Despite being one of Japan’s longest running events, having been inaugurated in 1975, this bi-annual event always continue brings in a large attendance every time. We had the opportunity to take part in the Summer Comiket which was a total blast and to end off 2017, we had to make sure we went to the Winter portion. Fortunately for us, the sun was shining brightly and the weather was mild, so we were able to grab some wonderful shots of cosplayers who weren’t freezing their butts off too much (it was still a bit chilly).
People probably wonder what the main difference is between the Summer and Winter Comiket and to be honest, the only thing that stands out is that the Winter portion tends to cater more to the male demographic, while Summer targets the female. This is in regards to the products that are sold in the Doujin section of the event, such as more hentai comics being sold in the Winter while more BL, Shounen-Ai and other female related genres tend to see more spotlight in the Summer. Why that happens is beyond our comprehension but nevertheless, Comiket caters to just about everyone who’s very much into anime, manga and of course video games. Think of Winter Comiket like the New Year End Party for otaku, because that’s pretty much what it feels like.
|When it was Established|| 1975|
Comiket Official Website: http://www.comiket.co.jp/index_e.html
|Length of event||December 29th - December 31st|
|Location||Tokyo Big Sight|
|Price of Admission||Free!|
What to Expect?
Comiket is short for “Comic Market”, a place where artists and fans alike congregate in order to share their passion for Japan’s illustrious subculture. In the beginning, much of Comiket was more of an event catered towards the more independent artists, but as of late, even the big names like Kadokawa, SEGA, and Ameba try to make their mark by selling products to fans of all ages. That’s the beauty of Comiket, it doesn’t shy away from anybody because the event has become more of a year end festival than its pure otaku based form that started more than 30 years ago. Of course, the otaku soul is still very much alive and permeates everywhere you turn, but you now see a much more diverse array of things to take part in and there’s just more to be excited about. Now there’s cosplay, video game demos, a plethora of booths to purchase limited edition items, tons of food vendors and more. In a way, it’s like the Disneyland for otaku because much like it’s Disney counterpart, you’ve got people in costume walking around while fans rush to take photos of their favorite characters from popular franchises. You simply cannot experience Comiket in one day which is why it needs 3 days to allow people to really soak in all of the festivities, and perhaps, experience something memorable. So if you’ve never had the chance to experience Comiket then expect to have a lot in store waiting for you! It’s one event that you certainly don’t want to miss if you’re flying over to Japan during the winter season.
What to Bring in order to Enjoy the Event
Tokyo Big Sight is an incredibly massive venue, and so it’s safe to say that you’ll be doing a lot of walking around for most of the day. So with that in mind, it’s best to have a nice chunk of cash stored in your wallet, especially if you intend to buy any items that go on sale whether it be from the Doujin side or from the major companies. Money is also important for grabbing food as mentioned earlier, Comiket is filled with a ton of food vendors that supply some delicious Japanese style grub. It isn’t your 5 star restaurant type of ordeal but you’ll find things like ramen, gyoza, and the very popular takoyaki among others. There are also convenience stores in the venue as well so if you don’t want to spend too much and perhaps save your yen for purchasing those cool items, then that option is certainly there.
Being that this is both an indoor and outdoor event, we suggest wearing something warm since winter time in Japan can be really hit or miss. Luckily, this year wasn’t as cold as the year prior but you can never be too sure when Mother Nature decides to drop the temperature, so always be prepared. Since Comiket is a place for gathering, we strongly suggest bringing some friends along to really enjoy everything. Of course, you can go alone and still have a blast, perhaps meeting new friends even, but if you do have a group of like minded friends to tag along with then bring them along for the ride. Cameras will certainly be a necessary item to carry along since a lot of the event has become the focus for cosplayers who dress up as their favorite anime franchise character, and show off their artistic skill to the world. So if you’re like us and fancy a well designed costume then having a camera is a must. You can always use your smartphone too if a high end camera isn’t within your budget. The whole point of just having a camera is to capture the moment in all its beauty! Lastly, if you’re a cosplayer or artist then definitely show off your artwork at the event, because this would be a great time to build a network and create new relationships with people as passionate as you!
What to do While There/What is Available
As we mentioned before, Comiket is a massive event that takes place over a three day period. A lot of the big name cosplayers tend to flock in during opening day since it’s a great way to kick things off, or perhaps they work the next day as it’s their only option. Whatever the reason, it shouldn’t stop you from going in day one to grab some limited items, because there’s a ton of lineups, and making sure you don’t miss out is imperative. On the east side of the venue, you have the more Doujin oriented section where a lot of independent artists gather together to sell their own products. Items range from self made manga, handmade dolls and indie games so there’s more than enough things to check out. This portion of the venue is usually the most condensed and is where a lot of fans flock to show support to their favorite indie artists. It’s incredibly difficult to traverse around in this type of scenario because of how many people are situated in one area, but if you can endure the rush and go at your own pace then it shouldn’t be an issue.
If you ever need fresh air and want to perhaps check out the cosplay section, then just outside of the Doujin area are cosplay areas where all the cosplayers gather for photos from fans. This is our favorite part of Comiket because once again, it’s like the Disneyland for otaku. You walk through the cosplay area and run into familiar faces like Luffy from One Piece, or one of the Sailors from Sailor Moon, or perhaps the entire Gundam Fleet. It’s crazy because you just never know what you’ll run into but one thing’s for certain, you’ll always be amazed by the sheer quality of the costumes. We ran into some spectacular cosplays from Kamen Rider, Tokyo Ghoul and even found Daft Punk wandering around! It’s just a cornucopia of cosplayers who all just have a love for what they do and you can see it through the commitment they put in to making their costumes stand out.
On the western end of the venue is where you’ll find more of the official merchandise from major companies like SEGA, Kadokawa, Square Enix and more. That’s the remarkable aspect about Comiket, it never just focuses on one particular area while allowing both big and small developers share the same space. Comiket, in its early days, was primarily an event solely for independent artists to gather and share their passions, but now bigger companies have noticed just how popular the event has become and now, use it as a way to market their upcoming titles to fans. We didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but a lot of banners were placed around the area advertising new anime, manga and games which are slated to release in 2018. Some areas provided sneak peeks of some game titles such as the upcoming Sword Art Online title, which is supposed to take on a fresh new perspective with its Third Person Shooter motive.
Everywhere you turn there’s something new to discover and if you manage to make it to the top of the building, you’ll run into more cosplayers. We really don’t know how these people manage to stay warm with limited clothing on, but we tip our hats off to them for having the dedication to coming out to such an event and showing off their artistic skills to the community. It wouldn’t be the same without these cosplayers so Comiket really owes a lot to their participation. If no cosplayers were around, to be honest, the event just wouldn’t have the same luster, since it’s kind of like a dreamland when you walk into the event and see your favorite characters come to life. Comiket, in the end, is like your favorite fantasy come to life and there’s truly no other event like it, so if you ever need your subculture fix then this is the one event you can’t miss!
Honey's Final Thought
C93 has come to an end for us but our otaku soul still continues to burn with that moe moe flare. You can take us out of the event but you can’t take the otaku out of us and so, with that being said, we look forward to next year’s Comiket which will kick off in the summer. You can be sure we’ll be there taking photos as usual, along with meeting new friends and buying all the Doujin manga we can find. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest news from Japan, and perhaps we may do an IRL stream of Comiket next time so follow us as well on Twitch!
For all things otaku be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime!