Saturday, April 13, 2024

LULUPOP Dolls by SAMG Entertainment

Spring has definitely sprung here in New Jersey, with temperatures creeping into the 80s and lots of flowers everywhere.  The beautiful weather makes me eager to get back outside with my dolls, and that's on the agenda for next time, but today I want to share a review that I've been meaning to write since September of last year.

During one of my random browsing sessions on Amazon, I found a big-eyed fashion doll that I'd never seen before, from a South Korean brand called LULUPOP (also written "Lulu Pop").  The LULUPOP dolls are based on virtual K-pop idols, so there are a few full-length songs and music videos featuring the animated idols.  From what I understand, the dolls used to be available exclusively in Korea, but they made the jump to Amazon about a year and a half ago.

I'm always fascinated to explore brands from other countries, because they often have a new aesthetic or offer a window into a different culture.  In this case, the aesthetic looks very familiar, but the songs and videos definitely offer up something new and fun.  So, with high hopes, I purchased one of the girls, Tania, to see what the brand is all about:

LULUPOP Tania, by SAMG Entertainment, $25.99.

Tania came in a beautiful, brightly-colored cardboard box.  In lieu of a window, there's a big, clear photograph of the doll on the front:

Those are some big eyes.
The box and the advertising all have "Daisy" written in numerous places, which is a little confusing since none of the characters are actually named Daisy:

Who is Daisy?
Apparently, LULUPOP is the virtual world where these dolls exist, and Daisy is the name of the musical group.

SAMG's advertising summarizes it well, and also shows what the four virtual idols look like:

With all of the names available in the world, using both Bella and Ella feels silly.  But I love the animation style of the girls.  Their eyes look smaller than they do on the dolls.  

I was all ready to de-box Tania, but then I hit a snag--similar to what happened with the Diva Starz review.  As I was looking around for promotional materials, I came across this:

Eeeee! Minis!
It's Bella with a bunch of LOL Surprise dolls mini LULUPOP dolls!  SO CUTE.

I did some more digging and discovered that, sure enough, there's a whole collection of LULUPOP blind box mini dolls!  They're not available on Amazon, which is probably how I missed them at first, but they can be found on eBay from a few Korean sellers.

The minis have their own virtual idols, too.  They look like this:

And here's a clip from one of their music videos so you can see them in action:

I like this song a lot, but I find it discombobulating to hear adult voices coming from such childlike cartoon characters.

Anyway, I'm not exactly sure which came first, the mini dolls or the fashion dolls, so I wasn't sure how to start this review.  I'm getting strong LOL Surprise vibes from this brand, though, and the original LOL dolls were small and came in blind packaging.  So I decided to kick things off by looking at a LULUPOP surprise mini.  Big Tania will have to wait.

With international shipping from Korea, the minis on eBay cost about $40 each (!!).  But I splurged, and then I waited, and I finally got my mini:

Who could it be?
The mini dolls come in rectangular plastic boxes shrink-wrapped in more plastic.  The front of the box has cartoons of the four main Daisy characters: Bella, Ella, Iliana and Tania.  They look really cute, and I'd love to get a mini Tania to go with my big Tania!

The back of the box has a lot of writing in Korean:

I see a 2021 copyright date on the upper left.
There's a yellow plastic rectangle on the top of the box, and I'm not sure what it's supposed to be.  It looks like a building brick from a kids toy:

I peeled away the outer plastic and found that the box itself is a transparent red color that reveals some of what's inside:

That looks like a sad frowny face.
I can see a few bags and something purple:

Here's the back:

The rectangle at the top is actually a latch.  When I push it to one side, the box unlocks and can be opened:

The front of the box folds down to make a little stage!

That's great.
The base of the stage is all pink, but has some molded stairs and lights:

Crammed into the back of the stage were four pink plastic bags and a collector's sheet:

And behind all of that, there's a decorated backdrop:

It's strange to me that all of the text on this backdrop is in English.

How do Korean kids feel about this, I wonder?
The collector's sheet also looked like it was in English, with "K-pop fashion doll" written on the front:

When I took the papers out of the plastic covering, I realized that what I thought was the collector's sheet was actually a card for the exact doll I got.  So much for the element of surprise!  

The actual collector's sheet was tucked behind the card:

Also in English.
Riddle me this: what's the point of packaging the doll and her accessories in multiple plastic bags if the card is going to give away which doll it is right away?  It's like copying the bag element of LOL Surprise dolls without realizing what their purpose is.

The collector's sheet has another cartoon of the four main characters on one side:

Mini Tania looks so cute!
And smaller pictures of all of the available characters on the other side:

All in Korean.
There's an intriguing little pyramid in the lower right hand corner:

Again, in Korean.
I was dying to know what the text in that pyramid said.  It reminds me of the old food pyramid.  Does anyone else remember that?

That's all garbage these days, I guess.  But regardless, I have no intention of eating these dolls.  So what could the pyramid mean?

In my desperation to find out, I realized something that maybe everyone else on the planet already knows: if you use Google Lens on a photograph, you can translate the text.  It's so easy.

