Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Once Upon a Zombie "Zombie Rapunzel" by WowWee

First of all, I'd like to thank Natalie for telling me about the Once Upon a Zombie dolls.  Not only have I really enjoyed looking at this new line, but the dolls serve as an interesting contrast to the Fairy Tale High dolls I reviewed the other day.  Despite the bounty of fairy princess dolls saturating the market, this is the only series in which the all of the characters are undead.

I am a big fan of wholesome, beautiful, happy-ending fairy tale princesses that aren't even the slightest bit dead, and yet I love watching The Walking Dead, and I enjoy playing video games like The Last of Us and Plants vs. Zombies.  So, I guess I have to admit that I've fallen under the spell of the recent mainstream zombie craze.  I prefer zombie scenarios where there's a cure (as in Warm Bodies) but I'm also interested in the pseudo-science behind all of these stories, and I enjoy the challenge of imagining the moral dilemmas and survival tactics that such a horrific apocalypse might provoke.

I never would have though that portraying beloved princess characters as zombies would be a good idea.  And yet, right after Natalie's tip, I rushed to one of my favorite online stores (Think Geek) to see these dolls...and it was fascination at first sight.  These spooky princesses have inset eyes, blueish grey skin, lots of articulation, and tattered royal gowns that fit the theme of the character they are depicting.  Somehow these dolls are silly, lovely, tragic and creepy all at the same time:

Once Upon a Zombie Rapunzel
Once Upon a Zombie "Zombie Rapunzel."
$24.99 at Think Geek.
From what I've seen so far, these dolls are available for sale at Think Geek, Overstock (where they cost more) and directly from WowWee.  I did a bit of quick research when I bought Rapunzel, and so I knew that WowWee was the manufacturer.  This is a good thing in my mind.  I have a long-standing, fond relationship with this company because they made cool robot toys back when my eldest son was a small robot-loving person.  Robosapien and Roboraptor crawled, roared, danced (and burped) all over my house for many years.  I wish I had a good excuse to buy the newer models of these fun toys.

What I didn't realize until I was de-boxing Rapunzel is that Once Upon a Zombie dolls are also under the umbrella of Toon Studios and S-K Victory...just like Fairy Tale High.  I realized this not because I was carefully doing my background reading, but because as I was ripping into Rapunzel's box, I began to notice a lot of similarities to the Fairy Tale High packaging.  Here's Zombie Rapunzel:


And here are the two boxes together:


The boxes are the same size, and they are both made mostly out of plastic and have plain cardboard backs.  

It was the graphic on the front of the box that really struck me, though.  There's a cartoon of Zombie Rapunzel right in the same place as the picture of Teen Rapunzel--and the art has a similar style.  I love this picture of Rapunzel--she looks eerie and vulnerable:


There's a similar picture on the Once Upon a Zombie website homepage, but that version has cat eyes and blonde hair...and she blinks every once and a while, which is freaky:


The front of the box also advertises the presence of a stand, which is great news.  The Fairy Tale High dolls don't come with stands.


I inspected the back of the box, starting to wonder if there might be a new template for doll boxes that everyone was using or something like that?   I mean, remember how the Fairy Tale High box had a group picture of all the princesses?  Same thing with the zombie dolls:




There are six dolls in the Once Upon a Zombie series: Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Snow White.  I wonder if there are copyright issues preventing Toon Studios from using Ariel and Aurora's names?  Hm.  In any case, unlike Fairy Tale High, I think the dolls in this series look better than the box pictures--a few of them significantly so.


As many of you have pointed out, the color schemes on these dolls are not true to the Disney Princesses.  I think Belle is the most strikingly different, with her red dress, green eyes and red hair.  I have actually seen Zombie Belle in real life, and she's fantastic.  Way better than the catalogue pictures and the box images.

I eventually took the time to read the fine print and figured out what was going on with all of these similarities--although I can't say that I understand the production and manufacturing situation perfectly.  I've read some press releases and know that both Toon Studio and S-K Victory are involved in the Once Upon a Zombie brand (which includes books, backpacks, trading cards, etc.) and that WowWee manufactures the dolls...and might have designed the dolls, too. 

I want to read the Once Upon a Zombie books because, although the box's description of why the princesses are zombified is better than nothing, it's a little vague:


When it says that the princesses are ready to "Rise, Empower and Claim..." (all capitalized, of course..), what does that mean, exactly?  Are they going to rise, empower and claim back their world as zombies--by turning everyone else into zombies?  Or are they going to find a cure and then rise and empower? Does rising and empowering imply that they're already cured?  It's a little confusing.  I definitely need the book.

There's an app advertised on the back of the box that is supposed to turn normal pictures into zombie pictures, but my son and I couldn't get it to work.  Also, it seems like it just makes the picture green and allows the addition of little scar designs.  


I recommend The Walking Dead "Dead Yourself" app if you want to make some disturbingly messed-up zombie pictures of yourself or your friends.  I have my students to thank for introducing me to this little gem...and for giving my darling children the tools to make nightmarish pictures of my dogs:

No poodles were harmed in the making of this picture.
Anyway, let's all forget we just saw that.  

Here's another nice box graphic of Rapunzel to distract you:

Pretty.
The box comes apart very much the same way as the Fairy Tale High box.  I peeled away one layer of cardboard to access the tabs of plastic that secure the front of the box:


Here's Rapunzel free from her plastic shell, but still attached to the cardboard back of the box:


She comes with a large folded pamphlet that contains warrantee information in several languages:


It also has instructions for installing the app:


There are a few instructions pertaining to the doll, too.  This picture gives away the fact that her hands are removable.  I think this is a great feature:

"Et clic!" 
There are a few more pictures with information about assembling the stand, putting the doll on the stand...and how to make zombie motions with the doll's arms.


Most of what attaches Rapunzel to her box are small, clear rubber bands.  I find these very easy to deal with.  She also had two plastic ties in the back of her head...which are a little harder to deal with. 

Here's everything that was in the box--Rapunzel and her assortment of grey plastic accessories:


The stand is assembled from three separate pieces.  The waist grip piece locks into the stand at the very top and then can't be moved up or down.


