Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ever After High "Ashlynn Ella and Hunter Huntsman" Set

I reviewed Ever After High's Apple White doll back in July, and while I wanted to be super-enthusiastic about her, she left me feeling underwhelmed.  Her round head and plain features were not as pretty as I had hoped, and her outfit was nowhere near as creative as it could have been.  On top of that, many of you reported that there are widespread problems with the facial screening on these dolls, leaving some of them unacceptably wonky-eyed.

Despite these issues, Apple has enough good qualities that I was cautiously optimistic about the arrival of my favorite Ever After High character--Cinderella's daughter, Ashlynn Ella.  When the first pictures of Ashlynn were released, I was disappointed to see that she comes in another short generic princess dress.  I was hoping for something more original.  On the other hand, I was thrilled to see that Ashlynn comes with the first male doll in the Ever After High lineup, Hunter Huntsman, who is the son of...you guessed it, the Huntsman:

Ever After High Ashlynn Ella
Ever After High "Ashlynn Ella and Hunter Huntsman."
I love the name Ashlynn Ella.  To me it is the perfect mix of traditional Cinderella and modern teenager.  It doesn't seem like the same level of thought went into poor Hunter's name, though.  Hunter is a nice modern name, but Hunter Huntsman is too obvious and repetitive.  Why not Hunter Blade, Hunter Woods or Manny Hunt?  In Mattel's defense, though, there's not a lot of background material to accompany the Snow White huntsman character, unless you want to reference newer versions of the fairy tale.  Disney called the huntsman Humbert, and in the most recent movie rendition, Snow White and the Huntsman, the huntsman is named Eric.  Hunter Ericson, maybe?

Anyway, many of the details and features of the Ever After High dolls can be found in the Apple White review and in AJ's guest review of Madeline Hatter.  In this review, I will try to focus on things about this set that are new and different.  For starters, the set costs $34.99 at most stores (Amazon, Walmart, Toys R Us, Target) but is listed for $60 at Justice--on sale for $36.  What is up with Justice?  Is their stuff always on a 40% sale?  Why not just mark things with the real prices?  In any case, $35 seems like a fair price given that Apple, Maddie, Briar and Raven cost about $22 and the Legacy Day single dolls cost over $25.

The packaging is very similar to the first dolls' packaging, the only difference being that this box has two dolls in it instead of only one:



The back of the box is packed with text, fitting in quite a bit of information about both characters:


Hunter is a kind-hearted guy who would rather heal animals than hunt them.  He's classified as a Rebel, presumably because he isn't royal, and also maybe because he's balking at his obligation to be a huntsman?  Except he is a huntsman, despite his distaste for hurting animals, which doesn't seem very rebellious.  It seems pretty obedient.  I probably need to watch the show.  Anyway, here's Hunter's description and interview so that you can read them: 


He sounds a bit like he's reading the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of his interview, but he manages to work in a "boo-ya" (which I think should be "booyah"):


Here's a question: is "fairy tale" one word or two?  I have always assumed it was two words, but with all of the fairy tale dolls I have been reviewing recently, I have seen it written both ways.  For example, in the interview, above, Hunter says that he wants to make his and Ashlynn's "fairytale a reality."  I think both versions are correct, but I still can't decide which one to use.

Here's Ashlynn's information:


I think it's cute that she's obsessed with shoes--it seems less cliche for the daughter of Cinderella to have this trait.  She claims that she can talk to plants, though, which I guess is fine, but if the plants start talking back...then I'm a little worried about her.

"Fairy-fail" is pretty funny.
There are a ton of magic references and puns in these descriptions and in the background stories of the two dolls (the environmental magic class, "hexquisitely," "hexpect," etc.).  It's all very reminiscent of Hogwarts.  Again, I have not watched the TV show, but I don't think of fairy tale princesses as being magic--only the actual fairies.

Here are the dolls removed from the outer plastic window box.  They each come with their own bookmark-shaped background story and seem to have a lot of accessories:


I have to say, I liked Ashlynn the first time I laid eyes on her.  She is different from Apple in all of the right ways.  Her head doesn't appear as round as Apple's, her skin isn't pale white, and she has reasonably straight eyes:


I liked Hunter fairly well right off the bat, too.  He's almost like a combination between a Monster High boy and Jake from the Liv line:


As with the other Ever After High dolls, these two have plastic stands tucked into the spine of the book-shaped box.  Ashlynn's stand is gold, Hunter's is silver.  There is also a small gold plastic brush and the two bookmark stories.  The best part about Ashlynn's story, by the way, is her reference to the fact that several girls have a Prince Charming in their destiny.  To accommodate these happy endings, there are several brothers who are the sons of Prince Charming (Daring Charming, Dexter Charming and...?  There should be three because Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty all have a Prince Charming in their stories).


The stands are identical except for the color and the fact that Hunter's waist grip is wider:



The back of the box has the same sentence fragments and jumbled languages that I was trying to translate on Apple's box:


I always end up trying to figure out a few sentences because it drives me nuts that I don't know what this box says.  It's unrewarding, though.  For example, I find a section like this that looks like it has a complete sentence in a single language: 


And then I type "Comme si elle etait vraiment ca peu..." into Google Translate, and its best guess is that it's French for: "As if she really was his little..." but I can't read what comes next!  She's his little what?  I want to know!

Enough of that.  Here are the dolls--they come with their hands tied together:

She's his little...captured convict??
Let's look at Ashlynn:



What caught my eye first is her little ring.  It's tiny, but it's clearly recognizable as a bird!


I love this ring.
Ashlynn is also holding a fancy clock-shaped purse:


The purse has a lot of detail.  All four sides have clock faces on them, three of the clocks are molded into the gold plastic, one is a black and white sticker:

It's just before midnight...

The purse has a plastic strap and a round handle on top that looks like a latch of some sort.  This round piece spins, but the top of the purse does not come off.  Or at least I haven't figured out how to get it off.  I have managed to pull the purse strap off and make the whole thing creak like it was about to break, but I cannot get the darn thing to open.  This is too bad since I enjoy keeping Apple's small accessories in her cute apple purse.

Access denied.
Looking at Ashlynn for the first time gave me the same excited feeling that I get with some Monster High dolls--the ones that are just packed with clever little details and accessories.  


For example, I had dismissed Ashlynn's earrings at first glance because I thought they were simple dangling rods.  They're not.


From the front, it's hard to tell what they are...


..but from the side it's easy.  They're miniature shoes!


They're spectacularly cute and even have bows on the toes:



After seeing these, I got pretty excited about Ashlynn's necklace.  What could it be?


The necklace is not as impressive as the ring, but it's still cute.  I think it's a pair of birds and maybe a cage in the background?  It's hard to see:



Ashlynn's last piece of gold jewelry is a bangle bracelet:


It has an assortment of little shoes hanging from it--some of them more recognizable as shoes than others.  Here you can see a pump in front and a laced boot off to the left!


