American Girl and African American Beforever Characters: What does the future hold?

15 Aug

Rumors always spread like wildfire in the American Girl community. We are an enthusiastic group of fans. Our latest rumor comes from (basically) the confirmation that the newest American Girl Beforever character, “Beforever” being the name of the historical line of dolls from American Girl, would be an African American girl and that she is due to come out in 2016.

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This is all exciting news considering that this year Maryellen Larkin, an enthusiastic girl from the 1950s, has joined the American Girl Beforever group of characters.

Maryellen2

Two American Girls within two years? That’s quite a treat considering American Girl dolls are very challenging to produce. American Girl has many lines of dolls. They have the Beforever line of dolls that teach girls about history, a contemporary line of dolls, and the Bitty Baby line that favors younger children. Of all of their lines, the Beforever line is the most challenging to create. First, market research must be done to understand how they can appeal the doll to modern girls. Second, they have to find a time in history that is important for teaching and relating to girls today. Then they have to research the time thoroughly while still observing children because the history will be told from a child’s perspective. Lastly, they have to create authentic clothing and accessories that realistically fits a 9 to 10 year old girl (Though I can honestly say lately they’ve been slipping on that. Julie in platform shoes?).

But American Girl has somehow managed to work on two girls at once. They probably got a lot of practice creating those Best Friend dolls over the years (for those of you who don’t know, the “Best Friend” dolls were dolls that were the friends of the lead American Girl characters in their stories and usually accompanied the lead character in the collection). Now, fans don’t have to wait anxiously for the next new Beforever character. It’s exciting news!

Well, since the African American girl is basically confirmed, many have been wondering what time period she could possibly be from. Many speculate that she will be from Detroit in the 1960s. This coincides with the heavy demand for a girl who has experienced the Civil Rights era. With all of the current racial tension being the focus, many people feel that now would be the best time to release a character that touches on controversial issues such as race. This would make the character powerful for now.

But many also are still hoping for that 1920s Harlem Renaissance character, too.

I can honestly say that I’m stuck. I feel that if either comes out, I will be happy and disappointed. I truly can’t decide which time period would be more interesting for African Americans. And honestly, the sad part is, I don’t think American Girl would release an African American character for both time periods, though that would be ideal. So to give in to one time is to lose something precious historically from another. And the chances that they would cover an era twice (with a white girl and black girl representing these periods in history) is just weird and time-consuming…Might as well cover the era once…

As an African American, I feel both times may do many different things for the brand, but what each period does for African American girls will be different. What do I mean by that, you ask?

Let’s look at the 1960s, the most popular rumor.

The 1960s

People have made many interesting points about the 1960s girl being interesting. I’ve always been in favor of the 1960s prior to Maryellen’s release.

The 1960s is a very popular modern era. It relates more to modern African Americans than does the Harlem Renaissance.

The 20th Century is a big deal with children and adults alike. The possibilities for those “stereotyped” fashions are endless. When thinking of Maryellen, for example, people focused on a poodle skirt. Realistically, not every girl flounced around in a poodle skirt all the time and listened to a jukebox. These are stereotypes. But they did exist.

Likely with the 1960’s girl, many people are probably looking forward to fashions that may reflect more of a teenager’s look rather than a kid’s look. I’ve heard some people say they hope her hairstyle looks like something from the Supremes…Like a 9 to 10 year old girl would look like that in REAL life…

So people are not very realistic with their hopes and dreams regarding American Girl’s Beforever, but that doesn’t stop people from wanting American Girl to touch on a moment in history that strongly relates to the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents of today.

The 1960s was an interesting cultural time for African Americans as well. The “Motown” era emerged where an all-black label helped transcend racial boundaries by producing artists that appealed to those outside of the black community. We have the birth of funk (James Brown, “say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud”) Talking about hippies? The sixties was the true era for that. The afro and all the colorful clothing existed and marked the generation. Of course, we’re thinking about a child’s perspective here. The most she may have is an afro, and I’m inclined to believe she’ll have braids in her hair with hair ribbons.

Last but not least, the 1960s is known to be a transforming period for African Americans because the Civil Rights Movement sought to equalize people of the minority group and many African American political and social leaders rose from this movement. It was an empowering time for African Americans and influenced many people throughout the nation and around the world. The efforts of African Americans/Black people in this period showed great accomplishment and reflected the strength of the African Americans when it came to their use of the justice system during this period. It’s very American.

It also relates to modern African American children, who mostly understand their history through the Civil Rights movement and 1960s music.

People of other nationalities were also greatly affected by the Civil Rights movement. Desegregation moved black children into white schools, changing the environments that they were used to. Much prejudice had to be overcome in order to help this transition work. People of other backgrounds, such as the Native Americans, saw this movement as inspirational for their own Civil Rights movement. Other nationalities saw this as an opportunity to fight for equality as well.

Still, it’s obvious that the Civil Rights Movement mostly impacted African Americans and so is fitting for the newest Beforever character.

The 1960s wasn’t just all about Civil Rights and funk. The Beatles rock era and Bob Dylan/Joan Baez’s folk music influenced the sixties hippies as well. There are a lot of exciting things to get into regarding this era.

The downside to this era is that, when dealing with African Americans, this era focuses on the negative side of being black in America. It heavily brings out the same problems Addy had: racial oppression. Again, the story focuses on black people being held back versus prospering and inventing. It doesn’t show how African Americans influenced all of American culture but rather how racial tension and oppression influenced black people. This is the strength of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s.

The content also may be controversial. This may scare away certain ethnic backgrounds and the sales of the collection may suffer for it.

I also don’t like that the doll is being released so close to Maryellen, the white character who is just 10 years prior to 1965 (assuming that’s where the era would begin if the new girl is from the 1960s). We saw how promoting two girls of different ethnic backgrounds can be when they are from the same time when it came to Marie-Grace and Cecile. Though Maryellen and the new girl wouldn’t be from the same time, they are near one another in very popular moments in history. Having the two girls fight for the spotlight can be rough when it comes to marketing.

The 1920s

The 1920s shows the elevation of black people and focuses on the positive side to African American history.

If you want to know the truth, there is no 1960s without the 1920s. The 1920s was the first time, since the Civil War, black people were able to receive an education, find opportunities to prosper, and grow into the modern African Americans we know today. Know any Black people who live in Harlem, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, or Los Angeles? You can thank the Harlem Renaissance. Many African Americans lived in the South prior to the 1920s. Big cities began sprouting upward. Schools, libraries, office buildings, and parks sprouted up all over the big cities in the nation. African Americans moved into the inner city areas which were becoming more affordable for living. With all the modern technology came a social-cultural explosion in music, art, and literature.

In Harlem, many new African Americans saw the benefits of their freedom when they walked into these cities. Many black people owned their own businesses in the North. There were black-owned stores, black-owned libraries, and even schools.

The libraries were the biggest contribution to the black community. Education laws made school mandatory and African Americans benefited from having access to free books. They began to learn about the laws in America and began taking steps toward “civil rights” through organizations like the NAACP. The rise in education helped give rise to many poets and even to great literature.

