Some time ago I bough the basic release of Cerise Hood. Before I managed to write a review, the autumn sun lured me out for an outdoor photo session. Now the time has come to finally give this doll a closer look!
Here is Cerise still in her box. This is the now retired style of Ever After High boxes (though, as you can see, it still possible to find them in shops and online). The box strikes me as rather spacious – I am pretty sure two dolls could fit in there if necessary. It seems that in the doll industry the size of the box is more related to the price point and quality than to the amount of space actually required to contain the toy – if that’s true, it seems that we are to expect pretty good things from this one:
Here is the back of the box with some information about the character, in this case, in Polish and Czech. There is also a drawing of Cerise – it is rather pretty and it accurately represents the doll’s clothes and accessories. It is only perhaps a little odd that the style is different from that seen in the webisodes.
If you peek through the keyhole (which in this one case is OK :)) you can see the doll’s stand tucked in a separate compartment of the box. Despite this subtle hint, doll stands still get thrown away with the box by unsuspecting parents – at least so I heard.
You would also be alerted to check the box for a stand if you read the list of contents on the base of the box. This section of the packaging also informs us that the doll was made in China in 2013.
People don’t usually like their toys to have been made in China, but in this case, I specifically sought out a “made in China” version. Basic Cerise Hood has had three slightly different releases so far, and this one is my favorite because of something about its face-up. However, its “made in Indonesia” counterpart also has many fans.
Even the side of the box has a little something special: it resembles the spine of a book, complete with a picture of Cerise. I would certainly like to own a book of fairy tales with such lovely details! Thanks to the ornate ‘spines’ these boxes stack very nicely on shelves (but, unfortunately, I only have one to stack).
Finally, the ‘aerial’ view. Just one look from this angle is enough to know there is trouble coming: glue leakage.
I noticed the stain back in the shop, but I thought it was the same mostly harmless substance as the one that held Bunny Blanc’s hair in shape. Unfortunately, it’s not. The stain was a harbinger of the infamous “glue head” problem that affects certain Ever After High and Monster High dolls. In short, these dolls’ heads are filled with glue which seeps out over time, giving the hair a greasy look. It can apparently also stain fabric which remains in contact for a long time. I haven’t been able to wash it off any way I tried. This is definitely a big minus.
In the box, the doll had a section of her hair tied in something of a braid. I thought it looked nice, but I had to take the rubber bands off because they seemed to be… melting into the hair? It sounds quite unlikely for merely 3-year-old rubber bands, but somehow, perhaps through contact with the glue, they were unusually sticky.
Time to free the free-spirited Hood. Here she is out of the box, with all her additional accessories: a key-shaped brushed (with rather few ‘bristles’), a doll stand and her basket. Her hair has been washed at this point, as you may be able to tell by the appearance of her bangs.
Let’s have a look at her face first:
Cerise has a warm complexion. Grey dominates in her eye make-up and is also the colour of her irises. Grey and silver accents also echo throughout her outfit. Despite being so monochrome, her eyes look bright, if rather serene in expression. Her lips are a nude shade of pink whitch fits her natural beauty. The lower lip has three silver dots which imitate reflections. I think it’s an odd way of painting lip highlights, but I quickly stopped noticing them anyway.
Nearly all basic releases of EAH dolls wear knee-length dresses, but Cerise is instead wearing a shirt or a tunic. The top is finished with a ruffle. It blends in fine colour-wise, but I feel like it doesn’t match the outfit in its style. So I have a theory about its origin: Could it be that it’s been added to add more consistency between the outfits of the basics, and perhaps add more girly charm?
Even so, Cerise is different from many of her Ever after High friends, in that her personality and her colour-scheme are less ‘cute’ and less princess-like. I had assumed that her plaid design was an expression her modest, down-to-earth style, but only until I went shopping recently – red plaid is everywhere! Intentionally or not, Cerise is being quite fashionable 🙂 (Also, it seems that it’s a good season for cosplaying as her. Only, you know… don’t go overboard :))
The sleeves of the tunic are tight-fitting, which means that the doll’s hands have to be removed to change the outfit. We have the manufacturer’s blessing to do so, but I still feel as if I’m ‘hurting’ the joints and I am worried about them becoming worn and loose.
Her leggings are grey/silver, with what appears to be snake leather texture. Given her connection with the forest, they could just as well be tree bark imitation. Rebel-esque or forest-inspired, they fit the doll quite well.
