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

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to Back to the Future II

A very large portion of my collection awaiting me back in America is non-sport cards. How large? I have over 750 different sets, not counting the dozens I've picked up here in Japan. There are still more than 500 sets I'd like to get, but let's be honest - my focus is on baseball and Japanese cards right now, and with shipping prices as they are, I'll have to come across a dealer with cheap sets I need at a card show to be able to afford it.
One of those sets in the "need" column is the set Topps issued in 1989 for Back to the Future II. Like most of America, I was all about this movie. I probably had at least a few cards from this set pulled from packs with, of course, chalky bubble gum. The full set has 88 cards and 11 stickers.
Once relegated to the junk bin, the continued interest in this movie series (including today being the date they travel to in the future) has created a premium on the set. Sets on eBay run about $20. Maybe I'll have some luck getting it cheap at some point in the future...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Who Should Be in Americana?

Recently, the question of who should appear in a Panini Americana set has been posed. And while Panini themselves never asked me personally, I'm always glad to chime in about my opinion. While some of the people below might have appeared in other Americana or pop culture sets this is my perfect set. It's packed with superstars but there are some smaller "minor" celebrities who I feel deserve a card - and who I'd be happy to get a hit of.

So, without further annoying commentary, I give you my Americana checklist. 162 cards, so it'll fit evenly in 9-pocket pages.
  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Billy Joel
  3. Madonna
  4. Avril Lavigne
  5. Zooey Deschanel
  6. Queen (Freddie Mercury)
  7. Britney Spears
  8. Ben Folds
  9. Muse
  10. Justin Timberlake
  11. Eminem
  12. Katy Perry
  13. Snoop Dogg
  14. Kid Rock
  15. The Beatles
  16. Aerosmith
  17. REM
  18. Hilary Duff
  19. Tenacious D
  20. Mariah Carey
  21. Green Day
  22. Cyndi Lauper
  23. Elton John
  24. Bob Dylan
  25. Tom Hanks
  26. Sarah Silverman
  27. Robin Williams
  28. Sarah Michelle Gellar
  29. George Carlin
  30. Alicia Silverstone
  31. Gene Wilder
  32. Elisha Cuthbert
  33. Monty Python
  34. Shiri Appleby
  35. Bill Maher
  36. Rachel Bilson
  37. Morgan Freeman
  38. Hayley Mills
  39. Judy Garland
  40. Bob Hope
  41. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
  42. Kathy Ireland
  43. Billy Crystal
  44. Ellen Page
  45. John Goodman
  46. Reese Witherspoon
  47. Luke Wilson
  48. Alexis Bledel
  49. Will Ferrell
  50. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
  51. Walt Disney
  52. Mena Suvari
  53. Alyson Hannigan
  54. Will Smith
  55. Jodie Sweetin
  56. Winona Ryder
  57. Kellie Martin
  58. Kris Kross
  59. Christina Ricci
  60. Claire Danes
  61. Tim Allen
  62. Katie Holmes
  63. Natalie Portman
  64. Kenan & Kel
  65. Amanda Bynes
  66. Melissa Joan Hart
  67. Jennifer Love Hewitt
  68. Todd Bridges
  69. Brooke Shields
  70. Eddie Murphy
  71. Richard Pryor
  72. Mike Myers
  73. Drew Barrymore
  74. Alyssa Milano
  75. Fred Savage
  76. Maureen McCormick
  77. Susan Dey
  78. Erin Murphy
  79. The Osmonds
  80. Gary Coleman
  81. Elizabeth Hurley
  82. Heather Graham
  83. Kevin Bacon
  84. Nicole Kidman
  85. Anna Paquin
  86. Frankie Muniz
  87. Jessica Alba
  88. Julia Stiles
  89. Emma Watson
  90. Leelee Sobieski
  91. Keira Knightley
  92. Vanessa Hudgens
  93. Selena Gomez
  94. Emma Roberts
  95. Hayden Panettiere
  96. Jerry Seinfeld
  97. Taylor Swift
  98. Miranda Cosgrove
  99. Nina Dobrev
  100. Kristen Stewart
  101. Robert Downey Jr.
  102. Johnny Depp
  103. Leonardo DiCaprio
  104. George Clooney
  105. Elisabeth Shue
  106. Emma Stone
  107. Anne Hathaway
  108. Lily James
  109. Brad Pitt
  110. John Ritter
  111. Victoria Justice
  112. Bob Saget
  113. Michael J. Fox
  114. Cary Elwes
  115. Bridgit Mendler
  116. John Rhys-Davies
  117. Elizabeth Banks
  118. Seth Rogen
  119. Michael Caine
  120. Kevin Smith
  121. Parker Posey
  122. Jennifer Aniston
  123. Sandra Bullock
  124. Adam Sandler
  125. Rachael Leigh Cook
  126. Megan Fox
  127. Jim Carrey
  128. Alison Brie
  129. Bryan Cranston
  130. Yvonne Strahovski
  131. Tea Leoni
  132. Tim Curry
  133. Ariana Grande
  134. Kevin Kline
  135. Bella Thorne
  136. Salma Hayek
  137. Ben Affleck
  138. Matt Damon
  139. Chloe Grace Moretz
  140. The Spice Girls
  141. Teri Hatcher
  142. Katherine Heigl
  143. Anna Faris
  144. Lenny Kravitz
  145. Samuel L. Jackson
  146. Bruce Willis
  147. Rachel McAdams
  148. Lindsay Lohan
  149. Lucy Lawless
  150. Renee O'Connor
  151. New Kids on the Block
  152. TLC
  153. Fiona Apple
  154. Jennifer Connelly
  155. Rebecca Gayheart
  156. Liv Tyler
  157. Kevin Costner
  158. Mira Sorvino
  159. Catherine Zeta-Jones
  160. Meg Ryan
  161. Hugh Grant
  162. Cameron Diaz
So there's my list. What's yours?