One of the biggest parts of the 1920s was music, even outside of black communities. The 1920s is often coined around the world as the Jazz Age. Guess where Jazz originated? In the African American community! Many people do not give credit to African Americans for this fun, modern music that made the 1920s glamorous. But without African Americans, Jazz music wouldn’t have made the 1920s as “roaring” as it became.

The 1920s didn’t just affect African Americans or Americans at that. Big cities around the world, such as Berlin, Paris, and London caught on to the modernized lifestyle. This is why a 1920s girl would be more appealing to others than a 1960s doll. Many African American dolls don’t sell as well as the white dolls. A lot has to do with how glamorous the African American dolls are. The 1920s is such an exciting moment in history, it would really make African Americans look good. I’m sure the fashion choices would be lovely, though, maybe for a young girl, not too different from Rebecca.

Sure, most people know about Prohibition, flappers, and gangsters, but from a 9 to 10 year old perspective, they wouldn’t have been involved too heavily with these things. Still, the flappers showed that attitudes about “proper” behavior were loosening. Even the men loosened up. Home decor became a thing in the 1920s as well. Automobiles started replacing carriages. And the radio stepped into people’s lives.

People also began focusing on celebrities and sports stars for the first time. Movie theaters and sports stadiums brought attention to talented individuals in these fields.

Certainly the 1920s can relate to anyone of any background. Because of this, I think that a black girl in this time won’t just be looked at as “the black girl” who fights “racism”. She will be looked at as the American girl, the girl that can relate to any girl no matter their background.

While I know American Girl will only choose one of the two eras for next year, I still hope both eras are eventually represented by African American characters. I often doubt that American Girl is that open-minded and I often get the feeling that, in the future, the 1920s will be represented by a white girl. I would be sorely disappointed if I find a white girl dancing to Jazz without proper respect to the African Americans who brushed in the genre.

From the rumors, it looks like the new American Girl may be from the 1960s, which is really great. But I hope they don’t get rid of Addy because her story touches on racism. There are hardly any 19th century girls as it is. Josefina and Addy are the only two. I also hope that this doesn’t stop them from making an African American character from the 1920s. After all, there are many white dolls from many different times. Why not have many black dolls if they are more suitable to a time period?

Trademarkia has the name Melody Ellison trademarked.

http://www.trademarkia.com/melody-ellison-86648633.html

Melody Ellison could be the name of the Girl of the Year 2016 or the American Girl Beforever character. Gabriela was another name under speculation, but Gabriela was not a popular name in the 1950s or 1960s. Melody, on the other hand, according to Social Security, was popular in the 1960s. Still, we know modern girls with that same name. It’s a pretty name, for sure.

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/names1960s.html

Number 188 under the female section reveals that Melody was popular in the 1960s. Gabriela seems more modern, but that name may apply to some other character, like many of the other trademarked names.

This makes me really sure that the newest African American girl will be from the 1960s…

Well, time will tell.

That’s my spin on the matter. Which era in African American history would you like to hear? What are your hopes for the newest African American character and any future dolls?

Leave a comment in the comments’ section and let me know what you think!

Bratz Are Back Again in 2015: What Happened to the Bratz?

24 Jul

Bratz_2015_Logo

After a year-long hiatus, the Bratz have finally returned with a quirky new look, a hot new theme song, and a fresh new slogan: “It’s Good To Be Yourself”.

For those of you who have forgotten about the Bratz or have been out of the loop and so haven’t really known what happened to the Bratz, last year MGA Entertainment, the creators of the Bratz, decided they would go on a hiatus. MGA made the following statement:

So, here’s the deal with Bratz. We finally got the go-ahead to give it the time and backing to make it awesome. We want to really dig in to the direction of Bratz, what makes the brand awesome, and bring that back full force! In order to do that, and to have the epic come back that the brand really deserves, we are taking a year off. We are giving ourselves and the buyers a chance to cleanse palates of expectations so we can come back in 2015 and deliver something cutting edge, disruptive and awesome.

Many of you may not know what the statement above truly means. Many of you probably didn’t realize the Bratz had even left the scene. Many of you may have thought the Bratz were long gone BEFORE last year and may not understand why they had to take “a year” off. Some of you “kiddies” may have already consumed yourself with smartphones and I-pads and are like, “People still buy dolls?”

For all of you lost individuals, I will be here to give you a brief spill before getting into the actual comeback. Already know the details? Skip to the bottom…

For those of you who didn’t know Bratz left or for those of you who thought the Bratz left a long time ago, I will bring you up to date.

What Happened to the Bratz?

At the Turn of the 21st Century, many doll companies were trying to win “tweens” back into the doll market because so many were distracted by CDs, TV, video games, and anything else but dolls. By the age of 10, many girls were beginning to feel they were too old for dolls. Many people felt girls were growing up too fast and companies suffered from that lost of tween consumers. So, in an attempt to encourage tweens to play with dolls, many companies tried to make toys that would appeal to an older crowd. The only dolls that were successful at this were the Bratz dolls.

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Bratz has always been a doll line that has fought through major challenges and has overcome much opposition from critics and competition. When Bratz was first released in May 2001, the Bratz were not received well. It wasn’t until December 2001, the Holiday Season, that kids began to recognize the Bratz dolls. Ever since then, the Bratz slowly began climbing their way into the doll market until they were able to take 40% of the fashion doll market from the biggest fashion doll in the world, Mattel’s Barbie (I’ve collected both by the way, since the 1990s).

That really may not seem like much, considering the doll industry is much larger than “fashion dolls”, but considering at the time fashion dolls were really popular prior to 2001, it was a huge accomplishment. Bratz dolls were the first fashion dolls to rival Barbie in popularity. Mattel was the powerhouse toy company of the 1990s, eating up Hot Wheels, Disney toys, and even American Girl. When Bratz arrived on the scene, Mattel had competition from another growing toy company: MGA Entertainment.

MGA was unique. First off, people of various ethnic backgrounds could relate to the CEO who was not Caucasian. This impressed upon those who disliked “white, blonde” Barbie and her influence. Second, he was not afraid to take risks when it came to dolls. Ever since the 1980s, Barbie had already begun to lose her appeal. She became less of a fashion doll. When Mattel tried to add more diversity to the Barbie line to compete with the popular Jem dolls in the 1980s, Mattel distinguished Barbie from the group by making her signature color pink, which limited color choices in fashion.  In the 1990s, so that she could appeal to “soccer moms”, Mattel tried to scurry away from her “fashion doll” label and began designing her fashions around various careers and ambitions.

Bratz, on the other hand, wore hip-hop fashions and had a modern urban appeal. They related to real teenagers. Many of the doll clothing was of higher quality than Barbie had been at the time. Many of the Bratz fashion was also trendier and not as…well…PINK.

As the popularity of Bratz grew, word spread about the rebellious dolls. People began to take them seriously and critics began examining the Bratz, especially “soccer moms”. The Bratz wore a lot of make-up, revealing or suggestive clothing, had big heads, glossy eyes, huge lips, and called themselves “Bratz”. Prior to 2004, there were no movies giving the Bratz much depth as far as personality, so kids could make them anyway they wanted. If a kid didn’t have a computer, they wouldn’t know who the “sporty one” or the “glam one” was. There was also no particular “message” that parents deemed “positive”. It wasn’t until the movies and TV show arrived that “morals” like friendship, strength, courage, and creativity were implemented. When Bratz began capitalizing on movies and their music albums, the Bratz popularity skyrocketed. Bratz began moving away from their urban roots and started taking advantage of their “edgy” reputation by trying fashion styles that were completely “out-of-the-box”.

