Saturday, November 12, 2022

World of EPI Fresh Fierce ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Dolls

Bring Black Panther: Wakanda Forever home with these amazing 11.5″ fashion dolls by World of EPI! World of EPI is a Black-owned business that has disrupted the fashion doll market with their Fresh Dolls, and this latest Fresh Fierce Collection in collaboration with Marvel, is a giant level-up, featuring Shuri, Nakia, and Okoye.

To start with, the packaging itself is just well made and the boxes are beautiful with gold trim and details inspired by Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The dolls and their accessories are well strapped down to prevent moving and getting messed up or parts lost. Each doll comes with removable fabric clothing, soft plastic shoes and armor parts, signature accessories, a display stand, and a Certificate of Authenticity. Not only do the back of the boxes feature a short bio of each character, but their Certificates of Authenticity also add a little more specific information for each character.

It’s hard to say what caught our attention first upon opening these dolls, but its impossible to talk about dolls featuring Black women without talking about hair and skin-tone. Not only do all three dolls feature amazing likenesses of the three actors (Letitia Wright as Shuri, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, and Danai Gurira as Okoye), but they all have distinct skin tones and hair styles. Their hair styles (or lack thereof in Okoye’s case) are handled amazingly well to capture the women’s distinct looks in doll form. Shuri’s curls are tight and springy (one of our minimal complaints is that her helmet is too tight to put on without messing up her hair, so we’ll refrain from doing so), Nakia’s locs are recreated beautifully, and Okoye’s head tattoo is perfection. Speaking of which, I didn’t know the significance of her head tattoo until reading about it on the COA – apparently her tattoo is meant to be a fighter pilot helmet tattoo.

It’s also impossible to watch and discuss the Black Panther films without discussing the costuming. There is a reason Ruth Carter is a queen of costume design and her work has outdone itself in the Black Panther films. And World of EPI has done an excellent job of making doll-sized replicas that contain more intricate details than I’d ever expect to see on fashion dolls. While Shuri’s track suit has amazing details like tiny pockets and pull strings along with her Kimoyo beads, Okoye’s costume details are simply breath taking. Her shirt not only features most of the trademark details printed into the fabric, but many details are done in gold overpaint on top of the fabric to bring the depth of texture of the actual costumes to this small form. Her harness, tabard, bracers, Kimoyo beads, and armor are all layered on top of that with a flexible plastic to allow for ease of posing the doll and for removing and replacing the armor if desired (we didn’t try taking it off though as they are just too beautiful to dismantle). Her skirt is made of a soft faux suede with overpainted texture to convincingly simulate real worn leather, and she even has real strings of beads hanging from her belt. Lastly, she comes with her trademark spear that she can hold and pose with.

Nakia’s clothing is almost entirely printed, but that doesn’t stop the fine details from being mind-blowing. She does also feature pauldrons and a belt out of the same soft plastic as Okoye’s armor, along with her ring blades. And one other thing to point out that is more evident in these profile photos of Nakia, is that these dolls also feature more realistic and thicker proportions than traditional fashion dolls, something the regular Fresh Dolls line features and is a big reason we’ve been fans of Fresh Dolls in our home since they launched.

The last thing I wanted to cover is the shoes and boots of all three dolls. Being fashion dolls, all three dolls feature the pointed toe feet typical of fashion dolls, but obviously the heroes of Black Panther do not (always) go around kicking butt in high heels, so the shoes and boots were designed to basically be hidden wedges, allowing a flat-soled look while still supporting the pointed-toe feet. The taller boots of Okoye and Nakia have slits in the back to allow them to slip on and off the legs and feet easily.

All three dolls are available direct from Fresh Dolls, on Amazon, and in Target stores. If you love Black Panther, fashion dolls, and/or supporting Black owned businesses, you would be remiss to not add these three amazing dolls to your collection.

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