YMMV / Monster High

General

  • Audience-Alienating Premise: The franchise itself has surprised a lot of people, since a line of fashion dolls including monsters of all kinds, and having unusual body parts wasn't expected to sell so well, thereby averting the trope.
  • Awesome Music: Gaga for Ghouls, an awesome fusion of the previous Fright Songs that sounds great but also serves as a reassurance that G1 isn't gone from the reboot- it's just changed.
  • Creepy Cute: Both G1 and G2 feature this in spades, though the latter trends toward the "cute" side.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Ghoulia has been largely the fan favorite since her first appearance, which still remains. Her original doll easily sold for 4x its retail when released onto ebay. Mattel took notice of this and gave her 6 dolls in total for 2011, including the SDCC exclusive, giving her nearly as different versions as Frankie, Clawdeen & Cleo, two of which are only available in multipacks that fans have no qualms about purchasing (despite that one is a repackage of 4 old dolls included with her) exclusively for her. However, in the 2016 reboot she's Out of Focus. Clawd, Heath, and Abbey also count.
    • Twyla, Casta Fierce, and Wydowna/Bonita are rather popular on Tumblr.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Several of the themed doll lines (practically all in G2) have no media tie-ins, providing plenty of material for writer fans to expand on. The Fright-Mares, too, as not every one matches up to an existing monster, providing OC fuel and fuel for story explanation for them.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Racism and bigotry is bad, and you should accept those who are different from you. Come 2015-16, there's also the message to avoid cyberbullying. Considering MH's main demographic is young girls, that anvil really needs to be dropped.
  • What Might Have Been: Pre-reboot, a live action movie was planned. The Monster High Youtube is currently releasing the storyboards and their scratch tracks on Youtube in MST3K-esque short clips as "The Lost Movie", indirectly confirming that it fell through. The movie centers around the long-awaited crossover with Ever After High, and there's even a scratch track for the trailer.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: An unusual example, with the "actors" being the characters chosen for certain doll lines. Frequently, completely random characters will be included in themed lines, and often, thematically appropriate characters will be omitted from said lines.

G1 Monster High

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Is Spectra just a know-it-all gossip with nothing better to do, or is her past so traumatic (and possibly guilt-ridden) that she blocked it out to the point of not actually remembering it and surrounds herself in the lives of others because of this?
    • Gil's father according to Lagoona's 13 Wishes diary. He comes off as borderline abusive to Gil and his mother who walk on eggshells not to enrage him.
    • Does Draculaura still attend high school because she's still mentally a teenager, or because she desperately wants to be one?
  • Audience-Alienating Premise:
    • The main reason the Lisi Harrison series didn't do as well as hoped. It was too mature for young readers, older readers weren't interested in books based on dolls, and it was too In-Name-Only to attract already existing fans of Monster High. Plus, it couldn't evade numerous comparisons to Twilight.
  • Awesome Art: The dolls, which are a Cast of Snowflakes and have very high quality designs.
    • The Japanese shorts do a great job of adapting the character designs to anime despite the Limited Animation.
    • Also, some of the movies have some really beautiful moments—Great Scarrier Reef, 13 Wishes and Freaky Fusion being standout examples.
  • Base Breaker:
    • Fans are divided on the later edition of Astranova, which changed her skin from indigo to mauve for no discernible reason. Some prefer the original for film/artwork accuracy and resembling the night sky, and others like the softer, sweeter look of the later release.
    • Isi Dawndancer, who contains design elements from multiple Native American tribes. Is she okay because she's more inclusive to a wide Native American market and the deer-woman legend is told by many tribes, or is she insensitive, homogenizing tribes without much care toward their traditions?
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Draculaura. Even mentioning one's opinion of her can result in a complete Flame War. This is not helped by the anime shorts making her the lead instead of Frankie, plus her main character status in the 2016 rebranding.
    • The werecat species. Some think they're the best dolls in the series, others think they're overused.
    • Neighthan. Dear lord, Neighthan. Whether or not he's interesting or a stalker. Whether or not he belongs with Frankie. Whether or not his character concept is creative or stupid. The boy's got influence!
    • Frankie herself is one, mostly due to many adaptations making her The Generic Guy (some even make her a Flat Character).
      • In the reboot her personality change is more warmly received in which she's given a Mad Scientist streak similar to her grandfather Dr. Victor Frankenstein. But given this is the reboot we're talking about an equal number if not great amount of fans resent her for taking the spot of "tech-geek" from fan-fave Ghoulia.
