Saturday, March 25, 2023

Unique Eyes Dolls by Giochi Preziosi

Okay, so have you ever looked at a realistic painting of a person, and felt like that person was watching you?  Like their eyes were actually following you as you moved around the room?  The Mona Lisa is a classic example of this; her knowing gaze follows wherever you go.  Well, that's usually a feature of two-dimensional objects.  Our brains perceive the realistic shadows and reflections in the painting as actual near and far points, even though they're only flat on paper.  This means that no matter from what angle we view the painted face, the near and far points remain the same--and so the direction of the gaze remains the same.  Pretty neat, right?

Well, it's much harder to do this kind of thing in three dimensions, since the near and far points of a rounded eye actually do change as we move, but the Italian toy giant Giochi Preziosi appears to have figured it out.  Their Unique Eyes doll line features eyes that actually follow you around the room!  

I'm always on the lookout for something truly new and different in the doll world, and I feel like this brand definitely fits the bill.  I want to throw out a big "thank you" to gothielle, who alerted me to the presence of these fascinating dolls.  Gothielle, you know me well; I've become completely obsessed.

Unique Eyes Amy (left) and Sophia (right) by Giochi Preziosi, variable price.

I've looked at Giochi Preziosi brands a few other times, including a 2014 Winx Club review, and a W.I.T.C.H. joint review.

Unique Eyes is technically a brand under the Flair company umbrella, but Flair is owned by Giochi Preziosi.  Incidentally, Famosa (the Spanish group that makes Nancy dolls) was recently purchased by Giochi Preziosi as well.  Apparently Giochi Preziosi is thriving these days, so maybe we'll start to see more of the company's dolls here in the United States?  I hope so.

At the moment, toys from this company are much, much easier to find in Europe than they are here.  I found my Unique Eyes dolls on Amazon for about $40 each, and I bought the only two dolls that were available: Total Look Amy and a more basic Sophia.  This review will focus on Amy, but I'll show you Sophia at the end.

Here's Amy in her box:

Unique Eyes Total Look Amy, $39.77 on Amazon.
I'm not sure what the actual MSRP is on these dolls, but I've seen a few listed new in Europe for between 25-30, which is just slightly lower than the dollar prices on Amazon.

Amy came in a hexagonal cardboard box with a wraparound window.  The cardboard has a metallic shine and is decorated with words in English, Italian, and occasionally Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Turkish:


I could already see that, even in her box, Amy's eyes were following me around as I examined the packaging from different angles!

I see you!
The back of the box has pictures of the three Unique Eyes characters, which took me by surprise!  Since the U.S. Amazon only has two characters in stock, I assumed that there were only two characters.  Bad assumption:

Amy, Sophia, and Rebecca!
As excited as I was to see Rebecca, I have to say that I was distracted by the number of languages on this box.  It's pretty astonishing.  You can see some more writing on the sides:


I had a fun time trying to identify as many of the languages as I could, and now I have to add German, Uzbek (?), Greek, Norwegian, (and maybe more?) to the list!

But anyway, let's take a closer look at the third character, Rebecca:

I like her boots.
She appears to have brown eyes with platinum hair that's streaked with blue and pink.  I like the box art here.  I feel like it's similar enough to the real dolls to avoid being misleading, but it's stylized in an attractive way.

The surprise appearance of Rebecca inspired me to go to the Flair website and look at the entire Unique Eyes lineup...or what I thought was the entire Unique Eyes lineup.  The products listed on that site include two waves of dolls and two larger playsets.

The first group of dolls is simple with no extra clothing or accessories:

Fashion doll Amy--love her coat.
Fashion doll Rebecca.  In her pajamas?
Fashion doll Sophia--also love her coat!
The Total Looks wave is a bit more fancy, and each doll has a second complete outfit:

Total Look Amy (in this review).
Total Look Rebecca, with a really interesting mix of clothing...and another cool coat.
Total Look Sophia--is that an orange leather jacket??  Love it.
The two playsets are Rebecca on a scooter:

Very cute!
And Sophia with a vanity:

Hm.  I don't really like that skirt.
Some of these dolls can be found on eBay from international sellers.  While I was browsing on eBay, I also located a few more items that do not appear on the Flair site, including this Winter Holiday sledding playset with Sophia:

The silver and blue color combination looks great!
I also found a Sophia doll wearing an adorable raincoat outfit, and her box had pictures of a fourth character named Victoria.  This new information sent me back down the rabbit hole and deep into another internet hunt!

