Monday, May 29, 2017

Sunday Monday Surprise: Bratz Secret Date!

There were only about two minutes between the time I read an anonymous comment about Bratz Secret Date dolls and the moment I clicked "Buy it Now" on eBay.  This is exactly the kind of toy that appeals to me (a vintage doll with a hidden surprise!) and I never even knew the line existed until I read that comment.  So--although I can't thank you by name--many thanks to Anonymous for the outstanding suggestion!

The Bratz Secret Date series was introduced in 2004.  The collection included five of the Bratz girls (Meygan, Jade, Yasmin, Cloe, and Nevra), each packaged with a hidden blind date doll--one of five Bratz Boyz characters.  Cool idea, right?  The Secret Date collection ignited some controversy, though, because the title of the line and the suggestive commercial implied that the Bratz girls were going out in secret (without permission from their parents) with a boy they'd never met.  In 2004, a time when concerns were brewing over kids meeting strangers online, the backlash to this series of dolls was understandable.  I truly believe that the intention behind the theme was innocent--but that ad certainly makes me uncomfortable.  What do you guys think?

In response to the criticism, MGA Entertainment quickly renamed the series Blind Date and updated all of the packaging.  Today I will show you Yasmin (and her blind date!) from the original Secret Date collection:

Bratz Secret Date Yasmin, 2004 ($29.99).
I should mention right from the start that I know it's Monday.  Sorry.  I worked on this review all day yesterday but didn't quite get it done in time.  I also didn't want to wait a whole week to share it with you.  So...surprise!  It's a Sunday Surprise on Monday.

The Secret Date boxes have a clear window on one side so that the Bratz girl is completely visible.  The other side of the box, however, is opaque, with only the generic shadow of a Boyz doll.  There's a small oval window at the very bottom of the box where the Boyz feet are visible, but I'll get back to that a little later in the review:


I found this doll on eBay for $39.99--only $10 more expensive than the original retail price.  Some of the other characters are selling for significantly more.  I think the other two Secret Date sets on eBay right now are listed for $99 and $225.

It says on Yasmin's box that she has a one in 24 chance of coming with Bryce, a new Bratz Boyz character (new back in 2004, anyway).  I learned from reading online that the other possible date dolls were Koby (also spelled Kobe), Cameron, Dylan, and Eitan.  I didn't know anything about these characters, though, which made the whole concept of a mystery boy a bit less fun.  I figured I'd do some internet research to see what I could learn.

As luck would have it, one of the first things I discovered in my research was a Secret Date electronic game that was also released back in 2004.  Score!  That sounded like it would be a much more entertaining way to learn about the Bratz Boyz than simply Googling stuff, so I eagerly purchased the game:

It has stylin' sounds!
In this game, you're playing as a Bratz character who has been set up on a blind date.  You have to ask your Bratz friends questions to try and figure out who your date is.


I don't like the sultry, mean-looking cartoon Bratz character on the front of the box:


If I were a Bratz boy, I'd run like the wind if that girl opened the door on my blind date.  Fortunately, the actual dolls are vastly more appealing than that graphic...and don't look like they're in their 30s.

The back of the box has that same cartoon Bratz girl (the girl I'll be playing the game as, I suppose) with a photograph and a description of the game itself:


In this game, the possible Bratz Boyz dates are Cameron, Dylan, Koby, Eitan and Cade.  As far as I know, Cade was not made into a doll for this line.


I don't think of competitive dating as a fun concept or a good selling point for a game, but MGA is certainly excited about it:

Have fun stealing your friends' dates!
I love it when vintage items come with little catalogues of the other toys that were for sale at that time.  This game came with a pamphlet of offerings from the spring of 2004:

Everything was stylin' back in '04.
The cartoon Bratz girls on the cover of this pamphlet are drawn in a slightly different (and more youthful) style than what we saw on the box.

The best things in this catalogue are a pair of Café playsets:

Good places to meet a blind date!
I like the Retro Café best:

Look at the mini coffee maker!
The e-Café is also cool (and a little less expensive on the secondary market).  Both sets are rare and hard to find.


The game is about the same height as an iPad mini...and ten times as thick.  It's designed to resemble an older style cell phone:

Goodbye iPhone...hello Treo!
Despite the intricate-looking controls on this game, there are only four buttons that do anything: Menu, Enter, Guess, and On/Off.  There's also a joystick that moves back and forth.

