Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Surprise: Bratz Lil' Angelz!

Happy Sunday!  Today's post was originally going to be short, but it's morphed into something a bit more substantial.  I'll explain.  What started me on this path was the discovery of a Bratz Lil' Angelz "Secret Surprise" set a few weeks ago.  I flipped out.  I mean, any toy that has both the words "secret" and "surprise" in the same sentence has got to be good.  And this toy looks amazing: it has a small baby doll with a secret gender, a hidden eye color and a hidden hair color.  The set also includes two shrouded pets of unknown species!  Doesn't that sound like fun??  But the other thing that makes this set so great is the fact that I knew nothing about the Bratz Lil' Angelz dolls before I saw it.  I have no idea how these babies escaped my radar, but I absolutely love discovering a new kind of doll.

Immediately after purchasing the Secret Surprise set, I made it my mission to learn more about the Bratz Lil' Angelz.  In doing so, I realized that surprises are a bit of a theme with this line.  I found two other sets (Pet Shop Surprise and Surprise Litter) that involve some kind of hidden feature.  I bought an example of each of these toys to show you today.  So, this post will feature three Bratz Lil' Angelz surprise toys, not just the set I originally bought.

The Bratz Lil' Angelz are all discontinued, but the silver lining is that none of the toys I'll show you today seem particularly expensive or hard to find at the moment.  I have to say, though, I think I got really lucky with the Secret Surprise set.  I found it for $10.24 on eBay, which is close to the original price.  The only other example I've been able to find is a blue version on Amazon for $83.  Yikes.  Of course I'm going to save the Secret Surprise for the very end of the post, but here's a preview of the wonderfully mysterious baby from that set...who looks like he/she might have red hair!

Bratz Lil' Angelz Secret Surprise baby (discontinued).
For anyone else out there who's new to the Bratz Lil' Angelz, they're 4-inch vinyl baby versions of the main Bratz characters.  They're pretty cute.  To me, they're at least cuter than the Bratz Babyz toddler dolls--the only child versions of the Bratz characters that I was aware of prior to this review.

The other important thing about these dolls is that they all come with bobble-headed, big-eyed pets (shouldn't it be petz?) reminiscent of Hasbro's Littlest Pet Shop toys.

None of the toys I purchased have dates on their boxes, so I'm not exactly sure when these sets were made.  Based on some quick online research, I think it was between about 2006 and 2009.  If any Bratz collectors out there have more accurate information, I'd love to know!

The two extra Bratz Lil' Angelz sets that I bought have surprises that involve the pets.  The first one I'll show you, Pet Shop Surprise, has a Leah baby with two hidden pets:


The graphic version of Leah is downright frightening:

She has Popeye arms.
There's a lot to read on this box.  At the top, it asks me which pet I'll get...but I think it means which pets will I get?

I want my two pets!
I love what I can see of the pet on the left.  It has green eyes and realistic-looking coloring on the rest of its face:


There's no way to tell exactly what this is yet, but I get a strong dog vibe with that coloring.  I hope it's a dog, anyway.


Leah is displayed in between her two mystery pets.  She looks cuter than the cartoon version on the box, that's for sure:


I have to say that Leah was not my favorite character of the ones I saw (mostly because of her hair--I wish it was auburn red like the cartoon, and not blunt cut across the bangs) but she was by far the least expensive.  This set was $14.99 (including shipping).

The pet on the right side of the box is much better hidden:


All I can tell is that it's brown with a pink eye.  That could be anything!


I'm gonna guess rabbit though, based on the brown body color and the pink eye.  Although only albino rabbits should have pink or red eyes.

I love how the pink eye is aligned with the pink band of the rainbow!
The back of the box does not have a lot of additional information--just an even bigger picture of scary Leah (I mean, look at her foot in that picture!):

She's holding a freaky box with eyes.
All of the pieces of the set are mounted together in plastic casing:


Hidden away at the bottom of the box was this huge, two-sided poster showing all of the different Lil' Angelz sets that were available:



There was also a small card with a code for unlocking an online character at bratzlilangelz.com.  This website is no longer functioning, though.


In addition to her two mystery pets, Leah comes with a few pet accessories:

review

Unless these accessories are standard, they seem to give away the secret identity of the pets, don't you think?  

There's a bed and a food bowl (those could be for anything) but also a bone and a toy mouse:

I'm guessing dog and cat!
Here are close-ups of the accessories:


The bed has a lot of detail and seems like the most useful of the items:


The little toy mouse has molded facial features (he's sleeping), but these are very hard to see at normal magnification.  In close-up photos, the eyes and whiskers are visible, but the mouse also looks dirty, with lots of little dark flecks on its back and ears:


I suppose the pets could also be any kind of large predatory animal, in which case the mouse and bone accessories would be snacks--not toys.  

I just assumed the mouse was sleeping.

Tasty treat or terrific toy?
Source of entertainment...or calcium source?
I'll quickly show you baby Leah before I open the secret pet boxes--just to prolong the suspense a little.  She comes in a crawling or belly-scooching position, with her arms out in front of her:


Her legs stick out behind, with one of them bent a little bit at the knee:


She has five points of articulation (neck, arms, legs) so she can be made to sit up...although her head rests at a funny angle:



She looks best when she's left on her belly:


And she can even lift herself up a bit on her arms so that it looks more like she's crawling:


Leah has brown painted hair with straight-cut bangs and two little ponytails.  Her eyes are huge and have three large circular reflective marks that make it unclear where she's looking:


She has a blotch of black paint under her pupil on one side.

