Anyway, I don't want to neglect the blog completely, so I decided that I will try to put up a few short posts this week, rather than the longer review (of a wonderful doll!) that was originally on the schedule. Hopefully things will get back to some kind of normal next week.
I was browsing at Toys R Us during the President's Day sale last month, and I noticed that there are Hello Kitty miniatures made by two different companies: Jada Toys (makers of the Cutie Pops) and Blip Toys (makers of Squinkies). I thought both versions were appealing, and wanted to compare them side-by-side.
|Jada Toys Hello Kitty figure and car, with Blip Toys Hello Kitty figures along for the ride!|
|Blip's "Best Friends" set and Jada's "Picnic Fun Car."|
|The scooter toy has a lot of paper items.|
The car set includes a car, Hello Kitty, a picnic basket, three food items, a stop sign and a small pad of paper with a cover design that looks like a picnic blanket:
|The stop sign is made out of very thin cardboard.|
Her features are very rounded and molded against her body, but she has carefully painted details, including lovely little daisies on her shoes:
The bottom of the figure's feet has a hexagonal hole for attachment to various accessories:
This Kitty comes with a few miniature food accessories, including a drink cup:
A sandwich with very pink meat and an inexplicable pink sphere on top:
|Sandwich with a cherry on top?|
And a nicely-painted apple:
The set also includes a carefully shrink-wrapped picnic basket:
With the wrapping removed, two inserted sections of the picnic basket are visible. On one side, there's what looks like a hamburger on a pink platform, and on the other side is a red thing that looks like a button. Maybe it's supposed to be a drink?
Here are the two items removed from the basket:
Underneath the burger, there's another stamp. This one is in the shape of Hello Kitty's head, and has quite a lot of detail for its size:
I don't know where the ink is coming from on these stamps--presumably from behind the stamp itself. It seems like this kind of stamp would be horribly messy, but the ink is quite faint and there's no obvious dripping.
The stamps can be used on the small pad of paper:
The car is also made out of hard plastic, but it has a more substantial weight than Hello Kitty herself.
|The steering wheel doesn't move.|
|The wheels do move.|
There's a small heart-shaped button on the left side of the car. I half expected this to move the car across the floor, but it just turns on the headlights.
The only problem with the car is that the Kitty figure doesn't fit into it very well:
Her nose hits the big red bow on the windshield:
Now, here's the Blip Toys Hello Kitty "Best Friends" set. This was $9.99 at Toys R Us:
The thing that tempted me the most about this set is that is comes with a surprise!
Among the accessories is a separately-wrapped secret, surprise toy. Yay! Also included are Hello Kitty, her lunch box, a Hello Kitty miniature, a pink apple, Joey, and a backpack clip:
This Hello Kitty has five points of articulation. Her head rotates and her ams and legs swing back and forth. She has a hard plastic body and legs, with a squishably soft head and slightly flexibly vinyl arms.
Her dress is made out of blue plastic, but many of her clothing details are painted.
She has a cute little picture of Joey on her dress:
And adorable pink shoes and socks:
The little Joey figure is light blue with nicely painted features:
This set also comes with an apple, but this apple isn't quite as realistically painted as the Jada Toys version:
Kitty's lunch box is painted in red, white and blue and decorated with a small painted red bow:
It opens and closes...
...and the pink apple fits right inside:
The backpack clip is not immediately self-explanatory. It has a hard plastic balloon section, and then a bendable strap with two holes cut in either end:
I think the bendable part wraps around Kitty's back and the holes are for her arms...but I'm not positive about this:
My favorite accessory is the tiny little Hello Kitty miniature. She is in a sitting position and looks like she's wearing pajamas (which I think are actually overalls):
I saved the surprise present for last, because this was the most exciting part of the set for me. I was really hoping it would be another amazing little mini Kitty!
|Ahhh! What could it be???|
The surprise was another Kitty...sort-of:
|Severed head Kitty.|
The Jada Toys Hello Kitty figure looks sweet, but she's very lightweight and has no points of articulation. The car is fun with its moving wheels and illuminating headlights, and it's great that the Hello Kitty figure can be securely attached to the seat, but I wish that her nose didn't bump into the windshield so awkwardly. The food items have nice realism and are a good addition. I can imagine some fun imaginary games centering around Kitty, her car, and the food. I think that the miniature stamps are very clever and cute, and I love how they store inside of the picnic basket, but these are inviting a different kind of play. Even though the ink is very faint and there's no dripping whatsoever, I still felt a little nervous using the stamps around the rest of the toys. That part of the set is more of an art project.
I think the Blip Hello Kitty figure is great. She reminds me of the larger Hello Kitty dolls that I saw at Target before Christmas. Her soft head is an appealing feature and I like her articulation. She stands on her own and seems like she would be very fun to play with. Furthermore, most of her accessories are very well-painted and appealing on their own, especially the tiny version of Hello Kitty. The backpack clip seems like a gimmick, as does the slightly disappointing surprise toy. Neither contribute anything to the play value of the set...but that's not saying I won't be tempted to buy another set just to see if maybe the surprise is better. It gets me every time.
Overall, I am more likely to purchase more of the Blip Toys sets because I find those Hello Kitty figures more appealing. However, many of the Jada Toys accessories--like the car, the food (and this food truck set!) are pretty great. The nice thing is, there's nothing to stop a little mixing and matching among these sets, so it's possible to get the best of both worlds.