Thursday, October 13, 2022

G3 Monster High Dolls by Mattel

I have all of these carefully-laid plans with the blog, I promise I do, but then things keep coming along to derail those plans--often in a delightful way.  Two weeks ago my discovery of the DALL-E image generator threw me off track, and then last week it was the much-anticipated release of the Generation 3 Monster High dolls.  I knew the G3 dolls were coming out in October, and so I showed up at my local Target bright and early on October 1, eagerly scanning the shelves for the familiar logo, but I didn't see any sign of the new dolls.  Then, on October 2, my friend Darcy alerted me to the fact that many of the dolls were available online.  And so I ordered one. OK, two. Alright, most of them.  Oops.  And then, of course, the moment they started to arrive at my house, I had to put aside what I was working on and open them immediately.

Mattel has been very busy over the last few months, trickling out tantalizing Monster High releases like the Haunt Couture collection, the greyscale Reel Drama group (which I love!), and the Boo-riginal Creeproductions of the first wave dolls.  All of these dolls look like the original Monster High characters, with the same body and the same face molds.  So I was surprised to see that the G3 dolls are completely different!  The characters' names and styles are the same, but almost everything else has been changed.

I'll admit that I wasn't too thrilled with some of the promotional photos of the G3 dolls.  I could tell who all of the characters were supposed to be, but they looked too mainstream and cutesy to me.  They weren't weird enough to be the Monster High that I know and love.  But I decided to put my misgivings aside and give them a fair chance.  Things change, right?  The first doll that I bought, and the one who I'll feature in this review, is none other than my favorite Clawdeen Wolf...if you can recognize her:

Generation 3 Monster High Clawdeen Wolf by Mattel, $24.99.

In the advertising leading up to the G3 release, Mattel emphasized the diversity of the new dolls, which is great to hear.  The "inner monster" inclusivity of this brand has always been a huge draw.  Indeed, all of the characters have different skin tones (including things like green and pink!), Draculaura has a different body type, and Frankie is non-binary--with a prosthetic leg!

Frankie looks amazing, and was second on my list of dolls to buy (right after Clawdeen) but they didn't arrive until after I was almost finished with this review.  So they'll get their own post another day (update: here's that post).

It'll be your turn next, Frankie.
Draculaura has never been one of my favorites for some reason, but I'll be very interested to see her body at some point, since it's different from all of the others:

I always prefer to see dolls in person before I buy, though, so I kept checking in at Target.  And sure enough, shorty after I purchased Clawdeen online, a few dolls showed up at my local store.  But the display was far from impressive. 

At the end of an aisle that is overwhelmingly dominated by Rainbow High, a few Monster High dolls were crammed in next to a bounty of Mermaze Mermaidz:

Can you spot the Monster High?
There was one Clawdeen on a top shelf, a Lagoona stranded in the middle, and then a few items on the bottom two shelves.

All in all there were three Clawdeens, one Lagoona, and two Coffin Bean sets.  Underwhelming.

Most of the stickers on that section of shelving say "Monster High," though, and so either there was a big stock that quickly sold out, or not many of the dolls have come to this particular store yet.

It was interesting to me that most of the remaining dolls were Clawdeens, since I think she's one of the best characters, but perhaps her promotional photo dissuaded people:

I think her face looks grumpy, her hair looks white with streaks (very un-Clawdeen), and her shoes don't look very interesting.  Also, that's not Crescent!  It doesn't even look like a cat.  Humph.

But let's see how the actual doll looks:

Immediately when I laid eyes on her in person, I knew she'd be better than that promotional photo.  Thank goodness.

The box has more plastic than the older Monster High boxes, but it's bright and colorful and there are a lot of accessories on display.

I don't like the box art, though.  The characters look goofy--not spooky--and Lagoona's eyes are crossed:

And why does Clawdeen have cat eyes?
There are more characters on the back of the box, including an even larger version of the cartoon Clawdeen that we just saw:

Here's a closer look at the other characters:

Crescent looks more like a cat in this picture, at least:

Maybe a fox-cat.
One nice thing about the new box art is that the characters look more like high school students than they did on the original boxes.  

For comparison, here's Clawdeen's Creeproduction box, which has the same art as the first wave dolls:

That's a sultry teenager.
I prefer the drama of the old box art.  Or maybe I just don't like it when things change.

The new box has a lot less biographical information than the old boxes, too.  It only gives three pieces of information about Clawdeen (monster type, monster must-haves, and monster pet) in four different languages:

I tried looking for more stories or information about the characters at, but that site is basically just a shop hub.

The first wave boxes had a lot more fun (and funny!) facts:

I love how Clawdeen embraces her body hair.

The first phase of the de-boxing process was easy; the plastic front of the box was attached to the cardboard backdrop with perforated tabs, so all I had to do was cut two little pieces of tape at the top and then I could pull the plastic off in one smooth motion.

The next phase was more difficult, because Clawdeen and her accessories were attached to the backdrop with a zillion plastic ties...including three of them in Clawdeen's head.  Sigh.  Some things never change.

Some of the smaller accessories were held in place with molded plastic, which was easier to deal with:

As another comparison, here's a photo of the Creeproduction Clawdeen box:

Boo-riginal Creeproduction Clawdeen Wolf.
The original Clawdeen came with fewer accessories than the G3 version: a purse, a stand, a journal, a brush, and Crescent.

G3 Clawdeen comes with a fur coat, a purse, a phone, a comb, a bag of snacks, a blue cookie, glasses, and Crescent:

More loot this time around.
I was surprised to not find a stand in the box, though, since as far as I can remember most of my old Monster High dolls came with stands.  I double-checked and there was nothing left on the backdrop:

Just a lot of plastic.
And the little cardboard compartment on the left side of the box was empty:

No stand.
So maybe these new dolls balance so well that they don't even need stands?  That'd be awesome!

Let's take a look at what actually did come in Clawdeen's box.  First, here's the fur coat:

It looked amorphous at first--just a blob of black and purple imitation fur.  I thought maybe it was a simple little cape and not a proper coat.

On further inspection, I found a creased cardboard hanger hiding at the top:

And there was a tiny plastic tie was holding the two sides closed.  When I clipped the tie, the jacket opened up to reveal a fully-lined purple interior with two arm holes!

A fur vest!
I like this vest even more than Haunt Couture Clawdeen's fur coat.  It's easier to use and much less bulky.

Clawdeen's purse is made out of vinyl.  It has a removable plastic chain charm on one side and a purple moon decoration with scratch marks next to it:

The vinyl is pliable but a little bit stiff.  It's flexible enough so that a slit at the top of the purse can open, and Clawdeen's smaller accessories can be placed inside:

A working purse!  Hurrah!
As far as I can tell, all of the G3 characters come with snacks--and all of the snacks are different.  This is a fun detail, especially since I've been on a bit of a miniature food kick lately.

I really like Cleo DeNile's burrito snack--wrapped up like a mummy!

And Frankie's bug-covered lightning pizza is great:

Clawdeen's snack of choice is Howl Puffs:

I love the detail on this miniature.  The writing on the back is too small to read, but it still looks great:

All of the G3 characters come with iCoffin phones, too, and these are fun to compare.  Each character's phone has a slightly different screen and a different case design.  

Here's Clawdeen's screen:

It's hard to see all of the little apps, but the one that's unique to Clawdeen has crossed bones on it.  There's also a tiny purple paw print at the bottom.

The case has a wolf head at the top and scratch marks on the back:

The loop on the side of the phone fits Clawdeen's thumb (sort of) so she can hold the phone:

I don't think of Clawdeen's character as wearing glasses, but I love that she comes with a pair--in gold, of course:

She also has a gold moon-shaped comb:

With a loop so that it can be held:

And she has a blue cookie with bite out of one side:

Boo berry?
Again--with a holding loop:

The last accessory is Clawdeen's pet cat, Crescent.  Crescent is made out of hard, hollow plastic and has both molded and painted features:

With stars in her eyes.
She looks a bit more like a cat than she did in the promotional photos, I guess, but she still looks half-wolf, half-cat to me.  Which would make her kind-of like Clawdeen's pet and kind-of like her little sister.