On an Italian toy store website, I found two more waves of dolls.  One of the waves includes the raincoat Sophia that I saw on eBay:

I really like her rainbow dress and raincoat!
And a basic Victoria:

She's lovely with those emerald eyes!  And look at her fringe dress!
Versions of Amy and Rebecca are in this group, too:

That coat is divine.
Cute fringed skirt.
There was also a trio of very brightly-colored dolls who are all variations on this smiley concept:

Not sure about that outfit...
I kept searching and found yet another toy store with a group shot of dolls with larger accessories like scooters and skate boards:


And then I somehow stumbled upon the Belgian Amazon site, where there are even more dolls!

There are several basic waves that include at least three of the characters:

Basic Amy.
There's a color change hair wave called Wow Hair with Amy, Sophia, and Rebecca:

Wow Hair Amy.
A Pajama Party wave:

With tiny little unicorns!
Two more Winter Holiday sledding dolls:

Winter Holiday Amy.
A Sun Lover group with the three original characters:

That silver dress is cool!
A tattoo lover group with Rebecca and Sophia:

Love Tattoo Sophia.
And even a fancy Grand Gala assortment!

Sophia's dress reminds me of Cinderella.
The newest addition that I could find is a Spring/Summer wave that includes another version of Victoria:

Spring/Summer Victoria.
...And that's when I stopped saving screenshots for the blog.  This whole post doesn't need to be filled with promotional photos!  Basically, there are tons of these dolls.  You can go to the Belgian Amazon page and see what I mean.  I really wish there was a better selection available here in the United States, though, because now I covet about five more of them!  Sigh.

Whew.  That was a long tangent!  Where was I?  Oh right--Amy's box.

The bottom of the box has a bunch of company logos, including Giochi Preziosi, Flair, and even Famosa:


There's also a 2021 copyright date on the box.  I think this doll is one of the earliest offerings, so that date gives us a clue about how long the brand has been around:


I count at least 13 collections in two years, which is huge.

Amy came attached to a bright pink cardboard backdrop that pulled out of the main box:


The de-boxing involved snipping quite a few plastic ties (including about four in Amy's head), but it was pretty straight-forward overall.

Here's everything that was in the box:


Amy's hair got flattened while it was in the box, so it was easy to see the rooting pattern right away:


The rooting density isn't great.  It's especially sparse in the very middle of the head:

That's disappointing.
When the hair is laying flat, it covers the head pretty well, but any little movement can reveal glimpses of yellow scalp. 

Amy's hair looks and feels nice.  It's smooth with some silkiness, and has a rooted side part at the front.  The hair comes tied into two little ponytails that sit above Amy's ears.  The ends of the ponytails are secured to the dress with yellow thread:


I snipped the thread and brushed Amy's hair:


It's shiny and smooth and has some blunt layers cut in the back:


Amy has a cute face with--like so many other play dolls these days--huge eyes and a tiny mouth and nose.  Her eyes appear slightly crossed when she's looking straight ahead at close range:


I wanted to explore the magic eye feature right away, so I took photos of Amy from different angles:


She's very good at following me from side to side:

Are you trying to sneak up on me?
And she can even look up, which is not something you see very much in the doll world:


She can look up and to the side, too, which is really cute:



And she can look down:

That's a little ominous.
Her face is dark in this view, so here's a closer look--it's freaky!

I see you, Emily.
This is more like it:

Bwa ha ha ha!!!  I SEE you, and I will DESTROY you! 
Anyway, the eye feature is really fun.  I'm a little obsessed with it.

Amy's face paint is fairly simple, with blocky, arched eyebrows, painted upper and lower lashes, and a thin rim of pink eyeshadow.  Her mouth is bright pink-ish purple and has a bit of a smile:

Not my favorite lip color.
Her eyes are green, with some realistic detail in the irises.  It was hard to focus on the iris pattern, though, because it's set fairly deep inside Amy's head:


Here's a better look:


The eyes are really great.  I'm surprised that no other doll companies have come up with this idea (or maybe they have?).  The closest thing I can think of is my Tonner Patience doll whose eyes flipped from side to side (and sometimes got crossed!) because of a weighted mechanism inside the head.  Or of course Pullip eyes, which can glance from side to side thanks to a lever on the back of the head.

It was hard to stop experimenting with Amy's eyes, but we still have to look at the rest of her body, so I'll try to control myself.

First of all, she's wearing a multi-piece outfit that includes a skirt, a jacket, and boots:


Here's the clothing from the back:


The boots look like they're plain black from the front and back, but they actually have a gold flower pattern on one side:


The jacket is made out of black matte imitation leather.  It has decorative pockets and a few little metal stud decorations:


The jacket feels nice and is well-constructed:


I always worry about dark-colored doll clothing because of its propensity to stain vinyl, but fortunately, Amy's plastic arms are free of any black marks!

All clear!
Underneath the jacket, Amy is wearing a gold dress with ribbon straps, a satin bodice, and three tiers of tulle ruffles in the skirt:


One of the ruffles on Amy's right side is stuck in a flipped-up position.

