Comiket 79 report

It's been a long time coming, but here's the inaugural otaku blog post, and we begin with a report from Comiket 79!

For those who aren't familiar with the event, Comiket is basically the biggest otaku convention in the world, with well over half a million attendees flocking in from all over Japan to the Tokyo Big Sight twice a year. The main purpose is the sale of doujinshi, which are basically fan-created manga, songs, games, etc. As you might expect from otaku culture, much of it is devoted to ero (hentai) content, so be wary of viewing the pictures following at work.

Comiket is always held at the Tokyo Big Sight on Odaiba in Tokyo.

The day starts very early, with people starting to line up the night before. I was there at a far more reasonable 5am.

At around 8am, a couple hours before opening, they'll stand everyone up and start compressing the lines to prepare for entry.

By this point, the line will be 30-40 thousand people long, and snaked around the whole island.

As opening approaches, they'll start moving the line into the Big Sight grounds, splitting people off into East and West Halls lines.

The Big Sight is divided into two major buildings, the East and West halls. Usually only one or two halls would be rented out for any given event, but the sheer size of Comiket requires all 10 halls.

Each hall is easily the size of a football field.

Pretty much every hall gets completely packed. You can see the West-3 sign at the top, marking one of the corporate booth halls.

Comiket is held over 3 days, and circles will only show up on one day, usually grouped together by genre/theme (Touhou/yuri/BL/etc.) You're a seasoned otaku if you can name this circle.

The exception are the corporate booths, which are always in West 3/4 and remain all 3 days. This is the Dengekiya booth, showing off lots of Oreimo + Index goods.

If one word describes Comiket, it would be "lineups". There are lineups for circles, for getting between halls, for using washrooms, even for the cosplay area. Everyone brings a DS or PSP or something else to do while waiting.

On day 3 it took me around 45 minutes to traverse the 100 meter path adjoining the West and East Halls. Insane.

You've probably already noticed that there are a ton of people at this event, but pictures really don't do the sheer mass of otaku there justice. It's really hard to imagine a crowd so dense that you get literally swept along if you lose your grip on the ground unless you've experienced it yourself. So while pictures may not convey what 550,000 people looks like, maybe a video can:

Pardon the camera handling; I'm not exactly pro at it and being constantly jostled didn't really help either. Here's the corporate booths in the West Halls. Can you pick out the Oreimo PV playing as I pass it?

The corporate booths are popular because they tend to sell limited edition goods that are only sold at that Comiket, so if you want your hands on them, that's the only time to get them.

I'm a huge August fan. Expect me to disappear for a while when Aiyoku no Eustia comes out.

You probably know that dakimakura are "love pillow" covers, but did you know they also made curtains?

Would you have the balls to hang these in your room?

Very nice guitars. +5 otaku points if you know what eroge these are from.

Corporate booths tend to have a lot of cosplaying employees.

Towards the end of the day, a lot of booths hold special seiyuu/developer events where special guests will appear and do interviews.

Type Moon had a very colorful booth this winter.

This is the cosplay area. The average cosplayers at a Comiket alone easily outnumber most American conventions.

I don't usually spend much time in the cosplay area (because it would reduce precious lineup time for circles and booths) but I went down this time to take a look. Here's a Touhou crew.

That Uiharu is amazing...

How many of you can name all the vocaloids?

An all-girl Arakawa Under the Bridge crew..

This Reimu had 30 people around her taking photos the whole time. Notice the suitcases - you're not allowed to cosplay to or from Comiket, so everyone has to bring their costumes, then lug around their baggage the whole time.

At 4:30 the announcement goes out over the intercom that Comiket is over for the day, and everyone starts making their way outside.

It's December, so it's already getting dark by the time it finishes, and the sun's about to disappear.

So there you have it - Comiket it a nutshell. Afterwards there's a huge rush for the second hand doujin shops like Melonbooks and Toranoana where people try to get any ones they missed (at an inflated price, of course). I'll cover that in my next post, which will focus more on otaku culture in general. Feel free to leave comments/questions!

