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

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New Release: 2014 Frontier Hiroshima Toyo Carp Mizuno

The name Mizuno is familiar to anyone remotely into sports. The Japanese company surely has a strong presence in its home country's sporting goods market, and can be found on many baseball players.

I'm not sure how the arrangement was made, but Mizuno's name has appeared on a team-based trading card set issued recently.
The small base set of 15 cards features a single player on each, in an action photo of some sort. There's a fancy black crown design at the bottom with the player's name, jersey number, and position, along with the set name along the bottom. One of the top corners has both the Carp and Mizuno logos.

The backs have the player's name in Japanese characters; the card number is in the top-right corner. Beneath that is basic stats. The photo from the front is cropped and has a red box highlighting a piece of Mizuno equipment. In the case of Takahashi's card above, the bat is noted. Statistics about the equipment is actually found at the bottom of the photo, above the copyright details.

One thousand total sets were produced; each box contains 17 cards. Only seven players appear on the 15 base cards; each player has two cards (Maeda gets three). One full set is in each box, along with either two jersey cards, or one jersey card and an autograph.
 There are three "levels" of jersey cards that can be found in the boxes. "Level 1" is just a basic jersey swatch, though the piece itself is quite large. These seem to have a print run around 255-265 copies each. I understand that only four players have jersey cards: Dohbayashi, Kuri, Maeda, and Soyogi.
 Level 1 has a patch version, numbered to around 48 copies each. These are generally pieces of very large patches, similar to the patch you see in the Level 3 card below. I'm not sure where this NPB patch came from, as it looks like it might be better as Level 2. But it seems that many Level 1 patches use smaller logos.
Level 2 patches all appear to be vertically aligned. These are pretty low-numbered, and use name letter patches or the script word "Hiroshima" from the jersey sleeve.
Level 3 jersey cards have autographs as well, and I think are numbered to around 6 copies each. These are all patch cards, again using the large team logo patches, though I saw at least one example where the "Hiroshima" sleeve patch was used here.
 As for autographs, there are eight players who signed for the set; rookie Aren Kuri has only autographs in the product. The autograph series is actually quite complicated, and appears to have two variations with three colors of signatures. The black autograph above is Authentic Signatures, while the blue version is Authentic Signatures Red, named by the background. It seems that both versions come with blue and black signatures. I can't find a full list, but it appears that quantities range from 20-45 copies each.
 Red versions are parallels, found for both Authentic Signatures and Authentic Signatures Red. I found an image of the back of the Maeda signature, to show the serial numbering.

At first this set didn't really interest me. There are just so many team sets this year. I don't generally care much for team sets, but the focus on equipment is giving me more interest. I might end up with a set in the next couple of weeks.

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