The bodice has a small velcro seam in back:


I encountered an obstacle as I was trying to remove the rest of Amy's outfit.  Maybe you've noticed already, but she has very large feet.  Not only that, but her legs are made out of rubbery vinyl, and this type of material has a lot of sticky friction.

The result was that I found it very difficult to pull the dress over Amy's feet...and of course her head is too big for clothing to slide off in that direction:

Stuck.
I had to work with care while removing this dress, too, because I didn't want to rip any of the seams.  I finally got the dress off, but this type of struggle would be frustrating for a child.

As for the dress itself, I could probably do without the large bow accent, but I like the gathered detail in the bodice, and the shimmery tulle is pretty:


The velcro is stiff plastic on one side and softer fabric on the other side:


The construction is fine, and while the edges aren't reinforced, there's a generous seam allowance in most places:


The boots were also a little hard to get off, but Amy's legs and feet are not at all delicate, so I didn't hesitate to tug with all of my might.

Here are the boots on their own:


In addition to the gold decorations on the outside edges, these boots have gold-colored treads:

Gold on the soles of her shoes.
Underneath all of her clothing, Amy has a somewhat unconventional body:

That's one way of saying it.
She has a small torso with modest curves, but then, BAM!  Big ol' Hobbit feet:


The feet are ridiculously big.  I like the effect a lot, though.  They remind me of Cave Club feet.  And the detail in the toes is really good:


There are so many dolls with oversized heads, but how many of them have huge feet to balance everything out?  Not many.

I have to keep counting those toes, though, because for some reason it looks like there are more than five.

Here's Amy from the back:


She has various molded and printed marks on the back of her torso, but nothing that specifies a date:


Amy's torso and arms are made out of plastic, but her legs and head are vinyl:


Plastic tends to be more resistant to staining than vinyl, which might explain why Amy's arms are stain-free.  I uncovered a small amount of staining above the neck on her vinyl head though--presumably from the black jacket:


When you look at the body from the side, you can see that the plastic torso has a fairly obvious side seam:


Amy also has an exaggerated arched back--a body style that Monster High made popular.

While I was photographing Amy from the side, I noticed that her eyes look black when they're in full profile:

That's spooky.
As I slowly moved my camera around towards the front of her face, I could start to see the sclera...

Haunted eye!
And then finally a bit of the green iris:

Now she's got her eye on me again.
I was starting to get a sense for the shape of these eyes, and some ideas about how they work, but I'll come back to that again in a little bit.  You know, when the eyes are out of Amy's head.  Because we all know that's how this is going to end.

In the meantime, let's take a look at Amy's articulation.  She has seven joints in total.

Her head bobbles up and down ever-so-slightly, but I wouldn't say that she can look up and down to any noteworthy degree.  She can spin her head around, though:


Amy's shoulders have rotating hinges that allow her to lift her arms straight up and away from her body:


Her arms can also spin around:


Her elbows and wrists are fixed, but her right arm is partially bent, which gives her a few more posing options.

Her graceful hands each have a slightly different shape, too:

And they're covered in lint from the jacket.

Amy's hips are rotating hinges that allow her to slide into perfect side-to-side splits:


She can also do excellent front-to-back splits:


And she can sit flat on the ground, although she has to lean back a little:


Amy's rubbery legs have click knee joints inside of them, and these allow the knees to bend a little bit:


So she can sit in a chair--or rather perch on the edge of a chair:


I don't get very excited about internal knee joints, mostly because they have minimal flexibility, but they are much better than completely unjointed legs.

Amy has a fairly average number of joints for a play doll, but the hinge movement in her arms and hips is very good.  Her hips are particularly impressive and have a ton of flexibility.  This, combined with the internal click knees, made for a way better articulation situation than I expected when I first got Amy out of her box.

At just over nine inches tall, Amy is about two inches shorter than a Barbie doll like Lena.  She also has a much larger head and a smaller torso...and bigger feet, of course.  Like, one of Amy's feet could eat both of Lena's feet whole.

Unique Eyes doll (left) and Barbie Signature Looks doll (right).
Amy's torso proportions are more similar to a G3 Monster High doll, although her huge feet would prevent a lot of clothes-sharing:

Unique Eyes doll (left) and G3 Monster High doll (right).
Lagoona can wear Amy's dress, though, and it fits pretty well!

G3 Lagoona wearing a Unique Eyes dress.
It's funny because while Amy might be able to borrow a few Monster High tops, she'd probably have better luck sharing shoes with dolls like the Las Amigas!