This stand is nothing special, but it holds the doll at just the right height, keeps her standing straight, and doesn't mess up her clothes.  Good enough for me:


There's also a silly little plastic brush with stitches molded into the top and what looks like a bow decoration at the base of the handle:



Rapunzel's strawberry blond hair is tied to her hand with a clear rubber band:


Her hair is very long and arranged into a twisted pattern that's fairly simple in its construction, but looks quite fancy:



The bottom of the hair did not make me optimistic about its texture.  It's a bundle of frizz:

Not a good sign.
As with the Fairy Tale High doll, I will leave the hair in its factory style until the end of the review.  Just in case it makes a big mess.

The hair around Rapunzel's face is short and asymmetric.  The hair on the right side of her face is longer, and is tied back with a small loop of thread:


She has wide, staring blue inset eyes and colorful eye makeup:


Each eye has a layer of smoky light grey eyeshadow that extends all of the way up to the eyebrow.  Closer to the eye, there are thinner layers of purple and pink.


There are painted lashes above and below the eyes, and a strip of applied lashes as well.


The lashes are attached to the eye, in what looks like a small slot just above the iris:


I think you can see the eyelash attachment point best in this shot:


My doll came with a stray hair stuck into her eye socket, but I was able to pull it out with some tweezers.  You can just barely see it in this picture:


And here it's gone and her eye is lovely and clear:


The eyes are a pretty mixture of blue and purple.  From a distance, the line and dot details within the iris make the eyes look very realistic and three-dimensional.



Rapunzel's mouth is a beautiful deep shade of purple, with a nice gloss.  My doll's mouth paint is slightly uneven, but I didn't notice this until I was looking at close-up pictures.   She has stitches curving up from either side of her mouth, giving her a creepy, unnatural secondary smile.


Rapunzel's profile is very distinct--and very familiar.  It's basically a Monster High profile.


In direct comparison with my Lagoona, the similarity is clear, but as with the Fairy Tale High dolls and their resemblance to Winx Club, the shape is not exactly the same.  In fact, dare I say it, I think I like the zombie face shape better.  It's slightly less exaggerated:


These two also have very similar mouths:  


An eye comparison isn't fair here, because this Lagoona's eyes are horribly wonky.  I chose Lagoona for that picture because I was eager to compare her skin tone with Rapunzel.  I think Ghoulia's color is actually more similar.


These zombie dolls also remind me a little of the Tonner Tim Burton dolls I saw at the FAO Schwarz in Manhattan--especially the Corpse Bride doll, Emily:


Emily is still on my wish list, but she's sold out, hard to find, and tends to cost over $200.  It's nice to have found a $25 doll that reminds me of her!

Zombie Rapunzel has a few painted details on her exposed body.  She has lines on her left arm that look like cracks, but might be trying to convey loose or damaged skin:



I love this doll's dress.  It evokes the classic Disney Rapunzel's dress, but it manages to be darker and more dramatic by placing a black tulle layer over the purple satin skirt:




The purple underskirt has a jagged, unfinished hem and a hole cut in the middle:


The tulle sleeves reveal the slightly uneven cut of the attachment to the purple bodice--intentionally or not, this detail adds to the worn, deteriorating feel of the dress.  


The shimmery bodice is seamed and perfectly fitted.  There's a drop-waist belt ornament that accents the transition from bodice to skirt:


The doll's legs are protected from the dark skirt by a plastic cover:


The tulle sleeves on the dress would make dressing and undressing a huge pain if it weren't for the fact that Rapunzel's hands are removable.  Removing her hands prevents her fingers from getting stuck in the holes of the tulle and makes dressing and undressing a breeze.

Here are the disembodied hands:


I like the shape of these hands.  They're expressive, but not elegant.  They're zombie-ish:



Here's the dress on its own:



The black tulle has purple glitter scattered over it and is edged with gold stitching:


Here's a close-up of the wonderful square-neck bodice:


And the gold belt-shaped decoration:


I don't know about you, but I was incredibly curious to see how much this doll's body resembles the Monster High body.  I was pleasantly surprised to see some significant differences.  


She has eleven points of articulation.


There are definitely similarities to the Monster High body, don't get me wrong, but the proportions are different, especially in the lower torso.  This doll has a wider hip and belly region than a Monster High doll, and her body is also longer.  I can picture taking a graphic of the Monster High body and just tweaking it in certain areas to get this new fuller shape, but I'm not sure if that's how doll manufacturing works.



She has hips!  



Her underwear is the same color as the rest of her body, but it has a molded fabric texture:


This doll's legs have funny proportions.  Her lower legs are much skinnier than her thighs, and they seem short in comparison.  It looks like she has a slightly ill-fitting leg transplant:


The only painted detail on her legs is a circle of stitches around her left ankle:


The body is hard plastic but the lower arms, hands, and lower legs are made out of bendy vinyl.  The lower legs are not as bendy as Brazillaz legs, but they're fairly bendy:



Zombie Rapunzel has rotating knee joints, just like Monster High and Fairy Tale High:


She has a great range of flexibility:



Her arm and leg joints can easily bend to 90 degree angles, and her head can look up and down:


She can kneel on both knees...


...or just on one:


She can't touch her face, which I think is the only real disappointment in the articulation.  Well, that, and I wish she had ankle articulation so I could bend her feet into peculiar positions.


This doll can run and jump and strike all kinds of wild and crazy poses:





She can sit on the floor...


...and she can also sit nicely in a chair, although I don't think that this is a typical zombie activity.  Maybe there are some princess manners left in there somewhere?


Or maybe not.


Here she is in a lineup so that you can see how tall she is, and also appreciate how long and wide her torso is in comparison to most other similar dolls:

Liv Hayden, Bratzillaz Meygana, Zombie Rapunzel, Winx Club Flora, Monster High Clawdeen, Ever After High Apple White.
Not many of these dolls can reliably share clothes with Zombie Rapunzel.  Liv is the closest match, but her chest is broader than Rapunzel's, so Rapunzel can wear Liv's clothes, but not the other way around.  Winx Club Flora is the next best match, and her situation is the opposite--she can wear Rapunzel's clothes, but not the reverse.