Here's the translated pyramid:

At first I thought this was about the rareness of the dolls, with the Rookies being the most common and the Superstars being ultra-rare, but now I'm not so sure.  All of the mini dolls on the sheet are either Rookies or Rising Idols.  How do I get everyone's favorite Superstar??  It's unclear.

Let's take a look at the dolls that are available:

Okay, so I can read the symbols below each doll to see what category they're in (Idol Rising, Idol Rising, Rookie, Rookie), but what are their names?  That's Tania on the far left, based on her hair and outfit, but I have no idea about the others.

Google Lens came to the rescue again!

It's Tania (I knew that), Iliana (I should have known that), Cats, and Abba.  Cats?  Really?  That must be a translation error.

I was describing my adventures with Google Lens to my husband the other night and giggling about the name Cats, and he was like, "oh, I have a friend who is a Korean scholar if you want help."  Um, yes.

So, the Korean expert looked at this sheet and said that the characters under the redhead are pronounced "caet-cheu" and the best guess for a name is Catch.  That's not a very good name either, though.  Maybe it's Kat, like the nickname for Katherine?  

Another interesting tidbit is that the last doll, called Abba above, might be Ava, since there's no "v" sound in Korean and a "b" is often used instead.  So "ah-bah" would be the closest way to say "Ava."  I'm learning new things!

Here's the next group:

That redhead is very cute!
The doll I got is on the far right, so I was really curious to learn her name.

Here's the Google Lens translation:

From left to right, it's Barney, Billy, Mob, and Alber.  Mob?  Seriously?  That can't be right.  And I don't want to call my girl Alber, either.  It's like how you'd say Alba in Maine.  No offense, Maine.

Luckily, I had help.  The expert said that so-called Barney is "bah-nee" so perhaps Bonnie.  Mob is pronounced "muh-pee" so it might be Muffy or Murphy, which are both better than Mob.  Alber's name is weird, though.  It's pronounced "ael-buh," so maybe it's Alba, Elba, or even Alva/Elva because of the v thing that we've all learned.  I like Elba best, so let's go with that.

Here's the last group, which has Ella and Bella on the right:

Just for fun, try saying "Ella, Elba, Bella" six times fast.  It's like the folks who named these girls just took four letters and tried every possible combination.

Anyway, let's see if Google Lens can get all of the names right this time!

Okay, now Google is just messing with me.  Why is "EGGS" there, and why is it upside-down??

Thank goodness I had another translator.  The Korean scholar said that Cali might also be Caley ("kahl-lee"), and the sunny side down Eggs is Bibi or Billy.  That's very different from Eggs.  Just saying.

And do you know what?  After all of that detective work and scholarly help, I literally just found this on the LULUPOP website:

It's really Cats.  And Barney.
Okay, but Google Lens was definitely wrong about a few of them and the scholar was right.  Like Abba is Ava, Mob is Murphy, Alber is Elva (close!), and Eggs is Vivi, not Bibi, which I should have guessed because of the whole "v" thing.  Apparently I'm not learning as much as I thought I was.

That description also says they're all Rookies.  So what about the ones marked as Rising Idols?  I'm still pretty confused.

In any case, I knew I'd gotten Elva (a Rookie) and was eager to get a good look at her.  But I decided to open the three smaller bags first:

These bags held all of the little accessories, including the outfit:

In keeping with the K-pop theme, Elva has her own handheld microphone, and also a stand mic with an amplifier:

She also has sunglasses, shoes, a necklace, and a pair of earrings:

The tiny loafer shoes are adorable:

The outfit itself is in two pieces: a plaid top and solid blue shorts.  And it comes on a body-shaped plastic holder, just like the LOL Surprise doll clothing:

Both pieces have slits in the back:

After I'd inspected all of the accessories, I opened up the largest bag:

Here's Elva!

She has two-toned hair and is wearing a painted white shirt, blue underwear, and little white socks.

I was surprised by how sweet she is!  The stylized face suits these minis well.

Elva has huge, deep purple eyes with large black pupils that have purple hearts in the middle.  She has some painted reflective dots, too, but the eyes have a glossy shine that reflects plenty of real light:

I love how her mouth is twisted up to one side.  It gives her a lot of personality.

Elva can only balance on her own when her head is centered over her body, so it was really hard to demonstrate her five points of articulation.

Fortunately, she comes with a little plastic foot grip that inserts into the front of the stage:

This held her firmly in place while I played with her joints.

She has nice head articulation and can look up:

And down:

She can also tip her head from side to side.

Elva's excellent head mobility is thanks to a ball and socket joint.  This also allows the head to be removed:

Elva's shoulders have simple rotation, so she can spin her arms around...until they run into her head:

I love the detail in her tiny hands!
She also has simple rotation in her hips, so she can do front-to-back splits (with the help of her hair for balance):

And she can sit on the ground, which looks a lot like side-to-side splits:

I also have to take a moment to point out how cute and detailed Elva's feet are:

Despite the fact that most socks don't have toes.
As I mentioned before, there are huge similarities between the LULUPOP dolls and LOL Surprise dolls.  It feels a bit like the elephant in the room with this review.

