Friday, November 19, 2021

Rainbow High Dolls by MGA Entertainment

One of the things I'm doing over on Patreon is giving my Patrons a chance to weigh in on what review they want to see next.  Two weeks ago, they picked this Rainbow High girl over a different play doll.  The vote was extremely close, though, so the other doll will probably get her review soon.  I'm happy that this review won, because I've been extremely curious about the Rainbow High brand for several months now.

When I was taking a break from doll reviews and putting all of my energy into My Twinn restorations, I rarely visited any kind of toy store.  This is highly unusual for me, since I get a huge amount of happiness from just being around toys.  But something happened about a month before I started writing here again: I was at Target looking for a game in the electronics section, and I found myself wandering into the adjacent toy aisles, unable to resist the pull.

I didn't give all of the toys the scrutiny they deserved on that day, but I did a broad sweep of the doll sections to see what was new.  The one thing I saw that stuck in my head was the Rainbow High collection.  The Rainbow High dolls were displayed opposite the L.O.L. toys, and I found the cohesive color schemes of the Rainbow High characters to be a soothing and attractive contrast to the neon chaos of the L.O.L. shelves.  Each Rainbow High character has clothing and hair that match, and so looking at all of the dolls together is like looking at a big rainbow.  It's very seductive.  And of course I'm always roped in by dolls with interesting eyes and nice articulation.  I almost bought a doll on the spot--I really wanted to see what the articulation was like--but told myself it was silly since I wasn't doing reviews anymore.

As you can imagine, as soon as I decided to write reviews again, the first thing I did was scoot back to Target and buy a Rainbow High doll!  Here's the one I picked:

Rainbow High's Georgia Bloom, $27.99.

When I purchased Georgia, I knew nothing about the personalities of the Rainbow High characters, so I just picked a doll who appealed to me.  I love the name Georgia and I like this doll's soft, peach-colored palette.  

I'm pretty sure that most people know more about Rainbow High dolls than I do, but I'll go over some basic background for those who don't.

MGA released the Rainbow High collection in 2020, but the dolls are basically a re-invention of a 2019 line called Rainbow Surprise.  The Rainbow Surprise dolls are 14 inches tall and have painted eyes, larger heads, and less articulation than their Rainbow High cousins.  I'll review a Rainbow Surprise doll at some point.


The Rainbow High television series was also released in 2020, and this show follows the adventures of 8 colorful main characters as they navigate their way through an exclusive arts school.  You can watch the show for free on YouTube or Netflix.

The animated characters look a lot like the dolls.  I grabbed a screen shot of the main characters from the first episode...although I didn't catch them at their best:

From left: Bella, Jade, Ruby, Violet, Sunny, Skylar and Poppy.
The characters represent each color of the rainbow...sort-of.  Bella's character is pink, which I suppose is taking the place of indigo.  Each girl has a different artistic focus, too.  For example: Poppy is a music engineer, Skylar is a fashion designer, and Ruby is a graphic artist.  Regardless of their major, everyone is extremely fashion-conscious.

Amaya Raine joined the main cast towards the middle of Season 1.  She is (another) fashion design major who represents all of the colors of the rainbow at once.  She's like the Rainbow Bender (for fans of Avatar):

Her hair looks blue here, but it's actually a rainbow.
I watched the first season of the show on Netflix.  I like how Netflix groups the episodes together into two hour-long mini movies.  That keeps the storyline moving.  The show is a bit vapid at times, but it adds personality to the dolls, which I enjoy.  Having watched the show, I probably would have picked either an Amaya doll or a Poppy doll.  They're my favorites.

Despite the fact that Rainbow High was introduced less than two years ago, there have already been seven waves of dolls.  The first waves were focused primarily on the main characters, but recent waves have expanded to include more and more ancillary characters.

Here's Series 1 (this is not all of the dolls, but most of them):

From left: Ruby, Poppy, Sunny, Jade, Skylar, and Violet.
These Series 1 dolls apparently have inferior knee articulation, so I avoided those when I was searching for a good doll to review.

Series 2:

From left: Bella, Stella, Karma, River, Krystal, and Amaya.
The cheerleaders (these were slightly less expensive than the other waves):

From left: Ruby, Poppy, Jade, Skylar, Violet, and Sunny on top.
All of the dolls that I've listed so far have simple neck articulation (the heads can only spin around, not look up or down), so I focused my search on dolls made after this point.  

A twin pack of Laurel and Holly De'Vious dolls represents the first appearance of the improved neck joint.
Here are the De'Vious Twins:


I don't consider this set to be a "wave" of dolls, so I didn't include it in my count.  It's a special release.

Here's the Winter Break wave of characters:

From left, in back: Ruby, Sunny, Jade, Skylar.
From left, in front: Poppy and Violet.
Series 3:

From left: Daria, Georgia, Sheryl, Daphne, Gabriella, and Emi.
The Rockstar group:

From left: Vanessa, Lyric, and Carmen.
And Slumber Party:

From left: Robin, Marisa, and Brianna.
There were a few single-doll special edition releases (including a massive 24-inch version of Amaya) but I think I've covered the major waves.  Most of the dolls cost between $20 and $50.

I knew that there were different face molds among the Rainbow High dolls, so I headed to the store to see if I could figure out what they were.