After exploring all of the jewelry, I finally started to take a closer look at Ashlynn's face.  I don't consider Apple White a conventionally pretty doll, but Ashlynn is different.  Her head seems smaller, but I think it's just that part of her forehead is covered with hair...and her face isn't ghostly white.   Ashlynn has full lips and a nice skin tone, which give her a more elegant, normal-looking appearance:


Here's a side-by-side comparison--I think those lips make Ashlynn look a bit like a Monster High doll:


Ashlynn has emerald green eyes and tastefully-applied eye makeup.  Her eyebrows are thick, but they're not drawn with solid lines.  Instead, they have a cross-hatch texture in them, which I think looks nice from a distance:


Ashlynn has a different mouth shape than Apple.  Her lips are larger and stick out a bit more in profile.


Here's another side-by-side comparison.  Apple's mouth looks pinched (and a little pouty) in comparison.


The lips have a very nice shape, and are accented with the three reflective dots that all of the Ever After High girls seem to have:


Ashlynn's hair is a beautiful highlighted natural blonde color and is styled with a bouffant ponytail in back, and a braided strand circling the top of her head.  She wears a pink headband in her hair that is held down with several clear rubber bands:



The execution of the hairstyle around her headband could be a lot better.  It's very sloppy on the left side, revealing way too much scalp:


The headband is fine, but I'm not sure it's necessary.  The braided strand across the top of Ashlynn's head almost acts like a headband, and the headband itself messes up her hair.  Also, it's hard to see what the design of the headband is supposed to be:


Actually, I think my doll's headband was on backwards.  This is the way it was positioned on her head:

Feathery devil horns with sea anemones on either side?
And this is the other side:

Leaves and birds!
I think the bird and leaf pattern is much clearer on the side that was facing towards the back of her head.  That's easy to fix, though:


One frustrating element of the hair, which you can see in the picture above, is that the braid that runs across the top of Ashlynn's head is tied behind her right ear with a small clear rubber band.  This leaves the short, frizzy ends of the braid sticking out near her face and adding to the messy look of her hairstyle.

I brushed Ashlynn's hair with my wire brush, hoping that it would be smooth and shiny.  It's actually not very different from Apple's hair.  The fiber is soft, but tends to look frizzy and a little messy.  It gets worse towards the bottom of the hair--as if she needs her split ends trimmed.


Ashlynn is wearing a multicolored dress with a short flower print pencil skirt and tulle peplums that have a metallic gold vine design.


The skirt on this dress is very tight, and it limits Ashlynn's mobility.



I don't care for the red flower print on the underskirt.  It's partly the color combination that bothers me, and partly that the circular arrangement of the the flowers is in a scale that's too large to match the skirt.  It looks like there are big, unintentional gaps in the pattern:


There's a lot going on with this dress.  It has a glittery sea foam bodice with a deep v-neck that is filled in with a floral print insert that matches the skirt.  The neckline is decorated with gold sparkly trim.


The dress has little pink cap sleeves and longer sheer blue tulle sleeves:


Ashlynn has semi-transparent blue vinyl shoes with flexible vines twining up her legs:


The shoes are heavily decorated with molded scrolling vines, leaves and flowers:


The shoes are fun, and seem to be a modern, plant-inspired interpretation of Cinderella's glass slippers.   They're a bit overdone, and might have more charm with a less-cluttered design, but they're more interesting than Apple White's shoes.  The vine feature is my favorite part, although if these are meant to be glass slippers, the idea of glass vines twined around someone's legs gives me the shivers.  It looks like the curls will make it difficult to put the shoes on, but they actually wrap easily and naturally around Ashlynn's legs.


There's a consistent plant theme to Ashlynn's outfit, but many of the components are too ordinary for the theme to make a big impression.  

Ashlynn's body shape and articulation are the same as Apple's.  There's a striking difference in the two vinyl colors, though:


Here are the two dolls in their clothes with their accessories (Apple isn't wearing her black tights in this picture, though):


The dolls have very similar outfits and accessories.  I think Ashlynn's jewelry is more detailed and special, and her shoes are more creative.  I prefer Apple's purse (it actually opens) and I like that her dress doesn't limit her flexibility.  I don't feel that either doll needs a headband, but Ashlynn's headband is more unique and versatile, and it matches nicely with her pink sleeves.  If Ashlynn had a better skirt on her dress (maybe a layered mix of tulle colors that resembled an upside-down peony?) and her clock purse actually opened, I would find her to be an improvement over Apple in every way.


I tried to tame Ashlynn's frizzy hair by putting some braids on either side of her face.  This helped a little bit:




Before I show you Hunter, I have to admit that I wanted this set for Ashlynn Ella alone.  I am a huge fan of Cinderella, and would have bought her no matter what else came in the box--clowns, scorpions, smelly socks....anything.  Given that mentality, it was easy to like Hunter.  

The first thing I noticed about this young huntsman is that his neck joint is loose.   He has a bad case of floppy-head:


It is possible for him to hold his head up straight, which is a relief:


Hunter's stand works nicely for him, but he doesn't need it.  He stands well on his own, especially when he's wearing his heavy boots.


Hunter's face grabbed my attention before anything else.  He has a friendly, handsome face and a mix of flocked and rooted hair arranged like a thick, combed-over mohawk.  



What distracted me from his features was the fact that his face was filthy and his hair was caked in white styling gunge:



He had glue residue and little bits of hair all over his face.  One cheek had big dark smudges, too:


The hair is a mess, despite copious amounts of styling product:


There's something about Hunter...
Here's his hair up close:

Gross.
I found this mess off-putting, but I also assumed that I would be able to wash his face and hair and get most areas tidied up (which I could).  I didn't wash Hunter until I was almost done with the review, though (just in case his flocked hair fell off or something like that).  So, try to look past the dirty face in these next few pictures so you can enjoy his nice brown eyes and detailed eyebrows:




His lips have a nice natural pinkish color, and if you look closely, you can see that the paint almost looks like it's been sponged on. The texture is not solid as it is on Ashlynn's lips.


Hunter comes with a hard plastic courier bag slung over one shoulder:


The bag is brown with mottled black areas and molded stitches, making it look like it is pieced together from bits of leather.


It has a stiff plastic strap that rotates up and down:


The strap has a zipper pattern and a decorative, non-working clasp:


The front of the bag has a silver symbol on it, and a hard plastic flap that can open and close:



Hunter has a layered outfit that features natural brown and green colors.  He is wearing a hoodie sweatshirt over a v-neck, and a pair of khaki skinny jeans:


He has a plastic band on one wrist that matches the leathery look of his bag:


The sweatshirt is made out of three different thin fabrics.  The sleeves and hem are forest green and the hood and sides are a dark brown material with a snakeskin print:




On the back of the shirt, there's a panel of light reddish-brown paisley:


The jersey knit v-neck undershirt is sleeveless and has an interesting print on it:


This is my favorite piece of clothing in the set.  I wish it had sleeves, but I understand that this might have been too bulky.  The shirt's print looks like traditional camouflage from a distance, but it's actually a very realistic and detailed picture of a tranquil forest scene.