Now let's take a look at the alternate outfit that came with Amy.  This ensemble includes a jacket, a cropped tank, jeans, and some strange shoes:


The clothing came mounted (i.e. plastic tied) onto a plastic form, and the jean legs were stuffed with tissue paper:


The jacket is made primarily out of a cheap-feeling shiny synthetic material: 


But some of the details are really nice, like the real zipper teeth and some knitted ribbing at the bottom:


I wish that the cuffs and collar were made out of the same soft ribbing.

The sleeves of the jacket are decorated with some printed stripes:


The back cropped tank top is simple, with tiny little seam allowances and a velcro closure:


The jeans have more detail, with working belt loops and stitched pockets:


And the cuffs of the jeans are neatly rolled up and stitched in place:


The shoes don't fit with the rest of the outfit very well in my opinion.  They're more childish, and seem like something a Disney character would wear:


They have nicely-painted gold straps, though, and some molded hearts and swirls on the soles:


I should have seen this coming, given the trouble that I had removing Amy's dress, but the jeans were nearly impossible to put on.  In fact, there were several times during my struggle where I thought it simply wasn't going to be possible:

Hopelessly stuck.
Maybe talcum power or something could have helped reduce the friction on the legs?  I didn't think to try that in the moment.  I had to scrunch the entire length of both pant legs up and then try to jam all of the fabric over Amy's feet all at once.

This method eventually worked, but there's no way that the company play-tested this outfit.  It would be nearly impossible for most kids to get the jeans on by themselves--and stressful for most adults.

I was so pleased to have finally gotten the jeans in place, I was not at all happy to discover that the shoes are also hard to get on!

Give me a break.
At least the tank top is easy to use.

Here's Amy in her partial outfit:


The jeans look a little wrinkled from all of my efforts to get them on, but that's fine.  The tank top is more problematic, since it tends to ride up every time Amy moves:

Oh, dear.
Better put that jacket on, Amy!

And, guess what?  The jacket was hard to get on, too!  Amy's right hand kept getting stuck on the inside of the cuff:

You've got to be kidding me.
The jacket looks nice, though:


I was not in the mood to try and get those jeans off right away, so I asked Amy to pose for a while in her new clothes:


She's such a fun doll to photograph, because I never have to worry if she's looking at the camera or not!  I can put her into a single pose, like this:


And then just photograph her from different angles!


I find it especially impressive when she looks up for some reason:


The thing that these photos don't capture, though, is that even at times when I'm doing something like wrestling with her in my lap, trying to jam the jeans on over her big feet, she's still looking innocently up at me!  It can be a little disconcerting.


But also ridiculously endearing:


Amy has good balance because of her big feet, but the flexibility in her hips is also nice for posing.  I can move her legs apart and the widened stance allows her to balance on her own even when one of her legs is bent:


I think Amy is ready to move on with the review, now, though.  Do you get that sense?

Don't make me do scary eyes again, Emily.
After considerable effort, I got Amy back into her gold dress:


I really like how the color and metallic elements of this dress work with her shiny hair:


What a cutie:


The whole time I was photographing Amy, though, I was trying little experiments with her eyes.  For example, how far up can she look?  What are the limits?


Can she go even farther?


Maybe a little bit more??

Ow, this kinda hurts, Emily.
The eyes are an extremely fun feature.


I was so infatuated with Amy's eyes at this point, I was starting to wish that her head came on a different body.  Not only is her articulation more limited than I like, but those feet are really hard to deal with.

Amy's head has a very narrow opening--as you might recall from this earlier picture:


So a lot of popular bodies (Made to Move, Rainbow High, etc.) won't work without modification.  The two bodies that I have in my house that I thought might work are the Hairmazing Hairdorables and FailFix.  The skin tone matches weren't great for the Hairdorables, so I decided to try out a FailFix body.

Here's Amy's original body next to the FailFix SlayItDJ (aka Alyssa) body:

Unique Eyes body (left) and FailFix body (right).
You can see that the skin tone match isn't perfect, but it's pretty close.  It's certainly much closer than I thought I would get using only parts I had on-hand.

I was able to remove Amy's head without too much trouble, but unfortunately the FailFix heads are molded onto the neck peg, so I had to cut Alyssa's head off.  Sorry, Alyssa.

Here's Amy's head on a FailFix body:

Unique Eyes doll on a FailFix body.
It was fun to have some new posing options with this body, but the head transplant left Amy's neck joint a little wobblier than it originally was.  Her head always wants to tip upwards now, too.


Amy's dress is quite loose on the FailFix body, but it works well enough:


So she's able to use some of her original clothing:

Look like the jacket swallowed her right hand, though.
In the end, I found myself missing the big-footed charm of the older body, so I decided to put Amy's head back where it belongs.

And while I was heating the head up for re-attachment, I decided to pop one of the eyes out.  

