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June 27, 2013
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First of all, a HUGE thank you to everyone who took the time to read, comment, and give my foray into non-pony related content a chance.  My impetus behind this series of journals was pushing back against many MLP fan's perception that the Monster High influence was Equestria Girls' biggest fault.  Obviously I disagree, and I believe that, quite the opposite, what Monster High is a toyline that others should absolute emulate in terms of quality and design competency.  It really means a lot to me that you all have taken the time to give these journals, and Monster High, half a chance!  Thanks for reading!

Over the past few days we've discussed both the aesthetic impressiveness of Monster High as well as the quality of the toys themselves.  Today I'd like to wrap up by looking at both of these qualities in one doll- Jinafire Long, the golden dragon from Fanghai (If you haven't noticed already, puns abound in the Monster High universe!)

Mh 014 Sm by PixelKitties

Like Skelita, Jinafire is an absolutely GORGEOUS toy.  You know that feeling when you pick up a toy and the colors on the box art are way brighter and accurate than what's in the box?  I've noticed that a lot lately with Transformers.  Constructicons may be a wonderfully garish neon green on the box, but the toy inside is more likely to be a muddy pea-soup or olive drab.   Not here!  Jinafire's colors are some of the nicest, brightest, and most dynamic I've ever seen on any toy.  The Greens, reds, purple and gleaming gold of her scales just seem to radiate their own light. 

Mh 019 Sm by PixelKitties

Being from Fanghai, Jinafire has lots of Chinese influences to her design.  Her dress in particular is fantastic!  Remember that incredible scene from Skyfall where James Bond and the assassin Patrice fight in front of the glowing neon of the Shanghai skyline?  

Shanghai by PixelKitties

Jinafire's dress captures the feel of that iconic Shanghai...Fanghai, that is, neon against a night sky.  Being a dragon, the pattern is overlapping red and blue flames and she has an asymmetrical, sheer half skirt and sleeve with a red and blue scale pattern. 

Mh 018 Sm by PixelKitties

Check out that profile!  Jinafire's earrings are red Chinese knots and she has a gold belt made up of beads and a golden coin with the Monster High skull logo. She has a hair stick with a big, flashy Chinese chrysanthemum on top along with flame details to either side.  Her makeup is awesome!  She has green eyes with reptile-looking irises and fantastic purple makeup and extra-long lashes.  Despite the heavy makeup, Jinafire has an adorable, cherubic, sweet face.  She's totally classy and fabulous, but it's pretty obvious that she'd also love to be your best friend!  And like many of the dolls, she has a unique head sculpt with pointy, ridged ears.

And then there's the hair.  THAT WONDERFUL HAIR!  The green and black color scheme is striking, but it looks even better up in a bun with little flips and parts here and there.  It's a complicated updo that not only looks good, but it draws the eye all around her face and head, accentuating all the other great makeup and accessory details. 

Mh 017 Sm by PixelKitties

One of Jinafire's most unique features is her dragon tail.  While it's not posable or bendable, it's got a great twisty shape and flared green frill at the bottom.  Once again, I can't talk about her beautiful colors enough.  Many times toys and accessories that are "gold" end up more of a dull yellow.  But Jinafire SHINES.  Her scales really look like metal and catch the light whatever way you turn her. The green fringe just pops right out of the gold!

Just about every Monster High doll has gloriously iconic and intricate shoe designs.  I think that's one of the things Equestria Girls was really going for with the big-boots look of their dolls.  Unfortunately, even without all that space to work, the EQ Girls footwear can't hold a candle to these designs.  The ankle straps are Chinese knots, similar to Jinafire's earrings.  The heel is a twisting, Dead Space looking gold terraces.  The soles are awesome gold pillows with dragon claws holding them in place.  These shoes are TO DIE FOR.  These are like million dollar shoes in the really real world!  And Jinafire, she works them!

Mh 016 Sm by PixelKitties

As I mentioned yesterday Jinafire is part of the Scaris City of Frights line.  As a world traveler she has a fancy, unique suitcase with a Chinese dragon motif and gold flames.  

Mh 020 Sm by PixelKitties

Even the back of the suitcase is unique!  I would have expected it to be completely plain or at least a reverse-copy of the front.  But nope! Once again, Monster High has that extra bit of detail.