The bodice is a bit big on her.
Here's a shot with Barbie because I forgot to include her in the previous picture.  I'm a little concerned that Rapunzel is getting hungry...


Here's a picture with two of my other Rapunzel dolls, Fairy Tale High Teen Rapunzel and the Disney Store's Rapunzel from last year:


It's interesting that both of the Toon Studio Rapunzel dolls have strawberry blonde hair.  I prefer the darker shade of Zombie Rapunzel's hair, even though this isn't the color I'm used to seeing with this character.  I read through the Grimm Brother's version of the Rapunzel tale to check some of the details, and although the hair is described as "fine as spun gold," a specific color isn't mentioned.  Blonde seems like a logical choice.  

The other thing I noticed about the original fairy tale, by the way, is that Rapunzel isn't actually a princess--unless she marries the king's son.  The story doesn't specify whether or not they ever get married.  The other little twist is that by the time the prince is reunited with Rapunzel at the end, she has given birth to twins--a boy and a girl.  Whoa.

Sorry--that was a tangent.  The dolls are getting bored waiting for me to get on with the review...

Brains?
Wha--hey!

BRAINS!
Down, zombie girl!  Teen Rapunzel is not your lunch!

Ahhhh!
Sheesh.  Working with zombies is tough.  I guess that's the last we'll see of Teen Rapunzel.    

Anyway, I was most excited to see whether or not the Disney dolls could share clothes with this new Rapunzel.  Unfortunately, Zombie Rapunzel's dress is too small for Disney Rapunzel:


But the Disney dress fits Zombie Rapunzel well enough.  It's just a bit loose:


This is great because Zombie Rapunzel can pretend to be any of the Disney Princesses.  I think she looks especially nice in Belle's yellow dress:


And Snow White's rag dress is perfect for the zombie theme:


Once Upon a Zombie Rapunzel

Here are a few picture of Zombie Rapunzel back in her own dress, showing off her beautiful hairstyle before I take it down.  This doll has a bit of an identity crisis, which makes her an interesting subject to photograph...

Oooh!  A photo shoot!  How nice.  How's my hair?
La, la, la, birds and flowers!  Dreams!  Love!
Uuurgh.  Prince brains....
Oopsies!  Wait!  Forget I said that.  
Once Upon a Zombie Rapunzel
When will my life begin...again?
Mmmm...tasty flesh...wait, no...I mean...
Argh!  Brains!  Bunnies!  Glurgh!  Lanterns!
Ok, time to see what that twisted hair is hiding...besides a twisted mind.  The first thing I did was take down the thread tie in the front:



Then I untwisted the rest of her hair:




I wanted to leave the smaller twist in place, but it was too difficult to brush the hair with it in the way.  Here's the hair with no twists, all brushed out:

Sproing!
The hair is very similar to the Fairy Tale High Rapunzel's hair, in that it has a nice texture at the top, but gets quite frizzy at the bottom, and is prone to impressive mega-poofiness.  The big difference is that this hair has very little styling product in it (just a tiny bit at the top) and so it is much, much easier to brush and handle.  It's also nowhere near as inclined to tangle, and there's no sticky residue all over the place after I brush it.

I actually think the frizzy hair works well with the zombie theme, making this doll look even more dramatically crazy:

Once Upon a Zombie doll


The hair is plenty thick, and the rooting is ok.  It was neat to see that there are lines drawn on the doll's scalp to direct the placement of the hair rows:


The hair is densely rooted around Rapunzel's face, and then more sparse in back.


It's easier to see her ears and her full head profile with the hair out of the way:

Very much like Monster High.
It's tricky to braid this doll's hair because the strands gets rough and frizzy at the ends.


Still, it's possible to get a decent result.  




Once Upon a Zombie doll

Here are a few more pictures of this undead un-princess:






Once Upon a Zombie doll

Bottom line? It's hard not to look at the Once Upon a Zombie Rapunzel without making comparisons to the Fairy Tale High Rapunzel.  This is not just because both of these dolls are attempting a new spin on the Rapunzel character, but also because the dolls share an association with the same company.  Whatever the reality, I can't help but imagine the initial plan for these dolls being something like this: hey, let's copy two successful dolls and slap a few popular themes on them, like, oh I don't know, princesses, zombies and teenagers?  Repetitive themes and imitated designs are nothing new, but what's interesting here is that the two doll lines got very different results from using this same strategy.  Fairy Tale High fell flat because they didn't improve on anything Winx Club already offers--and they actually make several things worse.  In addition, they didn't keep a close enough connection to the princess characters that everyone loves.  In contrast, the Once Upon a Zombie dolls use the best features of the Monster High body (the articulation and expressiveness) and mix in just the right number of recognizable traits from the fairy tale princesses.  WowWee took things one step further by manufacturing a high quality doll and adding a bunch of creative new details.  All of this makes the Once Upon a Zombie line a legitimate and exciting new addition to the play doll market.  

Zombie Rapunzel's articulation is one of my favorite things about her.  She has eleven well-designed joints that give her a vast repertoire of poses and a huge amount of personality.  Her head can look up and down, her wrists are articulated, her knees rotate, her hands are removable and all of her limb joints can bend to at least 90 degrees.  The only changes I'd make are to tweak the elbow joints so that the doll can touch her face, and also add ankle articulation.  Ankle articulation seems especially appropriate for a zombie doll since the undead don't always have perfectly pointed toes.  

Another striking thing about Zombie Rapunzel is her inset eyes.  Her eyes are quite lovely and realistically detailed, and yet they have a glassy, vacant stare that suits the zombie theme perfectly.  Rapunzel's hand shape is also a very clever feature.  Her hands are a brilliant mix of elegant and creepy. These hands offer a similar level of expressiveness as the original Monster High hands (which I see as the gold standard in this department) without bearing much actual resemblance to Monster High hands.  I also think Rapunzel's dress is wonderful.  I was a bit concerned about the quality of the clothing on these dolls because the promotional pictures make the fabrics look stiff and cheap.  Rapunzel's dress is beautifully made from a nice diversity of materials, creating an overall look that is familiar and elegant...with a dark twist.  I actually like this dress better than the traditional Disney Store Rapunzel's dress.