Hunter has a silver plastic charm on one of his belt loops:


The charm has three things hanging from it, but I can't really tell what they are.  Hunter's bookmark story has a picture of a similar charm, which has an Ever After High key and an axe, but these items look different.



Hunter's pants are pretty simple.  The fly and pockets are decorative and don't open.



My husband thinks he's a tool...I wonder why? 
Hunter is wearing heavy work boots made out of stiff vinyl.


The have a slit up the back and are fairly easy to get on and off.





As with the girls, Hunter's hands can be removed for easier dressing and undressing.  They are nice hands, too.  Each one has a different shape and they are masculine and expressive:




Hunter's body has 13 points of articulation and a very muscular build.  It's hard to see in this picture, but he does have molded briefs:


His body has some similarities with both the Monster High boy body and the Liv Jake body.  Jake and Hunter are similarly muscled in the chest, and they have virtually the same skin tone.  Monster High Deuce is much skinnier than Hunter, but he has the same type of articulation.


Hunter's muscles make him thicker in all areas than Deuce.  Jake and Hunter are more similar in size, but Hunter's arm and thigh muscles are larger, as is the depth of his torso:


Deuce can wear Hunter's shirt:


But the pants are very large in the waist:



Hunter cannot fit into Deuce's clothes:


Jake can wear Hunter's entire outfit, although the fit of the tee shirt is tight in the chest and neck:


The pants fit well:


Hunter looks great in Jake's shorts and shirt:



This doll is incredibly fun to pose.  There's very little he can't do--the only limitations that stood out to me are that he can't do side-to-side splits past this point:


And his front-to-back splits don't quite reach the point where his legs are flat on the floor:









Before I posed Hunter with Ashlynn, I washed his face and rinsed out his hair.  He needed to clean up his act before he could officially meet the daughter of Cinderella!  

I didn't boil his hair because I was concerned about how the flocked areas would respond, I just ran the rooted hair under warm tap water.  I used plain water and a Q-tip to scrub his face.  All of the smudges and debris came off.  His hair looks better, too, but I think he needs a little trim to even up the ends in some areas.




Here are some glimpses at the secret romance between this Royal and her kind-hearted Rebel:


Ashlynn's head looks very large and round in comparison to Hunter's head:

Ever After High Ashlynn Ella





Ashlynn's dress was limiting her range of poses, and her frizzy hair was bugging me, so I changed her into Apple's dress and pinned her hair up:

Ever After High Ashlynn Ella


Now, she can really go crazy!



Ever After High Ashlynn Ella


Ever After High Ashlynn Ella

Bottom line?  This pair makes me more excited about Ever After High than I was this summer.  Ashlynn's pretty face is worthy of depicting Cinderella's daughter, and the introduction of a highly-articulated male character so early in this line's history is promising.  

Ashlynn's hair is a beautiful color, but the texture is frizzy at the ends and often looks unkempt.  I prefer her hair braided into a fancy up-do.  Her outfit is also a bit disappointing.  It has a theme, and I like certain things about it (like the sleeves and the shoes) but the red and blue flower-printed pencil skirt is both unremarkable and restrictive.  I'll reiterate what I said in Apple White's review; there's so much opportunity for creative design with these outfits, it's hard not to wish for more.  One cohesive theme between all of the Ever After High dresses is that they incorporate traditional princess features into a modern cut, and are made from eclectic groups of prints and fabrics.  This is an interesting approach, but it can too easily look generic and cluttered.  Ashlynn's jewelry makes up for the shortcomings in her clothes.  All of the pieces are good, but I like her bird ring and her shoe earrings the best.  I like the design of her purse, too, but I wish it opened so that I could use it to store her jewelry.  I felt like I was on a treasure hunt as I inspected each of the carefully detailed accessories.  Ashlynn's facial screening is symmetric and her mouth and eyes look calm and pretty.  I like how different she seems from previous releases, even if there are only a few minor changes in the shape of her facial features.  She offers a nice contrast to Apple White's pale round face and thin, sardonic smile.

Hunter is a great surprise.  I don't care much for his hairstyle, but I think with a little trimming it could be improved.  Authentic-looking boy doll hair is very hard to do, and I can't say that I have any male dolls with perfect hair.  The biggest problem with the hair is that it came with such an off-putting amount of white styling goop in it.  The styling gel and bits of hair that were smeared all over Hunter's face came off easily with plain water, but that's still a gross and careless way to present a doll.  Everything else about Hunter is great.  His three-piece outfit is detailed and attractive, and the forest-print v-neck shirt is both creative and perfect for his character.  Hunter's courier bag opens and closes, and he has some nice little details like the charms on his belt loop and the wrist band on one arm.  His rugged boots are especially eye-catching, with painted and molded features that make them look quite realistic.  Hunter's articulation is very much like Ashlynn's.  He has lots of joints and they all perform well.  Hunter's face strikes a nice balance between handsome and friendly.  His thick brows and confident smile give him more personality than Ashlynn herself.  Despite the fact that Hunter's head is quite a bit smaller than Ashlynn's, the two faces compliment each other and are clearly from the same line.

It's strange how this pair of dolls is changing my impression of the whole brand.  Somehow, Ashlynn and Hunter bring out a depth to this line that inspires me to look at the other Ever After High dolls with new eyes.  Ashlynn isn't just Apple in another dress.  While she might not have the same level of personality in her face as a Monster High doll, she manages to have her own presence, clearly distinct from Apple and Madeline.  Ashlynn's relationship to Hunter, and the way the two dolls can interact so well, adds yet another dimension to their appeal.  I can see kids having a blast playing out all kinds of high school dramas with the Ever After High girls and their charming princes.  Maybe the best thing about these dolls is that the attention to detail in the accessories is near perfect.  Each doll has a functional stand, a cute story, a full outfit, and two or more clever additional items...all for under $40.  At times, examining this set took me back to the early days of Monster High, when I felt like I was getting a whole lot of creative surprises for my money.

Neither of these two dolls is without flaw, but I think they are worth their $35 price tag and, even better, they make me optimistic about what is coming next at Ever After High.

Ever After High Ashlynn Ella

69 comments:

  1. Great review, Emily. I found Hunter and Ashlynn at my local Justice last week and really enjoyed reviewing them. :)

    Like you, I was disappointed by the limited movement Ashlynn had in her dress, and I was also disappointed by her bald patch and frizzy hair. I LOVE how she looks in Apple's dress, though, and I love what you did with her hair! Hmm, I might have to play around with my Ashlynn and see what I can come up with. ;)

    I was really excited about Hunter as well, especially since this was the first example of a male doll from the line that we've had so far. I'm really looking forward to Dexter Charming. :)

    I thought I should let you know that my Hunter didn't have the same goop and fuzz problem in his face and hair that yours did, so it doesn't appear to be a problem with every Hunter doll. I'm not a huge fan of his hairstyle, but other than that I really like him.

