Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Bridge Direct "Berry Best Friends" Strawberry Shortcake Doll Review

So, here's the first of our posts for Strawberry Shortcake week:  the "Berry Best Friends" Strawberry Shortcake doll from The Bridge Direct. :)  This was another item from my unofficial blog sponsor, my mom. ;)  Thanks, Mom!!

"Berry Best Friends" Strawberry Shortcake is one of the most basic dolls in the new line.  I found her at my local Kmart for $7.99. 

I've seen pics and video reviews on line of this exact same doll, called the same thing, with Pupcake.  I'm not sure why my local ones didn't come with pets. :(  Hopefully I'll see some of those sometime soon.

The back of the package.  As you can see, the other Berry Best Friends dolls are Blueberry Muffin, Lemon Meringue, and Cherry Jam.

Box details:

Strawberry Shortcake dolls have always been scented, so it's no surprise that these ones are scented as well.  The packaging does come with little "scent holes" so you can test out the scent before purchase.  I was disappointed to discover that The Bridge Direct has changed the formula that has been used in the past for the strawberry scent.  Before, SSC always had a sweet, light strawberry smell.  The dolls produced in recent years had the exact same smell that my childhood SSC dolls used to have.  This new doll, however, has a stronger, more sickly-sweet scent, like one of those cheap, strawberry-scented children's shampoos.  I don't know how else to describe it.  The smell isn't unbearable, but I definitely prefer the previous scent.  I'm hoping that they might return to the original scent in time if the new scent doesn't go over well.

Strawberry was very easy to remove from her package.  No annoying little twist ties or anything! ;)

The only thing I had to remove was this plastic strip and the little rubber band that held her hair in place.

Here she is!!  She is approximately 5 1/2" tall.

I must admit, when I first saw pictures from the Toy Fair, I wasn't sure if I liked the look of this new line.  I really love the Hasbro dolls (the dolls released just before these ones), and wasn't sure I liked the way these dolls were painted.  After seeing them in person, though, I've changed my tune.  They're quite cute.  My daughters and I all noticed that their faces really capture the look of the characters, especially from the computer animated cartoon.  The only thing I don't like quite as much is that they have a rather "hunched over" look because they have almost no neck at all!  More on that later, though.   

Strawberry from the back.  Oldest Gal kept talking about Strawberry's pretty, soft, shiny hair.

Unfortunately, my particular Strawberry has very uneven legs.  

This makes it difficult for her to stand, but with some work I can get her to stay.

Hubby noticed (as you can kind of see in this picture) that it's not that the legs are different lengths, but that they're at an angle, almost like she got packaged incorrectly or something, and her legs ended up getting tweaked the wrong way.
In this picture you can also see that her undies and tights are painted on.

I love her cute little shoes and the printed-on strawberry icon.

One really fun thing about this doll is that she has arms that are much more posable than any of the past dolls:
I have to say, too, that I really like the sculpt of her hands.  They're very expressive.

Her legs bend at the hips, allowing her to sit.

We'll do a lot of comparing between the different SSC dolls in the next post of the week, but I thought it would be a good idea to include a comparison between the previous SSC doll from Hasbro and this newest one.  You can already see from the picture that there is quite a difference in height between the two.  Hasbro SSC has smaller eyes and softer paint.  Her hand sculpt is different and her hair a bit longer (and a lot less shiny).  She also has cloth leggings rather than painted tights like the newest SSC.  Hasbro SSC is slightly narrower in the chest and torso as well.

Here's a side-by-side comparison...

...and a comparison from the back.  Notice how drab Hasbro SSC's hair looks next to The Bridge Direct SSC's?

I decided to try a clothing and shoe swap to see if these two could share.  In spite of their slight differences in width, you can see that they have no problem sharing each other's outfits, and their shoes fit each other too.  I didn't switch their tights since The Bridge Directs SSC's are painted on. ;)  

You really notice the lack of The Bridge Direct's SSC's neck when she's next to Hasbro SSC.  I tried to capture it in the following pictures:

Hasbro SSC

The Bridge Direct SSC

While I will always love the Hasbro dolls, I feel that this newest Strawberry Shortcake is quite adorable and has a lot to offer.  I'm excited to see how the line does. :)

So, how does "Berry Best Friends" Strawberry Shortcake hold up to the rating system?  Here's what I determined (based on my own judgement and opinion, as always):

Pleasing Qualities: 4 out of 5
   I ended up falling in love with this sweet little doll.  Her face is pleasant, her shoes and outfit are adorable, and her hair is quite nice too.  It is gelled a bit in the front to hold its style, but the back of the hair is untouched by product and nice and smooth.  Her articulated arms make her fun to pose.  Strawberry is also incredibly photogenic, which made her review photo shoot super enjoyable. :)

  I'm docking a point for her scent, because I feel it is not as nice as the previous SSC doll scents, and for her neck design.  Part of the deduction is also due to her leg issue.  However, I realize it is likely that this is an individual doll issue, not typical of every SSC doll from The Bridge Direct.  (My Hasbro Blueberry Muffin has a similar problem, and that is certainly not typical of the Hasbro line.)

