Some new items of interest:
BBM has released information on a boatload of sets in the last couple weeks. They've announced this year's team sets for the Baystars, Buffaloes, Carp, Giants and Marines. They are all pack based sets with base sets of 99 cards (except the Giants which has 108 cards) along with various inserts and memorabilia cards. The Baystars and Buffaloes sets will be out in late April. The other three will be out in late May.
In addition, BBM announced two new OB sets - Tigers Legend and the Hawks 75th Anniversary set. The Tigers Legend set is a pack based set with 99 cards in the base set, a nine cards insert set (V-1985) and a bunch of possible autograph cards. From the promo sheet at Discount Niki's website, the design of the base cards looks very similar to the Giants Legend set from last winter. I think the theme for this set is players from the 1980's but I'm not sure. It looks like there's 90 "regular" player cards in the base set along with a nine card subset translating as something along the lines of "successive Legend". It will be out in early May. The Hawks 75th Anniversary set also has 99 cards in the base set along with a nine card insert set (Honors List?) and various autograph cards. The 99 base set cards break down along the standard Anniversary set lines - 5 cards "Hawks Memories" subset, 67 OB Hawks cards, 18 current Hawks cards and 9 cards that appear to show different uniforms over the years. The big news about this set is that Katsuya Nomura will be appearing in it - he was not included in the Hawks 70th Anniversary set that BBM put out in 2008 and he doesn't appear in BBM's OB sets very often. The set will be released in late May.
A set that BBM kind of snuck out with little fanfare in the last two weeks is this year's Tokyo Big Six set. It's a 37 card box set featuring 36 "regular" cards and one special card - either an autograph or an insert (Tokyo Big Six Heroes). The base set is evenly divided among the six teams - five player cards and a team card for each. The set is actually already out and all the regular cards plus a couple of the inserts can be seen here.
BBM apparently decided that having the team cards in the 1st Version set feature mascots for the fourth time in the last five years wasn't enough - they've announced the return of the Our Friends set from 2011 which featured all the mascots for all the teams. It's a pack based set with 81 cards in the base set along with parallel "kira" cards and autograph cards. It'll be out in late May.
I've kind of forgotten to check to see what Topps has up it's sleeve in the way of cards for this year's World Baseball Classic. So far, I've found information on only two sets. The first is a small (15 card) insert set in the upcoming Topps Series Two set. I haven't found a checklist so I don't know who's included. Topps will be releasing Series Two on June 12. The other set is called Topps Tribute World Baseball Classic Edition. There's a 100 card base set and a ton of autograph and memorabilia cards. The base set will include 15 players from the Japanese team - Masahiro Tanaka, Kenji Otonari, Hayato Sakamoto, Tadashi Settsu, Takeru Imamura, Yuichi Honda, Toshiya Sugiuchi, Kazuo Matsui, Hideaki Wakui, Shinnosuke Abe, Atsunori Inaba, Tetsuya Utsumi, Atsushi Nohmi, Kenta Maeda and Nobuhiro Matsuda. It will be released on June 26.