I wrote a review of Winx Believix Bloom back in 2012 (here's the link). The desire to write another Winx post started because of the simple fact that I have been noticing Winx dolls a lot lately. I have been impressed by the steady stream of new dolls in this line, but have gotten into the habit of just stopping to admire the new dolls--not actually purchasing any of them. The recently released Believix Power series proved too tempting to resist. Believix Power Tecna will make an appearance at the end of this review.
Another inspiration for this post came ages ago, when I got an email tip from Emma to look into Giochi Preziosi dolls. Giochi Preziosi is an Italian company that is one of the largest toy makers in the world. This company makes toys, but also acts as a European distributor for other toy manufacturers. Shopping for a Giochi Preziosi doll is like shopping for a Hasbro doll--there are a ton of different options in a range of styles. With the help of eBay International, I ended up with a fun mix of dolls from Italy bearing the Giochi Preziosi label, including this basic Winx Club Bloom doll that I will review today:
As I researched Giochi Preziosi and brushed up on my Winx doll history for this review, I learned a few things:
First of all, I read that Giochi Preziosi used to make their own Winx dolls, and these are considered by many collectors to be the most accurate to the television characters. I think this is the type of doll that Emma was recommending, but it's not what I ended up buying. You can see a nice picture of a few of the Giochi Preziosi Winx dolls on flickr.
Mattel also manufactured the Winx line for a while, and those dolls were very well-received and are now highly collectable.
The Winx dolls on the shelves in the Unites States right now are made by Jakks Pacific.
The doll I ended up buying seems to be something completely different from any of the dolls I just mentioned. She was made in 2011 by Witty Toys (a.k.a. Rainbow Toys) and is distributed by Giochi Preziosi. Giochi Preziosi is also the current European distributor for Jakks Pacific Winx dolls.
|What does it mean?|
So...the short version of what I've learned is that a Winx doll with a Giochi Preziosi label on it can be (as I understand it) one of three different things:
1. A Winx doll made by Giochi Preziosi
2. A Witty Toys Winx doll distributed by Giochi Preziosi (what I bought)
3. A Jakks Pacific doll distributed in Europe by Giochi Preziosi
Let's look at the actual doll I got from Italy. This Bloom comes in a colorful window box with a bright summery design, perfect for warming up a wintry day in Maine:
There's a cute cartoon of Bloom in the lower corner of the box. This version of Bloom is different from the pictures on the Jakks Pacific doll boxes.
English isn't one of the three languages on this box, which is neat. I had to translate each phrase to see what was going on...but I liked trying to guess what the words meant first.
The first caption reads: Il materassino super colorato delle Winx (Italian):
|My guess: Super colorful materials (clothes?) for Winx!|
The name of this series of dolls seems to be "Frutty" in Italian:
|Italian slang for freakishly nutty??|
Google translate can't help me with "frutty." I assume it's a mistranslation of "fruity," since there are pictures of fruit all over the box:
The back of the box has a photograph of the other dolls in the Frutty series...and some more Italian for me to translate:
|I love Flora's hair color!|
The text at the top of the box reads: Divertiti anche tu con le Winx al Frutti Music Bar! I guess we're spelling Frutty with an "i" now. That's cool.
|My guess: Go along with the Winx to the fruity music bar!..?|
Actually, Google Translate says this means: "Enjoy yourself with the Winx in the Seafood Music Bar!" Where does seafood come from in this sentence? Is Google messing with me? I mean, here in Maine we love a good seafood music bar, but it seems a little obscure. They must be thinking of frutti di mare, or the fruit of the sea. I think it's best to stick with real fruit for a doll line theme. A shrimp cocktail dress would be a tad avant garde for a Winx fairy.