She has tiny little pursed lips surrounding a small, straight mouth.  On top of this, she has practically no nose or chin--which makes for a very strange profile:


It's possible that she and Dory have the same parents.

Pacific Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) (3149754704)

Basically, her features are very true to the Bratz design.

Leah comes wearing a cute little pink knit dress:


The dress opens all of the way down the back with velcro and is pretty easy to get off.  It's decorated with dark pink satin ribbons and has a crocheted hem:


Here's Leah without her dress:


She's wearing a little painted diaper with pink trim:


She even has a cute little belly-button:


Her back has the MGA copyright and a marking on the diaper that doesn't mean anything to me:

(I don't think that's a date, but 2008 would be in the right range)
Ok!  Now the time has come to see what these surprise pets are!  A dog and a cat?  A tiger and a snake?  Perhaps a bunny who plays with toy mice?

There's only one way to find out.


I started with the green-eyed pet that was on the left side of the box.  

I opened up the top of the cardboard pet carrier and hunched down low so that I couldn't peek inside.


Whatever it is, I think it's getting a little irritated with me....

I've been in this box for years, Emily.
I reached my hand in and started pulling upwards on the pet's head.  It was harder to pull than I expected because the pet was attached to a plastic base.

Here it comes...


Once I saw those ears, I felt pretty certain that this was a dog, so I didn't waste much time in pulling the whole pet out.


Sure enough!  It's a cute little pug-like dog with big green eyes and a little pink collar:


The dog is securely strapped to its plastic base with a clear rubber band:


Here he is, free of all packaging:


This little guy has a bobble head.  His head can be turned to face in any direction and it also moves straight up and down to some degree.

Maybe the nose is too big for this dog to be a pug, but his coloring certainly makes me think of that breed:


He even has a cute little tail:


One unpleasant thing about this little dog is that he's sticky and a little dirty-looking on his head.  I have no idea why this might be.  It feels like he's had a price tag on his head for decades or something like that.  Yuck.


He also has some rubbed-off paint on his little nose:


His eye paint is clear and unblemished, although the edges are a little imprecise:


The molded collar is a nice detail--it even has a gold-painted charm on it:

That looks like either a bow or a bone.  I'm going with bone.
The bottom of the dog is flat, with no delineation between feet:


With surprise pets like this, I really wish there was a secret name.  I love secret names!  I decided that I would create my own suspense with the name by using a random pet name generator.  

The site I found gives a whole list of name options, so I promised myself that I'd use the first name on the list...

Boop is better than Wiz.
Here's Boop!

Boop's bone is the size of his head!
Here's Leah getting to know Boop:


The two seemed a little unsure at first, but then started to make friends:

Where's your nose, girl?
Now, let's see who Leah adopted along with Boop.  I hope it's not a cat.  That wouldn't be much of a surprise.


I really like how MGA teases me with a little glimpse of the pet.  That makes it extra fun to guess what it could be.


I'm going to be optimistic and stick with my original guess of rabbit.

Once again I opened up the top of the pet carrier, but hunched down so that I couldn't see anything yet...


Then I started to pull on the pet's head...

Not a bunny!
Oooh!  It's a little girl something--and now I think maybe it's a bear cub!  It's not a cat with those ears (I don't think?) and definitely not a rabbit, so I'm thinking bear...maybe monkey.

Bears and monkeys make terrible pets, though.

I pulled the pet out even more and...


Totally a bear.  Very cute, too!

Except that it's not a bear:


It's got front teeth that stick out--like a rodent--and a little white belly.


Uh...what is it?  I asked my husband, and he--ever helpful--said it must be the love child of Bambi and Thumper.

I guess that's one option...but I'm thinking maybe a beaver?  Or a mouse?


Except this is the tail:

That's certainly not a beaver tail.
I don't think the tail is right for a mouse, either.

I wish it said somewhere on the figure what the animal was.  I guess this really is a mystery figure!


The painting on this girl is nice--whatever species she is.  She actually has purple eyes--they only looked pink inside the pet carrier.


Maybe she's a gopher?  They have white chins, but I'm not sure they have white bellies.  I kinda hope she's not a gopher.

Camas pocket gopher 1 crop
That's like a mole on steroids.
She can't be a woodchuck, either, because of that white belly--although woodchucks do tend to sit up on their haunches the way this pet does.

Groundhog, eating

Maybe she's a squirrel--like this red squirrel?

Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

The ears and tail don't seem quite right, but squirrel is my best guess.

Now, this little squirrel-y cutie needs her secret name!  I headed back to the name generator to see what I'd get...

Sophie!
Ok, I really lucked out here, because right after Sophie, the name options are Dank, Bacon, Icon (which is cool) and Smooch.  Whoa.  Dank?  Really?  The definition of dank that I'm most familiar with is "disagreeably damp, musty and cold."  Shudder.  That's a terrible name for any kind of pet...except maybe an amphibian.  I suppose this name is referencing the more modern, oxymoronic interpretation of dank--meaning something that's awesome.  I get confused by this stuff.  If my kid declares that something is sick or festering (or dank) what does he really mean??

Anyway, here's sweet Sophie, the little red squirrel who--apparently--enjoys eating mice:

Yummy.
And here are all three of the friends together: 

Bratz Lil' Angelz Pet Shop Surprise: Boop, Leah and Sophie.
As long as Boop doesn't bark and chase Sophie around the house all day, this should be a happy little trio of friends.