The game did not come with batteries, which is good because they could have corroded at some point during the past 13 years.  That would've made a huge mess.

I inserted four AAA batteries and the game came to life!



Stylin'!

There are two main menu options: chat or play the "gameshow:"


The chat feature will run you through all of the possible questions that you can ask the different Bratz girls.  I decided to jump in and try the game...even though I knew nothing about the Bratz Boyz.  

The game starts out by telling you who the possible dates are for this round, and asks how many players are participating:


I selected one player (no competitive dating for me, thanks).

The game offers three questions at a time that you can ask one of the Bratz friends.  In this case, I was talking to Jade.

In the next picture, you can see the beginning of the first question, "I hear he does not like spiders, is this true?"


It was hard to get clear pictures of the game screen, so I'll just type out what happened from this point.

Asking how a guy feels about spiders seems like a really strange way to start a conversation, but I decided to play along.  I asked Jade the spider question.

Jade replied: He really hates spiders.  Next, I was given three more options--I picked the highlighted one:
  1. Do you know if he is 16?
  2. I’d like to know what he dislikes
  3. Hey, Yasmin? (this option would take me to a new set of questions with a new Bratz character)
Jade replied: he is definitely 16.  The next three choices were:
  1. Jade, what does he have? (that's confusing--like what virus does he have?)
  2. What else do you know about him?
  3. What’s up Cloe?
Jade replied: he sure is 16.  Thanks, Jade. I already knew that.  Next?
  1. What else do you know about him? Second time a charm?
  2. Has he got blonde hair?
  3. Hey, Dana?
Jade: he is definitely tall.  That's new.  Excellent.
  1. Does he like watching baseball?
  2. What does he dream of?
  3. What’s up, Sasha?
Jade replied: I don’t know, maybe?  Not really helpful, Jade. 
  1. Has he got black hair?
  2. What does he like?
  3. Yasmin, what’s up, girl?
Jade: He loves watching football!  Now we're getting somewhere!  What else can I learn?
  1. Does he have blonde hair?
  2. Does he dream of becoming a pro hockey player? An oddly specific question
  3. Cloe, talk to me!
Jade said: Why do you ask? I think she's hiding something.  Does she want to steal this guy from me? I'm feeling competitive.
  1. Does he hate talking about his feelings?
  2. He’s 17, right?
  3. Dana, let’s talk  Time to chat with Dana. I don't trust Jade anymore.
Asking Dana:
  1. Does he dream of becoming a pro hockey player?
  2. Tell me about him  The open-ended questions seem the most productive
  3. What’s up Jade?
Dana said: He is edgy, for sure.  Hm.  Ok, what else?
  1. Tell me about him
  2. Tell me about something he hates, Dana
  3. You out there, Sasha?
Dana replied: Yeah, he kinda does hate history class

To spare you a transcription of my entire conversation with Dana and the other girls, here's a summary of the things I learned about this particular boy:

He dreams of being famous
He absolutely adores inline skating
Hates talking about feelings (red flag)
He is a hottie
He loves watching football, but does not dream of becoming a pro player
He dislikes swimming
Has his own motorcycle (kinda dangerous for a 16-year-old...)
He dreams of becoming a pro motorcycle racer (yikes!)
He's not a baseball fan
He dreams of finding the perfect girl
He likes studying art
He has dark brown hair
He hates romantic comedies (Mayday!  Mayday!)
He has cool clothes

To figure out who this is, I fixated on the motorcycle traits and searched online for a Bratz doll who comes with a motorcycle accessory.  I found one: it's Cade.  

The Secret Date game comes with five little cards with cartoon head shots of each Bratz Boyz character.  I found this very helpful for getting all of them straight in my head!

This is Cade's card:

Emotionally stunted hottie with dangerous ambitions.
Cade is the only character in the Secret Date game who was not made into a doll.  He will not be Yasmin's mystery date.  I think that's probably a good thing.

Those of you who read my review of Mattel's Family Corners dolls will know that I've been dreaming about a match-making doll line.  I'm excited because I can do a little bit of match-making right now with this assortment of Bratz Boyz characters!  Which of these guys would make a good blind date for Yas?  If we pick an ideal date for her, then we have something to hope for when we open up that Secret Date box!