Rapunzel's hair is a slight disappointment.  It's frizzy, coarse at the ends, and has a lot in common with the Fairy Tale High doll's hair.  Two things make Zombie Rapunzel's hair more acceptable than the Fairy Tale High version, though.  First of all, there's very little styling product in this doll's hair, so it's much, much easier to brush and braid.  Also, messy hair actually fits well with a zombie-themed doll, rather than being a huge contradiction, as it is with the supposedly fashionable and trendy Fairy Tale High dolls.  Still, this hair doesn't seem very conducive to play.  It should probably be left in its original twist, or re-braided to keep the tangles in check.  

Evaluating this doll's hair made me wonder about her intended market.  In many ways, she doesn't strike me as a play doll, even though (aside from her unruly hair) she's clearly engineered for play.  It wouldn't surprise me if she finds her niche as more of a display piece, appealing to older kids and adults.  I see her as being a better-made and less creepy alternative to something like the Living Dead dolls, which certainly aren't being made for young children.  As I mentioned before, she's also a decent substitute for some of the high-end fantasy fashion dolls like Robert Tonner's Tim Burton or Sinister Circus collections.  

Whatever demographic she was meant to tempt, this doll definitely suits me.  I think she's wonderfully weird, while having enough conventionally pretty features that she's believable as a cursed princess.  There are sure to be more of these brain-eating beauties in my future--honestly, it's all I can do not to buy the whole line.

Once Upon a Zombie Rapunzel

72 comments:

  1. I really expecting OUaZ Rapunzel to be the same height as Teen Rapunzel, so I was very surprised to see that they're on distinctly different bodies! It's amazing that the two dolls have such similar features (violet eyes, strawberry blonde hair, deep purple lips and lavender eyeshadow), and yet the undead one is the one that pulls off the look excellently. I think zombie Rapunzel and Belle are my favorites from the line, judging by the photos I've seen online. Rapunzel's face is smiling but somber or even tragic-looking, but still so beautifully done!

    One thing that bothers me about this line is that the characters are all barefoot, but the foot mold appears to be arched as if to accommodate heels. I don't mind the dolls being barefoot if it's part of the zombie theme (and Disney's Rapunzel is known to eschew footwear anyway), but the arched foot just makes their stance look off to me. As you mentioned, articulated ankles would have been much nicer. The inset eyes are lovely, and it's nice to see that the hands pop off to make dressing easier. I do sort of find myself questioning if they are really $25 dolls though. The disappointing hair quality, rubbery lower legs and funky arched feet (and the tendency to be cross-eyed according to some who've seen them) would make me hesitant to order one of these gals sight unseen for that much money. I find myself wanting one (or two), but not really feeling I NEED to immediately order one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point about the feet. I would like the feet better as they are if I could have found some shoes to fit, but (as you said) shoes wouldn't look right on a zombie--especially a Rapunzel zombie! Why not give them flat feet, even if there's no ankle joint? That would have been a really unique feature for a 12" fashion doll and would have made them more special.

      As for the price, it is high. On the other hand, regular Monster High dolls seem to be creeping ever closer to the $25 mark, and these zombies strike me as higher quality. It's sad to hear about the wonky eye reports. I have a few of these dolls and all of them have nice eyes. I was really hoping that my experience was the norm!

      Maybe there will be some good sales after Halloween? :D

      Delete
    2. I don't mind the MH dolls creeping up by a buck or two in price when just about every aspect of the dolls is planned and executed with high quality.

      I almost find myself wondering if these dolls are supposed to compete with Bratzillaz instead of Monster High, since they seem to have more in common. The hair, the eyes, the rubbery lower legs...? If they wanted to jump in and pre-empt the "Twisted Disney Princess" concept before the Bratzillaz line could do it, they managed to get it done. I know Bratzillaz just introduced three "Princess" characters, so maybe fairy tale versions were in the works?

      Delete
    3. Oh hey, Emily! Have you seen the "budget" versions of the La Dee Da Sweet Party dolls at Family Dollar? I'm not sure how different they are, but I think the Dee in the line was missing her face paint.

      Delete
    4. Oh, I think I need to check that out! Sounds pretty funny--or depressing, I guess. Are they "official" La Dee Da dolls, or imitations? No face paint is bad for kids...but maybe good for re-paint artists? :)

      Delete
  2. Oh my, she's fabulous! I'll definitely have to look for Snow White and maybe even the Little Mermaid. I think it's fun to think how they became zombies. Did Rapunzel stay trapped in her tower? Did the Prince never find Snow White's corpse to kiss her awake? Very fun line that I think will tie in nicely with my Monster High and Disney collections.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh! What a fun idea! Tying the zombie theme into the traditional fairy tale is so clever! Fairy tales gone horribly wrong! I can't even bring myself to think up the Cinderella tragedy, though. The regular story is too precious to me. :)

      Delete
  3. I NEEEEEEEEEDS HER SO BADLY, EMILY!!!! And that zombie picture of your dog scared my sister. Which is good....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! :D I'm sorry I scared your sister, Rose! That picture scares me a little, too. *shiver*

      Delete
  4. I liked them, being princesses and all. They're kinda cute, have a fragile but at the same time fierce appearance, and despite taking elements used too many times, they created something interesting.
    The stitches are a strange detail for me. I relate that kind of scars more with the Frankenstein monster (as MH series did on Frankie) than zombies; I'd rather have painted some bleeding scars or exposed bones, BUT then I reminded... that it could end up being too scary for children. Maybe someone creative and talented enough could paint them as "appropiate zombies", but despite that detail, I think they're ok.
    Excellent review, as always. Just one thing, did zombie Rapunzel ate teen Rapunzel's brains? XD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An excellent point, Alice. That was my husband's first reaction, too--why would anyone bother to stitch up a zombie?? But I think your analysis is exactly right. The more typical zombie wounds would be too gruesome for these dolls and would tip the beautiful/creepy balance in the wrong direction.