Mh 021 Sm by PixelKitties

Jinafire's outfit is really lovely and a bit complex.  I've been curious about how detailed her body is underneath, but I had some concerns about taking off all the layers of clothes and getting them back on correctly.  But since I spent a great deal of time talking about Skelita's nekkid details, it seems important to see whether this doll has scales in all the right place. 

Mhjf003 by PixelKitties

Sure enough, her entire body is detailed with scaled and lizard-y touches!  Like Skelita, I almost don't want to keep clothes on Jinafire because she looks just amazing as an au-unnatural dragon lady!

I'd like to talk for a minute, again, about the sheer volume of detail and extra work/expense that Mattel puts into these dolls.  Jinafire's outfit is pretty form-fitting and covers her entire trunk, neck, and a  good portion of her left arm.  It would have been so easy to have a standard, unadorned body underneath the clothing.  Most collectors wouldn't even notice as there are no plans to release alternate outfits for Jinafire.  Kids would notice since the first thing a little girl does is strip down their doll and try and put some other doll's clothes on her!  But not only do her scales follow the same pattern, but she has really beautiful plate scales on her belly and chest.  

Mhjf002 by PixelKitties

Jinafire is a doll for whom every part is custom made.  From her dragon scaled arms, legs, and torso, to her head scuplt and ears, to even her hands which are beautifully lithe and clawed. There are no half-measures with this doll.  She is beautiful enough and detailed enough to be a far more expensive collectors or limited edition doll.  Instead, she's around $19 US just the same as Skelita and the other Scaris line of dolls. 

The hardest part about this little project was narrowing down my reviews to three dolls.  Every single Monster High toy I have purchased, $10 to $60 has been an incomparable value.  The craftsmanship of the design, the color theory behind the characters and the individual dolls, the individuality of each toy and quality of the materials are unlike any major retail toy I've purchased in recent years.  While other toys and toy companies are cutting corners Mattel and Monster High are actually raising the bar on the quality and artistic value of toys- ESPECIALLY girl's toys.  

As I mentioned at the beginning of both this journal and this series of journals, my goal has been to show that Equestria Girls, as a toy line, was not inherently doomed.  There are two great appeals of Friendship is Magic- the wonderfully-defined, interesting, and even flawed characters and personalities that inhabit Equestria AND the wonderfully talented team of artists, composers, actors, cast and crew at DHX.  Unfortunately, the Equestria Girls dolls don't capture any of that magic.  The designs, while colorful, don't take advantage of the individuality or themes of the show, the personalities or the traits that make a group of cartoon horses without hands feet or clothing so memorable and remarkable.  When I would take part in discussions about Equestria Girls, with fellow pastel pony aficionados (Thanks for the awesome term, Cat!) and Monster High would come up, the comparison was either negative or completely unaware of what MH is.  In reading my little reviews and learning a bit about Monster High, I hope more folks are enlightened as to what Monster High IS NOT.  It's not empty or vapid.  It's not cheap or condescending towards girls or women's self image.  It's not Bratz.  It's not Equestria Girls.  Monster High is revolutionary and fun and represents a trend that I hope more dolls and more toys will learn from and follow. 

Mhjf005 by PixelKitties

Thank you SO MUCH, dear reader, for sticking with me and offering your thoughts, comments and opinions.  I would definitely like to keep this series going, but on more of a weekly or bi-weekly basis.  Bronycon is just about a month away and these photo-shoots and write-ups take time- time I'm rapidly running out of!

Let me know if there's any other topics, specific dolls, or suggestions on what to cover in the future.  Thanks for being such a great audience and for encouraging my crazy-obsessive toy habits! <3

Take care everyone!
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:iconsilentcarto:
SilentCarto Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
I do have one complaint about Jinafire, here. I can't be totally sure without a full rear view, but it looks like they have her tail poking out the middle of the small of her back rather than extending her tailbone the way it should.  Pet peeve of mine. :)
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:iconshinrom:
Shinrom Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2014
I stumbled on these reviews and I loved reading it. I got into Monster High the same time I got into MLP and over the past several years I've actually gotten more enjoyment out of Monster High. I'm gonna send your review to several of my friends they need an education. ^-^
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:iconkatlyon:
Katlyon Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013  Student General Artist
...I like your brain. It thinks good thoughts. 

I can imagine how people make the bad comparison because on the surface MH looks a lot like the stereotypical girly stuff. It only takes a second though to realize how shallow those comparisons are - "Oh it's a girly doll line it must be vapid and shallow". You can see that in the EQG line - I look at them and don't see the characters I've grown to love, I see a brightly colored model for an inevitable line of accessories. Your analysis here shows that, like the MLP show, the MH characters are given real, viable character, something so lacking in anything and everything made for children. Even if they're not groundbreaking world-shattering characters, even if they are a bit cheesy (speculation) they're still pretty compelling.

