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

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 Calbee Series 2 and Samurai Japan

Calbee's second series of baseball cards came out quite late this year thanks to a potato shortage. What do potatoes have to do with baseball cards? No, the cards aren't printed on potatoes. Wouldn't that be interesting? Actually, if you didn't know, Calbee's cards are packaged with potato chips. I'm guessing that their license only lets them sell cards along with chips now; in the past they've sold cards along with chocolates as well.

So the cards finally came out late in the season - not a problem, as they usually issued a third series later in the season anyway. But this late release did cancel that third series. Instead of making up for that with an expanded base set, they stuck to their formula.
image from Japanese Baseball Cards
The base set is extended by 72 cards (#72-144) with the same design as the first series. Each team received six cards. Checklists are also extended (#C-5 to C-8), as are Star Cards (#S-25 to S-48).
The lone addition in terms of subsets or inserts is First Draft Picks. This self-explanatory set has one card per team, focusing on the 2016 draft. The 12-card set has a D- prefix.
The special box limited card set is titled Opening Day Pitchers (開幕投手), and as you might guess features the starting pitchers for each team's Opening Day. That makes this set 12 cards deep, with an OP- prefix.

Moving on to Samurai Japan, this is the second year Calbee has issued a limited set featuring the Japanese national baseball team. This year's set has 36 cards including a checklist.
Both base cards and their parallels have a holofoil style background that Calbee uses on its premium inserts. The team home plate logo is at the bottom along with the player's last name.

The parallels have a gold foil "signature" of sorts - I believe these are just calligraphy forms of the players' names instead of facsimiles of original player autographs. Parallels also have "Samurai Japan" and the player's jersey number beneath the player's gold name.

The Samurai Japan set has no other insert sets or subsets.


  1. The base set of Calbee look similar year in and year out. Don't get me wrong... I still like them. But if they didn't put the year on the front, I'd never be able to distinguish the difference. Those Samurai Japan cards look fantastic! This kind of post makes me wish there were more food issue oddballs here in the States.

    1. Calbee has high-quality photography, but between the nearly-identical designs and similar composition and photo style, it's almost monotonous. Samurai Japan looks great but the holofoil style can be distracting too. I like them, though...