Monday, December 30, 2013

Kawaii Crush "Jamie's Sunglass Shop" Review

When I went after-Christmas shopping at Target, I also picked up two of the larger Kawaii Crush sets, basically because they were only $6.98 instead of $10, and I thought they were really cute.  Target had "Jamie's Sunglass Shop" and "Mandy's Candy Shop".  I wasn't sure what my plans were for them, since there were only two sets and I have three girls, but at that price I figured I'd just keep them on hand for birthday party gifts or something (we get invited to quite a few throughout the school year).  Today we'll take a look at "Jamie's Sunglass Shop".

Here's the package from the front...

...and the back.

Jamie's full name is "Jamie Framie Pop".

Here's her bio from the back.

And a few details about the product. 

This package was much easier to open than Hannah Banana's.  The cardboard at the back comes off...

...and the front plastic lifts off easily.

Here is everything out of the package.   The set includes a mannequin head, a shop display, a cash register, a counter, five pairs of sunglasses, a big pink credit card (or bill of some kind), Jamie, and her removable headband.

One of the first things I noticed about the shop display was that it differed slightly from the package.  You can see that when the display is closed, there is a mirror in the front.

When it is opened, there is a heart with a face.

However, on the back of the package, the mirror is on the inside, so when the shop is open, the mirror is facing out.

When the shop is closed, the heart (minus a face on the package) is facing out.  I wish they would have stuck with this original design, because it just makes sense.  If customers were there, they would want to be able to try on the glasses and see themselves, and Jamie would want to keep the mirror out of the way of the sunglass display so others could still shop.  Also, having the non-mirror side out when the shop is "closed" gives a better idea of the shop actually being closed.  I'm probably way over-thinking this, but hey, it's what I do. ;)   

So on my playset, when the shop is closed (notice the cute closed-eyed sunglasses that come up over the top?), it looks like this.

Here's what it looks like when the shop is open.  I actually removed the little heart piece in front to try to turn it around, but then I realized that with the hinge only on one side, there was no way to change it.  It's probably going to bother me every time I look at it. :}

Okay, moving on from my strange, nit-picky obsessions. ;)  Here is the little plastic cash register.  It is all one piece and does not open or close.  I love the fact that there are little dollar signs in the eyeballs. ;)

The counter has a removable lid... you can use it to store the extra sunglasses when playtime is over.

Let's move on to Jamie herself.  I was thrilled to discover that Jamie could stand on her own.  I think she has a sweet little face and fun curls in the front of her hair.

A view from the back.

Here's a closer look at her headband with the over-sized heart.

As I mentioned before, it is removable, and rests on her head.  It stays on pretty well.

My Jamie has a little smudge on the top of her head.

A closer look at her outfit.  I think her skirt is cute.

Jamie's shoes.

Just like Hannah, Jamie's skirt and shoes are removable.  She does not have an extra outfit or a pet.

Her shirt, skirt, and socks are painted on.

Jamie is also hinged at the hips like Hannah.  Unfortunately, she cannot sit on her own at all because of those big, corkscrew curls in her hair.  They make it impossible for her to stay in a sitting position. 

Now we come to the sunglasses of the sunglass shop...and here's where we run into more problems.  Because of the tight fit of the sunglasses and the hair right at the sides of Jamie's face, it is next to impossible to get the sunglasses to stay on correctly:

This pair shifted just before I took the picture.

This pair I managed to get on, but they are pretty off-centered.

Same with this pair here.

I think this pair actually fit the best because the frames were a little wider, but they're still off.

I thought I'd try a pair on Hannah to see if it made a difference, but I couldn't even get them to go on.  Hannah's hair was even more in the way than Jamie's.

This is the little mannequin head that came with the set.

I did manage to get this pair of glasses on her, but it was a struggle.

This is, unfortunately, a big strike against this set.  If the whole theme is a "sunglass shop", and the sunglasses don't fit or stay on correctly, then the whole idea is kind of useless.  It was difficult for me as an adult to get the sunglasses on.  There's no way my younger two girls (ages 7 and 5) would be able to get them on.  I think even my 9 year old would struggle with them.  Another major concern is that because of the angle of the glasses, it would be very natural for a child to scrape the ear pieces of the glasses across the face to get the glasses to pop on.  I can't imagine the eye paint would hold up to that forever. 

Here is Jamie, all ready to open up the shop for the day.

The sunglasses do look really cute on the display shelves.

The cash register and the mannequin head fit nicely on the counter.

Hannah has decided to buy this pair, even though they don't fit her.  She already strikes me as kind of hyper and random. ;)

I had to chuckle when I saw how huge this credit card was next to the dolls. ;)

Here are Hannah and Jamie together.  Hannah is rather distracted by Jamie's cute headband. ;)

I really wanted to give this set a glowing review.  I was so excited that Jamie stood up on her own (without me having to reposition her head), and I loved all of the cute accessories for her shop.  But aside from the very minor problem of the turned around mirror, I just can't overlook the issue with the ill-fitting sunglasses.  I'm actually glad I opened this set instead of giving it as a gift.  It most likely would have been very frustrating to whatever little girl received it. 