    • Amanita Nightshade is on her way to being one. While some fans like her design and think she's amusing in her own right, many seem to think of her as little more than a self-centered, useless addition to the franchise with an annoying voice and a color scheme that doesn't please the eye. (To be fair, it's hard to fault someone for thinking of her as selfish.) There also seem to be fans who regard her as a disappointment altogether, whose interesting backstory and unique (if entirely self-serving) personality went to waste the second she appeared in the webisodes as little more than a Valley Girl. Others feel that her dark and elegant design doesn't fit her shallow and petty personality.
  • Creepy Awesome: Some of the designs, like C.A. Cupid and Freak du Chic Twyla take advantage of darker gothic themes and pull it off really well, and some are ridiculously detailed and balance the strange well, like Gigi, Luna, Viperine, and Jinafire.
  • Crossover Ship: Kieran Valentine gets shipped with Cupid sometimes, who has since transferred to Ever After High.
  • Die for Our Ship: Any new male character who gets any sort of Ship Tease with Frankie, or even just has a crush on her, earns the ire of fans who ship her with Jackson/Holt. It doesn't help that the movies introduce these characters while other media like the books and toylines still ship Frankie with him/them.
  • Ear Worm: The Fright Song, which cribs Gimme More; We Are Monster High, and a few songs on the Boo York, Boo York soundtrack.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Toralei, mainly due to her Biker Babe-esque leather-laden basic outfit. Nefera is also considered to be this by some, as are the Shadow Ghouls from 13 Wishes.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Kiyomi Haunterly, a ghost with no face, and no identity, really throws a wrench in the whole "be yourself" message of the brand, since the only way for her to find confidence is to imitate others.
  • Fan Nickname: "Stepford Lagoona" for her race-lifted, brainwashed form from 13 Wishes.
  • Fanon: There are a few different theories about the characters that aren't outright supported nor denied.
    • Some interpret Elle Eedee's power button as a bindi dot on her forehead.
    • Due to Kala's Aussie origins, ancient parent, and facial sculpt and markings, fans tend to see her as an Aborigine.
    • The Create-A-Monster Gorgon may be the daughter of the third sister, Euryale, since Medusa and Stheno's children are characters, and there's just one other Gorgon.
    • In a similar vein, Jane Boolittle's facial mold and backstory all but confirm that she's from Africa.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Most fans ignore the Lisi Harrison book series, due to it having taken serious liberties from the webisodes and diaries (it's basically a Twilight knock-off), having a Mary Sue Canon Foreigner as the protagonist, and putting the series' actual monsters Out of Focus compared to her. Although the later books revealed Melody was a monster herself and was raised without this knowledge so she could pass, but the damage had been done. So, it tanked, was cancelled after 4 volumes, and was replaced by the Ghoulfriends series (making it Canon Discontinuity). Then there's the videogames. See The Problem with Licensed Games below.
  • Genius Bonus: When Nefera summons a miniature Cthulhu in the season two finale, it's defeated by the werecats: cats were one of the few things Lovecraft actually liked.
  • Girl Show Ghetto: This has been pretty well averted, due to the horror appeal attracting fans of all ages and genders, and for having better male representation than in many other girl-targeted franchises. G2 may play it straighter, depending on how you see the changes.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Kala Mer'ri in Great Scarrier Reef was only such a bully because her father the Kraken was so loathed and feared. This insecurity made her controlling and competitive, and she turns around when she realizes that she and her father will be accepted. A year later, Rochelle's Shriek Wrecked outfit features a headband of a ship being attacked by the Kraken. Guess somebody didn't get the memo...
    • On the same note, Vandala Doubloons' dress features ships being attacked by tentacles.
    • Even worse, "We Are Monster High" Lagoona's dress has an abstract print of a Kraken attack. It's especially bad in her case, as Lagoona was Kala's best friend, and this anti-Kraken attitude made Kala push Lagoona away without her knowing Kala's parentage and insecurities.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Mrs. Kindergrubber, the Home Ick teacher, is based on the witch from Hansel and Gretel. Not long afterward, Ever After High introduced Ginger Breadhouse, the daughter of said fairy tale's candy witch.
    • Honey Swamp's Freak du Chic performance is a marionette trapeze act, and so her doll comes with puppet strings and floppy legs and wrists. Soon afterward, another Mattel puppet character got a cross-and-strings setup for her 2016 SDCC release.
    • The fusion dolls. Cleolei has molded-on bandage detailing, and Lagoonafire has Jinafire's scales. The reboot would later give Cleo similar molded bandages and Lagoona gets some scales.
