Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Scaremester "Invisi Billy" by Monster High--A Guest Review!

I have two neat guest reviews for you this week, but they are about two very different things, so I decided that instead of doing a Review Fusion post, I will publish the reviews separately with a little break in between.

This first review is written by Ana, a new friend of mine from Italy.  I always get extra-excited to share reviews from different parts of the world, because I think they highlight the universal and timeless fascination with dolls in our culture--a phenomenon that makes me really happy.  Ana and her six-year-old daughter Ellie are fortunate to share a passion for dolls, and are both particularly fond of the Monster High characters.  Ellie is a girl after my own heart, and has an impressive collection of the Monster High werecats and werewolves.  Ana's own favorite dolls are Scarah and Venus, who she likes for their beautiful personalities.  From the short time I have known Ana, I can tell you that her personality is equally lovely.

Ana is just the right person to review one of the new Monster High boy characters, Invisi Billy, because she has an extensive collection of ghoulish guys and a keen eye for their similarities and differences.  Without further ado, I will turn the post over to Ana!

Invisi Billy Monster High
"Invisi Billy" by Monster High.
Thank you Emily, it was super-fun doing this review of a disappearing male doll for my favorite blog!  Now...on to our guy:

Invisi Billy is the 15-year-old son of the Invisible Man. He can appear and disappear at will, even just certain specific body parts at a time. He makes it clear in his diary that he is not a ghost, but INVISIBLE, which means he can’t go through walls or doors (unless they are open) just like any other regular full-bodied monster.

The son of the Invisible Man:
Here's Invisi Billy!
…just kidding, here he is:

Ta-daaah!!
For my fellow European collectors: I got Invisi Billy on Amazon.co.uk at 17.28£ plus shipping, I ended up paying 25,50€ in total, which is not bad for a new doll in the European market.

The box is marked 2013 and is made in Indonesia, so there's a glue-hair alert. I’m hoping Mattel has improved the quality of the dolls coming from factories down there.


The box (like the doll itself) has a very limited palette: mostly different shades of blue, black and white. There are other colors here and there, but it all goes back to blue. I kind-of like this color scheme, because it gives me the idea that Billy has a very well-defined personality that is distinct from other characters and lines with their heavily-colored boxes. I found myself enjoying the simplicity of this box, and that was surprising to me because in general I’m not a fan of the color blue. Yet, the message of this packing is clear: this is a signature doll--a basic male character. I like it.

My Invisi Billy had his head almost completely turned to his right, which I thought was kind-of a weird display position since the body was facing me.  I also couldn’t see any necklace on him but the art work on the box suggests that he should have one.  Both of these things made me think that the box had been opened, resulting in the necklace gone and the head twisted off to the side.

He's ignoring me...and where is his necklace??
The necklace is clearly evident on the box illustration, but I still couldn't see it anywhere.

According to my daughter, Billy's artwork shows him with a "meanie face:"


Let’s see the artwork from the back:
  
Yep.  Meanie.
But actually, he describes himself in the diary as being “one of the good guys," so I find his facial expression in the artwork to be somewhat misleading.

The back of the box is fully in English, which means I got the American version:

 

Here's a closer view:



The European packages in general come with the text in English, French, Italian, Spanish and German, both on the box AND in the diaries:

Like on this Ghoulia's box.
Now, on with the de-boxing! 

Here’s Billy still attached to the cardboard­:

 

Instead of having a flat background he has a 3D layout with books and an open locker door. Behind the simulated open door are the brush, diary and (to my relief) a stand!


We can see some books on the floor behind his legs too:


Overall this is a very nice tridimensional display. They put some thought into this presentation and it’s a beautiful composition. Well done Mattel.

Behind the card is the usual attachment system of plastic pegs, elastics and cardboard:

Same ol', same ol'
I started removing the goodies. It looks like Billy thinks somebody is going to try and steal his Trapper Keeper folder as it's super-well attached to his hand, a plastic tab AND his belt...from both the front AND the back. It was hard to remove!

Front                                                                                   Back

Finally, here is everything that comes in the box: stand, diary (fully in English), a regular Monster High brush, the apparently super-valuable binder, and Billy himself:

Yay!
I had a lot of problems trying to get Billy to stand up on his own.  His ankles and feet seem less flexible than other MH male dolls. Finally I was able to get him balanced, but he looked as though he was dancing...

Scaremester "Invisi Billy"
...the robot.
I couldn’t straighten his back without making him fall. I was eventually able to get him to stand up straight, but any breeze could probably take him down. Not a good situation for a dude. He's definitely not as well balanced as other dolls--or at least the Billy I got isn't.

Scaremester "Invisi Billy"

Billy's appearance is entirely in the monochromatic palette I mentioned earlier.  It kind-of gives the impression that yes, he could disappear any minute now. In fact, his whole outfit is in this color palette, too, which is unique when compared to other Monster High guys.  