      Poor Teen Rapunzel...she's definitely been acting a little weird since that photo shoot... ;)

      Delete
  5. She's so pretty!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I did not know this line existed and now I have to sit on my hands for the rest of the month because I already spent my mad money on Disney products. OH THE IRONY. :) Normally cross-eyed insets drive me bonkers, but somehow it works for the zombie princess. She's just so dang cute...and I wish I had her hair color naturally instead of from-the-bottle-y. Oh well! Great--and only slightly terrifying--review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Tina! I covet her hair color, too. Thank goodness for Clairol. :) Disney has a lot of great temptations right now, don't they? With the Frozen dolls, the new singing dolls and all of the classic princesses on sale for $8? I'm in the opposite situation as you, though--the zombies stole all my money!! ;D

      Delete
  7. Huh... while I'm still not keen on the Little Mermaid/Lagoona Clone one, Rapunzel is kind of cute! Hmm, I think I'll need to see these in person to really judge for myself if they get a place on my shelf. Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi AJ, they are worth seeing in person if you get the chance. I love it when a doll looks better in person than it does on the websites! I think it's the eyes that really make these dolls sparkle face-to-face. I can definitely see how the similarities to Monster High might be distracting, though.

      Delete
  8. Excellent review the best yet, great for halloween, these princesses make me feel tenderness and sadness as I saw the movie Corpse Bride, Emily:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen! I love that feeling: that tender, wondrous, sweet heart-achey feeling. These also have a touch of absurdity to them, which is fun. I would love to turn one of these into a straight-up Corpse Bride. I have visions of a Skellita Calevaras body at base, worked over with Sculpey to provide the flesh parts, and all of it done up in ghostly blue. Sigh. I love that movie.

      Delete
    2. Thank you! It is neat how these dolls can evoke that tenderness. I am finding that my mood determines which side of these dolls I see--if I'm feeling silly, then the dolls seem quirky and comical. If I'm in a more emotional mood, they inspire a sadness like what you describe. Alice called them "fragile," above, and I think that's a great word.

      Delete
  9. Well this is a happy surprise. Zombie Rapunzel has a ton more personality than Fairy Tale High Rapunzel (I can't even type that name without boiling with rage!) My main issues with Fairy Tale High were that they had neither a clever concept NOR good execution, and they copied the Disney version of many characters in lieu of actually offering something new. As I see it, you either need a good idea or good execution (bonus points if you have both.) If you have a half-assed concept, you had better do it well. I put "Bratzillaz" in this category: a lukewarm concept with generally good execution and some really nice inset eyes.

    While it isn't terribly clever, turning classic princesses into zombies is much more fun than merely putting them in short-short skirts. More than that, the execution seems quite good, with the exception of the hair. But as you said, the fun of these is that they look half-crazed, and crazy hair really supports that. With inset eyes, dimensional lashes, nice articulation, and stands, these dolls offer a lot more in their execution than their FTH counterparts. See what a difference some nice facial molding and screening can make, S-K Victory?

    I definitely fall into the category of adults who love Disney princesses and classic Tim Burton, so these are hitting some good buttons for me. That makes me feel like a bit of a tool, but probably not enough to shame me away from the line entirely. I honestly would like to make one over to be The Corpse Bride. I wish the facial mold was not so similar to Monster High, but the inset eyes help me overlook that. I do give them major points for not copycatting the Monster High hands or torso the way some other gothy doll lines have (*cough!* Mystixx *cough!*) The packaging is pretty lackluster, though. I like the box art okay, but they could have been much more creative with the box design. How about a castle motif that's all fairytaley and shiny at the top, but crumbly and rotting at the bottom? Or you could make it look like the box is an open grave and the princess is clawing her way out of the earth (that doesn't have to be as gruesome as you might imagine.) You could even add a little humor by putting in some cute woodland creatures looking curiously at the princess, not yet realizing that they should be terrified. Ah well, the doll seems well made and that's what really matters.

    I'm annoyed that they chose to put Rapunzel in purple again, but I'm happy that they at least darkened the purple and her hair a lot, as well as giving her a different hair style. I thank them for putting Cinderella in pink and for referencing Medieval fashion for Sleeping Beauty, without stealing the trademark three points of Aurora's gown. Oh wait... I'm looking at them again and they DID actually appropriate the three-point thing on the gown, they just made them a little bigger. DARN YOU, S-K VICTORY! You're on my watch list! Zombie Snow White annoys me quite a bit as far as referencing the Disney version, but I do like that they tore off one of her puffy sleeves. That is kind of funny. In the end, the fun of the undead element and the fact that this is a nice-looking doll helps me to forgive their referencing the Disney version. Back to that "these win on execution, not originality" thing.

    With some nice execution in place, these dolls seem poised to do much, much better than Fairy Tale High. Should the credit go to WowWee in this case? I'm thinking it probably should.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Casey--I want that box you described!! The one with Rapunzel clawing her way out of the ground with woodland creatures standing confusedly in the sidelines. That is going to have me smiling all day. You are so creative! I am not a fan of super-flashy packaging with stuff sticking out all over the place, but a simple, clever backdrop can make a world of difference. I would buy a doll JUST for the backdrop if she came with something like what you dreamed up.

      A Corpse Bride custom is a great idea, too. The dolls have just the right raw materials for that project.

      Delete
  10. Honestly, I was really skeptical about this line when I heard about it and saw pictures on Amazon, but I think your photos and analysis have won me over, Emily. :) I'm still not sure I'll add any of these to my collection-- I'm not really a zombie fan-- but I have to admit that there's a quirky, goofy cuteness to them. For now I'll just stick to Monster High and Ever After High in my "edgy" doll collection, but I'll keep my eye on these.

    Thanks again for another great review!

    --Kate :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kate! Thank you so much for your nice comment!

      These dolls do seem to take the Monster High creepiness one step further, maybe just because the concept of undead fairy tale princesses is tricky to swallow. It will be interesting to see how popular this level of creepy is with Monster High collectors. Now that I'm thinking about it, though, some Monster High dolls (like the blank-eyed Scarah Screams) seem freakier to me than these zombies! Eep! What's great about Monster High, though, is that there's such a huge range--something for everyone. Skelita and Scarah on one end of the spectrum and adorable, harmless Lagoona on the other. :)

      Delete
  11. On The Site They Said There Was A Zombie Tinker Bell??????????????
    Things Keep Gettting MORE AND MORE CONFUSING!!!
    ARGH! What's Gonna Happen Next? The Princesses Turn Into Princes? (LOL)
    Other Then That, Great Review! Yeah I Don't Think We Will See Teen Rapunzel Ever Again. Hopefully!