    • "Scarily Ever After" features Clawdeen as "Little Red Riding Wolf". Its sister franchise would feature a similar "Wolf-girl as Red Riding Hood" dynamic with Cerise Hood, daughter of Red and the Big Bad Wolf.
  • Ho Yay: In the film Why Do Ghouls Fall In Love?, some students end up falling for students of the same gender when hit by Cupid's arrows while Toralei was causing trouble with them, including Manny and Slo-Mo. Also, in the Harrison series, Lagoona and Clawdeen exchange some suggestive lines and casually mention that if they can't find boyfriends they'll date each other.
  • Love It or Hate It: Clawdia's face mold. Some people like the personality of her toothy grin, and others are creeped out.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Nefera De Nile has always been a nasty combination of Alpha Bitch, Royal Brat and Big Sister Bully, but her actions in Boo York, Boo York stand out. Trying to manipulate Cleo into an Arranged Marriage for her own gain may be what's expected of Nefera, but convincing their father to pick her sister over her for the prospective bride because she didn't want to have to be promised to the "weird" Seth Ptolemy? Not even with riches and power on the line? Yeah, not cool.
  • Most Annoying Sound: Jackson and Holt's voices, probably for being crosscast when both characters should be old enough to be voiced realistically by males.
  • Narm: The ending of 13 Wishes. Howleen wishes for Whisp to take Gigi's place, and she gratefully enters the lantern, awaiting her first service. Said lantern then tumbles unceremoniously into the depths of the pool, with the justification that the lantern will return when it wants to be found. Yeah, the resolution required Whisp to get out of the picture, but couldn't the lantern have faded away to get rid of it?
  • No Yay: Some fans are opposed to Clawd/Draculaura, because he's so much taller and feels too old for her, despite the opposite being true. Wolves haven't had a great reputation with innocent girls, either, so that may contribute to the discomfort.
    • This also goes the other way where some fans are more than a little creeped out with the Unfortunate Implications where Clawd even mentions that he knew her since he was only a pup. Added to that that she's 1600 years old, despite both being monsters, it still doesn't make fans any less uncomfortable. If the genders were reversed, it probably would've made the Unfortunate Implications more apparent...
  • Periphery Demographic: Many adults wish they had something like this out when they were young instead of Barbie or Bratz. It's also popular with adult fans of cute monsters and horror fans, not just girls and women.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: While, as mentioned on the main page, there are bits of story not seen elsewhere, the game for Wii and Nintendo DS is seen as too easy, too short, the graphics look no better than a Nintendo 64 game, limited choices to customize your monster character, and the fact that interaction with certain characters from the toyline can be limited at best. Fans were disappointed as a result of this.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Melody from the book series, who came across as a Mary Sue. Since the books bombed, we haven't seen her since their cancellation.
    • Hoo-Dude is disliked for his annoying personality and voice, as well as the fact that he's a major character in Frights, Camera, Action! (mostly stating the obvious and doing stupid comic relief things) for no real reason other than padding. Some fans have even compared him to Jar-Jar.
  • Seasonal Rot: In later volumes, the webisodes shied away from arcs and character development and usually paraded out new merchandise additions with a lot less plausible context.
  • Shipping: Some examples are Frankie, Holt and Jackson, Frankie and Andy Beast, Draculaura and Elissabat.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The movies are so goofy and fun that it's hard to hate them despite their numerous and noticeable flaws.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Billy and Scarah's relationship, with practically no build-up and no follow-up, feels like a case of Pair the Spares. It's especially annoying, because yet again a male character has been turned into one of the ghouls' love interests, rather than being unteased, which implies that all guys need to have relationships.
  • Superlative Dubbing: Spectra's Japanese voice (at least in the anime shorts) has been very well received to the point where many fans favor it over her English one.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: While Ghouls Rule isn't considered outright bad (just very flawed), it's generally agreed that 13 Wishes was a vast improvement over it.
    • Freaky Fusion is considered this to Frights Camera Action!.
  • Tear Jerker: Gooliope's diary includes the note her creator left with her when he sent her to the circus. On it is a big pink spot. It may seem like a result of her gooey fingers, but considering the note, that's a teardrop.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Many of the special-introduced characters fall under this, since several are never seen after their debut movies, or only make brief appearances in future media.
    • Probably the biggest example is Gilda Goldstag. She was a background character popular enough to be made into a physical doll. How was she released? In a five-pack without a stand or diary, and nothing was done to develop her as a character and bring her out of the background.