Here are the two types of doll side by side so that you can see the similarities and differences:

LULUPOP doll (left) and LOL Surprise doll (right).
Not only are these two roughly the same size, but they also have very similar eye design, the same number and type of joints, and the same style of clothing.  LOL came way before LULUPOP, and I'm not a big fan of copycats, but I have to admit that I prefer the overall look of Elva here.  In particular, I like her slimmer body, her detailed hands and feet, and the fact that her mouth isn't permanently gaping open.  She looks more like a child and less like a baby with too much hair and adult clothes.

Speaking of clothes, poor Elva is still standing around in her underwear!  I should probably do something about that.

It was pretty easy to put Elva's outfit on, and it looks nice.  I especially like how her brown shoes balance out the brown in her hair, but it's a bit more Maine tourist than K-pop, don't you think?

And while the slits in the back are visible...

It could be worse:

LOL Surprise Hoops MVP.
Despite the similar design of the clothing, LULUPOP and LOL can't share outfits.  The LOL top is loose on Elva, and the bottoms fall down:

The shoes are big, but technically they fit.
Elva's pants don't fit over the LOL doll's bottom:

And the shirt warps out of shape around the thicker LOL arms and belly:

While we're on the subject of sharing, I figured it might be possible for LOL and LULUPOP to swap heads.  The LULUPOP neck hole looks quite a bit smaller, though:

LULUPOP head (top) and LOL head (bottom).
And, indeed, while the LOL head fits on the LULUPOP body, the opposite is not true:

LOL head on a LULUPOP body (right).
It might be possible to get Elva's head onto an LOL body if the vinyl is heated, but I didn't try that.  I was worried it might be hard to pull the head back off.

I got Elva dressed again and added her earrings and necklace.  The necklace was really hard to put on, and you can't even see it:

She has indentations behind each ear:

And these hold the sunglasses in place:

The sunglasses fit well, but their turquoise frames don't really match the rest of the outfit:

K-bunk pop.
One last thing I wanted to check with Elva is what her hair looks like when it's down.  Little dolls like this can hide dirty secrets under their ponytails.

I dare you to look under my hair.
And, sure enough, Elva's ponytails are concealing a very bald scalp:

There it is.
I guess she has to have permanent ponytails.

Both Elva's balance and her stiff clothing make it hard for her to strike different poses, but she's good at moving her head, at least.

Here she is on stage with all of her accessories:

With the help of the stand, she has a few more posing options:

Elva is quite charming.  She was clearly inspired by L.O.L. Surprise, and yet I like her proportions and cute facial expression better.  I just wish that she had a fully-rooted head of hair.  I even like the stage packaging, if you can believe it, with that helpful little stand in front.  The problem with the stage, though, is that while I'd love to get a few more of these mini dolls, I have absolutely no need for another stage.  They take up too much space.  So basically the packaging is excessive and wasteful--just like almost every other blind box doll in the world.

Bolstered by this positive experience with the mini dolls, I was even more excited to get a look at my larger Tania.  In contrast to the smaller dolls, I feel like the animated foursome from the fashion doll collection are really lovely.  Here they are in a teaser of their music video, Summertime Magic:

The song is upbeat and catchy, and I really like the style of the animation.  The girls' movements are realistic, with little imperfections in synchrony and everything.  It's much more appealing than the Rookie's video.  You can see the whole thing here: Summertime Magic.

Here's a still shot of the girls:

They're very cute.
And here's a thumbnail of all four dolls, in the same order:

Not quite as cute.
Of the four characters, only Bella, Ella, and Tania were available at Amazon when I was shopping--all for $25.99.  Iliana was available on eBay from Korea, but she costs closer to $50 with international shipping.  You'd think I'd go for the redheaded character without bangs, right?  That's almost a no-brainer.  But I like Tania's plaid outfit.  Also, Bella's red hair is really bright.

Before I launch into Tania's review, I want to show you a few promotional pictures of the second wave of LULUPOP fashion dolls.  This wave is called The Party:

They look so serious.
These aren't available on Amazon at the moment, just on eBay directly from Korea.  There are mini dolls for The Party wave, too, but I wasn't able to find any pictures of the actual dolls--just snippets from the collector's sheet on one eBay auction.

The newer dolls are all ghostly pale, and I don't like their packaging as much as the Daisy group; there's a lot of plastic.  But their eyes look smaller and maybe inset, as Gabi pointed out in the comments, which would be cool!  I might have to check that out.

This character, Tina, is giving me Britney Sparkles energy with that sequined rainbow dress:

Do you remember Britney Sparkles?  She's the Na! Na! Na! mini that I was coveting so badly:

I finally found her, btw.
I keep mentioning things that SAMG copied from MGA, but I should probably also mention that MGA has a few K-pop Rainbow High characters, who may or may not have been inspired by LULUPOP: 

Probably not, but who knows.
Okay, but now I'm wandering off into tangent land.  I need to focus on Tania.