Comments (86)

MiiMiiI wish I could go :(
redhades777wow thats a crazy amount of people!
Andros0ty... nice post
ghosti guess there are more males than females
JayAnyone else notice that the Reimu in the third to last picture is the same person Ulrezaj passed in the corporate halls between 3:06 and 3:08?
AlexVery nice first post, looking forward to future ones. Wish I could've been there :(

Is there a reason they can't cosplay to/from Comiket? Are those girls you see cosplaying in Akiba on TV/anime actually breaking a law by doing it publicly?

How many goodies did you get? :)
Kevthe entrance sign is written in korean too, how nice of the japanese :)
CSI'm wording about the whole why can't they cosplay to there. Is it some crazy unreasonable Japanese law?
ForeluneI can't remember which anime this girl is cosplaying as.
nippahWow, great post. Nice shots!
"That Uiharu is amazing..." Sooo true!!
KaiThe breast anatomy on that poster kind freaks me out...

And this was rather interesting, thanks for putting up so much regarding it. Seems to function very differently from North American cons. Especially the cosplayers being separated out like that, seems kind of strange to do it though.
I want an anime curtain!!Liked this blog post, would've been nice to have more video footage of the booths & possibly seiyuu interviews (if you see a top class one that is). Maybe those are on the way? ^_^

Do you visit Japan on a regular basis? Twice a year perhaps?

What sorta pricing is there on those doujinshi? cheap?

Also, same question as Alex, is there an issue with cosplaying or something? :D

last question: who accompanied you to the event? Saw someone in the reflection of the cabinet. Was it some guy from Eclipse or something? (thinks back to that post about meeting up with Eclipse you made a while back)
KeineThe power of Otakus still frighten and fascinate me at the same time O__O
Where are the Keine cosplayers?!
Hirvine"you're not allowed to cosplay to or from Comiket"
- What ? Didn't knew that. Man, that must be a pain in the ... :( It's truly magnificent to see people so devoted. Warms my soul :)
Myukdoes anyone know where to buy a hoodie like the one on the guitar picture?
the green black one left below
DDI don't care about pretty much everything that's available at Comiket, but I'd still go there for the experience. Love reading about the event and all the crazy shit going on.
Marinawow, pretty cool post. Thanks for all the images and vids.
Kudowow, it's my first time seeing so many people in one place...
nya hahahahahahaha
as expected from comiket....
you right, that uiharu is amazing...
looking forward to next event...
Invisiblemoose...where there any non-Asians there? How much would an Anglo-Saxon guy stand out?
JossieAaah! godammit I wish I could have gone along. Though still I would probably die of a heart attack as a result of the sudden happiness ^^ .. Make sure u make some more detailed posts for us :)
oh em geei wish i was there T-T

next time make sure you tell us when you're leaving, i'll sneak into ur suitcase
Kal That is some crazy stuff! but in a real awesome kind of way. Great you could go, and thanks for sharing. I would also like to go at least once just for the experience. That's one thing you have to go yourself.
UlrezajCS: It's not a legal thing, it's just part of the Comiket rules. They basically don't want to draw any more attention than necessary. For all its fame, most ordinary people don't actually have any idea what Comiket is.

Forelune: Kudo from Little Busters

Kai: There needs to be a separate space for the cosplayers because there is literally no space within the actual buildings to pose for shots.

Iwaac: I've visited every winter for 3 years now, but that may come to an end soon!
Doujinshi vary between 300 yen to 2000 yen depending on size/color/paper quality.
Norgus, my backup TL, also came with me.

Invisiblemoose: There are very, very few non-Japanese. That said, everyone's way too busy buying stuff to really care about anyone else.
KyousukeI wonder if there is a place to take a breath or anything like's really crowded inside there.
SomeoneThis was a cool informational post
El extraño de los huevos peludosgetting dark at 16 30?

holy fuck, its nice leaving closer to the ecuator
Strike Luckey

Ah, that makes sense. Wasn't thinking. So easy to pose at the ones here.