But first we need to know a little about Yasmin.  Here's her box cartoon:


And I copied this little blurb from a fan Wiki page:

Yasmin can be quiet, but she is a talented writer and an aspiring pop-star, Yasmin is feminine, glamorous and graceful, and is always there for her friends. Even though there is something almost regal about her, Yasmin is not pretentious; she is open-minded, and loves alternative trends in fashion, fitness and beauty. For Bratz magazine, Yasmin is the trends writer. Animals are her passion.  She also loves arts and culture.

I highlighted the words and phrases that stood out to me.

Ok, so let's look through all of the possible dates for Yasmin, using the information from the Secret Date game to get to know each guy better.  I'll show you some facts about each potential date first, just in case you want to play along and guess which Bratz Boyz character I'm talking about.  

Here are the first mystery guy's traits:

He has a video camera (safer than a motorcycle!)
He likes watching television (also safe)
He hates game shows (would disapprove of his own Secret Date game)
He is talented
He likes school and gets good grades (impressive!)
He has blue eyes 
He has brown hair
He hates baseball and country music (sounds like an exchange student to me)
He does not like watching hockey (but clearly not from Canada...or Russia, or Scandinavia...)
He hates swimming
He loves making movies
He dreams of traveling around the world
He's artistic
He doesn't mind romantic comedies (excellent!)
He doesn't mind talking about his feelings (yes!)
He's funny (score!)

Any guesses who this is?  Well, here's the answer:

The funny, non-sporty (exchange student?) film maker.
It's Koby!  Koby seems to hate a lot of things, which is never a good omen for a first date in my experience.  In general, it's probably not a great idea to introduce yourself by stating things you hate.  On the other hand, Koby doesn't mind romantic comedies or talking about his feelings, which is good.  He's also smart and funny and seems like he might be a pretty serious film maker.  Overall, an interesting option for Yasmin.

The next guy has the following traits:

He is not 17 (that's not very informative.  Is he 35? 7?)
He is cool (well, that narrows the age bracket, anyway)
He doesn't hate talking about his feelings
He dreams of starting his own business
He has a kickin' stereo (is that like a punchin' pillow?)
He doesn't hate romantic comedies
He loves going to the music store
He has rhythm and he grooves on music (who could ask for anything more?)
He has dark brown hair
He is not a fan of surfing
He has dark brown eyes
He dreams of owning his own record label

Ok, so this music-loving stereo-kicker must be....

The motivated musician.
Eitan!  I gather from looking at some of the Eitan dolls that he's a guitar player.  Sounds like he could be a fun date, especially for Yasmin (an aspiring pop star).

Ok, so the very first piece of information that I learned about this next boy was that he hates horses.  Not that he's scared of horses, but that he hates horses.  What is up with that?  How can you hate a horse?  And even if you did hate horses, why would you say that out loud?  I mean, how often does the opening line, Hi I'm So-and-so and I hate horses work for a guy??  It certainly wouldn't work with Yasmin.

Anyway, here are this horse-hater's other qualities:

He doesn't like watching baseball
He doesn't like watching hockey
He doesn't like watching football
He doesn't like spiders

At this point I almost gave up on this fellow.  Does he like anything? Then it got a little better:

He dreams of being famous
He dreams of being rich
He's a good dresser
He has cool clothes

Better, but still a little shallow and self-centered, right?  Hm.  Let's give him one more chance...

He has a good sense of humor (maybe he was joking about the horses...)
He loves dancing
He can't stand ballet (ouch.  Yasmin won't like that)
He's a funkadelic dancer (whatever that means)
He will talk about his feelings
He adores playing soccer
He has hazel eyes
He dreams of traveling around the world
He dreams of being a film star

Ok, so he has some good qualities after all.  Hating ballet might be a turn-off for the graceful and cultured Yasmin, though.  What do you guys think?  Do you know who he is?  I had no idea and had to look it up.  Turns out he's...

Grumpy Dylan.
Dylan.  I have to admit that some of the Dylan dolls are really great, but I can't say that this personality is my favorite.  At least according to the Secret Date game, anyway.  He would be a terrible match for Yasmin.