Here's her box again, so you can remember how nice it is:

It has simple decorations on each side:

And there are pictures of all four idols on the back:

Iliana feels like the leader of the group to me, which is maybe why her doll sold out first on Amazon.

And the more I look at all of these girls, the more I think I should have bought Ella.  Her hair is almost red and her name is Ella for goodness sake:

She's sold out on Amazon now, though.
The bottom of the box, which wasn't really worth photographing, has a 2021 copyright date, so I guess the minis and the fashion dolls came out at around the same time.

Tania's box opens with a flap on the front.  Behind the flap is a plastic window displaying the doll and her accessories:

The flap is decorated with a Daisy track list, consisting of one sone, Mystic Heart, and all of its lyrics:

The song is mostly written in Korean, but there are English words interspersed here and there:

Cheeky checky heart POP!
I used Google Lens on the lyrics, but they're hard to read...and a little wonky:

For instance, I have no idea what's going on with the "Red heart big balloon Juminal Oh" line at the top:

What does Juminal mean?
"POP for secret fur" confuses me, too.  Especially because half of the time that same line is translated as "on a secret puzzle."  Hm.

But this verse cracks me up:

I wonder how she's doing?
For more clarity, I zoomed in on each verse to get a better translation, and then transcribed the whole song for you:

Now it starts now, oh 
Cheeky cheeky pop. 
Cheeky cheeky cheeky heart POP 
Every minute and every second is like a fantasy, 
Oh, it's so thrilling, everything is perfect.

Hey baby, baby, raise your hand.
You'll fall into a new place. 
If it's a lazy day, run hand in hand with me and 
let's set off together along the endless road.

How can I get lost in an unfamiliar world? 
Turn the needle on the clock back slightly, tic-toc.
For today will be full of secrets, 
Who you are and who I am, baby.

Even if it looks strange and wacky, 
I'm fine, fine, fine, 
I'm fine, fine, fine.
Let's draw to our heart's content,
In a dream-like time.

Cheeky cheeky heart pop. 
Cheeky cheeky POP. 
Everyone sits around the round table, 
On a secret puzzle. 
Lulu la la la la la, Lulu la la la la la.

Now it starts now, oh
Cheeky cheeky pop. 
Cheeky cheeky cheeky heart POP. 
Every minute and every second is like a fantasy, 
Oh, it's so thrilling, everything is perfect

Hey baby, baby. I'm really curious,
Those flowers and the wind keep chattering. 
They grow bigger and smaller, I can't tell.
I hope everything comes true as I say. 

Blow up a big red heart balloon,
Hold your hands full so you 
can fly anywhere.
Please fill my heart with excitement.

Cheeky cheeky heart pop,
Cheeky cheeky POP. 
Everyone sits around the round table, 
On a secret puzzle.
Lulu la la la la la, Lulu la la la la la.

I feel like I'm in a faraway starland, 
It's full of riddles, it's full of question marks, 
Don't know who u r, 
my mystic lovie. 
Don't know who u r,
My mystic lovie.

In search of a mysterious dream, 
Let's create our story again until the end.

Cheeky cheeky heart pop,
Cheeky cheeky POP.
Everyone sits around the round table,
On a secret puzzle. 
Lulu la la la la la, Lulu la la la la la.

 Now it starts now, oh 
Cheeky cheeky pop,
Cheeky cheeky cheeky heart POP. 
Every minute and every second is like a fantasy,
Oh, it's so thrilling, everything is perfect.

If you have any desire to listen to the full song while following along to the lyrics (which is pretty fun, to be honest), here's a link to the Mystic Heart video.

Also, if this transcription already exists somewhere on the internet, please don't tell me.  That whole project took a stupid amount of time (but was a lot of fun).

I should get back to Tania, who's still waiting patiently in her box:

She comes secured in a molded plastic shell with a lid, tucked into a five-sided metallic cardboard backdrop:

Her collector's card and a few other papers were taped to the back

The plastic is irritating, especially because the box looked so plastic-free from the outside, but I have to admit that this packaging was super-simple to deal with.  

Both Tania and her accessories were held snugly within their compartments with no ties, rubber bands, tape, or anything else.  I lifted the plastic lid, and everything fell out onto my table.  It could not have been easier. 

And I could put everything back in its place if I wanted.
Here's everything that was in the box:

There's a bright yellow waist grip stand that came in three pieces:

A small purple brush and a yellow clothes hanger:

And there were a bunch of outfit pieces, too, like a beret, boots, a purse, earrings, and sunglasses:

The paper items include a sticker sheet (all in English), a collector's sheet, and a card:

The collector's sheet has a nice portrait of all four Daisy dolls:

And the reverse side has individual shots of the dolls, with little blurbs (in Korean):

You know what the Korean text means at this point, though, right?  Google Lens! Google Lens!  My new favorite hobby.  And Google pays me no money, just so you know.

