Comiket 76 Reflections

17 08 2009

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 line at 12:45AM

The line at 12:45AM

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.

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It seems so empty right now... The line at 12AM.

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.

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Soo many people

Soo many people

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.

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The line at around 5:50AM, before the first monorail train arrives.

If you're stuck in the main line, get ready for a tight and excruciating wait.

If you're stuck in the main line, get ready for a tight and excruciating wait.

Hehe, I'm heading in first :P

Hehe, I'm heading in first 😛

Though being up so early means that I can see the sunrise :D.

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Sometimes you might even get treated to a rainbow!

Sometimes you might even get treated to a rainbow!

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.

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Here's a few of us

Here's some more

Here's some more

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.

Tim from Timkoh.info looks in the printed version of the official comiket catalog to find his goods

Tim from Timkoh.info looks in the printed version of the official comiket catalog to find his goods

Our hastily prepared moving path for one person.

Our hastily prepared moving path for one person.

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 :(.

... There were only 4 of us left by day 3

... There were only 4 of us left by day 3

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.

At least 2000+ people were in line for Tinkle

At least 2000+ people were in line for Tinkle

The commercial hall is a MASS of people.

The commercial hall is a MASS of people.

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.

The man is holding up a sign that says 列の途中 which means that this is only the end of a subsection of the line.

The man is holding up a sign that says 列の途中 which means that this is only the end of a subsection of the line.

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.

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My friend brought his amazing red chair, I sure wish I had one too.

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.

Limited gains, but I will be satisfied.

Limited gains, but I will be satisfied.

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 😦 )

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39 responses

17 08 2009
Fukunaga

Next time, Count me in!!

19 08 2009
aaroninjapan09

I’d love to!

17 08 2009
YuKi-To

awesome! now I know what u guys did during comiket in more detail! 😄

2000 for tinkle… holy.. glad I don’t really like tinkle 😄

nice meetin ya and the rest! I definitely wont go Japan for just Comiket, but if I have the chance next time, I will start camping at 12am too!

19 08 2009
aaroninjapan09

It was great meeting you. You’re great company :D. It was really really cool to meet up with one of my readers. Well if you are touring in Japan at the same time next year, you should join our potential C78 crew!

17 08 2009
Rin

I was alive during Comiket…
I attended all three days but was a bit late on day 3…
I did survive somewhat…
Also, don’t for get the washroom battles…

I WILL COME WITH YOU TO COMIKET 78!!!!!!!!!!!!

17 08 2009
robostrike

Not Comiket 77?? T_T Shouldn’t the weather be better in Comiket 77 without having to burn from the heat?

18 08 2009
Rin

Well, you have to deal with the cold. I rather deal with the heat than the cold…

19 08 2009
FlawlessExa

Opposite for me. I can’t stand heat. But it should be considerably warm with all those people…

19 08 2009
aaroninjapan09

:P, Summer comiket is boiling hot… I must have sweat litres of sweat. Maybe winter comiket would be more suitable for you :P.

17 08 2009
Nan

Bah my hair is always a mess from the sweat 😦 probably will be going again next year depending on what kind of goodies they have :p might cya there again then! (btw ur karaoke singing was the best in the group 😀 )

19 08 2009
aaroninjapan09

Haha, my karaoke really wasn’t that great. We were all collectively pretty horrible, but the best part is that we all had fun. You guys all had no interest in the beginning, but once we were there everyone just lit up :D.

17 08 2009
kyourin

count us in 😄

19 08 2009
aaroninjapan09

I shall 😀

17 08 2009
robostrike

If I do get accepted to Japan, for sure, I’ll be there for Comiket 78! Hope to see you all there ^_^
Aaron…can you be kind enough to list DC names from the pictures?? Just out of curiosity to know more ppl ^_^

19 08 2009
aaroninjapan09

Hmm… I’ll try and get their online names :P. Yea, and do join the potential C78 team. To get the most out of everyday of comiket, you really need like 6-8 devoted members and a good plan.

20 08 2009
robostrike

Where do I go to register myself to this potential Comiket 78 Team?? Really interested… ^_^

21 08 2009
aaroninjapan09

😛 I’ll remember you for when the time comes! You’ll be on the team if it happens!

18 08 2009
acesan

Looks good for the experience but ultimately it looks like too much of a bother o_0

18 08 2009
Yuki Phnx

Did anybody get onto the cosplay floor? I think for me, I’d be much more interested in the cosplayers that attended

18 08 2009
robostrike

Check out Rin’s blog. He has a few:
http://koiaichaku.com/2009/08/17/comiket-summer-2009-day-3/
There are other blogs who also post info on cosplayers…try Googling them??
Hope it helps.