    Again Great Review! Keep It Up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, wow--princesses turning into princes? I know you were kidding, but that's actually an amazing idea! Maybe not for a doll line, since male dolls don't sell as well, but for a story, having the princesses turn into princes is kinda brilliant! You could turn all of the gender stereotypes on their heads! That is going to be really fun to think through...

      Delete
  12. I thought I was going to hate this line when I saw the promo pics (they looked cheap and badly made) but she looks great! I hope you get more soon so we get new reviews.
    I have always loved the concept of zombie princesses since in the original stories most of them were rather passive and kinda dead for awhile (or in the case of the little mermaid, dead at the end). At least a decade ago a friend and I had a "the prince never showed up" theme for our costumes. I was Zombie Snow White and my friend was Sleeping Beauty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to have seen those costumes! "The prince never showed up." LOL! I wonder if that's the theme of the Toon Studios books? It's a great idea.

      Does the Little Mermaid really die at the end? I need to read more of these original stories. I'm still reeling from Rapunzel's twins, though! :-O

      I totally agree that the promo pics were not promising and was so glad to see that the dolls are better in real life. I'm still skeptical about the Little Mermaid's outfit, though. It seems very simple. I should probably review her, but I'd rather look at Belle, whose coloring is fantastic. :)

      Delete
    2. The ending of The Little Mermaid is very weird. She's been given a knife by her sisters and told that if she kills the prince and his blood sprinkles her toes she can turn back into a mermaid and return to her old life. If she doesn't, she will die, as per her agreement with The Sea Witch. She sneaks into the prince's room while he's asleep, but can't bring herself to kill him. Instead, she throws herself into the ocean and dissolves into sea foam (which is what happens to mermaids when they die.) From there, she rises up to become a Daughter of the Air. Her spirit must float around for a hundred years doing good deeds to earn her freedom. There's this horrible moral tacked on at the end, that whenever a little boy or girl is good, a year is taken off from her sentence, but whenever they are bad, a year is added. Seems like a harsh and capricious afterlife to me.

      The doctrine throughout the story is very strange. For example, mermaids don't have souls, but if they marry a human they get to share their soul, and thus can avoid an eternity of semi-conscious drifting as sea foam. Whenever people get mad at the Disney version for deviating from the original, I want to ask them "Um, have you actually read that story? Do you really think that would play well to a mainstream American audience?" Same goes for the myth of Hercules (there's some TERRIBLE stuff in there) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (turning a Victor Hugo novel into a Disney movie is really not a great idea to begin with.)

      Delete
    3. I agree, I like Disney's the Little Mermaid. I was so depressed and upset by the original version when I read it as a kid that I still remember the exact time and place I was when I read it. I also remember my mom asking me if I wanted her to buy me that book (we were at a store, I read while she was shopping) and I said no because I did not want it in the house

      Delete
  13. not a bad one!! and of course she looks better than Fairy Tale High Rapunzel! but again - to similar to MH dolls :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I often wonder if the order in which I review dolls influences my opinion at all. I mean, anything that came after Fairy Tale High was going to look good in comparison! ;)

      Delete
  14. This is a stunning doll range, I especially like the eyes! The clothes, the details like the hands... definitely collectable dolls for adults (unfortunately they are not (yet) for sale in the shops here).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't the eyes wonderful? They give the dolls so much personality.

      I don't know if they're in any actual shops here, yet, either. I haven't had a chance to look around. They might end up being for sale online only, or maybe in some specialty shops like (in this country) Newbury Comics?

      Delete
  15. Hello from Spain: I like your review. I do not really like this new collection. I'm so saturated Monsters type dolls. We keep in touch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marta! There are an awful lot of monster-themed dolls at the moment--that's a good point. I have been focusing on the number of princess dolls, but there are a lot of monsters, too!

      Delete
  16. These are actually nicer. But I don't think it was Wowee or whatever they're called that contributed to this doll's apparent good looks. I actually think they got them mixed up. You mentioned that Teen Rapunzel's eye shadow made her look sick or even undead, kind of like what Midnight Beach Meygana's skin tone does to her. I think maybe Teen Rapunzel was supposed to have this doll's eye shadow, and that Zombie Rapunzel was supposed to have the sick plum eye shadow. But I can't defend Teen Rapunzel's outfit. That is unacceptable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does seem like there was some eyeshadow-swapping between these two lines! Zombie Rapunzel's eye makeup is SO much prettier, and not very zombie-ish.

      Delete
  17. Great review Emily, well I maybe the only one who is sick to death of Zombie anything. I am beyond done with all of it.
    I love Halloween, sell Halloween stuff, don't get me wrong here but good grief. I am more than likely being over sensitive to it all-last night I watched Tangled for the first time, such a cute movie and now to see her as a Zombie ??? It's just too much.

    Will you do a review on Monster High Mad Science Lab?? Cleo and Ghoulia look pretty neat.

    A treat as always, Tina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tina! Oh, I LOVE Ghoulia's dress in the Mad Science Lab set. I have been admiring that, but I don't own it. I'll keep an eye out!

      Isn't Tangled a great movie? I cry just thinking about the lantern scene. Sigh. :) It's funny because reviewing Zombie Rapunzel made me want to watch the movie again myself--maybe to cleanse the image of Rapunzel as undead?? Anyway, I see your point--fad themes tend to get way overdone before they pass, and it can be irritating. I'm still in the phase where I like seeing new zombie stuff, but I'm sure it won't last forever.

      Delete
  18. I like this doll more than I thought I would. I didn't know they had inset eyes. I also like their face molds and physique, though I'd like them more with human skin tones and side-glancing eyes. I saw a zombie prince in the web series trailer who I wouldn't mind having in doll form should they decide to make him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Side-glancing eyes would be great! I wonder how destructive it would be to get into the head and change the eyes? I'll probably leave that project to the more skilled customization artists out there, but I'd love to have a side-glancing zombie Cinderella! The prince would be fun, too, depending on how they handle his eyes. I like how Liv Jake had smaller inset eyes--that worked nicely.