    Just had to add...I'd forgotten how severe your Apple White's eyebrows were! She looks like SHE should be the daughter of the Evil Queen. LOL ;)

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    1. Hi beastsbelle! This is a fun pair, isn't it? They exceeded my expectations.

      I am really glad that your Hunter didn't have the dirty face. It's icky! Perhaps there's a cleaning step in the manufacturing process and my guy got skipped over? I just hope it's not a widespread problem, because it cheapens the look of the doll, and I think he's worthy of a good first impression!

      My Apple is pretty severe, isn't she? LOL! It's probably not fair to use her as a representative for Apples everywhere, but she's all I've got! Actually, I have Legacy Day Apple, too, but haven't been inspired to review her. Her features aren't that different from the first Apple.

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    2. LOL it's okay. It gives her extra character. ;) Yeah, I didn't end up adding the Legacy Day dolls to my collection. The dolls themselves were practically identical to the first releases, and I wasn't a huge fan of their outfits (especially Raven's). I decided I'd rather save up for the other characters. :)

      Oh, and I was also going to mention that my Hunter's head didn't have the same loose problem. I think your guy has just had a really rough "life" during production! ;) Good thing he's now somewhere where he'll be taken care of. ;)

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  2. Your review has made me so excited to find them! Ashlynn is definitely my favorite of the girls so far in EAH and I love her strawberry blonde hair. I feel like it's an ode to Cinderella's original hair color in Disney's version. Between her hair and dress and color scheme though she certainly reminds me of Giselle from Enchanted. She looks lovely with the braided up do you gave her too! I prefer it to her scraggly box hair.

    Something that bothers me a bit is how Mattel decided to characterize Ashlynn and Briar though. I feel like Briar should be the nature loving girl seeing as how Sleeping Beauty was raised by the fairies in the woods for most of her life, though I must admit I haven't read the original tale and am just going by Disney's version. I feel like Cinderella's daughter should of been the life of the party like Briar is, seeing as all she wanted to do was simply go to the ball. I do like how they made her love shoes though and can understand why she's an animal lover because of her mice and bird friends.

    Great review as always!

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    1. Hi Heather! Now I want to watch Enchanted again! I love that movie. It's cold and dark here in Maine today--a good day for a fairy tale movie.

      I was wondering about Cinderella as the nature-lover, too. You're right that it suits Briar's Disney personality more. You bring up a really excellent topic in general, though. How should these modern girls represent the traditional values of their parents' stories? I wish Ashlynn had taken on more of the social justice of the Cinderella tale--overcoming class discrimination and oppressive working conditions, etc. Maybe that's asking a bit much of a fashion doll. :) Seems like another area where these dolls could have been so much more than they are.

      They're nice dolls, though, and I agree with you about Ashlynn--she's my favorite so far, too.

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  3. I really, REALLY want Hunter. I hope I can find him singly on ebay or somewhere. Don't you think his name should be "Forrest" Huntsman? I think it would be a huge improvement, lol!

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    1. Yes! You got it! That's the perfect name! I tried, but couldn't think of a good alternative to Hunter. Forrest is a modern name, and it emphasizes the animal lover in him, not the hunter! I'm renaming my dolls. :) Thank you!

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    2. Yay! I helped! XD I think Forrest also brings up the "Woodsman" connection, too. :D

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    3. The name Hunter might also have to do with the fact that another toy company has a boy doll named Forest with a woods theme already

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  4. I think that the Justice thing with their crazy prices and constant discount is a marketting tactic. It makes you THINK you're getting a good deal, especially if you're unfamiliar with the store or only come in every so often.

    I highly recommend the webisodes for EAH. They do a really good job of developing the characters beyond what they're the "child of."

    Thanks for doing an awesome review!

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    1. Hi Pachi, I think you're right about Justice's marketing, because it worked on me the first time I went to the store! I remember having a bad moment at the cash register when I was told the cost of two dolls, but then when I learned about the sale, I thought, "Oh whew! Good thing I came here today!" Now I feel manipulated. :/

      I should definitely check out the webisodes. It's nice to hear that they're well done. I wasn't crazy about the pictures of cartoon Ashlynn that I saw online (I prefer the look of the doll) but I would love to learn more about the characters. It's a fun concept!

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  5. Thanks for this fabulous review! You're right, Hunter's hair really does need a trim. Ashlynn looks spectacular with the updo and Apple's dress. What's with the paisley jacket back?

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    1. Hi N! Does the jacket look bad? It might be partly that my camera was not capturing color well with that outfit, but it is an unusual detail. When I first flipped the jacket over I thought, "Hey, look! This is cool!" but I do not have the world's best fashion sense. ;) Now that you mentioned it and I am thinking about it more, I guess I've seen guys on motorcycles wearing leather jackets with panels on the back that have pictures or words. That's sort-of similar to this style...but Hunter doesn't seem like much of a motorcycle guy, does he!

      I wish Ashlynn's hair had come in an updo, but I suspect that for a play doll, loose hair is more practical. I am going to try to make a neater, more permanent version of that style for my Ashlynn. Otherwise, I worry that her hair will deteriorate into a permanent tangle!

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  6. Thanks for this great review. I can't wait to get these dolls but they're not available in my area yet. I don't want to order then online. I want to see them in the box with my own eyes first.

    I don't like MH boy dolls. Like Huntsman, thought. As long as the dolls heads aren't as big as Blythe dolls, I think they're ok.

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    1. You're wise to wait and pick a set in person! There's so much variability with the facial screening on these dolls. I got lucky with these two, I think. Or, maybe Mattel has improved the process? Hunter has a nice small head. His head actually makes Ashlynn's head look really big! Not quite Blythe big, but pretty big. ;)

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  7. I was originally just going to pass over these two, but the more pictures I see of them, the more I like them. :) They're definitely on my wish list now!
    Could you post a picture of the back of Ashlynn's up-do? I would love to try to recreate it with my Ashlynn doll when I eventually get her. And what kind of pin did you use-- one of those larger, more open hairpins, or a bobby pin?

    --Kate :)

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    1. Hi Kate! I have taken Ashlynn's hair down at the moment because I am going to try for a more permanent style. In the pictures, you'll notice that she's always facing straight forward--that's because one of Cutie Pop Coletta's grey clips is holding the braids up, not an actual pin. There were a lot of exposed braid ends, too, that looked bad from the back. That style had three braids--a big one in the back and two smaller ones on either side, but I think when I try it again, I'll make more smaller braids so I can tuck the ends in well enough to have her look good from all angles. I'll definitely post some pictures if I manage to create a better style! :)

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    2. Thank you! I'd love to see what you come up with! :)

      --Kate :)

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  8. Hi Emily!

