Thursday, February 17, 2022

Catching up With L.O.L. Surprise Dolls, Part One: Boys, Minis, and Hair!

I clearly remember reviewing my first Li'l Outrageous Littles (L.O.L.) Surprise dolls back in 2016.  I was delighted to find a doll with packaging that mimicked the idea of an original surprise ball, i.e. a ball with many layers to unwrap, each layer containing a little treat.  As I mentioned back then, the fun of unwrapping an L.O.L. doll also reminded me of the "pass the parcel" game that I used to play at some of my friends' birthday parties when I was younger.  I loved that game, even if the treats hidden in each layer of paper were only single sticks of gum.

I can also remember that back in 2016 L.O.L. dolls cost $7.99 and showed up in stores one variety at a time, presented in big cardboard display boxes or tall cardboard chutes.  These displays were mostly empty (the toys sold out quickly), and I often had to resort to online shopping to get one of the dolls to review.

I was chatting with one of my lovely Patrons recently, and she suggested that I do a L.O.L. "bonanza" review that would attempt to explore all of the new incarnations of the L.O.L. concept.  I'd been thinking that I should get up-to-speed on these ultra-popular dolls anyway, and so her suggestion was exactly the inspiration I needed.  A few months ago I started paying more attention to the L.O.L. aisle at Target and accumulating a collection of L.O.L. products.  Over a multi-part review series, I'll share my thoughts about how things have changed for this brand in the last six years.

L.O.L. Arcade Heroes Flyer ($17.79) holding two minis.

I showed a similar picture in my Na! Na! Na! Surprise doll review, but this is what the L.O.L. aisle at my Target in New Jersey looked like this week:


We've come a long way from 2016 and that single (often empty) cardboard display box, haven't we?  This whole aisle is packed with L.O.L. and L.O.L. adjacent toys.

I tried to get a snapshot of each individual offering in this aisle.  For now, I'll just show you the smaller dolls that were available.  I'll look at some of the larger dolls (O.M.G., Tweens, and Big B.B.) in a separate post.

First, there's the Remix Hair Flip collection:

L.O.L. Remix Hair Flip ($15.99).
These dolls have rooted hair and cost $15.99 each.  If you buy two of them and pair them with one of these $12.99 pets (also with rooted hair):

L.O.L. Remix Hair Flip Pets ($12.99).
You can make a big plastic boom box that looks something like this:


Overall, the boom box looks like a cheaply-made plastic gimmick, but a few things about it intrigue me.  For instance, I think each of the speaker sections plays music via an imitation record player on the top (I'm dying to know what style of music it plays!).  Also, while it doesn't look like any of the cassette control buttons push down or do anything, the cassette itself is removable. 

I can't see this being worth the $45 it would take to buy all three sets (especially if you get repeat dolls!).  Still, I'll admit that it tempts me.  I think I'm just a sucker for boom boxes.

The dolls in the Remix Hair Flip series look cute, but the pets are pretty strange:

L.O.L. Remix Hair Flip Pets ($12.99).
They look weird because they're all disguised as humans so that they can sneak into a concert.

I'll admit that I'd be pretty excited to get this saxophone-playing cat:

Jazz cat.
Or this owl--who has a mini boom box!


There are also some simpler Remix Rock surprise dolls ($9.99):

L.O.L. Remix Rock ($9.99).
These dolls have vinyl hair and a music theme.  One problem with this series is that there are only four dolls in it, so I'd recommend not buying more than one!  The chances of a repeat are very high.

There's a Dance Dance Dance series--also with vinyl hair ($10.99):

L.O.L. Dance Dance Dance ($10.99).
Here's the World Travel group ($10.99):

L.O.L. World Travel ($10.99).
The plastic balls in these sets turn into globes, which I think is a clever use for the packaging!

I can't tell if it has accurate geography on it, though.
The dolls look interesting and varied, too:

L.O.L. World Travel ($10.99).
Here's the Movie Magic series display ($10.99):

L.O.L. Movie Magic ($10.99).
These dolls seem popular (based on the almost-empty display), perhaps because each one comes with a movie-themed prop:

L.O.L. Movie Magic ($10.99).
The Hangout Spaces dolls don't come in traditional plastic balls, but rather in cardboard boxes with clear plastic domes on the front ($15.99):

L.O.L. Hangout Spaces ($15.99).
These toys are more expensive than most, but you get a cardboard backdrop scene and a bunch of furniture accessories with the doll, which seems like it would add a lot to the play value.  Here's an example:


This bathroom set seems particularly useful since so many of these dolls come with color change features.

The doll that's in each box is revealed on the front of the packaging, and each character comes with a specific set of furniture.  This means that there are no surprises and, more importantly, no repeats!

Here's the sparkly All-Star Sports group ($12.99):

Notice that this is series six of this theme.  That's a lot!
And here's series five of the same theme...for two dollars less ($10.99):


This series is called Confetti Under Wraps ($12.89):

L.O.L. Confetti Under Wraps ($12.89).
The price on this one is odd.  All of the others are a dollar amount plus 99 cents.  Anyway, the confetti thing has been done enough at this point, so these don't tempt me.

This group looks different, with pretty boxes wrapped up like presents:

There's a refreshing lack of plastic.
These are called Present Surprise and cost $10.99.  The dolls are meant to have themes corresponding to a certain month, but it's hard to tell which doll goes with which month just by looking at them:

L.O.L. Present Surprise ($10.99).
The idea is to try and get the doll that represents your birthday month...but of course you can't tell which doll you're going to get by looking at the package.  My birthday is this month, but I have no idea which doll represents February!  I hope it's the girl with the telescope.  She looks cool.

There are also Furniture sets:

L.O.L. Furniture, Series 4 (not sure about price).
These cost around $25 (I think) and are similar to the Hangout Spaces sets in that they have some larger pieces of furniture in addition to a doll.  You can tell which set you're getting by looking at the box.  This set looks amazing:


These dolls have the least elaborate packaging:

L.O.L. Hair Hair Hair ($16.99).
These aren't surprise dolls at all.  You can see exactly what you're getting...and what you're paying $16.99 for.  I love the packaging.  The dolls are beautifully presented and very tempting.  But they're also really pricey.

On the other end of the price spectrum, I found these Color Change Surprise Li'l Sisters who are only $4.99!

L.O.L. Color Change Li'l Sisters ($4.99).
I reviewed the Li'l Sisters in 2017 (here's a link)--they're really cute.

And of course there were full-sized Color Change dolls, too:

L.O.L. Color Change Surprise ($10.99).
The newest thing on the shelves as far as I could tell were these minis.  There are mini pets ($4.99) and mini dolls ($10.99):


I love miniature things, so I was especially happy to see these.

