For over three decades now, Masamune Shirow’s Ghost In The Shell has continued to demonstrate its staying power, both in pop-culture and across a variety of mediums. The property has spanned several movies (all of which we are a proponent of, including the spectacularly filmed Scarlett Johansson movie regardless of it socially-contrived-controversy), animated series, video games and publications. The 1995 movie was considered groundbreaking at the time and brought American audiences into the animated format very likely more than any other Japanese anime films before it.
Ghost In The Shell and its protagonist, Motoko Kusanagi have been the subject of quite a bit of merchandise and apocrypha since first being published in 1989 as well. Interestingly enough, there aren’t very many resources highlighting the variety of Ghost In The Shell trading card sets that have come to market over the years, so hopefully the Wave 1 Collectibles breakdown of the famed anime as it appears in .0254 millimeters of cardboard will be helpful for fans and collectors alike.
PART 1 GHOST IN THE SHELL CARDDASS MASTERS | 1997 [BANDAI]
The Carddass Masters set is a card set of stunning design, amazing presentation and truly high-end insert cards. This set could be considered the definitive set to the original movie, sought after by GITS collectors as it beautifully covers content from the 1995 Ghost In The Shell anime.
The Ghost In The Shell Carddass Masters set is a trading card set designed for 9-Pocket page viewing. It features several arrays of triptych’s that come together to feature some great artwork ranging from Movie Poster images and action shots, to other promotional images of protagonist, Major Kusanagi. The set unfolds numerically and by theme, beginning with an intro triptych image, then character profiles, followed by a 9-pocket page of equipment cards. Cards 37 – 126 cover scenes from the movie, with numbers 46 – 63 presenting a pretty well done celluloid-style take on the opening credits. Carddass Masters closes the standard set with a final nine-card recreation of the movie poster presented in landscape format.
Bandai also included a well done chase card set, with individual cards randomly inserted into packs in the form of 4 SP Gold Foil Art cards. These are truly magnificent chase cards the likes of which I’ve yet to see matched even on a modern set. These SP cards feature various images of Major Kusanagi as drawn by Masamune Shirow, and the foiling process includes some pretty amazing linework in the gold that truly resembles the stamping process of industrial metal. The Carddass Masters Ghost In The Shell SP cards truly have to be seen in person to really grasp the quality of manufacture. But needless to say, Bandai knocked it out of the park with this gold-foil insert-set.
Sealed boxes for this set were equally attractive, featuring a somewhat unique “brick” shape design that was not only newer at the time when compared to your more common horizontal card boxes, but also felt somewhat utilitarian as the shape and design lends itself to something more akin to a CCG deck box than a retail pack shipper. Although the cards themselves feature printed English, the Carddass Masters box is 99% written in Japanese. The set wraps up for collectors (pun intended) with a reflective foil wrapper featuring another promo image of Kusanagi. Completists will also want to keep an eye out for the Carddass Masters/Bandai promotional advertisement card (written in Japanese). Although originally inserted into every pack, the promotional card might be harder to find as a single nowadays if you aren’t buying sealed boxes of this now 25-year-old set. It is very likely that most people would have thrown this one out as “unnecessary promo material” even on day one. The back of this promotional card offers a redemption towards a Carddass Masters 3-Ring binder for your Ghost In The Shell set. Note however, that the actual binder only features the “Carddass Masters” logo rather than any GITS décor, making it more of an interesting add-on than a necessary piece for completists.
“Ghost In The Shell” by Carddass Masters should be a high-priority set for serious GITS fans or interested non-sports collectors. This release is a great representation of the animated film across 135 glossy and nicely detailed cards, with a nice spread of subsets and triptychs that look great in a binder. The 4-card SP set is stunning – I can only imagine the market for these cards in PSA slabs graded Mint at 9 or 10. We can’t say enough about the quality of those four cards or their aesthetic beauty, especially given the simplicity of the gold foil concept.
BANDAI’S CARDDASS MASTERS GHOST IN THE SHELL BREAKDOWN
135 Card Standard Set
4 Card SP Set
15 Packs Per Box | 10 Cards Per Pack
Some card singles from the standard set are harder to find than others. It took us 3 boxes to complete two standard sets, but note that we wouldn’t have completed the first standard set without the 3rd box of cards.
SP Card Set Collation
We pulled SP cards at an actual ratio of 1:7.5 packs on our breaks, but it should be noted that completing the SP set will very likely require more than 30 packs because you could pull doubles if you can still track down sealed 15-pack boxes of the now 25-year-old Ghost In The Shell cards.
Collectors searching for cards online should be advised that this set was manufactured with “framed” or rounded-corners. And so, when you see these online be aware that you are not looking at cards with blunted-corners, but rather most likely seeing a card as it was manufactured for the set.
Click here for part 2 of our breakdown of card sets from the fan-favorite cyberpunk sci-fi, Ghost In The Shell.
Wave 1 Collectibles currently has “Ghost In The Shell” inventory available here.