I'm pretty familiar with Georgia's face at this point.  Her face mold is the original (and by far the most common).  Gabriella Icely is another example of the same face:


This fellow, River Kendall, definitely has a unique face mold--and perhaps the one I like the most!


He's the most realistic and friendly-looking of the whole group.

This character, Daphne Minton, has a different face mold than Georgia:

Could've fooled me.
And Emi Vanda has the same face as Daphne:

If you say so.
The special twin set of Laurel and Holly De'Vious has another different face mold.  Here's Holly:

Ok, I guess her upper lip looks bigger than the other molds.
And her twin Laurel (with the same face):


Here's Carmen Major with a really different interpretation of the twin face!


I'll confess that I was useless at figuring out these face molds on my own.  I snapped a lot of pictures and then had to turn to the internet for help when I got home. The internet confirms that there are four distinct face molds: the original face (like Gabriella and Georgia's face), the boy face, and two other girl faces.

With the exception of River, all of the faces are extremely similar, so the face paint can make a bigger difference than the mold.

All right!  Now that we're all on the same page with some basic Rainbow High background, let's take a closer look at Georgia:


She comes in a glimmery cardboard box with a huge wrap-around plastic window.


The back of the box has a drawing of six Series 3 characters (these are all supporting characters):

From left: Daria, Georgia, Sheryl, Daphne, Gabriella, and Emi.
There's a short blurb at the bottom of the box about the Rainbow High art school:


Georgia's (slightly damaged) box indicates that she's a performance major at Rainbow High:


All of the dolls in this series come with an extra outfit and an extra pair of shoes. These items are in their own mini boxes that protrude from the right side of the main box:

Excellent way to add more packaging.

The mini boxes can be pretty easily pulled away from the rest of the packaging:


This is because they're only attached by a squiggle of hot glue:


I was thinking to myself how easy it would be for these little compartments to fall off (or get stolen) in the store, and then--sure enough--the next time I went to Target I saw this:

No shoes for this Gabriella!
Inside the main box, hidden from view behind the clothing accessories, there's a small cardboard drawer that holds a few extra peach-colored accessories:


There's a stand (in three pieces) and two hangers:


Here's the assembled stand:


And the two hangers:


I love the gripping hanger!  I've never seen anything like that for a doll before.  Very clever.  The hangers would be a nice add-on to this wardrobe gift set:

$60, though.  Gulp!
Georgia comes mounted to another piece of cardboard that slides out of the main box:



She's positioned up against a molded plastic shell that's attached to the rainbow backdrop.


Of course there are plastic ties involved in this packaging (it's MGA, after all), but there were only two ties stuck into Georgia's head, which isn't terrible (unless you're Georgia):


Here's the empty plastic shell:

Me: 2020.
And the plastic comb, which I didn't even bother to remove from the backdrop.


The packaging produces a ton of waste.  I'm not even sure if metallic-colored cardboard is recyclable.  We'll see next week when I put it at the curb.  

I don't know how we're going to break the habit of showy, excessive packaging like this, but one of the big companies needs to take the lead.  Maybe Disney is trying?  They have some promising new boxes that I need to take a look at.  My frustration with MGA's packaging is heightened because I got a beautiful, expensive doll in the mail yesterday for a Patron review, and she came in--wait for it-- a single plain brown cardboard box.  She's not damaged, and it took me less than a minute to unbox her and recycle the waste.  That's the dream.

Anyway, here's Georgia free from her ridiculous box:


You can see that she's using her doll stand.  I always try to balance a doll on their own before I resort to using the stand, but Georgia's balance is not great.  The weight of her long hair kept tipping her over backwards.

I needed her to stand up straight so that I could get--among other things--clear pictures of her many barrettes:


She has a total of five plastic barrettes, all with different designs:


Georgia was packaged with her hair parted in back and gathered on either side of her head--almost like she was wearing ponytails.  This made it very easy for me to see the rooting pattern in the scalp!

Not a great first impression.
The hair feels very full, but you can see that the hair plugs are too far apart for ponytails to be a good idea:

Does that remind anyone else of the Play-Doh Fun Factory?
The color of Georgia's hair really messes with my camera!  It appears to have a neon glow (it does not).  

Here's the hair again after I finger-combed the back so that the scalp was hidden:


Georgia has a serious expression on her face and massive, widely-spaced eyes:


To be fair, these eyes aren't really so massive by current standards.

The Biggers Artey.
I'll look in more detail at Georgia's face in a little bit, but you can see that she has elaborate makeup with colorful inset eyes and long applied upper eyelashes:


Georgia is wearing a three-piece outfit consisting of peach jeans, a crop top, and a fuzzy cropped cardigan.  For some reason the left sleeve of the cardigan came plastic-tied to Georgia's jeans:


I almost ripped a hole in the cuff of the sweater because I didn't see that tiny little tie!  I have no idea why there was a plastic tie at all, let alone only on one side.

The cardigan has ribbed edges and cuffs, and the body of the sweater is delicately knitted out of a fuzzy, multicolored yarn that resembles mohair.  I love the added texture of the large loops of thread!


The sweater has three small gold plastic buttons on one side.  The buttons have a molded "RH" pattern in the middle:


The design of the sweater is funny.  The ribbing does not run along the bottom of the sweater--just along the inside edges.  Because of this, it looks like Georgia is wearing it upside-down!