She looks more like a cat from the back side:

Or a fox.
She's a cute little figure, and her eye paint is nice with no obvious defects, but I wish she could move her head.  She has no points of articulation.

The original Crescent looks much more like a cat...and is much spookier!

G3 Crescent (left) and original first wave Crescent (right).
The older Crescent has less detail, but is made out of slightly flexible vinyl and is more fun to play with.

But less fun to come across in the dark.
Overall, the accessories are really creative...I just wish Crescent looked more like a cat.

But the accessories don't matter nearly as much as the doll herself, so here she is:

She has big, thick sneakers with solid-looking treads, but she doesn't stand up very well on her own.  I was frequently wishing that I had a stand.

She has really long, wavy, multicolored hair that looked scraggly right out of the box:

No effort was made here.  It's just a wad of matted hair.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the primary hair color isn't white, but rather a light dusty rose color that's absolutely beautiful!

Even before I touched the hair, I worried about the rooting.  There's a lot of scalp peeking out from behind Clawdeen's left ear:

I parted the hair in back to get a better look: 

It's actually not terrible, especially for a doll with wavy hair.  And the scalp is camouflaged with some light pink paint.  I think some hair plugs must have gotten compressed in a strange way in the box, causing that bare patch behind the ear.

Clawdeen's hair is mostly hanging loose down her back, but she has a simple top knot that looks cute:

And there's a separate section of pink hair on the right side of her face that's curled into a ringlet:

Clawdeen's expression is much better than it looks in the promotional photos.  She has a bit of a smile, bright eyes that are glancing slightly to her left, and a bunch of freckles!

I think she's really sweet.

Her face paint is done well, and the only flaw I can see is some stray brown paint at the edge of her nose.

Her eyes are large and brown, with cat-like pupils and yellow accents.  She has some brown tendrils of hair painted around her hairline, and the tip of her nose is brown:

Her eye makeup is pretty, with two layers of purple eyeshadow on top of a sliver of blue.  Her eyebrows are thick and angular, with a few delineated hairs near the bridge of the nose:

Her pouty lips are a sparkling dark coral color, and she has two painted incisors that look like fangs:

Overall I really like the face paint, but it doesn't make any sense for Clawdeen to have cat pupils.  I noticed this on the box art, too.  Wolves are not cats, they're dogs.  And dogs do not have slitted pupils.

Glenda dog blue eye
Dog eye.
Cats eye 2
Cat eye.
Another thing that doesn't make sense is that Crescent, who is supposed to be a cat, has dog eyes!

Or really dilated pupils.
And while we're at it,  it's strange for Clawdeen to have her incisors hanging out of her mouth.  Wolves don't have exposed teeth when their mouthes are closed.  Maybe some domesticated dogs have this feature, but it looks pretty strange.

But I love Clawdeen's fangs, and these arguments are pretty silly, really, given that we're talking about a fantasy werewolf high school student.  Nothing about her needs to be based in reality.

Clawdeen has wolf-like ears that I think are great.  They have little molded tufts of hair in the middle, which you can see peeking out from under her rooted hair.  

Each ear has a different earring; the one on Clawdeen's left is two crescent moons and a circle (a full moon?) and the one on her right is a studded hoop:

The earrings attach with pegs that can be seen sticking out at the back of each ear

And both earrings are removable:

I really like Clawdeen's face, and I like the extra detail in her ears.  But how does she compare to the first wave version of the character?  Here's a side-by-side look:

They both look great to me, but G3 Clawdeen looks so young!  She has none of the vamp and glamour of the older character.  Even Clawdeen's younger sister Howleen looks older than this new version:

Howleen (left) and Clawdeen Wolf.
I like the new Clawdeen's face better than I like Howleen's face, though.

Anyway, the first thing I felt like I had to address with G3 Clawdeen was her hair.  It looked terrible. 

I started out by trying to tame the hair with only my fingers.  It's so long and wavy, though, this was hard.  The colors are really nice, though.  Not only is there a mix of pinks in the hair on top of Clawdeen's head, but there's a layer of brown hiding underneath:

I love how the brown and dusty rose colors go together, and wish that the hot pink-purple had been edited out.  Dusty rose with brown lowlights mixed in would have been gorgeous.

I finally caved in and brushed Clawdeen's hair with my wire brush.  Not surprisingly, I created a fluffy, frizzy poof:

The hair brushed out easily, though, with no tangles or snarls.  However, the bottom inch and a half of hair is coarse and doesn't feel good at all.

Also, brushing out the hair ruined the cute ringlet curl at the side of Clawdeen's face:

So, I tied all of that frizzy hair back into a bun and moved on to look at Clawdeen's outfit.

She's wearing overall shorts and a long-sleeved shirt, with black socks and sneakers:

The outfit is ornamented with three gold vinyl accessories: two necklaces and a belt:

One of the necklaces is a simple star choker, the other is longer, with crescent moons on the chain and a pendant with an off-center turquoise dot.  The dot is meant to make the gold background look like another moon, I think:

The belt is also moon-themed, with an extra molded chain that forms a loop on one side and then hangs down:

The overalls are great.  The fabric has a texture that looks a bit like denim and also a bit like corduroy.  There are decorative details (like a fly and some pockets) that are stitched in black thread.  And there's a neat decal with phases of the moon on the bib:

The overalls have a short velcro seam in back:

The stitching is neat and tidy, although none of the edges are finished.  The edges of the legs are frayed intentionally, which looks great:

Underneath the overalls, Clawdeen is wearing a separate long-sleeved shirt that's black with pink paw prints and moons:

The neckline of this shirt is indistinct.  I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a scoop neck or sit off the shoulders.  It tends to slip off the left shoulder, but not the right:

In order to remove the shirt, Clawdeen's hands have to come off.  It take s bit of tugging to get them off, but the connection doesn't feel flimsy or loose like it does on some of the older Monster High dolls.

That's a nice, thick wrist peg.
I was excited about the durable wrist peg until, when I had nearly finished this review, I went back to take a few more pictures of Clawdeen's hands...and then things went wrong.

I pulled on the left hand and it broke right off:

I almost cried.
So the wrist peg is durable, but the piece of the hand that connects to that peg is not durable.  And for a doll who has to have her hands removed in order to get dressed undressed...that's unacceptable.  I'm not even sure if I can fix the break without permanently immobilizing Clawdeen's wrist.  What a huge bummer.  

Anyway, Clawdeen has a claw-like hand mold, with curved fingers and long, sharp-looking nails:

This is the same hand mold that was used on earlier Clawdeens (after the first wave).

And the same mold as Haunt Couture Clawdeen's hands:

Haunt Couture Clawdeen's hand.
The shirt is sewn neatly, but the edges are not finished here, either.  This slightly stretchy fabric seems less prone to fraying than the overall fabric, though:

One small problem I had with this shirt is that the right sleeve kept getting stuck to the rough side of the velcro:

And when I pulled the sleeve away from the velcro, it left some fuzzy damage on the fabric:

That long-sleeved shirt was hiding the fact that Clawdeen has some molded fur around her wrists.  What a fun detail!

The last items in Clawdeen's outfit are her black socks and purple sneakers:

Except the socks aren't socks--they have no feet!

This actually makes them much easier to use--and it makes the shoes easier to use, too.

The shoes are more interesting than they looked initially.  They are purple high-top sneakers, and the gold treads have fang-shaped spikes that stick upward into the body of the shoe:

The treads also have large paw prints molded into them:

The sneakers have a lot of molded detail, embellished by some delicately-painted gold laces in the front, and tiny gold moons painted across a molded ankle strap:

The paint on the shoes is very well done, especially considering how minuscule those laces are!

Underneath all of those clothes, Clawdeen's body looks a bit different from what we're used to.  It seems that the Monster High characters have filled out a bit since we last saw them:

They've also gained a new torso joint, which was a wonderful surprise!

And the molded underwear has a new spider web design that looks great:

And Clawdeen has some molded fur around her ankles to match the fur on her wrists:

I love it!
Several of the characters have molded distinctions like this on their limbs.  For example, we already saw Frankie Stein's awesome metal leg:

And Cleo DeNile has one leg with molded wrappings:

I love that Mattel went to the trouble of making different limb molds for all of these characters!  Very impressive.