I think the idea of this set was a cute one, but it just wasn't executed in the best way.  If the theme of the set is a sunglass shop, the sunglasses just have to fit for it to be a success.

I was also a bit disappointed by the fact that Jamie cannot sit at all, even though I was happy that she was able to stand on her own.  I almost wonder if the Kawaii Crush dolls would be better as non-movable dolls?  If they didn't have the ability to move into a sitting position, it wouldn't be frustrating to the kiddos that they can't actually sit.  Or perhaps their hair could be made of a more flexible plastic that would move so they could sit.

Anyway, enough of my rambling.  Jamie and her set get a 3 out of 5.  She is cute, and I love her shop accessories, but the sunglasses and her inability to sit are things I can't ignore. 

Even with all of these difficulties, the set is cute and has enough usable pieces that I don't regret I bought it.  It would be easy enough to find something else to put on the display shelves.  Again, the discounted price helped things, too.  Had I spent the full $10 on this, I might have been tempted to return it.

Have any of you tried the Kawaii Crush sets?  What do you think of them?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas News and Kawaii Crush Cuddly Pet Collection "Hannah Banana Nom Nom" Review

I realized that I didn't really get any just plain Christmas pictures this year without dolls or people in them, so I won't be sharing pictures of my Christmas vacation. :}  I should have Emma's version of Christmas up on Tess and Maggie's blog later today.  

We had a wonderful time with our family.  It was great to all be together, especially since the girls and I have been sick so much lately and we haven't spent much time out of the house! :}  We visited, ate snacks (including Aunt V's traditional fudge and gingerbread), shopped, exchanged gifts, enjoyed the five adorable little girls (my three and my brother's two) and watched Duck Dynasty (a new Christmas tradition).  In the evenings, Mimi and I watched some Doctor Who with my parents (they're still on Season 6).  It was so fun to re-watch the early Matt Smith episodes and see how much my parents enjoyed them. :)  Oh, and on Thursday, Mom and Mimi sent Dad and I on a daddy/daughter date.  We saw "The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug" together.  More on that in a later post, but we had a wonderful time.  It's been a while since I've been able to spend some one-on-one time with my dad. :)

I actually didn't get too many doll-related gifts this year, but I did get some wonderful things.  The softest blanket known to mankind from my brother and sister-in-law, a new comforter from my parents, an AMAZING set of Sharpie markers in just about every color imaginable (cue the cool art projects!), and lots of other fun stuff. :)

We got home Friday, and yesterday I seized the opportunity (while Hubby was home) to do some after-Christmas sale shopping.  One of my favorite places to shop after Christmas is Target.  I love shopping there because they usually have some pretty serious toy clearances after Christmas, and they conveniently put everything in one aisle.  They also have some great sales on Christmas stuff (most of it was already down to 50% off).  The toys were down to 30% off.  There were Barbies, La Dee Das, and other doll-related items on sale.  The large "Goldie Luxe" Holiday Lalaloopsy was down to $24.99 from $50.  

One of the other things that was on a great sale was the "Kawaii Crush" line.  In fact, it looked like Target had really overstocked for the holiday season.  There were a TON of them, and they were all in the clearance section.  Apparently, they haven't sold really well.  

Now, I'll admit, I wasn't sure whether I liked these or not when they first came out.  I liked the idea of them, but I wasn't sure whether I liked them in reality.  However, when I saw that the individual dolls from the "Cuddly Pet Collection" were down to $2.98 a piece, I figured I would try them.  Especially since they still had "Hannah Banana Nom Nom", one of my favorites (I like the name). ;)  There were three other individual dolls there as well, so I picked up one for each of my girls (Christmas or birthday presents for 2014!). :)  Since I can't open those yet, I thought I'd review mine. :)

So here's Hannah Banana Nom Nom in her package.  Kawaii Crush is made by Spin Master, the same company that created the LIV dolls.  

Here's the back of the box.

This part of the package shows the other dolls available in the Cuddly Pet Collection.  My target only had the last four in the lineup...although now that I think about it, the one with the owl hat may have been there too.

The back of the package includes a little "bio" on Hannah.

A closer look at the packaging:
Everything about it screams "cute". ;)

It took me a while to get the packaging open (I probably chose the hardest way to do it), but once I got the plastic separated, the plastic piece holding Hannah and accessories in place came out easily.

Her bio was a separate piece, presumably so it can be kept.

Here's everything in the plastic holder...

And here Hannah is, free from her packaging.  She is just over 2.5 inches tall.  I was disappointed to discover that I couldn't get Hannah to stand up on her own because of the length and angle of her hair. 