The overall effect is good, though.  It's a nice little sweater:



The Na! Na! Na! dolls all had interesting jackets and sweaters, too.  This seems to be a strong area for the MGA designers.

Underneath the cardigan, Georgia is wearing a small pink cropped tank:


Both the tank top and the jeans have velcro closures in back:


The tank top is made out of a fine knit and has ribbon sleeves and an embroidered peach embellishment at the neckline:


I love the knitted fabric and color of this tank, but the top edge is uneven, which tends to make the embroidered peach look lopsided.  When Georgia was wearing this top, I had to constantly adjust it so that it didn't look too sloppy and crooked.

There are also a few visible holes left over from the plastic ties.



Georgia's jeans are made out of a very lightweight peach denim:


The jeans are decorated with several white "RH" decals in various sizes and random locations.

There's a lot of stitched detail in these pants, too, including four working pockets (two in front and two in back):


The stitching is a bit sloppy here and there, but I like these jeans.




The jeans are cuffed at the bottom to show off a pair of printed socks (!) and highly-detailed sneakers:


The sneakers have a lot of molded and painted decorations.  The front of each shoe has molded laces and a minuscule golden label that says "Rainbow:"


Notice that the two shoes are not painted the same way, though.  The shoe on the right has pearlized white paint in the lace area, but the shoe on the left has plain white paint.

Look at how thick the soles of these shoes are!

Moon Shoes!
The shoes have broad stripes of pink and pearlized peach that look great together.  There are some other small paint flaws here and there, but nothing glaring.


The back of each shoe has a black painted "RH" with "Rainbow" molded underneath:


The treads are made out of semi-transparent light orange vinyl:


I don't quite know why I was so surprised to see socks on this doll, but I was!  What a delightful detail.  The socks are white with the letters from the world rainbow printed in pink:



Under her shoes and socks, Georgia has fashion-heeled feet:


That's too bad, since it means she won't be able to stand up without her shoes.

It's slightly difficult to use Georgia's stand when she isn't wearing shoes because her feet barely touch the base of the stand.  I got it to work, though:


Her lovely long hair was getting in the way of seeing her body, so I decided to take the barrettes out and pull her hair into an up-do.

Here are the five barrettes:


Two of the clips say "rainbow," one is plain, and the other two say "sparkle" and "love:"


I should really be taking a tally of everything in this set that has the word "rainbow" on it.  The peach tank top is the only clothing without a reference to Rainbow High, and three of these barrettes are rainbow-free.  That's about it.

With Georgia's hair perched on top of her head, I could get an excellent look at her thirteen (fifteen counting the double joints) points of articulation! Wow!


I was also happy to see that her body proportions are less exaggerated than I expected or feared.  She has a short, pear-shaped torso with narrow shoulders and slightly wider hips.  The degree of realism in her body matches that of her face.

Nothing about the body is sexualized, and the proportions--while certainly not realistic--look good.  Her legs have some shape to them, and her feet aren't ridiculously tiny.  The backs of the knees are the least attractive part of the body, but that's hard to avoid with a double-jointed doll.


I promised that I would take a closer look at Georgia's face and eyes, so let's do that now while her hair is out of the way:


Her eyes are incredibly elaborate and definitely the focal point of her face.  She has thick black eyeliner above her eyes, flanked by some rose-pink eyeshadow that's accented with silver glitter:


Her eyebrows have a simple blocked shape with three pale hairlines drawn towards the inside edge of the brow.

The eyes themselves are acrylic inserts.  Georgia's eyes have a light brown iris with a large dark pupil, but the iris is highlighted with a few shades of pink and the pupil has four white reflective dots, one in the shape of a star:


Georgia's lips are painted in two colors, with some white teeth peeking out in the middle:


The lip liner is smudged at the edges and a bit lopsided at the top:


Georgia's head has an oval-shaped profile, with a more pronounced nose and mouth than both the Na! Na! Na! dolls and the L.O.L. dolls:


All of the Rainbow High dolls come with pierced ears, although not all of the dolls come with earrings.

Ok, now it's finally time to see what the articulation can do!  I've been waiting months for this moment.  

The neck articulation feels like a ball joint.  Georgia can look up and down:


And tilt her head from side to side:


The head also spins around freely, so Georgia can look in almost any direction she wants.



Again, remember that this style of neck articulation wasn't introduced until 2021, starting with the De'Vious twins and continuing through the subsequent waves.

Georgia's shoulders are rotating hinges with a good range of motion:



The arms can rotate all of the way around:


And the hinges allow the arms to lift up and down.  Georgia can easily touch her face, but her large head and short arms make it impossible for her to touch the top of her head:

She can't style her own hair.
The elbow joints are also rotating hinges, but their range of motion is more limited than the shoulders.  Georgia can only bend her elbow joint to about a 90 degree angle:


But she can rotate her lower arm all of the way around:


And I mean all of the way around:


Her hands are also rotating hinges that can spin around or bend back and forth:



The arm articulation allows Georgia to touch her mouth


And wrap her arm around her torso:


It's hard to see in the pictures, but she has peach nail polish on her nicely-molded fingernails:


Georgia's upper body articulation is fairly standard, but her leg articulation looks different from what we normally see.  

There's a second layer of plastic peeking out from inside her hip joints, and she has another joint just below her hips:


The hip joints are rotating hinges.  They allow Georgia to sink into a very deep, almost full side-to-side split:


That's a deeper split than the Made to Move girls can accomplish!  Very impressive.


