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Jan 08

Winter Holiday Part 2: Comiket C85

One of the biggest, if not biggest, otaku/nerd event took place in our holiday time. From 29 to 31 December the all famous Comiket would be held in Tokyo Bight Sight. This time it was the 85th edition so it was also known as C85. I was planning to attend two days, but I had so much fun I just went all three :P It’s an expensive event but worth my time and money. Before you continue to read, do mind that this post contains one of my highly personal hobbies. Some people that don’t know me that well will find it strange, weird, freakish or as Cherry called most people there, perverted. If you don’t want to experience such faith, please stop reading and move on to my Kyoto blog post. So you are warned and if you are confident enough to handle this, lets move on!

Just to give you an impression of Comiket…

Yeah, I forgot, it might contain pictures that are not safe for work. Also, the post might load very slow due the huge amount of pictures so make sure that you have proper internet :)

Now that you’re reading this means that you are either silly like me or just ignorant :cool: Anyway, Comiket stands for Comic Market and is the worlds largest doujinshi market. This one is held twice a year, so I am lucky I could attend one. The other one is in the summer, but with 35+C degrees it is not really fun. If you are too lazy to read the Wikipedia links I made: Comiket houses self-published anime, manga, comics and all sort of stuff that is related to it. It also has a cosplay event and provides industrial animation companies to sell/advertise goodies.

Advertisment of an industrial/professional company…

I wasn’t really interested in doujinshi because I rarely read them since they usually aren’t translated and put online. Anime, manga and light novels by professional companies luckily do, so my main reason to go was to check out their stuff. And while I’m there, why not take some pictures of cosplaying girls :D I went all three days, but I’ll mix up the stories so you won’t have to read all days separately. Saves you some time and I don’t have to type that much. I’m putting the cosplay part at the end, so you can skip the initial part if you don’t want to see the Comiket itself.

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Comiket opens it doors at 10.00 in the morning but like all major events there will be people lining up. Comiket is no exception to this. As you might have noticed from my previous post you know that Japanese people like to queue. With limited edition goodies being sold at C85, a long long queue line is expected. The first day I decided to arrive after 12 o’clock since that was advised for those who were attending for the first time. They didn’t want poor noobs being crushed to death during the peak hours (10.00-11.30). At 12-ish it was fairly busy from the main station to the event, but you could follow the crowd and enter the building with no problems.

Just follow the sheeps…

The problem of arriving so late is that everything will be sold out and the leftovers are not that interesting. Still, it gives you the opportunity to see what you want to buy the following days (so that you can queue for them in the morning) and see where the shop booths are located. So I spend that day looking for nice goodies to buy for the next day and shot some pictures of cosplayers.

The second day I decided to arrive at 9.00 and the third day even at 8.00. You can call me crazy, but I wanted some “Sword Art Online” goodies that were always sold out. Arriving at 8.00 meant that I had to wake up at 5.15 to catch the train of 6.00 :)

Seeing the sunrise in the morning…

Sadly enough I didn’t even make it in time to buy my limited edition goodies. Why? Because there were like 5000 people or so before me queueing from the first train that arrived. When I arrived I had to follow the guards to the spot where I could wait till the doors opened and that place was around 1 km away from the main entrance…

Yep, these guys were standing all morning from ~5am…

A few years ago people started to line up the day before, but it gave the police too much trouble so they prohibited them from camping all night. So you can guess how hardcore these guys are.. Just like waiting for an iPhone on the release date :P At 8.30 they start to let groups of people move closer to the main entrance, it was funny to see that my group (that arrived at 8.00) started to move at 9.30. Which meant that I was 1 hour behind the first guys that arrived.

Almost near the entrance…

Before you even start queueing the long line, you have to decide which event hall you were going. Three halls were reserved for doujinshi and one hall for industrial goodies. I decided to line up for the industrial one since those were the goodies I wanted, but I wasn’t the only one. Once inside the building/hall it is a battle of willpower, you really need to know where you want to go and what to get. Hesitating for too long and chances are very high that it will be sold out when you start queueing (like me).

Oh no…

After the initial rush at 10.00-11.00 it steadily becomes less pushy and goodies are starting to get sold out. You can move more freely around and shop for goods that are less popular and usually don’t require you to stand in a line. It  is also time for most people to watch some cosplay or just browse around. But there are still ~300.000 people around, so it’s hot, sweaty and stinky ;) What I do need to mention is that the event is not dominated by men, I think that on some days (depending what shops are open that day since some shops are only present on 1 of the 3 days) there are more women than men. The reason is that they all want to buy either romantic novels and manga or just plain yaoi (boy’s love) stuff. Especially the first day, 2 of the 3 doujinshi halls were full of yaoi comics and the amount of women was astonishing. At that moment you realise they just have the same hobbies as everyone else and the prejudice that only men watch 18+ materials is utterly nonsense.