I warned you it would happen:


The eye design is cool.  The dome of the eye is quite tall, but the printed iris is at the very back of the eye--and completely flat:


You can see how flat it is the more I angle the camera upwards:


And when I'm looking at the eye straight from the side, the iris completely disappears:


I think what's happening with the eye moving effect is that because the iris is completely flat, and set back away from the domed surface of the eye, the image behaves like a painting: the two-dimensional renderings of depth remain the same no matter how our angle of sight changes.

I'm so impressed!  I wish I could buy magic eyes like this for a My Twinn doll.

The eyes are low-quality, though, and I scratched the back in a few areas during the extraction.  Still, it was possible to get the eye back in place.

Here's Amy restored to her former self (and with her hair taken down):

It's nice to have the big feet back.
Amy's neck joint is messed-up now and her eye is scratched, so even though my curiosity was satisfied, I'm a little sad that I tried to modify her.  She's in better shape than Alyssa, though, that's for sure.

Anyway, here's Amy showing off a new combination of her clothing:


Yes, I wrestled her back into the jeans, but I wasn't happy about it.  Wardrobe changes are not going to be a common occurrence for this girl.


Good thing she looks cute in everything:


Amy certainly offers a good example of the Unique Eyes concept, but since there was another doll easily available at Amazon--and because that doll has red hair--I decided to buy her, too.

This is Sophia, and she's from a more basic wave of dolls.  She doesn't have an extra outfit or any accessories:


I love how with her head tipped down a bit (probably because the box got smashed in transit) it looks like she's peeking up at me from under those thick bangs:

Just try to take out my eyes, Emily.
The box is very similar to Amy's box--just smaller.  And it shows different versions of each character on the back:


I like these outfits better than the Total Looks clothes, for the most part.  I especially like Amy's sequined dress and long blue coat.

I was dismayed to see that Sophia comes wearing jeans, though:

Here we go again.
Straight out of the box, Sophia's hair didn't look nearly as nice as Amy's.


Not only was the hair clumped together into two ugly matted sections:


But the bangs looked distinctly uneven:


I took off the hat (which of course came plastic-tied to the head) in order to get a better look.  Here's the hat on its own:


It's made out of pink knitted fabric and has two pom-pom Mickey Mouse ears.

The inside edge of the hat is lined with white netting.  I'm not sure what the purpose of this netting is, but it tends to stick out and look messy:


Underneath the hat, you can see that Sophia's rooting is just as sparse as Amy's, and she has two big plastic tie remnants sticking out of her scalp:

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
I snipped the plastic ties off and gave Sophia's hair a good work-over with my wire brush:


The hair is a lovely color, but it was very hard to brush.  It took a while to get the clumped ends to loosen, and the result is unruly--and unrealistically voluminous!


The hair texture doesn't feel anywhere near as nice as Amy's hair, either.  It's coarser, especially at the ends.

At least the bangs are a bit more even without the hat pushing them down:


Sophia has pretty blue eyes:


Her face paint is similar to Amy's, but she has pale blue eyeshadow and lighter, more carefully-painted lips.

Sophia's outfit includes a wonderful puffy pink faux fur coat, a shiny pink tee shirt, a pair of jeans (groan), and shoes that look a lot like Amy's secondary pair:


The coat is the best piece of the outfit by far.  I love it.  It feels nice and is well-made.  It's not lined on the inside, but that probably would have made it too bulky:


The interesting shade of pink in this coat makes me think of G3 Clawdeen.  She might have to steal this coat from Sophia!

G3 Clawdeen stealing a Unique Eyes coat.
Mine.
With her jacket commandeered by Clawdeen, Sophia will have to make due with the underlying tee shirt:



This shirt is made out of a shimmery pink knit and has capped sleeves.  The edges of the neck seam are sticking out a bit on the left side, which doesn't bode well for long-term durability: 


When the shirt is on its own, you can see that the seam allowance on the left side gets really small:


Sophia's shoes share a mold with Amy's secondary shoes (so they're also hard to get on and off), but this pair is white with pink straps and pink bow designs on the front:


I wanted to check Sophia's eye behavior, even though there's no reason to think her eyes would be any different than Amy's:


I just like photographing these dolls, in case you couldn't tell:



And, sure enough, Sophia's eyes behave just like Amy's.


Clothes-swapping could be fun between dolls in this line, especially because they all come with several separate outfit pieces.  There's no way I'm swapping jeans, though.

Here's Amy trying Sophia's shirt with her jacket, and Sophia trying Amy's tank top:


One problem with the Unique Eyes dolls is that it's difficult to pose them so that they're looking at each other.  I sort-of achieved this in the next photo, but you can see that Sophia is really just peeking back at us out of the very corner of her eye!

