Shipon takes a break from his busy schedule of crying into the empty darkness to report on a first time trip to Comiket involving chance Pictochat encounters, child exploitation cosplay & the very obvious result of a stupid action.

I came down from Sendai on Thursday and stayed with friends in Shibuya for the event. Not the closest venue to the Big Sight, but convenient access by the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line & Yurikamome Lines. Also good night life, which would prove to be my undoing.

Day 1

I awoke bright and bushytailed at the ungodly hour of 5am. Who invented early? They should be shot! After checking my bag for essentials (camera, lists printed from Comiket CD catlogue, map, DS, umbrella) I headed for the station. I could see the Big Sight, faint & distant through the summer haze as I traveled on the Yurikamome from Shimbashi. I arrived at the Big Sight and was seated in the massive throng by 6.45. I was quite lucky. There were only about 8,000 people in front of me. [editor’s note: probably more… a lot more]


Day 1 – Prime Location

I whipped out my DS and began to play. After a while I noticed a lot of other people had theirs out so I flipped over to Pictochat. I started chatting with some other people and eventually found out that one of them was sitting directly in front of me. Ueda and I had a good talk about general otaku-rey then whipped my arse in Mariokart & Bomberman. The call came from the armbanded Comiket Staff – Time to move on.

10am came and was duly applauded. We began to move in. As I moved up the stairs I risked a quick look behind to see at least 10,000 people waiting. I knew it was big but this was ridiculous.

I headed in and made my way for the East Halls. I did clinical search and destroy and got almost everything on my list. Then I headed towards the West Halls & the corporate booths. My regular visits to Gamers had netted me valuable intell – Gamers was selling a special microfibre towel of Ayu from Kanon (note the beginning of recurring theme here).


Kanon Towel
¥5000 – Not for drying

Here was my first encounter with the MegaLine(tm). Basically they have a staff member with a sign saying that the line starts outside, you head out and join a line and then they bring groups of 10-15 people in to stand in line at the actual stand. 20 minutes (and ¥5000) later, I gots me a towel with Ayu on it.

Next to the KyoAni stand. Surely there’ll be some choice Haruhi or something, seeing as Haruhi is the flavour of the month downstairs with the doujin traders. “Oh noes,” sez Shipon. “Whut haz they done to me?!” And he joins the line handing over another pile of sweat-stained (very damn hot in there) ¥1000 notes to get the KyoAni Kanon development pack. Contained therein are a CD guide to the new Kanon, a book full of development sketches and a T-Shirt with Ayu (doing something totally different for her) eating taiyaki.


Kanon Pack

By then it was time for lunch, another more leisurely stroll of the halls before heading back to reality. I met up with friends on the way out and the suggestions for dinner started coming. Maid cafes were suggested and shot down (the mediocrity of the food and the average maid cafe employee were the deciding factors). We chose the next best thing : Anna Miller’s in Shinagawa. Afterwards, back home for chilling.

Day 2

Not really my day, I had NOTHING on my list at all so I went in late (around 11.30) and did the cosplay thing, looked around the Western Halls with the original goods (figures, resin kits, etc). Note : Don’t bring your kids to Comiket when it’s stinky hot and parade them around – them’s aint fond childhood memories. But goshdangdarnit if they weren’t cute! ^_^


MAMIO母
Aww…

Soon the rain came and washed out everything outdoors, but by that point most circles were packing up and making for the exits. To round out Comiket Day 2, a marathon 5 hour karaoke & drinking session followed and I only hit the sack at 1.30. Would this dampen my enthusiasm for the following day?

Day 3

Dear God, it hurts. 5am is bad enough but 5am after 3 hours of sleep is horrible. Crunching antacid and chugging bottled water I made my way to Big Sight lugging my suitcase (all the big suitcased sized lockers at the stations were filled) only to find that to get to the same place I was on day one, I would have had to get there at 3am. I sat in line in the revolting sunlight, cursing whoever create Karaoke, Alcohol, that stupid Japanese nomihoudai (all you can drink) and myself for rocking out so hardcore all night long. Eventually the line began to move.


20 000 in front,
50 000 behind.

Lugging my bag around I managed to get most of list, plus some extras. Whilst I felt incredibly ill, I managed to stick it out till 2pm then high tailed it back to Tokyo, the Shinkansen and the wild wastes of Tohoku.

Wrap Up

Comiket was awesome, especially for my first time. I recommend the following pieces of advice to future comers.

  • Get a Transit pass – On JR its a Suica card, on the Metro and Yurikamome lines it’s a passnet card. These automatically do your monies and fare adjustments at the gates. Having to wait for friends to buy tickets in the massive throngs of machines sucks.
  • Stay close – Nothing sucks more than having to do an extended journey with multiple transfers, etc after a long day of battling the hordes at the Big Sight. If you’re staying somewhere in Tokyo, use something like Hyperdia to ensure you’re convenient.
  • Get in early – My friends were disappointed to arrive at 12.30 and find people leaving. Some circles don’t hang around once they’ve sold out. If there’s something you really want, get in there and get it early
  • Don’t do 5 hours of drinking and karaoke then get only 3 hours of sleep before trying to do a day of Comiket – Yeah. I know. Duh.
  • Shipon lives a monk-like existence in the wastes of Northern Japan and has sworn off alcohol for the rest of his life. At least until there’s another office party.