Sunday, November 16, 2014

Espari: A New Journey Girl?

Barnes and Nobles "Espari" Kayumi vs The Journey Girls

I was at Barnes and Noble today and was surprised to find what at first glance looked like a Journey Girl in their toy section.  When I got closer, I saw that there were four dolls all resembling a Journey Girl.  Espari is made by the Lotus company exclusively for Barnes and Noble.  There are four girls in the line; Kayumi (Meredith), Marnie (Chavonne), Lily Ria (Kyla), and Annalyn (Kelsey).  There are also three sets of clothing that range in cost from $19.95 to $29.95.  The dolls are all priced at a hefty $59.99.  With a 30% off coupon, that comes in my e-mail every once in awhile, I was able to buy Kayumi for around $42.00: pretty comparable to the Journey Girls.

Kayumi doll from Barnes and Noble
I like the back of the box.  Pretty!

Upon looking at her I was surprised at how much she looked like Meredith.  There seemed to be something a little different between my London Meredith, my new sculpt Meredith and Kayumi, but I couldn't really put my finger on it.  After all the box she comes in is identical to the case that Mikaella arrives in.  Kayumi looks to have the same proportions as Meredith does.  She even has the same 1/2 vinyl breast plate that Meredith has.  So my hope was that she was a higher quality Journey Girl doll. Well….let's find out if that is the case!

There are tape circles that must be cut to open the box
Cut here to get the box open.

Cut the tape or the clear rubber bands where there is a red circle.  The blue circle
 is around twists that can be untwisted
Cut or unhook the clear rubber band to get Kayumi loose.
The twists stay on Kayumi's ankles, untwist them again and take them off.
The cardboard has I fasteners that need to be cut so that her dress comes off.
Cut the I fastener holding Kayumi's dress to the cardboard
One more I fastener to cut.

Kayumi comes dressed in a pink dress with layered, ruffles of tulle.  She has pink sparkly healed shoes on and a gold purse.  Like Meredith, Kayumi is blond with bright blue eyes.  Kayumi's hair is even pulled back in exactly the same way as Meredith's.

Kayumi out of her box.
The first thing I noticed when I bought her was that her eyes look a little different than Meredith's.  I looked at 5 different dolls, at two different stores and every single one of the Kayumi dolls had crossed eyes.  I thought this was the best of them.  I have seen this in the Journey girls also, but not as bad as in these dolls.  I will say that the three other types of dolls did not seem to have an issue with their eyes.

Kayumi kind of has crossed eyes.
After getting Kayumi out of her package I noted that the back of her dress was not closed.  It had velcro at the waist, but was open from there down.  My first thought was, "Wow, that is poor design."  Then I realized the taffeta was a skirt.

Kayumi's dress is open in the back.  It can be taken off completely for a different style of dress.
By undoing the velcro you get a whole new dress.  The underneath dress is knee length and is satin. The taffeta collar also unties and can be removed.  Kayumi comes with underwear also.

As I stood Kayumi for photos I noted that she stands pretty well.  The second thing I noticed is that her one leg joint was different from her other one.  The left leg joint you can see the ball socket inside.  This makes the left leg just a bit longer.  Her joints are tight.  Her neck joint barely moves.  It is very difficult to tilt her head; turning it is okay.  Her shoulder joints are also hard.  They seem to have a small amount more flexibility than do the Journey Girls, but not drastically more.

The leg joint is actually popping out from the body.
Kayumi must be modeled off of Mikaella and the new Meredith as far as her sitting goes.  If you want to read me complain about how horrible the leg joints are read my review of Meredith.  Suffice it to say…these are worse!!!  There is no way to get Kayumi to sit without propping her up on her arms or against something.  Once you get to a point the leg joint actually just turns the leg, making it look like Kayumi fell and broke her hip.  What is the deal with the bad leg joints?  Not good! That's all I'm going to say.

Kayumi can not sit on her own without her hands propping her up.

Kayumi compared to Meredith's ability to sit.

New sculpt Meredith, Kayumi, and old Meredith sitting not so lady like.
Kayumi's torso is similar to the new Meredith's.  Very firm, it's the same size (10 inches around compared to 9 3/4 of the old Meredith).  The Vinyl seems to be of good quality, or at least on par with the Journey Girls.  Kayumi had no staining on any parts of her body.

The three girls and their different body types.
The whole doll is similar to Meredith (both versions) but not really exactly the same.  Take her face for instance.  The eyes are a little bigger and set lower on the face than either of the Meredith's.  Her lips are painted wider, but they are also open, compared to closed on Meredith.

Kayumi has bigger eyes and a little smile
Meredith's eyes are wider apart and she has a little longer nose
Meredith has thicker eyebrows and closed lips.
Looking from the side, her neck is not as long, her jaw line is different and the bridge of her nose goes deeper into her face.  From this angle it is apparent that the aces are definitely different.

Kayumi from the side.
Meredith's new sculpt.
Original Meredith.
Kayumi's legs are shaped differently than the Journey Girls.  They are skinnier at the top and come out of the bottom of her body more then the side.  This may be what causes the issue with the sitting.

The different leg shapes of the girls.  Meredith (new), Kayumi, Meredith (old).
Her feet are slightly longer than the Journey Girls.  I think her toes are more pronounced.  Her fingers are not spread out as much and look more plastic than the Journey Girls.

