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

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

These Subsets are Cool: 2016 and 2017 BBM 1st Version Team Checklists

Yesterday's post was a 2008 team checklist set featuring a bunch of interesting and fun photos. Today, we focus on two more team checklist sets sharing a similar theme.

The 2016 1st Version set used images from NPB's Spring Training - no easy feat given the set's release only a few weeks after the start of Spring Training. BBM repeated the process in 2017, again using photos from Spring Training on a set that was released in early April.

That alone is an interesting piece of work, but not interesting enough for me to collect the set. But the 2016 subset has some unique photography, using angles and cropping BBM traditionally doesn't explore - almost something like Stadium Club. And most importantly, the Fighters card uses a photo from America! Moving on to 2017, again the Fighters photo is from the US, but unfortunately all of the shots are quite dull - most team cards have players running. (The 2016 set does have several "team running together" photos, but there are some standout images.)

With the 2018 set just a few weeks away, maybe BBM will find some better images for the team checklists. Or go with stadium photos - it's been a long time! Either way, I can't wait to see what they come up with.

The 2016 set uses yellowish borders, while the 2017 set has green borders. The full subsets are below.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

This Subset is Cool: 2008 BBM 2nd Version Team Check Lists

This would be a good week to post Calbee sets. Unfortunately, I don't have scans of the 1980s sets, so I'm using this time to show off some of the full sets or subsets I haven't really shared.

BBM's annual flagship set has been sorted by team almost since the company began selling trading cards - the first few sets were kind of random, but soon things evened out. Those early BBM flagship sets had team checklists and regular checklists, but soon went with just team checklists.

These days, the checklists list all of the base cards and inserts, and even hits in many cases. The fronts are usually team-related images. They've done team logos several times, and way too many mascot cards. The 2008 2nd Version set appealed to me, so here it is in all of its glory:
 Yomiuri Giants: This might have been the first card I saw in this set. And Rami-chan dancing with the mascots is certainly entertaining.
 Chunichi Dragons: This is one of the weaker cards in the set, other than the player crouching to catch a dropped pop fly there's nothing remotely entertaining. And honestly, if I was really backing him up, I think actually flipping the glove the other way around would be more effective for snagging a dropped pop-up.
 Hanshin Tigers: Hats falling off of players is nothing new, but the timing of this shot and the way the hat is resting makes this an amusing shot. Add mullet, and you have a winner.
 Tokyo Yakult Swallows: A mascot crouching behind the plate isn't that interesting, and the addition of carp streamers (probably from Children's Day) doesn't do much for this card. This is a Bart Simpson-level submission.
 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters: A fun team shot, something not often seen on cards. Especially posing like that.
 Chiba Lotte Marines: This image belongs on a regular card. Cracked bat shots are pretty awesome. Loss of points for putting it in the wrong place.
 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks: Celebratory cards aren't that impressive, but one player heading to the locker room to get a shower before anyone else uses up all the hot water is.
 Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles: While I agree that bats are high in fiber, I don't recommend serving them as appetizers at your next house party.
 Saitama Seibu Lions: Another celebratory shot, but facial expressions say it all. And the wrist watch.
 Orix Buffaloes: Yet another celebratory shot. I guess the water cooler was too heavy. This might be the worst card in the bunch.
 Hiroshima Toyo Carp: Here's something better, with a player leaping to get that bunt down. At least, that's the assumption. Without having seen 99% of the cards in the flagship set, I'm going to guess that this is the best image in the whole set.
Yokohama BayStars: Ultramen with a player doing poses. This might be better than the Giants card, as these are costumed TV characters, not just team mascots. But everyone is actually dancing on the Giants card, while this is just a pose.

I'm going with the Giants as the best card in the set. What's your favorite?

Monday, February 26, 2018

Japanese Disney Tsum Tsum Seal Collection Stickers: Collection "0"

About five years ago, a smartphone game was released in Japan called Tsum Tsum. Little, ball-shaped Disney characters fall from the top screen, and by connecting chains of them together, you can clear them off, earning points and coins. 

The game's backstory is that the Tsum Tsum toys fell off the shelf and you have to clear them off to open the store. Around the same time as the game's release, small plush toys that the game represents started hitting actual Disney shelves. The toys and the game are both very popular here and in other countries; a global version of Tsum Tsum was released a few years ago and a short-lived Marvel Tsum Tsum spin-off game ended a few months ago.

To be honest, the Marvel game took the same basic premise but changed a lot of the gameplay, adding missions of some kind. I never really understood exactly what that was supposed to be, and the game was much more difficult to play overall as the tsums were smaller and the play area was smaller as well. I'm not surprised it's gone.

Anyway, Disney Tsum Tsum remains highly popular, and in Japan there is a huge range of merchandise using the characters. You can even buy cookware with Tsum Tsums on it!

I play the original Japanese game - I've been playing since almost the beginning. And the card collector in me can't help but be interested in these collectible stickers. I've discovered three series so far, and I believe this is the first.

This particular set has no card numbers, where the other two series I'm aware of do have numbers. In fact, the stickers have no copyright information or other details at all, other than the Tsum Tsum logo. They were sold in taba packs, with two stickers per pack, and I am pretty sure they were made by Ensky. Ensky is the manufacturer of several non-sport products including stickers like these and regular trading cards, for everything from Disney to AKB48.

The fronts have color artwork of Tsum Tsum characters, with most of them being from early characters in the Tsum Tsum game. There are some characters that didn't make it into the game until much later. Given the timing of the other two series, I'm guessing this was released in 2014 or 2015. If this is actually a later series, it would have been released in 2016. Backs have gray scale versions of the front images.

Because there are no card numbers and I didn't have any information from the taba pack, I can't be certain about the set specifics. I have 45 different stickers, below, which might be a full set. Or there could be 60. Or 46. Who knows?

I didn't see any stickers from Collection 2 in this lot, and I'm pretty sure Collection 1 is also entirely unique. It's hard to tell for sure without spending a few hours checking, as many images are similar. But I believe this to be "Collection 0".

So, yes, here are the scans for my "full" set of Disney Tsum Tsum Seal Collection stickers.
 Card 1, with the back.