My trip to Japan has come to an end and I’m already back in Germany. Since I still have some more days until I have to go to work again, I’ll have enough time to talk about the trip to my heart’s content.
Though, to not post entries that are too long, I’m gonna divide my final summary of the trip into two parts. The first one is going to be this post, in which I will solely talk about Comiket, while the next one will be about the rest of the trip. With that said, let’s start right away.
This year’s winter Comiket was held from December 28th to the 30th. Our little group, consisting of 3 people, was present on all three days. For those that don’t know, day 1 focuses on anything anime and manga-related, day 2 is all about Touhou and Kantai Collection and day 3 focuses on original works, as well as adult doujinshi.
I read a lot of guides, warnings, and survival tips before going there, and thanks to all of these posts, I was mildly afraid of what was going to happen. Most people said that it was hell going there, since you have to wait in lines for hours, people will just push you around because it’s so stuffed in all the halls, and some even said that you won’t get anything unless you have at least 2 other people with you that you can simply send away to get your stuff.
Since we were all a little worried that we wouldn’t get anything done, we prepared some lists in which we wrote down all the booths we wanted to visit in the order that would take us the least time. Surprisingly, even though we didn’t split up, we ended up getting almost everything we wanted (I think it’s noteworthy to mention that I was the one who probably bought twice as much as the other two. :P)
On day one, we arrived at 11 AM, an hour after the gates opened for all the visitors. Even though the trains were packed with people and they already needed like hundreds of staff members to manage all the people from the train station into Tokyo Big Sight (the exhibition grounds) alone, we didn’t have to stand in line that long and ended up in the first hall pretty fast. We made our walking route according to the popularity of the artists, so we could get them before they were sold out. Though, I had to realize that most of our assumptions were totally wrong.
We visited Vivit Gray‘s booth first. Well, she’s my favorite artist, and I was almost sure that she had a huge fanbase, though there was almost no one waiting in line, and I immediately got my copy of her doujin (unfortunately, this was the first time she didn’t release a MokoKeine one…). That I was surprised is probably an understatement, but this at least gave me the opportunity to ask for a signature (or to let a friend of mine ask for it :P).
Next up we visited CITRON’s booth. It was right where all the other yuri Madoka Magica doujinshi artists had their booths, so it was the perfect place to get a lot of things on our list. When I got there, I was yet again surprised, but this time by the sheer amount of people waiting in line. I had to go outside the halls to get to the end of the line, and it wasn’t any different for other Madoka Magica artists like Pikachi or Momoya Chika. Though, it was all worth it, since I got loads of extras from CITRON, like an awesome bag for all my stuff, a new year’s gift that turned out to be a MadoHomu towel, and some postcards. I had to stand in line for like 30 minutes, which was the most I had to stand in line for for any other yuri doujin artist.
Strangely enough, two other MadoHomu artists that I though to be really popular only had a few people standing in line for their works. I’m talking about Forest Village and Tama II. Though, Tama II didn’t have a booth on the first, but only on the last day of Comiket.
Most of them had their booths right next to each other, so it was really easy to get all the doujinshi I wanted. The lines were also surprisingly small. I thought that artists like these, who mostly already released numerous yuri manga would be more popular, but I guess things work a little differently at Comiket. Also, since there were only a few people waiting, I asked for Amano Shuninta’s signature, which she happily gave me. I think I can even say that she was happy to see a foreigner knowing and loving her works, so I guess it was a win-win situation for both of us. 😛
Last but not least, we also visited Itou Hachi, but since our calculation was yet again totally wrong, her most recent work was already sold out, and I unfortunately didn’t find it in any doujin store afterwards…. Though, I’m still happy I at least got to see her in person.
That wraps up the first day of Comiket, so let’s get right to the second one.
Since we had a far bigger list to work through this time we already arrived at 9 AM. However, we had to wait in line outside for about 2 hours. It was raining, it was cold, and for the last 30 minutes, we had to pack away our umbrellas because there was just not enough space for everyone. So yeah, it was hell. Though as soon as we got in, there were still not that many people inside, so we didn’t have to wait in line for too long.
Since we mostly got music CDs on day two, I only have a few artists to talk about.
Other than for PURE (Minakata Sunao), we didn’t have to wait in line for any of the artists we visited that day. His/her line (I’m not sure about the gender since there was a man and a woman selling these works) was really large, though they were selling both Touhou doujinshi and a super awesome doujinshi of Akuma no Riddle. Isn’t it great when artists make yuri doujinshi of their own original manga?
I yet again got signatures from Yonurime and Sleeper. Yes, I got my porn signed… so what?! 😀
On day three, we bought some original albums and, just like all of you already guessed, a lot of adult magazines. Funnily, I think day three was the most crowded of all of them. There were some halls that had so many people that I really had to squeeze my way through the crowd there, which was unpleasant but manageable. This time, our predictions were a little better, so we first made our way to the big block of Love Live! doujinshi. I swear that Love Live! is so freaking big in Japan, that wherever you’re going, you’ll see and also hear about it. Comiket wasn’t an exception, though I will talk about this a little more in my next post.
So we first went to Ooshima Tomo (Sweat Pea) and Oshiwa Tomo’s (COCOA BREAK) booths. Since they had one big booth together, it was fairly easy to get their works. Though, their lines were huge, and I yet again had to wait outside. It was all worth it eventually, since I got like 3 doujinshi and one NicoMaki button as a little extra.
