First things first, Comiket is for anime, manga, and gaming fans. But this doesn’t mean that those curious minds who merely want to check out the hype of Japan’s pop culture are not allowed to come close.
NatsuComi (Summer Comiket) is an open Doujin Sale event that features original, fan-made manga available for purchase. So if you’re interested, you’re welcome to jump in the crowd. For FREE!
It’s the event for fans made by fans of the worldwide popular anime and manga.
When you attend the event, you’re automatically a participant. You become one with other fans. No one’s a VIP, so as early as now, it’s best to prepare. We’ll be sharing practical must-haves and must-dos in a short while, but to start off, here are this year’s Summer Comiket details:
Date: August 12 to 14, 2016
Time: 10 AM to 4 PM (normally closes an hour earlier on the 3rd day)
Venue: Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba, Tokyo
Nearby Stations: Kokusai-Tenjijo-Seimon Station on the Yurikamome Line and Kokusai-Tenjijo Station on the JR Rinkai Line
Ready? Here we go!
It’s literally the event’s bible. Details like the rules of the convention, maps, layout, participating doujin circles, and fast facts on doujin creators are all packed in this typical phonebook-sized document.
One alternative would be to acquire the DVD-ROM version featuring clickable layout maps, advanced day and location search functions, and custom color-coded checklists. This isn’t available to all stores though so you’ll have to double check the names of specific shops that offers it.
This catalog is usually released a week before the event and is available in Akihabara shops or on Amazon. Feel free to check specific store names at Comiket’s official website.
Transportation shouldn’t be much of an issue for Tokyo locals since the venue is just around the city. However, those who come from other cities like Nagoya and Osaka will have to take extra effort in securing their arrival time.
Take some time to check out bus schedules for the venue’s nearest stations; Kokusai-Tenjijo-Seimon Station on the Yurikamome Line and Kokusai-Tenjijo Station on the JR Rinkai Line.
Or if you’d like a full tour package with added hot spring side trips, the Willer Express offers a great alternative.
It’s easy to rely on ATMs and money changing services but unfortunately, using them doesn’t seem practical during the Comiket. Once you’re in the venue, there won’t be nearby machines to withdraw money from.
Veteran attendees of the event always suggest newbies to bring a safe stash of 1,000 yen notes, and 500 and 100 yen coins.
You said you won’t need to buy anything and you’ll just enjoy the view? Really? Unless you’re a random curious participant, it will be so hard to strut around the manga and anime-filled haven without actually stopping by at one stall and getting yourself a memorabilia.
A word of advice for avid anime fans like me, bring a pouch. Trust me, before the event ends, you’ll have at least a few things packed in there.
With emphasis on ‘nearby.’ This is applicable for non-local participants who wish to attend the three-day long event but don’t have family or friends whom they can rely on for free accommodation.
Hotels located along the Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Shibuya, and Ebisu area are convenient options. Feel free to use Expedia to check out affordable accommodation deals!
The three-day event generally features the same shops all throughout. However, there are a few differences when it comes to product availability. The first day usually covers a more general and wider doujin selection; while the second day is usually geared to the female fanbase which coincidentally features more cosplayers, as well. And lastly, the third day is known to cater most of the men’s interest such as the moe stuff and gaming merchandises.
To make the best out of these days, it’s best to go around at 10 am or noon when line queues are no longer as long as they are during the opening time. This, however, may keep you from buying the most popular doujins which are likely to be sold out in the early hours of the sale.
This doesn’t just apply towards your co-participants but more importantly to the staff, medical, and security personnel who are mostly volunteers. You can call it their labor of love so be considerate and don’t be a brat.
Again, be calm, nice, and respectful.
Of course, you’re excited! Sure, we get that. But at Comiket, there’s practically a line for just about anything – doujin booths, commercial stalls, and even the toilet!
It’s a rule of thumb to all participants to wait until their turn. Others follow the rules, and it keeps the event smooth and peaceful. Perhaps a good thing to ward off the boredom is to get yourself a copy of that popular doujin work and read it while waiting!
It’s a requirement, and it entitles you to get access to designated changing rooms. Wearing costumes ahead of time IS NOT allowed, so you’ll need to change on site. For convenience, do inquire about the nature of the rooms. Some may not offer privacy so you may have to ask someone to go with you for assistance.
One of the most common issues that event staff has to handle are the participants who get lost along the way. To avoid the hassle, being familiar with the location using the catalog will help. Be sure to know your way back to your hotel as well just in case. Google Maps or HyperDia will come in handy.
However, if you still find yourself stuck at somewhere unfamiliar, it’s good to know that there’s the International Office within the building whom you can rely on for support. They have staff who speak different languages like English, German, and Korean. Ask an on-site staff to give them a call!
It’s summer, everyone, and the heat’s unforgiving! Stay hydrated all day long by ALWAYS having a bottled water at hand.
For the love of all things holy, don’t skip your breakfast. It’s the most effective energy booster you can have before the main battle – Comiket Day.
Fill yourself up before you head out and endure the long queues. Should you get hungry while on site, you can always buy foods from cafes and food vans scattered around the event. And yes, foods are sold at suggested retail prices, so no worries.
To ensure you have all your items close, buying only those that you can carry is appropriate. But who am I to tell you what to buy and what not to buy? There are stalls for major Japan delivery services that you may visit in case you need help in transporting some merchandise. Go for it if you have to.
By “right,” I mean something comfortable and light. Remember that it’s summer so sweat is expected. A pair of casual shirt and jeans is most appropriate. For ladies, wearing of heels is discouraged as this could impede movements around. (Yes, even if you’re used to wearing three-inch heels.)
You don’t want to feel burdened by bringing a heavy backpack so make sure to keep your things light. A convenient pack would contain things such as:
- Petty cash
- Fully charged phone
- Fully charged camera
- Personal ID
- Bottled water
- Cooling packs
- Summer scarves
Simple. If you can’t find a trash can nearby, place the trash in your bag and throw it later. Never ever leave it scattered anywhere.
NO! No running even if you see something real cool across the hall. Inhale, exhale, walk.
Ask permission every time you take photos of cosplayers. Also, be sure to limit your shots only in designated areas. There are places that may not allow you to take shots. Take photos at the right place, ask permission, and don’t hover too long. Others are waiting.
Attending the Comiket is not like any other conventions you’ve been at. It’s bigger, fancier, and more exciting if you give yourself the chance to explore all the booths. Plus, lots of original works which may not be available online will be available for purchase in the event! (If they are sold online, their prices will most likely be way above the ones offered during the event!)
Not everyone survives this three-day adventure unless you arm yourselves with these must-haves and must-dos. Use this guide to gear up for this grand Doujin Sale event on August!
Meet other fans and enjoy!