And then there are the boys!  You can get regular boy dolls for $9.99:

L.O.L. Surprise Boys, Series 5 ($9.99).
The pink beard is hysterical, but the "babies with facial hair" theme doesn't play out quite as well with some of the other characters:

L.O.L. Surprise Boys, Series 5 ($9.99).
Look at this flocked-face fellow:

Very strange.
I also found these Arcade Heroes boys for $17.79 (another misfit price).  They have no facial hair:

L.O.L. Arcade Heroes boys ($17.79).
Whew.  Are you exhausted from looking at all of those options?  I felt exhausted looking at them in the store.  It's an overwhelming number of toys to process, especially for someone like me who's been out of the loop for a few years!  And of course this isn't even the full range of options--just what I found in one store.  And many of these themed groups already have several series.

The things that stood out to me from the choices I had were the boys, the minis, the dolls with rooted hair (those didn't exist back in 2016), and the furniture.

I did my best to purchase toys that I thought would display the current variety of L.O.L. merchandise, but I had to tweak my selections as I wrote this review.  As a result, I'll look at a few sets really closely, and then give a cursory overview of the items that didn't really add much to the conversation.

One of the toys that I was really excited about was this Arcade Heroes set.  The packaging looks like a miniature arcade game.  I love arcade games, and I love the idea of L.O.L. boys!


It's possible to tell which character is in the box before you open it (it's the little guy shown front and center on the box...ironically under the speech bubble that says "surprise doll"), but I didn't realize this when I was in the store.  My cluelessness meant that I was actually surprised by the doll I got.

The arcade box is made out of plastic and is decorated with a cardboard sleeve.  Peeking through the sleeve are some plastic controls (none of which move or do anything):


 The sleeve has some information about what's inside the box:


I'm not sure what the 15 surprises are, given that almost everything is revealed on the box, but I've complained about this problem plenty of times in older reviews, so I'll let it go.  

Of particular interest to me was the presence of a six-piece hero suit (fun!) and the fact that the arcade-shaped box requires a coin to make it open.  That's a fun detail.

The left side of the box shows a large cartoon of the character I got:


And the right side shows the other characters in this series:


The cardboard sleeve pulled off to reveal the plastic arcade box.  The box is less elaborate without the cardboard decorations, but it still looks pretty cool:


The inside flap of the cardboard sleeve had a little purple envelope stuck to it: 


And this envelope...


Had the plastic coin inside!


The coin says "no cash value" on it, but I couldn't get the lighting right to make the very faint lettering visible.

When I pushed the coin into the slot on the arcade box, the front of the box popped open!

That's fun!
Once the front is open, the transparent screen can be snapped out of place to reveal the full action hero figure:


The figure is enclosed in a plastic shell, and behind the shell there are a few paper items, like the collector's sheet and some instructions:


A heads-up: I'm going to use some GIFs throughout this review to lighten the picture load.  I hope that's not too irritating.

This GIF shows that there's a panel at the top of the arcade box that pulled down to reveal a perforated cardboard container:


When I opened the perforated door, goodies fell onto the bottom of the box!


The purple cardboard container pulled out of the arcade box to reveal another little section of accessories.

All in all, this doll came with sunglasses, a sippy cup, shoes, shorts, a tee shirt, and the paper items:


After the cardboard has been removed, the panel at the top of the arcade can still be flipped open and closed to use for secret storage:


And the arcade box can be snapped back together to create a prop for the doll:


The paper accessories that came with this doll are fairly standard (a collector's sheet and some directions), but he also came with a little card with his name on one side.  He's called Bro Cheer:


The card has some random stats on it, as though it could be used to play a Pokemon-style game.  However, none of the instructions that come with this doll mention anything about a game.

I love that this guy is a cheerleader, but Bro Cheer is an odd name, so I decided to call him Ian.

The other side of Ian's card has his Arcade Heroes name (Flyer) and different stats:


Flyer is an interesting name for Ian's alter ego because it's also the term given to the cheerleaders who are thrown up into the air to do fancy flips.

Let's take a look at Ian's Flyer persona!

I really like how it's possible to see Ian's face peeking out from behind the semi-transparent helmet:


The suit is painted with a mix of blue, neon pink, and silver.  There are no glaring paint flaws.


Although some paint has been rubbed off on the left side of Flyer's helmet:


There are some delicate little painted details, too, like the silver dots along Flyer's knuckles:


Here's the suit from the back:


The space suit looks great, and I love the idea that it adds extra points of articulation to the doll.  Flyer's knees and elbows are ball joints, so they can rotate and bend, although their range of motion is extremely limited:


Flyer can balance pretty well, too, thanks to the large feet on the suit.


The problem with the space suit's articulation is that while it adds some joints (the knees and elbows), it also effectively immobilizes the shoulders and hips and reduces the mobility of the head.  So I'd say that Flyer has about as many points of articulation as Ian.

In his full suit, Flyer stands about five inches tall, so just slightly shorter than Chelsea:

L.O.L. Arcade Heroes Flyer next to Barbie Chelsea.
Flyer's helmet is held in place by a pink rod that inserts into his mouth:

A breathing tube--for space!!
The helmet is made out of two pieces that are held together with three little peg-and-hole connections.  It's easy to pull the two pieces of the helmet apart:


Now we can see Ian's cute face.  I like his curly molded hair and his slightly asymmetric eyebrows.  He's got a lot of personality:


I tried to play around a bit more with the space suit's articulation at this point, but it's really hard to move it much without pieces falling off.  For example, if I try to bend the elbows too much, the lower arms fall off:


This is the most interesting pose that I could achieve:


If I tried to bend the hips at all, the whole leg of the suit would fall off!

It's just a flesh wound!
But again, the balance of this little guy is quite good--even with only one suit leg:

See?  Everything's fine.
I decided to go with the flow and just remove the Flyer suit.


Underneath the suit, Ian is wearing a painted white tank top and little purple underwear!


The purple underwear are made out of soft vinyl and so they can be removed.  They're not super-squishy like Polly Pocket clothing, but they have some bend to them:

I love the molded stitching!
Unlike some of the L.O.L. outfits I reviewed back in 2016 and 2017, Ian's underpants are solid vinyl in the front and in the back:

No gaping holes!
Ian's little pot belly cracks me up!

Juice belly.
Ian looks pretty good overall, with no glaring paint defects or vinyl imperfections.  However, the design of these dolls includes a fairly unattractive disc of vinyl at the bottom of the head:


The dolls are probably constructed this way so that different neck connections can be swapped onto the same face.  The different neck connections are required to make the doll either a tinkler or a spitter (remember, these dolls can either pee, spit, or cry--at least I assume that's still true).

Ian's purple underpants slide easily off:


He has cute little dimples on his bottom:


And he is anatomically detailed:


You can see the holes in the torso that would make Ian a tinkler, but this particular doll does not have a hole in the bottom of his head, so there's no way for water from his mouth to move through his body:


I prefer the peeing dolls to the spitting dolls, so I punched a hole in the bottom of Ian's head.  