18 08 2009
bluemage

Wow, that must have been some battle trying to get all that stuff at Comiket.

Not C77 huh? Well, you have a whole year to rest before C78 and next time you’ll get more stuff I’m sure. =)

19 08 2009
aaroninjapan09

It’s really more like the wallet needs some rest haha.

18 08 2009
Project Haruhi » 560,000 Attend 76th Comiket

[…] –via ANN. Photo sourced from aaroninjapan09. […]

18 08 2009
xsirhc

Looks daunting…so many people all wanting the same stuff. Wonder if I could ever hack it!!
Well done, nice blog.

19 08 2009
aaroninjapan09

Thanks, you have a nice blog too. Hehe, Comiket is not for the faint hearted, but any passionate anime/manga fan needs to make it there at least once in their life! It’s like a pilgrimage!

I never did believe what they showed in Genshiken, but in real life it’s actually worse.

19 08 2009
highwind

OMG TINKLE GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME (repeat)

19 08 2009
aaroninjapan09

No, MINEEEE ALLL MINE!!!!

If you’re nice I’ll give you scans! 😛

21 08 2009
meronpan

wonderful post! i’ve been wanting to know exactly how things go down in an event with lines of that magnitude. this satisfied my curiosity perfectly.

don’t think i’ll ever try going during the summer… i’d melt ^^;; there’s a winter one right? now i just need to try and plan a vacation around it…

gads those lines though…. i hate lines ;_;

21 08 2009
aaroninjapan09

We actually got a lucky break in that those three days weren’t that humid and had a slight breeze. The weather was a lot better than it could have been. The winter comiket is usually around december 29-31, good luck there!

21 08 2009
Sneddon

hahaha

u can see my huge stack of sushi in the sushi photos 😛
and yes, comiket was a great experience, glad we had loads of people and lots of hands and legs to line up 😛

was fun being in the gang, bring on C80!!?

27 08 2009
Tommy

I really want to experience something like this, though I don’t think I would (knowingly) line up for 4 hours…heck, I don’t line up for McD anymore. So I’m not sure how things will turn out if I go to Comiket. ^^;

21 09 2009
Taku

Hey, just wondering where you stayed between days. I’m planning on going to winter but it’s my first time doing an actual comiket run, and right now I’m under a bit of an information overload regarding comiket >_>” Oh and is it really necessary to line up that early? =X

27 11 2009
mugematic

I see Cirno and her trademark ⑨. Do want. 😀

15 12 2009
rubysp

Darn. Me and my friend are going to be first-timers at C77.

Would it be recommended to bring a small pulley for doujins? Also, I thought the community banned lining up the day before the event due to accidents… is it possible to camp out around there? >__<

Thanks~

21 12 2009
aaroninjapan09

No, I really wouldn’t bring a pulley cart. It’ll get in the way, and the crowd will wrap around it, possibly forcing you to let go of it.

Also, none of the big paper bags that stuff comes in, will fit on the cart.

No lining up the day before, you can “hang out” at the entrance at around 12AM. Then watch as people slowly gather. At some point, there will be enough people to form a line that is large enough to stop the police from moving everyone. Just watch when people make their move and follow them if you want to end up at the front.

22 03 2010
lee

Hey, glad I found this blog I got accepted into a summer program and it’ll be my first time going to comiket. When I read more and more I start to get intimidated a bit, but it just seems so fun.

I was wondering if i can be part of your team for C78 it’s quite nerve-wrecking going alone

23 03 2010
aaroninjapan09

I don’t know if I will be able to make it to C78 because of a number of nagging personal issues. However, I could point you in the direction of some people I do know are going, if you are interested.

22 05 2010
Tetsurou

I’m sort of in the same boat as you lee. Going for a Tokyo trip this summer and will be attending at least day 3 of Comike78…but all alone I fear of getting a bit lost there reading through articles such as this splendid report here.

So, I’d love to find some company in advance to prevent being a Gaijin lost amongst the masses ^^ Any help, contacts hence would be *MUCH* appreciated!

23 05 2010
aaroninjapan09

I have a friend who is heading to Japan for Comiket this year as well. I went with him for last year’s summer comiket as well, so he should be fairly well prepped. His blog is at koiaichaku.com, he’s on my blog roll too. I’m sure he’d be glad to have you join his group.

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