Overall, the new body feels sturdy and nice.  And the articulation is excellent.  Clawdeen can tip her head from side to side:

And she can look up and down a little bit:

And of course she can also turn her head from side to side:

In profile, you can see that Clawdeen has little tufts of hair where human ears would be!  These are cute and they make it possible for her to wear glasses:

They look a bit like gills, though.
Clawdeen's shoulders have hinged rotation, so she can raise her arms straight up so that they're aligned with her shoulders:

And the shoulder joints can spin around so that the arms can lift even higher:

Her elbows and wrists also have hinged rotation, and can bend to about 90 degrees:

This allows Clawdeen to touch her face and head:

And she can sort-of cross her arms in front of her body:

The arms are great, but they're not quite as flexible as the older Monster High arms; the older arms' skinny width allows them to bend to slightly more than 90 degrees.  Also, I feel like the hand mold, while it's very cool, is not as quirky or expressive as the first wave hand shape.  That said, none of the arm joints felt at risk of falling apart, which is a nice improvement over some of the older dolls.

Another thing is, while it was easy to bend Clawdeen's elbows when she wasn't wearing her clothing, I found it difficult to bend her arms when she was wearing her long-sleeved shirt.  Without being able to see the direction of the hinge, I'd often try to bend Clawdeen's elbow the wrong way--resulting in a stubbornly straight arm. 

The new upper torso joint is great.  It allows for a bit of forward-to-back movement:

And it can also twist around!

Clawdeen has pegged hip joints that allow reasonable side-to-side movement:

Although I had a bit of trouble getting her to do full front-to-back splits.  The shape of her bottom interferes with the back leg's extension:

But with a bit of maneuvering, she was finally able to do an impressive split:

She can also sit on the ground:

And since her knees are rotating hinges, she can sit beautifully in a chair:

And can even rotate her lower legs from side to side:

Her lower legs are extremely long, so she can't quite kneel on one knee normally:

And she can't sit with her legs tucked up beside her:

But she's really fun to pose--especially when she has a shoe or two to help with her balance!:

You might have noticed in a few of these pictures that Clawdeen's legs have some funny seam lines on them.  There's a line that runs down the side of each thigh and then loops up just above the back of the knee:

Here's a different view:

The lines are fairly subtle, but I figured I'd mention them.  It's not something that was present on the old Monster High body.

Speaking of which, here's G3 Clawdeen alongside the first wave version:

G3 Clawdeen (left) and first wave Clawdeen (right).
You can see that first wave Clawdeen is significantly skinnier and has a longer torso.

The G3 doll is missing the exaggerated swayback of the earlier doll, too:

G3 Clawdeen (left) and first wave Clawdeen (right).
Although she can arch her back a bit more thanks to that extra torso joint!

G3 Clawdeen (left) and first wave Clawdeen (right).
I played around with the two dolls for a while to see how different they feel.

That torso joint allows G3 Clawdeen to strike some poses that the older doll can't:

But for the most part they move very similarly.

I'd say the biggest differences are that G3 Clawdeen's arms are not quite as flexible, and of course the elastic-strung hips of the first wave dolls are less stiff and have more movement:

The spindly strangeness of the original Monster High body is one of the things that made this brand special and unique.  And while the G3 Clawdeen certainly doesn't have a realistic body shape, she has a body that looks more mainstream--like other fashion dolls that are on the market right now.  Or that's how it seemed to me as I was posing her, anyway.

Let's look at her again alongside other dolls that I've reviewed recently.

Clawdeen's body reminded me of the Mermaid High dolls (probably because of those long lower legs!) but these two are actually quite different:

Clawdeen is probably most similar to the Hairmazing Hairdorables, with their short waists, torso joints, and long limbs:

And she's very different from the Rainbow High crew, although both have a similarly pear-shaped body.  If an original Monster High and a Rainbow High character had a baby, it'd probably look something like G3 Clawdeen:

It'll be fun to compare Draculaura's body to a Rainbow High body at some point.

So the body isn't as mainstream as I'd originally thought, but it certainly isn't as unique as the original.

G3 Clawdeen (left) and first wave Clawdeen (right).
I put Clawdeen back into her outfit so that she could try out some of the accessories:

The fur vest looks good on her, and I like that her arms are accessible:

The purse fits over her shoulder, but it slides off pretty easily because it's so heavy:

The glasses look nice and stay on fairly well:

In profile, you can see how they rest on the molded tufts of hair at the side of Clawdeen's head.  You can also see that the lower part of the rim almost touches Clawdeen's mouth!

Those are some big-ass glasses.
I like that Ghoulia is no longer the only character with glasses.

Here's Clawdeen with her fox-cat, Crescent:

The new Crescent fits the G3 style, but Clawdeen looks so sweet and innocent here, and Crescent looks like she's plotting something naughty:

I think she wants to make a nest in Clawdeen's hair.
Let's look at G3 Clawdeen and Crescent alongside the first wave versions one more time:

G3 Clawdeen (left) and first wave Clawdeen (right).
I really like both of these dolls.  But it's hard for me to think of the new doll as Clawdeen--she's like a completely different character.  Her outfit, body shape, and friendly expression all make her seem much younger than the first wave doll.  And she's more relatable, too.  She feels more like a regular kid than a monster hybrid.  But she's not very weird, and part of me misses the weird.

After I'd taken all of the pictures I needed, I decided to do something about Clawdeen's scraggly, overly-long hair:

First, I clipped the rubber band that was holding the top knot in place.  That hair didn't want to relax right away!

A fountain of hair!
The hair that had formed the top knot was all at the very front of Clawdeen's head, and behind that I discovered a rooted center part:

Fortunately, all of the top knot hair was rooted in the same pattern, and so it could be incorporated into the part:

Once I had the part sorted out, I boil-washed Calwdeen's hair and cut off about an inch and a half of length in an attempt to get rid of all the course frizz.

Here's how she looks now:

The shorter hair adds to her youthful appearance, and is much easier to manage!

The haircut makes me like this ghoul even more.

She's absolutely adorable.

Clawdeen exceeded my expectations...except for her hair and that broken hand.  I was hesitant to buy her based on the promotional photos, but I really like her in person.  In fact, I liked her so much when I first saw her that--as I've already confessed--I bought several more of the G3 dolls.  I'll show you a few of them now, doing my best to be brief (as if).

Ghoulia has always been one of my very favorite Monster High characters.  I love her blue hair and dead-looking grey skin, and her shy, geeky personality is super-appealing.  

But despite her zombie skin and her awkwardness, she has the beauty of a 1950s movie star.  This is how I think of her:

Physical Deduction Ghoulia (redressed).
And this is the G3 version:

Oh, dear.
She doesn't look like Ghoulia to me at all.  She doesn't even look like a younger version of the Ghoulia I know and love.  She looks more like one of those bizarre Mystixx dolls from 2012:

But I said I was going to give these G3 dolls a fair shot, so I put aside my initial horror and moved on.

The back of the box looks like Clawdeen's box, except that there's a large cartoon of Ghoulia on the left:

That picture is not bad.
And there's some brief character-specific information:

Let's go down memory lane for a second, just to remember what Ghoulia was like in the good old days, shall we?

Here's the 2014 re-release of the first wave doll.  She's still in her box because she's become quite valuable over the years:

2014 Ghoulia Yelps re-release.
She has an amazing face with dark red lipstick and those fabulous cat eye glasses:

She also has cool accessories, like her piano key belt, her zipper pull earrings, and of course the cassette tape purse:

And let's not forget the venerable Sir Hoots a Lot:

And of course this packaging was crammed with fun information about Ghoulia:

And I love the box art, too:

Anyway, for better or for worse, this treasured doll was in my head the whole time I looked at G3 Ghoulia, so I wanted you to see her, too.

Here's G3 Ghoulia with all of her accessories:

The accessories look great, but I really had a hard time accepting Ghoulia's appearance.

