In a previous post, “The Cosplayers of Japan’s Comic-Con: Comiket,” I showed off some of the amazing cosplay here at Tokyo’s
Comic Market Comiket. Now, I’d like to show you my experience of the entire convention!
1. ORGANIZATION – This is Japan, so organization and social order is a pretty big deal. As such, you can expect to have very detailed lines telling you where to go and for what exhibits. But I’m not just talking about signs, I’m talking about roped off pathways that literally force you into one direction or another. There will be no escape once you start going one way. Mwahaha.
Above you can see that you can’t just walk around cosplaying…you must go straight to a specific cosplay area and literally, “set up shop,” there. In addition, they were quartered off from the rest of the walkways so as to not interrupt other visitors.
2. MULTI-MEDIA ART – One of the coolest aspects of Comiket is that it is a place for many different doujinshi artists and contributors to gather and display their work for hundreds of thousands of people. Walking in I expected just to see manga comics everywhere. To my surprise, there was so much more.
In the exhibit halls you could, of course, find the expected manga. However, there were also rows of musicians who had written music for anime or manga/pop culture themed stories. There were sculptors selling busts of your favorite characters and there even models (at least I think they were models) who were accompanied by their agents to sell books and pictures of their latest shoots. Keep in mind, this is all anime themed so these models are essentially professional cosplayers.
I really loved this. The idea of centralizing all anime/manga nerdom under one roof :).
3. COSPLAY – I just can’t forget about the cosplay. Have you ever watched those YouTube videos about ComicCon showing off the amazing cosplay…and some of the
half assed relaxed cosplay? Well, I pretty much only saw great ones here.
People put so much work into their costumes here it is beyond impressive.
Oh, and remember how I said cosplayers “set up shop?” What I meant by that is that these cosplayers have full on social medium identities. Next to many of them is a dossier including their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. I followed a few….or all…
Really, I think the attention to detail has a lot to do with the Japanese mentality of perfectionism. I’ve noticed that many people here who happen to have a specific hobby pursue it with relentless abandon. They buy the latest products for it, they spend most of their free time dedicated to it and become quasi-experts. Maybe I was witnessing this in cosplay fashion?
Anyways, you want to know the strange things here…I know you do…so let’s get down to it.
1. PORN EVERYWHERE – Ever seen that meme for ruined childhoods? You know, when somebody points out something really sexual about a childhood cartoon or story that you just never noticed as a kid? That feeling you get of just pain and shock? Well, that is pretty much how I felt for half of the time I was at Comiket because at one point Lexi at Beeabroad.co and I wandered into a display hall to see, to my horror, hundreds of booths selling doujinshi porn comics of all the anime characters I grew up with.
I mean, anime porn is pretty well known but to see it so proudly displayed like this was kind of surprising. The fact that men and women weren’t batting an eye and pretty much debating what they preferred was quite interesting. Not to mention the massive posters of female characters in the midst of their…uhm…stories…
2. CROWD MENTALITY – There were easily over 600,000 people who attended this December’s Comiket. It was crowded, for sure. However, people didn’t really seem to try to avoid crowds. Instead, they just packed themselves deeper into it, to the point that there were massive bubbles of space to sit and stroll around because nobody was there. I just did not understand!
Above you can see a great example of people taking the escalator down and up floors while it is COMPLETELY jam packed. What you can’t see is that three sets of stairways are completely empty…
Maybe people just didn’t want to miss out on whatever everybody else clearly knows about.
3. COSPLAY PAPARAZZI –
DISCLAIMER: Before I talk about this, know that I am talking about a VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE of people photographing the cosplayers.
Anyways, this was a bit strange to me. When people were taking pictures of the cosplayers, I noticed many guys who would take a picture of the females a thousand freaking times! Their camera’s shutter speed sounded like a machine gun. In addition, some would kind of just stare while breathing heavily and asking the girls to position their body this way and that way. Now this wouldn’t be so weird to me if it wasn’t for the fact that they were so damn assertive, getting closer and closer to these girls to the point that they actually had to step back. But they are professionals so they maintained their poses….bless them.
Like I said, that was a very small group and I almost never saw it. It certainly doesn’t distract from the amazing experience that is Comiket. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves manga/anime or enjoys seeing aspiring artists’ work in its best form.
I had an amazing time and even got some souvenirs! Some I’m not proud of haha. I had to though, its the experience. Try anything and have fun!