Of course I did.
Now, if the sippy cup is in Ian's mouth, he'll pee instead of spitting.  Without the sippy cup, he kind-of pees and spits at the same time.  Always a good time.

Ian's outfit includes a white athletic tee shirt that says "cheer" and some blue shorts with pink lining:


The shorts are made out of all one piece of semi-flexible vinyl, so they slide on over Ian's legs.  The shirt has cuts in the back that are hard to maneuver over Ian's arms:


I finally got the back of the shirt to lay relatively flat...


But as soon as Ian's arms move, the shirt slips out of place again:


Remember how messy the backs of the outfits looked in 2016, though?

From Sunday Surprise: Little Outrageous Littles (L.O.L.) Dolls!
Ian's outfit is definitely an improvement.

The directions indicate that Ian is meant to have some color change feature on his body, but it took me forever to figure out what it was!  


I finally realized that the pattern on his shirt is only supposed to appear in very cold conditions...like the temperature in my basement.

If I run the shirt under hot water, the pattern disappears:


Ian's outfit looks good, but it's not very practical.  The shorts are harder to use than the underpants (they're especially hard to remove) and they prohibit Ian from bending his legs at all.  The shirt is easy to take off, at least, but it shifts out of place whenever I move the arms.

I prefer Ian in his underpants.  He's much easier to manage and flexible this way!


Ian also comes with pink sunglasses, a pink and white sippy cup, and little white shoes:


Here he is modeling his pink sunglasses:


These tuck behind his ears nicely.  

The girl characters that I've seen tend to have a hole behind their ears to secure the glasses, like this:


There are no holes like this in Ian's head:

He doesn't need the holes!
Ian can hold his sippy cup, but he's always spilling the contents on the floor:


I wanted to see how easy it would be to get Ian's Arcade Hero suit back on, so I gathered together the sixteen separate pieces of this "six-piece" costume:

This is not a six-piece suit!
Starting with the torso seemed like a good idea (and this piece looks adorable on its own):


But it's actually easier to start with the arms and legs.  Each of the limb pieces has a little molded "L" or "R" to designate which side it fits.  This is very helpful.


I snapped together the two sides of the left upper arms parts:


And then the right:


Next, I put the thigh pieces together:


The two sides of the torso are a bit tricky to tell apart, but there's a pink "v" at the neck on the front side, and the back side has a very subtle molded bottom: 


These pieces snap into place and help secure the upper arms and legs.

Once the torso was on, I snapped on the lower limbs:


And then the helmet:

Ready to fly!
Ian can still hold his sippy cup, but there's not much need for it in outer space.

Assembling the suit is a fairly straight-forward process, but the pieces are small and some of them (especially the upper arms) can be fiddly to put together.  I'm not sure how accessible this suit is for young kids.  And it's hard to play with the Flyer action figure without the limbs constantly falling off.

Another irritation for me is that Flyer can't interact with the arcade game very well.  He's tall enough (just barely):  


But his arms are not flexible enough to interact with the controls:

Can't...quite...reach....
Without the Flyer costume, Ian is way too short to reach the controls!

My husband in 1982.
The arcade is a better size for dolls like Chelsea:

It looks like it was made for her!
Here's a final picture of everything (excluding the paper items) that came with Ian:

L.O.L. Arcade Heroes Flyer and Bro Cheer set.
Whoever dreamed up the concept of a suit that would turn an ordinary L.O.L. doll into taller, more articulated, "hero" version of themselves is very creative.  It's a fantastic idea, especially as a way to entice boys into engaging with this line.

The execution of the idea is not as good as it could've been, though.  The Flyer suit is complicated to assemble, and then it falls apart whenever the doll is moved.  It doesn't actually add any extra points of articulation, either.  It's a great item for display, but not for any kind of active play.  Because the heads of L.O.L. dolls pop on and off so easily, I would have chosen to design the hero suit as a separate, one-piece, fully-articulated doll body that could be swapped out with the regular body.  I'd leave the helmet design as it is--this actually works quite well, probably because the peg attachment in the doll's mouth adds extra stability (NASA, take note).

I really like the arcade case that comes with this set.  It might not work well as a prop for Ian (or any other L.O.L. doll) but it looks good, and the secret compartment and coin-operated opening mechanism are fun details.  It also works well as a carrying case for Ian and all of his accessories.

Ian himself is cute and has the accessories that I would expect with an L.O.L. doll.  It feels like there's been some improvement with the clothing since 2016, when the dolls had outfits with big gaps in the back.  Ian's shirt is open in back, but the gaps are pretty small.  Also, his underwear and shorts do not have cuts in the back, so they look good, too.  The only downside to this change is that the shorts are a little hard to get on and off, and they completely prohibit the movement of Ian's legs.

One last little thing that I want to mention is that the more I took Ian's head off and put it back on again, the looser that joint became.  At this point his head is quite bobbly--although it doesn't fall off.

Ok!  There's a lot of ground to cover here, so I'm going to move on to a new category: the minis.

Ian was excited about this because he really wanted a pet.


The mini pet balls (we've had a few of those removed...) are smaller than the average L.O.L. ball.  And, as I mentioned earlier, they only cost $4.99.

The wrapping on this ball is similar to the original L.O.L. dolls--at least on first inspection.  It has several layers of colorful plastic with perforated "zipper" areas:


The "6" shown on the inner layer of plastic tells me which character and accessories I got.  But since I had no idea which characters come with which numbers, I was still in for a surprise.

A big difference between this and the original L.O.L. toys is that there are only two layers of plastic here, and none of them have surprises hidden underneath:

Empty shell.
There goes the pass the parcel reference.


Inside the plastic ball, there was a lot of...paper!


The original L.O.L. dolls came with all of their surprises wrapped in plastic bags.  Here, everything is either wrapped in tissue paper or concealed within a paper bag.


Does this offset all of the plastic balls?  No.  Is it an improvement on the older packaging?  Yes.

There are two tissue-wrapped treats, a paper bag, some cardboard scenery for the ball, a little sticker, and a collector's sheet:


The sticker makes it seem like I got Suuup, the winking cat:


The collector's sheet shows all of other possible characters:


Many of them are really cute!  I especially like the skunk, the panda, and the two poodles.


Sure enough, Suuup was hidden inside the blue paper bag:


He's not the cutest character, but I appreciate the sassy wink and the come hither pose:

Sexy cat.
Suuup is flocked, but does not have any points of articulation:


There's a hole on Suuup's side:


Suuup's scale is perfect to make him a believable pet for Ian.  Ian looks thrilled!

Ian always looks thrilled!
Flyer's larger size makes Suuup look a bit smaller, but the scale still works:

Space cat.
Inside the pink tissue paper parcels...


