Ah Naruto, another show I never really got around to watching but know a lot about from internet memes. If you know anything about non-sports trading cards it is likely you’ve heard of these, maybe even seen them before. These have been printed for a long time now, and are easily the most famous AliExpress trading cards around. I didn’t make this site to write about things like this, but it would be weird if I didn’t have at least 1 post on the subject. So let’s open some Naruto cards.
I knew when I started this project that I would end up looking at Naruto cards, it’s not quite as inevitable as the waifu cards, but it’s close. You cannot throw a rock on AliExpress without hitting somebody selling Naruto cards, everyone has them. You’ll be looking at a shop that specializing in counterfeit perfume or something – and they’ll have a section for Naruto cards. This is Kayou’s most popular product, it’s how this entire niche of the hobby got started and why this site even exists right now.
Kayou has been printing these for over 10 years. The box I’ve got here is from the 2nd series, it has 2017 copyright markings on it. Right now the 5th “wave” or series of these cards is wrapping up and I’m expecting wave 6 soon. It is very unlikely that I will buy anymore of these, mostly because there is already so much coverage of these products. You’ve got Capsule Corp Gear’s super detailed guide and complete listing of all cards here. There is a reddit dedicated to these that is still kind of active. There are tons and tons of youtube channels where people open packs.
I’m not going to show anybody anything new by writing about these. I feel like I have to include one post just so it doesn’t look like I’m ignoring an entire side of the hobby. It’s just I prefer to focus on the more obscure things, like the SCP trading cards.
I bought this box essentially at random in the same order I got that first One Piece and Dragon Ball 1-yuan boxes. It cost me $14.06, which is actually the cheapest full box I currently own. Being from very early in this products lifecycle, the early 2000s, and being a 1-yuan box – the lowest tier, we should not expect much from this.
The box itself is as bare as can be. Cheap cardboard with only the most basic printing on the front and a few logos on the sides. The box arrived severely damaged, it kind of looks like it was sitting on the bottom of a shelf with a lot of heavy things on top of it for maybe ~10 years. That’s probably pretty accurate. One interesting point is that the box has a layout more like western trading card retail boxes, there are 3 stacks of packs instead of 1 or 2 like we usually see. This takes up too much retail space so that’s why current 1-yuan boxes are as tiny as possible.
The Label on this has a ton of markings, more than I’ve seen before but again this Naruto thing is huge in the trading card world. Kayou has tried to crack down on the export of this product a few times over years, most recently just a month ago. If you ever see vendors on AliExpress not showing images of certain products but instead codes – like maybe you just see a white box with the letters “NR-CC-L002” and a price. This is a listing designed to get around license enforcement, if you are seeing those it means the company is currently cracking down on exports. Just wait a few weeks and things will return to normal.
Being Kayou cards I was actually eager to open one of these after seeing the quality of those 5-yuan My Little Pony cards. But holding the pack this feels much closer to the little dinosaur Demon Slayer packs in quality. The pack is also very flat, just like the box, these things have been compressed on a shelf for a long time.
I don’t know enough about Naruto to write up a full card post, so I’ll just go through a few of them here and add the rest to the database.
Hopefully I don’t offend anybody here with this post, I do realize that these cards are incredibly popular and a major reason this side of our hobby even exists. Without Naruto cards, there would be no market for offerings like the SCP lineup. Still, these cards seem boring. The pack had 5 cards, all R rarity – not even an SR in this first pack. This first card depicts the character Juugo, and just look how bored he is. How am I supposed to get excited about this when the character can’t even?
The card stock is thin, like the 1-yuan Little Dinosaur stock. These cards all bent a little when they came out of the pack, which is especially weird given how flattened the pack itself was. The cards have that same power/defense system we see on most of these offerings. I still have no idea if that’s an actual game system or just some creative copy writing.
It’s hard to tell from the scan but this Sasuke Uchiha card has a foil coating on it. It’s like a star foil pattern, but it is just a single overlaid sheet – nothing die cut or engraved. That coating made this card bend even worse than the others, it won’t lay flat on a table. I think the foil card here is meant to be the “good” card from this pack. Like this could have upgraded to an SR or higher but it’s default is a foil version of the R. This means you could collect both foil and non-foil copies of all of these if you really liked them.
That’s my post on Naruto cards. I’ll keep these packs in my rotation and all that but I’m unlikely to buy any more boxes from this franchise unless it’s something super special or maybe a cross over or something. Like a Naruto – SCP crossover, I’d buy 10 boxes of that on the spot lol.