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

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Saturday, May 2, 2020

2020 BBM 1st Version

Let's tackle this monster.
BBM's 1st Version came out in early April following the same basic formula that they have been using for the past few years. The base set is 336 cards: 324 player cards and 12 team checklists.
 Base cards have a radioactive cloud in one corner. Depending on the photo, I find it distracting due to the bright colors; otherwise, it's not a bad design. The backs are pretty standard.
 Let's talk parallels:

  • Silver Signature (unnumbered, above left)
  • Gold Signature #/100 (above center)
  • Holo Signature #/50 (above right)
  • Red Signature #/25 


  • Rookie Parallel #/200 (foilboard)
  • Rookie Parallel #/100 (holofoil, seen above)
  • Rookie Parallel #/50 (foil stamp)
There are also 12 "secret" and 12 "super secret" photo variation parallels. 

As always, the set includes 12 team checklists. Photos on the front appear to come from this year's spring training. Overall, I didn't find the photos to be too appealing compared to prior years.

 This year's theme for the cross-brand set is Cross Blossoms, and the design has an image of cherry blossoms at night with a gigantic full moon in the background. There are two parallels for this set: a foilboard #/100 version and a 1/1 holofoil verison.
 One player from each team can be found in New Age Stars. The foil design looks better in person. A #/100 parallel with a lamé finish can be found.

 Japonism returns, and has a definite traditional Japanese theme for 12 cards, one per team. Regular inserts have gold, there are also pink #/100 and sky blue 1/1 parallels.
3D Cross Blossoms is pretty self-explanatory if you've read everything up to this point. This 12-card set is #/25.
Finally, a 12-card foil autograph version of the Cross Blossoms set titled Cross Foil Signing rounds out the insert offerings. These are #/15.

Moving on to special cards, there are three memorabilia cards: M1 and M2 are single-jersey relic cards while M3 is a dual-jersey card.
 As always, the cross-brand set has Cross Signature parallels in single and dual-player versions. There's also a Special Cross Signature set.
The 10-card Japonism Signature set gives a horizontal variation on the insert design, leaving space for the sticker autograph.

Finally, four players also have buyback autographs in the set; each player has 10 autographs spread across differing numbers and quantities of cards.

Friday, May 1, 2020

2020 BBM Icons Fireballer

What, at first, appeared to be a one-off box set has turned into an annual staple. The Icons series hit shelves in late March, focusing on fastball pitchers this year.
My sample base card is Yudai Ohno, who first came onto my radar when Zippy Zappy pointed out how fun it is to say his name. He's proven to be a decent pitcher for the Dragons, and he even threw a no-hitter last year.

A full 36-card base set can be found in each 4000-yen box along with one "special" card. I don't have a special card yet, but here are your options. Total print run comes to 3500 sets.
Foil Cards, 6 cards, #/30 each, 180 total cards
2020 Rookies, 6 cards, #/60 and #/30 holofoil parallel, 540 total cards
Print Autographs, 12 cards, #/90, #/60 holofoil parallel, #/30 red foil parallel, 2160 total cards

Autographs, 29 cards, various print runs, 620 total cards (approximately 18% chance)

Because I enjoy themed sets, I've been collecting the Icons base set for its entire run. I just wish BBM would be a bit more original with their designs. This year's special cards look nice, though; I'm sure the Fireballer foil insert looks better in person.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

2020 BBM Rookie Edition

Every year, BBM issues a set showing the rookie class in typical studio shots. The newly-drafted players put on their jerseys, take a couple photos in front of a blank wall, and end up on a trading card in February.
Each eight card pack retails for 400 yen, with 15-pack boxes running 6000 yen. Japan doesn't really believe in bulk pricing. The base set has 120 cards. Cards 1-107 are rookies, #108 is a list of the draft picks, and the remaining 12 cards make up the usual subset.
 The base cards this year use octagonal backgrounds. The backs have photos showing all of the draftees for each team and a write-up about the player's career before being drafted.

There are several partial parallels in this year's set. If not noted below, the parallels essentially cover each team's top five to seven picks.

  • Silver Signature /100
  • Gold Signature /75
  • Green Signature /50
  • Red Signature /20
  • Sky Blue Signature 1/1 (First Draft)
  • Holofoil /20 (First Draft)
  • "Secret" Photo Variations (First Draft)

The 12-card Early Days subset features a veteran from each team, pictured when their career was just beginning. The back shows their team's draft class when they were picked; Aoki here was the Swallows fourth draft pick in 2003.
The Next Generation insert set has one younger player from each team. That's twelve cards.
And as customary, the previous year's Rookie of the Year winners get their own gold foilboard insert.

There are several autograph sets to be found in this year's release.

  • Early Days Signature, an 8-card parallel to the subset
  • First Draft Pick Signature (12 cards)
  • First Draft Pick Silver Signature (12 cards /30, not a parallel)
  • Prospect Signature (42 cards)
  • Fresh Stars Signature (7 cards)
  • Rookie Signature Boards (107 autographed signature boards, all 1/1)
BBM didn't release any promo images from the autograph sets, and I don't have any in my collection at the time of this writing.
You made it this far. Here's an image of one of the players who threw his jersey on over his high school uniform. I'm guessing it's his high school uniform. Or perhaps, in Yuki's case, his college uniform (yes, for some schools, that is a thing). I can't imagine him, or any of these players, owning many white shirts and neckties. Perhaps he bought it just for the draft event.