Despite several positive experiences with Bratz dolls in the last few years, I still go into any Bratz encounter with a bit of skepticism.  I don't tend to like toddler or baby dolls that look like mini teenagers, so these Lil' Angelz sets made me particularly nervous.  But Leah is surprisingly cute.  She has clearly recognizable Bratz features, but they're not offensive to me.  A little strange--yes--but not overtly sassy in any disturbing way.  The pets are also fun.  Overall, they're adorable, but Boops' sticky head and facial paint defects are disappointing.

Fueled by my enthusiasm for Leah and her friends, I was eager to open the next mystery set!

This set is from a line called "Surprise Litter."  It has a visible Lil' Angelz doll and one pet, but it also comes with a box containing a mystery litter of baby pets!!  Much like the Kitty and Puppy Surprise toys, the mystery is in how many babies you'll get, and what they'll look like.  I don't think the gender of the babies is a variable, but I might be wrong.

Once again, I opted for the least expensive version of this series, which happened to be Vinessa and her pet mice:


This set was a little more expensive than mystery pets set--I paid $23 for it.

I find the cartoon of Vinessa to be even more disturbing than the picture of Leah.  Her eyes are really creepy, and there's something funny going on with her nose.  It looks like a snout.

She also looks angry...in an evil sort of way.
Once again, the benefit of this style of box art is that--by comparison--the doll makes a very good first impression:

Not angry.  Not evil.
The mouse looks just like its graphic version.  It also reminds me of Sophie the squirrel:


The big question is, will I get two, three or four baby mice?

Oooo!  I hope I get four!
I know I got at least one baby, because it's peeking out of a picnic basket...which begs the question: why are the babies in a picnic basket?

I hope Sophie doesn't think this is her lunch....
The back of the box has a larger picture of Vinessa and a huge litter of baby mice scrambling into the picnic basket:


The baby mice are all different colors.  I hope the actual mouse figures have this kind of variety!


All of the pieces are mounted in a plastic case that slides out of the main box:


Here's the poster that was included with this set:

Now I have to go research the 4-Ever Kidz!  I don't know anything about these, either.
Vanessa comes with a pet bed and a slipper.  I guess the slipper is for the mouse to chew on?


The pet bed is a purple version of the same bed that came with Leah's set.  

The slipper is pink with white painted details:

Random accessory.

Here's the mouse mother:


She has huge blue eyes with a few minor paint defects and a pink nose that's missing some paint along the top edge:


Like Boop and Sophie, this mouse has an articulated bobble head.


Now that's a proper mouse tail!
Her head tends to tip downwards, which makes it hard to get a clear picture of her face.


If I hold her up towards the light, you can see that she has a crooked smile with one visible tooth:


Now!  It's time to find out what this mouse's name is!  I'm going to stick with the first name on the list from the Pet Name Generator again.

And that name is...

Leaf!
Ok--that's cool.  Although Rapunzel would have been awesome, too.  I wish this site would just spit out one name.  Seeing the whole list is too tempting!

Here's Leaf with Sophie so you can see their similarities and differences:


And here's Leaf in her pet bed (with her slipper...) waiting to meet her babies!!


But--before we meet the babies, let's take a quick look at Vinessa.  Her body is in a different position from Leah's body, so she can sit with her head upright:


She can also be posed so that she's crawling.  This is a more versatile body shape than Leah's.


I really like all of the sitting poses that Vinessa can strike:


She has a darker skin tone than Leah, with blonde hair and brown eyes.  Her vinyl looks a little too orange to me--especially next to the pale hair.  I like her wispy bangs better than Leah's blunt-cut style, though.

Vinessa has some smudged paint underneath her left eye.  Notice how the eyelash line is much thicker under that eye--and the paint looks blurry:

She looks like she's been in a fight.
Even without the paint problem, Vinessa's eyes are not as clear as Leah's.  I think this is because the two largest reflective dots are the same muddy brown as the lower part of Vinessa's iris.

In contrast, Leah's reflections are purple and her irises are grey and blue:


Vinessa also has dark stains under her mouth and on her left cheek:


These spots do not come off.

Vinessa is wearing a little purple sundress with a tiered skirt:


The clothing on these dolls is nice.  

I love all of the detail in this purple dress, especially for such a tiny outfit.  Also, the style is sweet and simple for a baby.  No strange infant versions of teenaged fashions here, thank goodness. 


Here's Vinessa without her dress, so that you can see the shape of her limbs more clearly:



She also has a painted white diaper with pink trim:

That could be a date: March 28, 2009?
And a belly button:


I wish I could combine Vinessa's body shape and hair style with Leah's skin tone and clearer eyes.  That would be a cute baby.


These Lil' Angelz are in scale with the larger Bratz dolls to some degree.  They could certainly be used as younger siblings or babysitting wards in any kind of imaginative play.  

Here's Vinessa with my Create-A-Bratz doll, Sadie:

Create-A-Bratz Sadie holding Bratz Lil' Angelz Vinessa.
The Create-A-Bratz concept appears to have been abandoned already.  It never really occurred to me to check up on these dolls until I was writing this review, which gives you some idea of how underwhelming I found them.  

I was even more underwhelmed after it took me ten minutes to get Sadie's left shoe snapped into place for that picture up there.  It also took forever to balance her on those floppy limbs while holding a baby.  So frustrating.  I don't think these dolls have been hugely popular.  I've seen a lot of Bratz dolls in the clearance section at Target lately, and (although this could be my imagination) the shelf space designated for the brand seems to be shrinking.

But this is not the time for depressing thoughts about the decline of the Bratz line!  Back in 2006 (or whenever it was), MGA was getting a lot of things right...like having a basket full of surprise baby mice waiting to be opened:


I can already see a few paint defects, but I still love how this baby is peeking out of the basket!


I opened the top of the basket and got into my non-peeking position...


