Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Zelfs Debut: Medium Dolls and Venus Flytrap Spin Salon Review

The Zelfs are a new small doll line featuring Troll-esque, super-styleable hair, vibrant color schemes, and adorable "follow-me" eyes.

Their story is focused around a magical garden called Zardenia, which appears only at twilight. Each Zelf has their own personality and powers (described in their individual leaflets). The art of "Zardenia" featured on the packaging and inserts is lovely and just a touch gothic. If you have plans to display these in their packages, you're in luck; they're gorgeous. Even the blister bubbles are shaped like leaves. :)

Refreshingly, the series does not dwell exclusively on a given theme (such as monsters, fairies, vampires, etc.), instead featuring a wild and almost eclectic range of characters. There's a werewolf Zelf, a forest elf Zelf, a pegasus Zelf, and, yes, a vampire Zelf. But there's VARIETY, which sets this line apart.

Here's the medium Zelfs I purchased (all 12 of the normal release; no Miss Clover):
The Zelfs! Angelala, Buttershy, Elfa, Flamy, Garny, Howlette, Lil D, Lunanne, Mermalade, Pega Sue, Spellinda, Vampula.

And here's the Venus Flytrap Salon (the packaging can be preserved in deboxing, and makes a lovely display for the set!):
Venus Flytrap Spin Salon with Tressa Zelf and lots of accessories.
Beauty Shop of Horrors

The Zelfs

These are super-easy to unpackage; just tear the plastic off the blister card and cut two small elastic bands. Each Zelf comes with a colorful, leaf-shaped comb, a unique charm, a leaflet, and three rubber bands (for styling that epic hair!).

The leaflets feature some basic info on their respective Zelfs (Zelves?), as well as a checklist of other Zelf products.
Zelf leaflet with profile info.

The Zelfs aren't particularly poseable, but what do you expect from 3" of rubber? ;) Their arms and legs can rotate and their heads can turn, giving them the ability to sit down, hug, raise their arms "surprise!" style, etc..
Zelf poseability.

The images in their leaflets show a different hairstyle for each character, but they all come with the same standard Troll 'do. I had a lot of fun playing around with their hair and trying to replicate the styles shown in the art. :) The hair pretty much holds whatever shape you put it in.
Zelf hairstyles for Elfa, Mermalade, Vampula, and Spellinda.

The paint apps match their themes, giving each Zelf a greater individuality (Flamy has scales, Elfa features painted on plant designs, etc.).  Molds have variations such as ears, fins, and various types of wings. The characters generally look pretty distinct, even those that share molds.
The Zelfs Howlette and Lil D.

The aforementioned follow-me eyes are a cute feature:
The Zelfs Buttershy follow me eyes.

I'm not exactly sure what you're supposed to do with the charms, to be honest. The leaflets and packages bear no elaboration on the subject, either. The Zelfs /can/ wear them as necklaces, but they hang past their feet. Still, if this is their intended purpose, they would HAVE to have that long of a string in order to fit over the Zelfs' large heads.
The Zelfs Angelala with charm.

Bottom line: These are extremely cute toys that look even nicer in person than in photos. The quality is excellent, and the price is right at just 7.99 USD. :)

As for the Venus Flytrap Spin Salon!...

The Venus Flytrap Playset is elaborate, adorable, and looks lovely on display with the Zelfs. However, the hair-styling aspect is hardly worth mentioning. So far, none of my experimentation has been able to replicate the gorgeous, spiraling hairstyles shown on the box. In fact, I haven't been able to get the spin feature to make much change in my Zelfs' hair whatsoever. Nonetheless, it is not a purchase I regret in the least. The playset is very cute and comes with lots of nice accessories. :) It also exclusively comes with my favorite Zelf out of the entire series, Tressa.
The Zelfs Venus Flytrap Spin Salon styling Tressa's hair.

Plus, my Zelfs now have everything they need to put on a theatrical production of "Little Shop of Horrors".
The Zelfs Venus Flytrap Spin Salon... Little Shop of Horrors style.
"Let her go!!!"

I truly love this playset. XD It's cuteness can't be denied, and it makes a great Zelf home (or "fabitat", as they're called). You can also close it with a Zelf still sitting in the styling stool, making it look like the Zelf's hair is some sort of strange plant sharing the flowerpot with Audrey II the Venus Flytrap.
The Zelfs Venus Flytrap Spin Salon, side view, closed.

The little rooms created by the two sides of the open flowerpot are pretty fun, featuring a little set of drawers on one side (great for storing the tiny, vacuumable hairclips that come with the set) and a rack for hanging the (also vacuumable) hair extensions on the other.
The rooms and shelves inside The Zelfs Venus Flytrap Spin Salon.Rooms in the salon playset.

As for Tressa, she is, as I said before, my favorite Zelf. :) Her colors are rich and complimentary, and her little flytrap markings are adorable (as are her little pointy teeth!). Her art shows her eyes as blue, but they're actually a brilliant amber color (which I think looks much nicer).
The Zelfs Tressa with closed Venus Flytrap Spin Salon.The Zelfs Venus Flytrap Spin Salon Zelf Tressa, detail shot.

Finally, here are the accessories. You get a  leaf-shaped brush, a crown, a small hairclip, two Zelf-sized "hair extensions", and Tressa's charm (all flytrap themed). Tressa's leaflet is also included. Isn't the hairclip cute? ^3^
The Zelfs Venus Flytrap Spin Salon playset accessories.

Bottom line: This set is cute and original, but don't buy it for the gimmicky "spin-'n'-style" feature--it's a bit of a disappointment. Regardless, the playset more than redeems itself with aesthetic value, fun accessories, and one of the nicest looking Zelfs in the line.
The Zelfs Venus Flytrap Spin Salon... perfect for Little Shop of Horrors parodies. XD
"'Feed me Seymoouur... Feed me alll night looonng..."

Note: Salon Playset does not include watering can and miniature flowerpot; those are merely props my Zelfs used in their stage production. ;)


  1. I am slowly collecting all the medium sized Zelfs. This review has made me want the Spin Salon it looks pretty cute, I usually avoid buying playsets because I don't have the room to store them but I would hate to miss out of the exclusive Zelf.

    1. Good luck with the collection! :) I'm still on the hunt for Miss Clover, myself.

      Yes, playsets are pretty space consuming... As a collector, I can relate. Fortunately, though, the Spin Salon doesn't take up very much room! :) It's less than a foot tall and only around five inches wide by five inches deep when closed. It looks great sitting in the corner of a bookshelf. :)

      Thank you for commenting! ^_^