Look at me, Sophia!  ME!
Sophia got her jacket back for long enough to try it out with Amy's tank top:


But then of course Amy wanted to try the jacket, too!  It looks even better on her, I think:


And the pink hat looks better without those bulky bangs underneath it:



After taking a few more photos of Sophia, I finally got fed up with her overly-long, coarse hair and I gave her a quick trim:

Or I hacked off two inches of her hair in a fit of frustration.
The hair is easier to brush now, but the cut didn't make a huge difference overall.  The hair still feels dry and looks messy.  It's nowhere near as nice as Amy's hair.


I don't often find too much of a difference between dolls of the same brand, but in this case I enjoyed Amy significantly more than Sophia--entirely because of the difference in their hair.


They're both really cute, though, no question, and we're all happy to have that pink jacket in the house!


Bottom line?  A doll that is centered around a unique feature can sometimes come across as gimmicky or frivolous--as though there were no ideas or creativity beyond the one special attribute.  But there was clearly a lot of thought and care put into the design of the Unique Eyes dolls--with one glaring exception.

Given the bounty of well-articulated dolls on the market these days--with Monster High, Rainbow High, and Made to Move leading the charge--you might think that my primary complaint is with the articulation of the Unique Eyes dolls.  But their seven joints perform really well.  The dolls are well-balanced and fun to pose.  I'm never a big fan of internal click knees, since they don't bend much and can be fragile, but that's really my only complaint in this department.  I also like the body shape, with the bizarrely large feet.  For some reason that design choice really works for me aesthetically, and makes the brand even more unique.  The big problem with the feet, and my biggest issue overall, is that those large feet and sticky rubber legs make the dolls nearly impossible to dress and undress.  Putting the jeans on, in particular, was a nightmare.  That's pretty unacceptable for a self-proclaimed fashion doll line.  The good news is that there seem to be more dresses and skirts in the later waves of dolls, and that type of clothing is much easier to manage.

The sticky legs are such a shame, because so many things about these dolls are great.  For example, they have endearing faces and nice hair--or at least Amy has nice hair.  Amy's hair is smooth and pleasant to brush, but the texture of Sophia's hair is more coarse and dry and tends to look messy.  Also, both dolls have sparse rooting, so the scalp isn't always concealed.  The dolls also both come with multi-piece outfits that can be mixed and matched.  While some of the smaller clothing items could have better construction, the jackets and jeans are very nicely made and attractive.  I especially like the jackets.  The range of clothing styles in this line is fun and wholesome, too, and I enjoyed looking at all of the different wardrobe pieces in the promotional photos.  It would be awesome to share clothes between all of the available dolls...if only it wasn't so hard to get them dressed.

But of course the real draw of this brand is the dolls' eyes, and those are delightful.  The eyes really do follow me everywhere I go!  Furthermore, the eyes are big and detailed enough for this effect to offer a lot of realism; the dolls have a big presence--almost like they're alive.  Amy's attentive gaze was unnerving to me at some points (like when I was trying to pry her head off...) but more often it was just endearing and sweet--like she was looking at me expectantly, as if to say, what are we going to do next, Emily?  I found myself talking to her more than I talk to other dolls (yes, that's a thing I do sometimes), and I got very quickly attached to her...and I want to buy six more of these dolls.  I also really enjoyed photographing these girls, since they never failed to look right at the camera for me.  The one small down-side to that is that they can't look at each other--or at anything else that isn't right in front of them.

I was thinking about these dolls the other day during my walk at our local park.  I spotted a young mother and her toddler there, and the toddler was in a baby swing, being pushed every once in a while by the distracted mom.  The mother was on her phone, eyes glued to the screen, scrolling with her finger--not even looking at her kid.  Maybe she was just tired and needed a break (I remember those times!) but it felt a little sad, and the baby looked alone.  As I walked past, the toddler locked eyes with me and would not look away.  I waved to her, but kept on walking.  The world is full of distractions, and a lot of parents are busy and tired.  How nice, I thought, that there's a doll on the market that can take up some of that slack.  Whatever their little flaws, the Unique Eyes girls will always make eye contact and they will always pay attention.

37 comments:

  1. G3 Clawdeen looks amazing with that coat-- it's a better color for her than the lavender her Creepover Party doll got, for sure!

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    1. I also had to mention that the horror photoshop of the downward stare was spot-on and hilarious...though, frankly I found the upward stare to be menacing, too, due it being famously associated with Stanley Kubrick's threatening characters!

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    2. Oh my gosh--you're SO right! I can picture Jack Nicholson making that exact face in The Shining!! *shiver*

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  2. They are really cute but the same thing you like makes them un-nerving to me. The fact that they are looking at you! I can see those feet being a nightmare for any type of pants, although hard plastic would have been better. I think due to their size, it still would have been hard. I guess their feet aren't too ridiculously small for their head though. Its odd how the same doll line can have all different hair qualities.

