Hello again! Since I had my studio all setup for filming today I decided to do another box review to follow-up that incredible Chainsaw Man box we just looked at. Since I had been on a string of 10-yuan boxes, premium products, I decided to crack open one of my older 2-yuan boxes. So these are just cheap trading cards meant for parents to buy their kids at the grocery story. And yet. these Dragon Ball trading cards may be the best set we’ve looked at so far.
Just look at that box! This thing is even shinier then that SCP 5-yuan glitter bomb box. The basic box is coated with a blue holographic pattern of lines and stars. That backing is then printed over with that incredible artwork. Then that is all inlaid with rainbow foiling, making this just shine on camera. Compared to the 1-yuan box I had looked at earlier, this is so much nicer. Which is odd, since this is set 2, LZ-02 – and that other box is set 3, LZ-03. You figure they would at least maintain quality levels? Or maybe this is the difference between 1-yuan and 2-yuan?
I’ve never opened a 2-yuan Little Dinosaur product before, like this one is. I’m not really sure what to expect. From the outside of the box this does look like a typical retail oriented product. The look is great, it will definitely catch your eye as you walk past it. It also includes that redemption scheme system where you collect different levels of these Dragon Ball inserts. Each pack will have 1, and it will have between 1 and 7 stars. You need to collect different sets of those to trade in for prizes. This only really works if you live in China or have a good friend there.
I bought this box from Anime Card Store, it cost me 13.88$ with free shipping. I put it in an order with a few other things just so the vendor wasn’t wasting shipping costs. Still that’s now the cheapest box I own, beating out that Demon Slayer box by a whole dollar! This box only has 30 packs though, so the per-pack price is still 46 cents – which is 7 cents more expensive. The math on this can be tricky so don’t make assumptions, you need to actually work it all out to truly understand what you are paying for.
This is another Little Dinosaur production. I suspect they handle all these Dragon Ball sets. I’m not 100% sure because that 10-yuan box I reviewed wasn’t marked with a manufacturer. Little Dinosaur is the main competitor to Kayou in the Chinese market. Kayou tends to roll a little more high-end while Little Dinosaur handles volume product like this.
That’s important to understand when collecting stuff like this. The value of a card to the outside world is determined almost purely by it’s rarity. So if a set has a small boutique print run, like the Chainsaw Man cards actually, they sell out fast and then there just aren’t that many of even the base cards. On the other hand, something like this which was produced in massive volumes to hit every grocery store on the continent. Well, these cards are unlikely to be worth more than however much you like them, so keep that in mind. If you want to make money in this hobby, stick with product that includes numbered print run cards — like that amazing Duel Gundam set!
In looking through the marketting for this product vs the LZ-03 set, I’m struck by how much better this one seems. Maybe Little Dinosaur got lazy on set 3? Like look at those SP and CP cards — those look awesome, I would love to get even 1 of those gold on black CP cards. The art is these sets generally follows a pattern of low rarity is the character just standing there -> the higher the rarity gets the more insane the pose or combat effects will be.
I’m struggling to find the full info on this set, I can’t lay out the complete rarity picture for you. These cheaper, mass-produced sets don’t usually include that information since serious collectors don’t usually buy these. I can tell it has a similar setup to set 3 though, with SP at the top and R at the bottom. I expect most packs will be mostly R, then one SR or higher in the 5th slot.
Interestingly these are actually labeled as Dragon Ball Heroes cards on the back. I hadn’t noticed that before on the LZ-03 cards but they are also labeled that way in researching that I find something really interesting behind these.
I had heard about this before but forgotten about it entirely. That is an arcade card game. You play it by scanning real cards into the machine and those cards then become your team members for the game. This arcade system was insanely popular in Asia, with over 1.2 billion cards produced for the game. I think what these sets are is maybe a set for fans of that game? These are not the cards used in that game, they don’t look like that and lack the scanning markings.
There is also an anime series based on the Arcade game, maybe that is the thing these cards are coming from?
I’m really not an anime expert, and definitely not a Dragon Ball expert – if anybody out there can help connect the dots on any of this I’d really appreciate that, drop me an email or leave a comment.
The first card I want to show you is the redemption pack in. Every pack will have one of these in it, by the end of this box I will have 30 variants for this card. Notice the 3 stars on the ball? There are variants with 1 star all the way up to 7 stars. 1 star is the most common, while 7-star is equivalent to like a UR in rarity level. If you are in China you can trade sets of these in for real world prizes. For example a set of all 7 star types will net you a sweet statue. The problem is no vendor on AliExpress will help you with that so you are on your own.
The first real card I’ll show you is Frieza on an R rarity. Despite being an R, which is the common level in this set – this card shines! There are insane foil treatments on this compared to what the LZ-03 R cards got. Those just had a clear coat, usually not foil at all. This card has different foil on the background then it does in those purple swirls. This makes it look really cool in the light, almost like Frieze is actually gathering energy to attack.
The next R is Gogeta, the fusion of Goku and Vegeta – don’t ask too many questions about how that all works, just go with it. This card was really tough to scan, you can sort of see the rainbow coloring in the silver areas on both bottom corners? That is very similar to what Topps calls “Chromium paper” on their top-end Chrome series cards. I’m not joking, this looks just as good as those. The chrome backing has two counter-foiled swirl patterns, one blue and one orange.
A Topps Chrome card might cost you 2-3$, for 1 – this single card costs 9.2 cents. Of course this won’t hold value the way a Topps card might. That gets back to that print run volume point I was making earlier. The reason Topps Chrome cost so much is they carefully control the print run and include tons of numbered inserts, including 1/1 inserts where only 1 person in the whole world will ever find that card. These cheap anime sets don’t do anything like that, leaving the market flooded with cards.
I’ll skip the other R, it’s in the database if you want to see it. Check out this SR though! Once again we’re looking at a card that is simply head an shoulders above anything I’ve seen in the 1-yuan set 3 box. I really think Little Dinosaur just changed how they treat the various rarities after this set. Maybe it was too expensive to add all this foil onto the base cards?
This SR features Piccolo mounting a fierce attack against some unseen enemy. You again have multiple layers of counter-foiling on this, so the reflection of light goes in different directions on the fire-blast vs the background for example. Then the lightning has etching on it, just like the box promo SSR Kakarot I pulled from that 1-yuan box… That’s a really good sign for the rest of these, can’t wait to see what an UR looks like!
So that was honestly a really great box to look at. I learned a bit more about what these cards might be generally. These cards seem to have significantly better printing tech vs the set 3 cards. That makes me really excited for the 29 packs I have left to open. We will save those for another day though, have to keep moving through new product before we circle back. This way each thing I open will feel new.