Here's Ella (or "She," which makes sense):

Ella is 17 years old and has a quirky personality.  Her hobby is collecting hats, which is cool, and she's the lead vocalist.  Huh.  I was sure that Iliana was the lead vocalist.  In any case, Ella seems pretty great.  I'd like to be her friend.

I almost dismissed the MBTI part, thinking it was some type of company identification thing, but it's actually the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is a personality index:

I took a free version of the test, and I'm INFJ.
The writing is pretty small, but Ella's designation, ESFP, is: "playful, enthusiastic, friendly, spontaneous, tactful, and flexible."  She has strong common sense, and enjoys helping people in tangible ways.

Next is Bella:

Bella is 18 and has a serious personality.  She's a dancer in the group, and her hobby is to keep track of time.  I'm glad someone's doing that.  

Her Myers-Briggs type, ENTJ, is "strategic, logical, efficient, outgoing, ambitious, and independent."  She's also an effective organizer of people and a good long-term planner.

Here's my girl, Tania:

Tania is 20, and her personality is chic.  Is that even a thing?  I know clothing can be chic, but a whole personality?  Anyway, she's another dancer in the band, and she likes to collect heart shapes.  That's sweet, I guess, but I wish she had a slightly more interesting hobby.  I met someone at work the other day whose hobby is restoring old fishing rods.  Now that's pretty interesting.

Tania's Myers-Briggs type, INTJ, is: "innovative, independent, strategic, logical, reserved, and insightful."  She's driven by her own original ideas to achieve improvement.  I don't know about you, but these personalities are all sounding fairly similar to me, probably because there's overlap.

Another thing that's throwing me off with the bios so far is that in the music video, all four girls sing and dance.  So why are they being pigeonholed?

In any case, Iliana's name got translated two different ways, which is interesting: 

I like the name Ilian.
She's only 16 years old, and her personality is refreshing and lively, which fits with her ENFP type.  She's a beverage enthusiast (just like me) and her position is "youngest on top."  I don't know exactly what that means and I don't really want to explore further.

But, back to Tania (focus, Emily!!) I couldn't stand her up right away because her bare feet have excessively high heels:

That looks painful.
So I slid her boots into place and then she could balance reasonably well on her own:

She looks a little funny to me, especially after looking at the videos of the animated idols.  Her eyes are so big and dark, they're almost insect-like!  But she's also cute, and I appreciate her quirky, asymmetric mouth:

She has long blonde hair that looks smooth in the back, even without brushing:

Tania has straight-cut bangs and two small braids: one behind her right ear and the other hanging down on the left side of her face:

Her huge eyes dominate most of her face, even in partial profile:

In full profile, you can see a rounded, simplified ear with a large hole for the earring:

You can also see that she has practically no nose.
Tania's eyes have the same design as Elva's, with huge black pupils and a heart shape in the middle.  But the color in Tania's eyes is red, which is odd:

Also a beverage enthusiast?
I wish the eyes weren't so dark.  It's really hard to distinguish the iris from the pupil.  And then the red hearts in the middle look like more pupils, which is disorienting.

Underneath her bangs, Tania has simple arched eyebrows with no hair detail:

The color of her eyebrows goes really well with her hair.

Speaking of her hair, it brushes out very nicely and has a good amount of shine:

The hair also feels dense, thanks in part to a good rooting pattern:

The rooting looks less dense when I part the hair horizontally, but it's hard to expose the scalp.  The hair fiber itself has a lot of thickness.

I'm not exactly sure what kind of hair fiber this is, but it feels nice, so I'm guessing nylon.  It's not quite as silky as Rainbow High hair, though.

Tania's outfit consists of a cowboy-style shirt and a ruffled plaid mini skirt:

Can't buy that at L.L Bean.
Both pieces close in back with velcro:

The skirt has an asymmetric shape that was hard for me to figure out at first, especially with all of the ruffles and the wrinkles from being in the box:

I tried to take Tania's shirt off, but the netted sleeves do not fit over her hands:

Fortunately, there are some instructions on the collector's sheet that show me the safe way to pull the hands off, so at least I know they're supposed to come off:

Pull from the wrist area, not the fingers.
Here are the hands on their own:

They have a graceful shape, with bright red nail polish.

The shirt is quite intricate for its small size, with a collar, little decorative buttons down the front, tucks at the waist, and those long netted sleeves: 

The construction looks good, too, with several reinforced seams:

There's even a little tag that says LULUPOP:

With all of the black in this shirt, I was worried about staining on Tania's body.  But her upper body is free of stains.

The skirt's shape was easier to appreciate with it spread out on my table:

The main body of the skirt is symmetric, but there are two ruffles sewn to the bottom, and each of those is a different size and shape.

Here's the back of the skirt:

Sticking up above the waist, you can see there's also a black lace band.  This runs between Tania's legs to keep the skirt from riding up.

