Cerise really stood out from the crowd at the store. Her face mold is completely new and she has exotic coloring, with light brown vinyl and vivid grey-blue eyes:
|Ever After High "Cerise Hood."|
Cerise's packaging is otherwise just like Cupid's--very easy to manage with lightweight cardboard and a keyhole opening in the back to show where the stand is stored:
The cartoon drawings of Cerise are very nice, but they show her wearing a maroon cape instead of the blazing red cape she's actually wearing. I wish the cape was dark like the picture. It's very flattering. Also, notice that the cape perfectly matches the dress in these pictures. The doll's dress and cape do not match this nicely.
Cerise is the name of a deep reddish pink color, which I suppose makes the color palette of the doll a good fit.
Cerise is the daughter of Red Riding Hood, but the short biography on the back of the box describes how her father's identity is a big secret:
Cerise's responses to the interview questions give away who her dad is, though. I mean, she's drawn to the "leader of the pack," she's a "lone wolf," she hides her ears under her hood, she has the "speed and enhanced senses of her father"...a father who could get in "big bad" trouble if his identity was revealed.
I think I get the hints.
|Daughter of the Big Bad Wolf.|
Another thing that bothers me is that I didn't know Cerise was half lupine when I bought her, and I made a very different assumption at the store. For some reason Cerise reminds me of the gorgeous actress Hannah Simone, who co-stars on the TV show, New Girl. Ms. Simone is half Indian, and so this association made me assume that the doll was Indian, too. This is one of the reasons I scooped her up so quickly--I always like to see ethnic diversity in mainstream dolls. I guess in retrospect it doesn't make a lot of sense that the daughter of Riding Hood would be Indian...but let's just say, from a biological standpoint anyway, that a woodsman from India makes more sense than a wolf.
Now when I look at Cerise's elegant nose, I see that the designers were trying to make it look like the muzzle of a wolf. Frankly, it looks more cat-like to me. A wolf would have a much bigger nose.
My photo session with Cerise got off to a rocky start. First of all, Cerise is terrible at standing up on her own. She fell over three seconds after this picture was taken:
Also, this doll comes with a lot of accessories strapped all over her with clear rubber bands, and this makes it hard to tell what's going on. She has jewelry tied to her right hand, and a basket tied to her left hand. The red cape is made out of very stiff fabric and it's tied to her chest. Some of her hair is tied to one arm, and more of her hair sticks awkwardly out the back of her hood. Her hood is plastic-tied to her head.
All of this makes her very immobile and awkward right out of the box.
|This is after the bands holding the jewelry were removed,|
but look at the plastic tie in the top of her hood.
Her black wrist band has molded buckles that look like flowers:
The basket accessory is cute, but (like Ashlynn's clock purse) it doesn't open. Big disappointment.
None of these accessories really grabbed my attention or made me smile. I just set them aside and moved on.
The plastic tie in Cerise's hood is attached to a clear plastic liner inside the hood. The tie leaves a hole in the hood when it is removed.
I guess the plastic liner is there to help the hood keep its shape, but this seems unnecessary given how stiff the hood fabric is.
Do I seem crabby? I was definitely a little crabby with this doll at first. Things got better once I got all of the accessories removed. The hood of the cape is stiffer than I'd like, and the color is too fire-engine-red for my taste, but the design of the cape is neat.
The red hood has a big hole in the back for Cerise's hair. I don't love this, but I also don't see a great alternative.
The cape is made out of a silky print and is gathered at the bottom into a bubble hem:
The print is a mix of red, pink, black and grey and it has an abstract tree design. It seems Asian in inspiration, but the spooky silhouettes also make me think of Little Apple dolls.
The cape is lined with a red mesh that is pulled tight to hold the shape of the gathered hem:
The cape is held closed with a silver vinyl clasp, molded to look like links of chain:
The cape is almost extremely cool. I just wish that it was a slightly toned-down shade of red and that the hood was made out of a fabric with more drape and drama. I mean, a cape is a wonderful, high-octane accessory, and I think it should be given top design priority. The fact that Cerise Hood's worst wardrobe component is her hood...well, that's just sad.
Without the bulky cape, Cerise balances a little better, but it's still not great.
The red in her dress does not seem as bright as the red of the cape's hood. Maybe it's because there is so much black mixed into her outfit.
Cerise has straight-cut bangs with a white streak of hair at the front of her head. Overall, her hair is long and brown with some shaggy layering at the ends:
Cerise's hair brushes out easily, but it's pretty scraggly at the ends.
