Earlier this week, Mattel released images for its upcoming line of BTS-inspired dolls. Decked out in their “Idol” garb the boys look … unique. Okay, reactions have not been super positive. I myself was initially unable to look past their wild manes of plasticy hair, and Amanda immediately called them nightmare fuel. But the longer I look at them, the more I can see the real work that went into trying to create accurate representations of those Bangtan Boys. (Emphasis on trying.) And let’s face it, mass-produced dolls inspired by real people have never knocked it out of the park. So, let’s look for the positives, and try to determine which doll best captures its subject.
Since I still can’t quite get over their hair, we’re going to start off by taking a closer look at these dumpster fires … I mean, hair-styling choices. Then we’ll evaluate their faces and finally rank them overall. I’m a grown woman who’s about to spend way too long thinking about dolls. I’m in a good place.
Here’s a little about the dolls from Mattel’s online shop:
“These official BTS x Mattel fashion dolls are recreations of all seven artists, each wearing a suit inspired by the iconic fashion from the “Idol” music video. The dolls are 11” tall with rooted hair, have been authentically sculpted to the likeness of each artist, and with 11 points of articulation you can play out choreography from the music video or pose them to replicate your favorite photo shoot.”
Category 1: Hair
This is largely based off my gut reaction. V’s hair was the first thing my eyes went to, and I had a difficult time tearing them away afterwards. I would guess that this is probably one of the more difficult styles to replicate. So, points for trying. The colors look okay, but it’s too long, and the texture is totally off. It really stands out, just not in a good way.
To me, J-Hope looks like he’s starring in a ’60s sitcom about a spunky girl named Midge who’s trying to make it in the big city. That curl, man; it’s just not working. The overall effect is “old fashioned perm.” There’s also a lot of unnecessary volume on the sides, which will become a recurring theme with most of these styles.
It looks like if Jin nods his head too aggressively, he might take flight. What is with those wing bangs? The blonde color also seems a little off. Jin’s actual hair seemed to be a softer, lighter blonde. This is too yellow. Man, I figured if Mattel knew anything, it would be how to make blonde hair look good.
Jimin’s hair is probably the hardest to recreate in a doll. It’s an undercut with a lot of texture and even a cowlick in the front, so I’m cutting Mattel a break with this ranking. The doll’s hair looks like a helmet. There’s just too much of it, and the grey color is too dark. But I think the curl in front works better than with J-Hope.
I’m pretty sure Mattel is afraid of bangs. I mean, I get it. Their artists worked hard to create detailed faces. Why would they cover them with hair? But the result is dorky looking middle parts. It was the case with V and Jin, and now, Suga is the third victim. Fortunately, Suga’s is less awful. But still, why is there so much volume on the sides? Plus, he looks a little bit like Mary Poppins.
RM’s hair is similar to Jimin’s but without the texture. That translates to less volume in the doll’s hair, which is a good thing. It’s still a little helmet-like and the color is more black than grey, but overall, this works.
Jungkook and RM’s dolls’ hair look really similar. In fact, RM’s may be a better representation of the actual style. Jungkook’s is a little flat at the top, and there is some weird wing action forming on the sides (again, with the extra volume!). But that red is great. None of the hairstyling is really accurate, but Jungkook’s color stands out, this time in a good way.
Category 2: Face
I think the faces are mostly good. After the disaster that is the hair, they’re basically a triumph. There’s really only one loser in the bunch, and that’s Mr. Worldwide Handsome himself. It just doesn’t look like Jin. The eyes are too far apart. The nose looks weirdly flat. Without the outfit, I wouldn’t be able to pick out who it’s supposed to be.
When I first saw the group photo, I thought the Suga doll was among the worst. Technically, I guess I still think that. However, once I started looking at individual pictures of the doll more closely, the resemblance became clearer, especially through the eyes. Still, he wasn’t instantly recognizable as Suga. He ranks low because of that initial reaction.
Mattel is very proud of RM’s dimple, and it’s a nice detail. I think the doll is recognizably RM, but is it just me or is the face weirdly flat? I don’t know if it’s the uncanny valley, but there’s something slightly off that keeps this from being a resounding success.
It’s hard to see past that hair. Like, really hard. But I think the face looks like V. It may not be the most canny resemblance, but I think the eyes are nice.
The more I look at the Jungkook doll, the more I think it looks like him. My first thought was the face looked the most like a generic doll, but Jungkook is very conventionally attractive, so it makes sense that his doll would seem kinda standard. Plus, I think they really nailed his nose. He’s not higher on the list because of my initial reaction. This ranking may be too low, but his hair ranking may have been too high, so it evens out.
Along with the close-up of RM’s dimple, Mattel shared a picture of Jimin’s mouth on their Twitter, and I can see why. They nailed it. Those pouty lips are instantly recognizable. The rest of the face is good, too. I think the eyes look like his, but at least in photos, the nose looks a little small and flattish. When Amanda and I first saw Jimin, our instant reaction was that he is essentially a living doll. Glad to see his face translates well into the actual thing.
When I first saw the group photo, the first doll I recognized was, well, V because of that hair. But next was J-Hope. The eyes, the little smile—it looks like him. It’s about as much as you can hope for in a mass-produced doll. Plus, there’s something almost sweet about that face.
Who was this supposed to be again? I jest, but yeah, this one is bad. In fact, it’s the worst.
I’ve spent so much time looking at the very limited number of photos of these dolls available that I now see V’s hair whenever I close my eyes. Lucky me! The good news is I’ve figured out that it resembles a crimped, heavily moussed, ‘90s boy band look. The bad news? It resembles a crimped, heavily moussed, ‘90s boy band look.
Will a spoonful of Suga help when it comes to this doll? No.
4. RM & J-Hope (tie)
RM is passable, but I would also vote him as “the doll most likely to try to murder me in my sleep.” A dimple isn’t everything, I guess.
True, his hair looks like old photos of my grandmother, but he’s still your hope and mine. And, hey, I would totally watch a show about J-Hope making his way as a single gal in New York City in the late days of the Kennedy administration.
The Jimin doll should have been an unprecedented success. Again, he’s basically already a living doll brought to life by the wishes of preteen girls all over the world. Why did Mattel drop the ball with that helmet hair? Disappointed!
Congrats, Kookie! Both your hair and face are generally okay, and apparently, that’s enough to be the best.