Shipon deals out on his Comiket 72 experience covering sunburn, long lines, cosplay, an HD meetup, record numbers and how a good night’s sleep can make a BIG difference when a 5 hour lineup awaits.

Comiket Day 1
My day began at 5.30 when I woke up in the Akihabara Washington Hotel. I’d arrived in Tokyo late the night before, fresh from presenting workshops for new victims teachers for Japan’s English teaching brigade and crashed just after midnight. I headed for the Yurikamome line, not expecting much in the way of traffic – Friday is always the slowest day of Comiket, right? Right? The organising committee in its (infinite?) wisdom had seen fit to move doujin soft (which includes music/animation/video) to Friday from it’s regular Sunday, aiding in a big boost to the numbers on day 1. I sweated it out in the line and braved the fearsome port-a-loo gauntlet and eventually entered the halls at 10.15.

I left the halls at 10.16 to go and wait in line for outer circle Utsura Uraraka’s ‘BuBu Kagabu’ Lucky Star book (imagine if Kagami was a runty pig), spending 20 minutes back in the sun I’d just left! With book and omake pencil board in hand, I headed off for the rest of my rounds before finally hitting the cosplay space about 1pm. I managed to last about 30 minutes in the ridiculously hot summer sun before I felt my skin smoking. I chilled in the shade a little, then headed to the meeting point for HD meetup.

HD Meetup
At 3pm we gathered at the green ball meeting point in Big Sight – a motley crew (yaarrr!!!). Venue timing and location information was disseminated and we took our own separate courses to Akihabara, where we chilled at chain izakaya ‘Shirokiya’ (friend of tourists, porn merchants, web journalists and English teachers-alike). Over beers we discussed international cons, local cons, doujinshi, doujinshi fans, played 6 degrees of separation with with places in Japan we’d worked/lived, beer, cosplay, women, women in cosplay who serve beer and so on.

1170682241_4184d7a460.jpg 1170680857_7281bdfed5.jpg 1170684731_6e03c672fa.jpg
A meeting of minds. And glasses. And the beer… ahh, the beer…

After dinner some departed and some of us headed off to Toranoana, where we noticed that some Comiket 72 releases were already out, despite the official release date on Tora’s own labelling saying that the release date was Sunday. J2xC spotted a wicked Fist Of The North Star/iDolm@ster cross-over doujin which was duly purchased. With that we went our separate ways.

Comiket Day 2
I enjoyed a leisurely late wake-up call, as Saturday contained nothing on my ‘urgent’ list. I arrived at 10am and was in a markedly-shorter-than-day-one line inside Big Sight before 10.30am. Day 2 of C72 really felt like Day 1 usually feels, and the cooler temperature, cloudy sky and constant breeze helped too. I caught up with a few artists who I met at Comic1 who draw amazing Cardcaptor Sakura doujin (not H) and are so good at it, you could be mistaken for thinking they were CLAMP in disguise. And they do it with pen and paper too!

I met up with a much more relaxed looking J2xC and chilled for a bit before parting ways, shooting cosplay and hitting the industry area. This year nothing in the industry area really interested me, a fact for which my sanity (regarding crowds) and wallet (regarding moneys) will be eternally grateful. I met up with a friend from up north and headed to Akiba for some early dinners before crashing early. The big day was to come, I had a huge circle list and burning ambition.

1170687433_5c5a8077b4.jpg 1170686067_8b0a3406fb.jpg
Comiket is for lovers of doujinshi really, really long queues.

Comiket Day 3
I was up at 4.30 and out the door at 4.45, beginning the final trek for C72. I met up with J2xC whilst we killed time for a few hours with the waiting and such. Finally, back in by 10.15 and off to Studio Kimigabuchi, who last year had a huge line but didn’t this year. After which I headed off to Nekoma who were massive this year, compared to last year. ALL TOPSY TURVEY IN MY BRAIN!!!! Nekoma were selling a great priced pack with some cool omake – note in the photo below the tissues advertising a certain cosplay cafe that a Lucky Star character works at. And the directions are as accurate as she gives them…

I finished my list and went to shoot cosplayers again. Whilst Sunday was a sunny day, it wasn’t as hot as Friday and the cosplay area seemed less crowded. I finished up my shooting then headed back to Akihabara. Being a Comiket Sunday, Chuo-dori wasn’t that busy but I did grab some cellphone video of Nakano Anisong/Moe doing their nifty version of “Motteke Seera Fuku”.

These guys wail. Seriously. But no CD, yet…

After chilling for a little longer I grabbed some Maid Cookies as omiyage for my office, then headed for the shinkansen and the wastelands of the north.

1170669925_022b282db1.jpg 1170675411_e3ea8cb398.jpg 1170677171_4c1b4063d1.jpg
From this far away, they look like ants. But they’re all actual size.

Comiket 72 Afterthoughts
HOLY CRAP THIS YEAR WAS BIG!!! And it’s confirmed over on MantanWeb (via Canned Dogs) – 550 000 over 3 days. Wow. So here’s the random bits and pieces:
– Cellphone coverage was better this year, with Sunday being the worst. At least it’s possible to send a message in 2-3 tries now as opposed to 20.
– All venues and surrounds are woefully understocked and under capacity regarding food service. Bring your own or wait if you want lunch at the venue.
– Lucky Star and Haruhi are competing for supremacy. Who will win?
– Have a Suica or PASMO if you are riding the Yurikamome. You will avoid the mess at the ticket machines. And CHARGE IT!
– Sleep really helps. Having a later start on Day 2 really helped.
– Evangelion was less visible this year, surprising due to the new movie out in 2 weeks. A sign that saturation has been reached?

Shipon’s Spoils
Some nice bags and such in there too. Don’t forget to check out the omake tissues for Konata’s baito. Click for a larger image.


Cosplay Photos Coming Soon In Another Post!

I bought duplicates of some of the above – want your own Kagamin-bu pencil board or a copy of Ero Crown? Click here for eBay

Shipon lives in Northern Japan, and is currently working his way through 10kg of doujinshi. And recovering from sunstroke.