Her iCoffin screen is very similar to Clawdeen's, but it has a different color scheme, one different app on the right hand side, and a brain heart at the bottom instead of a paw print:

And the case has a brain on top (with several spots of missing paint):

Ghoulia's snack is a bag of Brain Puffs:

This bag has similar details to what we saw with Clawdeen's snack:

Ghoulia's other accessories are even better than Clawdeen's.  She has a blue vinyl backpack with a molded brain pattern:

And again, the vinyl is soft enough so that the pack can open to accommodate some of the smaller accessories:

Ghoulia also comes with a handheld gaming system that resembles a Switch:

Monster Crossing?
It has a printed picture on the screen and some molded details on the back:

Ghoulia also comes with a skateboard that has Dead Fast on the bottom!

The top is plain pink with a molded Monster High logo:

The wheels on the skateboard move, but not very well.

I really like Ghoulia's brain hat, too:

And this version of Sir Hoots a Lot looks even better than the original:

He's made out of hard plastic and has no articulation:

But his glasses are removable:

And he has gripping feet that can hold on to Ghoulia's arm:

Ghoulia herself has green skin and blue hair, and she's wearing a multi-piece outfit and angular glasses:

I really don't like how Ghoulia's face looks, and was hoping that this was the fault of those glasses.  The glasses were mounted to Ghoulia's head with a layer of clear plastic behind them, and this was obscuring her eyes.

Her bright blue hair is poker-straight, so it looks and feels better than Clawdeen's hair right out of the box.  It's nice and smooth:

I was very eager to get those glasses off, but they came inserted into a plastic strip that was t-tied into Ghoulia's head, so it took some work to get them free:

Here's how she looks with her glasses after the extra plastic was removed:

An improvement, but they'd be even better without lenses so we could see Ghoulia's eyes.
And here she is without the glasses:

I don't know.  I just can't appreciate this face.

Ghoulia's head is very broad at the top, and her eyes are wide-set with heavy brows.  And her skin is green!  All of this makes her look more like Frankenstein's monster (or Herman Muster) than a zombie.

The eye paint is crisp and clear, though, and I like how the eyebrow style is different from what we saw with Clawdeen:

I don't like the shape of the mouth much.  Instead of the full-lipped pout of the first wave doll, this Ghoulia has a thin upper lip and a lower lip that juts out unattractively:

But she has nicely-detailed ears with gravestone earrings:

The earrings are removable and very cute:

I wonder if Mattel was trying to make this doll look like the Ghoulia from the new live-action movie?  That might explain why she looks so little like the old Ghoulia:

The actor is delightfully freaky, no doubt, but I don't think the doll looks much like her, either. 

Ghoulia's outfit includes a jacket, a tee shirt, a skirt, and boots:

The jacket is baggy and long, and it does not have any closure in front. I love the black and white brain pattern because from a distance it looks like it could be an animal spot print or something like that, but then up close it's clearly gyri and sulci.

And just in case it isn't clear that there's a brain pattern, the sleeves are accented with a strip of green satin ribbon that says "Braaaaaaains:"

The inside of the jacket is unlined, and the stitching is neat with unfinished edges:

Underneath the jacket, Ghoulia is wearing a graphic tee shirt and a shiny pink skirt:

Both pieces close in back with velcro...and look a little sloppy:

The skirt, in particular, doesn't look very good from the back.  This is because the shiny, plastic-like imitation leather material is quite stiff, and doesn't conform to Ghoulia's thin waist very well.

The skirt has a ribbon waistband decorated with heart-shaped brains, and a huge, bright green fake zipper made out of vinyl:

I like how the bottom of the skirt is cut to look like dripping goo.

The tee shirt is very simple, with a brain heart decal on the front and a ragged-cut bottom edge:

The tiny seam around the neck tends to flip upwards, which doesn't look great.

Ghoulia's boots are similar to Clawdeen's shoes in that they have a fairly generic design overall, with treads that are creative and on-theme:  

The boots are silver with pink painted laces.  They have a lot of molded detail, including tiny skullettes on the inside arches:

The treads are pure black, and it's not clear what their design in from a distance, but up close you can see the brain pattern:

Ghoulia's body is almost exactly like Clawdeen's, except that it's green and she doesn't have any special molded details on her wrists and ankles:

Since most of the other dolls have something unique about their body, I wondered if perhaps Ghoulia's bright green skin would glow in the dark?

I sat her under my photo light for a little while...

But when I tuned the light off, there was no sign of glowing.  Too bad.

Ghoulia's hands are also different from Clawdeen's.  They're not like the first wave hands, either.  It's a totally new mold, with the middle two fingers attached and the other fingers free:

The hands are fine, but again, they're generic.  I miss the expressiveness of the splayed-fingers in the older hands.

As I was getting Ghoulia dressed again, I noticed that her skirt rides up in a ridiculous way:

A lot of dolls have thong-like ribbons in their skirts that keep them from riding up (something I complained about in the old days), but this ribbon is actually really important because it prevents embarrassing moments like the one above.

The skirt rides up less when the tee shirt is in place to block it, but it's still really hard for Ghoulia to strike action poses.  Any forward movement of her legs causes the waistband to hike up:

She can't sit very well in this skirt, either, which is too bad because she was really looking forward to playing her new game!

The brain backpack fits over her shoulders nicely and is easy to get on and off:

And she can check her messages on the iCoffin phone:

Which looks like a brain ice cream cone.
The hat is one of my favorite of Ghoulia's accessories because I think it softens her face and makes her look more appealing:

The hat helps to hold the glasses in place, too:

If it weren't for that impractical skirt, Ghoulia would look like a serious skateboarder, headed off to the park to hone her skills:

Ghoulia's last accessory is her pet, Sir Hoots a Lot.  If the sleeve of her jacket is rolled up, Hoots can perch on her arm:

I like Sir Hoots, and I like Ghoulia better with her hat on, so this ghoul grew on me slowly the more I played with her.

It's still hard for me to think of her as Ghoulia, though.
And I even like her glasses a bit better now, although I wish they looked more like Sir Hoots a Lot's classy red specs!

So, I really like Clawdeen, but I'm not crazy about Ghoulia.  I probably could have stopped the review here, but I was curious to see where some of the other characters would fall on the Clawdeen-Ghoulia spectrum.  

So I'll look at one more doll today, and then I'll re-visit the G3 line a little later with the Coffin Bean playset and some of the other characters.  Let me know if there's a particular doll that you're dying to see.

Another one of my favorite Monster High characters is Lagoona Blue.  She's one of the first dolls I bought and has always had a special place in my heart.  I love her sweet appearance, her ocean theme, and her freckles!

First wave Lagoona Blue (redressed).
I also think she's always had some of the more exciting outfits and accessories, especially her piranha pet Neptune and that awesome fish bowl purse:

And I really like the old Lagoona's skin tone and muted color scheme.  It reminds me of being underwater.  

Given all of this, the G3 Lagoona was quite a shock, with her pink skin, bright face paint, and neon accessories!  

And her box art interpretation is the worst of all, in my opinion:

We only get a few tidbits about Lagoona in the bio, but it mentions that she carries a "shell phone,"which is a clever play on words, but also definitely already been used.

Here's Lagoona with all of her accessories--minus her shell phone, which somehow got left out of the picture:

Lagoona's snack is a bag of Kelp Krisps:

And her phone screen has a cool scale background and a tiny sea horse at the bottom:

The phone case looks like a shell with a little starfish accent:

The backpack is also in the shape of a shell--and is the same blinding pink color as the phone:

The pack has mint green straps and molded goo drops at the bottom that would match Ghoulia's skirt nicely.

The backpack has a slit at the top, but it's pretty hard to get it open:

Lagoona also comes with a water bottle and a carton of fish-shaped crackers:

The design on the carton is pretty funny--it looks like Neptuna the piranha is chasing all of the poor little goldfish!

There's another decorated side to the carton, with a tiny nutritional information panel and some more fish:

But the other two sides of the carton are blank:

Lagoona's extra piece of clothing is a bathing suit, and she also comes with a pair of blue sunglasses:

And last but not least, here's Neptu...wait, what?

It's a goldfish.
Creepy, toothy Neptuna has been replaced by a freakin' goldfish?  Say it isn't so.

I mean, okay fine--she's cute.  But she's not Neptuna.  The real Neptuna would eat that flouncy pink fish in one bite.

