I’m warning you right now: this is a very photo-intensive post. Because I’m not just showing you a Mulan doll or two. I’m running a full-on comparison of the new Hasbro Mulan doll against both the Disney Store Mulan doll and a Mattel Mulan doll. (And yes, I’m sure many, many others have already made similar Hasbro/Disney/Mattel comparison posts. But I’m doing it anyway. Hopefully, there will be at least some aspects of my perspective that are different from what everyone else has already said.)
Yes, I still have a boxed Mulan from the time the movie came out. I lived by two Mattel outlet stores at the time, so I bought a ridiculous number of dolls, and some never ended up getting opened, like this one. Fortunately, I had plenty of others, so I didn’t have to open this one for the comparison.
See? I got two of both of these at the time. (They were used for a particularly destructive attempt at creating a doll of a game character. It involved re-rooting, painting even the skin, and possibly re-bodying in the case of the one in the red dress. I’m not sure what happened that I ended up needing to do the whole thing twice, though…) Anyway, the open one in the purple and green will be our primary Mattel comparison doll here. (And I did actually try checking the stores for leftovers of more modern Mattel Mulan dolls, but it was far too late. Besides, I don’t think they were making as many of Mulan as of the actual princesses. It’s just that I really don’t like the way Hasbro’s Princess dolls look; I found the Mulan one the most palatable.)
So, here they are open and…wait, before I proceed further, before Mattel loses everyone’s vote based on that open-mouthed facial sculpt, let me show you a different Mattel Mulan doll, one that isn’t, technically, part of the comparison:
I’m not sure how many of these “Film Premiere Edition” dolls they did. I have two: Mulan and Ariel. If there were more, it was after I moved away from the Mattel outlet store area, and was no longer as tied to that particular dolly zone.
On the facing flap, there’s some pop-up stuff, but I couldn’t get a good shot of it.
Anyway, throughout the review, let’s try and keep this face in mind as the Mattel face of Mulan, okay? Because this is the good one.
All right, so now we can get back to the comparison!
So we were back here, right? You can see right off the bat that Hasbro’s Mulan is shorter, and has a bigger head. From this picture, the Disney Store one looks taller, but I think that’s caused by the fact that I ended up taking these pictures on my bed instead of on a shelf. *ahem* Yes, I am ashamed of my laziness. Moving onwards.
Well, despite my little “Film Premiere Mulan” outburst a moment ago, it’s time to compare faces. And actually I substituted yet another Mattel Mulan for these shots. I couldn’t use her for the primary comparison doll, ’cause she already showed up on my New Year’s Day post, and my rule for April A-to-Z was not to focus on any toy I’d shown before…
So by throwing Matchmaker Mulan into the mix here, we’re confronted by three very similar faces. Probably the most similar we’d be likely to find in the Hasbro/Disney/Mattel ring.
In profile, too, they’re all very similar. (You’ll notice some discoloration on Matchmaker Mulan’s face: that’s because she has a color-change gimmick so you can make her face all white (or half and half), like in the matchmaker sequence in the movie.)
Now, for the next part of the comparison, we’ll send back Matchmaker Mulan for…uh…”nameless two-pack Mulan who came with Li Shang” again. (There’s undoubtedly a name for the two-pack, but it wasn’t pictured on the back of the one I have still in the box, so I don’t know what it was.)
And I must warn you that here we are starting the task of comparing them in a less purely cosmetic sense. By which I mean articulation and so on. If the idea of three Mulans naked gives you a problem, feel free to consider them three young Agent Mays instead. 😛
So right away we’ve got a very different body construction on the Hasbro Mulan compared to the other two.