Bratz tokyo

bratz pretty n punk

Mattel, desperate to keep their hold on the fashion doll market, came up with new doll competitors for the Bratz: Myscene dolls. Myscene took advantage of the current emphasis on New York (since many were still recovering from 9/11), and tried to implement more urban fashions into the Barbie line. Myscene was a “hipper” and “more fashionable” version of Barbie. The lead character was still Barbie, but she took on the glossy-eyed look and bigger lips that the Bratz had. Though Myscene looked a lot like Bratz dolls, Myscene were decidedly prettier and more natural than the Bratz. Their feet were not stubby and their bodies were more realistic. Neither of them had the posable bodies we see today (that came with Liv dolls), but they had fashion any tween could want or dream of. Both fashion doll lines were relatively successful.

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However, MGA felt a bit insecure with Myscene looking so much like the Bratz. They were obviously afraid people would confuse the two and give Mattel money for Myscene, not seeing the real difference between the lines (though they were different in many, many ways). MGA filed a lawsuit in April 2005 against Mattel claiming they stole MGA’s doe-eyed look and used it on the Myscene dolls. This was a big mistake. In 2006, Mattel filed a lawsuit against MGA claiming that the main creator of Bratz, Carter Bryant, was working for Mattel while he was designing Bratz, which technically meant Mattel were the true owners of Bratz. Mattel had some good proof. Mattel was awarded money for the Bratz dolls and all dolls were ordered to be removed from store shelves in 2008.

This case was appealed by MGA in 2008 and the recall was halted. During this halted process, Bratz were allowed to return to shelves until it was finalized who truly owned Bratz. In 2009, the companies gained another lawsuit from Bernard “Butch” Belair. He filed a lawsuit against them both because Carter Bryant, the originator of the Bratz, claimed to have been inspired from a Steve Madden shoe ad Belair created for Seventeen magazine. Mattel stepped out of that case. MGA took it on and prevailed, but they still didn’t have complete ownership of Bratz. For the rest of 2008 and 2009, Bratz stepped out of the doll scene. After all of this mess with Bryant, he was let go from MGA, which made them suffer because he was the main creator of the line.

steve madden shoe ad 4 steve madden shoe ads 5steve madden shoe ad 3

Court battles have been going back and forth between the two companies, MGA and Mattel, ever since. These court cases greatly affected the Bratz dolls. With so much attention in court, it was clearly evident that Bratz were secondary. The Bratz dolls were starting to show less individuality, lower quality, and focus on Cloe and Yasmin rather than the four core Bratz girls.

When Bratz were removed from shelves, that gave other doll lines just the space they needed to shine. Monster High was in the works, playing on the “edgy” success of the Bratz. Basically, Monster High was supposed to be edgier than it turned out being. Monster High eventually formed its own identity, though…

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Suddenly, in 2010, MGA announced that Bratz would make their comeback to shelves. Everyone was excited, expecting the edgy Bratz with the amazing quality. Instead, we got dolls that “played it safe”. Most of the dolls wore really “quiet”, normal outfits. Many of their outfits covered them up completely, adding leggings where a skirt was too short and jackets where a top was too cropped. I suppose MGA was trying to appeal to the critics and parents. But it didn’t appeal to tweens or fans any more: the people who matter most. To add, the quality was low. Cheap quality outfits (Painted on leggings), cheap hair, recycled and re-used clothing and shoes, one outfit instead of two (as they once had), and hardly any accessories destroyed the doll line. Later, MGA admitted they rushed the new Bratz because they were eager to bring the dolls back to shelves. Still, they tried to make the dolls work, but the quality was just awful.  Finally, in 2014, MGA announced that Bratz would go on a hiatus.

Bratz 2010

Bratz 2010

They said they wanted to “cleanse palates of expectations” and “deliver something cutting edge, disruptive, and awesome”.

So let’s see how well they did this time.

The NEW Bratz

The Bratz have traded up both their urban and edgy look for one that is absolutely “creative”, eclectic, and quirky. They switched their logo from “The Girls with a Passion for Fashion” to “It’s Good to Be Yourself, It’s Good to Be a Bratz”. MGA is trying to focus all of their attention on promoting the Bratz through technology (Isn’t it obvious with the selfie line?).

Bratz artwork

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Hello, My Name Is

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The Bratz have announced several lines including the “Hello My Name Is”, “Selfie”, and “Study Abroad” lines. Of the three, my favorite is “Study Abroad”.

bratz-selfie snaps

Selfie Snaps

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Study Abroad

So, what do you think of the new Bratz?

Here’s my review, and you are all welcome to agree or disagree.

There are some things that I am very happy with, but the overall presentation of the Bratz is a bit boring for me this time around. There are some major improvements to the line, but the actual content is not as bold as what once impressed upon me when I first fell in love with the Bratz. I think the Study Abroad line is the best line offered because there is so much quality and detail in the line. It brings out the boldness of Bratz more than all the other lines. I feel that with time, the Bratz may get a little more bold, just from judging the Study Abroad line. But the first two lines seem to lack the boldness that I’m craving.

Still, after getting my eyes on Study Abroad, I feel that little glimmer of hope. I believe that this is just the beginning for Bratz. If we get more dolls like Study Abroad, with just a little more edge, I believe I will begin to enjoy this line of dolls.

Though the Bratz’s outfits are of the highest quality right now, and though the Bratz have the Study Abroad line, there’s something about the Bratz that seems a bit off.

I feel that, for a line that has the slogan, “It’s Good to Be Yourself”, they don’t really feel like they are being “themselves”. In fact, it feels like the Bratz are trying to conform to what everyone else wants of them and to the trends around them rather than breaking fashion rules. The new Bratz are just too girly. If they have a female lead designer, Bratz are doomed. Why? Because females tend to want to make dolls that are “safe”, “sweet”, and something they feel girls should play with (even if it’s not truly what girls actually want). I hardly see any female designers who make doll lines disruptive (Tree Change is a good example of that) and hardly any doll lines designed by females appeal to boys like the Bratz once did.

I don’t know whether it’s the eyes, the clothes, or the overall presentation. Something just seems to lack “Bratitude”.

MGA said they were trying to bring something “cutting-edge, disruptive, and awesome”. Study Abroad carries most of those descriptions. The other lines are just way too colorful and sweet. Instead of being bold and edgy, the Selfie Snaps and Hello My Name is dolls look cute and innocent. They almost feel like the second Moxie Girlz, Bratz’s sister line from MGA. These dolls literally look like they are wearing leftover fashions from Moxie Girl design ideas. And all of the dolls’ eyes (even in study Abroad) are almost exactly like Moxie Girlz’s eyes. For people who like the cute and innocent thing, you may like the cuter Bratz lines. I just can’t really merge myself with the cute and innocent appearance of the some of the Bratz dolls. I want the make-up, the dramatic fashions, and the bold line choices. I want to see dolls who break rules.

moxie girlz

The “Study Abroad” line interests me most.