I found a tiny bed, and...part of a wall:

Yippee.  Part of a wall.
The wall is one of eighteen pieces required to make an L.O.L. mini house that looks like this:


It would cost $89.82 to buy all of the pets needed for this (very basic) plastic house.  To be fair, the house would also include eighteen pieces of furniture, so it would look a little better than that picture, but that's an insane amount of money for such a simple toy.  I would love to know how well the pieces of the house stay together.  

It's great that these sets are numbered.  If you decide to try and collect the entire house, at least you can avoid getting duplicates along the way.  Shopping for these particular toys online would be a big mistake since there's no guarantee which mini you'll get.

Suuup fits nicely on the mini bed:


The cardboard scenes in this set are meant to be positioned in the bottom half of the plastic ball in order to make a little house scene.  My scenery came with some really big creases and bends in the cardboard, so it doesn't look very good:


I appreciate the effort to make use of the packaging, but these decorations went right into the recycling.

If I discount the wrinkled cardboard scenery, this is what's included in the set:

L.O.L. Surprise Mini Pets Suuup.
Even though at $4.99 this toy is at the low end of the L.O.L. price spectrum, I don't think it's really worth the money.  You're basically getting a tiny flocked pet and a piece of furniture.  The pets are cute and the furniture accessories might be nice to have for games, but it's really no better than an elaborately-packaged vending machine toy.

The appeal for some will be the excitement of collecting the full series and building a house.  I can see why this is tempting, but for $90, there are way better things to buy within the L.O.L. empire.

For my $4.99, I'd slightly prefer one of the Li'l Sister sets.  Those dolls are very cute, and they tend to come with several accessories that can be used with the bigger dolls. I bought one of the Color Change Surprise Li'l Sisters to use in a comparison shot, so I can quickly show you what you'd get for your money:

L.O.L. Color Change Surprise Li'l Sister Li'l Merbaby ($4.99).
This set actually had a little surprise tucked in the first layer of plastic wrapping: a Rebus puzzle phrase that is revealed when the paper gets wet:

"Mic check."
Even though I prefer the Li'l Sister set to the mini pets, I think other brands of mini babies, like the Baby Born Surprise twins, are better dolls overall:

Baby Born Surprise Mini and L.O.L. Li'l Sisters doll.
If the mini pets were priced at $2.99 while the L'il Sisters cost $4.99, that would make more sense to me.

Anyway, as much as I love animals, I have to admit that I was more excited about the L.O.L. mini dolls than I was about their mini pets.  I have an obsession with miniature dolls, especially if they are smaller versions of an existing character--like the American Girl minis.

The L.O.L. mini dolls are sold in display boxes that show an example of what's inside, like this:


So I knew that I would probably be getting a mini L.O.L. character, a mini O.M.G. character, and a mini pet!  All of these things come in a ball that's about the same size as the original L.O.L. balls:

L.O.L. Surprise Mini Family set, $10.99.
These balls have two layers of plastic with no surprises hidden in between them.  Under the plastic, the ball is two-toned with a hinge on one side:


For those who know their L.O.L. characters really well, the two colors of the ball can give a big hint about which family is inside!

The ball opens along the hinge to reveal a bunch of goodies (some wrapped in tissue paper and some loose) and a colorful playset scene:


There's a panel in the center of the ball that can flip back and forth to reveal differently-themed rooms on each side of the ball.  

The yellow side was packed with items in bright paper bags:


All in all, the ball contained three bags, three tissue-wrapped items, two loose plastic ball-shaped pieces, a clip, and two slips of paper:


I'll come back to those surprise items in a sec, but right now let's take a closer look at the inside of the ball.  One of the sides is decorated to look like a toy store or a toy room:


This colorful wall has pictures of other MGA toys, including some Lalaloopsy dolls and three of the Arcade Heroes boys!


The other side is decorated to look like a candy shop called Bon Bon Sweets Shoppe:


The Bon Bon name is a tip-off to which L.O.L. character will be included with this set.


This ball was rolling around a lot and was difficult to photograph.  I was just starting to think it would be an impossible toy for kids to play with, but then I realized that the loose plastic pieces I showed you earlier are two little legs to hold the ball upright.  They snap into two holes on the bottom of the ball.  There's also a plastic clip that snaps into the top of the ball:

Much more stable!
With the ball sorted out, it was time to see what surprises were inside those wrapped packages!


The three items wrapped inside green tissue paper were two plastic stands and a tiny backpack:


The backpack is half bunny and half teddy bear.  It's sweet:

Frankenbunny?
This backpack is a miniature of the pack that the full-sized OMG doll, Candylicious, comes with:


This is a very good miniature replica.  The paint is a bit messy in some places, but not as messy as I'd expect for something so tiny:



There wasn't much surprise about who the characters would be at this point, but I was still excited to see them in person!


It's L.O.L. Bon Bon, O.M.G. Candylicious, and their pet...who looks like a little dog wearing a rabbit ear headband:


I wasn't exactly sure what the pet is supposed to be or what its name is, so I got out the collector's sheet to check:


The pet's name is Hop Hop, so I'm guessing it's a rabbit!


I also learned by looking at the collect's sheet that some of these family sets include four figures: two best friends and their pets:


Here's a closer look at one of those sets:


For this review, I'm glad that I got a three-figure set because it means I have one of each type of mini doll to show you.

The two dolls need stands in order to balance in an upright position.  The stands are marked with "L.O.L" or "O.M.G" so that you know which one goes with which doll.  Candylicious' stand works pretty well, but it's hard to get Bon Bon to stand up straight in her stand.


Here's a closer look at Candylicious:

L.O.L. Surprise Mini Candylicious.
The details in the paint are quite remarkable, especially for a 1.5 inch figure.  I'm especially impressed by the silver teeth on the skirt's zipper!

Here she is from the back:


Some of the details on Candylicious' outfit are easier to see when she's laying flat:


She has a few stray paint marks and some areas of missing or misaligned paint, but overall the quality is good.

Candylicious has two points of articulation; her neck (which is a ball joint) and her shoulders.  The arms connect through the body and can only move together, which is why I call this a single point of articulation.

Canylicious can lift her tiny arms, and she can also turn her head and look up and down:


Here's what the original O.M.G. Candylicious doll looks like:


For the most part, the mini is a faithful interpretation of the larger doll.  The only thing I don't really like is the pink lines underneath the mini's eyes; they make her look strung out:

Too much sugar?
The backpack can be maneuvered over Candylicious' shoulders.  This is easier to accomplish if her arms are facing backwards:


Here's mini Bon Bon--she's only an inch tall:

L.O.L Surprise Mini Bon Bon (with her body turned backwards).
Bon Bon's body was turned backwards in these pictures.  It's really hard to tell the difference between front and back without the zoomed-in photos!  Sorry about that.

Here she is from the back (with the front of her outfit showing):


Bon Bon's paint work is equivalent to Candylicious; there are some small paint errors, but most of these are hard to see with the naked eye.