Posability: 5 out of 5
   SSC dolls have never been super articulated, but have always had movable arms, legs, and heads.  The Bridge Direct's SSC raises the bar with her incredibly posable arms.  Her legs are no less posable than any of the past dolls, so I'm not deducting any points for their less-posable state.  I would love to see The Bridge Direct consider adding more articulation for her legs in future releases, though.  She would be an even better doll if her leg articulation matched that of her arms.

Playability: 5 out of 5
   I think these dolls will have great playtime potential.  The clothing and shoes are easy to remove, the faces are sweet and appealing, and the dolls themselves appear to be well-made.  The box recommends giving them to children ages 3 and up.  I think that's a pretty good guideline, depending on your child.  I would have no problem giving this doll to my two-year-old niece, though, especially if I removed the shoes.  You're the best judge of what your own child can handle. :)

Price: 4 out of 5
   I think that $7.99 for this doll was an okay price.  Kmart is normally at least $1 more than other stores in the area.  It was the only place that had the dolls in stock (so far), so I decided to go for it.  Well, actually, my mom decided to go for it. ;)  I think $7.99 would be a good price for a doll and a pet, but in the future, I would rather pay $5 to $6 for just a doll and her comb...which should be about what these dolls cost at Walmart or Target.

Thoughts From the Gals:
  Before I get into my daughters' opinions, I just have to say that it was so fun hearing them share their thoughts.  I always have them give their reviews individually, without their sisters in the room, so that they aren't swayed by each others' opinions.  It was very interesting to see the things that stood out to them (both positive and negative), and how similar their opinions were without even realizing it.  I also love how each of them came up with a food or other item to compare with Strawberry's smell.  Oh, and you'll notice that I inserted a few things into Little Gal's review for some clarification.  Enjoy! :)

Oldest Gal (age 10):  I am very interested in The Bridge Direct Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  Their faces are adorable.  Their hair is extremely soft and shimmery like in the movie.   The outfits are very realistic, and their shoulders are extremely posable.  Henna and CinnaPup are soooo cute.  Blueberry Muffin looks terrific, and the big Styling Lemon Meringue is on my wishlist.  However, Strawberry Shortcake's odor is atrocious.  It smells like the Kool Aid we had at camp this summer which isn't a good smell for dolls in my book.  Strawberry Shortcake looks really funny with her shoes off, and I'm disappointed that they didn't do real tights or leggings for the dolls.  Overall, I'm really pleased with the hair, the eyes, and the dresses.  The price wasn't something that I could go out and buy just any day.  I will be keeping my eye out for a Blueberry Muffin and a Styling Doll Lemon Meringue.  I'm not sure quite yet if I like the Hasbro dolls just a tiny bit better.  I do know that I really like the Playmates dolls and that I collect them.  I also would like to mention that the Playmates models are part of my rather small collection.  Ciao for now!       

Middle Gal (age 8):  I completely love them because the hair is glossy and the bangs are crunchy but they're very accurate.  But it's weird that her legs are uneven (which is most likely a mistake they made when they made the doll).  Her eyes are cute and accurate and her eyebrows are accurate too.  I like how her hair is smooth, but honestly it smells like cherry soap.  I think that this line is going for accuracy, adorableness, and glossy hair.  Her feet are kind of weird because they're just white and they have no toenails.  And her hands are different.  Her right fingers look like she is holding a pencil.  And her other hand looks like she's petting a kitty cat.  Her hat is attached with a plastic tie but you can take it off if you want to.  But I wouldn't take it off because then it would be really hard to get back on accurately.  I looked at her a few minutes ago and I thought it would be fun to play with her, and then it was almost like there was a screen (the screen of the movie) staring at me.  My favorite is Cherry Jam even though I've never seen her in person.  Just because I've seen her on the computer I think she's super super super super cute and accurate.  No offense to Hasbro, I mean they do great with My Little Pony, but I think Bridge Direct is doing better with the Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  I think that all of you out there should just run to the store and get them before they run out and I think everybody should be able to enjoy these.     

Little Gal (age 6):  I LOOOOOOOOOOVE Bridge Direct [dolls] because their faces are more cute.  No offense to to to to to um...what's it called?!  Hasbro!!  Her hat is cute and they're more accurate to the movie but Mommy's Strawberry Shortcake doll's foot is uneven.  And you can...wait, no...I like how their hands and how their fingers and stuff like that is like real almost.  To me they're so cute that they could almost open her mouth and talk to me!  Well anyways, I like how their arms can move and their legs.  They can do gymnastics, or run, or walk, or direct music. [She makes Strawberry's arms wave back and forth like a music conductor.]  And I like her dress which is movie accurate.  But when you take her shoes off, her feet are white.  And and I like how their heads turn backwards.  But Mommy pointed out their necks are a little too low. [That was yesterday while I was taking pictures and they were watching.]  But I LOOOOOOOVE, um, how they're designed, how they make them, and when you lift up her hat she has bangs.  But her hat is attached by rubber bands. [Plastic ties.]  And I like her sweet face.  And I just love them!  Like LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE like a thousand time LOOOOOVE them themselves.  And I like her shoes.  And she can wait on tables almost.  And she can wave.  And she can not do a handstand.  She smells sooo good!  Her hair smells like the popsicles we had at Children's Bible Hour!  And the smell of her skin and the smell of her body...it's just pretty similar except a bit more sweeter.  Her two curls at the sides of her head are crunchy.  And she has...her clothes can come off.  And her arms and legs cannot bend.  So I would really recommend them.  She's a bit more shorter than Hasbro dolls but I still would recommend them.  And instead of buttons, she has strawberries on her shoes.  So I would sooo recommend them.