The profile version enhances the difference considerably. Mattel’s — unsurprisingly — has by far the largest bust, while Hasbro’s feels the most realistic in terms of body shape. Now, seeing as Mulan is a warrior, I’ve asked one of her fellow warriors to come put her through her paces, but as she hasn’t arrived on the scene yet, let’s take a moment to look at the Hasbro body a bit more closely, because it’s reminding me a bit of a very different Mattel doll:
A bit thicker, but the Hasbro dolls are actually more akin to Ever After High than Mattel’s Disney Princess dolls, it turns out. The head proportions are different, though. Actually, there was a different head proportion I wanted to compare the Hasbro doll to:
Her head is actually slightly larger than the My Scene Barbie, but her body is smaller in every way. I think that has a lot to do with why the new Hasbro dolls rub me the wrong way: I have no problem with huge heads (obviously), but I’m very finicky about proportions. I could never begin to put numbers on it, but some ratios of head to body work for me, and some just don’t, and Hasbro’s Disney Princess head/body ratio is clearly one of the don’ts.
Okay, looks like our combat expert is here. Sergeant, are you ready?
All right, if you little girls think you’re ready to step in the ring and kill some bugs, you’d better show me what you’ve got, and I better not be disappointed! They tell me you think you’re some kind of martial arts experts. So let’s see you get ready to block an incoming blow — and return fire!
Good. Good, but you’re gonna break those wrists if you’re not careful. And — what the hell is that? You gonna hug the bugs to death!?
All right, let’s move on. You’re facing down a serious bug, and your gun’s empty. You gotta get it away from the first person shooter, or the game’s over too soon! Your only hope is to kick it away! Get ready for the kick of your life!
If your foot hits like that, you’re gonna break it! Good, good. Hey! I said “get ready to kick” not “show me what it looks like after you kicked it!” You looking for trouble? Because I’m all the trouble you can handle!!
All right, let’s move on. You’re out on patrol when you think you hear something behind you. Quickly check for bugs without betraying your position!
Good! Not bad, but unless you’ve got a good HUD, you’re gonna get eaten at that rate….
…..agh! What the — is that — it’s a bug in disguise!
Quick, where’s my gun?!
Okay…I think Sergeant Calhoun just broke a little. Hey, Felix, can you fix her?
Right, so let’s put this whole sordid mess behind us, and move on…
Let’s forget about the bodies, and look at the clothes, okay? We’ll start with the age-old “clothes swapping operation.” Because that’s always fun, right?
We’ll go in chronological order, shall we? First, Mattel’s Mulan gets to try on the Disney Store and Hasbro dresses:
The Disney Store dress is a tiny bit tight on her, but it does fit well enough to pass muster.
Her big flat feet have no prayer of fitting into the Disney Store Mulan’s teeny-tiny shoes, however. Disney Store dolls have very dainty feet, apparently. (Well, I guess that only makes sense, given that Cinderella is one of them…)
Yup, that’s a shocker, right? 😛
Putting the Hasbro shoe on the Mattel foot is also somewhat Cinderella-like…
Anyway, moving on, it’s now Disney Store Mulan’s turn!
Predictably, she looks great in the Mattel dress…though the shoes are way too big for her.
She’s more slender than the Mattel version, but not slender enough to get into that Hasbro dress….
…and on her the Hasbro shoe is even more of a joke.
So that just makes it Hasbro Mulan’s turn to wear the other girls’ dresses, right?
As you’d expect from the previous results, both the Mattel and Disney Store dresses fit the Hasbro Mulan, though they’re quite roomy on her, which looks okay for the Mattel dress, but not so much for the Disney Store dress, due to the different types of fabric involved.
As far as footwear goes, the idea of getting the Disney Store Mulan’s shoes on the Hasbro doll’s feet goes beyond a joke. The Mattel shoes, being made of a fairly soft and pliable plastic, likely would fit her if I wasn’t afraid of ripping them. But I was afraid of ripping them, so I didn’t try too hard. They’d be a bit hard to replace at this point, y’know?
But while I’m on the subject of footwear, two things. First — as you can kind of tell from the above picture — there’s one way the Hasbro Mulan differs from the others in terms of her feet:
They’re high-heeled. This is a low-articulation Mulan doll with high-heeled feet. So she can’t fight, and she’s going to be going around on tiptoes all the time. Um, Hasbro, have you actually seen the movie? Sheesh.
