Do you like anime? How about manga? What about plain old Japanese eccentricities? Well, welcome to Tokyo’s Comiket – Comic Market. Comiket is the world’s largest Doujinshi fair. Doujinshi are self-published manga comics that are not associated with some big label publisher, such as Shonen Jumpr or another distributor. (Think of it as a private comic fair for people not associated with DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics, etc.) Same thing.
Founded in 1975, there were originally only 32 participating manga circles (self-publishers) and about 600 attendees. How cute. Nowadays, that has EXPLODED into over half a million people! You can definitely tell.
The really cool thing about Comiket is that it is an entirely grassroots movement. It is a venue for amateurs, established manga writers, and more to present their hard work to the public in an unbiased way. That is what really drew me to the event, the independent start-up environment.
It is held twice a year – in spring and winter – at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center in Odaiba. In order to get here you have to take a train to this artificial island and basically follow the crowd. Get off at Kokusai-tenjijo station; it will drop you off immediately in front of Tokyo Big Sight.
Just like Comic – Con in the USA, cosplay is everywhere here. However, there are specific rules that must be followed by the cosplayers AND by their admirers. They are as such:
1. You must register your costume and attendance before attending the event.
2. You are only allowed to put your costume on and take it off in the designated dressing rooms.
3. You are not allowed to showcase yourself in the exhibit halls. There will be designated cosplay areas outside the halls, on the roof, behind the venue and on the main plaza.
1. You can take pictures of the cosplayers but must ask permission before doing so.
2. DO NOT take pictures of other people taking pictures. I got screamed at for this…but it was worth it and you’ll see why soon.
…I think that was it for us :P.
These are VERY strict rules…for the cosplayers, at least. The designated cosplay areas are spread throughout the conference but the first one you will most likely encounter is on the main plaza/entrance of Tokyo Big Sight. Now, without further a do, let me show you some of my favorites.
If you don’t know who these girls are then I am very sorry for your loss as you were never able to experience Cartoon Network’s original Toonami. I grew up watching Sailor Moon…I mean it came on right after Pokemon and right before Dragonball Z.
I was really stoked to see these girls, mainly because a bunch of my friends and I dressed up as the sailor scouts for a Halloween party in Osaka this year. I think they pull it off better.
Next up are characters from the insanely popular manga Shingeki no kyojin, or Attack on Titan. It is a manga about the last of humanity who has hid themselves behind massive walls in an attempt to escape the horrifying Titans that seemingly exist to feast on humans. The characters above are part of humanity’s survey corp, who fight the Titans and try to save humanity.
Oh and by the way, Titans are giant naked people with beer bellies and no intelligence that just flail about eating people. I’m not kidding, check out the anime’s opening here.
After forcing my way through the crowd I found some pokemon, girls from the legendary manga ONE PIECE and of course, Frozen. Frozen is huge in Japan and I don’t know why I was surprised to see cosplayers of the princesses.
Every now and then I would come across some cosplayers who I had no idea what they were dressed as. But did I miss out on taking a picture? Of course not!
Ok I’ll forgive you if you didn’t know the Sailor Scouts but you have to know these people. We have Seto Kaiba and Yugioh from the hit cartoon show Yugioh, Jigsaw from the Saw series, and a Kingdom Hearts character. Ok, I’m not actually sure which character he is supposed to be.
Next are my two favorites.
Porco Rosso from Hayao Miyazaki’s film Porco Rosso, which is also his greatest film by the way; you can take my word on it :P. It is about an Italian pilot, who also happens to be a pig, and his adventures as a mercenary in the Croatian-inspired islands of the Mediterranean Sea.
Next to him is Diane, the Sin of Envy from the hit manga Nanatsu no Taizai – The Seven Deadly Sins. I had NO IDEA who she was at first but later a friend told me to read the manga and its a really cool adventure series based off of the King Arthur legends. Diane happens to be a giantess. You remember that part of King Arthur’s tale right?
Finally, here is a picture of what I got yelled at for. So, you can’t really see but what this literal WALL of photographers is hovering over is a small girl laying spreadeagled on the ground in a leotard. I thought it was one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen. Naturally I took a picture of these screaming, heavy breathing, fidgety people. I was immediately yelled at by a staff member. But not to fret, some sudden Italian apologies and misdirection allowed me to saunter off before I got in too much trouble.
Looks like majoring in Italian back at university paid off.
Goodbye for now!