Under her outfit, Tania has a hard plastic body with softer vinyl limbs:

And, although it's hard to see in my photo, she has some staining on her thighs from the black skirt:

Here she is from the back:

The shape of her hips is unusual.  Her legs actually make up the bulk of her hip width, so her plastic torso is quite narrow in that area.  This means that the painted underwear is very small!

Cheeky cheeky POP!
Compare that to the shape of a Signature Looks Barbie:

The design of Tania's hips also gives her a curvy profile, which I like:

Tania has interesting neck articulation.  She can tip her head from side to side:

She can also spin her head from side to side:

However, she can't look up and down.  Or at least I didn't think she could.  The funny thing is, when her head is turned to the side, she can suddenly look up and down!

I want to take her head off and see what's going on in there, you know I do, but I'm going to leave it alone for once.  I like this doll and I don't want to ruin her.

Tania's shoulders are rotating hinges, so she can lift her arms up and away from her body:

And she can spin them around:

Her elbows and wrists are also rotating hinges with decent movement, although her elbows do not bend all of the way to 90 degrees:

She can touch her forehead, but not her mouth, and she can't quite rest her hand on her hip:

Because Tania's arms are bendable vinyl, though, they have more movement than what I can show in static photos.  For example, with the help of a rubber band, she can cross her arms tightly over her chest:

Her legs also have some rubbery flexibility, so while her hip joints don't allow full side-to-side splits, her lower legs can bend a little in that direction:

And she can do nice front-to-back splits:

Her knees have internal click joints:

Not my favorite, but better than nothing.
Which allow her to sit in a chair:

And she can sit on the ground, although she leans back a bit:

If she leans back even more, she can bend one of her legs, which looks very elegant:

And with the help of the stand, she can do a few action poses:

Tania is 9.5 tall, so about 2 inches shorter than a Barbie like Lena:

LULUPOP fashion doll (left) and Signature Looks Barbie (right).
She's slightly taller than an OMG doll like Pose, though:

LULUPOP fashion doll (left) and OMG doll (right).
There are a lot of similarities between Tania and Pose.  Both have the same number and type of joints, both have curvy body designs (although Tania is less curvy), and both have huge heads with massive, round eyes.

And the OMG body has the same hip design, with that high-cut underwear:

Another funny similarity is that both brands have the same directions for how to correctly pull off the hands:

Pull from the wrist area, not the fingers.
And since the comparison to OMG is a big theme here, I'll show you what Pose looked liked dressed (without her shoes), right out of the box:

OMG Pose, $14.99.
Pose is really cute, but in terms of body style, I prefer the LULUPOP dolls for their less exaggerated proportions.

When it comes to the faces, though, I'm more conflicted.  Here's Pose up-close: 

And here's Tania again for comparison:

I like Tania's mouth a lot better, but Pose has brighter, more engaging eyes.  Tania's eyes are creeping into Uncanny Valley territory for me.  It looks like while Tania has a smaller head than Pose, her eyes are about the same size...which is slightly too big for me.  Gotta draw the line somewhere.

I also like the stylized hairs in Pose's eyebrows and the variety of colors in her face-up.  But Pose has frustrating neck articulation.  I can hardly get her head to move at all, and it's always tipped to one side.  I'll have to do a proper review of her someday.

If I were comparing Tania's face to Lights Dazzle, the OMG doll I used in my Rainbow High review, I'd be easier to pick a favorite:

That face just doesn't do a lot for me.
So, while there are a few things about Pose that I like better than Tania, I think I prefer the LULUPOP aesthetic overall.  If only the eyes were a bit smaller and brighter.  Sigh.

I also wish that these LULUPOP fashion dolls had inset eyes.  This would make them look even more like the idols, who I think are very appealing.

I put Tania back into her outfit so that I could test out some of her accessories:

She has a shiny black beret that is a bit part of her outfit:

This is fully-lined, with a little tag in the back:

However, the hat doesn't stay on Tania's head well at all:

If I pull it tightly down over her bangs, and make sure it's pulled down all around the head, it will stay in place for a minute:

It might have helped to have the interior of the beret be made out of a fabric that wasn't so smooth and sleek.  There's not enough friction between the hair and the hat.

Tania also came with big black sunglasses:

These fit well and look cool:

They rest on her ears without the need for tabs like the ones we saw on Elva's glasses:

The only issue with the sunglasses is that Tania's eyes are so big, they often peek out beneath the bottom of the lenses:

Tania also has golden crown-shaped earrings:

These fit well and add a bit of bling to her ensemble:

Here she is with her hat, shades, and earrings:

Tania's last accessory is her red purse.  This is solid vinyl with no opening, and it looks cheaply made:

It fits on Tania's shoulder well, but the bright red vinyl clashes with the rest of the outfit:

I had some more fun posing Tania with various combinations of accessories:

I also wanted to get some shots of Tania and Elva together, but their height difference made that a little tricky!

But if Tania is lounging on the ground, they can chill:

And they can both sit in a chair together:

Tania can hold Elva, too, but Elva doesn't look very comfortable!