Ok, next up we have a guy with blue eyes and blonde hair.  He also:

Doesn't like being in the rain (nor piña coladas, I assume)
Doesn't mind romantic comedies
Owns his own car
Is kickin' cool (the Bratz were really into those abbreviated words back in 2004, weren't they?)
Will talk about his feelings (his feelin's?)
Doesn't like studyin' history or museums (strike one--Yasmin loves the arts and culture)
Dreams of being a pro football player or a stock car racer 
Loves watchin' football and baseball
Doesn't like lizards (strike two--Yasmin is a passionate animal lover)
Is mechanically inclined
Dreams of going to college
Loves his car
Gets good grades
Does not like studyin' music at all (strike three!  Yer out.  Yasmin loves music.)

Ok, so this kickin' cool sports fan must be...

Slightly generic blonde guy with a car.
Cameron doesn't like museums, lizards or studying music.  These qualities might be red flags for Yasmin, so Cameron is certainly not my first pick for her.

Because there's a 1-in-24 chance of getting a Bryce doll with Yasmin...


I also wanted to learn something about Bryce.  He's not included in the Secret Date game, so there's no card to show what he looks like.  I took some screen shots from YouTube and made my own virtual card:


That may seem like a terrible picture, but these were the other options:


So...yeah.  

I couldn't find very much information about Bryce on the internet, but I did learn that he's often called Bryce the Bear by his friends.  This is because he's loud, but also kind-hearted and nurturing.  He's a big animal-lover, which certainly endears him to me.  At least he doesn't hate horses.

Actually, Bryce seems like an excellent match for Yasmin.  I also think Eitan and Koby would be good dates for her.  It's hard to rank these guys when I know so little about each of them, but let's say Eitan is my first pick, then Bryce, then Koby.  I'd love to know what you all think!

Now, let's find out who's actually in the box with Yasmin:

review

I was happy that this particular box still had a price tag on it.  It can be hard to figure out the original retail on older toys.  Apparently--controversy aside--this was also the People's Choice Toy of the Year:


The back of Yasmin's box has a description of the Secret Date scenario and a cartoon of Yasmin meeting her mystery boy:


Here's a close-up of the text:


It's clear from this description that Yasmin is going on a blind date and the secret is just that she doesn't know who the boy is yet--not that her parents don't know she's going out.  I suppose a blind date for a 16-year could still be dangerous, but I feel like we're meant to understand that Yasmin's friends have set up this date, and the boy is someone they all know.

Still, MGA acted quickly to remedy any misunderstanding.  Here's a look at the second wave packaging for the same Yasmin doll:


Notice how it says "Bind Date" at the top of the box now instead of "Secret Date:"


And the glittery lettering at the bottom of the box has also been changed:


Everything else about the doll and the packaging is the same.  The text blurbs are identical:

Blind Date package (left) Secret Date package (right).

And all of the doll's clothing and accessories are the same:

Blind Date package (left) Secret Date package (right).

I had to de-box Yasmin really carefully so that I didn't uncover the mystery boy too soon.  

I used a piece of cardboard (Nick's chapel from the Family Corners set, as a matter of fact) to cover the Boyz side while I slid the backdrop out.  I carefully cut Yasmin and her accessories away from the backdrop and set the concealed boy doll aside.

Yasmin comes with a pair of fancy drinking glasses and a bottle:


I gather these accessories caused trouble, too, because some parents thought they looked like alcoholic beverages (?).  I don't see that.  I see two smoothies and a bottle of seltzer.  I also see two alien insects with huge pincers and a space pod, though, so my opinions might not be mainstream.

My issue with these items is that they're made out of soft vinyl and have become incredibly greasy and disgusting over the years.  I guess the plastics are separating.  Eeew.  They went immediately from this photo into the garbage.

Yasmin also comes with two coffee mugs:


Each has its own separate saucer.  These are slightly greasy, but nowhere near as bad as the pink glasses.


Yasmin has a silver cell phone with sloppily-painted keys:


But her best accessory (by far) is this little pink compact:


It has a reflective mirror on top and actually opens and closes.  It's really cute.


Here's Yasmin herself:


This version of the character has bright green eyes and wavy, frosted brown hair:


Bratz dolls from this era have huge feet and sturdy legs, so they stand really well on their own.