Here's an L.O.L. version of Bon Bon:


It's too bad that the mini doll doesn't have those pink glasses!

Bon Bon has only one point of articulation (her neck):


Here's little Hop Hop the dog rabbit:


I guess the two colorful things on either side of her head are hair buns, not dog ears.

Hop Hop has one point of articulation (her neck) and is about the same size as Suuup:


Here's Ian with all of the minis so that you can see their relative sizes:

A regular L.O.L. doll with several mini dolls and pets.
For a different comparison, here's the mini family with an L.O.L. Li'l Sister doll, Li'l Merbaby:

L.O.L. Surprise Mini Family with an L.O.L. Li'l Sister.
The mini dolls can be posed inside of their ball environment, but the space is too cramped for them to be moved around much:


Also, every time I move one of these dolls, I have to re-position them on their stand.

Suuup's little blue bed can fit into the ball house, too:


But it would not be a good place for a claustrophobic person to sleep!


The bed doesn't sit flat on the first floor because the bottom of the ball is too curved:


Here's everything that came with the Mini Family set (again, excluding the paper items):


The minis in this set are cute and are of higher quality than I expected.  I was particularly surprised that Candylicious' arms are articulated!  Also, given the tiny size of these items, the level of detail in the paint is good, and there aren't many more paint flaws than what I've seen on the regular-sized dolls.  I'm not crazy about the paint design on Candylicious' face, but that's the only critique I can muster.

These minis seem great for collecting, but I don't know how awesome they are for play.  They require little plastic stands in order to be upright, and the stands don't work perfectly, nor do they move with the dolls. It's very fiddly to reposition the characters.

I like that there's a real effort to turn the packaging into a display or play area for the dolls.  Anything that keeps all of these plastic balls from being immediately tossed into the garbage is good news.  The two sides of the ball are decorated nicely--especially the shelves on the toy store side.  Playing with the mini dolls within the confines of the ball is tricky, but the ball makes a good backdrop for display, and can even house some of the mini pet furniture.

The $10.99 cost seems a bit high here, but this set is better-priced than the mini pet collection.  If I owned the original Candylicious, Bon Bon, or Hop Hop dolls, I'd be especially psyched to get my hands on these accurate, articulated mini versions.

There's a slightly less expensive way to get an L.O.L. mini doll, though:

L.O.L. Mini Surprise doll, $6.99
For four dollars less than the Mini Family sets, you can get an individual mini doll in a smaller ball habitat.

These balls also come with two layers of plastic wrapping (no treats inside) that unzip to reveal a two-toned, hinged ball:


As with the family sets, the colors on this ball give a big clue about which doll is inside.

The ball hinges open to reveal a colorful divider with a graffitied brick wall design:


The brick wall design gives a huge hint about which doll is inside:

I'm guessing it's MC Swag.
A paper bag and some directions are stashed on one side of the ball:


The other side of the ball is decorated to look like a workshop.  This side was storing the supportive legs and clip for the ball and a few tissue-wrapped items:


Here's a look at the empty ball:


The workshop side has a seating area with a working drawer underneath!


As with the Mini Family set, the two tissue paper parcels held a stand and a backpack, and the paper bag held the doll:


Indeed, it's Ms. Swag:


Swag's materialism irks me, but I'll admit that she has a lot of personality.

This doll has a big smudge of black paint on her chin and a smaller smudge in her hair:


I like how her hoop earrings were designed.  They're molded and painted onto the inside of her hair and include the word "Swag" in lettering that's almost too small to see!  It gives the illusion that the earrings are hanging down from Swag's ears, but there are no delicate little pieces that can be broken:


Swag's hair is a hard plastic wall of molded mini braids:


Like mini Candylicious, Swag is articulated at the neck and at the shoulders:


Here's the back of her outfit (usually hidden by her long hair!):


I like her red, cat-eye sunglasses:


Swag comes with a white backpack accented in gold with a dollar sign decoration:


Swag's hair makes it hard to put the backpack over her shoulders.  Even when the pack is on, it's hidden behind the wall of hair!

Also, those straps are enormous.
The collector's sheet shows all of the other dolls in this series:


I think some of the balls come with two dolls inside, but I'm not sure which ones:


Swag is a mini O.M.G. doll, so she's the same size as mini Candylicious:


Here she is with Ian:

He likes her hair.
There's even less room to pose and play in this small ball house than there was with the family set, but Swag can still perch on top of her drawer (which can hold the backpack!):


When Swag stands in that position and the center divider is closed, she can peek out through the circular window:

ICU
The window doesn't work as well when Swag is on the other side of the ball, though:

NT
Here's everything that came in this set:


I wish these sets were $4.99 like most of the L'il Sister sets.  But--as I mentioned before--the dolls are nicely painted and articulated, and the decorated ball houses add some fun and usefulness to the packaging.

I actually found these minis strangely addicting, and because I was holding a $10 Target gift card, I  indulged myself by buying a few more.  It's my birthday month, after all.

I like that it's possible to tell if you got a repeat after opening only the outermost later of plastic:


If this had been another Swag, I could have stopped unwrapping after one layer and then gifted the toy to somebody else.

The bright blue and fuscia on this ball signaled that it was Roller Chick inside!

SK8R GRL!
Roller Chick's ball has a different layout from Swag's.  Her room divider has an arched panel that folds down:


Here's a look at the other side:


The arched panel can be used as a runway for Roller Chick:

YGG
This is the most detailed mini doll I've looked at:


Look at the little silver bottoms on her jacket and the nicely-outlined sunglasses!

Here she is from the back:


There's a spot of missing paint on the back of her shorts that's the only flaw I notice when I'm holding her in my hand.

I love that she's actually wearing tiny roller skates with painted laces!


I can't make out what the design on the back of her jacket is supposed to be, but it has a lot of color and detail:


Because I get curious about these things, I looked for pictures of the full-sized Roller Chick doll and discovered that her jacket has a palm tree design with the phrase "See Ya L8R" in the middle.


The mini doll has a decent approximation of that design.

Mini Roller Chick comes with a disco ball-shaped purse:

Looks like a bomb. She's not getting that past TSA.
These mini dolls can't hold purses, so the backpacks seem like better accessories.

I also got a mini Speedster, but I won't go into much detail with her.  Her ball has the same design as Swag's, with diner and arcade decorations:




She comes with a checkered purse that has great detail:

And doesn't look like a bomb.
Here's Speedster herself:


She's the sparkly version of the character, so you can see little bits of glitter throughout her hair and outfit.



And here are all three of my mini dolls together:

L.O.L. Surprise Minis Speedster, Roller Chick, and MC Swag.
Here's my whole collection of mini characters (minus Suuup. Sorry, Suuup):

L.O.L. Surprise Mini dolls Bon Bon, Candylicious, Speedster, Roller Chick, MC Swag, and Hop Hop.
As usual, this review is getting way too long.  I apologize for the extended mini doll detour.  I find these little ones quite addictive!