Thanks again for the peek inside, really curious about the culture there (even if only see a slice of it).
DrunkenAntIn the Photo of the vocaloids, i can't help but notice the Lala cosplay in the background.
ShadowGreat tour! While I doubt I'd ever get around to going there, myself, it's interesting to see the real thing after seeing it in animes and just how close to real they made it! :)

In the vid, it sounded like you were humming. Maybe on the next one you could sneak in that humming they do in all the beginnings of Index and Railgun series. ;)

Hmm mm hmm, hmm mm hmm, hmm mmm hmmmm
ShufflebladeThanks for this post, makes me think of Genshiken, fourth episode or whatever from the first season xD

Hardcore otaku :P
thewizardninjaScrew the vocaloids, I'm more interested in the Hijikata cosplayer in the background.
thewizardninjaScrew the vocaloids, I'm more interested in the Hijikata cosplayer in the background.
Krungthis has been very educational, i wish i could go there someday, but i dont do well in crowds ._.
blackprince19It's seems I have not reached an otaku leavel yet as I couldn't figure out 1/3 of the chacters... is that good or bad?
kenjinsakuraI wanna go to this summer's comiket. But summer is HOT,
EMChampAs big as the winter Comiket is, is the summer one even bigger?
Anonymous~Oh wow, Kirari's guitar. Whoo.
Also, anyone know what series the characters on the Type-Moon poster come from?
JohnIts true...there are more people cosplaying than attendees at my city's many people...i felt claustrophobic just watching the videos.

I thought that the way they presented the event in lucky star was exaggerated...seems like the opposite is true.
guibinI want to go someday...but I think I should find a seasoned comiket goer first....
go3001=.= So the scenes in OreMo is true.....
MacGuruThank you for this post, it's nice to see and read about the real thing. I wish I could go for the next one :)
MSD.DangoWow, I'm envious. Sad life, college. I'd like to go there sometime. ;)
~Unicornwho's the female character in the comiket poster?? is she from somewhere or just drawn specifically for the poster??
SoulWell this was nice, thank you for the post.
DolmDamn uiharu and saten-san amazing !
anonI want that rin/saber curtain.. *drool*
miiiithanks for showing us. looking foward to more posts like this :)
taii noticed that anime figurines were also being sold, i want to see those if u have any more photos or videos of those awes0me figurines please share :D
EnoI thought that taking pictures was not allowed anywhere besides cosplay area..?
flareGod damn, I respect your patience. Those queues look like hell.
xineohpOut of curiosity, how much money do you spend over the 3 days?

Or maybe a better question would be how much does the average person spend at Comiket?
Bolaykim o.OIm really envious to you guys , you can comiket :(
I hope one day i will go too :) thanks for the videos and pictures they are all great!

And as i see they are all normal young people , i always thought when u look at an otaku , u can immediately say "he/she is an otaku". Besides almost all of them were stylish :D
Bolaykim o.OI hope u will keep posting next one too :)
BestNOneGreat post thank you
marblephan"...with people starting to line up the night before." very devoted otaku...
And that crowds reminded me of a scene in Lucky Star ^^
MrKantiOverDrive booth packed with Kirakira and Deardrops instruments? fuuuuuuuuuck I wish I could've gone to that.
EnjCant believe you didnt take a pic of lala-chan (in vocaloid pic)
njamunkyi think ill stick to my relatively small and safe Sakuracon. comiket will just get me arrested after my "agent orange" kicks in and i get the urge to kill.
UlrezajUnicorn: Every year they have an original Comiket mascot.

Eno: They used to be a lot more anal about pictures, but these days as long as you aren't in the way, they don't tend to care. The exception is the seiyuu/developer events, for which they usually have staff looking out for people taking pics.

xineohp: Really depends on what you're interested in, but I probably blow around 30,000Â¥, and mostly in the corporate booths. I have no idea what the average is like, but the final stats estimate total spending for C79 at around 20 billion yen (~$200 million US), divided over 550,000 people = ~$363 per person. So I guess I'm actually below average.
Luis_vi_BritanniaNice post! I always wanted to see Comiket on the inside like you guys did ^_^
(a lot more informative than just looking at Konata from Lucky Star buying stuff, lol)
Doc. OdineTaking pictures is still not allowed outside Cosplay Square and if you have read the rules you must know it. It's not like anyone would die if you take his/her picture, but not everyone wants to be seen at Comiket. Most people who go there have their jobs already and some companies here can still be quite annoying when they catch you doing something "improper". So when you do take pictures and post them on the net publicly, please be at least kind enough to blur people's faces.