I really hope that Tree Change dolls haven’t influenced the Bratz dolls in any way, not now or ever.

The “Tree Change” dolls, designed by Sonia Singh, were Bratz dolls that were reconstructed to look more like real girls. I’m here to tell you, the dolls are not interesting. It’s an example of why trying to make dolls into “normal” girls is a bad idea. The more you try to make a doll as boringly realistic as possible, so that they can reflect real girls, the more the girls just want to just well…live life without a doll. Dolls spark the imagination and make girls dream of the impossible. They help girls escape their everyday world and be what they can’t be everyday. If girls are given dolls that reflect their everyday circumstances, they might as well not even imagine it. They won’t have to. They live their everyday circumstances everyday.

Tree change dolls

This is exactly why I disagree with the goal of Tree Change dolls. Not only does it stifle imagination, art, and creativity, it is a poor business tactic, and can never be implemented in the real doll industry. I know I wouldn’t buy a Tree Change doll. I can’t imagine any kid that would even show interest. The reason is because there are more “average” dolls on toy shelves than there are “unique and bold” dolls. The news press pays attention to dolls that do something unique. Business runs on the element of originality. Bank (when the money rolls in) happens when someone sparks an idea that hasn’t been done before and when they find an idea that will be unique to the company. People will give money to the company because this “original product” can only come from that one company. Though nothing in the doll industry is extremely unique, the more unique a product is, with the right timing and promotion, the higher the chances for the doll line to become a hit.

If MGA breaks under the criticism, they may end up sacrificing all of their dolls’ unique qualities. I don’t want that to happen but I’m a bit worried that MGA might try to conform.

It’s clearly evident that MGA is trying to appeal to parents and critics this time just as they tried last time in 2010 (though at least this time they were more creative). I could tell when they posted this article onto their facebook page that they wanted to appeal to parents, and somehow this article made them “feel good” about their release—–>New Bratz Dolls Tell Girls “It’s Good To Be Yourself”

The article author basically says “they’ve got a look and message that won’t make parents cringe”. That is truly the exact opposite of what made the Bratz so popular. Therefore, if this is the response MGA is getting from parents, they are not disruptive or “earth-shattering”. They are just…any other doll that a child can play with for a day and dump in the closet.

The article is a complete contradiction. While the author claims to enjoy the new message of “being yourself”, they obviously encourage the line to be something that “pleases parents”, the opposite of Bratz being “themselves”. For some reason, make-up is not a part of that self-expression. Dolls have to look “innocent to be “themselves” as well. To me, that doesn’t sound like “being yourself”. That sounds more like “Let People Mold You and Tell You What You Should Be”.

Parents can love and hate what they want, but at the end of the day it really matters what the kids and fans think. Parents aren’t the ones who will play with the dolls and most are not collectors. A parent can choose to buy any toy they want their child to play with, true enough, but if the child doesn’t like it, the child won’t play with it. The child won’t even ask their parent to buy a toy that they don’t want. If a parent buys a child a toy they think the child should have, it could be a waste of money. Therefore, the success of the Bratz is dependent on the new generation and the older fans of the Bratz. Furthermore, Bratz was meant to bring TWEENS back into the doll market, not little children. That goal is clearly being lost with the new Bratz.

MGA said they were trying to give Bratz the epic comeback the line deserved, but this is not exactly what I would call epic. However, it’s good enough, considering it’s just the beginning. It’s better than 2010, but not quite epic. If this is their idea of epic, they are definitely dealing with the wrong dolls here.

Still, there are some promising points I’d like to discuss. Though I don’t feel this comeback was amazing, this comeback wasn’t a total bust. There are some things that tell me that the Bratz have enough juice to fight the declining doll market.

Pros

1) I really like the new theme song the Bratz are promoted with. It’s called “Bratz What’s Up” by Skylar Stecker. It’s way better than the song they had in 2010 (“I Like”). This song carries more sass than the doll line itself. If Bratz come out with more movies and music, I’m certain it will sound good like it once did. I’m a bit relieved about that.

Skylar Stecker Bratz what's up

2) I also like the Study Abroad line. I feel that it could’ve been edgier, like Pretty n Punk and Tokyo A-Go-Go, but I think it suffices. I really miss the Bratz when they weren’t so “girlish” (what’s with all the pinks and pastels, the skirts and floral patterns? Too much like Barbie), but I love the different details in this line. I love how each girl represents a different country. Maybe feminine and girly is in, but I don’t like what’s “in”. But Study Abroad has a lot of dramatic flair and the line is promising. Every doll will be coming home with me. The detail is amazing. The quality is impeccable. It really is the best line that has come out with this relaunch.

Berry Bread, a fellow blogger and Bratz collector, has an amazing review on the dolls:

3) I also like Hello My Name is Sasha doll. She seems to carry on the urban roots of the Bratz. Maybe it’s because she’s “Bunny Boo” and loves the “hip-hop thing”. In any case, her doll actually seems to look like a teenager. If any doll from that line comes home with me, it will be Sasha.

4) I also am happy the original “Bratz” logo has returned. The little cute “lips” next to the logo is great.

5) I like the new artwork. It feels more like the original. And the dolls actually look like the artwork! That is one major improvement.

Bratz 2001

6) They also returned Jade back to who she was in 2001. They made her the girl who likes extreme sports like surfing and skateboarding. For those of you who don’t remember Bratz in 2001, you probably didn’t know that Jade used to have a skateboard in her room on the original website (the Bratz showed their rooms back then). In fact, she was more of the sporty one. Cloe used to play an acoustic guitar. Yasmin and Sasha were always generally what they are now.

7) I also heard that the quality is good. The hair is silky (saran, the most expensive). And guess what? No painted on leggings! Yay! (If you remember the horror of Style Starz Cloe, then you know what I’m talking about). It seems that the new dolls have more detail in their clothes, particularly in comparison to 2010. From reader Tom, I learned that the Bratz now come with two outfits in each package, tons of accessories, and now fashion/shoe packs are also available. This is excellent news. This shows that the Bratz have at least improved since 2010. They are not on the level they were in 2004/2005, but they are showing potential.

style starz cloe

8) And yes, the Bratz individuality is back. We saw a decline in individuality around 2007 and 2008 when the court battles between MGA and Mattel began to affect the Bratz dolls. Thankfully, fans can finally have a desire to collect them ALL because no two girls look the SAME. Fans know what I’m talking about when I mention the lack of individuality. Lines like Fashion Pixiez and Bratz the Movie put the Bratz dolls in the same outfits as one another. Designers thought that giving them a slightly different color would make them pass as “individual”. Sad to say, many fans, such as myself, were satisfied with just ONE Fashion Pixiez doll (though I really was never interested in pixies to begin with) and definitely none of the Bratz the movie dolls (which also lacked details as well). But now, Bratz have shown individuality within each line shown so far.

Bratz Fashion pixiez

9) I also like what I see of #SnowKissed which strongly reminds me of Winter Wonderland back in the 2000s. But in Winter Wonderland, the girls came with one skirt and one pair of jeans. Cloe’s doll comes with two skirts. Jade is the only one who comes with one pair of leggings and a skirt. The new dolls just seem too girly. :/ That’s not my thing. To add, the Bratz girls are wearing cropped tops when it’s supposed to be wintry and cold.  The original Winter Wonderland dolls wore sweaters and tights, like it was actually cold outside…

Their hats don’t seem as individual, but they are noticeably different from one another.