Mice babies are called pups, by the way.  Or pinkies, which is adorable.  But I'm stalling!

I started to pull up on the plastic casing that held the pinkies in place...


...but I couldn't see anything else emerging out of the box.  And the whole box felt really light, too, so I was getting worried.

An only child?
The plastic casing has these molded depressions on the side opposite the mouse.  I was wondering if these are the spots for extra babies (if you get them)?

The depressions remind me of Swedish Fish for some reason.
I kept pulling the plastic out...very slowly...revealing more and more of the depressing empty depressions:

All by myself...
Here's the whole plastic casing...devoid of extra babies.

Sad. :(

But then, I went to move the empty picnic basket out of the way and discovered this:

A hidden baby!
Yay!  Maybe getting only two babies should have been disappointing, but after thinking there was only one lonely pup, this was a wonderful treat!

So happy together!
The pups are both the same color as their mother, but they are in different poses.

The hidden baby can sit up by herself:


She has a lot of tiny stray flecks of black paint all over her.  These looks like dust, but they don't wipe away.


Her head is molded onto her body and does not move.


This little one needs a name!  I've decided that she's a girl for some reason (there's no clear indication of either gender). So I asked the Pet Name Generator for a girl's name...

(please, not Dank...or Fester)

Slim.
Ok, Slim is not the greatest name for a female mouse baby.  It seems like a better name for a boy.  Maybe I'm just thinking of Eminem?  

In any case, I guess I'll make this baby a boy and the next one (the firstborn) can be a girl:


This pup's feet are molded so that she can't sit up on her own:



Let's try this name thing again and hope for a more feminine choice...

Lava!
Lava is an unusual name, for sure, but I like it!  Maybe I even lava it.  Groan.  Sorry.

Ok, here's my whole mouse family, Leaf and her pups, Slim and (lazy) Lava:

Slim, Leaf and Lava.
Lava has an easier time staying awake for the camera when she's propped up in the pet bed:


And here's Vinessa with her mousey crew...perhaps wondering when mice got so big.

Vinessa

It's hard to pick a favorite between this Surprise Litter set and Leah's Pet Shop Surprise.  I really like surprises that involve babies, so I had more fun with the mystery element of Vinessa's set.  I also like Vinessa's body shape a lot.  She's fun to pose.  I prefer Leah's clear eyes, though, and her non-orange skin tone.  I think so far I like the Leah doll best and the mouse family pets the best.


But now, the time has come to open the crown jewel of my Lil' Angelz collection!  The Secret Surprise set:

mint green

Isn't it tantalizing??  I'll get to reveal the baby's secret gender, its hair color, eye color, birthmark, and two pets!  Eeeee!

So many secrets.
The box is covered in tiny text--in multiple languages.  The message in pink, below, asks: What will your babies look like?  Boy or girl?


By "babies," I assume they mean the doll and her two pets:


And that the baby will be a boy or a girl.  

Regardless, this baby looks especially sweet all wrapped up with its eyes closed:


Here are some of the other text balloons:


I don't think the secret code mentioned on the left will do me any good, but the balloon on the right explains that I will be able to wipe away the covering on the baby's eyes to reveal the eye color!  Fun!

The back of the box has a large picture of a stork delivering the mystery baby:

Because that's where babies come from.
The back also has the most intriguing of the text clouds--the statement that there are 63 possible babies and pets and no two are alike!


I'm not sure exactly what this means, though.  No two babies are alike?  No two pet and baby combinations are alike?  Hm.

Here's the plastic shell after it was removed from the outer box:


The last little text cloud states that this is a numbered collector series:


Leah and Vinessa's sets said this, too, but it wasn't until I was looking at the Secret Surprise set that I really started to wonder what it meant.  Each doll and pet comes with a number printed next to them:

The baby's number didn't make the picture--it's #656.
The pets are #663 and #670:


So, this got me wondering how much of a surprise these toys actually are?  I mean, do all of the mint green sets come with pets numbered 663 and 670, or just mine?  And do these numbers refer to specific pets?

The answer to my first question is "yes."  I searched other images of this set and, indeed, the pets are always #663 and #670.

I think the answer to my second question is also "yes."  The numbers refer to specific pets.

This set comes with the same two-sided poster that came with Leah, so I searched it carefully to see if pets #663 and #670 are shown anywhere:

They're not (phew!).
I also did an internet search for Bratz Lil' Angels pet #663 and it did not reveal any images of a specific pet.  So, even though these pets can probably can be discovered by knowing their numbers, the information is not easy to find.  Thank goodness.  I do not like a ruined surprise.

The problem is that I've now ruined the surprise of Leah's set for anyone out there who wanted to buy it.  If my reasoning is correct, Leah will always come with a dog and a squirrel.  That's a bit of a disappointment.  With Vinessa's set you're safe, because presumably these all come with a different assortment of babies.

So: WARNING!  If you have any intention of seeking out the mint green Secret Surprise set for yourself, do not read any further!  Major spoilers are at hand!

For anyone who doesn't mind seeing this surprise, I'll continue.

The set comes with some elaborate directions--again, in many different languages:


The top part of the directions describes all of the surprises again (making me very eager to reveal them!) and also tries to explain the variation among sets:


There are 21 different babies and 42 different pets, "no two alike."  I assume that by "no two alike," they mean that the two pets you get will be different from each other.  There must have been 21 different sets (each with differently-colored wraps), but each set of that color is identical.  Please tell me if I'm wrong about this.

The bottom of the directions is all about how to reveal the surprises (make your friends guess first!), with most of the information focused on how to remove the eye covering.