Large crowds still exist, but no more pushing. Yay!…

I also managed to find one of the music composers that I frequently visit on YouTube. He uses primarily violin and piano to rearrange/cover certain songs. The music is really good to relax or used for studying (my preference of course). I managed to get an autograph and got free goodies because I was an overseas visitor. He was really happy that I went to find him :)

TAMusic…

Around 15.00 doujinshi shops are starting to close down and people are heading home to avoid the traffic jams at the station. This meant you could browse/shop for any last items that are unwanted by many people or you could line up to get free goodies from industrial companies.

Yep, I joined the line to get free goodies…

I made a mistake to leave at 16.00 when all shops started to close down and cosplayers were stopping. It’s a big fat line to the station and its hot, you’re tired and the trains are packed.

Worst choice ever to leave…

Once home, you will discover you spent way too much money and you stink. But for me, it was a nice experience and I really liked it. It isn’t as dull as Dutch anime conventions and not as weird as I initially thought. As a real(not like me) foreigner you might get freaked out by all the weirdness, but a 1 day visit is recommended to experience some of the truly Japanese culture.

My high valuable goods…

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It’s now time to talk about the cosplay part, be sure that your boss/mom is behind you ;)

There were two/three cosplay zones. One was at the entrance but wasn’t really worth watching. The main was outside next to one of the doujinshi halls and the last one would only open after 13.00.

This is when it’s not crowded…

Before you can take a picture, you usually ask if you can take a picture. She/he will then pose for you so you can shoot a nice picture 1 on 1. If some cosplayer is popular, you can just join the firing squad and take pictures without asking, although most of those pictures are less awesome. Furthermore, you have two groups of cosplayers. You have the home-made/non-profit cosplayers and there are cosplayers that are hired by industrial companies. Both of them have awesome suits/characters but most of the industrial ones are really good looking :cool:I won’t post all of them here in this post, you can find them all in the photo album.

Lets start with the most popular and most cosplayed anime/manga of this Comiket: Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan). Not sure why this is so popular in Japan, but it was everywhere on C85. Doujinshi, goodies and lots and lots of cosplayers.

I’m only missing the Titan here…

The original Shingeki no Kyojin comes from the manga but last summer it was animated on TV and since then the popularity shot up like madness. All that for an anime about Titans eating humans… I only like two characters of the serie, good thing I have one picture with both of them (bottom left picture).

Next up is a browser game only available in Japan, I didn’t even know the name until my cousin mentioned it: Kantai Collection. Apparently it’s a naval warfare game that involves girls and a lot of girls. I’ll probably check it out when I am bored.

Not sure if the last one is also of the Kantai Collection..

I was wondering (when I didn’t know them) what those girls were wearing. I only saw that they were cannons, but they represent old battleships from the WW2 era. You’ll learn something new everyday at Comiket :P.

I think that 25% of the cosplayers were dressed up like one of the two themes. Not that I minded. Too bad I only knew about KanColle after Comiket.

Somewhat more well known in the western world are of course the videogame characters and animes that made it overseas. Here’s a list of them:

The everybody knows anime, Dragonball (Z)

Goku and it’s first enemy strong enemy Taopaipai…

The all girls know anime, Sailormoon

Cherry took this picture, I didn’t want to photograph them…

Don’t ask me if they are male or female because I don’t know myself…

An original Japanese videogame that is known worldwide, Resident Evil

Chris and uuuhhh Asian Chris?…

More videogames! One of the most exciting games I ever played, Metal Gear Solid

Big Boss and Raiden, although I’m not sure if its Big Boss…

The last videogame that I’ll post here and also my favorite, Final Fantasy

Best female and worst male character…

Now that we have addressed all the popular ones, lets move on to somewhat unknown for the outside world cosplayers.

The LN adapted anime of which I wanted to buy goodies of, Sword Art Online

Worst female and best male character…

Time travelling and brainwashing anime, Steins;Gate

Only for scientist…

Anime with best male protagonist, Haruhi Suzumiya

Please don’t look so sad…

Something that involves glasses and dreamshades, Kyoukai no Kanata

Red glasses are okay~…

I’m running out of time and this post is already way too long. So I’ll just list some good looking/nice cosplayers/girls now :P

Buy my goodies please?…

I’ll show you the way…

Black is okay…

Okay…

Oh really?…

War!…

Yes sir!…

Pleeaassseee…

Onegaisimass…

Where does it end?…

Just to keep you awake…

Stop staring please…

Sometimes you need some male cosplayers…

Sabbbaahh

Happy girl for last…

That’s it, 15 lovely girls/men that could make any guy take a picture ;) I hope you have enjoyed the show and learned some more of Japanese weirdness. Don’t forgot to see the full album here or just click on the slideshow below.

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