Monday, October 19, 2015

JBCG: 2015 Frontier Yokohama DeNA BayStars Heroes and Rookies

Frontier has seriously cut back its releases this year, though they did issue a Heroes and Rookies set for the always-collectible BayStars. (Seriously, why are they so popular with collectors?) The base cards are pretty simple, but I do like the design. The backs use a black and white verion of the front photo and include some basic statistics. This set isn't about the base cards, though.

In addition to the full 15-card base set, each box contained one or two autographs.
There are two Rookie signature cards (the gold image seen above) and three Dual Rookie signature cards, which use a horizontal format similar to the Teammates Signatures card. These are considered part of the base set but are, of course, short printed. There are 106 regular cards and 30 red ink parallels.

Additionally, special autograph cards are all serial numbered and have red ink parallels; some cards also have inscription parallels.
  • Authentic Signatures (14 cards) 182 regular, 68 red, 53 inscriptions on 6 cards
  • Teammates Signatures (2 cards) 11 regular, 4 red
  • 2014 League Leaders (1 card) 13 cards, 2 red
  • Triple Exposure Signatures (1 card) 6 cards, 2 red
  • Quad Signatures (1 card) only 1 red version despite the preview image
Original information stated there would be 15 Authentic Signatures cards and two Triple Exposure Signatures cards, but perhaps one of the signers didn't return their stickers or they were unusable. In all, I count 874 signatures, which puts the total set print run less than that, but at least 437.

Friday, October 16, 2015

JBCG: 2015 Giants Pride Stickers

The Giants issue a series of stickers every year similar to a card set under their "Giants Pride" brand - this brand is also seen in a BBM insert set and other souvenirs and marketing materials.

The 2015 stickers are pretty easy to identify due to the year located on two of the stickers found on the card-sized sticker sheet. There are also Giants and Tokyo text-logo stickers, the Yomiuri Giants interlocking YG logo, some fancy kanji that I don't recognize. The largest sticker features one player in front of a "scoreboard" featuring his jersey number. The backs are blank.

I'm not really sure how the Giants issue their annual cards/stickers, though the fan club may have something to do with it. I picked my copy up at one of the Tokyo-area card shops. Anyone with additional information on distribution is certainly welcome to comment below!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

JBCG: 2015 BBM Classic

 BBM's now-annual throwback, Topps Heritage-style, is in its third year, and is exactly what you'd expect from the card company at this point. And that's not a bad thing - Topps Heritage has a core "formula" that works and BBM seems to have found a good release format.