      Delete
  19. Oh my gosh Emily I just love her! I would like them all for Halloween. We love Halloween in our house and they could be part of the decorations. And if there WAS a zombie Tinkerbell, needless to say I would be all over that too. I don't think that they are for sale over here though. I will be keeping an eye out for this line. She has gone straight to my wishlist. Thanks for introducing her to us :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Nat Kat! Isn't she fun?

      Zombie Tinkerbell would be perfect for you! I don't see any information about her on the website, though. Maybe I didn't look carefully enough. Have you ever watched the TV show, Once Upon a Time? They're adding a Tinkerbell character this season. :)

      These dolls would be fabulous for Halloween decorations! I don't know if they're in any actual shops yet (or if they ever will be) but hopefully they'll be available to you soon!

      Delete
  20. Interesting timing on this: The Nostalgia Critic has just released an editorial called "Why Do We Love Zombies?" He looks at the zombie craze through the lens of film history and comes to some interesting conclusions. Ultimately, he finds that the real terror of zombies comes from the effect they have on the survivors. Moreover, he stresses that good writing and character development are key to making the zombie motif work. You can find the video on thatguywiththeglasses.com. Just be warned that it does include some zombie gore from sources like The Walking Dead and World War Z.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great! Thank you for the link, Casey. I have recently been chatting with my kids about why people are drawn to the zombie theme, and so it's especially neat to see someone else's thoughts. Character development is key, I agree, because identifying with the survivors is what makes the stories so potent. After some initial gratuitous (and horrible!) gore, The Walking Dead TV show settles into some wonderful character studies. My other thought was that humans are inherently scared about death and dead people (open casket funerals, etc.), and zombies are a way of coping with that, or putting it into some kind of perspective. Normal, natural death is much less scary in comparison to being an undead monster! I'd love to hear what you think!

      Delete
    2. I'm glad this stuff is interesting to you, too. I guess Halloween is the time to stop and think about these things. The Nostalgia Critic is known for his humorous rants, but he's also very smart. He thinks deeply about movies and their relationship to culture, and I'm always interested to hear his thoughts on a subject. I agree with you that zombies play on our natural fear of death and decay. More than that, I think they also express a global fear of epidemic. Zombies are basically walking agents of disease. They amp up the fear of infection, though, by making the effects immediate, visceral, and dehumanizing.

      The movie Quarantine gave an interesting and terrifying take on how we respond to diseased people, using the zombie motif. Have you seen it? It was a shot-for-shot remake of a Spanish movie called Rec, so I initially wrote it off, but it was actually very well done and very scary. Also, was I the only one who was surprised by how little zombie gore was shown in World War Z? It was a refreshing change. I haven't watched The Walking Dead yet because I can be hypersensitive about getting attached to characters and then seeing them horribly killed. (I cry EVERY TIME at Shawn of the Dead when he has to shoot his mother.) I read the first Walking Dead comic and really admired how well done it was, but I haven't been feeling strong enough to take on the TV series yet. I hear it's very good.

      Delete
  21. I like her a whole lot more than I expected to! I quite like her body. ... It looks like she has the poseability of Monster High, but with a more attractive body. I love that! I'm totally in love with her hair color, too. Her face is fine. The scars on either side of her mouth are a little unsettling to me, which is of course what they were going for. LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those scars are unsettling, that's for sure! I wonder how "normal" she'd look without the scars? They might be possible to remove and, come to think of it, they're the only thing that really suggests that she's a zombie--well, that and the grey skin tone, I suppose. :)

      Delete
  22. Hi Emily!

    I am really glad this doll seems to be a mostly good one, because I find her so cute with a creepy twist! A few disappointments with the hair (maybe the shorter haired dolls would have more manageable hair?), but her pros seem to outweigh her cons. It's becoming a bit repetitive to see all these companies to jump on the "play doll with a monstrous twist," but I kind of enjoy it. These are the sorts of toys I would have been very interested in when I was a kid. I've always been a weird kid and enjoyed creepy things...and it's only progressed as I've gotten older! I really like disturbing, eerie, creepy, gory things, so this kind of doll appeals to me. :)

    Those inset eyes and painted details are really nice...my favorite is that exaggerated, stitched-up smile (reminds me of the Joker). It would have been easy for the company to give her grey skin and a tattered dress and call it a zombie, so I'm glad to see they seem to have put in a bit more effort than that.

    I shouldn't have been surprised by this, but I was slightly disappointed that Mulan wasn't featured. She has always been my favorite Disney "princess." I know she's not the most popular Disney character, and she isn't technically a princess...but she's a heroine! Which makes it even better to me. She didn't marry and become a princess, she fought her way to the top and saved all of China, and it was awesome. :D Oh, but now I'm off on a tangent. My point is, if there were a zombie Mulan, I probably would have tried to scrounge together some cash and snatch her right up.

    Great review as always, Emily...I'm happy to see you had more fun with this one and were pleased with the doll! I wouldn't blame you if you tried to get a couple more of these cuties. Looking forward to your next review, please take care!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lissy! It's neat that you mentioned the scars because I was just thinking that these are the only details that really suggest that Rapunzel is a zombie. Like you, I'm glad she isn't just a grey-skinned princess in a tattered dress. I do wonder how easy it would be to remove the scars (for those who don't like the Joker-y smile)? I can see customization going both ways with this doll--some people might want to tone her down, others might choose to give her gory, more zombie-ish skin details!

      Mulan would make an excellent zombie! :D But seriously, I think she's a fabulous heroine, too. I was just eyeing her at the Disney Store ($8!). Is Mulan's character based on an older story, or is she strictly a Disney creation? I think these zombie dolls are trying not to be based solely on the Disney characters, but more on the classic (often darker) stories.

      I'm 100% with you that the theme is hugely repetitive...but I'm not tired of it yet, either. :)

      Delete
    2. Mulan was a popular Chinese folk tale before Disney decided to adapt it. It originally took the form of a poem. You can read it here if you're interested. It's pretty short.

      http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/ps/china/mulan.pdf

      I love Disney's Mulan, too, though I have to laugh when they include her in the "princess" line. I don't think Shang was royalty. But it guess I can let it slide if it results in more Mulan dolls. Since Disney is doing side characters, could we please get a doll of the Matchmaker? Maybe with one of those fat beanbag bodies like they did for the Fairy Godmother? And would it be asking too much to have a color-change "goatee" that shows up with warm water? Probably, but it would be awesome.