My last mission for this review was to take a closer look at one of the L.O.L. dolls that has rooted hair, since this is something new that's come along since my earlier reviews.

The first doll I bought was from the Hair Goals collection.  I was intrigued by the large size of this package:


I don't want to go into too much detail with this particular doll, but I'll show you everything that came inside the Thermos--sized package:

L.O.L. Hair Goals Shine BayBay set, $15.99.
Despite the tall box, the doll is the same size as Ian.  She comes with a ton of accessories, including a display case that's shaped like a can of hair spray.

One interesting thing about the Hair Goals collection is that some of the dolls from the first series, like this one:

L.O.L. Hairgoals E.D.M.B.B., $15.99.
were re-released in the simple cardboard packaging of the Hair Hair Hair collection that I showed you at the very beginning:

Same doll, better packaging.
I love everything about the re-releases.  Not only can you tell which character you're getting (and check for flaws!), but there's far less plastic and waste.

Anyway, the Hair Goals doll I got is actually (and coincidentally) the same yellow-haired girl that's on the package.  Her name is Shine BayBay and she is very cute.  I especially love her outfit.  Her yellow hair is unruly, though:


And it doesn't feel very good to the touch.

I like her best when the hair is tied back:


Ian and I both love Shine's rainbow platform shoes!


I have tons of photographs of this set that I can share on Patreon if anyone's interested.  But because this review is already so long, I want to focus my attention on a different doll.

This is the doll I want to take a closer look at:

L.O.L. Surprise J.K. doll, Neon Q.T. ($16.99).
As you can see, the box is really big.  It's almost as big as a Tweens or O.M.G. box, so I just assumed that J.K. was a new collection of larger dolls.  I almost set the box aside to review later, but then I took a closer look at the packaging.  It says "mini fashion doll" on the front, so I began to wonder if this was a regular-sized L.O.L. doll.

The box has an interesting design, with a plastic zipper down the front and an accordion pleat along one side:


It's possible to choose which character you want with these dolls, so I selected the redheaded girl, Neon Q.T.


Despite knowing which doll was inside, there's a fake air of mystery created on the back of the box, with a liftable flap that presumably reveals the doll herself:


The zipper idea is interesting, but it doesn't do very much.  When I pull down on the zipper, the accordion side of the box compresses an inch or two:


I can push the accordion pleats down a little more with my hand, but they don't stay in that position.

The box is opened by releasing an adhesive seal and pulling the striped section away from the main box:


This section folds out...


to reveal a backdrop scene and a few concealed accessories:


Peeking into the box shows the back side of the zipper and the mechanism for compressing the accordion pleats:


The doll can be uncovered by lifting up the flap on the back of the box:


Or by just opening the top of the box and pulling the doll out.

Underneath where the doll was stored, the accordion part of the box is empty:


Here's everything that was inside the box:


Neon Q.T. came packaged inside a small cardboard shell that also contained a stand and a plastic brush:


The stand holds Neon up fairly well:


Although the tall back of the stand presses against her head and tips her forward a little bit:


She also comes with two plastic containers that hold additional accessories:

One of the containers is a shoe box with size 3 1/2 displayed.  That's a cute detail.
The accessories were all wrapped in striped tissue paper:


There are some really tall platform shoes, a backpack, a cat ear headband, a small bracelet, and a pair of sunglasses:


The shoes are the most interesting accessory by far.  They have glitter-filled yellow translucent heels that are an inch tall!

Space boots!
The construction of the shoes is a bit sloppy, though.  The top part of the shoes is clearly glued to the enormous soles, and the connection point has big gaps and glue residue.

I was able to get Neon to balance in these shoes, but it wasn't easy!

It's like walking on stilts!
The stand is essential with these shoes, and it works much better when Neon is tall:

J.K. Neon Q.T. (4.5 inches tall!).
The neon orange hair really clashes with my grey background and kinda hurts my eyes, but here it is from the back:

It's like looking directly at the sun.
The hair feels nice and soft (much better than Shine's hair), and the rooting is decent.  The only odd thing is that there's a strip of unrooted scalp in between the orange hair and the underlaying pink highlights:


With Neon's stand figured out, I was able to pose her with some of her accessories.  Here are the sunglasses:


The cat ears look cute, but they don't fit over Neon's hair very well:


If one side of the headband is placed into one of the holes behind Neon's ears, the other side doesn't reach far enough to fit in the other hole:


I suspect the headband was designed for dolls without rooted hair.

The backpack fits nicely:


But it can easily get lost behind all of that hair!


Ian is better at modeling the backpack:


Neon is the first L.O.L. doll that I've seen who comes with fabric clothing.  She's wearing a neon yellow swimsuit that closes in back with velcro.  Sadly, my doll's suit has a small, unraveling hole on one side:


The swimsuit is quite well constructed for something so small, though!  It has carefully-sewn edges and tidy little seam allowances:


The yellow fabric has the vague hint of a blue checkered pattern.  I assumed that this meant the swimsuit would change color when it's wet, hot, or cold, but I was unable to elicit any kind of color change.


Underneath her swimsuit Neon has some painted clothing, including elaborately decorated underwear and mismatched striped tights:




In fact, these decorations aren't supposed to appear unless Neon is put in cold water, but of course my basement is cold enough that the patterns are visible all of the time.

Here's how the color change is supposed to work:


There's a lot going on with this doll.  Not only is her hair really bright, but her underwear doesn't match her tights, her tights don't match each other...it's mind-boggling.

Anyway, Neon's other accessories came in two paper garment bags (with hangers!) and an ordinary paper bag:


In the garment bags, I found a tulle skirt and a small imitation leather shirt.  The paper bag contained Neon's juice box:


The tulle skirt is easy to use and looks good.  It's a bit loose-fitting, but I suppose that's better than having it be too tight.  The yellow vest is not quite as attractive.  It has some messy stitching and unfinished edges.


Neon can wear the clothing even when she's in normal shoes, but the skirt takes on a very different look!

Ball gown!
I like the juice box as an alternative to a sippy cup or a bottle, and Neon can hold it in her hand:


Ian was excited to meet Neon, even though she's a lot taller than him when she has her shoes on!


When Ian puts on his Arcade Hero suit, he can make up most of the height difference:


Ian is a lot more stable on his feet than Neon, so he can help her balance without her stand:


Here are all of the non-paper items from Neon's set:

L.O.L. Surprise J.K. doll, Neon Q.T. ($16.99).
It seems like all of the L.O.L. dolls with rooted hair cost about $16.99.  That's a lot, especially for such a small doll.  Mattel's Cave Club dolls offer an interesting comparison.  Those dolls are in the same price range, but they're bigger and have more points of articulation.  With the L.O.L. dolls it's clear that we're still paying a premium for the elaborate package design--or perhaps just for the popularity of the brand.