Elva thought that maybe she and Tania could sing a duet, but Tania didn't come with a microphone.  Elva generously shared her stand mic:

It worked great!  And the girls got to sing their own version of Mystic Heart:

We're fine, fine, fine!
Bottom line?  It's hard to evaluate these dolls without acknowledging their resemblance to LOL Surprise and OMG fashion dolls.  The size, design, and aesthetic of the two brands are very similar, and LULUPOP was clearly influenced by MGA's mega-popular LOL franchise.  So even though this isn't strictly a comparison review, I was thinking about LOL dolls in the back of my head the whole time.

The mini LULUPOP dolls are really sweet.  I actually prefer Elva to most of the LOL Surprise Tots that I've owned over the years.  I like how Elva's slightly taller, slimmer body looks, and I also find her easier to play with and dress.  I like the LULUPOP faces, too, with their closed mouths and quirky expressions.  Elva's hair is not great, though.  Her ponytails are cute, and the two-toned coloring is fun, but the hairstyle can't be changed because it's covering a scalp that is almost completely bald.  I think Elva's clothes look good, especially the detailed little loafers and patterned shirt, even if they don't make me think of a K-pop idol.  But Elva loses a lot of her posing potential when she's dressed, since the vinyl clothing can't bend much with the joints.  I appreciate the play potential that the stage-themed packaging brings to the table, and I also like how it can be used to hold and display the dolls.  However, it's bulky and garish, and if I wanted to collect several more LULUPOP minis, which I kind-of do, I wouldn't have anywhere to put the extra stages...except in the garbage.

I like how the larger LULUPOP fashion dolls have taken the basic design of an OMG doll and slimmed everything down.  The dolls are less exaggerated, and I find this to be an improvement, especially in the head.  The only problem is that the eyes weren't scaled down quite enough.  I feel like the facial proportions of the animated idols work well, but the dolls are slightly off.  I wish the eyes were a bit smaller, or even inset (like the newer dolls), which I bet would look great.  And while I appreciate it when things coordinate, I'd prefer it if Tania's eyes didn't match her red outfit.  Everything else about Tania is good.  I enjoy her asymmetric mouth, with its subtle half smile.  Her blonde hair is shiny and dense, and looks good with minimal effort.  Her body is well-articulated and fun to pose, even though internal click knees are not my favorite.  I also like her outfit, with its mix of styles and solid construction.  She's a cute doll with a lot of youthful energy, but she doesn't come across as overly sexualized to me, which is something that MGA took heat for with their LOL lines.

Another random thing I appreciate about the LULUPOP dolls is that there aren't very many of them.  That sounds strange, but hear me out.  As much as I like brands like Rainbow High, LOL Surprise, and Monster High, there are so many of those dolls on the market.  And new ones keep coming out while the older ones are still in production.  I find it overwhelming, and there's a dilution effect that makes each individual doll feel less special.

Anyway, I had a blast with this review.  I particularly enjoyed the translation challenges presented by the packaging and collector's sheets.  Each blurb that I deciphered felt like its own little mystery, and that kind of sleuthing is even more appealing to me than surprise packaging.  Maybe there should be a doll brand with packaging that has to be decoded, or something like that?  I also enjoyed watching the virtual idols and their music videos.  The songs are catchy, and they're different from the things that I typically listen to.  The dolls are fun, too, of course, but it's hard to know if they would have been quite as much fun if my experience hadn't been accompanied by so many engrossing translation mysteries and the happy, addictive beat of K-pop music.


  1. Thank you for the detailed review! They are very cute dolls.
    FYI, I think "youngest on top" actually kinda makes sense to me as a KPOP fan. Most people in the group will be a vocalist or dancer (yes, they all have to dance and sing, but it just means that they are considered the best in the group and will receive a.e. more singing parts or more advanced choregraphy). The youngest in the group always gets the position "maknae" (which just means youngest). "Maknae on top" really sound like one of those slightly odd phrases that I'd expect to see in the translated subtitles of some idol variety show. A lot of the times the idols will have to introduce themselves with a couple of words and that's what they would say. "On top" just standing for "best", kinda like on being on top of the ranking.

    1. Thank you so much for that explanation, Eclair! That makes a lot of sense, and I love learning about the maknae designation. I was getting the sense that Iliana was the star of the group, so maybe that's true after all?

    2. Thank you for taking the time to reply! I saw that a user named melodious b. pointed out the "on top" seems to stand for bossing around the older members, which I didn't know. In any case, Iliana has got to be my favourite. Her outfit looks like straight out of the music video of every summer K-POP song EVER. I love her :)

  2. I know these are K-pop dolls, but I'm getting a London vibe from Tania!

    Also, her eyes are much bigger, but the overall shape of the head and facial expression reminds me a lot of the art style for Coraline and its stop-motion puppets!

    1. I know what you mean about London (or Scottish?) vibes! I get that from Tania, too. :)

  3. Such a fun review! And to your comment about wishing the LULUPOP dolls had inset eyes- the party wave looks like they have inset plastic eyes! Maybe worth a second look?