Yasmin comes with an imitation leather purse tied to her right arm:


The purse is stitched together and has a short shoulder strap:


It has a few small silver decorations on one side:


And the strap is attached to the sides of the bag with little metal zipper pulls:


The bag opens with a tiny square of velcro and can fit a few small items (like the compact and the cell phone):


The first thing I did was brush Yasmin's messy hair.  The hair looks nice (and I love the color) but it feels very dry and rough:


I suspect that this hair would turn into a rat's nest pretty quickly if the doll were being played with regularly, but it does look cool in photographs:

Toy Box Philosopher
Stylin'
Yasmin has pink sunglasses tied to the top of her head.  She's also wearing a pair of removable silver and pink earrings:



Her outfit consists of a red imitation leather jacket and a denim jumpsuit.  The jacket looks great and has several interesting details:


The sleeves have circular cut-outs with a fake zipper running down the middle:


The front of the jacket has a more realistic (but still non-functional) line of zipper teeth:


Yasmin is also wearing three silver plastic bangle bracelets on her right arm:


Underneath the jacket, Yasmin sports a halter top denim jumpsuit with rhinestone accents:

review

I'm not really a jumpsuit person, but I have to say that this particular jumpsuit has some cool kickin' details.

The waist is form-fitting, with a princess-seamed bodice:


The dropped waist features working belt loops with a separate denim belt: 


Yasmin can rest her thumb in the belt loop:

review

I appreciate this option because Yasmin's rubbery arms can't hold a bent position on their own.


Yasmin has a plastic choker necklace tucked up under her chin:


It's made out of bendable silver plastic and has some pink painted areas:


Yasmin's messy hair was getting frustrating to me at this point, so I cut the sunglasses out and brushed her hair back into a smooth ponytail:


This makes it much easier to see her face and the top of her outfit:


Yasmin has excellent facial screening, with lined lips and several shades of opalescent eyeshadow:


I may never get used to the oversized lips on Bratz dolls, but I really like Yasmin's fierce, side-glancing eyes.

Incidentally, once Yasmin's sunglasses have been cut away from her hair, they fit nicely onto her face:


Toy Box Philosopher

But let's get back to looking at the jumpsuit:


The back of this garment seems complicated at first glance:

Confusin'
The ties from the halter top are looped together and tucked into the bodice.  The bodice opens with a strip of black velcro:



The belt is also held together with velcro, so this has to be released before the jumpsuit can be removed:


Here's the front of the jumpsuit again without Yasmin inside of it:


The tailoring lines are a little easier to see when the jumpsuit is not on the doll's body.

Yasmin has nine points of articulation, including her detachable rotating feet:


It's also worth noting that Yasmin has glitter on her arms and legs.  This is not because her outfit is shedding (there's no glitter on this outfit) it's an intentional, permanent design feature.

Sparklin'
Yasmin's shoulders are rotating hinges that have a great range of motion:


Her arms are rubbery and so they can bend easily, but they do not have any internal joints:


Yasmin's hips do not have any side-to-side movement, but she can do full front-to-back splits:


Her knees have internal click joints with modest flexibility.

Good for sittin'
Yasmin's large feet are removable (they have to be removed in order to get the jumpsuit on and off) and they are decorated with painted pink sandals:


The sandals are not removable--they're part of the foot.

I'm impressed with the clothing on this doll.  It's even nicer than the clothing on the Create-A-Bratz dolls.  All of the items fit well, are solidly-constructed, and have great design elements.

I redressed Yasmin so that she would be ready for her big date!


Even with all of those large holes in the sleeves, the leather jacket slid back over Yasmin's arms with no trouble!


Ok, are you ready to see who Yasmin's date is??  I am!  I kept him carefully covered up until this point so that as I was taking these pictures I had no idea who it would be.

I set the box on my table and then gradually lifted up Nick's gazebo...


Whoever he is, he brought Yasmin flowers!  How nice:


He also has a metal chain hanging from his belt--that's pretty cool.  Wasn't it horse-hating Dylan who was advertised as having cool clothes, though?  I hope this isn't Dylan.

I lifted the cardboard a little further and saw that there's already a piece of cardboard covering the boy's face!  Maybe all of my concealment efforts were unnecessary...


Oh--but look!  The cardboard has lettering on it and I think it says...


It does!  It says Bryce!


I got Bryce!  He's the new character, and a wonderful match for Yasmin!  Yay!!


I lifted up the cardboard to see his face:


He's pretty cute!  His hair is messed up because of the glasses, but I can fix that.

