Dolly Review: Maru and Friends Maru

Earlier this month, I wrote a quick introduction to a 20″ doll line called Maru and Friends, in preparation for a Maru review.  Since then, I’ve played around with Maru quite a bit and I am finally ready to give you guys a full review!

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Her adorable little face was crafted by Dianna Effner.  The Maru and Friends line was a passion project of doll collector Maritza Gutierrez.  Her goal was to make a doll line that would more realistically represent the girls who were playing with them.  For an overview of the line, check out my earlier introduction post.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

American Girl vs Maru and Friends vs A Girl for All Time

American Girl vs Maru and Friends vs A Girl for All Time

Right off the bat, I was surprised by how Maru towered over other dolls within her price bracket.  At 20″ tall, she’s taller than both American Girl and A Girl for All Time.  She’s completely vinyl, which gives her body a nice weight to it. She feels substantial and well made, warranting the price tag of just over $120.00.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru has well working joints, possibly the best joints I’ve seen on a doll of this size.  Her neck tilts in all directions.  It holds its pose well and allows for a lot of movement.  Continuing down, her shoulders and hip are jointed.  They also hold their poses surprisingly well.   Unfortunately, Maru is missing the ever important elbow joint, so she can’t carry items as well as I would like.  Her arms do have a nice curved look to them, though.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru stands like a champ.  Even with her arms in various poses, she balances on her own.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Wigged, Maru has hair that is easy to style.  They even offer styling services through the company, much like American Girl.  In Maru’s case, she has nicely wigged dark brown hair that goes down her back and fringe/bangs.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

The thing I like most about Maru is her adorable, childlike face.  The inset, glass like eyes and ‘real’ eyelashes are two features that really make Maru’s eyes pop. The almond shape of her eyes looks really nice, too.  This doll definitely smiles with her eyes.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Her round face features full cheeks, a cute nose and mauve lips.  Maru has light coloring above her eye lids and light blushing on her cheeks.  Overall, her face is relatively clear of heavy make up.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru comes dressed in an outfit that has 9 pieces total, which is a lot considering what her competition comes with.  Accessories that American Girl would charge extra for, like Maru’s purse and hat, come packaged with Maru from the get go.

Maru and friends

Maru and friends

Her outfit itself includes a three quarter sleeve orange shirt, a striped orange vest, an orange scarf, a brown corduroy skirt, brown tights, white undies and brown boots.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

There’s so many pieces to this outfit, I’m amazed.  The number of separates shows that those behind Maru and Friends tried to put out a doll that was worth the price, which is a very good thing.  How is the quality of the clothing? It’s on par with other companies in the 20″ doll market and fits well.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Now, the one thing that bugs me a little?  I don’t know of any other doll that is similar enough in size to interchange outfits.  My American Girl’s stuffed torso is much wider than this vinyl Maru and A Girl for All Time is much shorter.  A reader messaged me about asking if she might fit Karito Kids clothing, but as I don’t own one of those, I don’t know for sure.  If anything, that might be the closest to this doll in height, but I have a feeling they might be thinner than Maru and Friends due to Karito’s fabric torso.  As others have commented on my introduction post and box opening, it is annoying when a doll is so specific in size that it can’t wear other doll line’s outfits.  I realize they want you to purchase Maru and Friends brand clothing, but still, it would be really, really nice if we could find a doll line that might be in line with this one, outfit wise. EDIT: It looks like Petalina, based in the UK, sells outfits that are Maru friendly!

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru comes with a certificate of authenticity and a picture book.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru is a beautiful doll.  Her face is really captivating with the glossy brown almond eyes.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

I had a ton of fun photographing her for this review!

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

If I could suggest any improvements, they would be these: I would love to have seen elbow joints on her.  I think elbow joints would have opened her up to a lot more pose-ability.  Also, I would work on the website a bit to make sure the finalized dolls are the most prominent graphics.  For example, owner images of Tanya have different hair than the product page and Maru is shown wearing two different outfits on her product page, making it hard to tell what outfit you actually receive when you order.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Is Maru worth the cost?  Totally.  I will always be a fan of American Girl dolls, but they’re falling behind a bit when compared to dolls like A Girl for All Time and Maru and Friends.  For more information on Maru and Friends, check out their website.  You can also find them on Facebook or you can visit them in person if you live in the Florida area.