It was fun to take a close look at two of the L.O.L. dolls with rooted hair.  Shine BayBay's hair is not a big asset for her, but Neon Q.T.'s hair is soft and more fun to play with.  I also like the quirky addition of Neon's tall shoes.  All of the dolls in the J.K. line have these big shoes, and I guess that's the joke; they look tall, but then, jk, they're just as small as all of the original L.O.L. dolls.  That's clever, but I'm not sure it's worth packaging the dolls in boxes that are four times as big as they need to be.  I feel a little bit duped.

If I could start this review over again, I'd de-box one of the new Hair Hair Hair dolls to represent L.O.L. dolls with rooted hair.  I'd probably choose Pins, the redhead shown below.  With these re-releases, MGA has abandoned all elements of surprise, and has also put aside the idea that unboxing needs to be an "experience."  I'm super-eager to see how well these stripped-down versions of popular characters sell, and I'm sure MGA will be watching closely, too. 

L.O.L. Hair Hair Hair doll, Pins ($16.99).
Bottom line? Wow.  That was a lot to get through, and that's only the smaller dolls.  The sheer quantity of L.O.L. dolls on the market right now is overwhelming....and, frankly, quite off-putting.  Somebody needs to remind MGA that less can be more.  I felt like because I had missed so much of the evolution of this brand, I had to go back and try to catch up.  I'm not sure how successful I was in catching up (I still feel behind the curve!) but I know more than I did a week ago, and this review has given me several ideas for future reviews and comparisons that I can't wait to share with you!  So, I guess you can look at this post as the groundwork for future fun.

I've given more detailed impressions of each toy I looked at throughout the review, but I'll summarize some broader thoughts here.

I like the dolls I reviewed here to varying degrees.  The mini dolls have a surprising level of detail and very few flaws.  They don't seem as conducive to play as the regular L.O.L. dolls, but they're dangerously addictive; I bought three of them before I knew what had happened!  I'm very lucky that I didn't get any repeats.  The rooted hair, fabric clothing, and tall shoes add interesting variation to the J.K. dolls, although I much prefer the simpler presentation of the rooted Hair Hair Hair collection.  The mini pets...well, they're overly simple and too expensive, but it's hard not to like fuzzy little animal miniatures.  Ian is the doll who stands out the most to me.  Even without his fancy arcade packaging and space suit (maybe especially without his arcade packaging and space suit?) he's my favorite.  He has a cheerful, charming little presence and he's very well-suited for play.  He's relatable, articulated, reasonably durable, water-friendly, easy to clean, and extremely portable.  He's a great toy for both girls and boys.  If Ian and his smaller accessories had come in a simple ball for under $10, that'd be about perfect for me.  And, basically, that's what the very first L.O.L dolls were like.  So perhaps it's hard to improve on the original.

One small but positive change that I noticed with these newer dolls is that there's some effort to reduce plastic in the packaging.  Very few of the accessory wrappings are plastic anymore; most of the items are wrapped in tissue paper or sealed in colorful paper bags.  In addition, many of the toys have incentives to re-use the plastic balls.  The mini sets, in particular, have made the balls integral parts of the toy.

What strikes me most about all of the dolls that I looked at today is that they've almost completely lost the nostalgic elements of a traditional surprise ball.  The outer plastic packaging is only a vestige of the complicated layers, hidden treats, and compartments that the original L.O.L. packaging featured.  Furthermore, there aren't that many actual surprises to be found with the newer dolls.  The doll itself might be a mystery (although several of them aren't), but even if the doll is a surprise, the accessories are predictable once you know the identity of the doll.  My question is, if there's no real effort to make these toys feel like surprise balls anymore, why keep forcing the surprise theme?  For toys that are edging closer and closer to the $20 mark, the headaches of blind box toys (repeats, hidden flaws, excessive packaging, etc) seem to outweigh the short-term excitement.

I really like the conventionally-packaged Hair Hair Hair collection. You can see exactly what you're getting with these dolls, and they all look really cute.  From my perspective, they were the most appealing items in the L.O.L. aisle.  If I worked at MGA, I might suggest that they switch to regular window box packaging for all of the L.O.L. dolls, but then, to honor the surprise theme origins of the brand, have each doll come with a 1:12 scale surprise ball: essentially a small, keychain-sized ball that opens to reveal a random little mystery toy.  I would be very excited to buy something like that.

Anyway, that's my long-winded way of saying that perhaps it's time for MGA to shed the increasingly forced surprise element of L.O.L. toys, abandon the short-term-gratification of the packaging, and see if the dolls have any real staying power on their own.  I think they will.

18 comments:

  1. What a great way to catch up on such an extensive doll series! I'm looking forward to the next 'bonanza' review. I personally don't collect L.O.L. dolls so I learned a lot from this post as well. The sheer amount of L.O.L. toys out there is just dazzling. It reminds me a bit of all the Bratz spin-offs (Lil' Bratz, Petz, Ponyz, Kidz, Babyz, all that), but somehow it seems even more overwhelming, haha. I really like the efforts to turn the otherwise wasteful packaging into useful mini playsets à la Polly Pocket. They should carry that through in more of the series, though the more traditional boxes leaving out the surprise elements also seem like a good choice for MGA. What better candidate to break the surprise toy trend than the one who started the trend in the first place?
    By the way, the choice to punch a hole in Ian's head is such a classic Emily move; it made me chuckle xD

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  2. They look cute, but in our country they are pretty expensive. However the arcade one looks very appealing. It seems to me that box that kept accessories can be used as image for arcade game.

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  3. I love read your review, as always!

    Thank so much for your work.

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  4. what a great review! i definitely agree with your last few points. the surprise element is really gimmicky when the toy is pretty much a doll with all its accessories packed separately... it's so forced at this point and i think it just doesn't work that well with fashion dolls and toys based on distinct characters.

    i was gonna say i wish the accessories were randomly distributed across the balls (for an actual surprise), but part of what makes these dolls so great is how cohesive the designs are! i'm not really a fan of the lol omg or the remix faces, but if MGA came out with something like funko pops with those looks, i'd be in trouble!

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  5. I love the mini family balls. I can't restrain myself from buying them when I see them. They make great dolls for bigger dolls.
    Where I live, you can get a three pack that's a lol, a little sister, and a pet. But they're in clamshell packaging so you can see everything you're getting, they don't have any accessories and they cost the same amount as a single lol doll. Except there are only four sets available and you can only get them at one supermarket.
    I don't think the surprise element going away is altogether a bad thing. There's only so much money I'm willing to spend on stuff if I don't know what I'm getting.

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  6. I think these are really cute dolls, but I don't have any desire to start collecting them. I do prefer the ones with rooted hair but if bought any of them - it would be one of the arcade ones just for display. Fortunately I am low on space and saving it for dolls I remember from childhood.