I gotta chuckle a bit when Bronies in particular respond to accusations of femininity of the show/products with "No it's not I'll show you why," when I prefer "Yeah. So?" Just cause it's girly doesn't mean it's bad - they just happen to go together a lot.

I may not be a doll person at all one bit, but you may have just convinced me to get one. Maybe, I'm not sure. My heart is thinking yes but my wallet is screaming no.
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:iconrocketslugrockscp:
rocketslugrockscp Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The more I'm reading these, the more I'm tempted to run down to K-Mart and buy some.
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:icontwoforflinching:
Twoforflinching Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
Beautiful series I'm definitely going to be checking out your tumblr posts! I've certainly seen the MH dolls and drooled over their quality and attention to detail when face with so many generics in the toy aisle and it was great to see an up close view of them. My favourite one I've seen was actually a build a doll kit I got for a secret santa friend who was a busy mom with two young girls. It had parts to build two different dolls with different colours parts and clothes but was very inexpensive. I love how they manage to make such high quality toys apparently with a low price point. I would love to see more of the company docs to see how they pull it off.

 I disagree with your statement that Monster High is not empty or vapid or cheap or condescending to women's self images though. While I think it can and does often promote good messages I think it also falls prey to the common shallow ideals that are often espoused to young girls. The introduction to Monster High I got was the episode (Bad Zituation) of Frankie getting a zit and all of her friends losing their collective minds to the point of putting a bag on her head. Frankie has bolts in her neck and scars. Why should a zit matter so much that her friends, instead of reassuring her it's okay, put a bag over her head?

 I do agree the dolls are gorgeous and I wish all companies would follow their design docs in terms of quality and attention to detail. That said it really bothers me to see the show seeming to stumble more than Ghoulia sometimes. :)
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:iconanzul:
anzul Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2013  Student General Artist
it only took me a month but i finaly i got to read this.
one thing i gotta say about this one doll, they seem to care so much for detail they even gave her a belly button (sort of...)
for some reason that what surprised me most...

im still wondering what kind of underground maffia they are running to get to sell these dolls for so little...

on the topic of future reviews like these, i would like to read about the pricy ones, or the ridicoulously pricy ones
not nesesarily monster high related just pricy toys and the like, that you think were worth it or those that totaly disapointed you.
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:icondwk13:
DWK13 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013
These journals were an awesome, read. As a MH fan this pleases me.

I used to see these dolls all the time at stores, and I always thought "wow those look awesome...but I can't have dolls because I'm a dude." Then I started watching the webisodes just out of curiosity and I really liked them. The great thing about being a seasoned "pastel pony aficionado" (that is awesome) is that I've learned to just embrace stuff I like and not worry about it. So I bought a doll (Draculaura because OMG she is so adorable). It was only when I took her out of the package and got an up close look that I realized how well put together these toys are. The clothes are amazing in quality and design. The articulation and poseability is pretty astonishing - these dolls have more joints than my freaking action figures, and they manage to make them unobtrusive. I could say a bunch of other stuff but you already did. Anyway, glad to see a fellow pony fan who also appreciates MH!
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:iconopus-13:
opus-13 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013
Well, dang! I've learned a lot. If you get the chance to continue this series, I'd certainly love to see it! Not only is it neat to see all the thought and detail that goes into the dolls of Monster High, but your enthusiasm for the franchise really shines through too. I was definitely one of the people who used to think that MH was just another Bratz knockoff thing, but that's clearly not the case. I think it's especially neat that these dolls can be used literally as toys for children or impressive collector pieces for teens and adults. I really wish that more toys were like that! There's certainly a market for it. It's a real shame that Hasbro hasn't quite figured that out yet. The current resurgence of MLP is the perfect opportunity to cash in on this concept! The groundwork has all been laid, they just need to take advantage of it.

As before, thanks so much for sharing! This has been incredibly enlightening. ^_^
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:iconfcm-nilesnake:
FCM-NileSnake Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013
I know almost nothing about Monster High, but damn these are some of the most detailed toys I've seen! :wow:
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:iconcaptainpenguin:
CaptainPenguin Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013
i read your journals. i think these toys are incredible! hopefully the EG dolls follow behind soon.
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