Friday, April 28, 2017

Z Yang in Review

Z Yang is our first girl poppet to come home with the much maligned "perma-panties" with all the accompanying changes to the construction, the body shape, and materials. So before we can move on with celebrating all that we love about poppet Z, first a frank assessment of her face, wig, limbs, torso and overall construction.

Let me begin with some positives. We love Z! We love her face and wig combination, her cute freckle on her check, and her personality is terrific.

Her face mold--Ivy face with the notches--is adorable. She has dark brown pinwheel eyes and her mold seems reasonably even. Some have commented that Z's eyes seem smaller than similar recent offerings, such as TM 54 or 64, but I don't see it. Side by side with my own TM 54, the eye sizes between the dolls seem identical.

Z's face paint is subtle. No glossy lips ala Grace or bright berry lips ala Tenney. Not even the robust orange hued lips of the new BeForever Felicity. Perhaps this is because AG is taking a step back from such brightly painted faces, or perhaps it is merely because it fits Z's fresh and natural style. I think it looks perfect.

Also on the up side is her meet outfit is cute and the quality seems on par with what we can expect from casual wear. The tee is great.

The grey jeans skirt may be prone to snagging. Her shoes are terrific and pretty much identical to the TM version available last year.

However, once we look beyond Z's face and outfit, issues with the quality and construction of the doll itself brings up a long list of concerns.

Z comes with the zip-tie closure at the neck. While this is not a new development, what we see with most of AG's 2017 dolls is the combination of the zip-ties with the new thinner fabric. The combination creates deep gathers and puckers at the neckline.

Z's wig is passable, but just barely. The wig is somewhat sparse and it shows especially in the back of the wig when in the pigtails style. Yes, the short hairs are supposed to be there to help cover the wig cap, but there just isn't quite enough of short hairs or long hairs to make it work.

Additionally, once the hair is out of the ponytails, I discovered her wig is rather thin overall. I had to work a bit to make sure she did not appear to have bald patches on the back side of her head. I would rate Z's wig as somewhat thin. Adequate but not a hair to spare.

On the left is Z and on the right is a TM 54. The wig on Z is longer and is more or less one length. The wig on TM 54 is slightly shorter in length and has some long layers. Color wise their wigs are near identical, enough for me to believe the difference is primarily the quirks of different factory runs of the same product. Z's wig has a smidgen more of a brown tone to it, but I literally mean a smidgen.

And now for the torso.

From the front, the perma-panty does lay flat, but she does has the start of a slight muffin top. But the reverse side...

Oh my goodness. This poor doll has serious booty droop and perhaps the beginnings of a prehensile tail. Some camera angles make the droop look slightly less alarming and other angles make it look distinctly more obscene. I chose a happy (unhappy) medium shot.

A final issue to note is vinyl quality. Z has very squishy vinyl arms and her face is also squishy. My Z is on the fast track to getting a full-body transplant swap with a classic (pre-2017) body.

The report card for the construction of the doll known as Z is quite mixed.

Z's face--her eyes, face paint, symmetry: A

Z's wig: C-

Z's torso and limbs: D

Sure, the new Z is still heads and shoulders above many other 18" doll lines. But for $115, the quality has taken a sharp nose dive since the calendar flipped over into 2017. What bothered me the most, surprisingly enough, was the extra thin wig quality. Yes, the perma-panties are an abomination, but I know I can take the time and expense as an adult collector to swap out her body at a later time. But a borderline thin wig is something that feels like an unfair compromise in quality.

Overall grade for Z's construction is a meh-filled C. 

Get her if you love her. But I will say this is the first time in 20 years of loving AG that I had to push back my disappointment in the quality of a brand new AG doll.


  1. Man, I just am so dissapointed when I see Z. There's just so much stuff I don't like about her that I want to love her anyway.
    1.She's JUST a re-used doll. Even some of her clothing and accessories aren't even original. She just had no effort put into her.
    2. She has the perma panties, which I think are a horrible decision and one that AG is not going to recover from in the long run. I don't care that they're trying to go outside the U.S., I really don't. Try growing inside the U.S. where we still need more stores first.
    3.She has terrible body structure, even without the perma-panties. Squishy vinyl, thinner body material, what is this, OG?
    4.She's just not a well made doll, she's not what I expect from American girl.

    But I am really excited for Nanea, because she won't have perma panties and may be the only doll I like out of all the ones released this year.

  2. Thank you for this review. I love how cute her face is!! I love the notched eyes. I had seen a report of the bad wig on another blog and I was hoping that it was just a bad one that snuck through quality control. Guess not. For 115.00 she should be better made than that. I am hoping Nanea has much better quality. I wasn't planning on buying Z, and will definitely not now. I do just love her look, but am a bit disappointed in her pieces that are recycled. I am thinking maybe AG did that though, for her vlogs at first, not intending to make her a doll and then did because of the response to her?? Maybe?? Thanks for a great review!

    1. Thank you for your feedback. I really did not want to post anything negative or harsh about Z but the issues with her wig and body just can't be overlooked.

      I do think the concept of Contemporary Characters is to be able to simply take a TM with little to no changes and apply a character and backstory to her--saves some development time and with 40+ TM dolls and more all the time, it seems a smart idea. Also, to be able to reuse or reissue some older items for the series makes sense to me, too. I'm okay with it as long as there is some variety and new items that delight and surprise.

    2. I am glad you gave the review you did. Better to be honest about what you think than sugar coat it. I am curious to see what you think of Zs photography set. That is the one thing I really want to get for my she lives taking pics of her dolls.

    3. Filming Accessories will be next! I can't wait to open them up! Hopefully tomorrow :) I am trying balance enjoying the new poppet and the opening/photographing/reviewing of her items.

  3. Now I'm scared about future dolls. Will they be as good as the pictures?

    Your review was thorough and I thank you so much for it. I want to support Z, but my budget is only allowing two dolls a year. I got Gabriela and now waiting for Nanea. I will have to compare Z's quality to Nanea's and already Nanea is a win because they said she's not getting the perma-panty treatment.

    It's a shame they released all these dolls at the same time. I'm glad I already have Felicity or this would've been a heart-breaking year.

  4. Thank you for your review. I had read about the bad wig elsewhere too and had hope it was a fluke. Guess not. It's too bad, she is an adorable character.

    Personally I don't mind that some of her outfits have pieces from past inventory. Isn't she a doll blogger? I think it shows her love for the AG brand; there are quite a few girls out there with AG in their personal wardrobes.

    Love her accessories and am looking forward to more reviews.

  5. I've been a collector for years, and I guess it's hard to come from a Pleasant Company doll, to where AG stands today. Even the earlier Mattel dolls were never as well made as the originals, but still a good purchase for the money. These new dolls are the biggest disappointment ever. I don't understand why some are being released with permanent panties, and some are not. The wigs have been going downhill for awhile. I was excited about the new shorter haired blonde Truly Me doll when it was released, but after buying two of them and seeing how terrible the wig was, I returned them and gave up. I'm afraid the days of a truly beautifully made AG doll have gone by. I once wrote and asked if AG would consider making a new doll mold that had dimples since so many children have them. I was told that their R&D people decide those things. Well, in my opinion, I think they should shake up their R&D folks, and especially their quality control folks. I have already decided that I will not purchase another AG doll, and am so happy that I have the beautiful collection I've collected over many years. It really does make me sad that the younger generation of upcoming collectors may never know the same doll that some of us old timers have known. Sorry for being so negative, but it's honest.