To visit The Bridge Direct's website and see all of the Strawberry Shortcake dolls produced so far, click HERE.

Want to learn more about the other previously-released Strawberry Shortcake dolls?  Check back tomorrow for a look at Strawberry Shortcake through the years. ;)


Nella said...

Oh she's cute!
I loved hearing your girls' opinions on the doll. :)

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, Nella. It's been really fun including them in my blog reviews. :) I think it's great to get opinions from the target audience as well as a mom's opinion, too. ;) Sometimes, the things that are big issues for me don't really matter to the girls. It's a great way to keep things in perspective. :)

Cindybin said...

Cute, I will have to look for these. Loved your daughters' reviews.

Maya Blueberrygirl said...

Hello! Thanks so much for this great review. I liked so much their new eyes.

Best Regards!!!

Farrah Lily said...

Great post! I totally agree with you regarding how nice it is that they have kept the same scent as the originals we grew up with...my daughter has a hasbro doll and I could sniff it all day! Sad to see they changed the formula, but good to know that Little Gal loves the new scent and as she grows older, this scent will bring her back to her childhood :). The girls did a great job with their reviews!

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, everyone! :) I'll be sure to pass along the message to my daughters that their reviews were appreciated. ;)

Mark Patraw said...

I had no idea that the Strawberry Shortcake license had changed hands again--I thought Hasbro still had it. I'm familiar with Bridge Direct, from their recent toys based on The Hobbit films, but I did not know that they produced anything for the girls market.

I'm surprised that Orange Blossom wasn't part of the line-up for this assortment of dolls--ethnic diversity and all that.

I believe that you can't copyright a scent (which is how all those cheaper knockoffs of celebrity perfumes can proliferate without legal action), so I don't know why Bridge Direct would change SSC's "classic" fragrance either. Maybe the newer strawberry smell focus tested better with children/parents, or, perhaps it's just cheaper to produce?

You could try straightening out SSC's skewed legs with the old boiling/cold water treatment. It's pretty common, especially with more pliable plastics, for figures, and/or their accessories, to get warped in the package like that.

For nostalgia reasons alone, I'll probably always consider the original Kenner SSC toys as the definitive ones, because that's what I grew up with, along with the cartoon (although there's no way that I would have EVER admitted to my childhood classmates that I regularly watched My Little Pony, Jem, Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Care Bears, etc. as that would have been social suicide for a boy). That said, the Bridge Direct version is a wonderful-looking modern take on SSC, and I prefer her larger eyes (which are more Japanese manga/anime like) to the Hasbro ones.

Your youngest seems particularly enthused about Ms. Shortcake and her friends!

beastsbelle said...

Mark, I found out about Bridge Direct's getting rights to the dolls last fall through some sort of Internet rabbit trail. ;) I'm glad I did, because I had a soft spot for the Hasbro dolls, so it gave me the opportunity to look for the ones I wanted before they were completely gone.

If I remember correctly from the Toy Fair pictures I saw, I'm pretty sure Orange Blossom is going to be in one of the next series of releases. I was a little disappointed that they didn't release all seven of the friends in the first wave of Berry Best Friends dolls. Plum and Raspberry are in the Sweet Beats versions of the dolls, but I'm not really into the whole rock star thing. Like you said, poor Orange Blossom is completely left out. And yes, I'm surprised they can get away with that since she's the only girl of color in the series. I'm pretty sure we should see her in the next set of releases, though...which will be nice.

Good thought on the scent. I wouldn't be surprised if they just decided it was time for a change. I still miss the old scent, though. :}

Thanks for the tip on Strawberry's legs, too. I'll have to try that. :)

I never grew up with the cartoon of Strawberry Shortcake, but I did have a lot of the books and I'm pretty sure I had the "Strawberry Shortcake Rescues Figboot" game (although I didn't even remember the game until I was researching things online and came across it). ;) I'm sorry things were so tough for you, but I'm glad you watched the things you enjoyed in spite of the risk of the other kids finding out.

The Kenner dolls will always be special to me, too. I really do enjoy something different about each line, though. :)

Lol, Youngest Gal is enthusiastic about EVERYTHING. ;) She always tells me if I don't put enough "o"s in LOOOOOOOOVE. It's her favorite word to use in her reviews. ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

Cure May said...

the bridge direct is in fact making a raspberry torte doll. Im so excited!