Let's compare all of the characters' accessories for a sec:

Things are pretty equal, but Ghoulia wins out by having that gaming console and a skateboard instead of the smaller items that the other ghouls have.  She also has more pieces in the outfit she's wearing, with that brainy jacket.  However, both Clawdeen and Lagoona come wearing a few accessories (like necklaces and belts) that I didn't include in the chart.

Overall, you get a lot for your money with these dolls.

Here's Lagoona on her own.  Her outfit is embellished with a fanny pack, two barrettes, earrings, a necklace, and a ponytail holder:

Her hair is a lot like Clawdeen's: wavy and scraggly-looking right out of the box.  It comes tied back into a long, uneven ponytail:

As I was taking these first few pictures, I was distracted by the way Lagoona's legs are painted.  Most of her body is pink, but her legs are translucent blue.  The top part of the blue is painted pink, though, so it looks like the color transition is gradual.  

This effect is really cool--like frosted glass--except at the backs of the knees, where the blue is showing and looks strange:

Also, the pink paint had been scratched off in several places along my Lagoona's leg:

And it's way too easy to scratch off more of the pink paint, with only gentle pressure from a fingernail:

That's really disappointing.

But back to Lagoona's hair: the hair on top of her head is yellow-blonde, and then there are teal and purple layers underneath.  

Right at the very front of her head, there are purple and teal streaks that are tied into little ponytails and clipped into white barrettes:

Lagoona has fin-like ears that look amazing, and each ear has a different style of earring.  The right ear has a simple blue ball:

But the left ear has a blue fish skeleton!

Lagoona's face has a lot going on.  She has blue freckles, dark teal eyebrows, green dots on her forehead, pink lips, and dark brown eyes:

All of this face paint, combined with her three-toned hair, make her look clown-ish.  Or like a clown fish, perhaps?

I think she looks really different from her promotional photos...unfortunately:

First of all, the pink color of the skin is much more subtle in the promo.  Also, that hair looks so shiny and silky!  It is definitely not like that in real life.  And I love the detail in the promotional doll's eyebrows.  They're nothing like the blocks of teal on my doll.

Also, the dots on my Lagoona's forehead are asymmetrical.  I'm not sure if they're meant to be symmetric, but the distribution bothers me:

The eye paint is nicely done, though, and there's some fine hairline detail in the eyebrows that's hard to appreciate from a distance:

But I'm confused by the eye makeup.  The silver eye shadow is decorated with little dots of blue and teal, but those dots end up looking like more freckles.  Or maybe they're supposed to be freckles?

Anyway, I removed all of Lagoona's extra accessories, mostly so that I could take down her ponytail and get a better look at her hair.

Here are all of those little items:

The fanny pack has shark teeth on the front and is hollow in back:

I love that there's a bite taken out of one of the straps!

This black ornament was holding Lagoona's ponytail, but I'm not sure what the design is supposed to be.  Sea urchins, perhaps?

After the ponytail was gone, I finger-combed Lagoona's hair.  It got fairly poofy, but it looks better than Clawdeen's hair, I think:

The rooting looks worse than Clawdeen's, though.  There's a lot of bare yellow scalp showing:

It's strange that the dolls wouldn't all have the same rooting pattern.

At the very end of my photos session, I also tried brushing Lagoona's hair with a wire brush.  This created a lot of frizz!

Like sea foam!
But the hair is not as coarse at the ends as Clawdeen's hair was, so I might not cut it.  I will definitely boil it into submission at some point.

Discluding all of those small accessories, Lagoona's outfit consists of only a hoodie top, a pair of shorts, and some sandals.

The top is bright pink, with mesh sleeves and the silhouette of a skeleton sea horse on the front:

The hood pulls all of the way up over Lagoona's head, and there's a hole in the back so that her hair can hang out:

The hood has a scale print and is decorated with little rainbow fins on either side.  I like the hood because it reminds me of a scuba diving suit:

Here's the top on its own so you can see the stitching:

I really like the fun mix of fabrics in this piece, and the mesh sleeves are a wonderful nautical detail, but when paired with all of the color chaos on Lagoona herself, it's pretty overwhelming!

The shorts are made out of the same rainbow fabric that decorates the side of the hood.  They have a high waist and little fin-like ruffles along each leg:

I love the look of these shorts, but they were very hard to get off over Lagoona's large plastic leg fins:

And because the pointed parts of the fin point downwards...

the shorts are even harder to put back on then they are to take off.

Fortunately, as an anonymous commenter informed me, the fins are removable!  I tugged at these and couldn't get them out at first, but a bit of back-and-forth wiggling did the trick.  The connection seems sturdier than the first wave doll's fins, too:

Lagoona has molded fin detail on her wrists, too, and this looks great:

The fins interfere with the free movement of the jacket sleeves a little bit, but they don't hinder dressing and undressing--at least not with this outfit.

Lagoona's sandals are the least interesting of all the shoes I've seen so far.  They are pink with blue wedge heels, and they have molded fins on the outside edges of each top strap:

The top strap also has the word "MONSTER" molded in all-caps and painted black:

And there's a teeny little molded shell on the toe.
Let's see quickly how some of the accessories work with Lagoona.

The shell-shaped backpack has small straps that fit tightly across Lagoona's shoulders:

The pack looks good, but it's hard to play with because of the tight fit.

Lagoona can hold the goldfish crackers to try to get a snack...but the bottom of the carton is hollow, so I'm not sure she's going to get any food:

She carries her phone nicely in her left hand:

And can even hold it up to her ear for a call:

Does anyone make calls anymore?
The phone would work a bit better if it could slide all of the way on to Lagoona's the promo suggests:

This way the case could lay flat against her palm.  As it is, the phone sticks out in an unnatural way.  It's still a really fun accessory, though.

Lagoona's best accessory is probably her extra outfit:


The swimsuit is super-cute and easy to use, and I love the little ruffle details, but the orange and green color scheme is random and does not match Lagoona's skin or hair.

Neptune saw Lagoona in her swimsuit and thought maybe they were heading to the ocean:

But when Lagoona explained that the ocean is about an hour away (and that goldfish can't survive in salt water) Neptuna started hunting around for a fish bowl purse!

As I was posing these two, I was frustrated by how hard it is for Lagoona to hold her pet:

But then I realized that Neptuna's tail fin is curved so that it can wrap around Lagoona's arm!  That's pretty clever:

And now this pair is much easier to pose:

Bottom line?  Any Monster High re-boot was going to be fraught with emotion.  On the one hand, the dolls are so iconic and beloved, everybody who was a fan in the past is ready and eager to be a fan in the present.  And those people are going to be super-excited to see the dolls on the shelves again--perhaps to the degree that any shortcomings will be overlooked.  On the other hand, the dolls are so iconic and beloved, any little change from the past could be met with disappointment or even rejection.  Mattel was in a tough spot here, and I sympathize.

I found myself fitting into both of the categories, above.  I was gleeful to learn that this brand was getting rejuvenated, and I couldn't wait to see the new dolls.  I can't remember the last time I was so excited to get something in the mail!  However, having seen a few of the characters up-close, I have a lot of mixed feelings...and I definitely miss the weirdness of the older versions.  I love G3 Clawdeen, though.  She's not the Clawdeen I know from my past, but she's cute, well-articulated, and has a wonderful mix of clothing and accessories.  She's like a younger version of the character, which is fun.  I'm less excited about Lagoona and Ghoulia, though.  Ghoulia is too far removed from the character I've gotten to know over the years, and I also feel like she's not a particularly attractive doll in her own right (although she grew on me).  G3 Lagoona is more appealing, but her styling feels overdone, and she's a far cry from the understated, ethereal Lagoona that I love.  With all of the dolls, even though they have great articulation, the switch to more mainstream bodies (and hands, in particular) came at the cost of the zany expressiveness of the older dolls.

But a lot of time has passed since Monster High products were first released, and the kids who are interested in these dolls right now might not even have been alive in 2010.  So they'd have no attachment to the older dolls.  How do these characters look to newcomers, then?  I bet they look pretty good.