    What a great review! I was happy to get to read about newer Ever After High dolls, as your review of Apple White made me curious about this line and what its future would hold.

    Ahh, so many thoughts about these dolls... As you said, it's strange to put such emphasis on magic, with the puns in the bios, etc. Fairy tales and magic are intertwined, yes, but are the girls themselves supposed to have magical qualities/abilities? Identity crisis!

    Those bios, though. Wow. I have to say something about those bios. Hunter's is really odd to me. First of all...does anyone say "boo-ya" anymore (that's 90s, right)? This bothered me more than it should have, honestly, but shouldn't the people writing these things be mindful of current slang? I just thought it sounded really dumb. And, okay, it's great that he likes animals, but then he mentions that it frustrates him when his traps break...wait, what? "I love rescuing animals...but damn, this trap didn't work, and now this woodland creature is only HALF-dead. I'm such a horrible huntsman! ...oh, but look at this bunny rabbit, it's so cute! I hope I can nurse it back to health...then chop its head off and haul it home so Ashlynn can make it into a delicious stew." It also mentions that Hunter has a soft spot for "girls in need of rescuing." Ugh. I am probably thinking way too hard about this, but I like the idea of empowering young girls more than stereotyping girls as in need of a man to rescue them and glamorizing helplessness.

    The picture of Ashlynn's earrings from the front...my first guess? "They look like tiny dangling penises." I openly admit to having my mind in the gutter 98% of the time, so that's probably just me...but it sure did make me giggle.

    Okay, I'm back to being appropriate now, I promise! I think I like Hunter (as a doll...I'm pretending that ridiculous bio doesn't exist) much better than Ashlynn. Which is surprising to me, because I'm really not fond of male dolls in general. His face shape is appealing; it's masculine, but not over-the-top. I even don't mind his hair...it seems really difficult to get masculine hairstyles for dolls just right, but I think Hunter's is unique and a nice attempt at something edgy and trendy. The faces of the female dolls in this line are just much too round for my taste - it makes them look like children (which would be fine, except these girls are supposed to be in high school). Hunter's outfit seems to be much more well-thought out than Ashlynn's...if only Ashlynn's clothing was as creative as Hunter's undershirt! I do like Ashlynn and Apple's more realistic body shape, though...I want to see curvy play dolls! With busts and tummies and hips and thighs! 。^‿^。

    After all I've said, I do think these dolls are very promising! Thanks again for the wonderful review. I know I always say it, but they really do make my day. There's something really relaxing about coming here to forget reality and read about dolls.

    ((I'm hiding my face in shame, I'm so sorry about the length of this comment. I know all of my comments are long and rambling, but this one takes the cake. I don't mean to be long-winded or obnoxious, I guess I'm just a very wordy person. Also, I'm such a newbie to the doll world, so I hope no one is offended by the dumb comments I make or the strange things I focus on...I don't know much about dolls or collecting at all so my opinions are irrelevant...I'm just here to learn about stuff! Everyone is so nice here, so I hope I'm not too annoying!))

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    1. Dear Lissy--don't be silly! Your comments are wonderful and insightful, and I am glad they're long. I struggle with brevity myself. ;) I am sitting here sipping my coffee and reading all of these clever comments and seeing new and interesting things about these two dolls that I never would have come up with on my own. I love it!

      I laughed out loud at your interpretation of Hunter's hypocrisy. I certainly hope his broken traps aren't maiming animals! I assumed that the traps were broken to the point that they were utterly useless. Maybe even broken on purpose? I probably give him too much credit! ;D

      You mentioned "glamorizing helplessness," and I totally agree that this is disturbing, and I also think you phrased it perfectly. On the other hand, I love a good rescue story, but I don't mind if it's girls rescuing boys or boys rescuing girls, or people rescuing animals or someone rescuing a child in need. It's sensitive territory, though, for the exact reasons you mention. Think Geek has a tee shirt that says, "Self Rescuing Princess." I especially like that design for a little girl's shirt...and I wouldn't mind one for myself! :)

      You know, towards the end of the review I was beginning to think that I like Hunter better than Ashlynn, too. There does seem to be more care taken with his outfit, and his head shape is more realistic. His body is great and poses SO well. He's one of the better boy dolls I own, and I might (shhh!) like him better than Liv Jake!

      Thank you for the laughs and the great observations. Always a joy to hear from you.

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    2. I also assumed while reading his bio that he broke his traps on purpose. I read him like a guy that's trying to fulfill his family's legacy, but really he just wants to be a vet.

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  9. Wow, they are really beautiful dolls! I can't wait for the next review! You always make my day :)

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    1. Oh, thank you so much Joanna! They're a fun pair, aren't they?

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  10. what a fab couple! loving her skin colour and every single bit of her!I would only change her shoes :)

    Hunter's poses made me giggle a lot :) thanks for that!

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    1. Thank you, Urshula! Hunter's got quite a repertoire, doesn't he? He's a bit of a showman. ;D

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  11. I think Ashlynn Ella must be my favorite from the EAH collection! And Hunter reminds me so much of Tyler Blackburn from Pretty Little Liars

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    1. Oh, you're right! I definitely see the similarities to Tyler! Good call. :)

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  12. I think your Apple is prettier than Ashlynn Ella. They're both great. I'll probably get Ashlynn Ella, but your Apple has those unique eyebrows that make it seem like she's being sarcastic. They add a lot of personality.

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    1. My husband agrees with you! That's funny. He was adamant that Apple is way prettier, but I see Ashlynn as the more elegant and beautiful of the two. You're right that they're both great. Apple adds a lot of personality around here. I wouldn't trade her sarcastic smirk for a perfectly screened doll at this point. In fact, if I watch the webisodes, I'll probably be shocked to learn that she's not a witty, snarky, trouble-maker! ;D

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  13. I'm glad to see this review up! I find your comments on Ashlynn's hair interesting. Mine was also very frizzy out of the box, but I wanted to put her hair down anyways so I guess that was just another excuse for a boil wash. She looks good now, very natural and the headband has more of a purpose. And it reduced the frizz quite a bit! I actually really like the texture of it now.

    But man, Hunter sure is a gorgeous doll. My only gripe for him I guess would be that his hair just looks a bit silly to me? But I love his much larger sculpt, clothes and his detailed accessories. He's probably the first boy doll I've really liked.

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    1. Hi Sara, I think I'll try a boil wash on Ashlynn--that's a good idea. I am also eager to try a more permanent updo on her. Her hair is such a nice color, it's a shame that it takes so much work to get a good texture. The headband is very pretty, and RLC sheds some new light on the presence of the birds in the comment below...so it's nice that it can be put to good use!