    1. Oh, my goodness, Gabi, I think you're right! I was spending a lot of time wondering if I could add inset eyes to Tania (answer: probably not), so that would be great! I might have to buy one of those girls to check it out. Thank you so much for paying such close attention! I totally missed that. :)

  4. Random tangent: The MBTI test is pseudo-science nonsense. It basically throws out a bunch of positive-sounding characteristics for each category that most people would identify with (which is why they all started sounding samey). The Wiki article you linked is a good summary of the way it "works". It's a cute little thing to do with friends but some companies and people actually assign value to it and use it IRL which is utterly terrifying. /end rant.

    The pupils and iris blending into one is an Asian trait I sympathize with so I don't actually mind it so much on her. The bold eyeshadow does help make it pop more.

  5. I was looking at these dolls on Amazon and another doll came up that I’ve never seen, called BeKind. They look up your alley - an eco-conscious theme, inset eyes, and I spied elbow and wrist joints! Might be worth checking out.

    1. She's already done a review on them a while ago!

  6. I laughed out loud at "" her hobby is to keep track of time. I'm glad someone's doing that."

    I think these have potential.

  7. Tania's hair is actually polypropylene! For some reason, Tania and Bella got poly hair while Ella and Iliana got nylon. Not sure why, maybe the colors? I have Tania and Ella and they're super cute dolls! I'm glad that even tho they're clearly ripping off LOL OMG, they kept the very high quality clothes and nice fashions hehe

  8. A lot of this makes more sense if you're familiar with K-pop. Eclair explained the positions within the group, and the maknae, but "maknae on top" is a phrase that has been around for a while. The younger members are supposed to defer to the older ones in general, so it's a way of saying that even though she's the youngest, she'll boss the others around. MBTI is gross racist pseudo-science, but it's also really popular among idols.

    The cards and stickers and stuff also feel like inclusions you get with K-pop albums--usually any album will come with at least one photocard, and specific photocards are highly sought-after. And I don't really know how to explain this, but Elva's outfit definitely read as K-pop to me. Pretty much any style can be a K-pop performance outfit with the right proportions and/or embellishments.

    Anyway, these are super cute and I'm struggling to restrain myself from buying a couple of mini dolls for my nieces. Thanks for the review!

    1. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I've heard Wonyoung being called "bossbaby" back when she was in izone and "maknae on top" immediately reminded me of that. You're right, it probably stands for bossing the others around rather than what I said. I also agree that MBTI seems creepy to say the least. Idols often seem to assingn EVERY one of their quality to their MBTI to the point where it just feels weird. Humans are more complex than a personality test result, especially if it's not one bit scientific.

  9. I got really excited when I saw you had reviewed these dolls! I saw them a few years ago and I really liked the look of them! Tania is far and away my favourite, so I was stoked you were reviewing her specifically! For me, these dolls are everything I wish the LOL fashion dolls were; the aesthetic differences in the LULUPOP dolls fix everything I don't like about LOL dolls. Thank you for doing this review!! I really enjoyed following your adventure!

  10. Great review! I think the minis are adorable and I love that they come with their own little stage! It seems like a really cute portable way to store them. As for the gratuitous English, I think they’re using English words as decoration, similar to how Americans use French words lol.

  11. With Tania’s black and red outfit and gold crown earrings, she totally gives me Anne of Cleves from Six the musical vibes! Anyone else feel the same way?

  12. These are such neat dolls! I appreciate that the excessive packaging can be used as a stage.

    The outfits immediately read as Kpop to me, as an outside observer. They've always got a certain look.

    I actually like the red eyes! I've seen that used in a few places as a stylistic choice on dark brown eyes, to add variety when most characters have them. It still reads in the brown family, but warm and light catching. Like a character is mischievous or clever.

  13. These are definitely a cuter version of LOL dolls, but the biggest thing preventing me from buying those is the same issue these LULUPOP dolls have: those ginormous eyes! I like the LULUPOP expressions more, thanks to their mouths and slightly less vacant stares (I think all the stuff happening in the pupils actually helps with that), but it's still not a very appealing look. For some reason, things seem even worse to me with the second wave. It looks like they fully embraced the RH inspiraton rather than the LOL inspiration, with those inset eyes, but their outfits are also much more juvenile and random-looking than the fashionable first wave outfits, and their cute expressions are gone.

    Overall, this line is hit-and-miss for me. The virtual k-pop/music video thing isn't for me, but the animation for the fashion dolls does look really nice and definitely outshines MGA and Mattel's comparable projects. Part of me thinks they might have done better turning it into a TV show or something, and taking the time to develop the dolls a bit more before releasing them (and especially before going with all those wave two changes).

    For the mini dolls, I like that the blind box packaging is usable as a playset, but you're right that nobody needs ten of those. It's the same reason I haven't bought any Magic Mixies Pixlings yet.

    In short, I feel like this line's full potential hasn't been reached, and the MGA-copycat thing has sadly only contributed to that. Too bad!

  14. Thank you for this great review! I hope you review the Defa Lucy dolls next!