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    1. It was a little strange to have them always looking at me, I'll admit! But I guess their faces are so friendly, it was ok. ;)

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  3. Great review Emily! I guess the big feet were designed to allow them to balance easily, I don't mind them, but finding new shoes would be a problem. Their faces reminded me a lot of the Pullip dolls. I have a question for you...would the heads fit on a Monst body?
    Big hugs,
    X

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    1. Good question, Xanadu. The Monst neck is quite a bit thicker than the opening in the Unique Eyes head, and that ball is big, too. I don't think it would work without modification, which is too bad since that would be a good body option for these girls!

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    2. Thanks Emily. I'd have been tempted to try it on a Unique Eye doll had you not provided the info. That Monst body certainly came in handy to upgrade my IxDolls, I love it. It will be interesting to see how it suits other dolls I have.

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  4. Hi Emily, the French company Clodrey made dolls with following eyes like these in the 1960s, they were called 'coucou' eyes πŸ™‚. I thought this could interest you maybe. Great review as always! Linda

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    1. That's so cool, Linda!! I looked around briefly online and couldn't find any Coucou Eyes dolls, but I'll keep an eye out! That's definitely something I would want to get my hands on. Thank you. :)

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  5. Actually, the Failfix dolls have the same type of eyes, but the effect on them is a little more subtle so it is easier to miss if you are not paying attention.

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    1. I see what you mean! Alyssa appears to look from side to side a little bit--especially in photos! I find it harder to see the effect in real life. Not sure how I missed that! Thank you for pointing it out. :)

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  6. I've seen these dolls in stores for a while and been very curious about them, but I haven't actually seen anyone review them yet, so I was stoked to read this review! They are so sweet and interesting and I love their proportions and outfits. I especially love the last combination you put Amy in before you moved on to Sophia. My favorite of the dolls is actually Rebecca though.

    I got a doll recently that uses the same eye concept, one of those Chinese blind box BJDs. This one is called "Bonnie" by Come4Free, and I adore her! The changing gaze really does make photography really fun, but it can also be limiting when I don't actually want her to look at the camera.

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    1. I just came across the Bonnie dolls as well and have two blind boxes on the way! That’s cool to know about the eyes. Usually, I have clear favorites with blind boxes, but all of these are really fun and unique. Which one did you get?

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    2. I got the skater! I got her pre-opened because she was my clear favorite, but they're all so cute.

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  7. I've seen Dollfie Dream eyes with this effect - if you search "follow me" eyes you'll find a few! They always look so impressive.

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  8. You definitely could do follow-me eyes like this for my twinns! It's a technique used in monster masks and mascot masks... you just paint the eye onto the back of a clear half-round the same size as the desired eye (or glue on a printed iris/sclera). There are some clear half-rounds/hemispheres/half spheres from etsy seller DIYLoveOcean from sizes 14mm to 50mm you could try it with! you'd just need something to protect the paint or print on the backside when you install them.

    Additionally, etsy seller DollMoonDesign has anime-style follow-me eyes in 14 and 22mm sizes, and most high-dome acrylic eyes have at least some measure of this effect due to how they're made (a flat print behind a curved dome).

    I really like these girls, and just wish the bodies had some articulation! I am very tempted to pick one up and see what body replacement could be had for her.

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  9. I’ve seen BJD artists create follow-me eyes by drawing/printing (from a digital art illustration) the iris pattern on paper and putting it on the back of a clear UV resin dome. Then they back the dome with white UV resin for the eyewhite. You can make eyes for your MyTwinn this way with the right size eye-chip mold. :)

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  10. That's a really cool eye concept, and not that difficult to make! All they have to do is design the head with more room for deeper eyes. I wish more brands did that! Even the dolls that have full inset eyeballs have pretty thin "corneas" and the effect is mostly lost.

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  11. I've only ever seen tracking eyes like this in bjds or fursuits, lol! I super appreciate you taking the eyes out for us to see how they've done it here - it's a lot different of a method than I've seen in bjd eyes or fursuit heads (though, probably fursuit methods wouldn't be applicable for dollmaking, haha)

    It's exciting to see someone trying it out for a playline doll, though I could see parents maybe being a bit freaked out by the effect (kid-me would have loved it, but I can definitely see the adults in my life back then thinking it was creepy lol) I hope others might try it out, though! The effect is so fun, I'd love to see it in larger and/or more detailed dolls!

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  12. Do those shoes fit onto Cave Club hobbit feet? Particularly the boots, but either one. Always interested in options for customizing CC, they’re so cute.

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    1. The Cave Club feet are smaller, unfortunately.