She can also rotate her legs to give the impression of a full side-to-side split:


I'm not exactly sure what purpose that double layer of plastic within the joint serves.  It must enhance the range of motion at the hip.  Here's a closer look at that area:


When Georgia bends at the hips, the second layer of plastic is very prominent in the back:


But then it tucks away from view when Georgia is standing up straight:


It's basically a telescoping joint.  I can't remember ever seeing something like this before.

Georgia does respectable front-to-back splits, but they're not quite as impressive as with a Made to Move Barbie:



Georgia sits pretty well on the ground, but her body can't quite move far enough forward to allow her to balance like this without using her arms for support:


This doll had what looked like a crack along her right thigh, but it turned out to be only a prominent seam:


The just below Georgia's hips are areas of rotation.  These allow Georgia to rotate her knees and feet inwards or outwards:


Something that does not always work in her favor!

She could kick herself in the face if she wanted.
Georgia has double-jointed knees with nice flexibility.  She can't sit in a chair without sliding backwards, but that's not because of her knees--it's for the same reason that she can't sit up straight on the ground:


Here's a better look at the knee joints:


These joints allow Georgia to kneel on one knee:


Or on two knees:


And even sit cross-legged!


Although without her arms to support her...she tumbles backwards:


It's too bad that Georgia can't sit in a regular chair very well, because she can sit in just about any other position and look quite graceful!



Because of Georgia's fashion feet, I had to use the stand to demonstrate a few poses:





She is so fun to pose!  Her body also feels very sturdy.  None of the joints feel delicate--like they're going to break if I move them incorrectly.


My understanding is that a recent Rainbow High release, Jett Dawson, has additional areas of articulation--including ankle joints.  I wish I'd learned this slightly sooner, but as soon as I can scrape together the $58 needed to buy this character, I'll do a short update on those additional joints.

As it is, Georgia's articulation is excellent, with only a few small shortcomings.  I wish her hips allowed her to sit up a bit straighter, and I wish that she had better balance without her stand.

I noticed that Georgia's second outfit includes a pair of boots (or high-top sneakers?), so I was eager to unbox those and see if they would help with her balance.  Often boots are sturdier than sneakers.

Here's the extra outfit:


These display boxes are easy to open.  The plastic window is attached with two tabs that slot through the backdrop.  Straightening these tabs allows the window to be lifted off.  There's no glue or other adhesive:


The window can be replaced just as easily, which gives this cute box some potential for re-use.

The high-top sneakers are made out of semi-transparent pink vinyl, and are painted with the same jumbled-letter pattern that we saw on Georgia's socks:


They say "Rainbow" on the front in gold lettering, but it's extremely hard to read.


"Rainbow" is also printed on the backs of the shoes, but these two shoes have very different levels of precision in that paint:

RAINBOW and RAINBOW.
The treads are white with some molded patterns and the word rainbow again:


Sadly, Georgia can't balance any better in these high-tops than she could in her regular sneakers:


I had to manipulate her legs quite a bit and tip her upper body forward in order to get this shot:


Let's see how the shoes go with the rest of the outfit:


This outfit includes two tops, but they're layered one on top of the other in the box so it's hard to tell.

This display box is also easy to open, but the clothing was riddled with plastic ties. You can see all of the holes in the backdrop from these ties:


The outfit includes a skirt, a little cropped tank top, a bustier, and a matching purse:


The skirt is white with a peach and pink lettered print (spelling--you guessed it--"Rainbow").  The skirt has working pockets, real belt loops, and a beautiful tulle and pearl accent at the hem.  It's also decorated with two imitation leather flowers:


The coral bustier is fairly plain, with bust seams and a pearl-lined top:


The tank top fabric matches the skirt, and has delicate ribbon straps.  There are decorative buttons running down the front, and golden plastic strap buckles in the shape of an R on top of an H.


It closes in the back with velcro:


The purse matches the skirt and the tank top, and comes decorated with a single imitation leather flower:


The purse can hold a small item or two, and has sturdy plastic handles:


The hangers work nicely with all of these clothes.  I just wish that Georgia had come with more hangers!


Here's Georgia wearing the skirt and the bustier top:


The stitching on the front of this skirt is a huge mess.  Somebody fell asleep at the wheel:


Also, the bustier doesn't close in back:


The skirt doesn't close very well, either, but at least it stays on.  

The bustier is simply too small.  The two sides of velcro barely touch, and the velcro is flimsy and weak and can't grab on.  I had to pull the bustier really tightly in order to even get this picture!


Here's the outfit with the tank top layered over the bustier (the way the outfit was displayed in the box):


The two tops overlap too much for this to be an interesting look:


And of course the halter top doesn't close in back, either:


The thin ribbon sleeves can get caught in Georgia's shoulder articulation, too, so I had to be careful about that:


I was really baffled at this point.  I figured I had to be doing something wrong in order for the clothing to fit so poorly.  I must have tried to get that bustier to stay on at least five times.  It does not stay on at all, and in fact the velcro's grab got worse the more I tried.  This would be incredibly frustrating for a child.  I was beginning to feel like the extra outfit was just a gimmick--some eye candy for the box with no lasting value.

I forged ahead, though, assuming that I had merely gotten some bad luck with Georgia's clothing.

