My Comiket experience (๑•͈ᴗ•͈)
So..Comiket. This summer Comiket was actually my second Comic Market, my second chance to experience that hellish crowd and try to emerge victorious.
My first time was in December last year. Well, it should have been my first time but somehow I screwed up the dates and was able to go only the last day. And the last day of a Comiket is essentially porn..rows and rows of hentai, from soft core vanilla porn to hard core tentacled aliens (yes my hentai knowledge goes only this far). It was awkward to say the least. Above all it was really disappointing to find out that I missed all the shoujo/yaoi stuff by only one day and that all I had left was porn. Didn’t buy anything and vowed to be extra ready for the next one.
The main part to be ready was to be able to get a day off at work. Not an easy task since I’m a school teacher and my school is the only one opened during freaking summer! Anyway, I lied (sorry kids) my ass off and got the Friday off. Hooray finally something to look forward to during this crappy summer.*.⋆( ˘̴͈́ ॢ꒵ॢ ˘̴͈̀ )⋆.*
At Mandarake I saw the Comiket Catalog and I was amazed by its..heft. Seriously, it’s phone book thick and weights about the same.
And after looking through it, I ended up more confused than ever. Also, not exactly cheap (about 2500 ¥). But once again that was a mistake, I should have bought it and studied like it was for my finals.
The Catalogue contains all the names of the various artists and circles, the days they are going to be present, their precise location in the convention center and maps..wonderful maps!!
(sorry for the crappy quality..)
Anyway I went the first day without any precise idea of who was going to be there or what to look for and the result was confusion and exhaustion. The Tokyo Big Sight is a really cool looking place with multiple gigantic halls which can hold thousands of stands. It’s almost impossible to check out everything carefully and even less possible to find something that you may like without prior planning. So that day we (me and my husband) walked a lot without any specific purpose and I found this “Adventure Time” doujin just by chance.
So I bought the Catalog and that night I stayed up until late studying that mofo extra carefully. [≡] 〆(・⺫・‶)
I signed on the maps where I wanted to buy stuff, where certain authors were going to be and the general “theme” of the different halls. For example the East halls 1 and 2 were where I wanted to spend most of my time because they had all the Haikyuu and Kuroko no Basuke stuff (inumog!! I didn’t have the gust to stand in line for inumog..and I regret it) but in the East hall 4 there was the Komeya (Nekota Yonezou) and Mentaiko’s stand. The West halls were all about Shingeki no Kyogjin (with some Magi on the side, not enough for my tastes though..).
So Saturday we departed from the Yokohama area (we live there and love the area) and in 30 minutes we realized what a huge difference there is between a Friday and a Saturday. The crowd was incredible and the heat almost unbearable.
The Tokyo Big Sight opens at 10am and we were in at 10.30..I thought we did good but the East halls were already flooded with fujoshi of every age! I had a hard time finding the Komeya’s stand, I was looking for a line..and I found it outside of the building, coiling into the docking area.
30 minutes of this. Being in Japan the lines were very clam and everybody waited for their turn uncaring of heat, humidity, mosquitoes..The love for yaoi really can lift you to unbelievable zen levels.
Anywho..The wait came to an end and the time to buy something I craved for finally arrived..and passed in like 10 seconds. Point to what you want, pay and move over! so fast. I hope I got all the new stuff but I’m staring to have my doubts..*sigh* After that I tried to get close to the Haikyuu stands and that’s when I realized just how many people were there. I’m quite short and small and I had some real trouble moving through the crowd. Because of this I missed on some things I wanted to get (a super cute key chain of Kuroo and Kenma TT__TT) .But I’m grateful my husband was willing to stand in line for me to get some doujin while I hunted for others. Unfortunately his energies depleted quickly as he wasn’t fueled by the burning passion of us fujoshi XD
So I left him propped against a wall and swam back in the sea of fans..It’s amazing how many different styles, stories, genres were created from the same manga. Had I had the money I would I bought one of everything just as a proof of how amazing fans can be. Also they were all so nice and grateful when you bought one of their works that it warmed my hearth. I hope they all had a rewarding experience seeing how many people came to appreciate their hard work and talent. (๑॔˃̶ॢ◟◞ ˂̶ॢ๑॓)♡
I think I had the most fun when I suggested to my husband we buy a yaoi comic for his gay friend. Now..last year we got for him a yaoi bara manga that was really (REALLY) appreciated so this year we wanted to bring back home something special. So we went in the bara section and..I was really surprised! All (almost) the authors were men, big, bearded, bandana wearing men. And most of their clients were men too. In a sea of fujoshi that was a small island that appealed mostly men. It made me smile. And it made me decide that it was my husband’s turn to choose a comic for his friend. He was pretty embarrassed and didn’t know were to look but the guys at the stand were so nice to him (maybe he appealed to their soft side being bearded himself and a bit on the muscular side) and helped him find the perfect comic. I believe it was a important moment of growth for my husband ^^
The rest of the day was then spent going from hall to hall, searching for something that would pique my interest. Testing the comfort of my sneakers I walked through the East halls over and over hoping that I would find more space or would notice something I didn’t notice the first time. And I did! some cute Tsukki/Yamaguchi short stories :)
But many stands sold out pretty quickly and by 2.30 the crowd started to die down. And at 3pm almost everybody was packing and getting ready to leave Comiket.
So we left with all the crowd and with the crowd we rode the train back home, gasping for air and trying not to get separated (we only have 1 portable internet device..if we get separated we have no way to communicate with each other!).
I think I slept 10 hours that night.⋆｡˚ (¦3ꇤ[▓▓]⋆｡˚✩
What did I learn from going to Comiket 86?
- The better you are prepared, the better the experience. Study that catalog, write down notes, use the maps. It will save time, make your experience more satisfying and it actually raises your excitement level.
- There are a gazillion people around you. But you are in Japan and everybody is polite and used to be part of a crowd so there isn’t going to be any pushing or any crazy mob incidents. The girls with the trolleys are worth to kick a bit because they cause problems for everybody but the rest of the crowd is harmless. Be patient, take the time to take in the amazing spectacle that Comiket is.
- Wear the most comfortable shoes ever. Something you can climb mountains with, something you don’t mind being stepped on and scuffed. You are going to walk a lot. A lot. Painful feet are going to kill you faster than dehydration or exhaustion.
- Bring a 2Liter bottle of water. It will be heavy at the beginning but you’ll drink it pretty fast and it will become lighter and lighter.
- I was able to avoid all the bathrooms and their insane lines by going before getting to the Comiket and by drinking small amounts, just enough to replenish what I sweated out the last 20 min. It worked for me!
- Do not be afraid of buying food at the Family Mart inside the Tokyo Big Sight! They are so organized it’s crazy. Almost worth a trip to see the amount of cashiers present to service everybody in under 5 min (..did that sound weird?..I can’t use the word “service” anymore without thinking weird stuff).
- ….oh, yes! have money ready, in small bills because it will make everybody’s life easier. ATM lines will be long so decide in advance how much you want to spend in order to avoid at least those lines.
In conclusion I had a great time. I’m sad I’ll be back in the US by December and that I’ll miss Comiket 87, now that I’ve finally understand how to maximize my experience there. Sob. If anybody has the chance to go, do it. Even if you don’t care about comics, go and you’ll find something to love.
Thank you for reading!!