Unsurprisingly, the set's base design is a standard-sized, modern version of the 1993 issue. There is a "Classic" watermark behind the statistics, and BBM uses its standard copyright line now. But the logo on the front is true to the original, and the logos are similar-style. There are 72 active players in the set which use the '93 design.
 The remainder of the set uses a marble-bordered original design similar to last year's issue, with 36 "OB" (retired) players rounding out the set at a total of 108 cards.
BBM didn't issue many inserts or special sets early on, so the inserts borrow from other sets. The 24-card All-Stars insert set is taken from the 2002 Touch The Game insert of the same name, with a parallel version.
The 1999 Diamond Heroes insert sets "Above Average" and "Pitcher Perfect" are reprinted in 12-card sets,
Relics are found in the 2000 Diamond Heroes memorabilia design.
Autographs are pretty limited. 13 active players (15-30 copies each, 345 total) and 24 retired players (30-105 copies each, 2070 total) signed original cards.
There are 23 buyback autographs, with 3-36 copies each (430 total). Two more combo buyback autographs are limited to five copies each.

I enjoy this set. I don't have the original BBM base sets (except 2014); if I stick around long enough in Japan and money flows freely enough I'll certainly be tempted to go after a full run.

I now have all three base sets and I intend on continuing the collection. Seeing the throwback designs on the insert sets is certainly great, but I wish they would be true to the year. As I said before, BBM didn't really issue insert sets in 1993, but they could have possibly pulled from the subsets. BBM issued team logo holograms that year which would have been a fun pull, and there are some short prints found early in the set which could have been used.

That said, 1994 is when BBM really started getting insert sets and other issues, so they have more to choose from for the next release. Again holograms were inserted, but in 1994 they featured players. There are also the Electric MVP insert cards found in the All-Star box sets and Perfect Pitching, a special set issued to honor Makihara's perfect game that year. They could also issue an insert set or subset borrowing from the 1994 Tigers box set design, or using the Sluggers set design. And while I like the design for the OB players, BBM could should be using the "Nostalgic Stars" subset design instead.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

JBCG: 2015 BBM Chiba Lotte Marines

It's probably too late now to call most of these "new releases" but I would still like to summarize the other sets that have been released this year. 
 The Marines set has a very blocky design, including a tri-colored rectangular border at the bottom on the front, repeated on the back. Otherwise, the design is similar to BBM's other team sets - 81 cards in all, with a few subsets included. Each subset has three cards.
 First is Ageless Wonder. This small subset has the old veterans of the team - Fukuura here has been with the Marines since 1997.
 I don't get "Real Steal" by name. I figured at first it would be players who are great on the base paths. But it's quickly obvious that it's not about runners. Instead, it appears to be players who joined the team and then performed well.
 Last is Foreign Impact. As you can probably guess, it features foreign players. Despaigne played his early career in Cuba, and the stats reflect that (the season plays over the winter).
 The Marines got three insert sets, though they total 18 cards like most of the team issues. Fast Lane is the "first" with six cards. There doesn't seem to be a point to this set other than "ooh shiny!"
 Likewise, the three card "Spring Fever" set has a green "spring" feel but ... why is it here? Why are these players on these cards?
The "premium" insert is Prime Time, a nine card set with double foil! That's about all that makes this set premium.

Speaking of premium, there are several autographed cards to be found.
 Base autographs can be found for 70 subjects including three mascots; print runs are up to 60 copies each. A total of 3701 cards were inserted into packs.
 Combo signature cards are much more rare. BBM didn't release information on their website, but I found details that show three cards were issued:

  • Otani/Matsunaga (5 copies)
  • Nishino/Suzuki (above, 3 copies)
  • Ogino/Okada (5 copies)

 Also found in the Marines set are the "insert" autograph cards. Silver and Gold versions are available - silver print runs are usually 5, but two players have print runs of 10 and 12. All gold cards are 1/1.
Finally, the cross-brand autographed cards are found for three players with a print run of 15 copies each.

Released way back in June, 6 cards came per pack for 400 yen, with 20 packs per box.