Thoughts from Winter Comiket 2018 コミケの感想 — BlockPunk — Medium

BlockPunk
BlockPunk
Dec 31, 2018 · 7 min read

Thoughts from Winter Comiket 2018 コミケの感想

I’ve just come back from Tokyo Comiket — the world’s largest fan event and a reminder of Japan’s passion for manga, anime and independent creation. It really is the biggest. Imagine the USA equivalent Comicon in Japan, only four times bigger. Much like Comicon in San Diego, it started off as an event for comic book enthusiasts but has now become a must for the big studios and franchises. Not to mention cosplayers. Here’s my top 12:

  1. Getting there: Is the first challenge. The Tokyo Big Sight convention centre is a 20 min monorail from Shinbashi in which you will be crammed with some of the other half a million attendees over the 3 day event.
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Anime and manga ads steadily intensify on the way. Volunteer staff shepherd the human wave towards the venue
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This is the winter version. Imagine being here in summer in hot and sweaty Tokyo.
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Step 1 is queue to get the official catalogue that lists all the exhibitors, features and a fascinating 40th anniversary stats report. Before entering, the face mask is de rigueur in peak flu season.
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Choose East or West wings ? Upstairs (Corporate booths) or downstairs (Doujin/Fan-indie artists and mangaka)

3. Buying Stuff: I head straight to the corporate booths. First stop, the official Tohoku Zunko stand where there is a healthy line forming.

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Last person in line has to hold the sign that tells people where to queue. Most stands have an order sheet to fill out in advance to keep things efficient. The Voiceloid software and 抱き枕 ‘daki-makura’ are the big tickets items around 10,000 yen mark. It’s customary to bring the exact amount (of course in cash) for the booths so you don’t waste creators time by making them look for change.
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Producer Oda-san and the team are ganbatteiru! Roaring trade.

4. Aniplex. Part of the Sony Music group, this studio is a force in anime, lead by prolific producer Iwakami-san. The hitmaker has spawned many successful franchises such as Madoka Magika, Monogatari series and of course the Fate franchise which seems to be everywhere these days.

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5. Type-Moon: The creators of the Fate series were originally a Doujin outfit with roots at Comiket so not surprising to see their continued presence.

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Type-Moon staff have a sign saying “This isn’t the end of the line” just to make sure you don’t jump in the middle. しつこいね。:)

6. Other studios representing: Wit Studio (part of the Production IG group) with Kuroko no Baske, porn empire DMM who have successfully diversified into many businesses including anime and games, Shochiku (a lovely film studio who are not only famed for outstanding movies, but also synonymous with Japanese culture as the home of Kabuki)

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Stands from Wit Studio, DMM Pictures and Games, and Shochiku promoting their January feature “明日世界が終わるとしても” “Even if the world ended tomorrow…”

7. Anything can be anime-fied: Here I present 5 examples.

(i) Branded loyalty cards. Tsutaya is Japan’s largest physical retailer of books, video and music with one of the country’s best databases of consumer purchase habits. One pillar is the ubiquitous T-Point card which can be used to collect points at many POS’ across multiple retailers in/out the Tsutaya network. Getting a T-point card is free but here you can pay to get a card branded with your favourite character or idol, often with a physical collectible bundled. Prices range from 500 to 5000 yen.

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(ii) Sporting events. The Tama River Powerboat Races.

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Give 400ml of blood for a free poster.

(iv) Japanese regional prefectures such as Niigata.

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(v) Pants. (Underpants that is)

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Cosplay Entrance. 2 girls who look like they have been swept off the set of Gantz by a strong wind and in the process most of their clothes have fallen off.
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(i) Multi-tasking? Keeping up with instagram while pleasing the paparazzi. (ii) and (iii) Pink hair for girls is a thing these days right?

9. A surprisingly large number of men dressed as women.

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10. Downstairs with the Doujin

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“Shirry” means arse in Japanese.
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One of my favourite names the “Sweet Shrimp Works”
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The wonderfully-named “Nice Unbalance” (because if you’re unbalanced better for it to be nice than not) with their latest release “Spoon Me!” A lot of “boys love” titles drawn by female mangaka, most of which NSFM (not suitable for Medium)
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After a day of buying boxes of swag better to have it shipped home on the spot by Yamato
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Doujin art portal Pixiv and Copic comic book software
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11. Promoting new January broadcast anime: Winter Comiket is great timing to promote the new anime series debuting on Japanese TV in the January window. If they haven’t been snapped up by Netflix or Amazon that is.

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「同居人 はひざ、時々、頭のうえ」Dokyonin wa hiza, tokidoki atama no ue (“My flatmate is on my knee, and sometimes on my head”) about an author who lives with a cat is a million seller in Japan due for an anime series in January 2019. Most (not all) anime started off life as manga.

12. Meanwhile, girls and automatic weapons continue to fascinate.

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Originally published at medium.com on December 31, 2018.

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