The dolls are colorful, friendly, relatable, and very well articulated.  They have fun, themed accessories that are modern, creative, and will surely enhance play.  I appreciate the detail in the mini snacks and the iCoffin phones, and basically love all of Ghoulia's extras.  And even though none of the characters have a creepy or edgy appearance, the monster theme and colorful skin makes them more interesting than a lot of other fashion doll brands.  There are some quality issues, though.  The clothing is great on the whole, and I absolutely love Clawdeen's entire outfit, but some of the other pieces are not as good.  In particular, Ghoulia's plastic skirt feels cheap, and it also rides up and restricts her movement.  The hair is also a big problem--at least on the dolls who have wavy locks.  I had to cut off nearly two inches of Clawdeen's hair before the coarse frizz was gone, and Lagoona's hair is sparsely-rooted, very poofy, and hard to manage; it looks nothing like the promotional photos.  The worst flaws are probably my Clawdeen's broken hand (which happened after only removing it three times) and the paint on Lagoona's lower legs, which is way too easy to scratch off.

It's hard to ignore the fact that these dolls are nothing like the originals.  But the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the change was a good move.  I clearly remember that seven years ago I was getting tired of Monster High.  There were so many dolls on the shelves at that time, each individual character felt less special.  The dolls all started to look the same to me, too, even though there were still a bunch of really creative ideas in the mix.  So I have to ask myself: how would I have felt if Mattel had started releasing new dolls that all had the same exact aesthetic and body design as the older ones?  It probably wouldn't have taken long before I was right back to where I was in 2015: a little bored and ready for something new.  And Mattel delivered something truly new this year--while also releasing some nostalgia-driven characters that look like the older dolls.  It's hard to make everybody happy, but I'd say that so far, the range of 2022 Monster High releases are doing a pretty good job.  I, for one, am delighted to be back in the Monster High world, whatever form it takes.

So welcome back, you crazy ghouls--flaws and all.  I've missed you. 



  1. I'm glad you reviewed these and gave them a fair shot too!

    From what we've heard from the doll influencers that went to some mattel events related to MH the changes in things like heritage both in big ways - Clawdeen now Afro-latina & raised by a single human father vs. a big family & two parent household in the monster world - and little ones - Lagoona is now latina as well, from Honduras, Draculaura is asian both in actor and in character backstory, Deuce has two moms now and other things - to appearance were made either with kids in mind or chosen by the kids themselves (a prototype of Clawdeen's bedroom playset showed pictures of a still blue Lagoona) so it's definitely interesting to see how trends and tastes change over a decade plus span. The one thing I noticed the most is that G3 uses a lot of the same colors that G1 did only without also adding in black as an accent color/to contrast it so everything is brighter because of it or the lack of black.

    More so than g2 this reboot feels very intentional and thoughtful with everything they've chosen to change or update. While G2 felt like a watered down and rushed version of the ghouls we know without anything truly to them I found myself drawn to these new versions as their own characters and entities on their own merits with some cute winks to the original g1 without it being overwhelming. They also previewed the cartoon series after the movie broadcast on nickelodeon and posted one of the mini episodes onto the youtube channel and it feels both lighter and more joke heavy but also thoughtful and already setting up some interesting conflicts. It's going to be very fun to see where this version of MH is in a year and I look forward to where it will take us.

    1. Hi Andrew, thank you so much for adding all of the cool background and heritage information on the characters! I love the changes Mattel made, and it might even inspire me to watch the cartoon. I watched bits of the live-action movie but haven't seen the whole thing yet. I agree that this generation feels very thoughtful. What a huge responsibility to re-release these characters, and Mattel did a nice job.

  2. I was so happy to read this! I remember the monster high days….(falls into re reading every monster high review this blog has ever had) overall I am ok with these new dolls, but I still prefer the others.

    1. I prefer the older ones, too, but I've definitely gotten sucked into this new group. I'm very excited to de-box my Frankie and to get my hands on Draculaura. But I also like that there are some new dolls that look like the older ones, too! So many (too many?) options!

  3. I've been waiting for this. Surprisingly, the one I ended up liking the most is Draculaura. It's not overdone, more creative than a simple too and skirt, and doesn't look cheap (Hi, Ghoulia).

    1. The funny thing is, I didn't even look too closely at Draculaura at first because I don't tend to buy that character's dolls, but when I heard she had a different, body I looked closer...and then of course decided I wanted to buy her, too! Sigh. ;)

  4. Definitely a review I've been curious about! I very much agree with your thoughts on Clawdeen. I love the old Clawdeen and I think new Clawdeen is absolutely adorable! But they're totally different characters. I quite like most of the changes to the ghouls, and even the ones I'm not fond of don't bother me too much. Kind of bummed at how your Lagoona looks compared to the promo pictures, she was/is going to be my first purchase of the new line I think. there's an upcoming line with lockers and I prefer most of the clothing in that set so I'm trying to hold out on the others! Frankie is probably my favorite. I love all the changes made to them. And their new outfits are incredible!

  5. Lagoona's fins are actually removable, it just takes a little more effort to get them out, but it's possible!

  6. First of all, excited to read the review! The new chest joint has me very interested. Frankie has my favorite designs and Draculaura’s new body type is exceptionally cute.

    I’m sorry your Clawdeen’s hand broke! Does the packaging instruct you to remove hands like it used to? I don’t have any G3 dolls yet, but the bodies remind me more of DC Superhero Girls and Wild Hearts Crew dolls, neither of which advises pulling the hands off. Original MH/EAH is the only major playline series that did, AFAIK. Lots of limbless girls on the second hand market…!


    1. I don't see anything on the box about removing the hands, but there's no way Clawdeen's shirt will fit on without removing her hands. I tried. The other dolls in this review did not have to have their hands removed in order to be dressed, which I appreciate!

    2. LOL OMG girls and Rainbow High also have removable hands but I don't know about other current playline dolls, those are the only ones I have experience with right now.

    3. my Ever After High Madeline Hatter's hand has been the same way since approximately 2012 (oh my god that's a full ten years ago), but the vinyl is pliable enough that I can make the broken... axle, I guess? in the hand fit back into its connector in the wrist peg. I'm not sure if it'll be the same with G3 Monster High. I can confirm that Draculaura's hands need to be removed to take off her pink undershirt, so it is intentional. since LOL OMG and RH both have removable hands, maybe they just figure most people know this already? who knows.
      (I'm very happy with my Frankie and Draculaura! G3 Frankie in particular means a lot to me. as a nonbinary person, it's so nice to see a character expressing so much joy in their identity without being questioned for wearing skirts and keeping their hair long. they're quickly becoming one of my favorite dolls and I can't wait to find Clawdeen in stores and round out the trio!)

  7. Comment part 1 (lol):
    I'm really happy you decided to review some of the new ghouls! Monster High is very near and dear to my heart. I still have all the dolls I got since 2010, and I still consider it to be my main collection (besides Mattel's Winx dolls). So I was extremely excited when the reboot was announced, and very anxious to see which direction Mattel would be going in. My first impressions were fine. Some of the changes were a bit of a shock, though I gradually got used to things like Lagoona's pink skin. I still don't love some of the characters (Toralei and Ghoulia especially don't really speak to me), but others have already made their way to my wish list (sigh, hahaha). Though they lost a bit of their edge, I can appreciate that these dolls are what the target audience want, and some of the new features, like the different body types and torso joints, are improvements on the older dolls in my eyes. That's not to say that Mattel doesn't have work to do still. The lack of stands is very annoying to me, the paint on Lagoona's legs and the stitches and drawings on Frankie's body scratch off way too easily (some people have tried to seal it, with disastrous results) and Clawdeen's polypropylene hair must be replaced with a batter hair fiber asap.

    In general, I think Mattel has done a good job with this reimagining of the Monster High brand (the playsets also look amazing) and I think both kids and long-time adult collectors will be able to enjoy the new dolls.

