I gave a lot of though to which doll I should choose.
I liked both Rapunzel and Ariel very much, but I decided to give Rapunzel a higher priority, because I relate more to her as a character.
Even with this decision out of the way, my dilemmas had only begun. Perhaps, even almost certainly, I was taking this too seriously, but since there were two models still available online (2013 and 2015), I spent days weighing the advantages and advantages of each (I’m sure there are people out there who give less thought to buying a car). I by far preferred the dress on the older model, but I wasn’t even certain the doll would spend a lot of time wearing her original dress. The greatest drawback was that her lips were purple – it seemed like a colour that would clash with the more neutral clothes I prefer to sew with. The actual doll seemed more important than the dress, and so I went with the 2015 version.
Even though I’d seen countless photos and videos, I wasn’t 100% accurate in my imaginations, so it’s time to weigh them against reality.
I would like to first discuss the design in general, and then the execution of the particular doll that I own.
In terms of design, I am very pleased with the doll.
I especially love that this doll, and all dolls in the collection, look so much like their characters in the films. I have never seen dolls which would be closer depictions of the animated Disney characters, and that even though they are made as toddlers.
I knew vaguely that each doll in the Animators’ collection has a unique face mold, but I when I put my dolls side by side, I was surprised how different they were – they do share the same style, but their foreheads, cheeks, chins etc. have different shapes. The colours of their complexion also vary. Both dolls’ skin has a matte finish, which is a positive for me.
I’ve read and heard a few people say that the Rapunzel dolls look sad. I disagree. To me she looks pensive. I like her like that, not only visually, but also in that it gives her more personality. I think it’s a bold step to make a Disney princess doll without a cute happy smile, and I applaud this decision. To me it’s one of many proofs that they are something more that simple children’s toys – to me, they are Disney art poured into a tangible object, and I love that 🙂
As I mentioned I quite like the lip colour, I believe it’s the most neutral one on an Animators’ Rapunzel so far, which is a good thing. It’s still pretty pink – I am under the impression that cameras tend to render it as a bit more peachy than it actually is (good luck trying to establish the ‘real’ colour of a doll’s features based on even a high number of photos – I did that and I still was a bit surprised when I saw the colours in person).
I was rather disappointed when I first saw this model’s dress online. For me, it doesn’t make sense to have an opened top layer that is identical to the fabric at the bottom. I like this cut a lot, but to my mind the layers should at least have different shades, and I feel quite strongly about that 🙂 That said, when I saw the dress with my own eyes I decided that it is better than I expected – it’s pretty enough for me after all. I do like the bodice, which has stayed unchanged from the previous releases. The dress looks neat and is pleasant to touch.
The dolls hair, on the other hand is simply delightful to touch! It’s smooth, it’s long, it’s shiny 🙂
I was well aware that Rapunzel doesn’t come with any shoes, and I know that it’s intentional, but I am not happy about that. I’d like her to have something to wear with the outfits I make. What is more, if I ever do buy Ariel, the shoe crisis will only deepen. Ideally, I wish they would box them barefoot, but put a pair of shoes in the package. I’d be happy to pay a reasonable price for spare ones, too.
Rapunzel comes with a stuffed Pascal. He’s kind of flat and useless and I don’t care for him 😉
Overall, it’s a very cute doll. I think that the design of the doll itself is great, but since the outfit has changed slightly with each line, the design of the dress has perhaps suffered slightly from the imposed changes.
However, I also wanted to point out some problems which are not inherent to the design, but seem to be the problem of this particular doll that I own.
I had seen online that some dolls seem to have better rooting than others. I dreaded the though that mine could be one of those less blessed with hair, but since I ordered online, there was no way to find out. Unfortunately, it did turn out to be kind of poor.
The spaces between the individual strands are quite wide, even more so farther away from the hairline.
My Belle’s rooting is way better at the hairline, I’m not certain about the scalp overall. Her strands are finer and more densely rooted, and because of that much less obvious. However I’m wondering if it’s even fair to compare their hair in terms of quality. I think rooting may vary quite drastically between different dolls in the series (seeing Tinkerbell’s hair for example…) depending on their hairstyle – Belle’s hairline is more exposed. Even so, based on other people’s photos I think that there exist somewhat better rooted Rapunzel dolls. The fact that mine isn’t on of them was a disappointment for me.
Her hair has a lot of gel in it, so much so that it stands at the hairline. Perhaps it will lay flat after washing and that will help conceal the gaps.
Other than that, the hair is gorgeous. The unimpressive little strands amount to surprisingly thick, lovely hair farther away from the head.
There are some other minor defects, but they do not bother me as much, because they are either less visible, or likely possible to be fixed. One eye’s corner has little specs of paint, and a fraction of the skin-coloured outline is missing. There is some varnish next to the other eye which looks a bit like a tear. There is also some misplaced varnish on her right arm. The rubber band by which Pascal was attached left an indentation in the other arm. Her underwear is unevenly sprayed on.
On the positive side, there is virtually no staining on her body, even though it seems to be a fairly common problem among the Animators’ dolls.
I had put so much thought into choosing the right and perfect doll for me that at first it was a little hard to accept that there are some flaws. When you shop online, the unboxing is the ultimate test of what you really got and, at least for me, there is some pressure in that moment. I worried what happens if it’s not perfect and guess what – it’s not. But only a day has passed and it already matters less. I suspect none of them are impeccable, Belle had some imperfections too. It’s life in a nutshell 😉
Overall, I am definitely happy to have Rapunzel in my tiny collection. It is a beautiful, adorable doll, and on top of that, one based on my favourite Disney film of the recent years. As a doll sewist, or whatever it is that I am, I am especially excited about her as a new model, bringing in new colours and new opportunities. But ever before I manage to create something special with Rapunzel in mind, she brings me joy just standing there and being pretty 🙂