The time has come!  Let's start by seeing what these two pets look like.  I'm going to begin with the pet on the right because its yellow coloring and protruding nose make me think (hope!) it's a yellow bird of some kind:


My parakeet who was sick (and who is now back to normal) is yellow, so I have a very soft spot for yellow birds.

Pakeen the healthy parakeet.
Here's what can be seen of the face:

Very mysterious!
I wasn't being the most patient version of myself in this moment.  I pulled the face cover down right away to see if there was a beak...

There is!!  It's a yellow bird!
The blanket wrap was attached to the bird's left shoulder with a small square of velcro.  I pulled this side away...


...but the bird was still very well concealed.

The right side of the wrap was just folded into place, so I pulled that back...


And the body is still concealed!

She has a nice set of cloth wings now, though:

And a flower in her head feathers!
I finally pulled the bird out of the blanket's little pouch:


She has an orange body, but that's ok.  She's still mostly yellow.

I love this bird!


Here's a close-up of her feather decoration:


Like the other pets, she can move her bobbly head all around




I really want this bird to get a good name, so I think this time I'll let myself choose the best name that the Name Generator comes up with--not just the first name:

Cross your fingers...


Whew.  Good thing I didn't pick the first name--Blanket.  Although that would have been strangely appropriate for a blanket-wrapped pet.  I think it's also Michael Jackson's son, but anyway, I'd like to pick a different name from the list.  

I love Poppy and Shira, but I think I'll go with Kuma.  I think it suits her:



Ok, here's the next pet, ready to be unwrapped!


This one totally looks like a bear to me!  Although the spot around the left eye is not consistent with that.

Oh--ok, look at this ear.  This gives it away:


It's another dog!


This one looks a little sad to me.  Partly because his head tips downwards...


But also because there's some green paint hanging down out of the left eye:

Like toxic tears.
That's a little gross.


This pooch is also covered with the tiny flecks of black paint...and a fair amount of lint, presumably from the blankets.


I really like how many spots this dog has, though, several of them vaguely heart-shaped:


He's actually hiding a cute little smile under that tipped head (and also a lot of paint smudges around his neck joint):


This will be the last pet name I generate today, and this time I'll be brave again and promise to pick the very first name on the list.  I hope it's cute and goes with Boop.


It's Morgan!  That's a great name!  I also think it's perfect for this little dog.  Three cheers for the Name Generator!


We've finally arrived at the big moment!  The reveal of this little sleeping baby:


I'm supposed to make all of you guess about the features, though.

You can do that along with me right now:

Boy or girl?  I think girl.  It's always a girl.  I really hope it's a boy, though.

Hair color?  Red!  There's a little peeking through from under that hood, and it totally looks red to me.

Hair style?  Wispy bangs, please.

Eye color?  I hope green, but I'll guess blue.  That seems safer.

Birthmark?  Well, that one is not hard to guess:


I think the birthmark is meant to be two cherries on their stems:

A little smudged.
Here's a better peek at the hair--it definitely looks red or strawberry blonde, and the bangs are wispy.  Yay!


The swaddling blanket attaches at the baby's left shoulder with a piece of velcro.

I undid the velcro and pulled the blanket down to reveal the baby's mouth first, because I didn't think this would give away too much too soon.  All of the mouths look similar:

This baby is smiling a little, though.
Next, I tried to take the baby's arms out of the blanket, but this was harder than I expected it to be...



I finally got the arms free:


Then, I pulled the body out of the little pouch to reveal...


A pink-lined diaper.  I think this means she's a girl.


I was hoping for a boy (they're so rare with this type of toy!) but that's ok.  I like girls, too.


Ok, that cherry "birthmark" is a little odd.  It's more like a tattoo.

Just sayin'
The little red stain my baby has on her leg looks more like a real birthmark:


Next, I held my breath and whipped off the hood...



...to see that she has...



...RED HAIR!!  Hurrah!


Not only is this hair red, it's a sparkly almost metallic copper red.  It's awesome:


She has two little ponytails tied with lime green pom-pom holders.  Or maybe they're supposed to be those plastic ball holders that I used as a kid? 


She looks so peaceful, I almost didn't want to wake her up.  I'm also not wild about the eye design on these dolls, so there was a real temptation to leave the eyes covered.


But I wouldn't do that to you!  And you know the mystery would drive me nuts, anyway.  

I needed to see those eyes.

What could be behind that paint?
I followed the directions pretty carefully, soaking the eyes with a warm, damp cloth for a few minutes before trying to rub the paint away.

Not much happened right away, except I could start to see the shapes of eyeballs under the paint, which was spooky:


I tried soaking and rubbing the eyes for a long time...to no avail.  At that point, I went rogue and started to (gently!) scratch at the paint with my fingernails.

This was pretty gross and disturbing...but I think the eyes are green!


What do you think??


I scratched and rubbed and soaked and scratched and rubbed and soaked...


And this is the best I could do:


I love the color of her eyes--they're a dark hazel green.  However, the paint left stains across her face and the whites of her eyes still have a brown-ish tinge.


She would be amazing if those eyes had gotten a little clearer.  They're really muddy.  I'm afraid to use anything stronger than water to clean them up, though.  Poor baby.

I guess this outcome is understandable, given that the paint had been covering her eyes for 8-10 years.

Her body is shaped differently from both Leah's and Vinessa's.  She can lie down really well or sit up--with her head completely upright.


Here she is sitting up with her friends, Kuma and Morgan:


I'm not really sure if this baby has a pre-designated name.  I don't think so...and you know what that means!  

I had to seek out a human baby name generator for this part of the surprise, though.