That was fun!  I was thinking it was super-unlikely that I'd get Bryce.  The box says that there's only a 1-in-24 chance of getting him--that's just over 4%.  There are five Boyz characters in all, so if the odds were equal there would be a 20% chance of getting each of them.  In fact, since there's only a 4% chance of getting Bryce, that means there's about a 24% chance of getting any one of the other four.  I beat the odds!

The thing is, I bought two versions of Yasmin (Secret Date and Blind Date), thinking I'd compare the boxes and then show you two surprise Boyz, but both sets came with Bryce...and many of the other less expensive dolls on eBay include Bryce, too.  How do I know? 

I didn't realize this until after I'd opened my first doll (thank goodness!), but you can actually tell which Boyz doll you're getting by looking into that oval peep hole on the front of the box.  See how Bryce's shoes and pants are visible?


This is the shoe of the Bryce I just showed you:


And this is what I can see through my other Yasmin's box:

Same outfit.
At first I assumed all of the Boyz were wearing the same outfit, but actually the other characters have different clothing--and the shoes and pants will give away which character it is.  There might be an exception to this: from looking online, it appears that Dylan and Cameron have the same black shoes and black pants, so those two might create some mystery.  

It's not easy to see high enough up into the box to discern what shirt each doll is wearing.  Here's me trying to peek at Bryce's shirt:

I can just barely make out a black cuff on the right.
Given how easy it is to tell which Boyz doll is in the box, I'm left wondering why so many of the Secret Date doll sets on eBay include Bryce?  Perhaps he just wasn't very popular back in 2004 because he wasn't an established character yet.  Regardless, I'm super-happy with my Bryce.  He's my first Bratz Boyz doll and so I had no expectations or specific wishes.  

Bryce comes wearing a black cowboy-style shirt, a studded belt, and pants that are sueded khaki in front and denim in the back:



Like Yasmin, Bryce has huge feet that allow him to stand very solidly on his own.


(Ok, those pants looked fine from the front, but they're ridiculous from the back)

Bryce has pale hazel-green eyes, thick eyebrows, and sunglasses tied into his cropped blonde hair:


Has has some fine defects on his lips, but otherwise his face paint is great.

The doll is much better-looking than the virtual card I made for him.


All of the Secret Date Boyz come with a small bouquet of pink and red flowers:


I cut the sunglasses out of Bryce's hair so that I could smooth out the hair and get a better look at the style:


It's an impressive haircut for a small play doll.  The hair is wedge-cut in back with some longer layers on the top of Bryce's head:



I don't think the sunglasses are very flattering, though.  In this picture Bryce reminds me of the older Carpatina boys--like Adam:


Bryce is wearing a watch on his right wrist:


This watch is made out of bendable vinyl and has some nice molded detail:


The watch looks a little messy up close, but it's very convincing from a distance.


Bryce's collared shirt opens all of the way down the front with a long strip of velcro:


The shirt has embroidered details on the front and small decorative silver buttons:


Bryce's belt is made out of stitched imitation leather and--like Yasmin's belt--it's actually strung through real belt loops.  The metal chain is attached to two of the belt loops:


The back of Bryce's pants have awkward (but working) pockets that are made out of the sueded khaki fabric from the front of the pants:


The pants and belt both fasten with small squares of velcro:


Bryce's body has the same basic style of construction as Yasmin's body.  He has nine points of articulation with detachable feet:


He has a muscular torso mold...with the tiniest hint of Family Corners Nick's hotdog bun syndrome:


Bryce has rotating hinge shoulder joints and flexible vinyl arms:


His arms are thicker than Yasmin's, though, so he doesn't have the same degree of arm-twisting flexibility.


Unlike Yasmin, Bryce can do partial side-to-side splits:


He can also do full front-to-back splits:


His knees feel a bit less flexible than Yasmin's knees, but he can still slump into a chair:


Bryce's clunky, detailed shoes are part of his feet:


Bryce is shorter than most of my other male play dolls.  Here he is with Monster High's Deuce Gorgon and Liv's Jake:

Monster High Deuce, Bratz Bryce, Liv Jake.
It's funny to me that Bryce and Jake have heads that are about the same size.  Bryce would made a reasonable younger brother for Jake, but that muscular torso doesn't fit.