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

Maru and Friends

What do you think of Maru from Maru and Friends? Leave your thoughts below!

*This doll was sent to me for a fair and honest review.  All opinions stated are my own.

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July 22, 2014. Tags: , . Uncategorized.

28 Comments

  1. Taswegian1957 replied:

    I think she is absolutely gorgeous. A doll that looks realistic and with a very nice outfit too. I agree it is annoying that you can’t source clothes from other doll lines but if she takes off no doubt there will soon be lots of eBay sellers dress making for her. I would say she was totally worth the price.

  2. Judith Rankine replied:

    I love the face. I don’t think the body is very cute. I also think that both the elbows and the knees should have been jointed for the price of $120. How hard can that be for vinyl doll manufacturers? Madame Alexander dolls used to have jointed knees on their llittle dolls. There is something special and magic and truly collectible with the American Girls series which is hard to beat. The best dolls of this type were the Magic Attic dolls. They had adorable bodies and cute faces. They also had a cute story line and nice accessories. Too bad that they did not make it.

  3. marjorieeeee replied:

    I have Maru and Raven. I love them both! They’re so beautiful, and their clothing is so fantastic that I don’t really mind that they can’t share clothes with other dolls.

  4. edenlouise replied:

    Wow! These sound amazing! I honestly don’t think we have anything at all like this over here in the UK, if we do I don’t know of it. We have some 18 inch fashion dolls called Designafriend and I have one of those but it’s inexpensive and really for play rather than display. I really like the larger fashion doll, so much easier to dress and work with. I also really like any fashion doll that is jointed at the elbow. There is nothing more annoying than buying an outfit that includes a really cute handbag (purse) and then it looking totally wrong or even getting lost because it constantly just falls off a straight arm.

    • Maxine replied:

      We stock them at My Doll Best Friend in the UK edenlouise – it’s an online website by that name, just put it in Google if you want to see!

  5. JGKelsey replied:

    I have Savannah and just love her. I would agree, it would be nice to have jointed knees and elbows. But at $120…that’s not much more than the American Girls, which have neither. I have not found other dolls clothes fit the Maru and Friends dolls…which is a bummer. They are still pretty new as a company though. I have found some clothes on Etsy and Ebay. Savannah is one of the most photogenic dolls I have. Thanks for the post. It’s very good!

  6. Maxine replied:

    Maru can wear the same shoes as the Carpatina dolls, so that’s one brand she can share with though not the clothes. Lovely photos as always – been looking forward to your review!

  7. ghoulia13 replied:

    That is a very pretty doll. Her face is so lifelike and expressive, and the clothes are adorable. She looks like a real girl. Excellent!

    • aya replied:

      Nice doll wish I could get one

      • kewpie83 replied:

        Save up your money and slowly, but surely, you’ll have enough!

  8. DeeDee replied:

    I don’t mind the lack of joints. There’s something about a non-jointed doll that has some appeal to me. I feel at that size, she might just be getting too big. Especially since I would have to stand her up.

    BTW I think she looks like you! (though I don’t know you and have only seen your videos.) She’s very pretty too.

  9. Prissy Girlydancer replied:

    Her cloths are so classy looking, patterns and earth tones, much more realistic then typical 18″ doll cloths. Her little boots are adorable.

  10. AliCarmen replied:

    I have Maru’s friend, Jamie, and I think she is one of the most beautiful dolls I’ve ever seen! I’d love to have Maru someday too–I love her dark eyes and hair. At first I didn’t think I’d like the funny little body, but actually I find it very child-like, sturdy, elegant and cute. And actually, I prefer the non-jointed arms and legs. It makes her more doll-ish, somehow. I also love the Maru and Friends line of clothing, so it doesn’t really bother me that she can’t share with other dolls. I do have a Karito Kids doll in my collection now, but I haven’t yet checked to see if they can fit into each other’s outfits. I suspect that Maru and Friends, Karito Kids, and Gotz Happy Kids all have a similar sized torso/chest/waist, so I expect they will be able to share clothing. I have yet to test this theory. I did a full review of Jamie on my blog, A Doll’s Picnic. Thanks for a great review and lots of excellent pictures!