I went with the Baby Name Genie, because a genie sounded fun...and this site was the first Google hit.  

The genie asks for a last name, so I gave it "Bratz."


And this is what the genie declared!


That was really fun.  I could lose a lot of time to that website...

So here's my trio of Lil' Angelz, Leah, Cassie and Vinessa:

Bratz Lil' Angelz, from left: Leah, Cassie and Vinessa.
Cassie's skin tone is somewhere in between Leah's and Vinessa's.  I still like Leah's skin tone and eye paint best.  I now like Cassie's hair best (by a long shot!) and I still like Vinessa's body mold the best.

Here are all of the pets I've accumulated!

Sophie, Boop, Morgan, Kuma and Leaf.
Of these, Kuma is my absolute favorite.  Her paint is nicely done and I love the design of her features.  She has a ton of personality.  I probably like Sophie the Squirrel second best, with the dogs tied in a close third.

Here are the babies:

Slim and Faceplant Lava.
Whew!  That was a lot of surprises, and I should be done...but I'm not.  Not quite yet.

First of all, there's an obvious parallel to be drawn between MGA's Bratz pets and Hasbro's Littlest Pet Shop (which has been around since 2003).  I wanted to at least mention a few comparisons. 

Also, in the comments of the My Twinn Conclusion, an anonymous poster specifically asked if I would review the Littlest pet Shop figures some day.  I can never predict what reviews I might do in the future, so I figured that this would be a perfect opportunity to at least chat briefly about the merits of the Littlest Pet Shop.  I've already reviewed the mini Blythe dolls that used to come with this line (that was actually my very first review!) but I've never paid too much attention to the pets themselves.

I wanted to compare two pets of the same species, so here's Boop with Calla Boxton (the Littlest Pet Shop animals come with names!):

Bratz Lil' Angelz pet (Boop) and Littlest Pet Shop pet (Calla).
Both dogs have short ears and green eyes, so they make a nice pair.

Calla weighs more than Boop and is slightly taller.  She also has more detail in her mold, with four separate legs.  Both dogs have a lot of painted detail, but Calla's paint has crisper lines, more vibrant colors, and way fewer defects.

Both dogs have bobble heads that can move up and down and also spin all of the way around.  The neck connection is much stronger on the Littlest Pet Shop dog, though.  Here's Calla's neck up close:


And here's Boop's:


Here are a few pictures of Calla on her own:




She is a delightful little figure.  I can see why these pets are so popular.

One of the best things about Calla is that she comes with a crustacean companion, awesome Blossom Clawson the crab:

Blossom Clawson and Calla Boxton.
The Littlest Pet Shop brand includes baby animals, too.  The LPS Surprise Families collection is on shelves right now, and these sets include a parent with four babies...one of whom is a surprise visitor from another family.  The genius of this concept is that you have to collect all of the sets in order to "reunite the families."

Here's Leaf with her baby Slim, posed next to Dawna and Dessa Robertson from the Littlest Pet Shop dog Surprise Families set:

Bratz Lil' Angelz pets vs. Littlest Pet Shop pets.
As we saw with Calla and Boop, the LPS figures in this comparison have crisper, brighter paint with fewer defects than their Bratz counterparts.

Here's Dawna on her own:

Littlest Pet Shop's Dawna Robertson.

The babies are also highly-detailed--and they can even move their heads (which the Bratz baby pets cannot do):


And each baby has its own unique mold and coloring:

Paddy (the panda imposter), Dessa, Delilah and Devon.
My biggest issue with these figures is that the "puppies" look more like kittens.  Some of them look exactly like kittens.  Are they even supposed to be dogs?  Maybe Amazon has it wrong...

Meow.
Although I guess Devon can be pretty convincingly canine:

Moof!
I definitely prefer the Littlest Pet Shop pets overall (especially because they have such amazingly unique animals--like a duck-billed platypus and an armadillo).  The only catch is that the Bratz toys have such a fun element of surprise in several of their themes....

However...Littlest Pet Shop is no stranger to surprises!  For $2.94, I can hop over to my local toy store and get a blind bag mystery figure like these:


I'll end today's post with two more little surprises courtesy of the Littlest Pet Shop.

I cut open the first bag and peeked inside...


I saw a flash of green and then stopped myself from looking any further.  I like to guess which figure I got at this point.

Here are all of the options:


The green and blue make me think that I got this little bird:


Or maybe this ladybug?


As much as I enjoy ladybugs in real life, I was really hoping to get the bird.

And...


I did!  I did get the tweety bird!

Littlest Pet Shop blind bag bird.
This little bird is SO CUTE.  She comes with a coconut nest and an orange slice to munch on.


I'm going to forego the Name Generator and call her Tangie.


Tangie and Kuma are my two favorite toys of the day.  They make me really happy.

Bratz Lil' Angelz bird (Kuma) and Littlest Pet Shop bird (Tangie).
But let's do just one more surprise--I don't want it to be over yet!


Ooh--I saw a flash of orange, so let's look and see what that could be....


I'm thinking it's gotta be a frog.  Do you guys agree?

And...


...it is a frog!  He's really neat-looking:

A little tree frog, maybe?
I'm not the best at identifying frogs, but I know this guy is cute!


I have no idea what his accessory is, though.  It looks like a scoop of strawberry ice cream, but that would be weird.


A glob of insect larvae, maybe?  

Whatever it is, it makes a terrible hat.  I think I'll let him share Tangie's orange.


And I'm going to name him Darcy.