    1. Comment part 2:
      There's one final thing that I must mention, however, and that is the disastrous distribution of the new dolls, both within the US and international. G3 seems to be going okay right now within the US, though prices in Canada are atrocious and it's still not clear when they will be arriving in Europe and how much they will cost here. The Creeproductions and Reel Drama dolls are really where it's at, though. Both have been very hard to get in the US, with the Creepros selling out in no time in the few Walmarts that actually got them, and seemingly no new stock being delivered after that. Reel Drama has followed a similar path, being very hard to find, but there are some signs that stores will receive new stock. Outside the US though? Forget about it. The Creeproductions were available for an incredibly short period of time (also sold out almost immediately), for hiked up prices, on select European Mattel websites (I think the UK, Spain, Germany and France got them). Those European Mattel websites only ship to their own country. There is no sign that the Creeproductions will ever receive a wider release in Europe, or other parts of the world (Australia didn't get them either, for example). In short, we missed the boat on them. Even if they were easily available on US websites (which they are not), ordering is still a pain due to limited payment methods, shipping, VAT, import fees, customs clearance fees -- you know the drill. Again, Reel Drama seems to be following the same path. It is unclear when and if we will ever get those. I'm used to Skullector and Haunt Couture drops on Mattel Creations being hard to get, but Mattel has reached new heights with these 'regular' new G1 releases. All this to say that for many fans, the frustration about the distribution and lack of information on Mattel's part about international releases far, far outweighs any criticism people seem to have on the actual dolls themselves. Having a solid product is nice, keeping it from people when you're an international company with more than enough budget and resources to spread it to every corner of the world is not. We're used to not getting everything (and even MGA has its distribution flaws, to be fair), but when it's such a big brand with such an anticipated comeback and when it has always been available from 2010 onwards, it's just flabbergasting to see Mattel drop the ball so hard.

      I do expect G3 here at some point. I can't imagine Mattel keeping those dolls from eager child audiences over here, who I know will just gobble up the new Nickelodeon show, the movie, and the cute and colorful dolls. I doubt older collectors who have supported the brand for so many years will have as much luck with the new G1 releases, though.

    2. Tali, you should have your own blog. You always have such insightful comments! I found the release of the Reel Drama and Creeproduction dolls frustrating, too. I tried to keep tabs on the release dates, but things sold out in the middle of the night or something. I was forced to go on eBay and pay twice the retail price for my Creeproduction Clawdeen. I'm waiting to see if maybe the Reel Drama dolls will come back into stock before I spend too much on them!

    3. Hahaha, that's a wonderful compliment, Emily! Thank you.
      It's honestly crazy that Mattel can't even get it right within the US. I've read so many frustrated posts by American collectors facing empty store shelves and missing out on the dolls online as well... It's really unacceptable. Get your act together, Mattel!

    4. I preordered the reproduction Clawdeen as soon as she was available and WalMart kept postponing my shipment and finally canceled my order and refunded me. :( I can’t afford the secondary market prices and I was really looking forward to her. The release has been frustrating for sure.

  8. Hey! Thank You for This Exactly what I’ve been waiting for to make my mind about new G3 dolls!
    Color Switch is Surprise Ghoula is now green & Frankie blue & Pink Lagoona Goldfish should be Orange?;) lol Clawdeeen & Ghoula my fav & agree these are too cutesy & young aka Monster Middie!
    My impression was these were supposed to be OG little sisters but Mattel decided to keep old names & drop doll stand?:) MH tm was fashion style & fangtastic shoe design so far g3 is not *it?;)
    p.s your blog is Best reviews Ever as I also look for articulation info & true doll gem treasure as it help me identify my Barbie Malucha doll!;) lol p.p.s Hope you get new Twyla as well when she’s up also these look interesting Fidgie Friends Dandelion Wishes!^^ ;D

  9. I am NOT a fan of the new Lagoona, LOL. I don't mind the other two so much, though. Did you have any more problems with broken joints after Clawdeen's hand popped off?

    1. The new designs are interesting. They definitely don’t feel like the same characters, but as a reimagining of the line I do like them, if that makes sense. Hopefully there is still a place for the edgier older designs! Thanks as always for the great review.

  10. Clawdeen's hand does not look broken to me. I would try to pop it back in. IMPORTANT tip: whenever you need to remove, or put back on doll limbs, heads or tough shoes and bracelets, warm them up in hot water. If you don't want to get them wet, put them in a plastic bag first.

    And thank you so much for the review! It definitely confirms what I long suspected: I can not connect with the G3 dolls. They look like adult Enchantimals with Barbie Extra hair and outfits. I like some of the outfit pieces, but since they changed the body type, it makes no sense for me to buy anything from the new dolls. I like everything about the old ones better (except the glue heads). However, there are many young kids in our local collectors group and some of them prefer the new dolls. They are excited about the new movies and backstories. I feel like an old grump seeing the G3 discussions in our chat group. I hope there will be more nostalgia releases along with the updated dolls, and that they are not impossible to find for a fair price.

  11. Fully agree that they seem to be going for entirely new characters, and seeing your thorough comparisons, I think that's for the best. It's much easier to accept all these changes when you know they are someone new, for a new generation, though I will miss the intentionally eery designs of the ogs! The new bodies are very cute, though I wish they'd made different choices with Ghoulia. Lagoona isnt my favourite, but i can understand the tropical reef look they are aiming for. Ghoulia doesn't read zombie at all without all the brains, on her own she could just be an equestrian girl, a fairy, or some other type of colourful character.

    In fairness, a a mold featuring decayed parts might have been a bridge too far.

    1. It hasn't been in the past-- the half-zombie Neighthan Rot had half of his body parts rotted away to reveal muscle tissue. I do agree the female zombies having detail would have been cool, though Neighthan may have gotten away with it due to being a one-off character and a hybrid monster who demanded more than grey skin to communicate his zombie half.

  12. My doll era is over, and my collection mostly gone. I only kept the Inner Monster that introduced me to the brand (the same one you reviewed), but I always suspected MH would make me dip my toes back in out of sentimentality if nothing else, and I've had a lot of thoughts seeing the G3 reveals unfold.

    You definitely looked at the most thoroughly reimagined and likely divisive characters this time (save for Deuce, who I'd--humbly asking--love to see reviewed on this blog). I think Clawdeen feels like a totally different person and Ghoulia is far aesthetically reduced, but Lagoona is respectably interesting as a wildly different design. I think Draculaura and Cleo came out relatively the same aesthetically despite some changes, and Frankie is similar too even though I don't love their color palette.

    A few of the details you seemed unfamiliar with on the G3 dolls were actually introduced in G2-- Clawdeen's fur and Cleo's body bandages were additions back in 2016 that gave them body details for the first time. Other changes included the same furry body for Abbey and a new body for Venus with a few curling vines. Toralei also got a black cat nose which has carried over to G3, along with Clawdeen now having a dog nose.

    I think this G3 relaunch has been fascinating to observe as both a corrective measure for the stagnantly sanitized G2 disappointment and a study of how much 12 years of culture can change things. These dolls feel firmly 2022 in sensibilities and aesthetics but still carry enough G1 spirit and bring back certain elements (like Ghoulia herself!) and it's really neat to see. Frankie is especially welcome in their G3 incarnation since Garrett Sander had always wanted queer representation in the brand and I'm impressed that they're giving the first case of it to a really prominent character. I'm also glad that (at least, this early in G3) the budget dolls are still fully finished and articulated. I think I want the budget version of Frankie, since they're wearing a pretty transparent G3 take on their G1 signature outfit. I also want Deuce, since he's the only drastically-changed character who strikes me as much more appealing than before.

  13. Oof. I have mixed feelings. On the positive side, I like their clothes and shoes. However the dolls themselves miss the target for me in a major way. They have completely lost the vibe and attitude of the older dolls, becoming very generic and 'safe'. I understand that these new dolls might be more appealing to today's kids, but this certainly isn't Monster High. I cannot express how much I dislike the new box art, yikes! Like you said, it's cartoony and goofy.
    The molded details (like Clawdeen's fur and Cleo's wrappings) are actually not a new thing; the last waves of the old dolls also had them. G2?
    Overall I feel rather bummed out about this change. Perhaps I'll warm up to them after a few waves, and perhaps the quality issues will be fixed by then, too. For now, though, I suppose I should be glad I can save my money.

  14. I'm so excited to see you review Gen 3! I only recently discovered your blog but your reviews are a delight. I purchased five of the G3 dolls last week (...oops) and it's very interesting hearing your take on them!