  11. Maggie replied:

    Great review! Very comprehensive. I think the Maru doll is exceptional because of the beautiful face, especially the eyes. I don’t buy Anerican Girls because their faces aren’t realistic in my opinion. Maru’s eyes are so dramatically realistic which is why I recently ordered her. The outfits on the Maru website look so well-made and designed well, I plan on ordering some. The one thing I would change on Maru is, as you said, the elbows need joints: they should bend. Other than that she’s great. My second favorite is Savannah. Keep up the good reviews. This video review was very helpful.

    • kewpie83 replied:

      I’m always amazed at how doll companies ignore the elbow joint. Really, they’re so helpful in posing!!! 😉 Anyways, I totally agree with you on American Girl. As a kid, AG was everything, but growing up and seeing the competition? They’re blowing AG out of the water.

  12. Jessie replied:

    Absolutely love Maru! I own Jamie and Tanya and adore them both. I prefer them a million times over AG as they just look and feel more realistic. I’m really excited for their new doll Valentina who’s Maru’s little sister. You should totally review her!

    • Maryvonne replied:

      Bonjour
      Moi je trouve vraiment dommage que les Maru n’aient pas de perruque . Comment peut-on coiffer des cheveux collés ? Je n’aime pas la coiffure de Tanya qui est trop épaisse et je ne sais pas comment l’arranger . Elle est aussi trop auburn, ce qui fait trop femme pour une petite fille. A cause de ce détail j’hésite à l’acheter. Mais son expression est si belle ! C’est elle que j’aime.
      Merci pour vos commentaires

  13. Dolly Review: Maru and Friends Tanya | Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter replied:

    […] year, I reviewed Maru from the Maru and Friends doll line.  To my surprise, I received an e-mail early February from […]

  14. World Doll Day Tag– from Black Kitty of The Multicrafteral Lab | Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter replied:

    […] and Friends Maru- I love the face sculpts on the Maru and Friends line. This Maru doll pretty much solidified the idea of me adding more to my […]

  15. Maryvonne replied:

    Bonjour
    Moi je trouve vraiment dommage que les Maru n’aient pas de perruque . Comment peut-on coiffer des cheveux collés ? Je n’aime pas la coiffure de Tanya qui est trop épaisse et je ne sais pas comment l’arranger . Elle est aussi trop auburn, ce qui fait trop femme pour une petite fille. A cause de ce détail j’hésite à l’acheter. Mais son expression est si belle ! C’est elle que j’aime.
    Merci pour vos commentaires

    • kewpie83 replied:

      Thanks for commenting! I used google to translate your post. I hope I understood it properly! I like the color of Tanya’s hair, but I can understand your point. 🙂

  16. Dolly Review: Tonner’s My Imagination Starter Doll | Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter replied:

    […] comparisons sake, I thought I’d group Lydia (A Girl for All Time), Maru (Maru and Friends) and this My Imagination together for a photo. You’ll notice the My […]

  17. Romona Ford replied:

    I absolutely love these dolls ! I have all 6 – Maru, Tanya, Jamie, Savannah, Raven, and Valentina. I just ordered the Mini Maru that will be delivered in November. They are so much prettier than Am. Girl because they look more humanistic and their wigs are fabulous. I like dolls that look humanistic. I love Maritza, the owner of the company. She always answers all of my emails.

  18. Pauline Stroud replied:

    I have Maru, Savannah and Tanya and love them all. I don’t really mind about them not having elbow joints because they are so very poseable, far more so, in my opinion, than American Girl.

    • kewpie83 replied:

      Their vinyl torso’s help with posing a lot, so I agree that they pose better than AG. I want to pick up some more Maru and Friends. Just need to wait for a sale (and more room!).

  19. Marie Rodd replied:

    I have only today come across your site. Absolutely love Maru! As for clothes….it is now 3 yrs later and there are many suppliers of clothes to fit Maru and friends. I started sewing for 18″ dolls a few weeks ago and I cannot fathom the prices charged. I think it is taking advantage of those who dont sew. I realize quality of the product has a lot to consider. I cannot wait for Maru to arrive!

    • kewpie83 replied:

      The whole Maru line is really nice. I wish I had more! Enjoy your Maru!

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