Anyway--back to the box. I like that it's made to look like all of the dolls have signed their name under their picture, but this scrolling font makes it look like Tecna's name is Teena:
|Teena the grape.|
Bloom's face is very different from the Winx faces I am used to seeing here in Maine. I have to admit that I didn't have a good first reaction to this doll's unfamiliar face:
|I think those are kaleidoscope eyes.|
I like her frutty skirt, though:
Bloom is easy to get out of the box...as is her water mattress accessory:
The floating mattress is fun and can actually be inflated and used in a pool:
I would demonstrate this for you except that it's about 10°F here in Maine right now with a windchill of below zero (that's -12°C with a windchill of -20°C outside the US). So let's just admire this fruity floaty from the safety of indoors:
I'm actually going to pause right here and introduce another doll. One of the other inspirations for this review was Target's crazy-awesome post-holiday sale. Turns out that the Jakks Pacific basic Everyday Collection version of Bloom was selling for just under $5. For those of you with Target stores nearby, the fancier Sirenix dolls are only $7....as are most of the La Dee Da dolls (including the Art Show dolls!).
I figured I'd bring this Jakks Pacific basic Bloom doll into the review for a little comparison.
|Sei carino, ma dove è il tuo materasso super-colorata?|
Here's Everyday Bloom in her box:
With her more familiar Winx Club face:
|I love doing "research" at Target.|
You can see how different the box art styles are:
The back of this box is very similar in layout to Frutty Bloom's box. It has a photograph of the six Winx girls--but, sadly, nothing for me to translate.
|This Tecna is so cute.|
|Trap door to nowhere!|
With the packaging out of the way, now I'll take a closer look at each doll and try to draw some comparisons.
Here's Frutty Bloom (I think I'll start calling her Fruity Bloom...) right out of her box. Her hair comes sewn into a plastic holder:
She comes with a pair of sunglasses that are held securely to the top of her head with a clear rubber band:
Everyday Bloom's hair is not tied down in any way, but it does have flecks of white styling gel residue that keep it fairly flat (matted) in the box.
This Bloom is advertised as having an armband accessory, and it's is just a simple pink plastic band around her upper right arm:
Everyday Bloom is taller than Fruity Bloom:
|Everyday Bloom (L) and Fruity Bloom (R).|
Fruity Bloom's hair is very soft and silky. It reminds me of Bratzillaz Magic Night Out hair--at least the hair on the Meygana doll. Bloom's hair is bright red with orange highlights and is left mostly down with two cute twirled pieces pulled back on either side of her head:
The hair has a little bit of curl at the ends:
And it brushes out very nicely:
The rooting pattern is good, with tight rows of hair encircling the scalp and then some scattered clusters of two or three strands covering the top of the head:
Everyday Bloom's hair is styled down, with two short (crispy) curls of hair on either side of her face. There are some loose waves throughout most of the hair. This hair is more monochromatic than Fruity Bloom's hair, and has no highlights.
This hair fiber has a texture more similar to the first wave Meygana's hair. It's coarse and frizzy--especially at the ends. The hair is kept under relative control by the liberal use of styling product.
Everyday Bloom's hair is easy enough to brush, but it becomes very wild and tangle-prone, and the waves disappear into a puffy mass:
The rooting pattern is good, with tight rows around the edges of the hairline and looser rows covering the top of the head:
|The scalp is tinted orange.|
These two dolls have very different faces. Fruity Bloom has very colorful, teardrop shaped eyes and a broad jawline while Everyday Bloom has more natural eyes and an oval-shaped face:
Fruity Bloom's lips are rosy pink with a faint sheen. Her blue eyes are lined with an arch of orange, peach and yellow. The shape of her eyes makes it seem like she's looking up, and also makes her eyes look a little crossed:
|There's that pesky convergent strabismus again.|
The eye design is very shiny and has faint cracks in it, suggesting that it was not painted, but applied in one piece like a temporary tattoo (similar to the Create-A-Monster Design Lab features).
Everyday Bloom has even brighter pink lips with no shimmer. Her eyes might also be decals, but they look painted, and have a more natural shape and less extravagant eyeshadow:
|Day-glo pink lip.|
I like the "cat eye" appearance of this Bloom's eyeliner and her very pale pink eyeshadow. Too bad her lips aren't as subtle as her eyeshadow.
The two dolls have distinct profiles: Fruity Bloom has deep-set eyes, making her mouth and nose areas very prominent. She also has a fairly short forehead. In contrast, Everyday Bloom has a tall forehead and a shallower slope to her nose:
Fruity Bloom's sunglasses are painted purple and are nicely incorporated into her hairstyle:
Up close, you can see that each ear piece is decorated with tiny molded butterfly and the letter "w."