The only way I could get her to "stand" was to prop her up against something, and even then, she tended to lean to one side because of the way her hair slopes.

After doing some pictures for another post and showing her to the girls, however, I discovered that she CAN stand on her own. :)

She does lean forward a little bit, but she can stand.

What I didn't realize was that their heads move as well as their hips, so when I repositioned her head a bit, she was able to stay up.

Her hair is made of a soft, flexible plastic, but it is still thick and firm enough that it doesn't move without assistance.

Her hat is made of the same flexible plastic and is designed to look like a knit hat.  It is removable.

Her shirt is painted on her body, but her skirt and monkey socks/boots are removable.  Unfortunately, my skirt is a bit stretched, so it doesn't stay in place very well.

When you remove the skirt, Hannah has a painted on one, so she's never undressed.

Here she is without her hat...

...and here she is without her hat, skirt, and boots.

A view of her hair from the back.

Some sort of identification code at the bottom of her hair.

The Kawaii Crush dolls have legs that move into a sitting position. 

The legs are attached to the hips with some sort of hinge.

Both legs are one solid piece that moves together, as shown in the following pictures:

 Unfortunately, because of their ultra-long hair they can't really sit...unless you find a really tall chair or stool that will allow their hair to hang over the back.

I was able to get Hannah to sit on this thermos top.

She also sat on this 18 inch doll cooler, but only when her feet were in the hole on top.

When I tried to have her sit on the edge, the angle of her hair made it impossible for her to stay there on her own...

...and she fell every time.

 I feel this is an unfortunate design issue.  I think there will be a lot of frustrated little girls playing with these dolls if they can't sit without finding the perfect seat (in Hannah's case, one with the perfect curve to accommodate the curve of her hair).  I'm thankful I at least figured out how to make Hannah stand, but that took a while for me to discover.  When a doll can't sit or stand, it becomes too much of an annoyance to play with.  And I should know.  I have three girls, and I've watched them play. ;)  I'm hoping that the dolls I got for them stand on their own easily.

My Hannah had a few discolored spots on her feet.  I found it interesting that they were pink when her shoes were blue.  Maybe it's from her hair.  

Hannah came with an extra little outfit, a fluffy little dress.

The dress is made of the same flexible, rubbery plastic that the hat and boots are made of.  It has a split in the back to allow for easy dressing.

Hannah also has a spare hat (this one is designed more like a baseball cap) to go with her extra outfit.

Here is her adorable pet monkey, which I think is one of my favorite things about the set.  The monkey wears a little hat that matches Hannah's monkey baseball cap.

A view from the back.

Just like Hannah herself, the monkey does not stand on her own unless she is leaning against something.  As cute as she is, I wish the company would have made her standing up straight instead of at an angle.  If they had, she would probably be able to stand unassisted.  Still, I've put up with Lalaloopsy pets that don't stand by themselves, so I suppose I can put up with this one too. ;)

So cute! :)

I thought it would be helpful to show Hannah with some of my other small dolls, giving you an idea of her size.  From left to right, we have a mini American Girl doll, a Chelsea doll (formerly known as Kelly), a Kelly doll, a mini Littlest Pet Shop Blythe doll, a current Strawberry Shortcake doll, Hannah Banana, and a mini Lalaloopsy.

Hannah is closest in size to the Strawberry Shortcake and mini Lalaloopsy dolls.

As you all know by now, I always love finding mini dolls or toys that work as playthings for my 18 inch dolls.  The Kawaii Crush dolls and pets definitely pass the test, as Hayden is demonstrating in this picture.

So, final thoughts?  I think these dolls are really cute.  Their fun names, adorable pets, and cute, removable accessories will make them appealing to their audience.  Originally, when I couldn't get Hannah to sit or stand, I was pretty disappointed.  I've watched my daughters grow frustrated with dolls they can't get to stay standing.  For them, arranging and doing "set ups", as they call it ("Mommy, come see my set up!") is a major part of their play.  My original score for this particular doll was a 3 out of 5.  However, now that I discovered a way to make her stand, I'm raising the score to a 4 out of 5.  She's super cute, and at $2.98, I got her for a great price.  

Emily at the Toy Box Philosopher blog did an excellent, detailed review of one of the other dolls in the Cuddly Pet collection, and hers stood up on her own just fine (although she had similar sitting problems).  You can see her full review HERE.  

If you'd like to find out more about Kawaii Crush, you can visit their website HERE.  The site features webisodes (with an overdose of cuteness and techno video game style've been warned), ;) games, pictures of the different available products, and more.  It will be interesting to see how this line does. 

And if you're interested in getting some of these dolls for yourself at a great discounted price, you can visit your local Target, or shop for Kawaii Crush at HERE.  I'm especially partial to the PB & J Slumber Party Pack, which was not at my Target (if it had been, I would have been reviewing that, too). ;) 

Stay tuned for a review of "Jamie's Sunglass Shop", coming up next. :)