At least #Snowkissed shows some sass and flair very similar to the original winter collection. They are too girlish for my tastes, but they are still really nice.

bratz snowkissed

Bratz Winter Wonderland

Bratz Winter Wonderland

10) Bratz #Fierce Fitness isn’t bad either. It’s just something about their eyes…They don’t sit well with me.

Bratz fierce fitness

Cons

1) The Bratz are way too cute and innocent for my tastes. “Bratz” hardly seems fitting anymore. That may be fine and dandy for some, but I’ve collected enough cute dolls (Mystikats, Liv, American Girl, Lisa Frank, Ever Girl, etc). I don’t want any more. I know a unique doll when I see one and Bratz will literally just fade for me. Is Bratz awfully bland? No. They have more detail and accessories than in 2010. But their wardrobes are just so colorful and they just look too innocent.

They lack a whole lot of sass. Just look at their eyes. The glossy look is completely gone. Really, that’s what is taking away their edgy look. Their eyes are too big. Their eyes look like Moxie Girlz’s eyes now. That could be another reason why they look so sweet and innocent. It’s funny how a painted face can give so much meaning and personality to a doll. Without the glossy eyes, it just doesn’t feel like they have much “Bratitude”. In 2010, they managed to make the eyes look a bit sassy, even if it wasn’t as glossy as the original. I don’t know why they deviated from the glossy look even further.

Perhaps MGA had to deviate away from the original designs due to the court cases. MGA had to remove all 1st Wave Bratz from shelves and they are no longer allowed to utilize the original look for the Bratz. This could be why there is a change in the eyes (clearly going from being glossy-eyed to being doe-eyed). That loss in the court case really changed the Bratz. MGA may be trying their hardest to make Bratz as similar to how they used to be as possible without stirring another court case battle. From my understanding, they have to be careful using the format given to them by Cater Bryant. It really is a shame because those details make a world of a difference. Still, the only thing they may not be allowed to use are the eyes and original facial structures. This shouldn’t affect their fashion sense. Perhaps we will see more fashion lines like the Study Abroad line in the future.

Even though I know MGA may not be allowed to use the glossy-eyed look they once used in 2001-2002, during the midst of their court battle for the Bratz in 2010 they managed to make the eyes a bit sassy. Now, their faces look like cute little girls rather than sassy, bold teenagers.

Bratz were never the kind of edgy that was just bag-lady tacky. They were edgy because they weren’t afraid to wear chains and leather. They were edgy because they weren’t afraid to wear things most people said were worn by “bad girls”. Their expressions expressed sass and attitude. They dressed in darker colors and wore as many jeans as they did skirts. In fact, when the Bratz debuted, they all debuted in jeans. They were not just appealing to girls, but some boys liked them and collected them, too. I’ve run into so many male fans of Bratz, I began to see Bratz’s wide-ranged appeal.  These new dolls don’t feel any different from Barbie, Moxie Girlz, Monster High, or Ever After High. I might as well buy those dolls instead.

At this point, Bratz seem to be going in the same direction as Moxie Girlz dolls.

moxie girlz 4

They are also just too girlish and feminine. They started getting this way in 2007. Some fans may like it, and maybe that’s what’s in, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it or buy into it. When Bratz first debuted, they were different from the other prissy dolls. They debuted with skirts, sure, but pants dominated much of their lines. They, at least, had one skirt and one pair of pants each line. Now, some dolls will have two skirts and no pants. Hardly any of the dolls wear pants. They are just too feminine for my tastes. I liked the dolls that broke all the rules of femininity. I liked the dolls who weren’t so “soft”. I liked the tough look of the Bratz. No other doll line, not even Monster High, could capture that tough look, considering most doll lines are meant to be appealing to little girls.

2) Bratz’s goal was to focus on the interests of teens and tweens, not little girls. The new Bratz seem to be trying to gather in the interests of little girls. Issac Larian mentioned that he had gotten some of his inspiration from talking to little girls. Even looking at their newest “It’s good to be a Bratz” commercial/ad it’s apparent that younger children will be the focus. Compared to older Bratz commercials, it really doesn’t seem like a doll line people of all ages and genders can relate to. The original inspiration behind the Bratz was from Seventeen magazine, a magazine for teenagers.  The difference in inspiration will influence how the dolls are marketed and influences what the Bratz are wearing right now. Currently, the Bratz just don’t look like teenagers anymore.

I feel that is the problem. They will only capture the “little girls” and not the older girls as they once did. Bratz easily captured the hearts of tweens and teens (such as myself) back in 2001 because I didn’t feel too lame to own a doll that was “so cool”. Little girls imitated their older cousins and sisters anyway, so they were captured as well. That made Bratz’s popularity huge. With the new lines, I’m not too sure Bratz could capture the tween/teen market. That could be a loss in profits.

Bratz also once captured the interests of many males, even those that didn’t like dolls. That was something hardly any doll line has been able to achieve, as most dolls are geared towards girls. But Bratz were just that cool.

I honestly can’t see too many guys finding the new dolls cool, so that could be a loss as well.

They certainly will have a hard time appealing to as many people as they once did unless older people get the nostalgia “jones” (the disease I have right now :P ) and make themselves like it simply because it was a part of their childhood. I can’t see them grabbing a new market of teenagers.

3) What is with the cheesy selfie line? I know people are into selfies, but making it that obvious by putting “selfie” on every shirt in the line makes it obvious the people at MGA aren’t tech savvy. It’s obvious they are not used to catering their doll line to a modern age. They should be more discreet with the line. No one hardly takes “selfies” with “selfie” shirts on. It would be fine if just one doll had it on their shirt. But they should bring some individuality to the selfie line by making them have different words on their shirts instead.

4) I really don’t like the slogan, “It’s Good to be Yourself”, either. It’s cliche and everyone is using it. Even Monster High uses something similar in their slogan (“Be Yourself”) and Moxie Girlz is similar (“Be True! Be You!”) as well. Very few slogans say, “The Girls with a Passion for Fashion”. That slogan also encouraged a great variety in fashion. It’s great we get to see their own individuality, but doesn’t that take away the imagination of the children? How can they make up their dolls’ personalities when their dolls are given personalities? Plus, we want to see how far they can go as fashion dolls.

MGA seems to miss the point entirely. Issac Larian, the CEO, seems to think that if he makes the dolls more “techy” it will be more appealing. But actually people are looking for something that stays true to itself despite all obstacles. People are looking for something that’s unique and empowering. They are not looking for something that “fits in”. I feel this will be the downfall of the line. Right now, MGA is just focused on making the Bratz more appealing to a new generation.

5) The website is also disappointing. I know people hardly visit websites anymore, but an appealing interactive website can make a world of a difference. It is one of the reasons behind American Girl’s success. I was hoping the Bratz website would be as awesome as it was once before. But it’s not. http://www.bratz.com

Overall, I love some things, but I have this emptiness. There is just something that is missing. I feel this was not an epic comeback. Maybe my expectations were too high, but after someone has a second chance at it, you’d think they’d get it right. What happened to all the ideas fans gave them? Maybe they are saving those ideas for later, but the initial lines matter right now, especially at this time in history where it is getting harder to capture the interests of girls and make a profit from fashion dolls. They would have done better if they’d showed fans some of the prototypes and got the fans’ input on the dolls. Oh well.