Once the clear rubber band is removed, it's difficult to get the sunglasses to stay on Bloom's face. The ear pieces don't rest on her ears very easily, and even if they balance there for a second, this position puts the glasses too low on the nose. I can tuck the glasses into Bloom's hair, though, and then they look good and stay put:
I love her goofy, big-eyed expression when she's wearing these glasses:
Everyday Bloom just comes with a bad hairbrush and a tiny pink armband with hearts on it:
Both dolls are wearing cropped tops and very short skirts.
Fruity Bloom has a ruched yellow top and a skirt with a print that looks like sliced oranges. Both pieces have velcro all of the way down the back.
The shirt seems stitched solidly enough, but it has a bunch of loose threads at the edges that unraveled more and more as I dressed and undressed the doll. The loose threads in the sleeve area made the shirt increasingly hard to put on.
The skirt is really fun. It makes me thirsty.
Fruity Bloom is wearing yellow slip-on sandals with flat soles, despite the fact that she has arched feet:
|She just has to walk on tippy-toe all of the time.|
This doll is wearing netted knee-high stockings and blue high-heeled shoes:
The shoes have very bendy heels, but are nicely detailed and are pretty easy to get on and off:
This shirt has a more solid construction than Fruity Bloom's yellow shirt. It looks like an easier fabric to work with. The four iron-on hearts are a nice deep pinkish purple color--that would have been a good shade for the lipstick.
The skirt has a dropped waist and a ruffled hem in the front. The back of the skirt is plain. The zipper and pocket details are painted on the fabric.
The two versions of Bloom can share skirts, but Fruity Bloom's top is too small for Everyday Bloom and will not close in back. I managed to squeeze Fruity Bloom's bendable feet into Everyday Bloom's blue shoes, but I wouldn't call it a perfect fit.
It's not surprising that these dolls don't share clothes, given how different their body shapes are.
Everyday Bloom is very similar to the fully articulated Believix Bloom doll that I've already reviewed. The only difference is that this basic doll does not have elbow and wrist joints. Fruity Bloom's body is nothing like any of the Jakks Pacific Winx doll bodies:
|Everyday Bloom (L), Fruity Bloom (R).|
The most obvious difference when handling the dolls is that Everyday Bloom's body is made out of hard, minimally flexible vinyl while Fruity Bloom has very bendable arms and legs. Everyday Bloom's limbs seem just flexible enough to be crooked. My doll's right leg is warped at the ankle, and this makes it very hard to balance her--even when she's propped up against a wall.
Everyday Bloom does not come with her own wings, but she has an attachment site on her back so she could share wings with other Jakks Winx dolls.
The biggest difference in body shape is in the torso. Fruity Bloom has narrower shoulders and an exaggerated hourglass waist:
Here are the two Blooms with my beat up Mattel Tecna so that you can see the size progression. Fruity Bloom is more similar to Tecna in proportion and flexibility. The Mattel Tecna also has rubbery arms and legs.
Fruity Bloom has nine points of articulation. She has hinged shoulders, ball-and-socket hips, and a head that can rotate, but can't look up or down. Within her flexible vinyl limbs she has click knee joints and wire armature elbow joints.
She is marked on the back with the Rainbow logo. Rainbow is the company that makes the Winx television shows and Witty Toys is their Winx licensee.
Bloom's flexibility is enhanced by her rubbery limbs. What would have been fairly average splits become better with a little sideways bend in the knees...
I have some worries about the long-term durability of Bloom's wire elbow joints, but as long as they work, they're pretty fun.
Bloom's fingers and hands are rubbery, too, which gives her some wrist and finger movement that most dolls do not have:
Here's a sampling of what she can do:
Fruity Bloom is more fun to pose than Everyday Bloom. Everyday Bloom's rigid arms limit her flexibility.
In general, I much prefer hinged knees to click knees, but Everyday Bloom's hinged knees do not have great flexibility. Fruity Bloom's knees don't bend much, either, but her rubbery lower legs make up for this.
