier to inspect. My doll has a tiny black spot in between her eyes that I can't remove. She also has a shiny patch on her forehead.
Her eyes are incredible!
The eyes have detail, depth and a bit of sparkle. I love the side-glancing position because it gives her so much personality. The eyes are fancy enough that I think they could have laid off the eye makeup a bit, but from what I understand, Bratz dolls are not known for subtle makeup.
Look at this eye, though:
A strand of her unruly hair actually got stuck inside the eye socket. At least now I know that these dolls are rooted before they have their eyes set. Interesting tidbit.
|I had to get out the tweezers to remove that hair.|
Underneath the clothes, Meygana does, indeed, have a highly articulated body. She has 12 points of articulation, and good range of movement in all of those joints. Her ankles are not articulated.
Her vinyl is very pale--almost white. It's be tricky to match her head to a replacement body.
Do you notice the gap in her waist joint? Maybe it's just my doll, but this looks sloppy:
|She has a stocky little torso.|
She can kneel pretty well, but nothing like a Liv doll.
The gaping waist joint has a good amount of rotation:
She can sit pretty nicely, but that beehive of hair is too heavy...
...and she tends to topple.
|There she goes...|
Her lower legs are rubbery vinyl, like we saw with Winx Club Bloom and the new Disney body. These legs are really bendy. I'm not sure why this material gets used again and again for the lower legs. This doll, at least, doesn't have any warping or deformity, but the flexibility of the legs makes her wobbly when standing. Also, there's a subtle color difference between the flexible body parts (the hands and lower legs) and the hard plastic:
|Her hands are very straight and flat--a bit robotic.|
There she goes again.
The hip joints have great flexibility and she can do full splits in both directions:
|The difference in the color of her lower legs and hands is pretty noticeable here.|
Here's a lineup. Meygana can't look straight ahead because of her ginormous ball of hair.
|Barbie Fashionista Artsy, Liv Katie, Meygana, Disney Rapunzel (new version), Monster High Clawdeen|
The thing that stands out in this lineup is how short Meygana's torso is. She looks a bit stumpy. I had to pose her with that wide-legged stance to support the planet of hair.
Meygana's body is not as well made or attractive as a Liv body. Liv's posing is much sturdier because she is made completely out of hard plastic (well, except for her hands). Liv's joints are also tighter and she handles better. However, Meygana can keep up with the posing to a certain degree:
|There'll be no body swapping with that color difference.|
Meygana's head rotates and it can bend from side to side. She can't look up or down very much.
|Katie is the all-time kneeling champion.|
You can probably tell from the pictures that she's not going to fit any of the other doll's clothes very well. Maybe she fits regular Bratz clothes? I don't have any to test this. Maybe one of you can help?
Monster High clothes are too small. Barbie (left) and Liv (right) clothes are too loose:
Disney dresses gape at the neck and are too long. Her pale vinyl makes her look a bit like the Bride of Frankenstein in these pictures.
Winx Club Bloom's skirt actually fits Meygana pretty well, but Meygana's skirt doesn't quite pull up high enough on Bloom. Meygana's large hands don't fit into Bloom's crop top sleeves.
|Bloom's face looks so blank compared to Meygana's.|
So, I don't like to modify a doll during a review, but this doll's hair is so awful, I can't really do anything fun or creative with her while that scraggly mop is in place.
I mean, was this the look MGA imagined for Meygana??
|Fashionable teenage witch? I think not.|
It might look dramatic or fun in the pictures, but in my opinion, this hair completely ruins the doll.
I boiled and combed her hair until my wrist actually hurt. The tangles and frizz are not confined to just the ends of the hair. The mess went up so high towards the scalp that I couldn't do anything with this hair until I gave it a significantly shorter, very layered cut. And then I boiled it again. And again. And after about forty five minutes, I got this:
It's not a perfect cut, and the texture of the hair is still a bit coarse, especially at the ends.
Talk about magic, though--after the haircut, this doll suddenly came to life.
I started posing her and putting some of her accessories back on (which is easy without the tangle of hair) and realized that I was having a lot of fun.
The cape that I so quickly dismissed is actually neat. You can loop it around her hands for some dramatic poses.
Even the goggles look much better with the new haircut:
This girl loves the camera!
She can be sweet:
|Talk to the hand.|
|Hey there, Mr. Potter.|
Bottom line? Wow. This is a tough one, because although there are many creative and effective ways to fix a doll, I don't think that it should be required. Especially in a children's toy. This is why I typically shy away from cutting hair, re-shaping legs, re-positioning eyes or anything like that in my reviews. A play doll should come out of the box in good shape--ready to be played with. This doll is a total nightmare out of the box. I found her un-playable. There's no excuse for this kind of hair--Disney and Spin Master have proven again and again that's it's possible to have great hair on an inexpensive doll. So as not to be hypocritical, I asked myself why other dolls' unruly hair doesn't bother me to this extreme. For example, Lagoona frequently suffers from tangles and frizz. I think Lagoona's hair bothers me less because she has less hair, the tangles are less severe, and you can still pose her and play with her (and she looks great) despite the bad hair. It's also that I was able to fix Lagoona's hair in five minutes with one boil and no cutting. Meygana takes bad hair to a new level.
This review should probably end with the hair and my unequivocal stamp of disapproval. However, Meygana won me over a bit at the end with her hypnotic eyes and her posable body. Even her hair, when cut, is pretty great with its flame red color and soft waves. I had a wonderful time posing her and photographing her. Her clothes are interesting and well constructed, and even that cape (while cheaply made) adds significantly to the fun of the doll. I wish she'd come with a mini Wingsy instead of some of the other pointless accessories. I'd change a few things about the body--namely the bendy legs, the short torso and the unattractive waist joint. On the whole, though, this doll poses better than the Winx Club doll, the Disney dolls and many of the other new lines. I like her much better than the Winx Club doll, which is definitely not what I expected. For a person who never thought she'd like a Bratz doll, and who was so frustrated by this doll's hair, the degree of appreciation I have for Meygana is remarkable. Maybe there was a little magic involved.
I might have to inspect one or two of the other characters to see if the problems are pervasive, or just unique to Meygana and my particular doll.
5 and up.
If the hair had been decent, $20 would be a fair price.
The hair is awful and hopelessly tangled. The doll is highly articulated and the inset eyes are beautiful and unique. The outfit is skimpy but well made, the cape is cheap but fun. Some of the plastic accessories are poorly made.
Mostly plastic, takes a fair amount of effort to get the doll out. A huge pain to recycle the cardboard.
No. This is a play doll.
Very posable. Has a witch theme that is obvious but not restrictive. The pale vinyl and heavy make-up are dramatic, but the doll could pass as a normal person. Doesn't share a lot of clothes.
While this doll has several great qualities and is surprisingly fun, I can’t recommend her because of the factory hair. Maybe try one of the other Bratzillaz instead.