Thursday, August 6, 2015

New Journey Girl Giovanna

How does Giovanna compare to Jordanna?

Toys R Us has released their annual “Special Edition” Journey Girls doll.  Starting with Jordanna in 2013, Toys R Us followed up with two dolls for 2014, both named Mikaella (both had the same face mold, just different hair and eyes).  This year there is one doll, Giovanna, a beautiful blonde haired, blue-eyed doll that comes in a gorgeous crimson gown.  Did Toys R Us make the right decision to go with just one doll?  Does Giovanna stand up to the standard of a special edition doll?  And most importantly…is she worth the money?

Giovanna comes in a special clear, curved, window box, just like the other two years, the top and bottom of the container are a thick plastic half circle, with a handle on the top plastic piece.  Unlike the standard boxes, which are rectangular and have a flap that opens easily on the top, Giovanna’s container needs to be disassembled to get her out.  The easiest way I found to do this is to cut all the tape holding the top plastic piece to the cardboard /plastic window, then cut the tape that is holding the back flap shut.  This should make it so that you can pull the top off and then pull the cardboard that Giovanna is attached to out.  You may have to work a knife around the top of the plastic, since there is glue as well as the tape.  If you don’t care about the container…rip the back cardboard and the whole thing will open up for easy access to Giovanna.

There are lots of things holding Giovanna to the cardboard backer.  Cut all the plastic I fasteners, string, and tape on the back.  There are also two I fasteners on the sides (one on each side, towards the bottom) that attach the dress to the cardboard.  Once you get all of those off, make sure that you clip or pull of the clear rubber band around her neck.  Then she’ll be loose from the back, but will still have a piece of cardboard attached to her dress.  Find the I fasteners and cut them to get her dress loose from this cardboard.  Finally the top layer of her dress has tiny I fasteners holding it to the bottom layer (one on each side of the front) and her fur also has two I fasteners.  Clip all of these and she is finally free.

Giovanna has a very pretty face.  She has the same face mold as the new Meredith and Kyla dolls, but she looks quite different.  Her lips are fuller then Meredith’s or Kyla’s and have a shimmery lipstick painted on them (very much like Jordanna has).  

Meredith, Giovanna, Jordanna, and Mikaella 
She has deep dark blue eyes; almost navy blue, with beautiful plastic eyelashes on her top lid along with painted lashes on her bottom lid. She has bright blonde hair, identical to Meredith’s hair color. Her hair is soft and very smooth, but gets messy easily. It’s easy to comb, and with a little water, goes right back to where it belongs.

Giovanna is the first Journey Girl to come with her ears pierced!  She comes with star shaped diamond earrings with a pearl hanging down from them.  
Giovanna is the 1st Journey Girl to have pierced ears.
Giovanna’s dress is beautiful.  The dress is definitely closer to Jordanna’s than Mikaella’s.  There are three layers to the skirt of the dress; one made of stiff tulle to help fluff the dress, a satin layer, and then a thin see through material that is gathered in waves.  

The dress has a layer of tulle that helps the dress fluff up.
The top has two layers; the satin extending from the skirt up to above the chest, ending in a heart neckline, then the thin see through material is over the satin bodice and forms a chocker neckline above the satin’s heart neckline.   

The skirt is a nice thick satin material, with good hems.  It’s got great flow, billowing in just the right places to make the dress look very full and elegant.  

It doesn’t puff out quite as much as Jordanna’s, but it is a huge improvement over Mikaella’s.  The tulle, satin, and see through material are all sewn together at the back of the dress.  You can’t really see the seam, but it makes it difficult to fully fluff the dress up, since the tulle is attached to the other layers.

The dress Velcro’s up the entire bodice to the chocker neckline.  It’s a little tight, but not so tight that it is hard to Velcro together.   

The see through material has light cotton waves of fabric sewn on to it.  This really adds to the elegant look of the dress, and is very reminiscent of Jordanna’s wavy fabric flower pattern on her dress.

As in past year, Giovanna comes with a few more accessories than a normal Journey Girls doll.  She has a silver hand purse with a silver ribbon strap, so that she can put it around her wrist.  

It opens so she can keep some small items in it for her night at the Gala.  It latches with a small piece of Velcro and has a beautiful diamond on the front.  The jewel matches Giovanna’s bracelet, which has two strands of small pearls on separate stretch bands, so that it can easily be taken on and off.   There is a large round diamond on the bracelet, surrounded in a circle by smaller round diamonds.  
Giovanna's jewelry is very pretty and is easy to get on and off. 
This same jewel is repeated on Giovanna’s fur shoulder shawl.  The shawl Velcro’s in the front, under the jewel, for easy removal.  There is a white ribbon in the middle of the shawl that the jewel sits on top of.  

As with the other special edition dolls, Giovanna has gloves on for her fancy night out.  Her gloves are a lovely silver stretch material, similar to Jordanna’s white gloves.  These gloves are more like mittens in the sense that they only have a separated thumb, rather than separation between each finger.  

Her gloves are more like mittens, since there is no separation between fingers.
Giovanna comes with the same shoes that ever Journey Girls does, a flat dress shoe.  Hers are crimson with some sparkle in them.  The shoes are the one thing that Toys R Us could improve on in this outfit.  

Toys R Us…Giovanna needs better shoes!!!!
Note that Giovanna also comes with underwear….just plain white undies.  Nice to have, since Giovanna does the splits to sit.

Yeah! Underwear!  
Giovanna has the ½ vinyl chest plate and ½ fabric body, as do all of the Journey Girls.  Like the other girls she also has five points of articulation; both shoulders, both hips, and her head. 