The lines for all of those artists were medium size, except for Ooshima’s booth.
After all the Love Live! greatness, we changed halls and ended up in a hall that only had one artist that I wanted to see, but since she ranks pretty damn high in my priority ranking, we just had to make that little detour so I wouldn’t risk not getting any of her doujinshi in the end. I’m talking about isya (434 Not Found), who had her little booth right in the middle of the probably most crowded hall of them all. We fortunately managed to make our way through to her, and I bought three doujinshi and got a signature again, as well as a super awesome tweet from her afterwards. Seriously, read it and be jealous. 😛
As a side note: In my Anticipating C87 entry, I said that isya might be releasing some of her works in English this Comiket. As I was informed by Yuri-ism, she’s working together with them, but couldn’t manage to finish in time, so they’ll be released at another time.
Lastly, we also visited Minase Ruruu, Mytyl, and Yutaka Hiiragi. The lines were, yet again, really small, but in case of Minase Ruruu and Yutaka Hiiragi, I managed to get the last copy of their works, which was a really close call. Minase seemingly didn’t release anything new, so I only got her doujin collection Girl’s Talk, but I also got a little extra that is 4 pages of a very short yuri doujin.
Out of everything that I got over these 3 days—besides the music—what I probably love the most are the doujinshi by Sleeper and Yutaka Hiiragi. I still haven’t read them, but damn, the previews look so good! Yes, I know those are both 18+ works, but you already know I’m a pervert, so who really cares anyway? 😛
Lastly I’d like to talk about something that probably surprised me the most. When reading doujinshi or manga, I usually try to figure out, from both the art style, as well as how the story is told, is whether it was written and drawn by a man or a woman. In many cases, especially in adult works, it’s easy to tell, or at least that’s what I thought.
In almost all cases, I was surprised to find out that the artists are female. Each and every booth I visited had a girl selling the doujinshi. Even in case of Mura Mura Pocky and SinoSino, two girls sold the doujinshi, which was especially surprising since on his/her Twitter, it says Kasumi is a guy. So maybe, in some cases, the real artists didn’t show up and let others take care of the selling instead. Though, I asked for signatures a lot, and I got them from the actual artists that were always girls. The only booth that I visited that had two guys selling their works was Forest Village. In some halls, there were even whole sections that only had yuri doujinshi, and there were only girls selling them.
I know, for some of you this is not a big deal, but for me, this is simply an awesome fact, knowing that even adult works are done by women. Well, just to make sure that no one thinks I’m hating on men, I just think that it’s nice to see so many women being okay with drawing and even selling lesbian works in Japan. Though, admittedly, most of the people standing in line for these works were male. 😛
As my last words, I’d like to encourage all of you to go there if you have the chance to do so. It was an awesome experience, and probably the three greatest days of all of my time in Japan. You can meet your favorite artists in person, you can even talk to them if you like, and by the end of the day, your whole body might be sore, but you can return with loads of your favorite new doujinshi, and that’s simply the best feeling ever.
I have spent a lot of money on this trip, especially on these three days, but it was so awesome that I think I’ll start saving up money right away so I can go again as soon as possible. Just trust me, it’s all worth it, especially if you consider the fact that you’ll get a lot of extras at Comiket that you can’t get anywhere else.
I really learned a lot of useful things that I couldn’t find in any other guide online, so if you’re interested, here are some tips you might want to read before going there yourself.
- It’s not as hell-like as many other people describe it to be, but you still need to make some plans
- You can buy the Comiket Cataloge, but it’s mostly way easier to plan everything online: https://webcatalog-free.circle.ms/ It’s free, and you can mark circles and print their locations as maps, so you can find them pretty easily
- Make plans for your path by considering the following aspects: the location, how popular the circle is, and how important their work is to you
- Since you often don’t know how popular a certain circle is, you can already guess it by checking where their booth is located. If it is somewhere in the middle of the hall, there is not that much room for long lines, so you can already guess that they don’t expect that many visitors. The ones that have their booth right next to the entrance or right at the outer lines of the halls are usually the ones that expect huge lines to build, so they need the extra space outside
- Consider the fact that you might have to wait for long periods of time inside, but also outside the halls, so dress up as warmly as possible
- Check the weather forecast, and don’t forget to bring an umbrella and waterproof clothing
- Bring whatever medicine you might need. I suddenly got a terrible stomachache while waiting outside, but we were prepared for whatever sickness might happen 😛
- Bring your own bags. In some cases, you get bags from the circles, but not all of them give them away, so bring your own just in case
- Bring water and some snacks. It’s going to be exhausting, and you’ll need something to drink, trust me.
- You don’t need to be there hours before the gates open. In the end, even if you get there much earlier, you will still have to wait as long as most other people
- Change your money so you have enough 1000 Yen bills. Most CDs are exactly 1000 Yen, while many doujinshi cost 500 Yen. It’s all about being fast, so waiting to get your money changed every time you buy something might turn out to be a problem in the end
- If you already know that you have a lot to buy, you might want to bring your DS or PSP or whatever you have, so you can do something while waiting
- Always remember to go to the toilet BEFORE it gets hard to hold. Even for the toilets, the lines can be so big that you might even have to wait for more than half an hour
- Remember that even if Comiket is opened from 10 AM to 5 PM, many circles are sold out by like 1 PM or even faster, so just don’t waste too much time and come up with a good walking route
If you have any questions regarding anything related to the Comiket or its participants, don’t hesitate to ask~