Here's Georgia modeling the second outfit with her hair let down.  Fortunately, the grip on the stand kept the shirts from falling off:



I was a little afraid to brush Georgia's curls for fear that they'd deteriorate into a mass of frizz, but the hair brushed out nicely:


The manufacturer suggests washing the hair before brushing it out, but I didn't find this to be necessary. It's wonderful hair (you've come a long way, MGA!).

The barrettes can be re-used fairly easily, too, although some of them are hard to unfasten and they can't hold a very large volume of hair:



I really like how the coral bustier looks with the skirt.  This might even be my favorite look for Georgia:


But that bustier is simply not a usable piece of clothing.


If I had some velcro on hand, it would be a pretty easy thing to fix.  A slightly stronger and elongated piece of velcro would do the trick.

I was relieved to discover that the lettered tank top closes in back just fine when it's not being layered with the bustier:



Because the Rainbow High students always come dressed in their signature color, it means that all of their clothes (even across different waves) should have mix-and-match potential.  I tried a few different combinations of Georgia's two outfits.

Here she is with the peach tank top and the skirt:



And here is the lettered tank top with the jeans:



The bustier looks great with the jeans, too:



The jeans are very tight-fitting, and the fabric doesn't have any stretch, but Georgia is still able to pose well in them:

The bustier fell off at this point--sorry.

There's a little bit of strain showing in the side seam of the jeans in this pose, but that's all:


Georgia's sweater is hard to put on over her fingers, but fortunately her hands can be removed for easy dressing:



The peg that inserts into the wrist is really tiny!


I probably won't do too much hand removal for fear that this joint could loosen or break over time.  It's the only thing about Georgia's body that feels fragile.

The sweater goes nicely with the skirt and tank top:




Those were all of the clothing combinations I could think of.  It's fun to be able to mix and match so effortlessly, but I really wish the bustier wasn't a bust.

Georgia is 11 inches tall, so roughly an inch shorter than Lina:


Lina's articulation is superior (better elbow and hip articulation, plus jointed ankles), but the competition between these two was more interesting than I thought it would be.

Rainbow High Georgia Bloom and Barbie Looks Lina.
My original concept for this review was to find an OMG doll with similar coloring to Georgia and do a head-to-head comparison of these two MGA heavyweights.

Since MGA tends to repeat color theme ideas...


I figured it would be easy to find an OMG doll who looked similar to Georgia.

I thought I'd found a pretty good match in this doll, OMG Lights Dazzle:

Right? Soft pink and peach hair, dark skin.
But this is what that doll actually looks like:

Yeow!  Neon hair!
Oh, well.  She's still useful for a size and design comparison:


Dazzle is just over 9 inches tall without shoes, so about 2 inches shorter than Georgia.

Rainbow High Georgia Bloom and OMG Lights Dazzle.
The two dolls are both well-articulated, but Dazzle only has eleven points of articulation, and I hardly want to count her knees. The knees have an internal click mechanism that's quite limited.

Rainbow High Georgia Bloom and OMG Lights Dazzle.
I also prefer Georgia's face and body style.  The cartoon features on Dazzle's face look better on the smaller L.O.L. dolls.

Also, for a doll with a circular face and extremely stylized and simplistic facial features, I think it's odd that Dazzle's body has more detail than Georgia's:


The shapeliness of the hips and breasts seems out-of-synch with the doll's head.  Almost like she's wearing a mask.


Here's a little posing comparison:

Dazzle can't quite catch up to Georgia...in more ways than one.
I'll go into more detail about the OMG dolls another day.  But for now, suffice it to say that between these two specific dolls, I like Georgia more than Dazzle.  Even though Georgia isn't very realistic, she still strikes me as what an OMG doll would look like if it came to life.

I was surprised to see that Georgia can wear Dazzle's skirt:

But why would she?
And the top is way too small:

Much like Georgia's own top.
I pulled Georgia's hair back again and dressed her in a cute, flexible outfit.  I wanted to play with her articulation a little bit more before ending the review:


With the help of her stand, Georgia is wonderfully poseable!


But I also wanted to giver her one last chance to balance on her own--especially now that I understand where all of her joints are and what they can do.

She actually did better this time, mostly because I felt free to rotate her legs and tweak her balance:


She's better at walking poses than she is at standing still!



And sitting down is no harder for her with her jeans on than it was with them off:



If Georgia tips her upper body forward a bit, she definitely has an easier time balancing...but that can lead to some strange poses.  Like whatever this is:

Either she's being sultry or she just threw out her back.
She can't quite lift her hand above her eyes to shield the glare of the lights, but this pose looks pretty dramatic nonetheless:


This should be the end of the review right here.  But I never feel completely comfortable assessing a doll line after looking at one example.  I already know that some of the Rainbow High dolls have less articulation than Georgia, and that one of them (Jett Dawson) has more.  But what about other little differences?  Do all of the dolls have trouble standing on their own?  Is Georgia's nice hair fairly typical? Is the clothing usually riddled with errors, or did I have bad luck in this case?

In order to give a more balanced review, I purchased a second doll from the Rockstars group.  This is the newest wave available at my Target, and has one character (Vanessa Tempo) who I was very eager to see up-close.  I'm going to give some final thoughts about Georgia, below, and then follow up in a day or two with a much shorter look at Vanessa.  This way I can be thorough without boring everyone with a mammoth review!