I love Billy's young appearance (he is 15) and he is the first Monster High boy doll whose body is not all solid color, but we will get to that later on….

He is wearing a beanie, a hoodie, skinny cutoff jeans with a white belt, white and black shoes, some sort of transversal backpack, and cuff bracelets on both wrists. There's still no trace of the advertised necklace. I want my necklace! Um...I mean his necklace. ;)


Billy's hair is black and cobalt blue. It is stiff and longer towards his right side, and seems to have just the regular gel without any of the dreaded glue. He has a beautiful face! Also, the paint job on my Billy is good--there are no smudges or wonky eyes. His eyebrows are a dark blue-grey and his eyes are light gray with a very well defined eyelid:

His left iris has a little grey paint outside the line...
...right there.
His features are those of a normal handsome young guy, there is nothing unusual about his face. The skin color is a pale blue that makes it really difficult to photograph. So I tried darkening a close up hoping it would bring out the shape of his lips and nose:

Pretty face.
On a quick note: I apologize for the pictures, but we are having some dark days this summer here in Italy. Very covered sky and no sunlight whatsoever. I’m having a hard time with the flash on Billy’s skin color, especially his face, and I’m no pro photographer. So please bear with me here. :)

Back to the outfit!  Right out of the box, Billy's beanie seemed a bit smurfish to me, so I tried to flatten it up a bit. I couldn’t. I reached in with my finger and found a lot of wrinkled fabric inside, adjusted it, and it got a little better:

Smurf                                                                              Hipster

The change is dramatic. He goes from goofy to hipster with the beanie up or down, but it does have the tendency to pop back up, which annoys me to no end. I hope the fabric relaxes and stays down and cool as it is intended to be.

On top of this, my Billy’s beanie also ended up with a BIG hole on the back left by two plastic pegs that connected the head to the package. I do not understand what is the point of this. It had one peg on one side that left a small hole and TWO pegs together on the other side leaving a bigger hole. I was extra careful removing his head from the cardboard because I could see right away that the beanie’s fabric was in danger, so I gently just pulled the head back a little until I was able to cut the pegs with the tip of my scissors. And STILL I got a hole.  Urgh.

Not happy about this at all!
For this reason, I decided to keep the beanie on, and not make any attempts to remove it.  It is attached on several points to the head/hair and I’m afraid it might end up with holes all over the place. I hope this one hole doesn’t get any bigger.  *sigh*

I started removing the outfit and...yay! The necklace! It was strapped to the chest with a clear elastic band and covered with the sweatshirt and the carry-all he had across the chest.  

Mystery solved!
Here is his loose jewelry--a necklace and two cuffs:


He is also wearing black/gray ear-studs:


On the right ear he has the same stud but it was very difficult to photograph with his hair covering it. The hair is rigid and long over that ear, but I give you my word that it's there.

You can also see the hood from his sweatshirt sticking out--this is really, really cute. In contrast with the silly Smurf effect of the beanie, argh…


The hoodie has tiny little black pull-strings on the front (the things typically used to adjust the tightness of the hood):

Scaremester "Invisi Billy"
How cute are these?
The hoodie is knitted. It has an ombrè effect, going from blue on the top to gray at the bottom.  The sleeves are the opposite: blue at the bottom and gray on the top.  It has cyan color lines all across. Wow, this hooded sweatshirt is just beautiful. The overall effect is really, really nice. I think in general Mattel puts extra care on the Monster High male dolls' outfits, they are usually great:


Velcro on the back.
Cool knitted effect.
His jeans are pretty awesome as well. Or maybe I just think so because I had a similar pair in the 90’s. ;)

Fake pockets on the front                                                                   Velcro on the back

With his outfit, Billy wears some sort-of shoulder carry-all and white shoes and belt:

The pants are facing backward...my bad! :P
The carry-all is some sort of diagonal narrow bag with several compartments. It goes from one shoulder all around the chest and then up the back in diagonal fashion. 

Warning: once you remove this piece from under the elastic band it DOESN’T stay on, it keeps sliding down. I have a 6-year-old who is totally allowed to play with her Monster High dolls, so I try to leave everything secured with the elastics they come with, to keep accessories from getting lost during the play sessions. I strongly suggest you keep the carry-all strapped to its shoulder band.  It gives a lot of personality to the outfit and there is no keeping it in place by itself.

