That’s not how you’re supposed to store collectible cards.

In Japan, presentation is important. Restaurant workers plate food perfectly, shop clerks wrap purchases exquisitely, and even the police are mindful of aesthetics when arranging physical evidence involved in a case that’s being presented to the public or press.

The care that goes into police evidence displays is impressive even by Japanese standards. You can usually count on the items being neatly and precisely placed so that all the corners line up and there’s a sense of symmetry to the layout, and sometimes officers will go so far as to color-coordinate, grouping items of similar hues together. The result regularly ends up looking like it could be a professional in-store merchandise display, and while the ostensible aim is to communicate that the police are handling the investigation with the utmost thoroughness and diligent attention to detail, the general public is often also amused at the artistic aspect.

However, when the Yamanashi Prefectural Police recently displayed the items they’d confiscated in relation to a pair of trading card store burglaries, fans of Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh weren’t happy at all when they saw how the evidence was being handled. See if you can spot the problem in the video below.

As is the norm, the evidence is spread out neatly, with individual cards hanging in sheet-like sleeves in the center of the display, boxes of cards on a table to the right. On a separate table to the left are stacks of Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards from already opened packs, and that’s where fans got upset.

▼ The video cued to where the card stacks are shown

Keeping each of the stacks bundled together are rubber bands, with some stacks having them running both width and lengthwise. While that may have be how some little kids store their cards, collectors and serious fans would never think to do such a thing. Putting that sort of physical pressure on the cards can crease, crumple, and cut their edges where the paper meets the rubber.

▼ What’s more, as this close-up shows, some of the cards aren’t even sitting flat against the surface of the table, further increasing the risk of bending them.

From a fan perspective, binding the cards with rubber bands is potentially damaging a work of art, and also makes the card less viable for use in competitive play if it becomes visibly marked to an extent that an opponent can tell what it is before it’s turned over. Even setting aside fan sentimentality and game strategy, damaging the cards would lower their market value, and several online commenters voiced their disappointment in the way the Yamanashi Prefectural Police were handling the items.

“Geeez, using rubber bands…Please take better care of those cards.”
“If one of the investigators was a card gamer, they’d have put more care into this.”
“No Pokémon or Yu-Gi-Oh players in the preceinct.”
“What are they gonna do if a valuable card gets damaged before they can return it to the shop it was stolen from?”
“I realize the police worked hard on this case, but if they handle the evidence like this, they’re probably going to get complaints and a claim for damages.”

Online criticism eventually led Japan’s The Sankei News to contact the Yamanashi police about the matter, with a spokesperson explaining that “As the confiscated items are evidence, we need to make sure they are kept together. We have to keep them in groups of a set quantity, and so we wrapped them with rubber bands during the display.”

There is some solace in that, according to the investigators, the premium-priced cards in the evidence set, some worth as much as 140,000 yen (US$980) were in protective cases during the display, and the ones bound with rubber bands were those of minimal value. In addition, the rubber bands were only used during the display, and at other times those cards have been kept together in bags, and no complaints have been made about the display from either of the stores that were the victims of the robberies (the Pokémon cards were stolen from a shop in Yamanashi and the Yu-Gi-Oh ones from a store in Saitama Prefecture, with the thief arrested and having confessed to both crimes.

Still, the Yamanashi Prefectural Police spokesperson acknowledges that, in hindsight, this probably wasn’t the best way to handle the evidence. “We honestly didn’t expect to be criticized for this, and we need to let this be a learning experience by which to see the need of considering many different aspects.”

And if the Yamanashi Prefectural Police want an into to Pokémon card storing techniques, we can help.

Source: The Sankei News via Jin, TBS News Dig, YouTube/ANNnewsCH 
Top image ©SoraNews24

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