Bottom line?  I've been looking at the Rainbow High dolls online and in the store for over a month now, and during that time I've formed some pretty solid opinions about the dolls' appearance.  For one, I wasn't crazy about the faces.  I'm not sure if it was the overdone makeup on some characters, or the strange eyes, but I was finding it hard to really connect.  In addition, the glitz and magnitude of the packaging was off-putting to me, and accentuated the things about these characters that I enjoy the least--like their obsession with what they're wearing and how they look.

However, I think the Rainbow High dolls offer a really good example of why I'm so obsessed with articulation.  Once I got Georgia separated from her box and started to play with her, my impression began to change.  First of all, she's a solid-feeling doll.  She has a nice weight in my hands, and all of her joints feel sturdy.  Second of all, the girl can move!  Her articulation is fantastic.  The more I posed Georgia, the more I was able to see her personality shine through.  Now I find myself quite attached to her large, colorful eyes and sweet expression.  It doesn't hurt that her hair is beautiful and very easy to manage.

Perhaps the only thing I would change about Georgia's articulation is to increase her ability to lean forward at the hips.  This would allow her to sit on the ground and in a chair without tipping backwards.

Georgia's clothing is a mixed bag, but it is mostly disappointing.  Her jeans are good, with working pockets and no obvious sewing flaws.  I also appreciate that the jeans don't inhibit leg movement.  The fuzzy cardigan sweater is also nice, with a beautiful mix of colors and a fun knitted pattern.  The other clothes are not as good.  The design of the skirt is pretty, but the fit is tight and prevents Georgia from moving freely at the hips.  The front of the skirt is also marred by several sewing errors. All of the other pieces of clothing are tiny cropped tops.  The peach top is crooked, the bustier doesn't fit, and the tank top with strap buckles...well, that one is okay.  I can only imagine what it's like for the talented designers at MGA to see their work executed with so many flaws.

The shoes are really fun and have a lot of painted and molded detail.  The sneakers are the best, although mine came with a painting error.  The high-tops are less detailed, but they go really well with the outfits.  My only complaint about the shoes--and it's big one--is that they don't allow Georgia to balance very well on her own.

At this stage, having only seen one Rainbow High character, I was feeling pretty excited about the line.  I wish there was better quality control with the clothing, and I wish Georgia's balance and articulation were more fine-tuned, but I really like Georgia herself.  I mean, any review that leaves me with a shopping list of three more dolls from that line that I "need" to buy is a positive review.  I'll be back in a day or two to show you Vanessa and see if any of these opinions change!

28 comments:

  1. I agree that omg girls faces are don't work in their scale. If they are going to have such large eyes they need detail

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  2. Ohhhh I was soooo looking forward to this! I saw a RH doll for the first time about one year ago and my first thought was: That‘s something for Emily! :) I also was very bored of the toy/dolly section then so these dolls were very interesting to me, and I bought most of the fist liners then (we haven‘t gotten more lines since then, sadly), and I got Cheerleader Jade from Amazon.

    What I love about these girls are the friendly faces, they don‘t look as „bitchy“ as many other fashion dolls. Also as a plus size person myself I adore that they gave them a bit of a fuller figure with thunder tights and a bigger booty :)
    And I loooooooove the hair. I always wash it right after I unpack it, and I‘ve never seen such soft and easy to manage dolly hair on a fashion doll. Absolutely love it.

    I‘m really looking forward to your review of Vanessa cause she is on top of my wishlist, together with the golden and the pink girl of the slumber party line. I really hope to get them some day, but I‘ve heard it‘s really to find the golden girl (I just love the combination of the tanned skin, the brown eyes and the golden hair) even in the USA.

    Thank you so much Emily.

    PS: Did you know that Sheryl from the same line as Georgia‘s is based on Cher from the movie „Clueless“? She even wears the same outfit as Alicia Silverstone :)

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  3. I used to hate both RH and LOL equally, but your review makes me start to see how RH are a lot more benign than I thought. I can also understand what exactly bothers me about them. Their design is an unsettling mix of anachronistic features. They have these knuckle dimples only seen in babies and fat people, yet they are not in the least fat and are clearly past puberty. Their legs are long and thin, but everything else is short and stubby. The lips are meaty and overlined like on Bratz, but the eyes are round and sweet.

    However, now I see that they have some strong points. I like Georgia's colour pallette, as well as many of the other characters. They have intricate anime-like eyes. It seems the body is pretty good. With a good wardrobe and minor tweaks, these dolls have serious potential.

    OMG, on the other hand, still creep me out. It's a pity, because many of them have really fun hair. However, I recently saw some Bratz heads on OMG bodies and they look amazing! I don't know if they could still wear their clothes, but OMG have cool clothes of their own. Such a hybrid, to my taste, would be a much better choice than RH.

    I was surprised to see the size difference - because of similar proportions, I'd assumed they would be the same size. That means they can't dip freely into each other's wardrobes, which is a missed opportunity because most people who collect one, also like the other. Both have nice and creative clothes (your neon girl is a poor example), and both have fitting issues. All in all, I really enjoyed this review and can't wait to see if the update will change my mind.

