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

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Friday, September 1, 2017

New Release: 2017 Epoch Tigers

The Tigers set from Epoch has a little bit more to its design than the others - actual fading and interaction between the photo and its borders. I think it's a bit nicer than the other sets, though at the same time I like cards that don't hide the background.
 The base set has 36 cards.
 One-star variations: photo variations.
 Two-star variations: photo variations.

Epoch has been issuing sets with up to six variation levels. However, the Tigers set is the first to have two different photo variations. Jambalaya doesn't have three-star variations, so Epoch might have stopped with just three sets of variations.

Signature Parallel cards have facsimile autographs in three variations: Red (PA- prefix), Silver (PB-), and Gold (PC-). An image of the gold facsimile can be seen below. (Note that two parallels of print signature cards would give this set just two-fewer variation/parallel sets.) I wasn't able to find any facsimile autographs when I visited the shop, but that's because they appear to be much less common than the other print signature cards Epoch has released; in fact, based on images online, I believe they're on foilboard and about as rare as the insert sets.
Here's Epoch's promo image. Holografika inserts come in various subsets: Sluggers (10), Hurlers (9), Rookies (8), and Combos (9). Furthermore, twenty different autographs are available via Epoch's points system.
I found this promo card at the shop; Itohara's regular card doesn't have such a large rookie logo or text. This design reminds me a lot of mid-1990s Score baseball card sets.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

New Release: 2017 Epoch Dragons

The 2017 Epoch Dragons set is the same as the others - a smallish base set, several variations, a couple parallels, inserts, and autographs. So here we go.

The Dragons set is the only one I know that I can't find singles in the Tokyo area. They might be somewhere, but my go-to sources didn't bust any Dragons sets. I got my singles in Nagoya over summer vacation. Packs and boxes were available (and still are as I'm writing this) but no singles. Maybe they are somewhere I haven't looked.
 The base cards. There are 30 cards in the Dragons set. Epoch has not released details about which cards can be found for each of the variations and parallels (except for the Signature parallels) so a complete checklist is pretty tough to get.
 Variation 1 is an HDR filter variation on the photo. You can see this in the "crispness" of the image.
 Variation 2 is a cropping difference.
 Variation 3 is a photo variation.

Variation 4 is a cropped photo variation.

I'm not aware of any five or six star variations, but they might exist. My guess for the five-star variation is an HDR version of the photo variation.
Signature Parallel cards have facsimile signatures on the front. Again, I have no details, but Epoch has done variations on this set which usually are the six-star variations. Those tend to be photo variations. All 30 regular cards have signature parallels.

There is also a parallel of the regular cards with an "a" suffix. If I understand correctly, these have a sepia-toned background. They also appear to use the photo variation instead of the regular image.

Inserts are a little bit less complicated - only three Holografika insert sets were released: Holografika (18 cards), Holografika Rookies (6 cards), and Holografika Collage (12 cards).

It looks like 19 different autographed cards were produced as well, each obtainable by redeeming 100 points randomly found in packs.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The 2017 Kochi Fighting Dogs Team Set, and Manny Being Manny

Earlier this month, I had my summer vacation. When all was said and done, I had stops in eight prefectures (kind of like counties or states here) over seven days. I'll relay a bit more of my trip eventually, but just to give you an idea, I went to four amusement parks, seven card shops, a decent number of sightseeing spots, and three Shikoku Island League Plus baseball games.

One of those games included the Fighting Dogs, and unlike the other three teams in the league, they had a merchandising presence at the game, and they have a team card set for this year.

The set doesn't come cheap - 3000 yen (about $30). But they had random packs of 10 cards for $5, which means that, with luck, you could get the entire set for less ($15, even). I only needed one pack, though!
 Here's the design. The fronts are very minor-leaguey, as I guess one would expect from an independent team. The backs are black and white and recycle the front photo. There are 30 cards in the set; the card number is in the lower-right on the back.
 Photography is pretty standard, but thankfully it is full of action shots.
 They follow the standard BBM style of pitchers pitching and batters batting.
 The images are relatively sharp. I think every game plays around sunset or before, so they have plenty of daylight to take photos.
 Fielder fielding! But the best is yet to come:
Yep, the Manny Ramirez, playing in Japan, for an indy-league team. But then again, he is in his 40s. Manny didn't play in the game I attended, but he was there and visible. As I was wandering around before the game, I took a glance in the Dogs dugout and saw him relaxing on the bench. I realized who he was pretty quickly and was like, "Oh, hey!" and he gave me a little nod. He is definitely supportive of his teammates, cheering them on in the dugout and high-fiving players as they came back from the field. Actually, that little experience has turned me into a Manny fan, and I'll be building a little Manny collection eventually. I guess I've already started with this card!