      Hunter is a hottie, isn't he? I am hoping I can cut and layer his hair a bit to get better look. It is a bit silly right now. I don't think all flocked hair would have looked right on him, though (too short), nor would a full head of rooted hair. It will be very interesting to see what hairstyles the other male EAH dolls have!

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  14. I have to confess I wasn't interested in the fairy tale high dolls until I read that Shannon Hale was going to be writing the books that go along with them. My love of Shannon Hale is intense, so I might have to go get one just to support her. :)

    Wonderful review, as usual. I think the birds for Ashlynn are probably a reference to some versions of Cinderella where she's told she can only go to the ball if she can pick lentils out of the ashes of a fireplace in under two hours and birds fly into help her. I don't know where the talking plant bit comes from. The pumpkin perhaps? Or isn't there a version of the story where she speaks to the tree that grows over her mother's grave and it brings her dresses and stuff?

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    1. Well, now I need to read some Shannon Hale! I think I read The Princess Academy, but it was a while ago. Do you have a favorite book of hers? I am on a young adult fiction reading kick after reading a few of my kids' novels and then "Matilda's Secret."

      I don't know about a version of Cinderella where she speaks to a tree, but I am inspired to go look! If that exists, I would have to take back some earlier comments and declare myself thoroughly impressed with Mattel! And impressed with you, too, for knowing all of the Cinderella stories so well. Thank you for the great information! This will be a fun little research project...

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    2. I seem to recall that in the Grimm version, there's a tree that grows over her mother's grave. Perrault, a French collector of fairy tales, tells the version of the story most of us are used to with the fairy god mother, rats as coachmen and such. Grimm's version, published later than Perrault's, has a lot of birds and the stepsister's cut off their heels or toes to fit into the slipper. It's the blood on the shoe that tells the Prince that they're the wrong girls.

      Not unsurprisingly, Disney went with the Perrault version of the story. It's a lot less gruesome.

      My favorite Shannon Hale book is Goose Girl, I think... Though her comic book about Rapunzel is pretty good too.

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    3. Mattel got it even MORE right on this one! In the Grimm version, it's not the tree on the grave itself that brings her the dress and slippers, it's the two doves that live in the tree. They are also instrumental in revealing the stepsisters as false brides, by cooing 'there's blood in the slipper, the slipper's too small, this cannot be the true bride at all', prompting the prince to look down and notice that the stepmother has cut off parts of her girls' feet (the toes for the one, the heel for the other) on the premise that 'once you're queen, you won't have to walk'.
      Yeah, I can see why Disney went with the other version... ;)

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  15. I've had my eye on these two and interestingly they have showed up in my local toy store this week...I feel that we have waited extra long for EAH to turn up here in the UK and now the shelves are flooded with them. There is a good chance that I will part with cash for this couple. I like her but I am (disturbingly) attracted to him. I have to confess that I think that he is kind of .... hot! :o

    I generally find boy dolls very boring but this guy is pretty cool. Overall I am a little disappointed with EAH though. As you say, their faces lack something and are too big and round. And that says a lot coming from a Blythe fan!! The worst thing for me is their hair. It looks just terrible in the box and I get so frustrated with bad doll hair. Of all of the dolls I think that I would have to get Cerise Hood. I just adore Little Red Riding Hood themes, so I would probably get her no matter how bad she is. She looks nice in the pictures I have seen so far. Thanks for the review Emily. x

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    1. LOL! I am oddly attracted to him, too! It's embarrassing!! I think that's why my husband is a bit hostile. ;D You always make me feel better about this kind of thing, though, Nat Kat. Thank you! But seriously, Cerise does look great--I just saw my first pic of her today.

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  16. Hi Emily! Great review, I love your blog. I just wanted to let you know that the link for Walmart actually goes to Maidenforms. I only glanced at the comments, so I'm not sure if someone brought this up earlier or not, but I just wanted to let you know.

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    1. Hi Lea! Thank you for the tip--that's probably an advertising link. They get added in to my text and are supposed to be relevant (like a link to the Mattel store) but sometimes it's something completely strange. Sorry! I keep debating whether I should just remove them for good. I see that one even got added to your comment. It can be irritating. :/

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  17. Thanks for the great review! I've thought about getting the set, but I don't really want Hunter, so I think I'll wait until they come out with a single Ashlynn doll. I think the frizzy hair problem is pretty standard. I got Briar Beauty from Target about a week ago (I guess someone got a bit eager...) and my first impression was that she had soft hair, but really crazy. I ended up doing a boil rinse and cutting her hair. It's a lot more manageable now, but I wish I didn't have to.

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  18. My gosh Emily! this review made me love Hunter even more! I had been looking at pics of him on Flickr and I wasn't really liking him, But seeing him like this made me like him even more! My favorite thing about Hunter is his accessories, Especially his boots..I think they're rockin. Ashlynn is soo cute! I like her so much better than Apple, But I think you should give Legacy Day Apple a chance, I think she's so much better than her basic. Ashlynn does have a very naturey look about her, So it makes sense that she has a lot of vines, birds etc in her theme..especially with her shoes, Which I think are awesome! Btw her necklace is a bird cage with two little birds, It matches her ring lol makes sense ya know. I love what you did with Ashlynn's hair towards the end of her review, that bun looked so good on her and she should have had in default. She also looked really good in Apples outfit, I hope they do more tanner girls in the EAH line. I know Briar Rose is a little tan and so is Cerise the new girl due to come out soon.

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  19. Love your review as always. My first reaction to your pictures of Hunter was wow he looks like the guy from Pretty Little Liars, and he's hot. In Hunter's short story it states he's vegatarian and spent all summer secretly freeing animals from his father's traps. It's seems like this will be canon with the doll line version. I love what you did with Ashlynn's hair, and Apple's dress looked great on her. Thanks again for another great review.

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    1. Oh my gosh! I knew Hunter looked familiar! I definitely see the resemblance with Caleb.

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  20. I love what you did with her hair! How did you go about doing it? :)

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  21. Once again, a wonderful review! I just got my Ashlynn Ella and Hunter Huntsman Two-Pack last week and I also love it. It was hard though because I'm looking for the perfect set. There were four of them at Target, three of the Ashlynn Ellas have wonky eyes (the other one is crossed eyed) and all the Hunters are perfect. At first, I wasn't really amazed by Ashlynn (must be the hair) and I was very happy about Hunter. As I open the box, Ashlynn hair is a big mess. I can see some bald spots and her hair is so frizzy. I put her aside for a while and think about what I should do. However, Hunter Huntsman amazed me. He's so perfect and he does not look like the released photo from the Ever After High Facebook page. I also love the fact that he can stand on his own. Anyways, I decided to boil and comb Ashlynn's hair and put it on a low ponytail. I wanna try to be all creative like putting her hair in a Cinderella-like hairdo but I failed. I really love what you did to Ashlynn's hair too, it looks so perfect and it fits her. And also, Ashlynn's bag reminds me of Robecca Steam's bag. Again, this is a wonderful review and I learned more stuff about this doll that I never knew or ever thought before. Thank you so much. :D

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  22. Thanks for the review! I was thinking about just buying this set for Hunter. Now I see I was right! It is worth having just for Hunter! I love the comparison of him to the MH and Liv males. You can't tell the real height of the doll in the box in the store. I thought he was taller but he isn't too bad. He would make a great body donor... expensive but great! Great Review!