Nice, but slippery.
The belt, on the other hand, stays in position really well! Most Monster High belts go up and down and move all over, not really doing much for the outfit. This belt attaches itself wonderfully to the outfit and looks good:

Cushiony cool.
Finally we get to his shoes, he is wearing white and black “espadrilles” shoes:


We all know Monster High has the best shoes, and that absolutely goes for the guy’s shoes as well. Here is a comparison of Billy’s espadrilles and Basic Deuce’s moccasins:



There seems to be a significant difference in size with the shoes, when actually these dolls have the same exact foot:

Invisi Billy's foot (left) and Deuce's foot (right).
In fact, Invisi Billy and Deuce also share the same hand mold:

Hand twins.
Actually, this is the same hand mold for Basic Holt and Basic Jackson as well:

Left to right: Holt, Deuce, Jackson, Billy.
But not all Monster High bros have the same hand mold:

Left to right: Clawd, Create-a-Monster, Billy, Deuce and Gil.
Clawd has a claw with wolfish fingernails. The super-pink Create-a-Monster hand has tense fingers, the Billy/Deuce hand is relaxed, and Gil’s hand is webbed.

But more on hands and body features later, I want to go back to the shoes for a moment just for the fun of it. :)

As stated, Billy and Deuce have the same foot size (actually all Monster Hight guy dolls do). Here is another comparison of their shoes. Billy’s espadrilles and Deuce’s snake loafers:

See? Same size.
They all have the same foot. It might just look different depending on the type of shoe:


As a matter of fact, all of the guys have the same body mold--personalized according to each character’s monstrous nature:

Left to right: Deuce, Gil, Clawd, Billy and Create-a-Monster.


Snake-hair and scales, flipper mohawks, pointy ears and claws, disappearing limbs, tattoos and wing holes, you name it they got it! These bros are all very unique in their personalization and skin color. 

Even though we humans don’t have these features, I feel it is a wonderful metaphor for how we are all different but the same, and is a great message of tolerance and acceptance.

There are 3 body molds for the Monster High girls: large (Nefera, Clawdia, Bloodgood), standard (Clawdeen, Cleo, Lagoona, etc), and small (Twyla, Howleen). Monster High boys, on the other hand, all have the same body, so they have the exact basic proportion and the same height. Except for Manny Taur...

The recently introduced Manny Taur is extremely large compared to the other guys. His shoulders and chest are enormous, and strikingly disproportional to his head and waist. He is massive, just massive. But then again, I suppose if you are the son of the minotaur this is how you would look. His proportion is completely different to all of the other boys:

Manny: large chest, small head.  Clawd: large head, smaller chest.
You can tell Manny eats a lot of protein and lifts weights...or maybe it's just genetic. :)

Different muscle mass.
So far these are the two released body molds for the boys: standard and minotaur.

Going back to Invisi Billy, he is the first male doll that doesn’t have a solid body color. His lower limbs are painted with an ombrè effect giving the impression of being ethereal:


There is the same effect on Spectra’s limbs:

Spectra (left) and Invisi Billy (right).
Spectra has this shading on her wrists and hands, too, but Billy doesn’t:


But then again, Spectra is a GHOST while Billy is INVISIBLE, which is a whole other ball game right there:

Ghost.                          Invisible-prone.
In any case, the effect is neat and it looks great on Billy’s pale blue skin color.

I was wrong on my initial impression about this doll's balance, once the joints in his ankles started loosening up, it was easier to make him stand straight:


Billy has 13 articulation points. The first male doll releases had only 11.  Their hands and arms were one full piece, with no joint at the wrist:

Scaris City of Frights Deuce with the articulated wrist and Deuce with no wrist articulation. 

Deuce kept his same hand mold when he got the wrist joint, no change there. Clawd instead got the wrist joint and a new claw with fingers in a different position:

Open claw (Music Festival Clawd) and relaxed claw (Forbitten Love basic Clawd).
The hip articulation also changed for the boys as it did with the girls. Invisi Billy has the newest and current hip articulation with the unremovable plastic connectors, while the previous articulation system included a heavy elastic band that tied both legs and the hip together:

Billy: plastic connector system.                                                         Basic Deuce: elastic band system.   

The plastic connector system allows wider leg movement while the elastic system allows none whatsoever (unless the elastic is all stretched out):

Billy has some sideways movement, Gil with the old articulation doesn't.
My Billy’s body is impeccable except for a tiny little paint smudge on his right shin:

Right there.
Overall I think he is a great new basic. He gives the impression of being full of youth, healthy, and taking his school seriously:


Scaremester "Invisi Billy"
He means business.
But not everything is about studying for this new basic!  Invisi Billy also makes time for his friends and for love...and he has found the perfect girlfriend:

Aww...
A ghoul that always has his back, even when he is fully invisible


The lovely Miss Scarah Screams, Billy's ghoulfriend and best friend.
I like this new basic doll a lot. I think the concept behind him is solid (his origins, his monster parent, his physical appearance, and his name) and there are no loose ends. His facial features and outfit are great, and his quality is an improvement over previous dolls created in Indonesian factories. Listed price for the US should be around $19.99, which is an absolute fair price for this doll. I got it at a fair price myself (for European standards) and that allows me to look at him in a more objective way. I’m satisfied with this purchase, and find Billy to be a very appealing doll.

