Love it, hate it or both, there’s nothing like it.
Cramming 600,000 people into a convention center over three days in Tokyo summer weather sounds like a recipe for Hell. And in many ways, it is – even at its best Comiket is an exhausting experience. I much prefer the winter version, which is slightly smaller and graced with far better weather. But winter or summer, it’s a unique event – the undisputed epicentre of worldwide anime, manga, LN and VN culture.
I wanted to take a few videos this year, although Comiket is a terrible place to do so. The crowds are so massive that it’s really almost impossible to stop anywhere and film without causing a massive disruption, and there are a lot of people who don’t want their pictures taken. Friday is traditionally “ladies day”, in that much of the floor space given over to doujinshi is dedicated to those that target the female demographic. Saturday tends to be Touhou-centric, and Sunday to focus on anime and VN that target hard-core otaku. That usually means Friday is the least brutal experience, as women at Comiket are as a rule both less violent and less odiferous than men. But the boundaries seem to be blurring somewhat – there were quite a few otaku-centric doujin circles, and some of the big ladies favorites are on-display tomorrow.
I’ve described Comiket as a “choose your own adventure game for fetishes” and the first hall I visited (West 1 and 2, doujin circles) is a perfect example. The various sections of the hall were geared towards Sherlock, military, cats (not catgirls, actual cats) and train otaku. The East Halls are entirely doujin circles and artists, and they were a mix of various parody and original material, about a 50-50 split between those targeting men and women. I can say for certain that the Tiger and Bunny phenomenon shows no signs of abating – it had the largest footprint of any series, though some big guns like Kurobas and Haikyuu!! hit tomorrow.
I had entertained thoughts about going back tomorrow – it’s free apart from the ¥450 each way train fare to Odaiba – but I’m pretty spent. And to be honest, the industry halls (West 3 and 4) were so depressing that I just don’t feel like I can face the place again. They’re always the loudest and most jam-packed sections of the event, but I can usually find at least a few booths that are pushing something of interest. But more so than at any time I’ve attended, it was a whitewash of straight-up otaku marketing – almost nothing notable for anything except moe and sex. Looking at the Fall schedule already had me in a deep despair about the state of the industry – we seem on-track for one of the worst anime years ever – but I’ve seen a real transformation over the last four Comikets in that industry room. It’s less diverse and more monotonal than ever (even the stuff targeting to female otaku was few and far between). I’ve never been less optimistic about the future of anime – but that’s a topic for a dedicated post…
On the way back I stopped at Aqua City, one of the big malls on Odaiba (next to Diver City, where the giant Gundam lives). They still have a NoitaminA store there (the Shibuya one closed), and it has a cafe and screens videos. There was also a large Psycho-Pass pop-up on the first floor, so if you’re a fan you should swing by while you can.