It's that time again - the latest issue of Sports Card Magazine (#110) hit the shelves in Japan on Saturday. My copy showed up yesterday. The cover price of this issue was 2110 yen, which is over 300 yen more than last issue and a whopping 1100 yen over what issue #102 cost (the last issue in 2013 before SCM went to 12 insert cards per issue). I'm not exactly sure what caused the jump in price and I'm not positive that it will be permanent.
The cover story deals with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hiroki Kuroda and their return to Japan. It's kind of interesting even if I can't read the article - it shows a bunch of cards for both of them (all BBM of course) and has little head to head competitions between comparable cards - best rookie card (Matsuzaka's 1999 card over Kuroda's 1997 card), best autograph card (Kuroda's 2004 Carp Expert over Matsuzaka's 2003 Lions), best game used memorabilia card (Matsuzaka's 2002 1st Version Glove card over Kuroda's 2005 2nd Version Undershirt card), best insert card (Matsuzaka's 2002 Touch The Game All Star over Kuroda's 2007 Carp Shining Star), best parallel (Kuroda's 2007 1st Version "1 of 1" over Matsuzaka's 2006 2nd Version "hologram autograph") and best MLB memorabilia card (Kuroda's 2014 Topps Supreme autograph & patch card over Matsuzaka's 2013 Topps Five Stars Golden Graphs autograph card).
The color section also contains a two page article on BBM's first four team sets for 2015 (the Eagles, Swallows, Buffaloes and Hawks) which also contained a schedule for the release of all the team sets in 2015 (Carp, Fighters and Dragons will be out in late May, the Tigers will be out in early June, the Marines and Baystars in late June and the Lions and Giants in early July). Most of the remainder of the color sections is ads for BBM's recent and upcoming releases - 1st Version (2 pages), Eagles, Swallows, Hawks, Buffaloes, Giant Step (half page), Fighters Horizon (half page), Icons - Aces and Tigers 80th Anniversary. The most significant new piece of information out of these pages is that 1st Version will have team checklists and they will be the team mascots yet again. The most interesting piece in the "newsprint" section is an article on all the new foreign players in NPB for 2015. This article shows US cards for a number of the players including Topps, Bowman, Panini and even a Tennessee Smokies card of Marines pitcher Dae-Eun Rhee.
There are checklists for all the BBM issues shown in the color section and the revolving vintage checklist and price guide is for all of BBM's baseball cards (as predicted).
Their list of "Best Cards" for the issue is:
Best Card Of This Month: Keisuke Honda autograph card from 2014-15 Japan National Team (soccer)
Best Item Of This Month: BBM Rookie Edition
Hot Card Lists
1. 2015 BBM Rookie Edition Kazuma Okamoto (#54)
2. 2015 BBM Rookie Edition Kona Takahashi (#39)
3. 2015 BBM Rookie Edition Kohei Arihara (#23)
4. 2015 BBM Rookie Edition Takayoshi Noma (#67)
5. 2015 BBM Rookie Edition Sachiya Yamasaki (#14)
6. 2015 BBM Rookie Edition Tomohiro Anraku (#45)
7. 2015 BBM Rookie Edition Ryosuke Nomura (#76)
8. 2014 BBM 1st Version Daichi Ohsera (#239)
9. 2013 BBM 1st Version Shohei Ohtani (#183)
10. 2007 BBM 1st Version Masahiro Tanaka (#211)
Autograph & Memorabilia:
1. 2015 BBM Masters Of Insert Kazuhiro Kiyohara autograph card
2. 2014-15 Japan National Team Keisuke Honda autograph card
3. 2015 BBM Rookie Edition Kazuma Okamoto facsimile autograph parallel
4. 2015 BBM Rookie Edition Kona Takahashi facsimile autograph parallel
5. 2015 BBM Rookie Edition Kohei Arihara facsimile autograph parallel
6. 2015 V Premier League (Volleyball) Megumi Kurihara autograph card
7. 2014-15 Japan National Team Yoshinori Muto autograph card
8. 2015 BBM Rookie Edition Takayoshi Noma facsimile autograph parallel
9. 2015 BBM True Heart Mio Shirai autograph card
10. 2015 BBM True Heart Mio Shirai autograph photo card
Finally, the best part of each issue is usually the enclosed baseball cards. This issue has 12 "Cross Plasma" cards. "Cross Plasma" is this year's cross set subset for BBM. There are 36 "Cross Plasma" cards in the 1st Version set and if BBM continues what they've done in past years, there will be 36 more cards in each of the 2nd Version and Genesis sets. These 12 cards (one for each team) are not promo versions of 1st Version "Cross Plasma" cards but bonus ones - they are numbered CP 37 to CP 48 while the "Cross Plasma" cards in 1st Version are CP 1 to CP 36. I'll be curious to see if BBM does this two more times this year - making it 36 SCM "Cross Plasma" cards to go with the 36 in each of the "flagship" sets.
The cards themselves resemble the "Cross X" subsets from previous years (Stream in 2010, Blast in 2011, Blaze in 2012, Wind in 2013 and Cosmic Cross in 2014 SCM) - a photo of the player superimposed on a "plasma" background on the front and the original picture on the back:
|Back of CP37/SCM308|
The players in the set include two players returning from the US (Matsuzaka and Hiroyuki Nakajima), two players who changed teams over the winter (Takahiro Arai and Yoshisa Naruse) and three rookies (Kohei Arihara, Kona Takahashi and Tomohiro Anraku):
I lucked into a silver facsimile autograph parallel for Atsushi Nohmi:
All 12 cards can be seen at Jambalaya.