W1C continues our breakdown of Ghost In The Shell across trading card sets, focusing here on a small set of Topps Promo cards, as well as the enjoyable Amada Chromium cards.  Collectors can find Part One of our breakdown, featuring the Carddass Masters GITS set here.
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.  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.

Trading card manufacturer Topps entered into the Ghost In The Shell foray with their 1995 promotional set featuring Major Kusanagi and her partner Batou on glossy cards and minimalist design.  These promo packs were cellopacked and sold as a 5-card set via the Topps booth at the 1995 San Diego Comic Convention to promote release of the Mamoru Oshi film in American Theaters.

Each card featured a compelling image from the movie against a faded title  header and binary sidebar along the rightof the card. Cardbacks feature the movie’s logo, another character shot and brief information about various aspects of the movie.

Discerning collectors will notice that these cards are actually numbered, although at a glance they appear not to be.  Each card features a different binary code centered at the top yielding set numbers for the five cards as follows:
00001 – People love machines in 2029 A.D.
00010 – There is a whisper… from my “ghost”
00100 – All your memories… are false
01000 – Project 2501
10000 – Who slips into my body and whispers to my ghost?
Topps Ghost In The Shell SDCC Card Numbering GITS

As we mentioned above, this set was packed as many promotional cards are – in clear cellowrappers.  Collectors can keep sealed sets for the novelty of it, but the five cards present well enough in binder pages for those who want to open and sort through them.  The printed images are all decent for their time, although the set lacks uniformity in sharpness as the promotional images are sharper in print than the still images from the movie turned out.  Generally, this novelty set is nice enough to break the packs open, but don’t expect too much across these five cards.  Completists will be interest in adding these to their collections, and shouldn’t expect too much of a price commitment as the Topps cards can still be found online with relative ease and somewhat affordably. 


5 Card Standard Set | Cellopack
5 Cards Per Pack
Set Collation
One sealed cellopack will yield a five-card set
Amada’s Ghost In The Shell Chromium set was produced in 1997 after the film’s release, although the cards show a 1995 copyright on the back.  Base sets are comprised of only 45 cards which span 18 Character Profiles, 9 Opening Sequence cards, and the remaining 27 cards covering the events from the movie.  The art direction of the character profile cards is nicely done, minimalist presentations of the I.P.’s logo followed by the tagline “People Love Machines In 2029 A.D.” at the top of each card. Every card gets a title in square font on the lower left corner, and a Japanese figure in red on the bottom right.  The set then switches to a landscape format framed at the bottom by an attractive title bar.  Cardbacks all briefly highlight additional information and feature some great sketch work or additional color shots from the movie.

Amada Ghost In The Shell Chromium Cards GITS Kusanagi

This set was capitalizing on the-then-craze of Chromium on collectibles replete on 90’s products.  Amada did a very nice job with the chromium application on these cards, but as we’ve seen over the last 25 years, full chromium collectibles tend to turn a unique shade of green over time with acid-release or UV exposure. Still, non-acidified sets can still be found and collectors will want to be sure to store this set in acid-free, UV resistant pages or frames.
Although the base set only comes in at 45 cards, Amada did include 3 chase sets making box breaks more exciting.  Each pack contained one of 15 “Reflector” cards numbered S01 – S15. It’s hard to see what was accomplished with this subset as the first 9 cards are simply more images from the film although the last 6 feature borderless promotional art with a puzzle assembly on the cardbacks.
“Clearchrome” cards were inserted 1 for every 12 packs, and are quite a bit harder to find on the aftermarket today.  These cards featured chromium highlights amidst translucent stock and are relatively attractive, if not gimmick-free. There are 9 “Clearchrome” Ghost In The Shell cards numbered C-01 through C-09.
Lastly, the set features two individual cards – an unnumbered “Coming Soon!” promo featuring the movie poster image of Kusanagi in her Optic-Camouflage suit, and a Special Reflector Card (#SP01) extremely limited, pulling at only 1:96 packs.

Amada Ghost In The Shell Chromium Card Packs and Box GITS

Sealed boxes for this set featured the now-common image of Kusanagi in Optic-Camouflage against a backdrop of bubbles, presumably meant to call back to the shot of the Major underwater (you can even see her hair floating around the profile). Boxes were of your standard horizontal-pack design for the time, containing 24 packs per box.  Each pack was attractively wrapped in a foil wrapper with the “Wired Up” promotional image of Kusanagi against a white backdrop and attractive font telescoping a level of sophistication from the cards underneath.  Collectors will want an empty wrapper with their sets as they present nicely.
“Ghost In The Shell Chromium” by JPP/Amada is a small but nice card set for its time. The chromium gimmick really screams “1990’s”, yet in many ways serves an intellectual property like "Ghost In The Shell" through a metallic appearance and enriched colors from reflectivity. The set is relatively easy to find, although sealed boxes of this now 25-year-old card set can run upwards of $75 to $100 per box, collectors might be interested in simply buying sets rather than chasing breaks for themselves at this point.

45 Card Standard Set
15 Card Reflector Set | 1 Per Pack
9 Card Clearchrome Set | 1:12 Packs
1 Special Reflector Card | 1:96 Packs
1 Promotional Card
24 Packs Per Box | 6 Chromium Cards & 1 Reflector Card Per Pack
Collector’s Note
Collectors buying sets can expect some color transition across this set as-is relatively common with chromium cards of this age.  Anyone choosing to go the boxbreak route on their own should also take care when opening packs as cards of this age and material tend to stick together and should be separated with caution.

Check back soon for Part 3 of the W1C Collector's Guide to Ghost In The Shell trading card sets!

Wave 1 Collectibles currently has “Ghost In The Shell” inventory available here

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