Anyway, the other footwear thing I thought I’d bring up was the subject — irrelevant though it may be — of how well their shoes go with their outfits. (Because at the end of the day, they’re still fashion dolls.)
Yup, we brought Matchmaker Mulan back to take part in this action, too. Because hers is the most signature outfit of the lot. (Or rather, it’s the one I specifically remember being in the movie. The others…not so much. They might be there — or based on something that’s there — or they might not. It’s been too long since I watched it.) So in the group shot here, I’ve got their shoes off and draped on their clothes to show color matching, but it’s too hard to see in the group shot.
So, yeah, they’re actually kind of all “also rans” in terms of their shoes and clothes matching. No one was having very good luck getting their plastic color to match their cloth color, it seems. Though I think it’s safe to say that the Disney Store came closest, followed by Matchmaker Mulan, with Hasbro and other Mattel Mulan lagging pretty far behind…though I think the other Mattel Mulan is the big loser in this particular contest.
And now I’ve finally exhausted all my pictures (apart from a shot of the back of the still-boxed red dress Mulan’s box), so I can give my verdict. (Hey, if I’m going to be judgmental, I may as well admit that’s what I’m doing, right?)
The bottom line here, to me, is to wonder what in the world happened to drive that wedge between Mattel and Disney. Because based on what I’ve seen with this Hasbro Mulan doll, I can’t imagine they’re selling all that well. They have no articulation — though admittedly, from the looks of it, neither did the Mattel dolls just before the split — their heads are awkwardly too big, and they can’t really share clothes with any other doll on the market. (Well, okay, I haven’t checked them against every other doll on the market, but…based on what I saw, Ever After High is closest to them in size, but EAH is more slender, so while EAH could wear the Hasbro Princess clothes, the reverse would not be the case. Most problematic of all — and I think every consumer would agree here — is the fact that the Hasbro dolls cost too much for what you get. You may be thinking “hey, that’s a pretty cheap doll you were looking at there — $9-10 cheap!” And so it is. But if you get two dolls at the Disney Store, then they only cost $10 each, and you’re getting a much better doll.
So who in the world would buy one of the Hasbro ones? And why?
I know there are a lot of places where there aren’t any Disney Stores, but with the handiness of the Internet…there might as well be one in every corner mall. Plus one of the department stores — I think it’s J.C. Penny’s? — also sells the Disney Store dolls in slightly different packaging, making those dolls much easier to come by.
I know the Mattel dolls by the end weren’t as good as the Mattel Mulan dolls I was looking at here, lacking all those great articulation points and all, but they were at least the right size to swap clothes with Barbie, and I would think that would still be something that would go a long way with little girls. (Goodness knows it would have been important to me when I was little!)
So, yeah, that’s my two cents’ worth. (Or maybe after all this it’s become inflated to two dollars’ worth?) If I was looking to buy a doll to give to a Disney-loving little kid, I’d definitely get one from the Disney Store, not one of the Hasbro dolls.
And disclaimer time: I found that image of Calhoun through a Google search, and obviously I don’t own it. 😛 (Sadly, I don’t own a doll of her, either. Apparently there was one at some point, ’cause I found a picture of it, but I have no idea how I missed that! I was checking the Disney Store pretty regularly at the time, just in case they were gonna make one. *sigh* Yet another awesome Disney Store exclusive doll I’ve missed out on…) And I must also apologize for her dialog: I’m not used to trying to write that kind of character, so it’s more than a bit forced.
Also, I guess I kind of owe the Hasbro Mulan a little apology for that owl shot. All three of the dolls can turn their heads all the way around (it’s rather rare for that not to be the case in this kind of doll, after all) so it wasn’t really very nice of me to do that only with her. But it just struck me as so funny…
Anyway, if you want to see the gallery, it’s here.