Even though I don’t like the first two lines released, time will tell. The lines out now could grow on me and I could end up liking future lines. The question is, do the Bratz have time? With other competitors’ profits dwindling, one wrong move can mean the difference between success and failure. If Bratz fails to make a profit, it could mean the end of them forever. A company needs money to keep a doll line rolling and I don’t want to see them fail again like they did after the 2010 re-launch.

Again, hopefully the new dolls take off as well as they did before.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Kingdom Hearts III: The Theme Song Dilemma and the Utada Hikaru Controversy

23 Jun

kingdom-hearts-3.jpg

Kingdom Hearts 3 has already been high in anticipation, but it has really been the talk of fans lately since the E3 gameplay trailer was released several days ago. Many speculations, rumors, and desires have been spreading around fiercer than before.

One of those speculations and desires involve the theme song vocalist Utada Hikaru…

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If most of you haven’t heard, Utada Hikaru has been on hiatus since 2011, four years now. Utada Hikaru also stated in a 2009 interview that she wasn’t “paid enough” by the developers of Kingdom Hearts, considering the fact she created the melodies and wrote the songs in both Japanese and English. This was why she never sang new songs for the other Kingdom Hearts versions.

This leaves many to question whether the iconic Japanese pop singer would return as the main theme songstress for Kingdom Hearts 3.

Okay, I know some of you might think that it’s pretty petty for some fans to whine and complain about Utada not being able to sing for the game. Some of you may feel bitter-sweet about her demanding more money to sing for Kingdom Hearts. It does sound kind of selfish, and some of you may wish to move on because of this news.

However, we all know that Utada Hikaru has come to be the staple singer for the series. Without her, it seems that the series isn’t complete. It’s almost like a character is missing. It’s like Kingdom Hearts without Dearly Beloved, the song that introduces Kingdom Hearts.

And sure, let’s not take it as far as to say the game will be awful without her because I’m certain the game will be awesome with or without Utada Hikaru. Whatever new singer, the game may still deliver.

But music has its purpose in any movie or game: It tells a story all its own. A good song and story add to the appeal of a game. This is why game developers work hard to choose the right music for each game. Without the right song, it is hard to advertise the game to appeal to the right demographic. It is hard to grasp the feelings of the characters without the music. The opening theme shapes the tone of the story. It is hard to remind “lost fans” of the games through commercials that remind them of the old days. And let’s face it people: the longevity of the series depends on the sales of the games out now and games coming out. If anyone expects this series to continue, Square-Enix needs to know that the game series isn’t disappointing. And they will know that through sales from hard-core fans, new consumers, and consumers who fell from the series but may want to return. New consumers need to be appealed to.

I remember, if you want the honest truth, that Utada Hikaru’s Simple and Clean was the exact song that really got me into the series. Yes, I would listen to that song on the commercials so much back in 2002, it got stuck in my head. I wanted to buy it. It was also the visuals, the Disney worlds we would fight in, and the foreign appeal. But the song sealed the deal. I mean, why do commercials have songs? To make the product more effective, right? When I bought it, I was fascinated to find the song to be the actual opening theme song! And there were lyrics in the back of the booklet that came with the game. The music drew me into the series. Who knows how many other people were drawn into the series because of the song! What a turn-off it could be for those fans! Some of you may think those fans are immature, but everyone is entitled to their preferences in a game. Is it immature to ask for anything in a game you are paying for? That’s like saying it’s immature to ask for worlds, keyblades, or expect the game to have excellent gameplay. They are all demands. There is no demand that is too immature if you are expected to buy the product. If someone complains, it’s because that’s what they expect from the product. And sure, they can just not buy the series. But think about the bigger picture. If that person doesn’t buy it, that’s one consumer who will not purchase the series. That’s one loss for Square-enix. There could be others who follow suit.

When Kingdom Hears II first came out, I had been waiting for the trailer. I was busy doing chores when I heard a familiar wistful voice on the t.v. I knew it was the same singer from Kingdom Hearts. It reminded me of the game. It was familiar to me. Therefore, I was able to notice Kingdom Hearts II had come out. Had the song been completely different, it would never have caught my ears the same way. So, it is not far-removed for fans to be concerned about the theme song.

The music has always been one of the most iconic things about Kingdom Hearts, and whatever songs they choose will set the mood.

So, this leaves us with two questions: what will be done and what could be done?

If fans want a new song from Utada and no one or nothing else, this could prove to be a challenge, even a legal one. Though Kingdom Hearts 3 is still in development, the release of a game-play trailer shows that development may be winding down. If we want Utada as the theme songstress, with a brand new song, we are going to have to act fast.

A petition will NOT work. The only way Utada will sing for the series is if she is paid to do so. This means Square-Enix has to pay her more than what they have been paying if they expect her to sing in Japanese and English. As fans, there are several things we can do to maneuver this situation in our favor if we really want this.

1) We can urge Square-Enix to loosen their demands and just ask Utada for a Japanese song, just one song, and put it on both games. In this case, they can pay her for less work. Lately, localized ( Dubbed) animes have been adapting the Japanese theme songs straight from the original Japanese animes. Why can’t this be done for Kingdom Hearts? We could still get Utada as the theme songstress and the game could even feel more authentic.

It may sound weird to other regions and it may have a hard time relating to new consumers….But at least the feeling of Kingdom Hearts will not have changed.

We can equally urge them to just ask Utada to make just one song in English, considering it’s a global language. But Nomura is Japanese and his main demographic is Japanese. It just wouldn’t be right.

So perhaps they can have Utada sing the Japanese version and get another artist to sing the English version… But just like with the Final Mixes, you’ll have people who will feel cheated because we weren’t “treated fairly”. And People, it’s very important that everyone feels satisfied with the series. This will increase the game’s popularity and sales.

The only overall conclusion to this solution is for Square to ask Utada to sing one Japanese song and apply it to both games, risking the judgment of those overseas who do not understand the language. There are more pros. Old-time fans will get to hear Utada and the Japanese will be happy. And who knows what new fans may like it better because of the authenticity…It may be an effective risk.

2) We can raise money towards the Utada Project. I’ve thought of this little idea where I could donate some money every month towards the project of Kingdom Hearts III to speed up development. Considering Utada is looking for money, (And who can blame her! Think about how much work it is to make two songs) we, as fans, could donate money towards the theme song. We could organize a plan between Square-Enix and Utada. We could talk to both parties. Somehow, we could pitch in to keep Utada as the theme songstress, at least for one last game in this saga.

If you are not willing to put time and energy into getting anything, then it is not worth fighting for. How many of you would like to organize this sort of project? Leave me a comment and select an option in my poll below if you do. Then we can discuss further.

But if you are not willing to do all of this… Then there’s always option number 1….If you really want Utada back….And you really want a new song from Utada….