For another scale comparison, here's Bryce with Barbie's Ken:

Ken and Bratz Bryce.
And now, it's time for Yasmin to meet her blind date!

She looked a little apprehensive at first...


...but those pretty flowers were a good move.

Charmin'!
Bryce certainly seems taken with Yasmin!


Toy Box Philosopher

They make a pretty cute couple.  They might not have a huge list of common interests, but their shared love for animals is a good start.  They also share a few of their fashion preferences, like the big sunglasses, thick belts, and dark denim:


Toy Box Philosopher

MGA might have had better luck with this line if they'd stated more clearly what would actually happen on this mystery date--dispelling rumors that Yasmin was going out to drink and party with a strange man she'd never met.

I'll do that for you here: Yasmin and her blind date (who turned out to be her classmate, Bryce!) went to the mall to buy new sunglasses, walked through the park to a popular diner for a veggie burger, and then headed to the local animal shelter to spend some time with the homeless pets.  At the end of the night, Yasmin worked up the courage to give Bryce a quick kiss!


Even if they don't continue dating, these two are bound to stay close friends.



Bottom line?  I might never have purchased a Bratz Boyz doll if it weren't for this surprise-themed set.  It was a clever marketing idea to package two dolls together, and I like the mix of mystery and predictability that MGA orchestrated.  It was fun for me to be completely clueless about which Boyz character I would get, but there are also enough external clues about which doll is hidden inside each box that seasoned collectors could easily avoid getting repeats of their Boyz.

I like both of these dolls, but in many ways I actually prefer Bryce to Yasmin.  He's highly caricatured--with a large head and skinny limbs--but his features are a bit more believable than Yasmin's.  His realistic mouth shape, in particular, makes it easier for me to relate to his character.  In most ways, Bryce's quality and construction are on par with Yasmin's.  He has an interesting, well-made outfit, nicely-rooted hair, careful facial screening, and a sturdy body design.  My doll has a small defect in his lip paint, but that's his only manufacturing flaw.

My opinion of Bratz dolls has definitely softened over the years, to the point where I really enjoyed de-boxing this pair, and actually felt the desire to defend the entire Secret Date line and its advertising missteps.  My growing appreciation for Bratz dolls is ill-timed, though, since the line was recently--and perhaps permanently--discontinued.  Part of my reaction to Bryce and Yasmin is certainly due to nostalgia for a bygone era.  I was never a big fan of the Bratz brand during its heyday, but I've grown to appreciate their defining presence in the doll market and the rarity of a doll brand with such a boldly distinct, trend-shifting style.  The silver lining here is that the absence of new Bratz dolls gives me a welcome opportunity to catch up with some of the older dolls, and taking a closer look at the Bratz Boyz might be an excellent place to start.  Just don't expect to see any more horse-hatin' Boyz on this blog.

20 comments:

  1. Even though it's not my personal style, I'm always impressed with the detail in Bratz' clothes.
    Bryce has a nice face too!

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  2. Great review! I have the Meygan doll from this line, but sadly she seems to have lost her date, lol. Also the Bratz aren't completely gone just yet, Isaac Larian has confirmed that the Bratz will (hopefully) make another return in the fall of 2018.

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  3. I saw a new surprise themed Barbie is out this year, I believe its called Barbie Newborn Pups and the gender of the puppies is a surprise

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    1. I heard the Bratz are on hiatus and going to be revamped, since these new ones are not popular. That's OK, I guess, but I much rather they revive Bratzillas! Old bratz were cool back then, but they do look like they were caught mid sneeze.

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  4. The concept of a blind date-themed doll doesn't bother me. It's a toy. It's the commercial that I find disturbing, because it shows a very young girl in very skimpy clothing and heavy makeup getting ready to go out on a "secret date". It's a very sexualized image, and it definitely reminds me of so many tragic stories I have heard of young girls who sneaked out to meet online acquaintances, only to never return home.

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  5. I love Bratz Boyz, they are in fact one of the first doll lines I ever seriously collected. It took me a few years to warm to the girls but the boys I always adored their cartoonish faces and variation.

    Interesting about the Bryce dolls. He only ever got two doll releases, this set and a movie doll who's in a suit so he's not exactly common. I wonder how so many ended up unopened given finding him was the whole like.. gimmick thing to keep you buying more.