A few large clumps of hair hung off the bottom of my doll's hair and some of those clumps pulled right out of the head. The strays hairs that didn't pull out were easy to trim with scissors.
Cerise's hair is very different in texture from Cupid's fluffy locks. It's much smoother, with a little bit of shine and some movement. It's not fantastic hair fiber, though--or at least it's hard to see its full potential with so much styling goop. The entire top third of Cerise's hair is plastered with some kind of hair-taming product. It would probably be very difficult to keep the bangs under control if they weren't plastered down like this, but I still think I'll probably give the hair a good wash.
When I was shopping, there were three Cerise dolls to choose from. One of them had shorter bangs, and I didn't like that look as much. I really like the length of my doll's bangs, but the cut is crooked. The bangs also block a clear view of Cerise's eyebrows:
I tried to pull the bangs away from Cerise's eyes to give you a good look at her face paint and the shape of her head. It was tricky to get all of the stiff little strands of hair out of the way:
You can see that she has nice thick brown eyebrows with a little bit of texture towards the middle edge:
I love the color of Cerise's eyes. They are slate blue with a lighter blue highlight. The silver and lavender eyeshadow sets off these eyes beautifully.
After learning she was part wolf, I expected Cerise's ears to be on the top of her head like Clawdeen's... or at least for them to be larger and more dog-like. I'm not sure why she hides them away--they look pretty normal to me. I agree with Panthera that these are a little disappointing:
|They're not even fully pierced.|
|You say you're part wolf, girl, but I'm just not buying it.|
Cerise's nose is her most distinct feature. I love that it isn't the typical barely-there button nose that most dolls have these days. I think her nose is shown off best in half-profile:
Here it is up close:
Cerise's mouth is a little different from the other Ever After High mouths, too. Her lower lip juts out a bit, although it has the traditional triple dot decoration. Her lips are painted a nice natural light rose color.
My doll has a shiny area around her upper lip and some debris stuck in her lip paint, but these aren't glaring flaws.
|Doesn't the texture of the vinyl almost look like real skin?|
I put one of the Tonner City Girls' hats on Cerise to keep her bangs out of her face for some comparison shots.
|Not a bad look for her.|
Cerise has a very round face, but I think her nose and eyes help divert attention from this.
Of the Ever After High dolls I own, Apple and Cupid share a face mold, and Ashlynn has a different face. I'll show you Cerise with Apple, since you just saw Cupid:
First of all, Cerise's eyes are really well aligned when compared to Apple. Frankly, Apple looks a little ridiculous next to Cerise. Even if I try not to notice Apple's crooked eyes, I vastly prefer Cerise's appearance to Apple's. Everything from the eyebrows to the color of the eyes and lips is better on Cerise--in my opinion.
The nose shapes don't look as different in profile, but you can see that the bridge of Cerise's nose isn't concave at all. The ear differences are also clear from this view. Cerise has what I would call half-elf ears. I like the shape, even if they aren't very wolfy.
Ashlynn and Cerise have the same color vinyl, which I think makes other things about them easier to compare. These dolls have more similarities than Apple and Cerise. Their eyebrows are the exact same shape, but Ashlynn is missing the little textural details. They also both have pouty lower lips and a slight overbite. It's harder for me to pick a favorite from these two. I like certain little things better on one or the other. for example, I prefer Cerise's lip color, but I love Ashlynn's sweet smile and bright green eyes.
Here are their profiles:
When I was done with these face comparisons, I released Cerise's bangs, and was happy to see that all of my manipulating had relaxed some of the gel clumps. I think the hair looks much more natural like this, and the uneven areas are not as apparent:
Cerise's dress has a plaid bodice, lacy half sleeves, and an asymmetrical skirt made out of two layers of gathered black tulle.
A large brown vinyl belt breaks up the plaid section of the skirt. The belt is painted with some silver accents, including some chain loops and three belt buckles:
The belt opens and closes in back with the help of two small pegs:
The belt is very large and brown, and I think I prefer the look of the dress without it:
Maybe I'd like it more if the belt was just silver chains? Hm.
The red plaid fabric is pretty stiff, and so the dress holds its shape even when it's off the doll:
I am not sure what this fabric is--it has a knit pattern on the front, but feels a little rough. It has a white fuzzy backing that reminds me of a vinyl tablecloth:
The lacy fabric in the sleeves has a little bit of metallic silver in it. These sleeves are delicate (the doll's hands have to be removed for dressing) but I like how the silver threads mirror the silver in Cerise's belt and cape.
I think the tulle ruffles are great:
Cerise is wearing shimmery grey leggings and brown boots:
The boots have molded laces and buckles, and they even have some silver painted detail in the belt buckles:
I wish the boots helped the doll stand a little better.