Personally, I think Mattel has released too many dolls too fast, resulting in quite a few just meh dolls. Some of the dolls out there have been plain in terms of personality and appeal. I don’t expect every single Monster High release to be an innovation, but as a collector I look forward to being inspired, and for a while there I really wasn’t--I thought Mattel was going around in circles. Then, all of a sudden, a whole bunch of really great dolls were dropped: from new basics to hybrids to the new concept of Inner Monster. This seems to be a good time for Monster High collectors.

The release of a new male doll is always particularly interesting, and this year Invisi Billy, Neightan Rot, Garrot DuRoque and Porter Geist will all be introduced.  Of these 4 boys, so far only Billy and Neightan have been released, but I think these two make a pretty good start.

Ciao ciao from Italy!

19 comments:

  1. Excellent review! He is one of my favorite characters from the webisodes (and yes, at age 35 I am hooked on those webisodes, lol) and I think they captured his sweet character very well. Your English is perfect! Are you originally from the US? Thanks for a great review!

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    1. Thank you so much Farrah Lily! He is one of my favorite characters as well, I was super thrilled when I heard his doll was going to be released!
      My english I feel is a little rusty, so thank you for your compliment :). I am not from the US but as a little girl I lived in Canada and then in the US, and I love love LOVE America.
      You are very welcome! :)

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  2. Awesome! Although I'm not fond of Monster high dolls because they don't share clothing with other dolls so I can be more whimsical, I do love this Invisi-Billy doll and hope that I can buy one all because I need another boy doll in my dollhouse since I only have one sadly, Hunter huntsman. But this doll is amazing in every way and I hope I can get one! Thanks for reading! :D

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  3. Invisibilly is really a stunning doll. His whole outfit and design are really well thought out. I'm surprised that he has no staining on his body,though. Billy looks like a really cool doll and I hope to own him! Once again, a stunning review, and I can't WAIT! For the next one!

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  4. Our loved the review, totally amazing !!! my godmother bought mine, only it has not arrived yet !!! bought in a store here in Brazil !!! Love the reviews of your blog !!! kisses and hugs !!!

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  5. Ana this is an AMAZING review! Now I really want Invisi Billy for my stop motion videos, I'll surely buy him! Greetings from Venezuela

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    1. Thank you so much :), I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  6. Do You Collect My Little Pony Dolls?

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    1. Hi, this is Ana, yes I do have quite a few MLP's on my collection. I have a penchant for the vintage ones, those are my favorites :)

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  7. Your review was terrific! The amount of detail you put in it is phenomenal. And now I think I need Invisibilly more than I did before. :D

    -Kayleigh

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    1. Thank you Kayleigh :) :). I'm so glad you liked it! I Had a lot of fun, he is awesome!

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  8. I've never been into Monster High dolls, but something about Billy draws me in... No! I mustn't fall in love with another doll! If i get Billy I'll have to get his girlfriend, and then she'll want friends! I have to resist!
    Perhaps I'm just desperate waiting for mattel to make a Hopper Croakinston doll. :P
    Great review, Ana! (P.S. Your name is really pretty. :))

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    1. Hi Muzzy, thank you, so is yours!!! :-D. Your comment really made me laugh because is the same feeling I have with the Ever After High dolls, and then you mentioned Hopper Croakington! LOL !
      Personally I'm a big fan of the Wonderlandians, and I am waiting impatiently for the release of Kitty (with my daughter being a huge fan of dolls with pointy ears and all). And then yes, if yout get MH Billy then Scarah is a must! :)

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  9. Wonderful review! At my local Kmart/Walmart, I had never seen any boy dolls, so I have to order mine offline. I don't really like ordering (they always come smashed!). So now I'm hoping Billy will come to my stores! (P.S. LOVE the end picture with the Nutella!)

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    1. Hi Carly :), MH boys almost never show up in stores! And if they do is always in really small quantities. Ordering online has always the risk of smashed boxes or the dreaded wonk-eyes, but sometimes is the only way to get a boy doll. About the Nutella jar, can you believe that is a 5 KG NUTELLA JAR??? :)

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  10. Great review!! Yes, I just bought a C.A. Cupid Thronecoming doll from Indonesia and she doesn't have glue, at least I don't believe (she was my first Indonesia doll)

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  11. He's kind of cute! I've only ever seen Gil.

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  12. now that i think about it, i think that spectra and billy make a cute little couple. From what my sister tells me, spectra and billy are actually dating in the book. the dolls color schemes are pretty different though and i can imagine that can be a problem when photographing them.

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