Chabel, trip to the Spain of the 80s

Chabel, if not the queen, was the princess in many Spanish boys and girls homes in the 80s, but Feber had not invented anything new since Chabel was the Spanish version of "Rika-Chan" by Takara, a doll born in the Japan that Barbie could not conquer.

Thus, Rika (or Licca) and also Chabel represented an age group located between preadolescence and early adolescence with an aesthetic much more in line with the japanese tastes, a childlike face, large manga-style eyes with a sideway glance and, in general, a very innocent look, very "kawai".

However, when Chabel was born Rika had already undergone several changes since her birth in 1967.

Rika was, originally, a doll inspired by shojo manga (manga for girls), specifically by the type of characters of the artist Miyako Maki, who in turn was in charge of the illustrations and advertisements of Rika-Chan. A background was created for the character and the children's public opinion was left to choose that name.

And although Rika was born after Takara tried to apply all the knowledge acquired in the Japanese toy industry with Barbie in a portable dollhouse that was not viable due to the lack of space in Japanese homes, Chabel was accompanied by large playsets that aroused many complaints from Spanish parents who lived in apartments with limited space. Who does not remember the Supervan, the Villa or the Castle of Cinderella? Having several of them was to sacrifice enough space in storage or toy display, that's why many ended up in country houses at the mercy of the inclement weather but they were a delight, detailed and with many accessories that really made the imagination fly to another place.

Chabel (about 22 cm) was smaller than Barbie (about 29 cm) and was accompanied by her friend Danny and by a family composed by a father and mother with her twin babies who in turn had a world of their own with many playsets too. 

The problem was that these dolls had an iron soul inside their arms and legs that, when oxidized and over time reacted by leaving green stains on the vinyl, they are usually prone to color migrations in the arms and the plastic of the shoulders tends to form burrs when reacting with the vinyl on the arms so it is difficult to find a doll in pristine condition. And it is that Feber, the valencian company that manufactured Chabel and that lived its best moment in the late 80s, did make toys with a lot of quality and detail but sometimes only with the passage of time is possible to see how those materials react with other ones.

In short, who has not ever sung that final tagline of the commercials "Chabeel, Chabeel, que bien" because Chabel was a success in Spain that, except more fancy lines like the Star or Cinderella lines, was the perfect representation of the fashion and perhaps of the circumstances of the 80s post-Franco Spain, the Movida, the washed jeans, the bustiers, the music groups like Mecano, even that strange vision and longing for everything that was American ... That japanese doll, accidentally, became a reflection of that Spain that we, the 80s children, so much like to remember because, although it had its bad things, our innocent eyes saw the good ones and the good was Chabel.

by The Barbiest