As usual I've gotten behind on new stuff. Three of the six sets I'm going to talk about were actually released this week.
- On Thursday BBM released a box set commemorating the Carp's first Central League pennant in 25 year. I'm not quite sure what the set is called - the translation is coming back as something like "Realization Of A Great Ambition". The set has 55 cards - 54 base set cards plus one large 3-D card (there are four possible). Since the set has no autograph or memorabilia cards, it's priced much more reasonably than most of BBM's other box sets - the MSRP is only 2500 yen (roughly $25). I ordered one through AmiAmi the other day for 2400 yen plus 790 yen for SAL shipping. You can see the set at Jambalaya.
- This week BBM also released the annual Rookie Edition Premium box set. This is a 38 card box set with 36 cards of the top rookies of the season (3 per team) plus two "special" cards - one autograph and one memorabilia card. As you'd expect, the MSRP is a bit higher for this set than it was for the Carp set - 15,000 yen (around $150). Jambalaya has all the cards online here.
- BBM is celebrating their 70th Anniversary as a magazine publisher this year and they are releasing a multi-sport set called Masterpiece. I wrote a bit about this set when SCM 119 came out - it's a pack based set with 128 cards in the base set - 36 OB baseball players (3 per team with 2 Kintetsu Buffaloes and one Rakuten Eagle), 36 active baseball players (3 per team), 55 athletes from other sports and a checklist. There's also four 18 card insert sets - Glorious 3D, Stay Gold, Super Star and Sparkling Hero) and a boat load of autograph cards. The set was actually released today and can be seen online at Jambalaya.
- BBM has announced a set called Fusion that will be released in late November. I think that this set is replacing the annual "Historic Collection" set that BBM has been doing since 2001-ish. I'm a bit intrigued by this set but I'm not quite sure what to make of it. Like the "Historic Collection" sets, the base set is 144 cards. There's a 9 card "1st Version Update" subset, a 9 card "Ceremonial First Pitch" subset, a 102 card "Hall Of Fame" subset and a 24 card "Title Holder" subset. I'm not sure that the "Hall Of Fame" subset is all Hall Of Famers - there's 192 members of the Japanese Hall Of Fame so that would leave out 90 guys and the example autograph cards on the website show OB players who are not Hall Of Famers - typically BBM doesn't have autographs from guys who don't appear in the base set. I don't know what form the 1st Version update will take - it'd be cool if it included guys who signed after 2nd Version went to press in early June like Carlos Peguero and Felix Perez of the Eagles or Mike Broadway of the Baystars. There will be two insert sets - a 24 card "Great Record" set and a 12 card "Legendary Player" set - as well as a bazillion autograph cards.
- The latest set from Epoch in conjunction with the OB Club (aka the Japan Baseball Promotion Association) is a follow up to the "League Leaders" set they did last summer. "League Leaders Volume Two" will be released on December 10th. Each 16,200 yen (MSRP) box contains five cards - two base set cards, one "hologram" signed card and two autograph cards. There's 27 players in the set who are each represented by a card in the base set, a holograph parallel (including I think a "1of1" variation) and three different autograph cards including one on a baseball. The list of players has some overlap with the first set. Just quickly eyeballing the lists it looks like Shigeo Nagashima, Tatsunori Hara, Yutaka Enatsu, Kimiyasu Kudoh and Koji Akiyama are in both sets although the latter three were depicted with a different team in the first set.
- Calbee apparently has regained the license to do cards for the Japanese National Team for the first time since 2001. They are issuing a 36 card set at the end of November showing players from (I think) both the Premier 12 last November and the couple exhibition games last March against Taiwan. There's a card for team manager Hiroki Kuroda as well as most of the players you'd expect - Shohei Ohtani, Tetsuto Yamada, Yuki Matsui, Yoshitomu Tsutsogoh, Sho Nakata, Hayato Sakamoto and Shogo Akiyama among others. The full checklist is here.