To some degree the Samurai Japan rosters for both events were a little experimental as manager Atsunori Inaba was looking to how some of the younger NPB stars would do in international competition. As a result there's a number of stars who weren't on the rosters for either of those events and therefore aren't in the set. This includes Hayato Sakamoto, Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh, Takehiro Norimoto, Tomoyuki Sugano, Kodai Senga, Nobuhiro Matsuda, Yoshihiro Maru, Seiya Suzuki and Sho Nakata. In addition there's eight players on the MLB All-Star roster that do not appear in the set - Nao Higashihama, Ryosuke Kikuchi, Takuyuki Kishi, Yuki Matsui, Daichi Ohsera, Akitake Okada, Shinsaburo Tawata, and Naoyuki Uwasawa.
So who's in the set? I should mention there's 44 cards in the set which is 8 cards more than either the 2016 or 2017 versions. Manager Inaba has a card which also doubles as the set checklist. Shogo Akiyama, Tetsuto Yamada and Yasuaki Yamasaki are all in the set - they are the only three players who have appeared in all three of Calbee's Samurai Japan sets. There's a whopping 36(!) players who have never appeared in a Samurai Japan set before which includes a bunch of guys who were on the Premier 12 roster - Tsubasa Aizawa, Sosuke Genda, Shota Imanaga, Takuya Kai, Kensuke Kondoh, Kouhei Morihara, Rei Takahashi, Shota Tonosaki, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Taisuke Yamaoka and Masataka Yoshida. Other first time Samurai Japan players are Hotoka Yamakawa, Yuki Yanagita, Tomoya Mori and Munetaka Murakami.
The cards themselves are very attractive. They have a kira finish like the cards in the two previous sets did but it's not as overpowering as it was in those sets, especially the 2016 one. The effect is more subtle and the cards look great as a result. Five of the 44 cards have a horizontal format which works well with the photos Calbee selected for those cards. I will issue my usual gripe that the photo selection could have used a little more diversity - it's the usual "pitchers pitching, hitters hitting, catchers catching" rut although there are a couple cards where they deviated from this. Here's some example cards:
|#SJ-09 Kazuto Taguchi|
|#SJ-34 Hotoka Yamakawa|
|#SJ-30 Kosuke Tanaka|
|#SJ-22 Seiji Kobayashi|
|#SJ-32 Shogo Nakamura|