As is often referred to here, Bandai’s Shinra Bansho Choco is derived pretty directly from Lotte’s Bikkuriman Choco line of character stickers with wafers. But now, it looks like the father is imitating the son.
Shin Bikkuriman, a brand new incarnation of the series, is coming out in Japan in May, after a 3/25 release in select regions. Doing away with the squat character designs of the original stickers, the wafers now come with trading cards featuring more full figured characters, putting it more in line with Shinra Bansho’s approach. Not only that, they can be used for a simple battle card game playable with a mere five cards, much like Kura Sushi’s Kaiten Mutenmaru card series.
Still, reprints of the classic Bikkuriman line continue, with Bikkuriman Densetsu 7 coming out the same month (as have collaborations, like the recent “Hokuto no Man” Fist of the North Star stickers). So while they’re not leaving behind the older collector/nostalgia market, it looks like they’re trying to retake the younger market which has seemingly slipped through their fingers in recent years.
Here’s a pack opening video featuring a variety of cards. Interestingly, even the package design has been changed to match the standard form factor for novelty pack-in wafers employed by Bandai and other companies, complete with the plastic wrap for the card inside. The new wafers lack peanuts, which Bikkuriman always had. How heretical!
No pre-orders are available online quite yet, but I’ll update when this changes.
Time will tell if this new approach catches on. In the mean time, here’s some links to peruse:
–Their explanation of the card game in two YouTube videos. Despite being in Japanese, they’re easy to understand.
–A blog post overview of the cards, source of one of the images above.
-Cards are on Yahoo Auctions, like here and here (aka, my other image sources)