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  13. Their heads and faces are so sweet, and the proportions of their bodies are very fun, with those big cartoon feet and tiny torsos. The special eyes really are unique! Well, some other dolls may have eyes with the same type of effect, but it's rare to see play dolls who have it done, and so dramatically. But I lost a lot of my initial excitement for these when I saw how difficult redressing them was. The limited articulation was also rather disappointing, not a deal breaker to me when a doll has other charming features but I prefer being able to put a doll in more positions for display purposes. I actually adore their clothes. Would like to see if any of the waves have differently constructed jeans or something that are easier to change. Thanks for another great post!

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  14. Ah, follow-me eyes! There are actually some makers of these out on Etsy, or you can make them by securing a paper design to the back of a glass cabochon with resin or glue!

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  15. That's fascinating, I'd say those follow just as well as the spookiest painting with that effect, no mean feat! I did have a giggle at their refusal to look at each other though. Shy, or super shifty- hard to say!

    I find the odd proportions and big feet endearing, and the clothing well done if not always my taste, but the pants do seem a poor choice if it's that hard to get in and off. Seems better suited to collectors who may never want to remove them, than to playline.

    Tha fuzzy jacket though. Wow! You'll be getting some use out of that!

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  16. I love this feature and their clothes really are great; too bad the company didn't think to make the feet removable, like Monster High hands. That would make dressing easy and leave the cute "hobbit feet". If it wasn't a joint, but just a hole-and-peg situation, it could be pretty stable, too. Ah well. Maybe they'll come up with a fix, given that the line seems to be both new and popular. Fingers crossed! (And the poor dolls, falling victim to your inner mad scientist... I can't say I wasn't expecting it. XD)

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  17. Hi, I have sort of an unrelated eyes question. What size eyes do you use for my twinn makeovers?

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  18. What would happen if they faced a mirror?

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  19. There are a few bjd eye makers who utilize tall domes to make follow me eyes but I think the effect isn't used much because it can make the eye look rather sunken from some angles. ive seen it used most in realistic baby dolls

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  20. Sorry for this incredibly late comment, I'm all caught up in witing my thesis nowadays!

    I've heard of Unique Eyes dolls before and have definitely been curious about them, if only for the fact that Giochi Preziosi has made some incredible dolls in the past. I recently got a bunch of Mermaze Mermaidz dolls on a hefty discount and although I've come to appreciate them, after several rounds of unboxing I realized that a big chunk of the budget must've gone to the over-the-top packaging. I really like the sweet and more simple-looking packaging of the Unique Eyes dolls, even if the different languages are plastered everywhere ("Elke dag een nieuwe look!" is Dutch, by the way!)

    The eyes are definitely very unique (as soon as I saw you were reviewing these dolls, I knew some eyes would be taken out LOL) and I love how great they are for doll photography. Overall, though, I'm not super keen on the style of these dolls. I'm not exactly sure why, maybe it's something with the combination of huge, expressive eyes and those tiny mouths (I feel like Rainbow High does this a bit better), but I do agree that the clothes are very cute even if they're not all that easy to get on. I'm also never a fan of calling a doll downright scary, but I'm not sure if I'd *want* a doll to follow me with their eyes... Although it's clearly great for terrifying picture edits like the one showing Amy looking down, hahaha.

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  21. What a neat concept! That would be neat for My Twinn dolls.

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  22. I've seen commercials of these cute dolls, but despite living in Italy I never managed to see one in person XD The body proportions are quite unique, but there was something familiar about her upper body that I couldn't identify at first... I may be wrong but it looks like Giochi Preziosi repurposed the torso and arm molds from the Winx Club dolls for the Unique Eyes line! The Winx dolls' arms are vynil with armature wire inside tho, but the shape looks pretty much the same to me πŸ‘€

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  23. Thanks for this review Emily. This is a cute doll but I do wish she was easier to dress and undress. Aside from the huge feet her body reminds me of those on Wee3Friends and What's Her Face.

    "I'll come back to that again in a little bit. You know, when the eyes are out of Amy's head. Because we all know that's how this is going to end."

    Lol ^This part cracked me up because I was pretty sure by then that this doll's head was getting cut ope-for "science", of course:-D . It's great that you only had to pop out the eyes to check out this feature.

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  24. Thank you for the interesting review! My favorite aspect of these dolls is actually their fashions, I find their clothing super cute!

    Otherwise I just don’t find them appealing; they look cross-eyed from head on, and their faces are unattractive to me. In general I don’t love the ‘huge eyes/tiny nose and lips’ aesthetic, which would explain my lack of connection; plus their face paint really lacks any meaningful detail to make them more attractive (such as Rainbow High), it’s like the designers put all their focus on the eyes and forgot the rest of the face.

    But it’s very cool to see new doll concepts from other countries, I really enjoyed reading the review and checking out the pictures.

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  25. Thank You for reviewing this! i was wondering if their eyes use battery? optical trick is much better idea!πŸ’–✨πŸŽ‰

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