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  23. Naked Hunter posing was simply hilarious. Thanks for the laughs, I needed that !! Great review....
    A treat as always , Tina

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  24. The girls' heads are SO big and round! I think of lollipops every time I look at them. I would have liked them if they hadn't had giant lollipop heads. I noticed the cartoon picture of the girl on the box shows her with a smaller head.

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  25. I loved Ashlynn doll since I saw her promotional pictures, but I'm still not really fond of Hunter. My boyfriend calls him "emo boy" for his hairdo (lol), but despite his good features, the flock part of his hair doesn't appeal to me. on the contrary, Ashlynn's details (and the fact she has a theme about plants and birds, and looks a bit like me XD) make me to wish she were sold alone.
    Even so, Hunter's doll isn't bad either, it's just he's not my favorite character.

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  26. Isn't Apple paler than Ashlynn because Snow White had "skin as white as snow?"

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  27. Dear Emily!(:
    I loved to read this review! In my opinion, I think that Ashlynn should have a slightly darker hair color. (More like a brown orangy color)
    And I think that Hunter looks a lot like Caleb Rivers from Pretty Little Liars.
    ( http://www4.images.coolspotters.com/photos/863120/caleb-rivers-profile.jpg )
    When I first saw the promo pics, I was screaming like a maniac because of Hunters face. :P
    I really love Ashlynn with her hair up and wearing Apple's dress, it looks very fancy!
    Thank you for this detailed review,
    kind regards,
    Lagoonalicious

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  28. I want this set SOOOO bad, but as always we can't find them (or the other EAH characters) in Italy yet...
    great review, I watch the webisodes on youtube, they're funny and they give depth to the stories of these dolls... really enjoy them :-)
    I bought the Life in the dream house Midge doll and reviewed her on flickr, if someone is interested and wants to give me an opionion I leave the link here (review is in english and in italian) http://www.flickr.com/photos/mybarbiediaries/9897914973/

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  29. Thank-you for your wonderful reviews. They always make me laugh -- I especially loved the "feathery devil horns with sea anemones on either side" comment and the Hunter's poses. How on earth do you manage to balance the dolls like that? You must have a lot of patience.

    Ashlynn looks amazing in Apple's dress and I love how you did her hair. What did you pin it up with?

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  30. I read on the EAH wiki (yes, it has its own wiki) that Ashlynn's hair is supposed to resemble a pumpkin, at least with the top knot. Just thought you'd like to know. :)

    And yes, the webisodes are fantastic for how long they are. I just wish they'd show more of the Rebel vs. Royal conflict.

    Thank you so much for the review! I already really badly wanted this couple, but now I want them even more! :D <3

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  31. there is something I do not block you suppose raven queen is the white apple stepmother in the story, not if I want my stepmother out of my age

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  32. Hey Emily!
    Thanks for this great review! I just keep coming back to it.

    I wanted to say from the front view Ashlynn's earrings look like clock hands, (and every time I see them they still do...) at least to me. Also I think Ashlynn's necklace is a clock tower thing (like her purse) and two birds if you look closely enough you can see a clock face with the hands and stuff...

    Well, thanks again for this great review. You always get me laughing and in a good mood!

    Kitty

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  33. Have you ever heard of Zeenie Dollz? (Yes, they spell dolls Dollz). I saw it on a website called fpgirl, and I thought you might like to know.

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  34. Have you seen the newest Tonner toy called maudlynne macabre... She is the perfect mix of innocence and creepy. You should look at her. :)

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  35. I love your reviews. The detail is outstanding and there are times when you make me laugh (that comment about your husband thinking Hunter is a tool).

    Regarding the Charming brothers...I don't think Prince Phillip (Sleeping Beauty) is a Charming. I thought they had a different family name, but I could be wrong.

    You are quite right about his name being unimaginative. Hunter Huntsman. He could just as easily been Eric Huntsman Jr.

    Thank you, again, for your wonderful reviews.

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  36. Hello! I just recently got this set myself, and like you noticed how unruly Ashlynn's hair is. However, as I went about trying to fix her hair I realized she had a mild case of glue leakage like the MH girls get; I started treating her for it (combed baby powder through her hair) and found her hair much more manageable. I wonder if perhaps yours might be having the same trouble? Usually MH girls don't leak right out of the box, but EAH girls with their bigger heads likely use more glue, running a greater risk of leakage.

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  37. Hi Emily. It took this review to renew my interest in Mattel dolls...I wonder how long it will be before someone offers something equal to or better than Liv? Anyway, I finally saw the EAH dolls here in early October...they were 29.99 for the single dolls and 49.99 for this set at Toys R Us. I anticipated that they would be having a sale before Christmas (and they currently have the single dolls on for about $22)...I picked up my set this past weekend when my local grocer was having a no tax day (I cringed at the $46 price tag, but I wasn't going to take the chance that I miss out) along with Madeline (why not go whole hog?) as I like different sized dolls.

    I must say I dislike the girls' body size a lot - it just seems wrong. I do, however, like their outfits - the details are fantastic. The only thing that would improve these dolls are acrylic eyes.....

    I didn't like Apple when I read your review; she really turned me off (part of that may be that I do not like blonde dolls at all). I think it was her expression. Having now had a chance to view the EAH episodes and being able to understand the characters a little better, I think the doll's expression suits her perfectly. Apple, despite being a princess, is self-centered and not as concerned with her future subjects (in my opinion) as she says. All she cares about is her own happily ever after. That's what the doll is expressing. Raven, on the other hand, seems like a really sweet character, unsure of what she wants to do with her future (as so many teenagers are). If I break down and get the other three single dolls (which I probably will), Apple will be my villain.

    A previous writer mentioned Briar's penchant for parties, but I think the videos explain it satisfactorily enough - she wants to live life to the fullest before she falls asleep for 100 years. I don't know about you, but when I look at Briar, I see Clara, the Doctor's current assistant (which means I'll probably end up buying this doll).

    As for Hunter's name, I thought Forest, Leif (remember Leif Garrett?), Chase (based on the French chasseur) or maybe Fletcher (again from the French fl├Ęche) would be better. I know I'm going to change the name of my doll! By the way, of the two sets that were in the store when I purchased mine, both of the Hunter dolls had messy faces; the one I chose was less so, and I discovered that Ashlynn had a bit of residue on her face too after they came out of the box. His neck joint is fine (fortunately), so I'm happy about that!