Because of his dashing smile.
So...that brings me to the end of another suprise-filled Sunday!  I almost didn't get this post done in time because I'm already completely obsessed with the next Sunday Surprise.  I love writing and thinking about this series of posts and I can't wait to share the next one with you.

I'll finish up with a few pictures of my favorite toys from the Bratz Lil' Angelz collections.  Here's Leah (from the Pet Shop Surprise set) with Kuma the bird (from the Secret Surprise set):


I gather that the Bratz Lil' Angelz were highly-collectible back in their day, and I can definitely see why.  The babies have some very distinctive Bratz features, but rather than being sassy or provocative, they're kinda cute.  This is a combination that cannot have been easy to engineer.  I'm not especially fond of the eye design on these dolls, though.  The overuse of reflective marks makes it hard to tell where the babies are looking, and some of the color combinations make the eyes look muddy and dull.  However, the babies have wonderful little outfits and a fun mix of body shapes, allowing them to crawl or sit in some surprisingly realistic ways.  It's sad to me than MGA has moved away from designs like this.

The pets are also much more endearing than I would have expected--again, with none of the Bratz attitude and an extra dose of adorable.  However, the animal figures are not as well-made as what was surely their inspiration--the Hasbro Littlest Pet Shop figures.  The Bratz animals have weaker neck connections and are more likely to have ragged paint edges or outright paint defects.  Still, with lovable characters like Kuma and Sophie in the mix, the Bratz pets offer their fair share of appeal.

Best of all, the surprises in these toys were great--as long as you haven't looked online at what the numbers mean ahead of time.  I especially like the shrouded trio in the Secret Surprise set, and the mystery number of babies in the Surprise Litter.  I wish Cassie's eyes had opened with a little less trouble (and been a little brighter after they were opened) but she's been sitting around in storage for at least 8 years, so my experience is probably not a good representation of her original condition.

Unlike many surprise-themed toys, these Bratz Lil' Angelz and Littlest Pet Shop sets have plenty of play value and collectibility left in them even after all of the mysteries have been discovered.

26 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Thanks for another great review! It's really fun to experience all the surprises vicariously. And my lol was at the Tweety Bird line.

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  3. Awesome post! You might be interested in the retired Girls of Many Lands dolls by American Girl.

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  4. What a cute bunch of stuff! I'm so glad to hear your bird pulled through. He's a beautiful bird.

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  5. Brilliant! Could Sophie possibly be a chipmunk? Disappointing about Cassie's eyes. Maybe the paint would wipe off better if you left her soaking overnight in water and dish soap, or just water? She'd be much cuter than Vinessa with her weird spray tan then.

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  6. The lil angelz were my favorites as a kid! I used to love going into Tuesday Morning with my mom and looking for the Scent ones that they carried. As a child the lil angelz and kidz dolls appealed more to me than actual bratz. I have two of the blanket surprise bratz. One of them had blue eyes and the junk on her eyes came off easily and now it doesn't look as if anything was there, but the one with Brown eyes didn't get off so lucky... She has that brown stuff all around her eyes like eye shadow and I used to pretend that she had gotten into her mother's make up.

    I'm so glad you reviewed these Emily it was like a wave of nostalgia just reading these! I may need to buy some of those secret litter ones... For research.

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  7. Dear Emily,
    I agree with Rachael. I'm getting a chipmunk vibe from Sophie the 'squirrel'.
    Signed, Treesa

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  8. i think the 'bear/beaver' is a chipmunk? Very cute and fun.

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  9. Interestingly, the Bratz Petz were very much like the old LPS figurines. So maybe a better comparison would be the old Petz figurines with the old LPS ones, considering that they had the same bobble-heads and style to them, even though the LPS toys were always a little higher quality. They also had magnets in one paw so that they could attach themselves to playsets and I have fond memories of attaching my LPSs to the refrigerator and having them go on climbing expeditions. Great review as always, and if you can find some old figurines off eBay or wherever it might be worth doing a comparison or looking at the "evolution" of the line.

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  10. It's nice to have you back to reviewing! The Sunday surprises are fun!!

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  11. Kuma is actually "bear" in Japanese (example: Rilakkuma), so I thought it's a funny name for a bird, hehe.

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    1. I once had a real-life rabbit named Kitty. :)

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  12. Now I want to name my next toy Blanket. Just the thought of it makes me laugh.

    You know, if you ever run out of ideas (or money!) you could showcase your collection. I may have already suggested this, but every time you bring out something from your collection for comparison, I get really curious about what a bounty of toys you must have! I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to see them all. (I really love this surprise series, though - and alas, I guessed wrong on all counts for that baby.)

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    1. Yes! A showcase of dolls she already has is a great idea. I know in past posts she has shown Cinderalla dolls she has but usually only a couple of pictures of each. I would love to see some of those that she rarely shows (I am in love with her Christine Daae doll that she showed in her Patsyette review).

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    2. I love this idea, Hope! I tend to be like ten steps ahead with ideas, though. I wish I could crank out posts as fast as I dream them up--or as fast as they get suggested to me. I'm SO slow. I should have a series of posts all about ideas that got pushed out of the way for new ideas! I have a room full of those! ;) But seriously--showing off some of my older dolls is an amazing idea. Especially if it's a series of posts with a catchy title. Basement Beauties? Ignored Imps? Shelved Treasures? Dusty Dreamboats?? I certainly have a stash of (increasingly dusty) older dolls. They all deserve some attention!! I will definitely keep this in mind. Thank you!