    • Venus and the mansters tend to fall under this in the cartoon/movies, with Venus' only identity being "eco-freak", and the guys' most important role being "love interests for the ghouls".
    • The Lady Gaga partnership has practically no involvement from Gaga herself. Granted, she was working on Joanne at the time, but it feels wasted to have a music video starring her character but not her vocals.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • With both being daughters of the Mothman, Bonita Femur and Luna Mothews would be half-sisters. This is never touched upon or acknowledged.
    • Spectra's backstory is hinted in her original doll's diary to be incredibly tragic, yet the only thing revealed about her past since then is that she's from the 19th century.
    • Isi's friendship with fellow deer-girl Gilda would have been a great way to upgrade the latter from background status in the webisodes, but despite having a doll, Gilda still hasn't had an expanded role.
    • Gooliope's backstory is mysterious and interesting, but we haven't found out much. Same goes with Jane.
    • Thanks to the reboot, the hinted crossover between Monster High and Ever After High was canceled.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The CGI animation until the reboot. To elaborate, the CGI character models look almost exactly like the dolls, only animated. This even leads into some degree of canon discontinuity; for example, Operetta's hair is simplified in the webisodes yet totally on-model to the doll in the specials. The CGI gets a little better as time goes on.
    • The dolls themselves may fall into this. If not all of them, then Iris, Clawdia with her grin, and collector's edition Draculaura may cause this effect.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • The Monster High body type.
    • For similar reasons as the above, Skelita's design can be this to some. She's even been featured on Escher Girls. Weight sticks out in a toyline that celebrates differences, since there is minimal weight diversity in the line.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The original dolls (such as signature Cleo) had keyboard phones, as the touchscreen revolution hadn't happened yet.
  • Values Dissonance: The closed captioning on the Ghouls Rule DVD censors all use of the word "spaz". This is presumably because it's an ableist slur in Britain, despite being seen as a perfectly kid-safe "silly" insult in North America (though this has been changing in the years since Ghouls Rule).
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Tried though they did, Frankie never seemed as characterful as her friends, and her problems/subplots were less interesting.
  • What an Idiot: Poor Deuce really Took a Level in Dumbass in Boo York, Boo York. For some reason, he trusts Nefera and thinks she knows Cleo's best interests, despite the fact that Nefera has already established herself as a villain and earned herself a 0% Approval Rating. He continues to listen to Nefera and thus makes a public fool of himself, and she convinces him to break up with Cleo despite her clearly not wanting him to. This leads to chaos, and all because Deuce somehow forgot his girlfriend's relationship with her sister.
  • The Wiki Rule: You bet.
  • The Woobie:
    • Abbey in her first days at Monster High. Her cultural differences (such as sparing words to save oxygen) come across as rude, and she's genuinely heartbroken when she thinks Frankie doesn't like her. She is also upset about their mutual misunderstanding note  and it makes her think Frankie's kindness is false. It's only when Abbey rushes to the bathroom in tears that they overhear Toralei's gloating and realize what happened.
    • Gigi in 13 Wishes once Whisp shows up. Once Howleen is corrupted, Gigi's powers are abused against her will, with her own sister and former friend being behind it all, and Gigi herself unable to disobey or intervene.

G2 Monster High

  • Audience-Alienating Premise: For many existing fans, the 2016 overhaul of the line. The line has been popular mainly because the dolls were darker and weirder than other girls' toys, and many feel that softening the faces to make the monsters "less scary and more approachable" completely defeats the purpose of the line, as they now look more generic. It doesn't help that the old tagline note  has been replaced, seemingly highlighting the dolls' own dilution.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • After a large amount of fandom backlash of the They Changed It, Now It Sucks variety, the creators really stressed that Welcome To Monster High wasn't a reboot, but a prequel. They even retconned in the subtitle "The Origin Story" to the movie's name.
    • 2016 giving a few older character second doll releases, which goes twofold. One, it's great to see them remembering and bringing back Whisp, Amanita, and Gooliope instead of wasting them, and two, it's something that most reboot-haters can't argue with and it proves that they're not throwing the old continuity and characters out the window.
    • The reboot has given some molded body detailing to characters who were lacking, and fixed some technical problems with the dolls.
      • Abbey and Clawdeen receive some fur detailing, details which felt missing on them. Clawdeen's always been stated to have lots of hair, and people were upset at the implication that shaving her body hair was required for her to be beautiful. Abbey's fur seemed especially needed after her cousin Mari's introduction made cold-weather Abbey seem lacking in detail.
