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

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Friday, August 18, 2017

New Release: 2017 Epoch Pacific League

Epoch has been countering BBM's higher-priced issues with a more-affordable option that's a bit toned down. That doesn't mean these don't have tricks.

I've posted about the Epoch Lions set already, and there are several more team set posts to come. But first, the Pacific League set.

The Pacific League set came out on July 22nd, and features the six teams of the Pacific League.
There are 54 regular cards in the set. Border colors change depending on the team's colors.
The One-Star variation has a closer crop. (Note the single star on the back, at the bottom of the card.)
Two-Star is a photo variation.

I don't have a Three-Star card, but I know they exist. These appear to be cropped photo variations.
The "PS" parallel has a printed signature on the front. Note that these are not foil signatures. All players in the 54 card base set have a print signature parallel.
And "PC" is the Cosmic Spark parallel, with a background design instead of the photo background. This is a partial parallel; 18 players (three per team) received this parallel.
I finally have an insert from the Holografica series. The cards look a little nicer in person but really aren't that special. They really feel just like regular foilboard inserts. A total of 36 Holografica inserts were made, six per team.

Finally, the super-rare autographed cards (24 total subjects) can be obtained by collecting 100 "points" which are inserted into packs. Each pack should have one point card and/or a promo card of some sort.

I'm going to go ahead and add here that I'm really happy another manufacturer is getting into the "flagship" set game - the more more I look at and think about the cards in these issues the more I like them. Epoch's sets are not as comprehensive as BBM's, but they do provide a nice alternative.

At first glance, they appear cheaper. One pack of Epoch's sets will run you 250 yen for four cards plus the point card (63 yen per card, not counting the points as a card). BBM's team packs is 400 yen, but you do get six cards (67 yen per card). And the 1st/2nd Version BBM packs are 300 yen for 10 cards (30 yen per card). In the end, BBM's flagship is cheaper per card, but with such a small size (54 vs. 300+ cards), Epoch's Pa-League set costs much less total.

I'm going to go ahead and get a Pacific League set (and hopefully a Central League set, if they issue one), because it's an interesting issue. But I don't collect BBM's team sets so I'll pass on Epoch's.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

New Release: 2017 BBM Hawks

The final team set issued by BBM in 2017 went to the Hawks. Issued at the end of July, the set follows the standard 2017 BBM team set formula.
The regular base cards have a borderless design with a fading background. Players make up the first 68 cards.
Card #H69 is a "regular card" but the design is different, as it features two of the team's mascots.
The first three subset cards (#H70-72) is Cutting Edge. Stats on the back compare 2016 to the first 10 weeks of 2017.
I like the design of First Headlines (#H73-76). They feature early-season highlights written up on the back.
The final five cards (#H77-81) is Heavy Hitters Squad, with the team's best hitters. Stats on the back are for the first 10 weeks of the season and are broke down by opponent.

The 18 insert cards are split into three sets. Each set has a trio of parallel versions: Gold #/90, Holo #/75, and Gold and Holo #/50.
Elite Selection is the largest set, with 9 cards. The front design might be my favorite insert design of the year.
No Limit has 6 cards. I'm not sure how Elite Selection and No Limit are different other than their background designs.
Hero Comes Back rounds out the final three insert cards, and all three commemorate the return of Munenori Kawasaki to the Hawks. So yes, all three cards in this set are Kawasaki.
 The cross-set Phantom inserts finish here with 12 cards, all #/25.
 The usual autographed cards can be found for the entire team, numbered to 60 or less.
 Two combo autographs #/5 and four rookie autographs #/10 were also included.
 Finally, nine silver foilboard autographs #/10, and gold foilboard 1/1 parallels were also included, as found in other sets.

Note, the images above of Phantom and autograph cards are BBM promotional images.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New Release: 2017 BBM Tigers: Heat

Okay, I'm back from vacation! Let's get back to the new release posts that I'm still quite behind on.

Tigers Heat is a premium box set in a series; the design is the same as the other Heat cards with team color changes making up the only real differences.

Each box includes one full set, an insert card, and two autographs. Retail price is 12,000 yen, and the set was released at the end of June.
The base set is 27 cards. The flames and Heat logo/design at the center is done in foil.
 There are nine inserts total, called Golden Tiger.
 Regular autographed cards appear for what seems to be the entire Tigers roster, not just the 27 regular card subjects. These are horizontally-oriented. Print runs range from 10 to 60 copies each.
Special autographed cards for 25 players also were issued with a print run of 10 cards each.

Monday, August 7, 2017

New Release: 2017 BBM Dragons

Next up in the team set parade is BBM's set for the Dragons. This set was released in mid-July, so it's not that old.
Cards 1-69 are regular cards for all of the team's players, with card #70 featuring the team's mascots.
The four card New Face subset features players who recently joined the team from other teams or leagues.
Finally, Lord of Dragons is a seven-card set with some of the team's best players. The backs have stats for the beginning of the 2017 season.

Like the BayStars set I posted about yesterday, the Dragons set has several small insert sets.
Achievements (3 cards) has a nice graphical back with players who have reached milestones in their career.
The three-card Hot Blood set looks red.
No Mercy is a four-card insert set with a popup ad below the set title. At least, that's how I describe the box with the player's information on the front.
Top Prospects has four rookies or younger players.
The team's four strongest hitters are in the Smash insert set.

Gold parallels of the above insert sets are #/90, Holo #/60, and Gold Holo #/30.

The Phantom (#/25) insert set has 12 Dragons players.

Autograph cards are numbered to 60 or less for all of the players; there is one player combo card #/3 and the #/60 mascot dual-autograph card. Nine Silver autograph cards are #/10 with a Gold 1/1 parallel. Rookie Autographs (#/10) round out the offerings with six cards.