That they didn't catch you doesn't mean anything. I was there this winter as well and I have seen staff stopping people from taking pictures. Still same as before.

By the way, for everyone who is thinking about going to Comiket - even though taking pictures at cosplay square is (still) allowed, it is a good manner to get the cosplayer's permission if you want to upload the pics on some public server (well visited blog/web page etc.) Keep in mind that not everyone wants to be seen at Comiket. Because the situation with uploading photos without permission has been getting worse, the Comiket staff is now considering tightening the cosplay square rules or, in the worst case, extending the "no photos" rule to the cosplay square as well.

Please, people. Comiket still has a nice, friendly atmosphere. Keep it that way.
boingmanThanks for the post.
I am also interested in those Type-Moon characters. Are those two from a game or just mascots?
BudiA hear comiket also sell famous doujinshi.
maybe i sould go!!!!!!
UGKAjMVKGreat thinking! That really berkas the mold!
UGKAjMVKGreat thinking! That really berkas the mold!
nandeyanenThis may be a silly question, but is there an entrance fee? I was thinking about going December 2011 but I'm not sure how much money I'd be willing to blow, since I usually end up spending way too much at cons xD
ergZayThere is no entrance fee. It costs zero to get in. It's a marketplace, they want people to come in and buy stuff. It does cost money to set up a table to sell stuff or to use the dressing room for cosplay though.
MR Zetsubouwhen is it on next in 2012 ?
DistAt what price do doujins generally go by in Comikets, or those limited goods. (Mostly interested in dakis+curtains). Traveling to Japan in Summer 2012 and I need to think about how much money I can bring..

Looking at the pictures though, Comiket looks like hell .. For a newcomer who hardly speaks Japanese, too xD.
olisThanks for the awesome comiket insight :)
hanfgnu2kAh, the memories.

Have been there for Winter Comiket 76 with some friends. Some of the few foreigners ;)
hanfgnu2kUhm, make that Comiket 77 ... memory playing tricks on me
Rotary TunerAre there itashas (decorated sports cars) or non-itasha sports cars in there? Most likely it's Skylines in there, if there are.
miwashiWhere exactly is the cosplay square in your photos? I went for C79 but I was in this cosplay area with a fountain and a pedestrian bridge overlooking it, and I also know the roof has cosplayers.
xXxDarkRaiThat was fun. Can't wait for Natsu Comiket. (Perspiration Mode)
BanchanAre those guitars all from 1 eroge? I'm pretty sure I saw one or two from Kira Kira but I can't recognize the rest
BanchanEdit: I forgot about the fandisc. I bet the rest are from the fandisc which I didn't play (couldn't get through the terrible beginning)
RoseTechYeee I'm going to Comiket 81! Can't wait for this shit
kirii can already feel the energy they've saved up just for that event by only seeing those pictures.....
wanzerSo lemme get this straight...

It's fine in Japan that a whole bunch of people gather in a set place at a set time to make money selling naughty pictures of commercial video game and anime characters.

But in Amercia, we can't even watch certain music videos on our iPhone while waiting for the bus because of "Contractual License Agreements"???
vladimirA couple of days ago I'd say I want to be at E3, but now I'll say that I want to be at Comiket.
KJ@whoever asked about the Type-moon pics

The words, you can make out to be called "Mahou Tsukai no Hako" = Magician's box
Lichaamitaiiii XD
XenoI am just amazed how it works with the flow of ppl walking from A to B. Looks syncronized =) Here in Sweden we can't have 500 ppl on a same spot cause everyone just think they walk right and it's just annoying. Looks more like a battle when two sides clashes together.