    Bottom line is your review piqued my interest in this line of dolls where I had been ambivalent before, and I thought Ashlynn and Hunter were a good place to start. As I stated above, I'm not a fan of blonde fashion dolls (which stems from growing up with very few other choices in the fashion doll world), but I really do like Ashlynn. And since male fashion dolls are so hard to come by, I'm happy any time there is another choice. Hunter (Chase?, Fletcher?) is a welcome addition to my doll family. Which reminds me...if you get a chance to view the EAH videos OR read up on the characters on the Ever After High Wiki, I think Mattel should offer dolls for Daring and Dexter Charming and Hopper Croakington II. Daring and Apple belong together so to offer that doll would be obvious, but Dexter seems like a diamond in the rough and Hopper's dual character is wonderful. Thank you for another fantastic review.

    Joette

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  38. I saw ever after high dolls at Toys r Us and Target today and I have to confess I am so disappointed. They don't look like the daughters of the princesses. I even had the princesses next to them and they don't look like mothers and daughters. The Princesses (Snow white, Cinderella, Beauty etc.) all look elegant and lovable but these ever after high are just so sophisticated and materialistic type. The way they are dressed are like Monster high dolls instead of Princesses. Your review is fantatic.

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  39. I believe that Hunter's dad may be the collective incarnation of "The Huntsman" that appears in "Snow White" but also in "Little Red Riding Hood", and any other faerie tale, not unlike Prince Charming. He's a Rebel in the sense that, yes, his dad was a hero, his dad still killed animals. Hunter is a vegetarian and against hunting, so that goes against his upbringing. In addition, in the mythology of Ever After High, each character is destined to take on the role of his parent quite literally, so Hunter's dad may not be the "original" Huntsman (just as Ashlyn Ella's mother may not be the original Cinderella) and thus there may be some angst going on for some time now in the lineage as to their role. ("Royals", by the way, are those who want to/ are willing to follow in their parents' paths).

    While there is definitely room for confusion in how EAH handles its mythos, the idea that the fairy tale character one reads about may not be the same one one's parent read about is a nice way to look at how the tales transform through the centuries and across the world. Considering some versions of Red Riding Hood had R.R.H. being tricked into eating her grandmother's remains, and Sleeping Beauty having to be "expecting" to be awakened, it's not too surprising there would be rebellion. The big issue, though, is how Apple White can be dating "the Son of Prince Charming" when that should be her brother! As for the Prince Charming's, it's a shame they didn't mention Sleeping Beauty's, but perhaps the author was thinking of Disney's Princess Aurora who had Prince Philip in that version. (Also, it would also be interesting if they ever had Rapunzel's Prince's heir, knowing his eyes would be poked out and blinded! Guess which side he decides to choose!)

    Thank you for the great review. As a fan of Monster High, monsters, mythology, and fairy/ faerie tales (and their history), and now Ever After High, I definitely wanted to get this two pack but felt rather uninspired to do so. I absolutely love the packaging for this line of dolls, and I think it's brilliant, and I do like the characters, but I just found these two rather boring. Seeing the detail of the accessories and the dolls themselves (minus the mess of poor Hunter) made me excited for them after all.

    As for Hunter's messy face and hair, I would totally contact Mattel Customer Support, and tell them about it. They're known to send a replacement or send a gift check, and the more people contact them about issues such as these, the more chance they might actually address the lack of quality control in their products.

    Thanks for your time!

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  40. Oh! As for the webisodes, if you haven't already, you should really check them out. While still using Flash animation, it's decidedly more bright and colourful, and softer, than Monster High's and is definitely reminiscent of Classic Disney animation. There is a much clearer or stronger message in the episodes of this series, well, in this whole line. There is also just as much humor and charm (pun, not intended) as Monster High, and there's a theme song that even my mom enjoys listening to! Overall, I think this whole line is a great alternative to many of the modern dolls of today. For those parents who are concerned with the look of the dolls, these are softer, cuter, and have (for once) more realistic proportions than others, but also, for those parents who might find the source material of Monster High too much for their children, this is a great alternative. While there is still room for improvements in the designs of dolls, in their marketing, and in other areas, this is still a great series with a great message. Not unlike Monster High, Ever After High challenges one to be true to hirself, and not to be afraid to go forward even if it seems one's actual existence is on the line. (Sometimes when I'm low and need a boost of inspiration, I'll crank the theme song!) Of course, cue the parents who can't get their children to behave because they're going follow their own "destiny" and be "Rebels" too ... but that's, perhaps, another story. ;) Thanks again for the review!

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  41. Ugh, I totally forgot to mention that though there may be some "Disney" to the series, the line follow's Grimm's versions of the tales generally, and has "the Grimm brothers" as part of the cast. One Brother Grimm is the Headmaster of the school, while the other is locked up in the basement, with none the wiser that he's there! So, it's not all bright and happy in the world of EAH. ;P Also, Maddy Hatter doesn't want to be "mad" like her father, so it's tough when she's the only one who can hear the narrators talking (who will fight amongst themselves). Blondie Locks (this is from what the doll comes with) is essentially a thief/ kleptomaniac who, with her mother, justifies her mother's place as the one in the right - those Bears were in the wrong, not her - down to shoving it in their faces by wearing Baby Bear's face all over her dress. Raven Queen, the Wicked Queen's daughter is portrayed as a young woman whose mother is in prison, with a single parent trying to keep the family together, as seen in her free-to-download story (on the website and through online bookstores or the collected stories of the main cast in a hardcover book). Raven doesn't want to be evil, but based on her mother and how she looks, she's judged to be that. In Apple White's downloadable story, we find out that though she can be superficial, she also has a hard time, for she is judged by everyone not to be worthy of the future title of "Snow White" when she's a blonde! These are all handled well - not too serious, but not flippantly either - and it's really cool that with Raven there's a doll/ character that a child who has a parent in prison might be able to relate to. Granted, Raven's mother is not innocent by any means, but she does seem to love Raven truly, even if she doesn't understand her daughter. But, I'll shut up now. :)

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  42. I was originally unimpressed about how similar a face sculpts most Ever After High dolls have considering Monster High has such a wide range of different sculpts. But your comparison to Apple White was insightful. I much prefer pouty lips :P
    Gotta say, I discovered your blog today and I am very much impressed with your thorough review of each doll and your quirky sense of humor when you review them. I am hooked! They're so fun to read and I can feel your passion about dolls in every article. As a fellow doll enthusiast, I am very glad to have stumbled upon your blog. :P

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  43. I LOVE the last two photos!

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  44. My Hunter did not have a dirty face but he did have a big glob of glue in his hair that I managed to brush out.

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  45. hunter is also the huntsman in little red riding hood

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