Every fan of the Dragon Ball series would jump at the chance to collect all seven Dragon Balls so that Shenron could grant them a wish. Although the likelihood of that happening is rooted fairly and squarely in fiction, back during the 2017 Anime Expo, Toei animation let fans take part in a puzzle game, which let them find Dragon Balls and win the ‘Light Of Hope Trunks’ Puzzle Hunt card.
The 1-hour long game was organised by SCRAP, an escape room company that was established in Japan in 2007. As of 2021, over 3.3 million people have taken part in many of their live games, with branches in Japan, China, Singapore, United States,Canada, France and Spain.
To enter, those attending the 2017 Anime Expo held in Los Angeles simply had to head over to the Toei Animation booth and ask for their free game kit to begin the first puzzle. After completing the puzzle, players would find their first Dragon Ball and the next puzzle. Once a player had completed all the puzzles and collected all seven Dragon Balls, they would return to the Toei booth to receive their ‘Light Of Hope Trunks’ card, which had special text printed on the front to mark the achievement.
Not only did the Toei Animation booth host the Puzzle Hunt game, but they were also promoting the DBS CG, which hadn’t been released officially yet. At this booth, Bandai representatives allowed early purchase of the first DBS CG starter deck, as well as giving out free half sample decks, a play sheet and a rule manual. Those that bought the first starter deck also got an exclusive ‘Super Saiyan Blue, Son Goku’ Leader card with the ‘Coming Soon’ gold text printed onto it.
The 2017 Anime Expo also hosted a Q&A panel with Christopher Sabat, the English voice actor for Vegeta, Sean Schemmel, who voices Goku, Jason Douglas, who voices Beerus and Ryo Horikawa, who is the Japanese voice actor for Vegeta. During the segment, the personalities talked about the revived Dragon Ball franchise and the Battle of Gods and Ressurection F movies, which were themes in the early releases of the DBS CG.
The cards that were available at the 2017 Anime Expo have become collector pieces, with ‘Super Saiyan Blue, Son Goku’ selling for between $20 and $50, with the last PSA 10 copy selling for $510. The ‘Light Of Hope Trunks’ Puzzle Hunt card is currently selling for between $30 and $50, although the ones listed on eBay are currently up for between $90 and $100. A PSA 10 graded version of this card is currently listed for $1,250, which seems like a fair asking price considering that there are only eight of these cards in the PSA population, with six of them achieving the PSA 10 grade.
On July 4th 2017, The Anime Expo saw 107,658 people walk through the Los Angeles Convention Center doors. Since then, the event has only continued to grow – much like the DBS CG. In 2020 and 2021, the Expo was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic but is expected to make a return in 2022.
Mathew Parkes – Ludkins Media
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