      Delete
  23. I NEED HER!!!She is soooo preety!I cant wait to go in the toy store and run in the doll departmend.Actually I also want to check if there are new dolls and then buy some ponies.OMG, you're back in Facebook!!! :()

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joanna! I like your enthusiasm! It'd be really fun to go to a toy store with you, I bet. :) I am trying to be back on facebook. There are a lot of cute little things (like ponies!) that are perfect for reviewing over there.

      Delete
  24. los juguetes famosa son de buena calidad me gusta nancy y los barriguitas. Lastima le hubieras dejado la trenza como estaba, porque siempre le arruinas el cabello a las muñecas, y que onda yo queria saber mas sobre la rapunzel adolescente.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love the hands but aren't fond of the feet that are turned inwards. I was thinking of buying the Belle doll but she has those pigeon toes. Cinderella looks cute and I like her hairstyle. From the pictures I can't tell if the hands are all the same shape. Decisions decisions. Thanks for all the details you provided. It makes deciding a lot easier.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I wonder if they'll ever come to Europe. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I want to love these but for some reason I just don't :(
    On paper they are such a great idea but I don't know there is something I find a bit cheap and thrown together looking about them - which maybe I wouldn't mind if they were half the price?
    Hmm..

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ooo i really like this doll! I mean who doesn't love the zombie craze right now?! Gotta love a ghoulish themed doll. So much better than the Fairy tale high one you did in your last review. These Once upon a time girls are too hard not to want, especially Rapunzel, Belle and Sleeping beauty. Rapunzel's hands are very cool, i like that the look like zombie hands..and have some expression in them. To me her lower legs should of had some veins or something running down them to look more ghoulish instead of a simple little stitch, Which looks like it was copied from Frankie lol. I also think that they're feet are kinda big for their lower legs? Or is that just me? It's pretty cool they come with a stand, Love when a doll comes with a stand and she isn't stuck sitting on the shelf. My only complaint about them is that they're kinda pricey for a doll like this compared to the other dolls on the market..I mean it's only a few dollars more but still. I also kinda wish they were more zombie looking, I know they're targeted towards kids..But they went a little too safe on the look of zombie.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I was wondering if you have seen storytime dolls mga

    ReplyDelete
  30. I agree Once Upon a Zombie's Rapunzel is amazing! I thinks its great how they captured the Zombie feeling and yet she is extremely beautiful. Your pictures are also done really well.

    I am a bit confused as to why you said Fairy Tale High's Rapunzel fell flat. I think that line is also very beautiful and creative. The outfits are just awesome!

    Anyways, I know both lines will have great fans, and probably share fans as well. Win Win for everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  31. She looks like a really fun doll! and i'm not a huge fan of all these 'princess' themed dolls coming out lately as a lot seem to fail in what they try to achieve but these zombie themed princess dolls did well! they made a doll that looks good and also reflects the princess they are supposed to be based after of course while still being creepy and zombie like!

    Love the shots on her with her hands creeping towards you! very scary :P

    ReplyDelete
  32. I really wasn't excited about these from the pictures I saw ages ago when they were first announced (they just looked a bit...off), but they look so much better now! Your photos are stunning as always, which helps. Add to that the fact I'm a fan of all things Rapunzel and creepy... I really hope these girls make it over to the UK. It's halfway tempting to put an international order on ThinkGeek *ponders* I'm sure if I do, though, they'll be over here tout de suite and I'll be kicking myself.
    As an aside, the music on the official website is quite lovely. I've been listening to it looped since I scampered off to look at the other girls in the line.

    ReplyDelete
  33. maybe you won't read this, but the rag dress belongs to Snow White not Cinderella, y'know just a reminder, cause Cinderella's dress is obviously just old, but it was never rags, she has blue sleeves, still this is a good review as usual :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good catch! You're absolutely right. Many thanks for the correction! I'll go fix it! :D

      Delete
  34. I've seen many pictures of these dolls online and thy look beautiful! I might buy one after Christmas when I've been given lots of money for Christmas ;) They're so creepy yet adorable. I want to get Rapunzel or Sleeping Beauty

    ReplyDelete
  35. I totally forgot about these dolls! I wish I had because now I HAVE to spend the money, lol. Another fun review, by the way! As for the stitches, well, if I were an undead princess such as her, one who seemingly has possible intelligence like Ghoulia Yelps, I'd sew my body parts on, too! (Her feet *are* rather rubbery and probably prone to being left behind, not unlike Cinderella's shoe or Frankie Stein's hands! ;) ;)

    ReplyDelete
  36. hi, great review!!! shes so pretty. i would get rapunzel, the little mermaid or sleeping beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Emily. I was just browsing eBay and wanted to let you know that someone is using your pictures of this doll in their listing. I knew there was a chance that the seller might be you, but just in case, here's the listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/MOVE-OVER-MONSTER-HIGH-ONCE-UPON-A-ZOMBIE-RAPUNZEL-RARE-WowWee-MIB-HUGE-SALE-/310925697831

    I've had someone use my photos on eBay before without permission and found it rather frustrating, so I thought I'd give you a head's up in case this was the same situation.

    Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you beastsbelle! That's not me, and it is frustrating, I agree. I don't want friends from here to think it's my auction when it isn't, especially if it ends up being a bad transaction. I really wish people would ask permission or credit the photos--never mind the law, just simple respect. :( Thanks again for the heads up. Have a lovely weekend!

      Delete
    2. You're welcome. I agree, it's very frustrating having your pictures attached to an eBay transaction when you have no clue how the seller will handle the transaction. Not to mention it's misleading to the buyer since they will think the photos are of the actual doll they're getting. :{

      Glad I could help! :)

      Delete
  38. i got all 6 of the dolls and love them! shame the hair is not better quality, anyhows loved ur photos by far the best review ive seen x

    ReplyDelete

I value and welcome all opinions, but comments with abusive or offensive language will be deleted.