Fruity Bloom's height is more similar to Bratzillaz and Ever After High dolls than it is to Jakks Pacific Winx dolls:
|La Dee Da Dee, Bratzillaz Magic Night Out Meygana, Fruity Bloom, Ever After High Apple, Monster High Clawdeen.|
Fruity Bloom actually reminds me a lot of Bratzillaz Meygana. They both have rubbery legs, red hair and very short torsos. They can share clothes to some degree--Bloom has a smaller waist, so Meygana's clothes are loose on her, and Meygana has a wider chest, so Bloom's top is a little tight on her.
|Notice how that skirt rides up because her waist is so tiny!|
And here are a few shots of Everyday Bloom:
It was fun to compare these two Bloom dolls, and I'll summarize my thoughts for you at the end of the review. First, though, I want to share one more Winx doll. Before the holidays, my Toys R Us had the full collection of Believix Power dolls in stock, and also another group of dramatic new characters called the Trix Collection. The Trix dolls look very impressive in their boxes, but I didn't care for their faces. They all seemed to have funny, flat eyes. In contrast, I thought the Believix Power dolls were great, and I wanted to leave the store with at least three of them.
Here's a photo of all of the Believix Power fairies from the back of Tecna's box:
What I love about this collection is how most of the dolls' hair and wings match their outfits. This is such a simple design idea, but it makes the colors look very rich and three dimensional. I was particularly fond of Bloom, Tecna and Stella. As an aside, I wonder why Flora and Aisha don't have matching hair? I think Flora would look more unique with pink hair, but I'm not sure about how light blue hair would look on Aisha.
I actually carried Bloom and Tecna to the checkout, but then a wave of frugality took over and I decided to put one of them back. I bought Tecna because I don't have a Tecna doll yet and I thought her short hair would make the wings easier to use.
She comes with a large pair of fluttering wings and a "power ball," which is just a small pom-pom with glittery threads coming out of it.
|Not a lottery ticket.|
I like that her color palette is a mix of different shades of purple. Maybe it's too monochromatic for some tastes, but I think it looks wonderful and rich:
Tecna's eyes catch a lot of glare and are tricky to photograph, but they're a beautiful mix of dark blue shades:
She has subtle two-toned eyeshadow that is covered in a layer of fine glitter:
This Tecna's hair is longer than the hair on other Tecna dolls. The hair has a modern shoulder length cut and is a beautiful dark plum color. Mixed into the dark purple hair are some subtle violet highlights and clusters of sparkling, tinsel-like thread.
I am not wild about the tinsel strands in Tecna's hair--they tend to stick out at odd angles and make the hair hard to brush. However, the texture of this hair is much nicer than Everyday Bloom's hair. It's not as silky as Fruity Bloom's hair, but it's fine.
The hair is longer at the sides than it is in the back:
Tecna has a purple plastic tiara sewn into her hair:
When I reviewed Believix Bloom, I mentioned that her long hair interfered with the fluttering wing mechanism...and made the wings fall off a lot. Tecna's short hairstyle makes the wings much, much easier to use. The thin plastic wings flutter back and forth on their own when the doll is being moved around, and this adds some wonderful drama to her appearance. I didn't have any trouble with the wings falling out, either.
Tecna is wearing a futuristic dress that makes me think of Star Trek. It has a glittering pinkish-purple high-necked shirt that is attached to a deep purple satin dress with a funky, pointed neckline. The bottom of the dress has a slightly awkward tulle ruffle on one side and two thick bands of dark purple glitter:
|Lieutenant commander Tecna, reporting for duty, Captain!|
The fabric of the shirt is very stiff, as you can see from this picture of the inside of the outfit:
There's a small glittery diamond accenting the top of the neckline:
|Starfleet communicator badge.|
The dress has two separate areas of velcro in the back, leaving an opening for the wings.
The sleeves of the dress have triangular cutouts. These are not hemmed in any way and seem at risk for unraveling.
The situation is made worse by the fact that it's very difficult to get this dress on without catching the doll's thumbs in some of the holes:
Tecna is wearing light purple net stockings with darker purple glittery spots.
