Wedy's Travel Guide: Guide to Comiket 2018
I hope you’re enjoying your New Year celebrations, but it’s still non-stop here at Team Nippon Marathon.
This time I have something a little different to report on, I was luckily enough to attend Comiket Market over the New Year’s Weekend.
Comiket is one of the biggest Comic-related markets in Japan, with over 200,000 people attending each day. The focus of the market is “dojinshi”, which translates to independently created and published manga. Due to the manga being independently produced expect a wide range of styles, from cute cats to half naked ladies (more on that later).
Tokyo Big Sight
The event is held at Tokyo Big Sight, which is one of the craziest buildings I’ve ever seen. It looks like a combination of something from the Marvel Universe and King of the Katamari’s head… Do you agree?
If you’re new to Comiket then be warned that this event gets incredibly crowded, like seriously crowded. People will queue from the early hours of the morning to make sure that their favourite dojinshi doesn’t sell out. It’s popular knowledge that the Japanese know how to queue, but the queue for Comiket is like no other.
Think that there is just one long queue? Think again. Imagine zones of queues, and when the event opens at 10am, each zone is allowed to enter in an orderly fashion. I can only imagine it’s how they organise trains on a subway. Don’t believe me? See the video below.
Have you ever seen such organisational skills? Not since my first job at the post office where I was responsible for organising Christmas Cards into alphabetical order before being posted. Wow what a rush that was.
If you’re just going to soak up the atmosphere then definitely go after 12pm, unless organised queue systems are your thing then I recommend waiting until all of the queuing has cleared. I arrived at 1.30pm and didn’t need to queue to enter, although it was still very busy.
East Vs West Hall
When you enter you’ll be greeted by two halls, the East and West hall. There are dojinshi in both the West and East hall, but in the West hall there are also Corporate stands where you can find popular Anime and Gaming memorabilia. The West hall also has a rooftop garden and the East hall has a small cosplay garden where you’ll find lots of cosplayers. There’s a chance you might need to queue to enter (I didn’t), but if in doubt then just follow the crowd, they’ll at least lead you somewhere somewhat interesting.
If you’re just here to soak up the atmosphere then we’d recommend West Hall as it’s more varied in contents, just be warned if you walk into any of the halls selling dojinshi then be prepared to be greeted by lots of adult only dojinshi, right at the entrance too. So if you’re going with anyone of sensitive mind or with a child then best to be mindful of this.
Comiket isn’t just for comics, there are a lot of cosplayers who take their art very seriously. Firstly if you would like to cosplay then there are some rules regarding cosplaying; firstly it costs ¥1000 to cosplay, you have to change in/out of cosplay at the arena, and you’re not allowed to arrive or leave in cosplay.
If you’re not cosplaying then you can still enjoy the other people in cosplay, you’ll be impressed by everyone’s costumes. There are significantly more girls cosplaying then men, and you’ll be even more impressed at how in the middle of winter they are able to wear tiny skirts and sleeveless dresses.
Now as you’d expect things could get quickly out of hand so there are lots of rules about taking photos, but here are the main ones:
You must ask permission. There is a Privacy Law in Japan which restricts photos in public places, that’s why you may have seen photos with people’s faces blurred out of the image. The same goes for conventions; you must ask permission of the cosplayer if you wish to take a photo of them.
There might possibly be a queue that you must join for each cosplayer if you wish to take their photo.
Often they will have a Twitter/Instagram handle, best get a shot of it if you’re sharing it as cosplayers like to see where their photos end up.
Respect their privacy, don’t be that person who goes a step too far. You know what I mean.
Now I’m used to being in-front of the camera as a newsreporter but this time I was behind the camera! My DSLR camera that is. I was only able to take a few shots of cosplayers, as when I had arrived there was only a short period of time before stewards moved everybody on (why I’m not sure).
My photography skills of people are not very good, but check out this post from SoraNews24 for a round up of the best cosplayers from the event, or better yet just search #ComiKet95 into Twitter, you won’t be disappointed.
Not only is the rooftop garden a great place to shoot cosplayers, but you’ll get some amazing photos of the surrounding area Odaiba, which is home to many attractions such as Rainbow Bridge, Aqua City shopping center, Venus Fort (a Venice-themed shopping mall) & Gundam (naturally).
Entry: Free, but purchasing one of their official guides is recommended. There is also an online version available here.
December 29th (Saturday) ~ 31st (Monday), 2018
August 9th (Friday) ~ 12th (Monday), 2019
December 28th (Saturday) ~ 31st (Tuesday), 2019
Entry Times: 10am - 4pm
Kokusai Tenjijo Station (Rinkai Line), 12 minutes walk
Kokusai Tenjijo Seimon Station (Yurikamome Line), 7 minutes walk
So that’s all for now folks,
I’ve been Wedy Jones.
Keep it Real, Keep it Nippon.
***disclaimer*** All images were taken by me, I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in the blog post, this is purely from a tourist/fan perspective.