If you want Utada but don’t mind using an old song, this would probably be the easiest option for Square, but not the most creative. I mean, come on, this is our LAST GAME for this saga. We need to reminisce on the series through the music. We have to feel this series is coming to an end. We have to feel completely whole by the end of this series. We have to feel we have gone through this journey. Kingdom Hearts II managed to feel like Kingdom Hearts but it also felt like a major leap forward in the story because the song was so different. And let’s face it, using the same song over and over can get boring. We want KHIII to be epic, right? Maybe you don’t care. But we do want this game to appeal to everyone. This will decide sales. Music can influence sales, believe it or not.

I think in order to appeal to everyone the best idea would be to use an orchestrated version of Utada’s songs. That could make it feel new but also give an old feeling. The orchestrated version could be re-mastered in some way.

If you want a completely new song, with Utada or not, there are several things to consider here.

1) If they choose a completely new artist, the artist would have to “feel” like the game. Choosing any random anime Jpop/Jrock artist could completely take away the story-telling tone of the music. It would sound unfamiliar in commercials. Some people learn of the game’s arrival through commercials if they haven’t been following the series closely. Music really connects others to advertisements. Would they really take notice if the song had a completely different feeling? Some may, some may not. It may not feel like the final KH game, but more like we’ve already started on a new game entirely. It wouldn’t feel like a “wrap-up”. The game could lose its identity. Theme songs, characters, worlds, game-play-they all cater to a game’s identity. We want a game that has everything well-presented, especially if we are the ones spending money, correct?

They would really have to choose an artist that can match Utada’s melancholy, yet wistful, voice. She had a distinct voice. She also spoke excellent English and Japanese. Keep this in mind. Choosing the right artist is very important.

2) They don’t have to actually have a singer. Perhaps they can have an epic orchestrated song as the opening to show that this is the finale. It doesn’t have to be a Utada song, but they don’t have to screw up the “feeling of nostalgia” signing some other singer into the series at the very end of one of its most anticipated sagas. When we anticipate a saga, we anticipate how everything will fit, including the music. This solution might be the best one.

3) They could use one of Utada’s other songs even if it isn’t specifically written for KHIII. They could buy a song from her. Perhaps they could use a song she never got to release or something…

Even though Utada has showed disinterest when it comes to being involved with Kingdom Hearts, she doesn’t seem to be on bad terms with Tetsuya Nomura. Last year, Tetsuya Nomura made a beautiful design of Utada in Kingdom Hearts style for her 15th Anniversary album. It seems to be a sign that the two are on good terms…

utada-hikaru-tetsuya-nomura

Overall, this theme song mess really tells me that KHIII still has a lot of kinks to iron out before anything is released. Tell me, readers, Which solution appeals to you? Leave me a comment in the comments’ section and tell me what you think!

Kingdom Hearts 3 and Kingdom Hearts Unchained @ E3 2015!!!!

17 Jun

Yes, Kingdom Hearts fans and potential fans, KH3’s gameplay trailer has officially been released! Even in my adult years, this big kid has been waiting patiently for this game for 9 YEARS.

I’ve been waiting for this game for too long. We all have. And now, finally, Tetsuya Nomura has caved and teased us with an official, mouth-watering trailer.

It has been a while since the developers at Square-Enix gave us some footage or updates on the development. Finally, they have showed us what they have sharpened up on at E3 2015. I also hear there will be more gameplay trailers November 2015. So excited!

I just want to go over the things I noticed in this trailer with fellow readers and Kingdom Hearts fans.

1) The visuals-Despite doubters of the Unreal Engine 4, it has translated extremely well to Kingdom Hearts. Kingdom Hearts’s visuals have obviously improved over the years (I mean, 2002’s game and console had the best programming and technology for its time, but come on…). Most modern games that are based off of old-time games have a hard time appearing like an upgrade. But Kingdom Hearts managed to appear like an upgrade, and get this, without taking away the feeling of Kingdom Hearts.

Doubters of the Unreal Engine 4, including Nomura himself (one of the lead developers of the series), didn’t think that Kingdom Hearts could work with the new software. They were afraid it wouldn’t keep its feeling. Surprise! It did.

And that command list, though! It’s so not in the way like previous command lists.

The developers wanted the game to feel like a Disney movie, and it really shows. It really carries the same Disney magic and imagination. Yet, this looks like a game even a macho person would want to play.

2) Characters Present-We obviously know that Sora is returning as the lead character, along with Donald and Goofy. But we also see a younger Master Eraqus and a young Master Xehanort before they were masters themselves. They obviously know something about the future and it has to do with the darkness taking over. If you have played Kingdom Hearts X Chi, you might understand what they are talking about. If you haven’t, you may be in for a surprise or rude awakening, however you may see it.

We see that Eraqus wants to change the future predicted by the Foretellers. If you don’t know who they are, you might want to play KHX….

3) Worlds Present-So far, it’s already pretty confirmed that Hercules’s world is going to be in the game. This time, we’re visiting Mount Olympus.

Tangled’s world has been confirmed to be one of the worlds that will also be in Kingdom Hearts 3.

We are also returning to Twilight Town…

I just want to point out that the landscape and free playing field has always been the gem of the Kingdom Hearts series. That gem was highlighted in this trailer.

4) Gameplay-Now here comes the juicy part. The gameplay definitely looks interesting. Flowmotion (from KH Dream Drop Distance) looks like it has made a comeback. Bravo! But there are also some interesting commands and surprises that have improved the gaming experience in small, yet tremendous ways.

For starters, we have many moves that activate Disney World theme park rides. While fighting Rock Titan from Hercules, Sora activates some roller coaster. In Twilight Town, he’s seen fighting in what resembles the Tea Cup ride. And they didn’t make it look boring and cheesy. Just like they did with Mickey Mouse for Kingdom Hearts II, they made it look pretty darn epic.

In the world that seems to resemble Tangled, a boat ride is activated from the water, so perhaps many of these moves are activated according to the environment. Then again, a chariot was activated in Twilight Town…so…maybe we can use them anywhere. It’s pretty epic, I have to say.

Sora has come out as a true blue master in this trailer. He’s not holding back. He’s gotten good with his fighting techniques and he’s not afraid to flaunt it.

And since they never could improve on their crappy camera angles, it appears they found a better use for it: dizzying us with epic fighting techniques!

One thing I can say about this trailer is that the series has actually shown evolution through this one game. Through this one game, Kingdom Hearts has shown tremendous improvement and has reflected the hard work of all designers and developers. Despite the length of time it took, I have no doubts that the game won’t disappoint.

Of course, this is the hype of the trailer. I can’t wait to see the real thing.

5) Kingdom Hearts X Chi-Yes, everyone. KHX Chi is coming to mobile phone devices. So, if you haven’t played this game yet, I advise you do. Sure, you may have heard Nomura say that it’s not important to play if you want to progress to the next game. But ya’ll should know by now that Nomura is on some bull crap. Remember how Chain of Memories was not supposed to be so “important”? Or Kingdom Hearts Coded? Or Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days? Remember how Birth By Sleep was only supposed to be a side story? All of you unfortunate people who didn’t get those games were lost when the next major console game was released and will be lost when KH III is released. I realized early on how important each Kingdom Hearts game is to the entire story. X Chi is no exception.