    The playset aspect is nice, but they also seem overpriced.

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  7. I forgot to add, I didn't get an e-mail telling me you had a new post! Luckily I started randomly checking the blogs I am following.

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  8. Mixed feelings on this one. I’m not 8 years old, or whatever the target audience is for these toys, so when I go down this section of the toy aisle, it is just overwhelming and I move on. I’m so glad to see a reduction in the packaging; over packaging bothers me more and more—just as much as all those blasted plastic ties that seem to be everywhere on the play line dolls.
    However.....I LOVE little Ian in his space suit! Might just have to spill for one of those. I also think his tiny anatomically correctness and that he is essentially a baby beneath the spacesuit is just hilarious. Gotta hand it to you—this was a long and comprehensive review, and must have seemed endless and exhausting.

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  9. I'm afraid that I don't find much to like about L.O.L. I think it's a combination of the poor value for money/quantity of stuff to play with, the packaging which overstates what you actually get - stickers, hairbrushes etc counting as surprises - and the shallow subject matter of many of the dolls.

    Getting rid of the blind box packaging makes them a better bet for parents who aren't fans of the gambling for kids aspect of the originals.

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  10. I didn‘t even know that there are LOL and OMG dolls and that they are connected, haha.
    But somewhere I have one of those little girls from the hair series, the Rockabella with the green/black hair and she‘s adorable…and so is that little space suit guy :)

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  11. I haven't read the review yet. But I'm seeing the first image and going "What, do LOLs go into the robot like Pacific Rim??"

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  12. Great review, as always! Did you ever see Capsule Chix? A short lived blind box series from a few years ago. They were highly articulated and also a lot more randomized- and definitely very unique!

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    1. Omgoodness! I might have to get one and check it out! I checked on EBay and saw the articulation (My weakness is articulation) and it is awesome! Thanks for the tip!

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  13. I like your conclusions, there's nothing really to add. You are way more generous than me with your judgement of the "surprise" toy trend, though. I promised myself that I wouldn't contribute to the demand for deconstructed products, where every component is wrapped separately and called a surprise, even though in the end everyone gets the same set. I would be completely on board if all the elements were randomly mixed. I still can't understand why they didn't go that route. There would be more incentive to buy more products to complete the looks, and unwrapping would be exciting until the very last item instead of just being tedious (ball legs packaged as separate surprises is beyond overkill).

    One type of surprise toy is threatening my decision, and that is Zuru 5 surprise mini fashion. They contain one purse that fits 1:6 dolls and three mini plastic cosmetics. The purses are comparable to IT in quality and the small accessories are really random. The ball itself is like an Easter egg and could be used for treasure hunting or storage. So far, I haven't caved. I hope to find my favourites on ebay for a good price.

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    1. Oh no! I've never heard of Zuru 5 surprise mini fashion, but it has gone on my wishlist instantly XD I love its level of detail, and my 1:6 girls would love some make-up :) I don't like the surprise element though - and I would have hated it already as a kid, so I'm still puzzled by this trend. I never liked surprises really, and especially not in this context. Today, as an adult, I want to know what I'm getting for my money, and as a kid, getting something that wasn't the favourite figure/character/whatever has run a too big disappointment factor.

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  14. First of all, Happy Birthday! :)

    It was interesting to read about all these dolls and figures – I haven’t been following the L.O.L. and O.M.G. lines actively (and I never realised they have been around for so long already – and that there are so many lines and waves! This all was a shock!) because they never managed to grow on me. There’s something about their faces that I don’t like, and the clothing aesthetics (this is mostly relevant for the O.M.G.s) isn't really for me. Not that I mind though, there are too many dolls in this household already :D plus, becoming interested in a line that has an endless amount of waves and versions would scream for trouble, given my completionist attitude. You did get me interested in the mini dolls and families though! I actually like those, and went immediately on to Google to see what options I have for getting one :D I really love anything and everything that works in scale for my dolls, and these look like they could pass as mini dolls for dolls like Pullips, where there is a bit more room for scale variety due to th ebig scale difference in the scale of the body and head. As a result, I noticed a variety of miniatures work for them even if the initial scale, based on the height, wouldn't necessarily work. And the level of details on the minis is amazing! I mean, Roller Chick, a figure about the size of an 1:6 doll shoe, has painted shoelaces. Most 1:6 dolls don’t have painted detail on their shoes nowadays… with all the detail, I can probably see why they are priced a bit higher, even though I agree some of the prices seem a little too boosted.

    Even though I’m still not into the faces of these dolls, O.M.G. Candylicious actually looks really appealing with her colour scheme and her outfit – especially the shoes, earrings and that weirdly cute backpack!

    While the tendency to replace plastic with paper is a welcome change, all this packaging still seems overkill to me. It almost looks like the packaging of the lines isn’t designed by the same person or team… the fine wrapping paper used in the plastic balls instead of the small individual plastic bags is a nice step forward – but what’s with Neon Q.T.’s box? That's a ginormous box for such a small doll :O

    On a slightly unrelated note, your coment in brackets about the mini pet balls really cracked me up! Thank you for the laugh! It reminded me how and why I got hooked on your blog immediately all those years ago: your style of writing, the jokes and the pop culture references (and, ahem, the lack of spelling/grammatical errors. That’s becoming rare nowadays, and – even though I as a non-native speaker likely make mistakes too – I really appreciate reading grammatically correct texts :3) all add up to an awesome reading experience! Not only does it make me read your reviews about stuff I’m less interested in, but I’m certain that if you were to start bogging about something completely unrelated, I’d read that too.

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  15. Wow, you REALLY weren't kidding about the sheer variety of LOL products! It's dizzying! How is one meant to keep them all straight??
    I hadn't been keeping up with the LOL scene, so I was just as bewildered as you, it seems! Thank you for taking on the task to untangle it all! XD

    I think Ian really was the star of this review... but the mini-dolls were a close second for me! Their tiny-ness is very appealing, and it's amazing how good the paint is on such tiny items! Did you have any troubles getting your camera to focus on such small things? :0

    Back to Ian though, I really appreciate his simplicity and the fact that this simplicity means his mobility and clothes (for the most part anyway) just kind of work?? Sometimes simple is better. It's a shame I can't say the same about his cool-looking arcade hero suit! It's a very cool idea, but it seems anything but simple! And unfortunately, like you said, it doesn't actually enhance Ian's mobility, just changes it...

    Ian: Is articulated at the shoulders and hips
    Flyer: Is articulated at the elbows and knees, but at the expense of the shoulders and hips
    Net number of articulation points gained: 0

    XD
    It's a shame it didn't work out better, because it's such a cool idea, like you said! I think your concept of an entirely swappable body would be more efficient, but ah well.

    I was wondering, do you prefer the open mouths of the LOLs, or the closed mouths of the OMGs? :0

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