Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Idol Card of the Week

I don't know what exactly draws me to Yuko Ogura. Perhaps it's her playful nature. And I really don't know when I first learned about her.

Now 31 and married with a child, she also has an alternate personality of sorts, Princess Apple-Momoka; one of her many trading card sets is her as Princess Momoka. She's also a singer, performing the ending song for the Japanese anime School Rumble. She's still adorable today and makes occasional appearances on TV and at events, and has written a book about being a mother.

Yes, I realize all this stuff comes from Wikipedia, but it's also information I already knew off-hand. So I guess I'm a mini-Wikipedia. Anyway, Yuko's many card sets include autographs and relics, and I just received my first signed card:
I'm not sure why, but idol cards frequently have normal fronts; the signatures and such end up on the back. So here it is:
Ain't that pretty? I can't quite make it out, though it looks like the hiragana characters for "o gu" are at the top. There might be a giant ra (the 5-looking thing on the right) And the two hearts might be inside the "yu" and "ko"... typically her name should be yu-u-ko so that could be a u in the middle...

I love this card, and is immediately my favorite idol card in my collection!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Look at the Shiny! A Bunch of Limited Japanese Cards

I picked up a bunch of limited cards recently, and I thought I'd share a few!
 This is a hard-signed card from a 2009 Golden Eagles team issue set. I'm not sure if it's an IP or was part of the original issue, as very little information seems to exist on the Golden Eagles team sets. One of these days I'll spend a bit of time researching it, but for now this card remains a bit of a mystery.
 "Photo Cards" continue to bother me... aren't 99% of baseball cards in existence photo cards anyway? The draw here (besides the limited print run) is the framed image. I believe the image itself is an actual photograph that you would get from film. Perhaps NPB Card Guy or someone else knows more. Again, I could research it myself, but I'm lazy tonight.
 The back gets mini-sized on my blog because it's the same image. This is a foil-signed special card found in box sets honoring Kaneda.
 Lightning was an insert found in packs of 2011 BBM 1st Version, and this is the 100-copy parallel. The foil on the front is different here, and I think it's better this way.
 Also from 1st Version is this gold foil signature parallel (also #/100).
 And also a foil parallel is this "Printed Autographed Card" from the recent Hawks Achievement box set. I like the "stamp" design on the back of the card, and it's numbered out of 50.
 The last two cards are from the Lions team set BBM released last year. This is a parallel from the Lions Den insert set, which has gold foil lettering on the front and is numbered out of 100.
BBM cut back on parallels in team sets last year, but it did create serial-numbered parallels of many of the team set subsets, like Total Package. The fronts have a sort of cracked-ice refractor coating, and they're serial-numbered out of 150.

It's amazing how many parallels I don't have cataloged yet. Many are from 2014, but I discover occasional parallels from the past decade too!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2014 Sports Graphic Number Yakult Swallows

Sports Graphic Number is a magazine found on newstands in Japan which, unsurprisingly, has lots of photos and stories about baseball and other sports stars. Over the past few years, they've issued a few single-player baseball sets for some of the best of the best active players. As far as I can remember, this is their first multi-player baseball set, though they only went with three. Note that the company itself sometimes is known as Athlete or Sports Athlete, and the official "publisher" is TICトレカ (TIC Trading Cards).
 As is customary with SGN, the base cards are photo-based. Some cards form puzzles, but other than the team logo and player name on the front, and card number and copyright line on the back, there is no text on the cards. The three players are Tetsuto Yamada (above), Shingo Kawabata, and Yuhei Takai (seen below). The regular set has 81 cards, distributed evenly among the three players.
 There are two designs to the SP cards, though they are numbered sequentially. The first design uses gold foil, #SP01-SP18. There are three images on the front in sequence, with a fourth image on the back in a gold frame. The background is of a cloudy late-afternoon sky.
A similarly-themed background is found on the silver foil SP cards, numbered SP19-SP36. These only have two different photos; the back photos on these cards are in a silver frame.
There are six box privilege cards, BP01-BP06 with two per player.
A store-distribution card carries a unique design as well that puts all three players on the same card. I am aware of a card A and a card D, using different photos and arrangements of the players on the front.
There is a series of promo cards for the set which were distributed in stores. These cards featured 10 different players who were eligible to be in the set; a voting campaign in September helped decide the three finalists. These cards were also distributed at the stadium on three dates to 2000 people each game.
Above is an image of all the promo player cards you could get.
Of course, packs of this set had rare cards beyond the SPs. They are as follows:

  • Photo Cards (9 cards, bottom right)
  • Autographs (3 cards, middle far-right)
  • Autographed Photo Cards (3 cards, bottom center)
  • Combo Signatures (3 cards, middle center-right)
  • Jersey Relics (6 cards)
  • Pennant Race Jersey Relics (3 cards, top center-right)
  • Batting Glove Relics (3 cards, middle center-left)
  • W-Used Jersey/Batting Glove Combos (3 cards, top-right)
  • Jersey/Batting Glove Combos (3 cards)
  • Patch Relics (6 cards, top center-right)
  • Patch Premium Relics (3 cards, top center-left)
  • Big Patch Relics (3 cards, bottom left)
  • Masterpieces (3 cards, top far-left)
I'm not sure about any print runs for any of the sets above. One special card is found per box of 10 packs.