Her shoes are fun, with heart cutouts in the front, a winged design on the sides, and stars for heels:
Here are the three Winx dolls together:
Tecna has the same body as the Believix Bloom doll I reviewed before. She has the same limitations in her arm movement, and the same funny, crooked legs. Still, I prefer the her arm articulation to Everyday Bloom's stiff arms, and probably prefer it to Fruity Bloom's rubbery arms, too.
Tecna is paler than both Bloom dolls, and I find her face paint much more natural and appealing than Everyday Bloom's bright palette.
I had a good time photographing Tecna. Her wings are great and they really add to her expressiveness. Her articulation isn't the best I've seen, but she has enough movement to allow for plenty of fun fairy poses.
Tecna is the fairy of technology, so I tried to incorporate some technology (my iPad wallpaper) into the photo shoot. This was not a huge success.
I decided to just let the fairies go outside for their last photo session, despite the sub-zero wind chill and icy terrain. Fairies don't seem to mind the cold as much as small dogs.
Since Tecna is the only fairy in this group with wings, she scouted ahead for a good place to visit:
She settled on the frozen stream because there were some patches of sun there, and the water had frozen into some fascinating ice formations.
Tecna perched on a nearby tree and watched the other fairies enjoy the scenery.
Everyday Bloom found an icy outcropping and sat down to admire the stream.
Fruity Bloom got very excited when she saw the stream, and I wasn't sure why at first...
(Notice how beautiful her hair color is in the sun, though)
It turns out that her excitement was because she realized that she didn't have to wait for spring to test out her super colorful water mattress!
It seems to make an excellent ice mattress, too:
So, that's the end of this very strange Winx comparison review. I may not have hit the mark in finding a real Giochi Prezioso Winx doll, but I had fun with the doll I did find. I have a few more Giochi Preziosi dolls waiting for review, so perhaps those will give a better sense of what this large Italian-based company is all about.
Bottom line? At first glance, I leapt to the assumption that I wouldn't like Fruity Bloom at all. Her face struck me as strange and overdone, with psychedelic eyes that look crossed. I think my negative reaction was based partly on the fact that I was surprised by how little she resembles the Jakks Pacific dolls that I am accustomed to. When I break it down, though, I find that I like most things about the Witty Toys Fruity Bloom doll better than the Jakks Pacific basic doll. Let me chart it out for you:
Simple design, bright colors and original fruit slice print. Shirt is tricky to get on. Lots of unsightly loose threads unraveled during play.
Simple design, unoriginal style. Construction is fine and dressing is easy.
Design trumps construction in this case--I like Fruity Bloom’s outfit better.
Wonderfully silky and smooth. Great highlights, simple but attractive style. Very nice hair.
Scraggly, tangle-prone hair with visible white styling product. Hair is worn down, with two short crispy sections on either side of the face.
Fruity Bloom has vastly superior hair. No contest.
Strange eyes that appear to be applied, not painted. Exaggerated profile. Doll has a lot of goofy personality.
Sweet-looking face. Colors are slightly garish, but the overall appearance is good.
In my opinion, Everyday Bloom has a prettier face.
Rubbery limbs add a lot of flexibility to an already solid nine points of articulation. Doll is fun to pose. Elbow and knee joints seem like they might not wear well.
Articulation is fair. The arms are stiff and unexpressive and the nice, hinged knees are overshadowed by long, crooked legs.
Fruity Bloom has better articulation, but I do worry about the durability of the joints.
Goofy sunglasses and a neat inflatable water mattress.
Fruity Bloom’s mattress is really fun...and will be more fun in summer!
Of course, my favorite of all three of these dolls is the beautiful Believix Power Tecna. I love how all of the dolls in the Believix Power wave display rich shades of their signature color. Tecna has a few flaws, like her hard-to-manage sleeves and crooked legs, but her face paint, hair style, wings, outfit and coloring are fabulous. A rainbow display of several of the dolls from this wave would look wonderful, and it will be all I can do not to seek out that beautiful Bloom.
I am excited to find a Giochi Preziosi Bloom doll some day, and maybe a Mattel Bloom doll, too, so that I can add to this comparison, and take another step towards understanding the complex, rich history of the enticing Winx empire.