Kayumi's feet are slightly different than the Journey Girls.
Meredith's hand
Kayumi's hand is not as defined. 

Her outfit does perfectly fit Meredith.  And this is a cute dress!  I like that the dress can convert to a less formal dress.  It makes it so that the outfit basically has accessories to use with other outfits.  Very neat!

Meredith wearing Kayumi's outfit

Kayumi has some great accessories with her outfit.


All ratings are out of 10

Poseability - 4  - I won't rant about Kayumi's legs…just know that if you want a doll that can sit on her own, this one is not it.  The shoulder joints seem really good.  The neck is way too stiff and really can't tilt very well.

Quality - 6  - I was disappointed to find only one doll with eyes that seemed to look straight.  The eyes of a doll show the level craftsmanship and attention to detail more easily than any other part on the doll.  The difference between an American Girl doll and an Our Generation doll can easily be summed up in the way the eyes work for both.  I think Kayumi is still better than some of the other 18" dolls out there.  She's just not at the top.

Adorableness - 8 - Kayumi's face sculpt, though not as cute as old Meredith's, is much better than the new sculpt.  She really has an adorable face.  And her dress is awesome!  It is really frilly though.  I'm not sure if I like it more than Mikealla's, but it's not as nice as Jordanna's gown.  I do like that it is convertible.

Compatibility - 6 - The Espari dolls are thinner than an American Girl doll, so there are the same compatibility issues as the Journey Girls have.  Pants, skirts, and shirts are going to be big on her.  Shoes are wide, but fit lengthwise.  Some shoes from Springfield and Our Generation do not fit, because her feet are just a smidg longer.

Overall Score - 6 - I love Kayumi's face…but I can't get over the short falls of her body, especially the legs.  If she was less then $30, maybe I could forgive some of the issues, but she is twice that amount.  The Journey Girls go on sale for around $34…buy two London Meredith's (the old sculpt) you'll be very happy with them.  If you can get Kayumi for $42 or less, she is worth it if you like pink dresses (super cute!) or if she is just going to be displayed standing up.

Meredith, Kayumi, and Meredith.


Suzi said...

Wow! It's like you read my mind. I was waiting for someone to do a review on these dolls. I saw MyFroggyStuff post about these dolls on her Instagram the other day. $60 is really high when you can get almost the exact same thing at Toys R Us. Honestly, out of all the four I like Annalyn the best from what I seen on their website. Will have to go to Barnes & Nobles one day and check her out in person to make the final judgement. Anyways great post!

JGKelsey said...

Annalyn is cute. I like Kelsey better, especially the London line Kelsey with the darker green eyes. Plus after seeing the legs and the way these dolls sit...the $30 for Kelsey seems much better. I am thinking of getting some of the clothes...especially since the dresses are reversable.

Na2sya said...

Hello. Thanks for the review of dolls of different years of release. Photos are great! New dolls Espari very similar Journey Girl, but different price :(
Last year we buy Meredith, Kelsey, Kyle and Jordana. After viewing the photos in the blog decided to buy Chavonne.

Nonna said...

I've been drooling over the redhead from Newberry (available Sears Canada only) and Annalyn looks exactly like yeh, thinking there's your match in terms of doll comps.

JGKelsey said...

Yeah…I like the Journey Girls better than The Espari dolls. Especially for the price. I'm glad you bought Chavonne. She is really cute!

JGKelsey said...

I wish that I could get the Newberry dolls in the states. I have tried ordering them from Sears, but I can't. It's interesting that the Newberry dolls are an all cloth body, much more like the American Girl Dolls. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Did you compare the quality of their hair? Nicer hair that is thickly rooted might be reason enough to spend more.

JGKelsey said...

The hair is almost identical. The Espari dolls have a little thicker hair, but not by much. Same material for both dolls hair. I think part of the reason they cost more is because Barnes and Noble has coupons for 30% off. With that coupon Kayumi was $42...pretty close to a Journey Girls price.

Anonymous said...

How did you get the 30% off coupon?

JGKelsey said...

I signed up for their kids club. Unlike the Barnes and Noble club, this is free. It's mainly made to track purchases for your child. When you sign up for it, they send you 30% off coupon within a day.

Mayer Freedman said...

My grand daughter has the Espari doll. I hope I am reading right and that Journey Doll clothes will fit Espari???

JGKelsey said...

You are correct...Journey Girl clothes will fit the Espari dolls. There is really no difference between the dolls, other then their faces.

Meg said...

Believe me, you are not missing anything. The Newberry dolls are the second worst 18 inch dolls I have seen. Springfield are the worst. JG are much, much nicer!

Canadian Doll Notebook said...

Now I feel silly asking you that question on my blog when clearly the answer was right here on yours! I just love your posts and how you break everything down. Sounds like Journey Girl is the best option of the three Lotus dolls. As I am sure you gathered from my review of the Newberry dolls, I wasn't super impressed with the quality either. Seeing that the price of Newberry dolls are comparable with the Journey Girls I would defiantly recommend JG over Newberry any day.

Belle said...

Thank you so much for this comparison review! All the dolls are very similar, but there are subtle differences that add up. Out of the three, the original Meredith is the prettiest. She is just lovely. Once you see her it is difficult to be interested in either the new Meredith or Kayumi.