Her joints are similar to the new sculpt dolls (Mikaella, Meredith, and Kyla) which is not so great.  All of the new sculpt dolls have notchy head and shoulder joints, meaning that they click or stick in places, rather than being fluid.  Comparing Giovanna to the brand new Callie doll, Giovanna’s head is very difficult to turn and down right hard to tilt, where Callie’s head tilts and turns with ease. 

Giovanna doesn't have quite the same amount of bend in her neck.  That may change as she is played with.
The same is true for their shoulders; Giovanna’s shoulder joints click and are more difficult to move, whereas Callie’s are very smooth.  Some of the stiffness and clicking go away a little after the doll is played with, but not all of it. 

Giovanna's arms don't have as much movement as Callie's.  The joints also click on Giovanna.
She has the same type of joint for her shoulder as all the other Journey Girls.
Unfortunately Giovanna suffers the same issue with her legs as all the new Journey Girl dolls do.  The leg joint has a very different rotation in it than the older dolls joints.  Her legs go out to the side almost immediately when rotating them, making her do the splits to sit.  
Kelsey is from the Paris line.  You can see that her legs also spread out, but not as much.  Kelsey's joint allows some movement in and out from the hip joint, rather than just forward and back like Giovanna’s. 

Kelsey's legs spread out quite a bit when she sits on her own.
Giovanna's legs have to go out almost 4 inches more for her to sit on her own.
The difference is not that noticeable until you try to seat the girls at a table.  Giovanna is going to eat by herself, kick the people next to or across from her, or sit so slanted that she falls out of the chair.  Kelsey can sit decently (although not great) in the chair without kicking everyone around her.  

No sitting with others, when Giovanna is at the table.
If Giovanna's legs are together more, she slides down.
Kelsey's legs are still out pretty wide, but she is sitting up straight.

The other issue that comes from the leg joint is that the dolls balance is off.  The Journey Girls are fairly easy to stand up for the most part.  Giovanna is more difficult because her legs start to go out to the side as you tilt her back or forward, making it so that her feet tip in, and reduce the surface area that is touching the ground.   This makes balancing her difficult.  Having flat shoes on her helps, but Kelsey is still much easier to pose.

Overall, Giovanna is a wonderful doll.  Her dress is awesome, her face is very cute, and she is made well for the most part.  As mentioned there are some issues with her, but not enough to warrant her not being purchased. 

All ratings are out of 10

Poseability - 7  - Giovanna has all of the same articulation points as any other Journey Girls.  Her arms and head seem a bit stiff, but from experience these joints seem to loosen up over time.  The clicking in the joints sometimes goes away.  Consistency with joints is an issue; one doll will have stiff joints, another loose.  The big poseability disappointment is Giovanna’s legs.  Like Mikaella before her, Giovanna sits in the splits.   

Quality - 8  - Giovanna is made with the same quality of materials, as are all the Journey Girls.  She has good vinyl, quality clothing, and good hair.  Her hair is made of a different material than Callie’s hair, but it is similar to Mikaella’s.  It can get tangled, but more often it is just frizzy.  Not horrible…not great, just good.

Adorableness - 9 – Giovanna is beautiful.  All of the special edition dolls have been very pretty.  Giovanna’s gown design feels fancier than Mikaella’s, more like Jordanna’s elegant ball gown.  Giovanna’s bright blue eyes and sparkly lips also make her very cute.  And the edition of pierced ears is awesome!

Compatibility - 8 – Giovanna, like all the Journey Girls is a different size than other 18” dolls.  She is just a little skinnier.  This mean clothes from other companies will fit Giovanna, although they may be loose, but Giovanna’s dress does not fit well on other brands of dolls (except Espari dolls).  Giovanna will look very nice in any type of outfit, however as with Jordanna, she looks more at home in fancier outfits.  Maybe because of the lipstick and the earrings.

Overall Score - 9 – Giovanna is amazing!  Her dress is very pretty, much more like Jordanna’s dress.  She has many great accessories.  She has her ears pierced!  Giovanna does have a few issues that plague the new Journey Girls; namely joint issues.  None of these issues take away from the playability of the doll.  Toys R Us ordered way too many Mikaella’s last year, due to the shortage of Jordanna’s they had the year before.  Because of that, Giovanna may not be quite as plentiful as Mikaella was last year.  Pick her up early if you can.  She is well worth the $50.  Watch for sales before Thanksgiving to get her for even less!
Special Edition Journey Girls; Giovanna, Jordanna, and Mikaella



Farrah Lily said...

Great review! I think she looks a lot like Meredith, but her eyes seem different. She definitely seems different enough. What a shame about the leg joints though. You're right in that she seems very unrealistic sitting at a table or even just to pose sitting on the floor.
I think my favorite special release is still Jordana. :)

JGKelsey said...

Farrah Lily,
Thanks. Giovanna does look different than Meredith, but it is hard to pinpoint exactly how. I did notice that Giovanna's mouth is wider.

It is a huge bummer that her legs are the way they are. But all the new Journey Girls are that way. :(

I agree Jordanna is still my favorite, but Giovanna is a good and close second.

Tes said...

What a well written and thorough review! Both my Journey Girls are older, so I had no idea about the new joints. I wonder why they would do that with the legs, kind of ridiculous! She is really pretty though, I suppose she would prefer to stand in a fabulous dress like that anyway. :)

Canadian Doll Notebook said...

You have to love those fabulous dresses! My daughters and I love to see these special edition dolls when we are at Toys'R'Us. Great review!