Alright, I’m back, unpacked, and ready to talk about Comiket.
I’m sure you’ve already heard, but this was a record attendance event. Over 560,000 over the three days. Talk about crazy. Since I’ve already talked about Day 1 in my previous post, let’s talk about Day 2.
First off, after finally getting a chance to go through the Catalog, I have a better feel for the event. Day 1 appears to be a lot of Yaoi stuff, Day 2 is a lot of Game/Videos and Day 3 is a lot of the male-oriented doujin. Of course, every day has lots of doujin, but that’s the emphasis. So, plan in hand, I was ready.
The lines were even longer, I left at the same time, and ended up a lot farther back, almost to the previous train station.
I finally figured out where the pretty cicadas are, they’re in Tokyo. I finally heard the lonely single guy chirping like you hear in every summer anime show. It was very pretty. They apparently live on Odaiba :-)
I finally got to Big Sight, and headed straight for the Industry hall, as I didn’t have too much I was looking for at the other halls. I realized that if I was planning on buying anything, I had budgeted waaaaay to little money. Most of the “sets” that was the main things the booths were selling were $100+, and people were walking around with $500-$1000 worth of merchandise on them. I was amazed. This is why fansubs will never terribly hurt the Japanese industry, because Japanese fans spend a lot of money, on average, much more than any other country I’ve encountered. The fans here are also very organized. There was no lackadaisical browsing, there were lines at every booth where an otaku stepped up, quickly said exactly what he wanted, he was served, paid and moved on. I felt out of place by having to stop and slowly read the displays to even know what was being offered.
There was about 1/2 to 3/4 of an entire hall just for Idol DVD’s and CG photo collections. The craziest part was, since this is all doujin stuff, most of the Idol’s were there, in the outfits on their DVD’s, selling their stuff. They were more camera shy than the booth babes upstairs, so I restrained myself. But it’s hard to turn down a really hot woman asking you to buy a DVD of her in various states of undress. I was strong though… and I didn’t have that much money.
There were also a lot of Galge’s (Gal Games), doujin dating/sex sims. I think anything I bought in this section (and most of the R18 stuff in the normal doujin sections), if I tried to mail it to someone in the US, would get them arrested and charged with obscenity violations (as seen recently with Christopher Handley in Iowa with his loli manga). I didn’t buy any of those either.
I think the only ero ones I bought were one of Yoko (Gurren Lagaan), one of Sumeragi (Gundam 00), one of Ranma (Ranma 1/2) and the one Yaoi one of Tiera and Lockon (Gundam 00). I think that last one might be ok for me to give away to a lucky (above 18) subscriber. The Yoko one might violate some bestiality law (seeing Dende is a Namek and not human). Ranma… well they are in High School. Sumeragi might be ok, but I’m pretty sure it’s drunken rape orgy one. The mangaka was nice and chatted with me a while, so I kind of felt obligated to buy one.
Day 3. There were even more people! On Day 1 once you made it to the venue it opened up a lot, plenty of room. On Day 2 in between halls was basically a people conveyor belt. On Day 3 inside the halls was total gridlock. You’d get some fat guy with a huge backpack turned sideways blocking half the aisle, and the Japanese are nice and polite and just stop and wait (for the most part), so the entire aisle backs up. And people stop caring about courtesy, they’ll just walk right into you hoping you bounce out of their way. I surprised a fair number of people by not budging at all and watching them bounce off of me. I also had to use some Ragnarok shield wall techniques to get through at times. The guy in front of me doesn’t have the guts to push through the crowd? Put my forearm and shoulder into his back and push. Works like a charm. On day three I had a solid plan, I went for the Type-Moon and Key sections, that’s where I bought the majority of my stuff. I also bought some in the military section. My favorite so far is “Mahou Shoujo Piraruku Kyou”, 5 volumes so far, in which Kyou from Clannad (the violent sister) falls onto a magic kitty in a scooter accident (when she hits Tomoya, like always) and sprouts fox ears and a tail. Quite amusing and high art values. I also bought a Utawarerumono doujin and a couple Fate/Stay Night 4-koma doujin. Good times.
In addition to Comiket, I also spent some time in Akihabara, picked up a DSi (pretty sweet so far) and played a lot of DQIX. I bought Dragon Quest IX a last month, and played a fair bit in Australia. But in order to get some cool stuff you have to utilize this “Passerby mode” (Surechigai). Basically you go into this inn in the game, say you want to enter passerby mode, close the DS (leaving it on) and walk around. Anytime you pass within Ad-hoc range of another person with their DS on, DQIX in and in passerby mode, your character will go and visit their inn and their character will visit yours. After walking around a while you open your DS and see if you have visitors. You can only have 3 at once, then you have to exit the mode, go back to the inn and talk to the new people to get credit, then you can go back into passerby mode, rinse and repeat.
Well I don’t have to tell you that this would almost surely fail in the US. But in Japan, in Tokyo? Oh yeah. Heck, I could get 3 people every time just walking from my hotel to the train station (a 5 minute walk). That means I passed as least 3 people on the way who
- Have a DS
- Own DQIX
- Have DQIX on and in passerby mode
So I thought I’d try an experiment. I mean, I knew it would be an easy bet at Comiket, it’s full of people who love anime, manga, games and technology. So instead, I went to Tokyo station. I stood by an escalator watching businessmen and women in suits and briefcases walk by, and turned on passerby mode. In 20 seconds I had 3 people, went back, talked to them, turned passerby mode back on, boom (10 seconds). I was getting people faster than I could handle. I stood there for an hour and had 150 visitors. I went back today as I had a couple hours before I caught my Shinkansen back to Kyoto and got another 300. I now have over 400 visitors in my inn. Well, that part of the game is cleared :-) All over Japan there are areas setup in electronic stores (or outside them) where you can stand around with other people with DQIX in order to get visitors. Witness this scene outside Yodobashi-Akiba.
I found the best area though was the stations, people are moving through all the time, and now is the time to do it, before the game gets old and no one is playing anymore.
So, final thoughts? I’ve never bought doujinshi before in my life, and I just spent more in three days at Comiket than I ever did at an Anime convention. It’s addictive, you see cool stuff about series or games you like, or just something that looks cool, and it’s like $3-$5 per volume, and before you know it, you’ve spent $80. I thought going down there that maybe this would just be a one-time thing, but I’m now seriously considering trying to go to Winter Comiket the 29-31 of December. We’ll see, we’ll see.