    I haven't had any issues with hands falling off or paint scratching yet but I have noticed that Clawdeen and Lagoona's hair just isn't that pretty or manageable out of the box. Much like you, I'm also planning to boil-wash and re-style them at some point. I'm hoping straightening and re-curling Lagoona's hair will improve it. Trimming Clawdeen's hair doesn't seem like a bad idea, either! I love how your Clawdeen looks with her haircut.

    One thing that I haven't seen a lot of people mention is that Draculaura is not the only one of the G3 dolls with a different bodytype! After I bought Cleo I realized that she has thicker thighs and a more hourglass torso than the other girls (she reminds me of an Ever After High doll). I don't know how her torso sculpt compares to Draculaura, since I don't have a Draculaura yet. Cleo and Frankie also have slightly longer lower legs - maybe a quarter of an inch or so? It's not as dramatic a height difference as the Big Sister characters of gen 1 used to have, but it's noticeable when the dolls are out of their shoes.

    As much as I love the extra accessories G3 dolls come with, I too find myself missing the stands! I haven't tried yet, but I doubt G3 dolls are particularly compatible with G1 stands because of their thicker waists. I may end up looking around for other options. I also miss the detailed character profiles on the boxes and the diaries. As a kid I loved getting a new doll and reading through all the diary entries. It felt so special! I don't expect Mattel to bring back the diaries, but I really hope they start giving these dolls stands!

    I own a G3 Ghoulia, and while I like her a lot more in person than I did while looking at the promo photos...I don't know. She's a pretty doll, but to me she just looks too cheerful? I feel like part of G1 Ghoulia's charm was her gloominess, and that's completely gone. Plus, if you take away all of her zombie and brain-themed clothes, you would never know she's a zombie! The same could be argued of G1, I supposed, but I wish they had gone a little further with the theme or come up with some unique molding details. And I agree with you about the skirt! I'm tempted to try to find a pattern for some cargo pants. She would be such a cute skater girl with some hot pink cargo pants to replace the skirt! I do love her jacket, though. It might be one of my favorite individual pieces of clothing so far.

    I look forward to seeing any future reviews you write for G3. They may not be perfect, but they genuinely delight me and I'm really interested to see G3 versions of other characters like Abbey Bominable or Spectra Vondergeist.

  15. Thank you so much for your review, Emily. Clawdeen was never my favorite but the new doll looks adorable, I really have to adopt her when she arrives in Europe. I also love the new body :)

    Ghoulia and Lagoona are two of my favorites but I don‘t like the new girls at all…they kind of missed the character.

    I‘m really curious about Draculaura and would love to see her new body.
    And about Frankie being non-binary: did they give her a male or female body? You can‘t really see with that big hoodie :)

    1. G3 Frankie uses they/them pronouns but appears and expresses themselves in a femme style, so their body is physically female.

    2. Hi Emily! This is not a post about Clawdeen but about how happy I am to have found your blog is back (yes, I’m late to the game.) The timing couldn’t be better. I was happily into collecting dolls many years ago, in fact I even did a guest review for you once with some Disney store dolls. But I sold them all at one point or another to do exciting things like “pay rent.” Now my littles are slightly less little, so, I’m back to work part time and we are comfortable so I can go back to my hobby!

      Now I have a 6 year old who is FINALLY getting into dolls so I was searching for 18” dolls. I love American Girl but also variety is the spice of life. Happy Kidz by Gotz came up so I went to my main resource and searched your blog. You had of course reviewed them. Their faces are so sweet. There you recommended for a larger selection than what is available in the states. And that’s when things started to unravel. One word: Zwergnase. Read your review of Ivanca and down the rabbit hole aka Samantha's Dolls. I definitely need these in my life!! I guess its good timing since my husband was just complaining about my (lack of) a wishlist.

      Anyway, belated welcome back!


    3. Her legs look like they're from a female body and I can't imagine them actually taking the time to frankenstein a male/female body mold together given how lazy the rest of these designs are. Not that I'd want them to, the resulting doll would look ridiculous and disproportionate.

  16. I currently own Cleo, Ghoulia, Lagoona and Toralei.
    I also have several Gen 1 dolls and a Creeproduction Clawdeen.

    I gotta say I love Ghoulia's new look, but I did have to mentally separate Gen 3 and treat them like their own thing entirely. I didn't like them as much when I tried to see them as the same characters as Gen 1, but when I separate the two, I can appreciate both lines of dolls.

  17. I am happy they exist, but probably will not buy any of them. They are missing that edge that made G1 so special to me. (Ghoulia is the worst imo. All those sharp, fierce glares she had now turned into puppy dog eyes.)

  18. boil washing the g3 girls hair seems to be a major gamble. from what ive heard, the material is ruined and dried out by the heat. which is inexcusable for a lot of reasons. I said i wouldnt say anything bad about the dolls until i got Ghoulia in my hands (as not to throw off the balance) but now i can say i miss my creepy, mean looking glamour puss zombie girl...heck i miss Moanica! The oddness factor has been turned down so much when (,as you and others have said,) the weird stuff is what people like! Its what kids like! I have warm feelings for the reboot, really, but it dosn't fill the unique niche g1 did. It was lightning in a bottle kind of stuff.

  19. i feel like a minority in that i genuinely adore these dolls and in some ways prefer them to the originals - though, granted, i don't have much of an emotional attachment to G1 for various reasons (mostly not being able to afford them). like i thought they were great, but there was never one i Loved, y'feel? as opposed to now, where i am getting frankie the second they drop where i live (enbies gotta stick together :p)
    my personal perspective on them is; if i were about 11 again, ie. the target audience, and i was the weird, kooky, painfully unsocial child that i was back then; these dolls would, in a way, feel like the equally weird and kooky friends i wished i had.

    and for what it's worth, it's pretty clear that the designers actually researched what real-life trends are popular amongst The Youths - lagoona being very clearly VSCO-girl inspired, for instance, or draculaura's pastel goth. which definitely stands in contrast with mattel's other lines (cough cough barbara).

    my biggest issue isn't with the dolls, but with the sheer amount of vitriol aimed at them and people who like them. i've seen more than one doll youtuber i follow get some absolutely vile things sent to them (including death threats) for the crime of... saying they're not that bad, maybe. it is absolutely abhorrent. imagine having that much ire over your own nostalgia for funny little plastic women.

    oh, and also i'm p sure cleo's snack is a shawarma wrap :p

  20. I love your blog and have been reading for a long time. To me it looks like the G3 monster high dolls are the ever after high dolls trying to cosplay as monsters! Did not really collect monster high but I have probably 5 of them, just for something unique amongst my barbies. Never had a favorite character. (Also have 3 ever after high so that is why I am making this comparison.) The only doll from the G3 I might consider getting is Toralei and that is because I saw her in person and she still looks like to have a cat like face.

  21. I just bought core Draculaura and this will be it! I have core Cleo that I really like because of her gorgeous face but... these dolls are £30 (£29.99 exactly! Luckily I paid £19.99 for mine!) here in the UK. It is overpriced for the quality offered. When I unboxed Draculaura, I have been shocked with her thin hair at first. No bald spot but you can't even give her pig tails. I find her... no personality. And the hands, no! Original MH dolls had so expressive hands. She is overall so pink, she was hurting my eyes at first! Oh and her legs... She has some of the ugliest legs I have ever seen on a doll. Mattel are not very good at curvy bodies. Omgs curvy bodies are so cute and sexy. The pixelated accessories did not impress me at all. I only like the pretzel! This unboxing has been a disappointment and I considered selling her at first. She grew on me a bit but G3 are not for me. I prefer the sexy bodies of the originals. I prefer their gorgeous defined face molds and dramatic eyes. I have seen Venus and I like her a lot more than the other G3 dolls so far but no way I will pay £30. Ghoulia's face was a shock the first time I saw her but it is still Ghoulia... even if she looks nothing like her glamourous former self.
    I wanted to love these dolls so much because they are MH. I don't really. I don't dislike them either. They are just a bit bland. I asked myself if I would want to buy these dolls if would see them on shelves and if they weren't Monster High? I don't think so. I would happily thrift them but no way I will buy them at retail price. It is just a bit sad for me. I still love and enjoy my G1 dolls so much.