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    3. Hi Emily, I second the idea of seeing your older dolls. Not only are there so many that came out that I just didn't notice but it's likely we can still get one we really love online.For example, I got the Hi:Glamm doll I was missing (Nicole) after your review of Julia reminded me how much I liked mine and her other friends.
      The Black Doll Collecting blog just showed the Black Crissy family of dolls and it was adorable and interesting though they're vintage dolls by now.
      I also identified my jointed doll as Hermione thanks to your review after months of wondering who she was ( I thought she was Blossom or Punky Brewster, lol).
      Anyhow, your reviews are always fun and interesting and this was no different. I had no idea there were so many surprises to be had.

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  13. Oh my god when I was you ger I had the exact baby surprise thing you showed. With the eye wipe off stuff. Back in the day i think the eye guck was easier to wipe off and didnt stain ! And i think you may of been wrong about random pets. Bc I got the red hair baby and the doggie and the bird. (In the green set)

    Awesome review

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  14. Awesome review! I love it when people review old Bratz things; they're by far my favorite brand!

    Currently, the line is pretty much dead. While the initial excitement caused a jump in sales for like...a week, fans (like myself) started to get over the hype and realize that the current dolls don't come CLOSE to the older dolls and MGA way overestimated their work. The faces were applied using a new, less intricate technique for the brand (the decal technique, currently the same one causing a ruckus in the Fashion Royalty community), they looked bright eyed and bland instead of sultry and detailed like they were before (one shade of eyeshadow, TWO eye screenings and neon lips all around? Please.) and the feet were getting to potato-esque shape and proportion. The line is currently all but dead, and it looks like MGA is trying to backtrack on social media by posting photos of the OG dolls (probably because all of the fall 2016 lines were cancelled anyway). Sad, but Bratz were such an innovative and detailed brand back in the day that it doesn't hurt at all to explore the original lines, instead of disappointingly walking the doll aisle, in hopes of something as pretty as the old days.

    Anyway, you should totally check out the Bratz Kidz line! Incredibly cute, incredibly detailed, tremendously high quality. The 4-Ever Kidz are the same dolls as the Kidz essentially (they revamped/simplified the Kidz line in 2008), except they come with plastic snap-on clothing and lower quality hair. The regular Kidz from years before are fantastic, though. Highly recommend.

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  15. On the back of the Leah box, the eyes peeking out of the holes in the box look scared. I can see that pet mentally begging for help.

    Go to archive.org and you can see defunct websites. That one is blah.

    The top-knot on the mouse makes her look like a baby mouse, not like a mama mouse.

    I know a human whose real name is Lava. :)

    Blanket. WTF, name-generator? Michael's second son was called Blanket in the media since he famously kept his children's faces concealed in the media. Say what you will about how kooky of a dad he was at times, but it can't be denied that he tried his best to endure those children had the privacy his own father deprived him of.

    Oooohhhh, those plastic ball rubber bands. Those things always smacked me if let go of too soon.

    I've never been a fan of the Bratz line for two reasons. I don't like dolls meant to make kids look like adults, and I don't like things that glorify bratty behavior. Children are expected to grow up too fast these days for no good reason (we no longer have a life expectancy of 40), and several of my friends who bought Bratz for their kids found their kids started adopting bratty behavior because the name of the line made it trendy. Also the lack of noses make them look like mutants, even more so on those babies. I thought the first one's lips were a pink nose!

    However, if the babies had slightly longer faces for at least a little nose room, and lacked lip-liner, they'd have been a little cuter. The hair on that last one is adorable, and I'm pleasantly surprised at the little outfits they have.

    I am disappointed in the paint jobs on those. None of they look very good with so many flaws that can't be chalked up to age.

    The concepts of these are cute, but the execution leaves something to be desired.

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  16. Oh! Oh! PLEASE do a Magic Nursery Baby, if you can find one for a good price! I got one for my 10th birthday (back then, it was common to still play with baby dolls to eleven or twelve, during what may have been the era when childhood was allowed to last the longest--sadly, I'm now seeing kids my daughter's age of just six years already expected to give up baby dolls), and have such fond memories.

    And I'd love if you'd do a My Pretty Ballerina. Hard to find, but OMG I loved that doll so much too.

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    1. Hi Aria--don't worry. I've been stalking Magic Nursery babies on eBay for a few months now. I'm just leaving a little gap between that post and the Cabbage Patch Kids. I'll move 'em up on the list for you, though. I'm totally obsessed....as you can imagine. I want to see those hospital gowns dissolve!!! :D SO FUN!!!!

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    2. I'm so excited! I had a little blonde toddler girl with a floral Laura Ashley-type dress, purple shoes, and an outie belly button. I named her Stephanie, and the wrote some stories that I illustrated and made into books. So many fond memories. I may cry, literally, when you do that one. I stopped my own birthday party to go open that doll and dissolve the little paper gown! I wish I still had my Stephanie. She was stolen by someone I considered a friend, and her mom pulled the whole "finders keepers" even though the doll was "found" in my bedroom and snuck out. I live to imagine that Stephanie gave that brat nightmares for stealing my baby away. Still, I do have many fond memories of taking her camping, to see the Blue Angels, etc. :)

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  17. Could Sophie be a kangaroo? Look at those legs!
    And the frog's food could be popcorn. Look at the little box it looks like a popcorn box....
    Cute review~thanks!

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  18. Hi Emily <3

    I'm glad the birdie is okay.
    The babies look really cute. I hope they will show up here sometimes.

    Oh, you have to check out the new Moana classic doll from Disney Store. She has a new body, with "chubby" legs and arms and a flat chest. She's absolutely beautiful and charming <3

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  19. Awsome review i have the lps collie dog family!

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  20. bardzo lubię dzieci Bratz -
    a te Twoje są przesłodkie ♥

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