Friday, July 15, 2011

BBM Future Icon


I've mentioned before that BBM seems to be going out of their way this season to showcase Yuki Saitoh of the Fighters. There's the "Platinum Age" set featuring players born in 1988, various insert and memorabilia sets with the 1st and 2nd Version sets and the Fighters Mega Energy set. This week, I picked up yet another set that BBM had done that features Yu-Chan: the Future Icon boxed set.

I haven't seen anything about this set on BBM's website and the box is labelled "Kamagaya Stadium Edition" which makes we wonder if it was either a stadium giveaway or simple something only available for sale at the Fighter's ni-gun team's ballpark in Kamagaya.

The set contains 18 cards. The fronts of cards 1-16 are essentially reprints of cards of various Fighter rookies from this season's Rookie Edition, "Platinum Age" and 1st Version sets, with a "Future Icon" logo added. (The Rookie Edition subset includes all six Fighter cards from the original set.) Card 17 (of Yuki Saitoh) does not reprint an existing card, so it's labelled "Original design card". Card 18 is for the ni-gun Fighter's mascot Cubby.

Of the 17 cards showing players, there are actually only seven players who are depicted. Yuki Saitoh is on five of the cards (Rookie Edition, Platinum Age, Platinum Age Printed Autographed Card, 1st Version and Original design card). The other six players have two cards each. The remaining five players (other than Yu-chan) who had appeared in the Rookie Edition
set have their Rookie Edition and 1st Version reprints in the set: Haruki Nishikawa, Masahiro Inui, Yodai Enoshita, Yuya Taniguchi and Masaru Saitoh. The other player is Mitsuo Yoshikawa, who's Platinum Age and Platinum Age Printed Autographed Card are reproduced.

Here's some sample cards. From top to bottom, the Yuki Saitoh Rookie Edition card (#01), the Mitsuo Yoshikawa "Platinum Age" card (#08), the Haruki Nishikawa 1st Version card (#12) and the Yuki Saitoh "Original design card" (#17):





The backs of the cards are not reproductions of the backs of the original cards. The backs of cards 01-09 form a picture when they are all aligned together properly:


The backs of cards 10-16 features the biographical data (birthday, height, weight, etc) for each player (Yu-chan's blood type is A, in case you were wondering). (Card 10 is one of the cards for Yoshikawa and cards 11-16 are the 1st Version cards, so the bio on the back is for the player on the front). The back of card 17 repeats the biographical data for Yu-Chan and the back of card 18 is a checklist for the set. (And this may be the most in depth I've ever gone in describing a set.)

I picked this set up via an avenue that I had not previous tried before - the Rakuten Global Market. I was browsing through their baseball cards, saw the set and decided to see how easy it was to order. The set was around 1100 yen and shipping was 1200, so the total ended up being a little shy of $30. I was amazed, however, at how fast I got the set. I ordered the set this past Monday afternoon (Eastern US time, middle of the night in Japan) and I got it yesterday (Thursday)! Wow! The only thing I was uncomfortable about was that the confirmation emails I got were in Japanese. I ran them through Google Translate to see if there was anything they were actually asking me or if it was just automated messages about the order. I was pretty sure it was the latter but I wasn't completely sure until the cards showed up. I'm definitely going to order through them again, possibly get some of this year's Calbee cards.

Update: just looked again at the listing for the set at Rakuten. I think it's saying that there's a possibility of getting an autographed (not sure if it's a real autograph or a printed one) version of cards 17 & 18 - Yuki Saitoh or Cubby. (Man, that's a good news-bad new situation: the good news is that you got a really rare autographed card; the bad news is it's the mascot...) More importantly, it looks like the set was supposed to be sold at Kamagaya on March 16 but I'm pretty sure than since that was five days after the earthquake, that game was never played.

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