    Yasmin incidently, ended up getting ANOTHER blind date years later but this time not packaged with a surprise element. Her date that time was new boy and one off doll Braden, who is ENORMOUSLY freakishly tall lol.

    I always found the date sets amusing because there was no real consistency to who was dating who. Like, the girls and guys just swapped partners constantly.

    Also the boyz nicknames are HILARIOUS. "They call me BLAZE because i'm SO HOT" ahahaha you're so lame.

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  6. Thanks, this was a fun review. Bratz dolls grew on me and I do hope that if they're revived the design is closer to the original than the latest version was. That lines playsets and vehicles were really great too as were the tiny cosmetics that came with the vanities.

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  7. Fun review! I always love seeing you unbox and document surprise-themed toys (and I'm irrationally fond of the Bratz Boyz, so I especially enjoyed this one).

    Interesting to see the actual game too.

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  8. Yasmin has nice clothes an Bryce is really cute. Thank you for the review!

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  9. I'm Canadian, and I don't like watching hockey.

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  10. What a coincidence! There were only about two minutes between the time I saw a new Emily review was up, and being deeply interested and halfway through reading it.

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  11. One of my favorite Bratz lines!

    I think you also might like their retro themed one 'Flashback Fever' that had each girl in multiple outfits and a CD with covers of songs from the decade they were in.

    The interesting thing about the BD/SD sets is that several of the outfits on the girls were repurposed pieces - this catsuit, for example - came with girls nite out Sasha as one of 3 outfits - so it was all about the boyz and figuring out the pant and outfit patterns to try and collect all of them without buying too many doubles.

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  12. I'm a huge sucker for Bratz dolls! Especially the early ones as they were pretty much my childhood. It's funny that as a kid, I never realized how skimpy the bratz dressed! Seeing them now, I'm surprised my super conservative parents bought me all the bratz they did. It certainly didn't affect me. I'm 20 and get told I dress like a Mormon (I guess they mean I'm modest?). I have 4 bratz boys, one looks like Bryce but he's in a tux, the other is an olive skinned guy with dark hair and eyes in a ski outfit, and the other one may be Cade in surf shorts with a t-shirt. The last is Kid! Dylan who is absolutely adorable.

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  13. "He has a kickin' stereo (is that like a punchin' pillow?)" Your comments slay me, Emily!!! I also love how every time I'm reading your blog my mom looks over right while I'm looking at a naked doll doing the splits. :P I almost wonder if the Bryce dolls weren't as uncommon as the box wanted you to believe, seeing as there's so many on the internet. Surely girls buying the dolls wouldn't know the outfits of the characters beforehand? Also I weirdly didn't find the commercial to be all that bad. *shrug*

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  14. I was wondering if you bought any of the new articulated siltstone barbies? and if you did if you would review one of them. the first blond classic black dress articulation was pretty bad and very hard to move. the second (brunette classic black dress) moves much better. I guess they made some improvements in the second doll.

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  15. I really like the idea of this, If I had seen these dolls when they were out I would have gotten at least two packs. I like boy dolls so 2-packs always appeal to me.

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  16. Oh my, I totally gorgot about Bratz dolls. They were never really popular here in Switzerland (but we had so many of the MyScene Barbies here).
    A great review, Emily. I love reviews of older dolls. The 80-2000 dolls were so much more fun (I bought the 25 year celebration "Totally Hair" Barbie a few weeks ago., she was one of my first Barbies. Loved to see her again in the stores).

    Oh and I know you love good articulated doll bodies...maybe check out the new Rapunzel doll (the one from the animated series, she looks very cartoony) from the Disneystore? She has a new body, such large feet and she's a dream to pose.

    Have a great week <3

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  17. Please oh please oh please cover the new Wonder Woman dolls!!!

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  18. I second that you should look at the Tangled Before Ever After dolls. I know you're done with the Disney Store, but these dolls have, get this, an entirely new body with ROTATING-HINGE KNEES- no fragile armatures or bowlegs! Might be good for your Rapunzel collection, and hopefully this will be the default body in the near future.

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  19. I collected bratz dolls for many many years. I have no idea how many I have but I think I started in about '04. I never cared about the skimpiness, and it didn't affect me at all.

    Also have you seen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rswfrJAWM4U

    I thought they would be right up your alley. Dunno when they will reach stores or if they already have (I'm in Aus, and we get things super late, or every now and then super duper early)

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