Perhaps her most iconic item of clothing is the red cape with hood. It is by no means plain red, though:
The cape is adorned with an intricate, borderline scary, fascinating design in the shape of branches and leaves.
It has a slit in the back to let the doll’s hair out (but I like it tucked inside the cape more anyway).
You can also notice here that the hair has subtle highlights. This variance in colour gives the hair a more realistic appearance.
After removing the doll from the box, I washed the cape with warm water, tea-tree oil (as suggested on doll forums) and large amounts of dish-washing liquid. When it dried, I tried leaving in some cornstarch to absorb the grease. Neither of this techniques work to completely remove the stain. Welp. (Unfortunately, it’s more obvious in person)
On the positive side, the cape’s clasp is very nicely detailed, and that can’t be taken away 🙂 I am only a little surprised how richly adorned it is for a humble Riding Hood. Perhaps this line of fairy-tale characters has richer history and a richer bank account than I had expected.
I am very tempted to paint these gems.
Cerise’s detailed accessories do not end here. Consider her jewelry:
The ring is very much in keeping with the style of cape clasp, and surprisingly well sculpted.
The bracelet is something a little different. It too has decorations which can be interpreted as jewels, but overall it looks like black leather bracelet with straps. I like to imagine that the previous pieces are family heirlooms, but this one is Cerise’s own touch as a Rebel.
The belt is most certainly (make-believe) leather. The style is more informal and more natural, but the details are no-less pleasing to the eye:
The back has little pegs for fastening:
It sits snugly at the narrowest part of her waist, but it doesn’t get in the way of the stand.
The doll is wearing brown leather boots that go well with the belt:
Despite the compulsory high wedge, these are possibly the most reasonable shoes I have seen in EAH dolls. The colour is natural, the sculpt is rich but not overdesigned. They do not scream “Little Red Riding Hood”, which means they are perfect for sharing with other dolls. I am very pleased with them. There are a few details which could be painted in, but they look very good as they are.
Finally, Cerise Hood’s basket:
They did a good job with this piece as well. There is so much going on: cute bows, intricate jeweled ornaments, a rustic napkin, wicker texture and even fur-like trim that I hadn’t noticed until right now. All these things come together without overwhelming the eye. It doesn’t open, though – I guess you can’t have everything, and with fashion accessories, functionality is the first thing to go.
Now let’s consider some physical features of the doll. If you have watched the webisodes, you may be wondering about the doll’s ears. Well, they are slightly pointy, but that’s all:
Ashlynn’s ears for comparison:
While we’re at that, notice how greasy the hair is near the ‘scalp’. Stringy, sticky, suspiciously shiny. And this is all post-washing. Fortunately, the greasiness does not show on the top layer of the hair as much.
It seems that this dolls fingernails are more pointy than the average ones, but again, the difference is negligible. Here are Cerise’s fingers:
And Ashlynn’s fingers:
Definitely more noticeable is the height difference. Here are three of my Ever After High dolls, each a different height:
Bunny Blanc is the shortest one. Her thigh pieces and her calf pieces are unique to her (between these three that is). Ashlynn Ella and Cerise Hood share the same thigh length, but Cerise’s calves are longer, giving her the extra overall height.
Bunny Blanc was my first doll. Her body proportions looked perfectly normal to me. When I bought Ashlynn she seemed unreasonably tall. And now that I bough Cerise and she is even taller, I do think it’s freakishly excessive. It doesn’t show as much when she is dressed in leggings and high boots.
Cerise, as all the other dolls above, is fully articulated Ever After High style – wrists, elbows, and knees all bend and rotate at the joints, arms rotate back to front and lift up to the sides, legs at the hips bend so that the doll can sit as on a chair, they also go slightly to the outside (so she could, for example, ride a horse). Some of Cerise’s joints are a bit more loose than in the other dolls: her right arm, for example, has trouble supporting the weight of her basket, but it still keeps poses on it’s own.
Now, for the conclusions:
- pretty face sculpt and paint
- unique and detailed outfit design
- outfit composed of separate, interchangeable pieces
- numerous intricate accessories
- doll stand included
- pretty hair colour
- visually pleasing packaging
- permanently stained cape
- greasy hair
- slightly loose joints
- a little lanky 🙂
As in the case of many other dolls, the design is great, but the execution detracts somewhat from the final product. I expect the manufacturer to address the problems in future releases, but meanwhile, this is still a doll worth having and fully capable of giving lots of enjoyment to children and collectors alike – in short, I’m glad to have it.