There’s only one thing better than playing games and that’s collecting every piece of merchandise tied to them. There was nothing like flipping through your favorite gaming magazine and seeing a profile of a limited edition collectible or discovering a piece of memorabilia from a beloved game in an overlooked corner of a shop and it’s a feeling we strive to replicate every month as we look through our own collector’s cabinet and dig out items new and old to show the world.
Sweet Pool is the first boys’ love visual novel released by the JAST BLUE imprint of JAST USA. As such, many had expected it would arrive as a digital-only release. Maybe with time and success JAST BLUE would then move on to physical editions. Instead, JAST BLUE blew away everyone’s expectations by offering a physical edition (with bonuses) as well as what they deem the Sweet Pool Premium Fan Collection. This monolithic set is said to be limited — probably clocking in at 5000 copies or less in total. It’s still available, though, thanks likely to its premium price tag of $150.
Despite the price, die hard BL fans snapped up a copy and they’ve finally dispatched from Japan. What all is included with this set? Well, it’s easier to explain what is not included. For some reason they opted to not include the physical copy of the game which is available for sale separately. With that said, a digital copy is provided via Steam key on a business card. The cardboard shipping box itself is the case for all the contents of this edition. This proved troublesome for me when my box arrived completely ripped on the side — fortunately none of the contents fell out!
In any case, inside the cardboard box is a treasure trove of Sweet Pool merchandise. Here’s the breakdown: artbook, t-shirt, acrylic figures, backdrops for figures, tote bag, clearfile folders, postcards, Steam key and proof of purchase. The artbook itself, while softback, is large and printed on glossy paper. It features tons of images, from CGs to sketches, of the characters who inhabit the game’s world. The t-shirt features a rendition of protagonist Youji on light purple fabric. The only issue is the shirt is a large size, meaning that not everyone will be able to wear it themselves.
The tote bag is surprisingly high quality and regular sized and features drawings of a cat, dog, fish and iguana. These are meant to represent each of the characters in Sweet Pool. Then there are the four acrylic figures. These small plastic standees show off Youji, Tetsuo, Makoto and Zenya and can be used in conjunction with the multiple cardboard backdrops provided. These backdrops are double sided and feature backgrounds from throughout the game, such as locations around the high school.
Also included are five postcards. Notably, these are not the same ones that come with the Sweet Pool physical edition. They do come on nice firm cardstock and a gloss coating that ensures each piece of artwork stands out. Also included is a collection of five clearfiles (A4 size). Clearfiles are not very popular outside of Japan, but they’re basically thin plastic folders for holding paper. They look excellent and again show off tons of great Sweet Pool artwork. The ten buttons/pins are cute, mainly showing off chibi artwork of the characters. Finally, there’s a numbered proof of purchase certificate.
All in all, the Sweet Pool Premium Fan Collection is one of the best visual novel limited editions out there. The only downside is it lacks a physical copy of the game. Again, that’s available for purchase on its own. Its celebration of Sweet Pool is exciting and sets the bar high for future JAST BLUE releases. Here’s hoping they can continue to offer premium sets for upcoming titles such as Dramatical Murder, Togainu no Chi, Lamento and Slow Damage.
Want to look through the rest of our Collector’s Cabinet? Head right here.