For those who don’t know, Comiket takes place twice every year and is the largest anime/manga related expo in the world. It’s set up like a market place where booths sell large amounts of goods, commerical and indie ones. It takes place at the Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba, Tokyo from 10AM-4PM on for three days. It draws around 550,000 participants, so it is not to be underestimated. I have never seen bigger lines in my life.
I guess I’ll provide a bit of a brief article on Comiket 76 and my experience to hopefully help out other people who are heading there without experience to make this more interesting.
The event itself is 3 days long, spanning a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, be prepared for a sleepless weekend if you are planning on getting the goods you want. The picture above was taken at 12:45AM, there were roughly 400 people in line at that point.
Ugh, ISO 1600 is totally unusable on the Nikon D60.
At around 3:00AM the staff finally show up, and the line is split into more manageable chunks and the top 2000ish of the 200,000 attendees are moved onto the veranda.
The poor people who don’t make it onto the veranda have to put up with the extremely cramped main line at the bottom of the stairs which stretches on for miles.
Though being up so early means that I can see the sunrise :D.
Next thing you should know is, you need a team :). Goods will sell out really fast in Comiket, unless you divide the labour and everyone gets goods from a different section, it is hopeless to get everything you want. From Dannychoo, our team was 13 strong in the beginning. We even had a sushi dinner together to commemorate the occasion.
That sushi plate was super expensive :(. Some plates were even as expensive as 5 dollars. I ended up calculating my total after each plate and was slightly full after 1300yen, at which point I stopped eating. I was planning on getting a cup noodle with another person, but we had to do something which is the next step.
Going to Comiket requires a plan. You need a battle plan where the labour is completely divided. It is impossible to cover all the ground in time when you’re alone. Everyone needs to write down what they want, the show floor needs to be divided into manageable sections per person, and the money needs to be distributed before hand. Furthermore, it is actually impossible to look around comiket with the number of people. There is hardly enough breathing space, let alone looking space. The actual distribution of the goods can happen after the end of the day’s events.
The catalog is released 2 weeks in advance of Comiket in both CD and printed versions for 2,400 each. Inside, every participating doujin circle and vendor is listed along with their location and which days they’ll be present, everyone in the group needs to look through this and write down what they want. Although the catalog does list the official vendors, there is a separate brochure for the official vendors hall which does it much better. Make sure everyone looks through everything there or be prepared to miss things.
Next up is exhaustion. Because of how everyone must line up extremely early there is a very real risk of overexhaustion. Our group rushed the planning so everyone got even less rest and as a result we had a large number of casualties. You need to plan well in advance and make sure that everyone is well rested. After the day’s events everyone needs to be resting to be ready for the next day. Lack of rest leads to a lot of dumb choices like somehow we put the same people getting Nanoha goods onto getting the Tony Taka goods. They’re both incredibly long lines and in the end very few people got their Tony Taka :(.
Lastly, the lines inside the independent artist section are just as long as those for retail booths, but they have far fewer numbers of goods. If you underestimate them you’ll be left completely empty handed.
To put it into a perspective, a friend and I, lined up at 12AM, got inside the expo at 10:15AM, and we only managed to secure ourselves two of the last few remaining Tinkle sets.The lines are usually far too long, so they are divided into subsections that are more manageable. 50 or so people at a time are then told to raise their hands and moved from section to section until they reach the main booth.
At the end of every line is a sign that says 最後尾 or the end of the line, usually the last person in line holds this up. When a new person joins the line, the sign is passed along to that person and so on. DO NOT cut into the subsections or you will be removed.
A bit of an obvious tip, but bring plenty of water. You need to stay hydrated to stay alive. If you collapse, all this suffering will have all been for nothing. The line for going pee is also massive though, so drink in moderation. Also, I suggest you not bring snacks as you will simply be weighed down by them. Once the line stabilizes and you can sit and leave the line, you can visit McDonald’s or a number of convenience stores nearby to pick up your necessary refreshments.
Last tip, you will be standing for a good number of hours, so bring a picnic mat or chair so you can rest while you can. A light sturdy portable chair will be invaluable while you are waiting in these insanely long lines.
Oh well that’s it. I ended up with a box full of loot on its way home as we speak! Unfortunately, due to my lack of experience and lack of planning, what I got wasn’t actually that significant in the end. Nonethless it was a blast fighting the battle with my friends, and I will hopefully be back again next time and reap a better harvest.
A lot of the people who went with me last time, won’t make it for next time. So therefore, I’m asking now! WHO WANTS TO COME WITH ME! (Sorry for next time I meant C78, Finances won’t recover in time for C77 😦 )