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  4. I didn’t know about the neck articulation difference! That was so helpful. I love the OMG dolls, the cartoonyness is the point. Now and then I buy one that stands out to me. I don’t have any rainbow high, not sure why, they just don’t have the spark I’m looking for, though they’re nice. I was most tempted by first wave Sunny. Bangs improve their face, I think. Georgia is very pretty, but I was surprised by how much I liked the picture of Emi.
    Thanks for the great review, looking forward to more on Vanessa!

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  5. oh nooo I didn't realize they were so well articulated; this is seriously testing my resolve. I the concept of giving each character their own unique colour theme.

    Also I find it hilarious how each release adds a new point of articulation. By the time wave 20 rolls around the dolls will be able to turn themselves inside out with the number of joints they carry.

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  6. Thank-you Emily, I really enjoyed this review. I must go to a toy aisle in person because I assumed RHs were 13-14 inches high.😆

    I like her face so much more than the OMG's. The clothes are a disappointment because clothes that don't fit and are hard to put and keep on have a way of getting lost by children. I agree that there should have been more hangers but how amazing is the one with grips.

    Looking forward to seeing Vanessa. 😊

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  7. I didn't know there were new bodies for the RH dolls! I have Sunny from the first wave and wasn't aware that the body was different (I just pose her on the stand lol) - I can look at her and this review for a comparison of newer and old bodies. I'd like another one, Robin or Daphne.

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  8. I succumbed and bought Emi Vanda, the dark violet one from series 3. I haven’t even totally opened up the package (has something to do with a flooded basement, but I digress) anyway, because Emily goes deep into her reviews, I’ve been looking forward to this one. I have such mixed feelings about yet another “I love fashion and I’m in high school” line, but I’m not the target audience. I do love anything articulated, so major points there, but clothes that don’t fit AND are sloppily sewn Are inexcusable. While in the super visually stimulating Target toy aisle, I couldn’t decide which one would join my doll crowd at home, and it boiled down to eyes...the eye designs on some of these dolls are amazing. Still undecided on whether or not she’s going to get a friend/sibling from this line. I’m just not as taken with these yet....but we’ll see what comes along. I’m waiting for my third “Signature Style Barbie” at the moment 😁

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  9. That's a shame that Georgia's clothes are so hit-and-miss. My first-wave dolls had good outfits, though granted pulling off Violet's socks is all but impossible. Georgia is very pretty, though. I had no idea their knees had improved so much.

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  10. I haven't had the chance to say this yet, but I'm so glad that you are doing reviews again! A very late welcome back from me, Emily! Now here are two blogs to read, love this! I enjoyed this review very much. It is a nice doll line, I like to look at the dolls online and when I'm in toy stores. I won't start buying them though, because then I have yet another sub-collection in my collection hahaha! It's bad enough already as it is. ;D The dolls are cute, I like the positive vibe of them. And the clothes! what a pity that the fit is so off! The designs are lovely though. Have you seen the house playset yet? It's extremely expensive, but looks very cool. Looking forward to the next part!

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  11. TWENTY ONE PATRONS!!! Yayayyyyyyyyy!! Let’s keep Emily in the doll review business! (So to speak)

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  12. Oh I've been wondering what you would think of these dolls ever since they came out! I think you chose a really nice one; I think Georgia's design and colour scheme is really pretty.

    What a shame about some of the defects though! That's disappointing- hopefully your Vanessa with be an improvement in that respect!

    What interesting articulation these dolls have! :0 I've never seen anything like their hip joints before either!

    One thing that bothers me about all the Rainbow High faces -especially from a profile view- is that it seems to me like the very centre of the head is situated atop the neck, so that the neck and chin are very close together. As it is, to me, the Rainbow High girls tend to look like they're recoiling from something, with their faces shrunken back.

    ...Or maybe I am just more accustomed to seeing Monster High dolls, with their neck posture such that they have a face reaching forward, away from the neck?

    But in any case, I did warm up to Georgia through the course of the review, it was fun to read!! :D

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    1. Spiral—interesting observation about the head & neck. I had to look at the pictures again, and I see exactly what you mean—good comparison to MH. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed MH until they stopped making them.☹️

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  13. When the RH line first came out I was wondering how you'd react to this one. They feel a bit like MGA'S new, slightly more kiddie friendly "Bratz", with their stylized expressions, focus on fashion, and very trendy outfits. So glad you've returned to assess these with your unique perspective. Finding out about all of the clothing defects was quite a surprise, as no other review I've come across seemed to mention it. Hopefully that was just a one time fluke, although there has been talk on social media about how the company may have been rushing a bit due to all of the crammed releases.

    By the way, most of the time when the word "Rainbow" is used, it's for imitating real life logos. Almost all of the outfit pieces in Rainbow High are inspired by a real life high fashion counterpart; for example, the overlapping letters and flower ornaments that cover Georgia's top, skirt, shoes, and bag in her second outfit are directly borrowing from the 2004 Dior "Girly Collection".

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  14. I thought the LOL babies were cute, but the full grown shapely women with their same faces creep me out.

    Georgia is a lovely doll-Im tempted to try the line again. I bought and never even deboxed a Ruby and a monarch butterfly themed girl.

