once before, Raya has made appearances in the past; her Magic Hair self had tan skin and extremely fair hair, so maybe...possibly, this is the same character. And maybe not...it doesn't matter, really. I originally had no intent on buying one of the new Bratz at all. Sure, they were cute and all that, but I've already got a box full of Bratz and Bratzillaz. I was originally only interested in the clothes for my older girls, but the scuttlebutt online is that the new clothes don't fit the old dolls so I decided I'd need a new one to fit the new clothes. I'll find out later on whether the new clothes fit the old Bratz, but first, the doll line. According to the box, the dolls in the "Study Abroad" line have been participating in some sort of foreign exchange program. In other words, another school-themed line of sorts. The dolls thus come with themed outfits and accessories; Jade, my usual go-to doll, has spent some time in Russia, while Raya (or "Sun Rayz," her ridiculous MGA-given nickname) has been to Baja, California. But enough chatter, let's take a look at her. At first glance Raya looks like your run-of-the-mill Bratz doll, and for the most part she is...with a few critical differences. So let's begin. Raya's hair.
Before I move on, I want to take a brief digression down Memory Lane. Before the first redesign, Bratz eyes had a lot of variation in placement, while after the first redesign all the Bratz had eyes that looked towards their left. Now most of the new Bratz have eyes that look straight ahead and slightly upwards, and Raya is no exception. I'd hoped desperately that MGA Entertainment would start varying the eye positions again, because side-glancing eyes aren't seen as often as eyes that stare straight ahead. Alas, MGA pulled the plug before eye position could vary much in that last line.
Moving along, lips.
Like Barbie, Bratz have a few different head molds that are used from time to time. One has a closed mouth (left) and one has a slight opening for some teeth (right).
Like the head, the new Bratz body is similar to the old bodies, but not exactly like them...and here is where things start to go rotten in Denmark. Here's how Raya's body (center) compares visually to Jade's (left) and Tessa's (right).
Skull Shores Frankie Stein).
could hold hers crossed), but Raya can't hold hers crossed. I think it's a shame these arms didn't have some sort of armature inside; they're slim enough that it could've worked, sort of like those Gumby-esque toy rabbits that we used to get in our Easter baskets. But I can also think of a number of reasons why MGA didn't do such a thing, so maybe it's good that these arms can't bend and stay bent. Notice the difference in hand shape, by the way. Jade's hands are graceful, Tessa's hands are realistic, and Raya's hands are...long and skinny!!!
UPDATE: first-wave Jade's knees do bend; I'm only now learning this after fourteen years, LOL). Anyway, Raya's knees are more like Bratzillaz knees than old-style Bratz knees, only a lot slimmer (doll in the comparison is Bratzillaz Magic Night Out Yasmina).
spaghetti knees, but nowhere near as good as the robustly-constructed Bratzillaz knees or LIV knees. Much to my delight, these knees do rotate a little. Raya's ankle "joints" are tight, so the knees' rotation makes it easier to pose her legs and feet. Because of these rotating joints Raya can sit cross-legged, something that precious few of my other dolls can do.
The hips are your average dolly hips; they are hinge-jointed and pivot around their anchorage. Raya can sit...
Raya's shoulders are a huge disappointment, particularly when compared to the motion of past Bratz dolls. They are ball-jointed, but the soft plastic arms cause a lot of friction against their hard plastic anchors. Therefore, the mobility of this joint is not good at all. My first wave Jade doll's arms stick out a bit too, but not as badly as Raya's do.
my Courtney doll wears. I clipped off these ends so they wouldn't look too sloppy, but I assume there will be more ends to contend with if I dress and undress Raya aneough. I hope that this raveling won't compromise the jacket's structural integrity, because it's a cute little item.
The Baja influence is more obvious in Raya's top.
Then there's the skirt, arguably the most eye-catching piece of the ensemble.
Lastly, shoes. Or rather, shoe-feet.
some other dolls too, for that matter). When the Bratz were the new kids on store shelves, these shoe-feet were quite large, large and heavy enough to help the doll stand unassisted. By the time the Style It! line came out, the shoe-feet had diminished in size. Oh sure, they were more proportionate to the doll's body, but that also made it a lot harder for the doll to stay upright. It got bad enough that some of the dolls were packaged with stands. Raya's shoes are huge...even bigger than the original Bratz shoes. I also threw in Costume Bash Jade's dinky little boots for good measure.
But wait, there's more! Remember when I said these Study Abroad dolls came with two outfits? I wasn't lying. Here's the other one.
hollyhocks to me.
Raya's accessories are your typical bits and bobs, some of it useful and some of it crap. Her useful bits and bobs include jewelry. Plastic earrings that can be worn by my other Bratz dolls with pierced ears...
I think that covers it!
*Joints are stiff and feel fragile
*Eyebrows are a little bland
*Shoes are hard to get off and on
*Jeans are tight
*Raya has a lot of trouble standing, despite her big shoes
*Comes with plenty of miscellaneous odds and ends that serve no purpose other than to get lost or swallowed
*Clothes cannot be shared with any consistency; none of my old Bratz can wear Raya's clothes or shoes, and only a handful of the other new fashions have pieces that will fit.
*Hair is soft and smooth. I wish all MGA dolls had this.
*Face is lovely; eyes and lips are both colorful and flatter Raya's darker skin.
*Clothes are appropriately Bratz-like, and there's a lot of pieces to play with.
*Jointed, though the joints aren't great
*Lots of cute little details; I especially love the sugar skull sewn onto the jeans.
*Not all the accessories are miscellaneous pieces of crap. The headband is particularly cute, having a Day of the Dead theme that I adore.
Raya is a cute doll, but as with Ari Hauntington I just don't think she lives up to the standards set by her predecessors. She's not as flexible, she doesn't balance as well, and her face is missing some of the spunk that the older Bratz have. In my life I've seen Bratz dolls that looked a little too snarky, but hey, they ARE called Bratz after all! A doll line with a name like that can get away with looking a little snarky, but Raya is missing that. She doesn't have quite the attitude that my old dolls do. In addition to that, Raya can't share her clothes with her new friends. I tried fitting the jeans on Cloe, but Cloe's leg stubs (stubs???) proved to be too thick, and the jeans absolutely would not go on. Nor would the jeans fit the Bratzillaz, whose large feet proved to be too large for the narrow legs. Shoe sharing is hit and miss; my first wave Jade can wear Raya's shoes if I push and shove, but Cloe cannot. Tessa can wear the shoes below, but only because her rubbery calves hold them on. The shoes don't click onto her stubs.
**UPDATE** The girls with the passion for fashion are NOT gone for good; Isaac Larian apparently announced that the Bratz will be returning again in the fall of 2018. If this is so, then I desperately hope MGA will go back to basics and stick with what made them great. Maybe do a remake of the original four or something like that? Regardless of what MGA does, I hope that this news is true and the Bratz will once again make a comeback.