Though you’re only playing a made-up keyblade wielder, there is information throughout the game that tells us more about KH3 and the keyblade wars. So don’t you think for a second that you can just skip out on this game. You will be missing out on something.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you gathered from the Kingdom Hearts trailer and the confirmation of KH Chi!

Want to understand more about the Kingdom Hearts stories? Want to see how fans reacted to the news? Want to see a rank of favorites and worsts? Click below!

Venus Signs: Music and Venus-Generation Next M and V

3 Jun Venus and music

Venus and music

There is a new section above for all of you astrology lovers! Want to learn more about “Venus” signs? Click that section!

There will be other information about all the planets in signs. Most of you may know about zodiac signs, or better called “Sun signs”. But there is more to our chart than Sun signs. Click that link to learn more about Venus!

I know. I used to have plenty of articles on the subject. But a mishap happened in January where I lost all of my information.

All astrology articles–Click me to learn what happened

But, as a start, you can click the section above to learn the relation music has with Venus signs!!!!

Or you can explore this link—>http://venussigns.wix.com/musicandvenus

Two New American Girl Beforever dolls for 2015 and 2016! Beforever line Cut Down 80%? *Rumors and Leaks*

22 May

generationnext:

TWO NEW AMERICAN GIRLS FOR THE BEFOREVER LINE! One is confirmed to be Maryellen Larkin, an enthusiastic and imaginative girl from circa 1954!

Originally posted on Generation Next:

Rumors always spread like wildfire in the American Girl fan community. This is partially because American Girl fans often do their homework and find new leaks that start rumors. We have a lot of excited and eager fans. American Girl keeps us all on our toes. We can’t help it. We love this 18″ doll franchise with the historical dolls and contemporary lines that actually reflect real girlhood (rather than Monster High and Barbie dolls). Since the Digital Revolution, fans have been finding information about future dolls easily. Nowadays, the “surprise” American Girls are not really so surprising to most fans anymore.

Either the fans are excellent sleuths, or American Girl, LLC sucks at keeping their product ideas under their hats. If they had competition, they would really be in trouble because it is so easy to find out what they are releasing. But since they don’t have competition, I guess…

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BoA, Korea’s Princess of Pop: The Pop Conqueror

13 May

generationnext:

Don’t know who BoA is? YOU BETTA RECOGNIZE! BoA is K-Pop’s PIONEER Princess! But still so humble and modest! Check her out!

Originally posted on Generation Next:

I’ve been having a terrible week, so please forgive me if everything seems a little foggy…

Throughout this terrible week, only one woman has been able to ease my mind and take the stress away. After getting a whiff of her performances, I just couldn’t help but be in awe. She put a smile on this heart-broken face of mine. Her name is BoA Kwon.

BoA is known as Korea’s Princess of Pop. She debuted at the tender age of 13, way back in 2000. She is one of the biggest Korean stars in the world. She’s a veteran by now. As mentioned before, she has a long, fabulous resume, and she is only 28 years old!

BoA is a Pop Conqueror of sorts. BoA, in her lifetime, has managed to not only grab the Korean market, but has also conquered Japanese charts. She has also been one of the…

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BoA’s Japanese and Korean Comeback: BoA “Double” Challenge

13 May

generationnext:

BoA has finally released her Korean comeback in years! The QUEEN is BACK! But to me, she is still the BoA I’ve always known and loved. XD We were both kids when she debuted and when I was introduced to her. Now we’re both adults! In honor of BoA’s return, I decided to share the Double challenge! What is the double challenge? click to find out!

Originally posted on Generation Next:

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In case you couldn’t tell, this month is BoA month in honor of BoA’s first Japanese comeback in FOUR years! So, this article is to spread the word!

Her album was released September 3, 2014 titled, Who’s Back?.

Own it, it’s awesome!

For today, I have a challenge for BoA fans and readers.

BoA has debuted in THREE countries: Korea (2000), Japan (2001), and the USA (2008). She has around 94 music videos and still counting!

Between her Korean music videos and her Japanese videos, BoA has brought over some of her Korean stuff into the Japanese nation. Many times, she has done music videos TWICE for both countries. She translated many of her Korean songs in Japanese.

She did the same thing in America (She translated Girls on Top, her Korean hit, in English).

The music videos between Korea and Japan may look like identical twins, but just…

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Got7 Greets Dallas, TX; GN Introduces “Girls Girls Girls”

10 May

Got7 7-Question Quiz!

9 May

In honor of K-pop boy band Got7’s first U.S. tour, GN has dedicated the WHOLE week to Got7!

Got7 has made their way to California and Illinois. Next, they will be hitting Texas!

Got7’s first U.S. Tour

If you don’t know who Got7 is, mosey on over to this link —->Got7, the Korean “New Kids on the Block”

For Got7 fans still anxiously waiting to see their idols in Dallas, Texas, this quiz is sure to pump you up!

got7-blog1.jpg

So let’s begin, shall we?

The quiz should be relatively easy for Got7 fans! But for those new to the group, perhaps you’ll learn a bit about them.

Question 1: Can you name all seven members by their full REAL names and stage names?

*Bonus* How did each member get their stage names?

Question 2: How many siblings does each member have?

Question 3: True or False: Every member is from Korean.

Question 4: What K-drama series did all Got7 members star in?

*Bonus* What was the name of the boy group in the series?

Question 5: List the members from oldest to youngest.

Question 6: What was the EXACT date that Got7’s first EP dropped?

Question 7: When did each member first make their appearance as idols?

Was it hard? I think some of the questions may be challenging. But give it your best!

ANSWERS BELOW: To reveal the answers, you have to highlight the white space below! Or click the link below the white space!

Question 1: Im Jae-bum (JB), Mark Yien Tuan (Mark), Jackson Wang (Jackson), Park Jin-young (Jr.), Choi Youngjae (Youngjae), Kunpimook Bhuwakul (Bam Bam), Kim Yugyeom

*Bonus* JB’s stage name is an abbreviation of his real name; Mark’s name is his birth name, as well as Jackson, Youngjae, and Yugyeom; Park Jin-Young has the same name as his producer, so he is thus called “Jr.” since he is the younger version; Bam Bam’s name comes from his mother who wanted him to be strong like the young baby in the cartoon “The Flintstones”.

Question 2: Mark (3), JB (0), Jackson (1), Youngjae (2), Yugyeom (1), Jr. (2), Bam Bam (3)

Question 3: False. Jackson is from British Hong Kong, China; Mark has lived in Paraguay, Brazil, San Francisco, California, USA; Bam Bam is from Thailand

Question 4: Dream Knight

*Bonus* Got

Question 5: Mark, JB, Jackson, Jr., Youngjae, Bam Bam, Yugyeom

Question 6: January 20, 2014

Question 7: Jr. and JB first made appearances on the K-drama series Dream High 2. Yugyeom, Bam Bam, Mark, and Jackson first made their appearances on the 4th episode of the YG survival reality show Who is Next: WIN.

Click me to find results too!

Hope you enjoyed the quiz! And I hope IGot7s are having a blast in the U.S. watching Got7 meet with fans AND showcase their talents!

Leave me a comment and let me know if you got all the answers right! If you did, you are true blue Got7 fan!

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