    Great review! -Micah

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  15. Yay! You know I was excited for this one - they're very eye-catching dolls in the store, with their glitzy gold boxes and vibrant color schemes. I am surprised and impressed at the articulation; the giant anime eyes are odd to me, but next to that OMG doll (as in OMG MY EYES ARE ON FIRE, perhaps?) Georgia looks positively photorealistic. You didn't mention whether her hair was good or not, but it's sure a pretty color (as are the other dolls'). The clothes for this brand is a tough one for me. The cohesive color schemes are very appealing, and the detail in the outfits (working pockets!), but obviously they're not as well-made as they look from the outside, and I really don't like the commercialistic styling. As others have noted, the words all over the outfit are like those absurd multi-thousand-dollar real-world brands like Dolce and Gabbana or Gucci, which blanket their clothing in logos so everyone can see how much money you blasted on clothes. I find such styles neither attractive nor the kind of thing you'd want your children to consider appealing. After reading this, I immediately went and looked at pictures of every other doll in the line, and I also have to say, these girls do not dress how I'd consider appropriate for high-schoolers. Most of the outfits are a little sleazy, to my mind - not like the Winx Club dolls of yore, but (also as others have observed) like the Bratz. (Most hilarious is that the Winter Break girls are apparently going downhill skiing in miniskirts and crop tops... Good luck, Rainbow girls. XDDD) Yet, the dolls are still so visually appealing that I still want to see more. DX

    Also, I had the song Rainbow High from Evita stuck in my head the entire time I was reading the review. >_<

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    1. Hailing from Minnesota, I also noticed the mini skirts in cold weather, and just shook my head. Now we’re tougher than most people south of us, and T-Shirts on a warm March day is not unknown, but I doubt you’ll see many mini skirts on the slopes!

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    2. ROFL right?! I wouldn't even go cross-country skiing in a skirt. And those are downhill skis. Imagine what will happen when she crashes. XD

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    3. I agree about sleazy but they've based them on the characters and in the cartoons the character's come across very sleazy and vain to me. I normally don't care for these types of dolls but for some reason I find RH so cute. I have Georgia and her hair is good, even though she didn't need it I always wash and condition my dolls hair out of the box and comb them out with a steel tooth afro comb, I don't know if it's PC now to say afro comb but I don't know what else to call it so apologies if I offend anyone? anyway, the hair is so soft and if you twirl it round your fingers the spiral curls pop back easily, Ruby also has amazing hair bit I got the Winter Break Ruby. I was scared to get her in the baseball cap incase she had a stain across her forehead XX

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  16. So glad to see you review these dolls! I've heard a lot about them and wondered for a while about your thoughts on them. Part of me is not a huge fan of these dolls since I feel all the "____ High" collections are a bit overdone, but the amount of detail in the clothing and articulation kept me curious. Wish they were a bit more creative in their designs though, how many times did they print the word "Rainbow" on a single doll ��? -L

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  17. Yay, a rainbow high review !! I have such mixed feelings about these girls, I despised these dolls during wave one because the wave one initial release dolls all had super shiny/shimmery faces!!! Luckily they fixed that with the subsequent releases, and the wave 2 and so on are so much better!!! I am fascinated by these dolls, I think they’re the most interesting/well done dolls at a play doll price point since monster high!! Inset eyes, insane articulation, and a whole other outfit for under $30?? Sign me up!!

    The clothes are so interesting though, like they’re great efforts but aside from the jackets can be so ill fitting and poorly constructed. A+ for idea and effort though, so I’ll give them a pass!

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  18. I don't like looking at the Rainbow High dolls in the aisle because of the garish packaging but your review has me thinking I need to take another look. She looks like a fun play doll and I need a sibling doll to send to a girl who I previously sent a Wellie Wisher too. Maybe I can even take a page out of your Be Kind review and make some clothes so she'll have some that actually fit. Half the fun of dolls is changing their clothes so I don't understand why so many dolls come without clothing changes!

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  20. My first Rainbow High Doll was Winter Break Skylar, I was grocery shopping at the time and for some reason this doll just popped from a toy display. It was before Christmas so I thought why not. In the UK these dolls are quite pricey though if you don't snap them up quickly from Argos or Smyths it seems many buy them in bulk and then Mark them up to sell on via ebay. I had to order Amaya from the US and even with all the fees she still worked out cheaper than what some are selling her for here. I don't really like these kinds of dolls, LOL etc but for some reason I find the Rainbow High collection so cute. On board with the packaging and badly sewn outfits,

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  21. Are you going to be making a 24 inch rainbow high doll closet i want one for the 24 inch

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  22. I just got my first Rainbow High doll yesterday and you are 100% correct about the ridiculous amount of packaging. The only one who appreciated it was my new kitten Frankie. He played in the pile of it for quite awhile. I got the first wave Ruby Anderson (Ainsley Slater is on her way!) and I rather like her. I saw what you said about the knee articulation, but I'm not to worried, she'll mostly be a shelf stander. I'd like more outfits though. I'm not in love with her outfits.

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  23. as I continue to read through the whole blog, I just got to the Vi and Va dolls (May of 2015), and the box art looked *so* similar to the RH box art that I wonder if it's the same artist. And, sure enough, they're both MGA products so... the Vi and Va dolls actually look like proto RH dolls to me, with their giant anime eyes and small mouths; the RH girls just have smaller mouths and wider-set eyes. it's so funny to read how Vi and Va seemed new and exciting to you in 2015, and now it seems like every doll out there has giant anime eyes. Vi and Va were ahead of their time, I guess. LOL

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