      • Cleo got some new detailing as well, with molded wrappings on her body akin to the Create-A-Monster mummy. This definitely helps her seem monstrous, as she was the most mundane character before. Her gold-streaked brown hair has also been achieved with golden blonde highlights rather than tinsel, which many people disliked for behaving in a different way to the hair and making it more difficult to style.
      • Lagoona's fins have been made more secure, with the leg fins having a stronger connection. She also has some scales molded on her limbs while she didn't before.
      • Venus finally got some molded plant detailing on her body, much like Honey's.
      • Toralei gets her black cat nose, rather than the unpainted one of before.
      • While some people are opposed to the main cast's new faces, many agree that Draculaura's bright smile and wide eyes are much better suited to her sweet and cute personality.
      • The reboot dolls' bodies have been bulked up (male and female) and are sturdier, as are their elbow and hand pegs, which makes them less prone to breaking and tones down the alarming skinniness that many have complained about.
      • On the whole, the reboot outfits are much more modest and more suitable for high school and teenagers in that age group.
    • The post-reboot "I Love Fashion" dolls include four outfits instead of three and a stand.
    • After the backlash over Ghoulia's conspicuous absence in the reboot, Mattel has made an announcement that she will make a big return in 2017.
    • Many fans are pleased with Moanica for being a recurring villain who doesn't just change her ideologies because someone gives her a talking-to, unlike some other easily-converted antagonists.
    • This is invoked with the Monster Family line, which was in response to kids wanting to know more about the cast's everyday lives and families.
    • And, of course, the most important change to be made: Lagoona's eyebrows finally match her hair.
  • Genius Bonus: Cleo's G2 age is 3357, which would mean she was born in 1341 B.C., a year shared with the birth of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
  • Ho Yay: For a number of fans Ari Hauntington and Draculaura in the 2016 reboot. Drac's obsession of Ari is a borderline Stalker with a Crush reminiscent of the stereotypical boyband brand of rapid fan girls. Plus, Ari's change of hairstyle towards the end of the movie feels like a Getting Crap Past the Radar Ambiguously Gay metaphor of sorts. Mainstream masses may not get it but the minority underground sure understand the symbolism of the change.
  • Love It or Hate It: Among fans, the two main reactions to the reboot are neutral acceptance and despairing disappointment—nobody seems to enthusiastically prefer the overhaul. The new, softer face designs, the promotion of Draculaura to the protagonist, the completely overhauled canon, and generally lighter and sweeter designs have rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way, though some prefer (or at least agree with the reasoning) the more kid-friendly changes, and find things they still like about the brand. Others are inconsolable.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Due to Monster High's reboot marketing putting Spectra and Ghoulia Out of Focus while heavily promoting Moanica and Ari Hauntington, some people regard the latter two as Suspiciously Similar Substitutes. However, Monster High has said that none of its characters are disappearing (A WtMH teaser even confirms the appearance of Venus, Twyla, and Toralei), and besides the shared monster type, Moanica and Ari have very different roles.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Frankie to some, as she now has a more defined personality, but others resent that she rips traits from Ghoulia, leaving her character, if they choose to use it, unclear.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
    • In 2016, Mattel rebooted Monster High to be Lighter and Softer. Due to Mattel's poor track record with this sort of thing, which even caused some franchises to get the hammer, some fans are foretelling the doom of the franchise and lambasting the new looks.
    • Another problem with the reboot is the extreme cost-cutting measures, such as the lack of stands, an inclusion that was widely appreciated before, and the absence of diaries to provide more backstory. In some cases articulation has even been reduced. The worst part? The dolls still cost the same as they did when they came out- actually perhaps a bit more in some cases.
    • The shift toward unremovable joints is frustrating enough for fans because it limits the clothes that dolls can wear (everything needs to have sleeves large enough for the hands to go through), but the fact that the new joint system created gappy and obvious joints on the relatively seamless dolls of before just adds insult to injury.
    • Some think the addition of previously-unseen siblings to the characters is lazy and outright jarring for the characters who have no backstory that allows for the sudden appearance of one, i.e., Lagoona has lots of siblings and so does Clawdeen, and Frankie's sister was clearly built at a presumably recent time, but Draculaura and Cleo? No reason.
    • The greatly reduced presence of a canon to the line, making it obvious that it's just about the toys now. Granted, the webisodes were getting less meaningful by the end of G1, but now there's no real exploration of story beyond the yearly movies.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The stop-motion webisodes, due to the attempts at facial animation, but the limited extent to which they could do so.
    • The G2 webisode animation may come across as this for those used to the G1 animation; some may even consider it Off-Model.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/MonsterHigh