The grey tights have an elasticized waist and no feet:
They have an interesting pattern when you look at them up close:
Cerise is taller than my other Ever After High dolls (if you try to ignore Ashlynn and Apple's big hair):
The height difference is entirely due to the lower legs. All of the dolls have identical bodies except for the lower leg pieces. I wonder if it's the longer leg that throws Cerise's balance?
Because Cerise's torso is the same as the other Monster High dolls, she can share their clothing...the dresses are just a little short. She can also share shoes with the other dolls.
|She stands better in Cupid's shoes.|
I wondered if Cerise might be about the same size as the tall Monster High doll, Headmistress Bloodgood. Actually, Bloodgood is quite a bit taller!
I checked to see if the dolls have the same lower leg mold, but they do not. The shapes are extremely similar, but Cerise's legs are more slender:
It was at this point during the photo shoot that I noticed my hands felt a little wet--just a tiny little bit wet. I often wash my hands before I handle the dolls, so I went and dried them again and hurried back to take more pictures. Then my hands got wet again. I examined Cerise a little more closely and saw this:
|Water on the knee.|
I have to admit that I had a brief moment of wondering, am I sure this is water? And, as I'm going through my mental list of clear, toxic chemicals, I thought maybe my throat was tightening up or there was a mild tingling in my left leg that hadn't been there before. But that's just me-- it was definitely water. However, I don't have any idea why it was leaking out of my doll's legs.
So, I called Mattel to see if they had any insight about this. They were super-concerned and helpful (the dolls are completely non-toxic) and they wanted to send me a new doll and have the old doll returned to them for inspection. I figured the water would leak out or dry up by the time I packed her for shipping, and then I'd have to wait a week for another doll, so I declined their offer.
The woman who was helping me wondered if the water might be from condensation. This hypothesis makes some sense given how cold it was last week and how warm it is now. Or maybe the dolls get rinsed off at the end of the manufacturing process and this one wasn't dried completely? I just don't know.
In any case, it's fine now--the doll is totally dry and there's no way it could have been anything bad, but I did find it fascinating. I'd love to hear your thoughts about this.
I will end the review by showing you some of my favorite pictures of Cerise. I found her to be a tricky doll to photograph. Her cape does not move around as dramatically as I had hoped, and there's something about her coloring that doesn't agree with my camera, but I still think she's a great-looking doll...and she can, indeed, run fast like her father:
Bottom line? Cerise had a few surprises in store for me. First of all, I was slow to learn that she is the daughter of the Big Bad Wolf. I think this detail makes her as much like a Monster High character as an Ever After High student, and I wonder if there are any plans to take advantage of this crossover. Second, while Cerise wowed me in the box, it took a while for me to warm up to her once I got her out of the box. A lot of this is because it took time and effort to get her stripped of her accessories so that I could see her best qualities. Last, this doll had water in her knee joints, which is a strange occurrence that I can't seem to explain.
In my eyes, Cerise's biggest weaknesses are her stiff cape hood and her inability to stand on her own. Admittedly, these are not huge complaints, but both of them significantly delayed the time it took from when I got Cerise out of her box to when I could start appreciating her. The cape has a neat design, but the fabric is a glaring, gaudy red, and the fabric is so stiff that I find it very awkward to use. Cerise does come with a stand, but for me, the ability to stand alone is one of the things I adore about most Monster High and Ever After High dolls, so it was sad to see this trait missing. I'm not sure if it's Cerise's longer legs, her shoes, or her wolf genes that throw off her balance. I also think Cerise's accessories are fairly drab--especially when compared to Cupid's entertaining wings and bow.
To me, Cerise's biggest strengths are her face mold, her coloring, and the fact that she's wearing a non-frilly dress with a bit of a gothic edge. I am glad to see Mattel veer away from the repetitive dress code of the Ever After High line. Whatever her heritage, I love Cerise's distinct nose and new mouth shape. I also think her darker vinyl paired with blue-grey eyes is a stunning combination. While none of the Ever After High dolls are particularly realistic, Cerise strikes me as the most real of the bunch. She's a versatile doll with a lot of personality. Despite her wolf backstory, she could easily portray a regular, elegant young teen in any child's game.
I'll admit that I had more fun photographing Cupid, with her sparkling, frothy personality and dramatic accessories. However, Cerise has something new to add to the Ever After High series. Despite my frustration with some of this doll's flaws, I am glad to see the line moving in a direction that incorporates unconventional characters like Cerise.